Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 2014's are coming! The 2014's are coming!!

Tasting of a couple BC wineries at Sardis Park VQA this weekend; one winery I was very familiar with, and one that I had never tried before. Let's see how they worked out.

First up was Desert Hills, a winery we visited during our Okanagan tour last June. Of the five wines I was going to taste today, I had tasted three of them when they were first released. Those reviews are here. Let's see if a little more time in the bottle made a difference. First I'll start with the two I had not tasted before:

Desert Hills 2013 Viognier ($24.90)

Crisp and clean, the Viognier explodes with aromas of orange and citrus. Flavors of peach and some melon. A touch of minerality on the finish. Very nice. 87.

Desert Hills 2012 Cactus Red ($20.99)

An interesting blend of Merlot (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Syrah (20%) and Gamay (20%). Berries on the nose and palate. The Gamay comes through, which is a positive or negative depending on your opinion of Gamay, I suppose. 84.

Now, to the three I had tasted in June.

These first two didn't change from my first tasting in June, so I'll just copy my previous review of those:

Desert Hills 2013 Gewürztraminer ($22.90)
Recently awarded "white wine of the year" at the 2014 All-Canadian Wine Championship for a reason. Some spice and roses on the nose, with lychee and citrus fruits on the palate. One of the best of this varietal. 89.

Desert Hills 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.90)
Cassis and a hint of mint on the nose. Berries and black currants on the palate, with a silky mouth feel and long finish. 87.

The last one I tasted did improve quite a bit from my previous review.


Desert Hills 2010 Merlot ($24.90)
Black cherries and cassis on the nose and palate, with a bit of vanilla and some cloves on the finish. Full bodied and smooth. Will improve with some more bottle time. 85.


Desert Hills 2010 Merlot ($24.90)
I was right about the bottle time making a difference; the tannins, which were previously a bit harsh, have smoothed out nicely, leading to a long and luscious finish. Will age gracefully for another 4-5 years I'm sure. 89.

I left the store with a bottle of the Merlot and we enjoyed it that very evening with a nice New York Steak and roasted fingerling potatoes. Excellent pair.

The following day, I tasted some wines I had never experienced before, including the first 2014 that has arrived at the store. The winery was Baillie-Grohmann, from Creston, BC.

Baille-Grohman 2014 Récolte Blanche ($18.99)

An interesting blend of Pinot Gris, Schoenberger and Kerner. Tropical fruit, flowers and lychee on the nose. Fresh and crisp. For a brand new release, it's already good and a little more time in the bottle can only smooth it out further. 87.

Baille-Grohman 2013 Gewürztraminer ($19.99)
Roses and a bit of spice on the nose. Rich in texture. Some tropical fruit comes through on the palate. 84.

Baille-Grohman 2011 Pinot Noir ($24.99)

Ripe red fruits and a touch of spice on the nose. Strawberry with a touch of spice and earthiness on the palate. 83.

Baille-Grohman 2012 Merlot ($24.99)

Dark fruits, plum, and cedar on the nose. Palate brings black cherries with a touch of vanilla and dark chocolate. 84.

Interestingly the brand new 2014, which is probably still suffering through a bit of bottle shock, was my favorite of this winery's offerings by a mile. It's an exciting time of year as the new wines start to show themselves in stores. Spring is coming (although you may not be able to convince those in the east of that)!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Another big catching up entry!

Still trying to keep up with all the wine we have consumed over the past weeks. Lots of stuff to report on again today!

Hester Creek 2013 Rosé ($19.95)

Cherries and a touch of orange on the nose and palate. Slightly off-dry and a bit syrupy. A tiny bit of spice on the finish. Lovely, serve chilled and enjoy. 86.

We were fortunate enough to attend a party for Wine Society members of Le Vieux Pin/La Stella a few weeks ago, which featured some vertical tastings. Included was a tasting of their wonderful Viognier/Marsanne/Roussanne blend called "Ava". I've reviewed the 2012 vintage previously here; here are notes on two earlier vintages.

Le Vieux Pin 2010 Ava ($35.00)

Lots of fruit flavors on the nose and palate. Citrus and a hint of apricot. Dry and very long on the finish. Peaking now. 87.

Le Vieux Pin 2011 Ava ($35.00)

The very cool 2011 growing season created lower yields but didn't hurt the quality of the fruit in this case. Hints of peaches and apricots on a somewhat muted nose. The palate has some notes of red apple and citrus. Finishes very long and crisp. Lovely. 89.

Blackwood Lane 2007 Alliancé ($59.00)

This is the "cheapie" of their two big Bordeaux blends; but you wouldn't know it from the quality of the wine. Well aged before it was released in 2012; two years in oak and almost two more years in the bottle. Hints of vanilla and black cherry mingle with flavors of plum and cassis. This is beautiful, and is drinking wonderfully now; probably has another 5-6 years in it as well. 92.

Quinta Ferreira 2008 Reserve Obra-Prime ($50.00)

Notes of black cherry and pepper greet your nose and palate with a touch of sweet vanilla as well. A hint of sweet hard candy as well on the long, lingering finish. Beautiful. 92.

Stag's Hollow 2013 Riesling ($17.95)

If you like pineapple, go get yourself a case. Might be the strongest notes of pineapple I have experienced in any wine. Fresh and crisp and very nice. Some light minerality as well on the finish. 88.

Louie Latour 2011 Gamay ($25.99)

Gamay is not generally my thing; but this was recently named "Best In Show" at the Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards, so I had to check it out. Definitely the best Gamay I have ever had. Medium bodied and very juicy. Violets and a hint of strawberry. Definitely a "food" wine, but if I were to go and buy another Gamay, this would be the one. 87.

Cedarcreek 2011 Cabernet Merlot ($19.99)

Dominated by Cabernet Franc for the first time (36%, 33% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Syrah). Black cherry and blueberry with a hint of spice on the nose. The cherries continue through to the palate with some cassis. A great bargain at this price point, this is always a reliable "go-to" red. 87.

While in my local liquor store the other day I was passing through the Chilean wine section and noticed a big sign advertising a score of 88 from Robert Parker on this very cheap wine:

Santa Carolina 2013 Reserva Pinot Noir ($13.95)

Notes of raspberry, herbs and earth. Black cherries and a touch of earth on the palate. This is far from a "great" Pinot, but it's my new favorite "best buy"; for that price, it's an absolute steal. I mean, when you put it up against the usual junk you get for $14, it's not even in the same class. 85.

B Cellars 2007 Blend 25 ($60.00)

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (66%) and Syrah (34%). A Napa Valley winery I have never heard of and probably would have never experienced, but we got to taste some at a store on our Napa trip last September and had to pick one of these up. Black cherry and blueberries on the nose. Blackberries, plums, chocolate and dried cranberries on the palate. Extra long finish. An absolutely lovely wine. 92.