May 14, 2017 § Leave a comment
Pick of The Week – May 13, 2017
We were crashing at my mother-in-law’s as we had put the house up for sale and it was open house weekend. My mother-in-law is more like a big sister to me and she happily indulges my adventurous streak when it comes to wine.
Armed with validation and freedom of having an hour to shop, I went looking for something I had never had before.
I strolled through the aisles of Everything Wine and saw many labels that seemed to want to convey the same thing – tradition. However they all said the same thing on the back; passion, quality, family, character. It was almost as if the back labels were all cut and pasted by the same person. Then I came upon the Envyfol.
At first I was a little suspect giving the weight of the bottle. It was a huge thick glass bottle normally associated with either top end wines ($40+), or really crappy wines that are desperately trying cover up the quality of the wine.
I read the back label and it was different from the rest. There was an element of authenticity that I may have read into it, but got me to trust that I was not about to be ripped off. Couple that with the playful, mischevious characters that, at the moment, I identified with, I happily grabbed the bottle and proceeded to check out.
The Envyfol is a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) from the south of France, specifically the Languedoc region. As many of you know, this region is one of my favourites when it comes to finding wines that over deliver for the price. The Envyfol was no exception.
Pours black in the glass and shows generous aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and cassis fruits with hints of dried herbs, pepper and a delicate smokiness as if from as small, petite, fire of dried rosemary branches.
The palate was bright and brimming with ripe, fresh fruit. The finish was juicy and showed soft, well balanced tannins.
Overall this was a great find and something that not only over delivers but also a wine that I will happily buy again… even if it was $5 more.
Where: Everything Wine, French section
April 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
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We could have chatted for sometime as we really didn’t get o deep into some of the issues, but one thing was clear is that Mr. Yap, BC Liberal MLA for Richmond-Steveston, an MLA for the supposed free enterprise party, staunchly supports continuing the current hybrid retail system and problematic distribution system.
For those that have listened to the show over the last year or so, you know that I strongly believe that fixing distribution is key to long term liquor reform and the creation of a truly level playing field.
The current system that supports the LDB’s monopoly on the distribution of imported wines, beers & spirits, is broken. By broken I mean costing the government $300M/year in lost taxes because of unfulfilled orders.
How to fix it is remarkably simple, but first let’s look at the biggest problem to solve – capacity.
The current distribution centres we built to handle $1B/annum of volume. 2017 will see $3B in volume go through. What this means is that some orders just can’t get filled because there is no space to accommodate the stock needed. So what was the LDB/BC Liberal solution. Spend $1B in building a larger facility in Delta.
The fact is that all the BC Liberals had to do was to pass an order in council that allowed suppliers to choose their distributor. There are a number of private & bonded distributors that are nowhere near capacity and would gladly take on the extra work. Not all suppliers would move, but a good number would because they value the 10% growth they automatically get.
Secondly this would speed up delivery times. No longer would a product ordered by a store in Richmond have to leave the bonded warehouse (ContainerWorld, Hillebrand) in Richmond, go to the LDB warehouse in Vancouver, only to be shipped to the store in Richmond.
Third, and this is the bonus, the government would not have to re-purpose any workers at the LDB Warehouse. The only thing that would change is that they have the capacity to fill the orders they get.
There are other things that such a change would involve and I would be happy to share those if you like. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pick Of The Week
Paul Mas Valmont Rouge 1L
In October I took a couple of bottles of the Paul Mas Valmont Blanc to Mom and Dad’s for Thanksgiving dinner and they were a big hit, so when I saw the Rouge version, I thought I would give it a whirl and I am very glad that I did.
This blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah shows classic Languedoc aromas and flavours of black cherry, plums, dried herbs and black pepper spice.
This is a medium bodied wine that is very well balanced. What that means is that the flavour, the body and finish all worked together. It wasn’t flabby, or light, or short or tannic and bitter. It showed fresh ripe fruit, savoury spices with a delightfully fruit filled finish.
I would, and will, pair this with roasted chicken, and beef stews. As for cheese, go with a Gruyere or Ementhal.
Grapes ~ Grenache, Carignan, Syrah
Country of Origin ~ France
Region ~ Languedoc
Price ~ $11.79 1L
Score ~ 8.5/10 – Over Delivers
Purchased At ~ BC Liquor Store Langford
April 1, 2017 § Leave a comment
One of the my favourite things to do when in the ‘wine store’ is to scour the shelves in the dark corners. Every store has them and the typical retailer places slow-moving items there.
I find that this is also where you find some great deals, and that is how I came across this weeks wonderful find.
As most of you know I have a great love for Grenache and Grenache blends, so when I saw the Jas du Lauzon languishing in a dark corner of the Cascadia Uptown store, it was a match made in heaven. It was also only $14.99 so it seemed to me that it was must try.
It pours almost black in the glass and has aromas of ripe raspberries, stewed plums, blueberry and black pepper spice.
The palate showed richness, and supple depth with a fresh fruit and spice finish.
Given that most of the time any purchase I make has to stretch across 2-3 meals, a great wine, for me, needs to be food versatile, and this one fit the bill nicely. I had this with Paella one night, chicken the next and finally homemade pizza, and in all cases the wine worked really well, and hence I grade this one as a great buy and it over delivers for the price.
Price ~ $14.99
Blend ~ Grenache, Syrah
Country of Origin ~ France
Region ~ Luberon (Southern Rhone/Provence)
Score ~ 8.2/10
Label ~ Over Delivers!
