Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewurztraminer

May 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tinhorn GewurzI had a long chat with a fellow veteran of the liquor industry and put me in a nostalgic mood.

Back in the late 90’s VQA and BC Wines were still on fringe of wine culture, and most of the brands that we take for granted today were start-ups.

This was the case for Tinhorn Creek. In 1998 the agency I was running became the sales agent for Tinhorn Creek. Previous to that Kenn and Sandy were selling their wine out of the back of their car. The labels were a sea foam green 3/4 wrap that feature a metallic burgundy creek running down the middle. The whites showed biting acidity and it wasn’t unusual to find ‘wine diamonds’ at the bottom of the bottles. With all that said, it wasn’t hard to see the quality and potential of the winery.

Another reality of the time was that every BC winery had a Gewurztraminer and most of them were off-dry to sweet, but Tinhorn’s was drier and the wine brought out loads of flavours.

Price ~ $16 (almost exactly what it was in 1998)

Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers

The nose is brimming with spices, melon, pear and generous lychee nut. The palate is alive refreshing with a finish that gives a spicy, lychee, pear kiss to the taster.

The get the most out of this wine just chill it down a few degrees so that the bottle is cool to touch (should take about 1 hour in a normal fridge), then serve with either seafood including prawns, anything curried,  salads (especially those with fruits in them), and grilled chicken.

Grapes ~ Gewurztraminer

Store Section ~ BC/VQA

Availability ~ In both private and public stores

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Mocojo 2014 Long Stem Rosé

March 31, 2016 § 1 Comment

Mocojo Long Stem RoseWhen I got started in the wine business, some 20+ years ago, wine choices were Red, White & Pink and BC wines considered a joke and total plonk. The industry has come a long way since then. Not only has it shaken the ‘plonk’ reputation, but it has recently produced the World’s Best Wine (Decanter  2013- Martin’s Lane 2011 Pinot Noir), is the subject of multiple export inquiries, and is now sporting almost 200 wineries. So I have to say that it is no surprise to me when I get a sample from a winery I have never heard of. This the case of the Mocojo 2014 Long Stem Rosé.

Price ~ $18

Score ~ 7.2 Over Delivers

The colour reminded me of some of my favourite Spanish Rosé (Navarra, Calatayud Grenache based), and the nose was brimming with black cherry and strawberry. The palate is fresh and has more weight than I was expecting from a Rosé.

The people at Mocojo totally nailed Rosé and I greatly look forward to the 2015 version.

This is a great pairing for ham, roasted poultry, and yes, paella. Seriously make a fried rice dish but instead of using Soy sauce, reduce some Chicken broth with the rice, add some savoury spices like Thyme, Sage, black pepper, maybe some chili flakes. Make sure you put some peas in it, definitely some chicken and if you can some shellfish.

Grapes ~ Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir

Region ~ Naramata

Store Section ~ BC

Availability ~ Private stores only.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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Campogrande Orvieto

February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

I was chattiSanta Cristina Campograndeng with a colleague in Vancouver, and inevitably the conversation turns to the weather. We have enjoyed a beautiful week and as my colleague said “the sun comes
out and people are nice, happy and greet you on the street.” This conversation inspired me to go a pick up a bottle of one of my all time fave ‘happy and greet you on the street’ type of wines, the Campogrande Orvieto.

The Campogrande Orvieto is a white wine which comes out of the Orvieto region of Umbria in Central Italy. It is a blend of Grechetto (Gre – ketto) and Trebbiano. Strangely if we were to turn the clock back 5 -10 years not only would I be able to bound up the stairs, but 90% of all the Italian white wines on the shelf would have been either a Trebbiano or a Trebbiano blend, like Orvieto.

Orvieto, like Trebbiano and Gavi have mostly been pushed out of the market in favour of a plethora of lifeless Pinot Grigios. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of great Pinot Grigio’s on the shelf, but there are just too many wines capitalizing on the popularity of PG and are pushing out truly awesome wines like those of the Orvieto.

Price ~ $16-$17

Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers

The Campogrande, actually Santa Cristina Campogrande, should be served just chilled, not cold, to showcase the wonderful melon, bartlett pear, hints of citrus and minerality. The nose is a little shy at first and that is how you will know that the wine is too cold. If you don’t get the generous aromas, then it is too cold.

The palate is crisp and refreshing and just feels good in the mouth. So good that it might be difficult to only have one glass. The finish shows more of the minerality and just a kiss of melon.

Pair this wine with light pastas, caprese salad with Arugula, and simply grilled prawns or scallops, this is also an awesome choice with a classic Ceviche.

Grapes ~ Grechetto, Trebbiano

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ Private stores only.

If you do get the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know what you think.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Perrin 2014 Ventoux

February 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Perrin VentouxOne of my favourite events each summer is the Tour de France. Every couple of years the race features one of the most difficult cycling climbs on the planet – Mount Ventoux. It is a heart crushing, leg grinding climb that is not for the faint of heart.

