Blue Grouse 2015 Pinot Gris

August 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

BG-Pinot-Gris-2015In 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).

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé

June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Domaine de PellehaudHave you ever watched the move My Summer In Provence? Every scene that involves a meal has a bottle of Rosé. It makes perfect sense because Rosé can be incredibly refreshing and wonderfully versatile. In fact Rosé goes with a broader spectrum of foods than does white (I know I know I am generalizing). So when the temperature rises to above 20C and the grass starts to bleach out, I get a craving for rosé.

As I strolled through my local wine shop I saw a signficant increase in the number of rosés from Provence, which is classic. Prices ranged from $15-$25 which is what I expected, but then I say a lonely wine from Gascogne. Not your typical rosé hotbed and you know how I love to find great values where they are unexpected, so I grabbed a bottle of the Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé.

Price ~ $18.99

Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers

If you follow me on Instagram (rod_phillips) you no doubt saw the photo I took of the wine. The colour is a deep rose, and the nose shows bright fruit of strawberry, raspberry. and currants, while the palate is fresh, alive and bursting with finesse and elegance. The finish shows all the fruit and is dry. It is not possible to not want more of this wine, as evidenced by my instagram photo. This is a highly shareable wine and my recommendation would be to have 6-10 bottles kicking around for when friends drop by as one will not be enough.

Grapes ~ I had to do some research for this one as the label doesn’t really tell you anything. Tannat, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Private Stores only

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Chateau Pesquie 2013 Terrases Rouge

May 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Chateau Pesquie TerrassesIt is amazing what the combination of proper merchandising and the feeling of optimism can do.

I was in one of my local shops the other day when I got a call from a potential client. This is a company I have been working on for the last 6 months. Finally the call came in that they we were coming on board. That added a little kick in my step and so almost automatically my budget went up. You know the feeling. That celebratory sense, even if it was only a small victory. Initially I was looking for something in the $12-$15 range, with this news I felt justified to go to $18.

I wandered through the BC, Californian, Chilean and Spanish section and nothing really grabbed my attention. I turned the corner and the Chateau Pesquie caught my eye. Not because of the packaging as that is a little dull, but because it comes from a region that just tastes like optimism and blue skies. It was also on sale making it almost irresistible.

Price ~ $19 ($18 on sale)

Score: 8.4 Over Delivers (7.8 at $19)

The wine pours the colour of blackberry and blueberry juice and nose shows savoury spices, black fruits, plums and red berries. The palate is at once elegant and full with big rich flavours, even a little bacon in the finish… just a little. There is a ton of complexity on the palate and as the wine lingers it seems to unfold, or blossom, to reveal more layers of flavour.

This wine comes from the sunny slopes of Mount Ventoux. If you were to spend some time in the region you would notice that the air is filled with the scent of peppery spices, but in the evening the peppery scent is joined by the lovely gentle whisps of BBQ, which is perfect because this wine is so incredibly suited to grilling.

Pair this wine with grilled meats of all stripes. Rubs of savoury spices are heavenly.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both private and public stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.

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Cusumano Nero D’Avola ~ Over Delivers

May 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m a big fCusumano Ner D'Avolaan of pro-cycling and one of my favourite races of the year is happening right now; Giro D’Italia. In light of this I tend to lean towards Italian food and Italian wines.

The first Italian stages of this year’s Giro D’Italia are down in the south of Italy so I thought I would start my Giro with a fine, dark, sultry, vivacious red that naturally hails from the south; Cusumano Nero D’Avola.

Price ~ $19

Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers

Immediately there is a difference. There is a glass cork that allows you to reseal the bottle, assuming you don’t finish it.

Pour the wine into your glass and as it tumbles you can already sense the intensity of the aromas, colour, and indeed what the flavour will be like.

The nose is bursting with dark fruits, ripe plums, blackberries, savoury spices. It’s kind of like fresh blackberry pie with some plum and blueberry thrown in.

The palate is rich, full and indicative of the sun drenched vintages that are very common in Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. The finish is long and juicy. I really loved this wine.

This would be an ideal match for a grilled marinated hunk of meat, anything with BBQ sauce on it. Beer But chicken seems to have a particular affinity for this wine.

Grapes ~ 100% Nero D’Avola

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ both private and public stores.

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.