Purchased at ~ Cascadia Uptown
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October 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
The data shows that household spending drops well below the annual average in the weeks following Thanksgiving up until the 3rd week of November.
The fact is that you don’t have to give a good glass of wine with dinner or after a hard day, you just have to find the best of the ones that fit your budget.
What follows is a list of 3 whites and 3 reds that provide great value and don’t break the bank.
Jean Louis Blancs de Blancs (Sparkling) – An everyday Sparkling wine. Yeah that’s right an everyday sparkling wine to celebrate life’s small victories. Delightful ripe apple and pear, a very decent mousse for the price. Just a fine glass of wine for the price. ~ Score 8.2/10 ($12.99-$14.99)
Cono Sur Gewurztraminer – For those who enjoy a lighter style wine that is a touch sweeter. This is a light bodied quaffer that shows flavours of lychee nut, white peach and pear. ~ Score 7.9/10 ($9.99 – $11.99)
Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay – A richer wine that embodies the sun of the country it comes from. Tropical fruit flavours with a touch of caramel on the finish. I love this wine as it has not really changed its price since the wine came into the market back in the early 90’s. ~ Score 7.8/10 ($10.99-$12.99)
Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot – Buy this one by the 1.5L (Magnum) as it works out to being about $6/Bottle. This wine is one of the most consistent and best values on the Market. Cherry, berry and plum flavours with a medium body. Do me a favour, let this wine breathe for 15-30min. before enjoying. If you do you will be handsomely rewarded. ~Score 7.9/10 ($11.99 1.5L)
Tocado Grenache – This is a super juicy, ripe wine and it will be tough to stop at one glass. Ripe raspberry, currant and blueberry flavours with a gentle soft palate. I know you can get this at Cascadia stores for $11.99 and $9.99 if you buy it by the case… and it is worth buying by the case. ~ Score 7.8/10 ($9.99-$11.99)
Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah – I would be hard pressed to find another wine of structure that provides better bang for the buck. The Tocado above is all about juicy-ness and a soft palate, this wine has some structure and is filled with plum, blackberry and cassis. ~ Score 7.6/10 ($9.99- $12.99)
September 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
The main thrust of this blog is to weed through the masses of under $20 wines to find the true values. Having said that, every so often I come across a wine that is over $20, that grabs my attention and excitement. This is one of those wines.
Released to the market in the last week the Black Hills 2014 Syrah. Black Hills has a long history of producing great wines including Nota Bene, so I was really looking forward to tasting this year’s release of the Syrah.
I will cut right to the chase, I was totally enthralled with this wine. I was expecting a meaty, leathery Syrah with some big aggressive tannins; after all it is a new release. What If found was a wine with wisdom beyond its years.
Deep purple in the glass and ripe fruit aromas with hints of smoked meat and tobacco leaf. The palate was deep and engaging with a finish that showed finesse and the quality of the fruit.
I could easily see purchasing this wine as a gift or for a special evening like a date night or celebrating one of life’s victories. I’m even motivated to get on the Black Hills mailing list, and get myself a case as I don’t think this will last long in the market, even though the price will be $35-$45 in private stores… if you can find it.
Price ~ $35-$45
Score ~ 8.9/10 Points – Best Buy
The reason I would buy a case of this as I would be really curious to see how this wine develops over time. The vineyards for this wine are primarily sandy which is great for fully developing fruit flavours and ripening, but makes developing the acidity necessary for aging a challenge. When I taste this the acid is bright and lively, and I suspect that this wine will age well.
As for food, we had this with a pork roast and root vegetables and it was awesome. The fats in the pork roast allowed the fruit and savoury flavours in the wine to shine through.
Grapes ~ Syrah
Availability ~ Fine Wine Stores, Restaurants, Winery
Store Section ~ BC, VQA
Next Up: Tasting Aged Wines
September 8, 2016 § 4 Comments
After a bit of a summer ending break I am back it and will have a number of posts in the coming weeks.
First will be my take on a new release wine out of the Okanagan (yeah, you want to get on this wine). Followed by some notes on tasting aged wines and then a review on a wine that you likely all remember, but have likely forgotten.
Anyway I will talk to you all soon.
August 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
In the late 90’s I worked for a wine importer the owner of which had a penchant for European wines. We had a great portfolio and it featured some brilliant Alsatian (France) white wines. I fell in love with Pinot Gris from Alsace. To me it seemed that the Alsatian expression of Pinot Gris was incredibly pure, refined and elegant.
At about the same time Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio was starting its incredible rise in popularity. Today the shelves are filled with hundreds of Pinot Gris/Grigio’s, the most of which I consider tosser wines.
Tosser wines are wines conceived of not in the vineyard or cellar, but around the marketing table in the presence of PowerPoint presentations and demographic studies. I found so many expressions of PG to be tossers that I stopped buying it altogether. So when a bottle of the Blue Grouse 2015 Pinot Gris showed up on my desk, I cracked it open expecting the worst.
Price ~ $18-$22
Score ~ 8.4/10 (Over Delivers
The nose showed focused and vibrant pear and melon. The palate is incredibly refined and elegant with piercing and pure pear flavours. Bright acidity on the finish makes this wine refreshing and incredibly well balanced. I liken it to a perfect set of pearls. Refined, elegant, pure and empirically pleasing.
As for food, this will be a great pairing with roasted/grilled pork, white fish, and fresh salads with a light vinaigrette or quality olive oil.
Grapes ~ 100% Pinot Gris
Store Section ~ BC/VQA
Availability ~ Private stores only (take a look at the Blue Grouse website for a complete list here).