Saturday, January 21, 2017

Okanagan Trip FINALLY wraps up with a very interesting tasting at Bordertown

As we sachet up to the tasting bar we start out tasting a few white wines and I am taking my usual notes and assigning my usual scores; but these aren't usual scores, these are some of the lowest scores I've given out since moving to the 100-point system a few years ago. While tasting, we are being helped by the owner, a very nice lady who explains to me (without my telling her what my scores were) that they had recently changed winemakers, as their previous winemaker (by his own admission) didn't know anything about making white wines.


OK so in fairness, I told her that I would delete all my notes from the whites (all 2014) and only report on the wines from the new winemaker (whites only; the reds reported below are from the previous guy but he made red wines just fine).

I'm hoping that not too many customers sauntered into a wine store, saw a bottle of Bordertown 2014 white wine, and picked one up to try it out. They would have a very bad impression of the winery.

So here we go.

Bordertown 2015 Pinot Gris ($19.00)

Pleasant aromas of orange and tropical fruit. Citrus, bananas and honey on the palate. Lovely. 89.

Bordertown 2015 Gruner Veltliner ($21.00)

Notes of honeysuckle, pineapple and stone fruit. Flavors of peach with pleasing minerality on the finish. 87,

Bordertown 2015 Gewurztraminer ($20.00)

 Aromas of lychee and honeysuckle. Pineapple, banana, apricot and just a hint of spice on the palate. 88.

Bordertown 2015 Chardonnay Unoaked ($27.00)

Light notes of buttered toast and marshmallow. The palate features citrus fruits, a touch of caramel, and well balanced acidity. 88.

Bordertown 2013 Living Desert Red ($40.00)

Red fruit and black cherry on the nose. Lots of mocha, vanilla and dark chocolate flavors. Finishes well. 89.

Bordertown 2014 Living Desert Red ($40.00)

As above, aromas of red fruit and black cherry are up front. The palate is dominated by black cherry, and the tannins are young and firm. 87.

Bordertown 2014 Merlot ($23.00)

Intense nose featuring red and black fruit with some vanilla added in for good measure. Mocha, vanilla and toasty oak on the palate which finishes quite long. 88.

Bordertown 2014 Syrah ($30.00)

Earthy nose which features black pepper, black cherry and some mushroom. Black pepper is really prevalent with black fruit. Juicy. 88.

Bordertown 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.90)

Pleasing nose of dark fruit with strong mint aromas. Mint continues through to the palate with dark chocolate and blackberry. 88.

So, if you want to try out some perfectly good wine, just avoid the 2014 whites and you (and the winery) will be glad you did. The other stuff is perfectly decent!

That finishes up the Okanagan tour (the actual tour finished up months ago) so there will be some more catch-up entries coming up; and we are less than a month until the 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival! Lots of great stuff to come!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Okanagan Trip continues at Maverick Estate Winery

Our second visit to this winery that has been open just a few years, but we were quite impressed with the quality of their wines on our first visit. Let's see how visit #2 would shake out.

Maverick Estate Winery 2015 Origin ($17.00)

Aromatic blend of Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. Flinty aromas of lemon, lime and lychee. Apple and lime notes on the palate with a lingering, crisp, finish. 89.

Maverick Estate Winery 2015 Pinot Gris ($19.00)

Tropical fruit, citrus and white flowers on the pretty nose. Some underlying minerality and flavors of apple and guava. 89.

Maverick Estate Winery 2014 Pinot Noir ($29.00)

Black plum, raspberry and a hint of spice on the nose. Black cherry, plum and black pepper on the palate. Juicy finish. 88.

Maverick Estate Winery 2014 Rubeus ($25.00)

60% Syrah, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Intense aromas of black cherry and plum. Medium bodied palate featuring pleasing flavors of black pepper, cherry, vanilla and dark chocolate. 89.

Maverick Estate Winery 2014 Fia ($30.00)

One of the best Port-style wines in the Okanagan and this vintage doesn't disappoint. Aromas of warm Christmas cake, licorice and white pepper. Complex flavors of dark fruit and a rich, delicious finish. 90.

Nothing but quality wine here, and we left with a bottle of just about everything. Always look forward to tasting here.

Next up, finally the Okanagan trip report comes to an end with our first-ever visit to Bordertown Vineyards & Estate Winery!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Big catch-up entry including a new wine that makes "The Best of the Best" list!!!

Feels like forever that I reviewed a bunch of random stuff that we have enjoyed in the recent past. Got some good stuff today, some really good stuff, and a few bottles that can be listed in the "spectacular" category. Let's get right to it.

d'Arenberg 2014 The Hermit Crab ($24.99)

Sweet pineapple notes mingle with a touch of ginger and wet stone on the nose. Lots of orchard fruit on the palate with a tinge of pineapple and citrus. 89.

Wolf Blass 2014 Red Label Shiraz Cabernet ($16.99)

Sweet and juicy, medium bodied with lots of berries and a touch of spice. Good bargain red to pair with red meat dishes. 88.

Black Swift Vineyards 2013 "The Long Road" Merlot ($44.99)

Oh so delicious. Beautiful nose of green olive, vanilla and lavender. Sweet floral flavors coat the tongue with ample red cherry, tobacco and mocha notes. Long and beautiful finish. Sublime. 93.

Black Swift Vineyards 2013 "The Long Road" Syrah ($49.99)

Blueberry, blackberry, a touch of black pepper all combine on the fragrant nose. Rich, full-bodied and opulent, even in it's youth. Complex flavors of black pepper, dark fruit, and small hints of leather and tobacco. So nice already. 92.

