Sunday, April 27, 2014

What happens every time we go to North Vancouver

Spent a few hours wine-store hopping in North Vancouver yesterday, and came home with a bunch of great wine as always.

From left to right:

2 bottles of Beringer White Zinfandel ($9.99) that we discovered on the cruise. It hardly meets the "great wine" mantra that I previously mentioned but it's a guilty pleasure. Read about it here.

Torres 2010 Celeste Crianza Tempranillo ($25.99). Another one we discovered on our recent trip, tasting notes are here.

Joseph Phelps 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($94.99). I have not tasted this vintage yet but I absolutely loved the 2010 vintage which I tried at Earl's Restaurant in early February. Tasting notes on that one is here.

Castiglion del Bosco 2008 Brunello di Montalcino ($69.99). The 2009 vintage was one of the superb wines we were fortunate enough to taste during Dine Italia at the VIWF. Expecting great things from the '08 as well. Notes on the other vintage can be found here.

Neal Family Vineyards 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($69.99)

Rodney Strong 2006 Alexander Valley Alden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99)

These two were recommended to us by the staff member who runs the "big room" at Everything Wine in North Vancouver (I really have to get his name next time). He has made some fabulous recommendations in the past and I expect these will be no exception. A really good bargain on the Rodney Strong, which is already aged 8 years but was the same price as current vintage. I will, of course, report on those as we drink them.

Last night we had dinner with a very good friend at Joey's on Broadway, and we tried this beauty for the first time:

La Crema 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($60 at restaurant, $30US from their website)

Notes of apple, pear and butterscotch on the nose and palate, with light oak and just a hint of creme brulee on the palate as well. A regional blend from vineyards throughout the Russian River valley. Smooth and complex. 90.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tonight's tasting of some BC wines

First of all, with tonight's chicken, I cracked open an old favorite.

2011 Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois ($16.99)

Citrus fruits on the nose and palate, with a light bit of minerality on the finish. Complex. Ensure you serve it well chilled; pairs very well with chicken. An excellent bargain. 86.

A few wines tasted today at my friendly neighborhood VQA wine store:

Road 13 2012 Honest John's Rose ($17)

Notes of cherries and raspberries on the nose and palate. Touches of cranberry as well. Light and fruity. 82.

Mission Hill 2012 Five Vineyards Rose ($15.99)

Cherries and a note of spice on the nose and the cherries come through on the palate as well. Mostly Merlot. 81.

Therapy Vineyards 2012 Pinot Gris ($19.99)

Citrus on the nose and palate. Very light. 74.

Therapy Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir ($22.99)

Cranberry and black cherry on the nose and palate. Very, very light bodied. Might need some time in the bottle to improve. 75.

Therapy Vineyards 2009 Merlot ($22.99)

Notes of dark chocolate and vanilla on the nose. A bit of plum joins in on the palate. Juicy and fruity. 82.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mid-week wine? Why not? In our minds, we are still in the Caribbean.

A pleasant surprise last night when the wife not only made dinner, but brought out the Pinot Noir glasses as we enjoyed this little beauty:

Arrowleaf 2012 Solstice Pinot Noir ($25.99)

Fruity and medium bodied, aromas of cherries and rhubarb. The palate might notice some herbs and cherry with a hint of oak. 85.

Tonight it was my turn to choose the wine to go with our chicken and pasta dinner, and I went with one that we picked up at a high-end liquor store in Abbotsford that had some very high scores.

Fossacolle 2007 Bruno di Montalcino ($59.99)

100% Sangiovese as is tradition with this type of wine. A tad underwhelming at first taste, but after some time in the decanter and paired with the pasta, a great improvement. Cherries and strawberries on the nose and palate with just a touch of spice and minerality. Drinking well now, would probably improve even more until 2020. 91.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Caribbean cruise full of GREAT WINE!

...and some not so great....but mostly, very positive.

Col Solare 2007 ($100)

A Bordeaux style blend from Washington State, this beautiful wine features notes of black cherry and ripe blackberries with a hint of vanilla on the nose. On the palate, this full-bodied wine is rich with flavors of cherries, plums, chocolate and a touch of coconut. Long, silky finish. 94.

Stag's Leap 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)

Cherries and blueberries on an inviting nose, with some grassy notes joining the fruit and tobacco on the palate. Tannins were a bit sharp, suggesting this could have improved with a little more time in the bottle. 85.