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Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay

December 24, 2015 § 3 Comments

Truth be told I am a bubble head (as if you didn’t know that already), and I firmlImage result for perseus sparkling winey believe that the world would be a better place if everyone enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine a day.

I was in a bit of a funk the other day and my spirits needed lifting so I endeavoured to find a sparkling wine that would put a smile on and in my mouth and a skip in my step. Enter Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay.

Price ~ $21-$22

Score ~ 8.6/10 Over Delivers

The packaging isn’t all fancy and it comes with a classic beer cap instead of a big cork with a cage around it. Simply pop the cap off and immediately your spirits will lift.

The aromas (scent) is brimming with fresh apples, bartlett pears and hints of citrus. Isn’t this the combination aromatherapy uses to bring one’s energy up… I see a trend here, alas I digress.

The mousse (the head if you are a beer drinker) is made up of thousands of tiny bubbles that dance upon the palate while also making the texture a little softer and creamier. The juicy, citrus flavours come alive and heighten the senses.

As you can tell I truly loved this wine and will be making a regular around the house.

Grapes ~ 100% Chardonnay

Store Section ~ Sparkling Wine

Availability ~ Limited, Private Stores including Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Spinnakers, Cork & Barrel and Caddy Bay Liquor.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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Cecchi 2011 Chianti Classico

August 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $17.99 ($20.79 taxes & deposit included)Cechi Chianti Classico

Score: 6.3

Full disclosure, Chianti and Chianti Classico is a true love of mine. I’m not sure how or when, but the supple texture, rich seductive body, cherry flavours, floral elements along with savoury spices are a baseline for me. I can easily sink into a glass of Chianti Classico like a great book.

$20+ for Chianti Classico is t be expected and thus I’m looking for it to deliver more than a simple Chianti or Sangiovese at $15. When I say more I don’t mean more density or stronger flavours, rather I’m looking for greater complexity of flavours and structure. I’m looking for find more flavours and flavours that work together. I’m looking for a more supple and seductive bottle that what I am likely to find in a $15 wine. Sadly I didn’t find that here. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots to like and love in this wine, but it is not that dissimilar to the flavours and texture found in regular Chiantis such as Gabbiano, Cecchi and Frescobaldi.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: Italy

Cork Closure

Foods: Pastas, Pizza, roasted chicken or pork, hard cheeses, comfort foods and foodie foods.

Tre Saggi 2011 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

March 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

imageScore: 7.6 ~ Over Delivers

Price: $19.95

It takes a little while for the true beauty of this wine to show itself. It’s kind of like a self-conscious super model. All the senses tell you that she has everything it takes to be great, however her true beauty only comes out when you get to know her.

Tasting Notes: This wine starts as a classic Montepulciano experience. The colour is deep dark crimson and the nose is shy. This wine needs time to blossom. I found this wine to finally show itself after 2 days being open. When I first pulled the cork, the nose showed a little fruit and a little dried herb, but after two days it showed ripe plum and berry, dark cherry, dried savoury herbs, hints of leather and anise.

The palate is dense and structured, but shows wonderful complexity and depth. The finish is long showing both muscular and sweet tannins. In other words it was both puckering and mouth-watering.

Value: The real value for this wine is when you can let it breathe for a couple of days. This is not a great buy for those who want a wine to consume within a couple of hours of purchase. However if you are patient this is a great buy for this weekend BBQ or to stow away for a number of years.

Added Value: As I said above, this wine has added value when intended for a BBQ featuring steaks, and or slow roasted pork. This also has added value for the Foodie in the crowd, especially when you pull it out of your cellar after Canada wins the Gold Medal for Hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Food Pairings: This is a great match for a hearty pasta, a thick seasoned steak, meat lovers pizza and, slow roasted pork.

Service: Open this up and let it breathe for as long as you can but at least 60- 2 days minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a number of times.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: d’Abruzzo – d’Abruzzo lies directly to the East of Tuscany and, like Umbria, is often overlooked when it comes to premium Italian wines. It is home to as much Sangiovese (Rosso Piceno) as it is Montepulciano. For centuries the wines of the d’Abruzzo were rustic and made for the ‘less than discerning’ Italian wine market. In recent years producers like Talamonti and Mascarelli have applied viticultural techniques known to increase the quality of the grapes to their vineyards, and have produced some of Italy’s most sought after premium wine. The great news is that a premium wine from d’Abruzzo, even a super premium wine, doesn’t fetch anywhere near the same price as its cousins from Tuscany or Piedmonte.