I really enjoy road cycling and would someday like to attempt the climb up Mount Ventoux. I was strolling through the wine shop the other day and found a key part of my training regimen; the wines of the Ventoux. I understand that the grapes grown on Mount Ventoux have magical powers when it comes to strengthening one’s legs.

The Perrin family has vineyards throughout the Rhone Valley and is best known for Chateau Beaucastel which is the iconic wine of Chateauneuf du Pape. The grapes for the Ventoux are grown on the hillsides of Mount Ventoux.

Price ~ $16

Score ~ 7.9/10 Over Delivers

The aromas a brooding and somewhat moody. By all means give this wine time to breathe as there is a great story to be told if only you wait for it. Dark ripe and stewed fruits like plums. berries and blackberries open on the palate and are then enhanced by earthy, spicy flavours along with hints of smoked meat.

This is not a big heavy wine, rather it is bright but with a moody side. I loved this with anything with smoked paprika or bacon. I really loved this with a simple cheese and charcuterie plate. Fantastic!

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ private stores only

the Dork UnCorked

Cheers

 

Tormaresca 2013 Trentangeli

February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tormaresca TrentangeliI was feeling like I was on top of the world. The sun was out, the kids were happy, business was positive and I wanted something that had some depth, substance and a strong sense of destiny. As I was strolling the Italian section I saw the Tormaresca Trentangeli. I have had and enjoyed the Tormaresca Neprica ($14-$16 private stores only) on a number of occasions and loved it, so I thought I would put on my wings of exploration and take on the Trentangeli.

Price ~ $18

Score ~ 8.2/10 Way Over Delivers

The Neprica is a blend of Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo, whereas the Trentangeli is a blend of Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and the difference is striking.

Trentangeli and Neprica share a well balanced nature with a vibrant heart, but this is where any similarities end. Trentangeli is dark, deep, substantive with a well defined body. As I was filled confidence and feeling bold this was the perfect wine for me.

Black in the glass with aromas of blackberry, ripe plum, black currant/cassis, savoury spices, hints of smoked meat. The palate shows depth, structure and some muscle, the kind of muscle that suggests that any challenge is welcome.

My mood called for a meal that would stick to my ribs. Something like steak, a hearty pasta, cheesy dishes, roast Pork or pork chops. In my case we had a grilled steak and it was fantastico!

Oh and here is a bonus – the grapes for this wine are organically grown.

Grapes ~ Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ both private and government stores.

When you head out looking for this wine, please let the store know who sent you.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked.

Sileni 2014 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

December 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

SileniAs we are coming to the end of 2015 I took a few moments to look back at my posts. It dawned on me that I haven’t done much on white wines at all. With this happy justification in my pocket I trundled off to the liquor store.

So where to start looking for white wine? I walked down the BC aisle and saw lots of options. Then it dawned on me that the best place to find something white lurking in shadows of stardom was in the New Zealand category.

Sauvignon Blanc makes up the vast majority of sales of New Zealand wine here in BC. Of Sauvignon Blanc sales the overwhelming leaders are Kim Crawford and Oyster Bay. Both great wines, but I kind of look at them as the baseline of quality and price by which competitors should be gauged. To that end I looked through a number of offerings, and narrowed my choices down to a couple that I know are small producers not owned by big conglomerates. I selected the Sileni Estate 2014 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Price ~ $15.99

Score ~ 8.6/10 Over Delivers

The nose is brimming with vibrant gooseberry and grass. I say vibrant as if, it were possible, the aromas were vibrating with energy, just waiting to get out of the glass.

The palate is crisp and alive leaving your mouth feeling refreshed and great. I’m sure that I smiled shortly after my first taste.

Given that both Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford are normally a couple of bucks more per bottle, this wine way over delivered.

Grapes ~ 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Store Section ~ New Zealand

Availability ~ Both private and government stores.

Food Pairing ~ White fish, fresh oysters, pasta with creamy sauces, fish tacos.

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If there is a wine you would like reviewed please let me know.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked.

The Entertainer 2012 Red Blend

November 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

What makes some people incrediblethe entertainer red blend accountants, lawyers, plumbers and entertainers? I don’t have the answer, but I do know that everyone who is fantastic at their jobs brings a special quality. Let’s face it every task can be broken down and learned, but some people just inject a little bit of
inspiration and magic in each step. In the wine world one of the great entertainers was Wolf Blass.

If could be argued Wolf Blass is introduced the beauties and simplicity of wine to more people than anyone else. First he crafted very easy to enjoy wine. Then he made himself available to anyone who wanted to learn more. Finally he tirelessly entertained consumers around the world and made wine approachable to everyone.

When I saw this wine I read the back label and found that it is an homage to Wolf Blass himself and so I jumped at the opportunity to try it.
Hopefully it entertains the palate as much as he entertained the world.

Price: $17-18

Notes: The wine pours into the glass a dark purple with cherry red hues. The nose betrays the juicy, fruit forward, hedonistic wine this turned out to be. Aromas of juicy red and black berries, pastry and hints of smoky
pepper join a rich, textured palate to make a very enjoyable glass.