Nobilo 2012 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($17)

 Ripe passion fruit and pineapple with some subtle hints of lime. Refreshing and dry. 82.

Beringer Vineyards 2012 Founders Estate Pinot Noir ($19)

Some raspberry and cherry on the nose and palate. Light and fruity, not a bad entry level California Pinot. 83.

Villa Sandi Prosecco Brut ($14)

Intense notes of minerals and citrus. Full-bodied and slightly off-dry, with flavors of citrus and herbs. 84.

Isabel Mondavi 2010 Pinot Noir ($45)

Elegant aromas of violets and fruit with a hint of caramel. Strawberry and cranberries shine through on the palate with a tiny bit of sweetness. Bright flavors of cherries on the finish. 86.

Torres 2010 Celeste Crianza Tempranillo ($27.99)

Ripe plums and other dark fruits with just a hint of spice on the nose. The spice shines through on the palate with the fruit. Very tasty. 89.

Robert Mondavi 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ($40)

Black current and blackberries dominate the nose, and they continue on the palate, joined by some cherry and a touch of black pepper. Finishes long and smooth. 89.

Beringer California Collection White Zinfandel ($10)

My new favorite "cheapie", this rose is light, fruity, and downright quaffable. For that price, it's a steal. 83.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Back from vacation just in time for Quails' Gate!

Just returned from our Caribbean Cruise (expect a blog post about our wine experiences on the cruise in the near future) in time to taste some new releases from Quails' Gate, one of my very favorite BC wineries:

Quails' Gate 2013 Rose ($15.99)

Strong notes of strawberry and some blueberries on the nose and palate. My favorite of their recent Rose releases, very long finish and beautiful fruitiness. 85.

Quails' Gate 2012 Chardonnay ($19.99)

Floral nose with notes of butterscotch. Creamy and rich with notes of marzipan and caramel. Excellent now and would reward careful cellaring for 3-4 more years. 85.

Quails' Gate 2011 Old Vines Foch ($24.99)

Dark and brooding, big and bold. Some earthiness and tobacco on the nose and palate. Rich and full. If you like Foch, this is for you. 83.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

oh my, a couple of beautiful reds tonight

In celebration of our upcoming Caribbean cruise, I thought we'd celebrate with a reasonably expensive red; more on that in a minute. To whet our appetites, we began the evening with this one:

Belle Glos Meiomi 2012 Pinot Noir ($26.99)

An interesting blend of Pinot grapes from three different regions; Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County, and Monterey County. Each region brings a little something different, and this wine takes the best of each and integrates them beautifully.

As it's still young, I decanted it for a couple of hours. It opened up beautifully; lots of ripe berries and vanilla on the nose, and they carry through to the palate. A bit of cola joins them. A very nice reasonably priced California pinot. 86.

For the main event of the evening, to pair with our dinner of beef stew:

2010 Le Vieux Pin Equinox Syrah ($74.99)

A beautiful nose of black cherry with hints of licorice and just a touch of smoke and flowers. Just the right amount of spice. Very complex and smooth, the tannins were still just a tad firm, but it opened up nicely as it sat in the decanter. I would suggest holding onto this for another 2-4 years if you can to truly let it achieve the heights that it can. It's excellent now as well, so if you can't wait, decant it for an hour or so and enjoy. 93.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

That bitch Goldilocks must have killed the bears

I've mentioned before how much we love Fairview Cellars' big red blend called The Bear. Their 2009 version was just superb, but good luck finding that anywhere. I have a couple bottles of 2010 in the cellar waiting to hit their peak, and I'm sure they'll be excellent, but 2009 was a special year.

Since there were no Bears around, I picked up the next best thing; a bottle of this:

Fairview Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ($39.90)

I must confess I have become enamored with Californian wines of this varietal recently; even some of their not-crazy expensive bottles have been excellent, with some very special bottles in the $40 price range from Napa Valley.

This one reminds me a little of those. It doesn't have any of the jammy fruit that you can sometimes find in this varietal from cooler climates. Lots of fruit on the nose, with just a touch of black licorice to add some complexity. A simply fabulous nose. Not surprisingly, the palate can't quite measure up, but that's not to say it's bad; far from it. Lots of fruit, and a very long pleasing finish. Very nice. 88.