Grapes: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Available: BC Liquor Stores

ABV%: 13.5%

 

Charles & Charles 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah

March 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

imageScore: 7.9 – Over Delivers

Price: $17.99-$19.99

It was a cold and rainy night. Seriously it was. After an unbelievably beautiful warm Spring, this day was cold, wet and miserable as is expected on the West Coast at this time of year. That inspired me to find an under $20 Washington State wine that would warm the soul with its power and elegance.

It is remarkable to me that the wines of Washington State are not more popular. Typically they feature robust Cabernets and Merlots, meaty Syrahs, and refined whites. I suppose part of the issue is the fact that most stores shelve the few Washington State wines that we have here in BC, in close proximity to the numerous California based offerings. However overshadowing, more often than not, has the effect of giving more bang for the buck.

Tasting Notes: The colour is deep dark reddish purple which immediately conveys power and intensity. The nose shows cherry, plum, cassis and just a hint of smoked meat and black pepper. The palate is rich, juicy and very well balanced. This is not a simple juice bomb but offers lots of juicy character with the added bonus of being elegant and fresh. Look for flavours of black cherry, plum and pepper to dominate. The finish is juicy and of medium length showing some sweet and bold tannins.

Value: This is a great wine for those who love big bold Cabernets but want something with a little more finesse and elegance than the juice bombs of California (Apothic, Cupcake Red Velvet).

Added Value: This wine would shine at a BBQ, with Comfort Foods and for a Date Night.

Food Pairings: This wine loves a big steak that is simply seasoned with Salt and Pepper or Montreal Steak Spice. This is also a great choice for Spaghetti and Meat Balls, Pizza and, of course, Sunday Night Roast Beef.

Service: Open this up and let it breathe for about 15-20 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times.

Store Section: Washington State or USA

Appellation: Walla Walla

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor

ABV%: 14.5%

 

Kaiken 2011 Malbec Reserva

January 28, 2015 § 3 Comments

Price: $19.99IMG_0722

As much as I enjoyed this wine, I almost didn’t review it as I had trouble finding retailers whose price was below $20. I’m sure there are many out there, however the only one that with which I could confirm stock and a sub $20 price was the 16th Street Liquor Store in West Vancouver.

For a wine lover I really enjoyed this wine, but the question is does the quality of the wine justify the price or is it a great deal. The answer is that this wine is worth every penny at $20. Is it priced below its value, inconclusive.

Tasting Notes Sipping: You immediately know you are dealing with a serious wine by the colour; it is dark purple, almost black. The nose shows dark, masculine fruits and spice and gives you the impression that this wine is not to be trifled with. This isn’t your whimsical little happy wine, there is some Johnny Depp like angst in this wine. The palate is big, bold and richly textured. I tasted this over three days and it didn’t lose a step at all. The fruit flavours are intense black plum and black, ripe cherry that are married with earthy, leathery, sultry tones. The finish is long and languid, showing structure, spice and fruit.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had a plan when I got this bottle. My plan was to justify a big thick steak and it worked. Simply prepared, thrown on the grill with some salt and pepper and accompanied with a simple spinach salad and good hearty bread. It was a great match. It seemed like the wine on its own was restrained, it was holding something back, but with the steak the genie in the bottle was released. The fruit flavours showed bright intensity. The texture showed its sensitive side and became a loving, velvety caress. For $20 with a steak (total ~$30) this wine over delivered.

Value: The Kaiken was worth every penny when served with the steak. If a steak is part of your dinner plans, treat yourself, value yourself, and get this bottle. On the other hand if you are looking for something to sip while watching TV or having an everyday meal, then save yourself a few bucks and get either Alamos Malbec if you want Malbec, or the Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cab.

Added Value: This wine really shines when the BBQ is a light. You can almost hear it struggling to get into your glass.

More To The Story: Kaiken is the Argentinean property of the Montes family of Chile. After decades of making incredible wines in Chile (if you ever find yourself with a spare $70 burning a hole in your pocket, get a bottle of Purple Angel. I promise that you will absolutely love it!). The family opened their wings and flew over the Andes and picked up the property that is now Kaiken. You would think that all the experience of making wine in Chile would totally influence how Kaiken is grown and made, however in a bit of a reversal, Kaiken forever changed how Montes is grown and made.