Church & State - 2008 Chardonnay ($24.90 when it was released)

Bought a vertical of C&S Chardonnay and this was the first we tasted, and boy was it fantastic. Between a year in French oak, maloactic fermentation and the bottle aging, this has developed palate-enveloping buttery flavors. Caramel, orange marmalade and some peach. Finishes beautifully. Just excellent, really hitting it's stride. 92.

Church & State 2015 Lost Inhibitions Rosé ($17.99)

This unusual rosé is left in contact with the skins so long that it has become a very dark pink, or a very light red, depends on your perspective I suppose. Off-dry, rich and bold, with flavors of strawberry, rhubarb and orange rind. 88.

Culmina 2015 Saignée ($24.99)

Merlot (42%) Cabernet Sauvignon (28%) Cabernet Franc (21%) Malbec (9%)

Very light in colour with beautiful aromas of blood orange and strawberry. The strawberry continues through to the palate with raspberry and red roses joining the party. Very dry, for sure, but also very delicious. 91.

Foxtrot 2014 Four Shadows Vineyard Chardonnay ($54.99)

Buttery, toasty oak aromas with some citrus and a hint of tropical fruit. Red apples, citrus and a touch of buttered toast on the palate. Rich texture with a creamy finish. 92.

Foxtrot 2013 Foxtrot Vineyard Pinot Noir ($59.99)

Intoxicating aromas of raspberry, strawberry and a touch of spice. Red cherry, strawberry, raspberry and a touch of toasty oak on the finish. Drinking very well now but would improve with age. 91-93.

LaStella 2008 Allegretto Pie Franco Merlot ($59.99)

Almost funky aromas of forest floor greet the nose. As you continue to smell, more complex aromas come through, including eucalyptus, clove, baking spices and leather. The palate is very special with rich notes of vanilla, black cherry and leather. Finishes long and very special. 93.

Le Vieux Pin 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($29.99)

Grassy herbaceous notes and some tropical fruit on the nose. Guava, passion fruit and a touch of Meyer lemon on the palate. Complex with fine tannins from a very hot vintage. 89.

Le Vieux Pin 2013 Syrah Cuvée Violette ($29.90)

Floral and feminine, with violets dominating the nose that also features some subtle hints of pepper and black fruit. Toasty oak, smoke, raspberry and black fruit come to dance on the palate. 91.

Moraine 2015 Riesling ($23.99)

Beautiful aromas and flavors of dried apricots and pineapple. Very pleasing aromas of orchids as well. So, so good, absolutely one of my favorite BC Rieslings and will be one of yours, too. 92.

Quails' Gate 2015 Chasselas Pinot Gris Pinot Blanc ($17.00)

37% Chasselas, 31% Pinot Gris and 32% Pinot Blanc

Aromas of pear, orange and guava. Slightly off-dry, it's a fruit salad in a glass. Quails' Gate's most popular white wine never fails to disappoint and is a perfect patio sipper. 88.

Red Rooster 2015 Gewurztraminer ($14.75)

Aromas of rose petals, lychee, melon and pear. Some baking spices and melons join in with the lychee on the palate. 86.

Red Rooster 2013 Merlot ($23.50)

Medium to full-bodied Merlot featuring aromas of baking spices, dark chocolate, vanilla, cedar and red cherry. Cherry continues to shine on the palate, with some plum and a hint of spice. 87.

The Hatch 2014 B Yanco ($14.99)

Mostly Pinot Blanc with a "dollop" (as they describe it) of Gewurtztraminer. Floral and aromatic with some tropical fruit, lychee and balanced acidity. It might not be fair to say this is the best $15 wine in BC, but nobody said life is fair. 88.

The Hatch 2014 Talking Stories Red ($16.99)

From their website:

Made from grapes that were grown on actual vines, this real wine has been bottled in real, Himalayan glass. A favourite wine of both Mick Jagger and Sirhan Sirhan.
Enjoy now, or build a time machine and enjoy it August 25, 1883.
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this wine is big, delicious and you really need to buy it.
It's quite possible that the guys running this winery are nuts. It's definitely possible that they are a little bit brilliant. This wine really over-delivers for the price, and a recommendation from Mick Jagger must count for something. Sirhan Sirhan, maybe notsomuch. 89.

The Hatch 2014 Ross O ($16.99)

This is what I'm drinking while typing this blog entry. Mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Gamay thrown in for good measure. Your nose will immediately notice cherries jumping from the glass. The cherries continue through on the palate. Tasty, but a little bit meek and mild compared to a lot of this terrific winery's offerings. 87.

Tinhorn Creek 2015 Gewurztraminer ($15.99)

Aromas of papaya, lychee, mango and banana. Similar profile to their excellent 2014 and has inched it's way to the very top of my list of favorite BC wines of this varietal. If it's not #1, it's in the top 2. 90.

Cono Sur 2015 Bicicleta Gewurztraminer ($11.99)

Lychee, roses, with a touch of spice on the nose and the palate. Stone fruit joins in on the palate. At this price, it's an absolute steal. 87.

Concha Y Tora Don Melchor 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($98.89)

This huge Chilean beauty was a Christmas gift from the wife, just because. Oh, my wife is freaking awesome.

Incredibly intense and expressive aromas of bing cherry, raisin, cigar box, black olive, rose petals and a hint of eucalyptus. Mouth-watering flavors of black cherry cola, black plum and white pepper. Finishes absolutely forever.

Suave and debonair, like something a wino-version of James Bond would drink. Tannins are smooth and supple and it's already drinking incredibly well. A real treasure. 95.

Lots more to report on, but next up I'll go back to the Okanagan trip and try to get that finished in the near future! Thanks for reading.