I would highly suggest this wine for a romantic comedy movie night or when you have friends over for light and enjoyable evening. It speaks well to fun loving nature of Wolf himself.

Score: 7.5/10 ~ Over Delivers

It pairs really well with mild cheeses, hot dogs, grilled chicken and
mashed potatoes, and plenty of comfort foods.

Section: Australia

If you have the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec

November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Tinto Negra MalbecWine is not a commodity. I know this isn’t a revelation but there seems to be a lot of people who assume that every 90+ point wine is going to blow their hair back or that a 90+ point wine priced at $15 is better than a 90+ point wine priced at $25. The reality is that your mood and the scenario within which you will be tasting the wine play a huge role in your value judgement of the wine. With that in mind I have decided to another nuance to my reviews, that being motivations.

Motivations: It’s been a hard week and its a dreary wet, chilling Friday. I could either go with something that is moody, a little stormy, heavy and brooding, or exactly the opposite; something bright, vibrant and juicy.

Dinner is a Turkey casserole the recipe of which came from a neighbour as a great way to enjoy Turkey leftovers. So the wine will have to work well with Turkey, gravy, stuffing, peas, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Decision: Moody & Stormy – Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec

Price: $17.29

Store Section: Argentina

The Wine: The Uco Valley is one of my favourite regions in the world. It isn’t that far away from other wine growing areas surrounding Mendoza in Argentina. The wines offer amazing complexity and layers while being priced as well as others, and the Tinto Negro is no different.

The nose shows dark fruit with violets, hints of smoke, spice and cured meats, while the palate is full, multi-layered and round. The finish shows off the richness of the fruit along with subtle spice and floral tones. Overall this wine is a great wine for a slow moving, dreary evening and brooding, heavy mood.

Value: 8.7 – Over Delivers

Added Value: This has added value when paired with Movie Night, Comfort Foods, and dark misty nights.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

 

Masi Tupungato Paso Doble Malbec Corvina

September 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $13.99 ($16.19 including taxes & deposit)Masi Paso Doble

Score: 7.5

There are many food pairings for this wine, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this wine is best paired with a specific mood. I recently found myself in a place where I was at once excited about the possibilities of the future but at the same feeling a little apprehensive, pensive and perhaps dark. This wine has a ton of things going on in it and it expresses a number of emotions as a result.

I first gravitated to it because I met the people responsible for this wine in Argentina and we had a lengthy conversation about Corvina and how it could do in Argentina, and what wonderful things could come of a blend with Malbec.

Once you pull the cork you get the sense of a brooding dark wine, but once it washes over your palate you a brightened and refreshed. I think everyone has gone through, or is going through some dark times, and it is a testament to human creativity that most of the time we emerge in a happier place. This is what this wine tastes like.

Fruit flavours of dark plum, leather, red cherry and hints of blueberry. A dark almost dusty mid palate finishes bright and refreshing.

Granted this wine will not be for everyone and that is why I didn’t give it the highest of rankings, however if you are in the mood to see a brighter future, or at least taste it, this might just become your favourite wine.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: Italy

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Foods: Roasted chicken and lean red meats. Cheeses, hearty breads, also excellent with a simple grilled cheese.

Grapes: Malbec, Corvina

Chateau Pey La Tour 2012 Bordeaux

August 27, 2015 § 1 Comment

Price: $16.49 ($19.06 including taxes and deposit)Chateau Pey La Tour 2012

Score: 6.5

Bordeaux has always been a mystery of sorts to me. My first experiences with it, unlike those of Chianti Classico, were not impressive at all. I found the wines, that I could afford, to be thin, tannic and not worthy of the heaps of praise and pretty penny the wines of Bordeaux receive. That is until I tried the great wines of Bordeaux and I quickly found out that if you are willing to pay top dollar ($800-$3000/bottle) you will always get a wonderful wine, however it is only in the best of Bordeaux vintages, does the lovely seductive body, perfumes and flavours of classic Bordeaux, transcend to the affordability of the everyday.

I spent a Sunday morning reading what I think is the world’s best wine periodical, Decanter, and it was all about Bordeaux. As my mouth started to water I took the decision to enjoy a bottle of Bordeaux that very evening. Being a relative neophyte I contacted a friend of mine who makes a living at choosing the great from the average in Bordeaux. She counselled me to select the 2012 instead of the 2011 and I am glad that I did.

The 2012 Chateau Pey La Tour is a fine wine and a very enjoyable expression of the ‘Right Bank’ (Merlot focussed) wines of Bordeaux. Lovely aromas, good body, supple long finish, complexity of flavours and structure. Yup enjoyable, however at close to $20 I’m expecting more than what I would get out of a Bordelaise wines like Chateau de Courtleliac ($13) or Chateau La Gorce ($13). I really liked it, was thankful for the experience, but as an everyday wine the value is in the lower priced wines.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: France

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Food: Steak, roasted red meats, hearty casseroles; Foodie Wine

Grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

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