A majority of the best vineyard sites in Argentina are at elevation or on the mountainsides. Until the 90’s most vineyards in Chile were in the valley’s. The quality of the wines coming out of Kaiken was like a light bulb going off. Pioneering wineries like Montes soon started planting hillside vineyards to great success.

A Kaiken is a wild goose that flies over the Andes between Chile and Argentina. This wine is very appropriately named as it’s spirit is in one heart but on both sides of the mountains.

Score: 7.4  – Good Drop

Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for 45 min to an hour. Alternatively run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times. As I mentioned above this wine held its own and even improved the longer it was open. Serve at room temperature.

Grapes: Malbec

Store Section: Argentina

Appellation: Mendoza

Available: 16th Street Liquor Store, Guildford Station Liquor Store (not sure of price), The Strath Ale (not sure of price), Wine & Spirits (not sure of price), Everything Wine Victoria (not sure of price)

Buy Online: 16th Street Liquor Store

Alcohol: 14.5%

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Ca’ Montebello Barbera

January 16, 2015 § 2 Comments

Score: 7.9  – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0686.jpg

Price: $13.99-$15.99

About the Wine: To me this wine is a Best Buy, if only because of the story of how this wine got to BC, however I believe that the story shouldn’t influence the scoring, so it is a solid Over Delivers. See below at More to the Story.

Dark/Blood red cherry in the glass with wonderfully engaging ripe plum and cherry aromas that are highlighted with floral tones of violets.

Barbera is a very low tannin wine. The key to a quality Barbera is the acidity. This wine shows bright acidity on the palate which enhances the fruit flavours. Medium weight with layers of savoury spices and purple flowers.

The finish is fresh and clean with a big juicy, slightly herbal but happy ending.

Value: Those who like red wine, but not the grippy texture of wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, this is the wine for you. If you are looking for something different from your usual Shiraz or Zinfandel, give this a whirl as I think you will really enjoy it. As a softer, discovery wine I would easily choose this over Ravenswood Zinfandel or wines like Apothic Red, Dreaming Tree Crush or Cupcake Red Velvet.

Added Value: This wine really shines on the BBQ and with the Foodies. It’s juicy supple character means it is great with grilled chicken, pork or burgers off the BBQ. The foodies will love the nuance and finesse, especially when you wow them with a fish dish like Halibut.

More To The Story: A few years back I was invited to a tasting of Lombardian wines in Vancouver. Each supplier was hoping to find an importer. The Ca’ Montebello wines grabbed my attention because of the packaging. Classic and eye-catching. I tasted through the wines (word to the wise, their Pinot Nero Bianco is outstanding $15-$16) and was duly impressed. I thought if I could get these wines into the stores under $20 it would be a big win.

Luigi Lorani, the owner and winemaker, was standing behind the table so I asked him about pricing. Turns out he doesn’t speak any English and my Italian is sketchy at best (I’m your man if you want an espresso, but that’s about it). A good friend of mine is an importer and speaks Italian so I got him on the phone to see if we could work out a price in exchange for a volume buy. Within seconds Luigi’s voice was raised, ears bright red and arms thrashing through the air. Heads were turning in the room to see what the commotion was about as I tried to slip back from the table to no avail. After about 10 minutes Luigi handed me the phone back, I spoke to my friend and his only words were “deal is done, should be here in June.”

As it turns out Luigi’s wines had been in BC before and were priced in the high $20’s, so when I said before that this would be a Best Buy if you knew the whole story, this is what I meant. This wine sold at $28 and at that price I would give it a Dead Average rating, dropping it down $10 leads to a Best Buy rating. However knowing the price drop influence ones rating although it, perhaps, shouldn’t.The rating should reflect the wines ability to deliver enjoyment and quality as it increases in price, hence in an effort to compensate for this fallibility, I have given it an Over Delivers rating.

Service: Serve at room temperature, however you will want to run this through your Vinturi or leave to breathe for about 30 minutes. See above for food pairing recommendations.

Grapes: Barbera

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Oltrepo Pavese (Lombardy)

Available: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Cascadia Liquor Stores

Buy Online: Metro Liquor Online

Alcohol: 13.0%

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