Grilos 2012 Dao

February 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99 IMG_0726

Have you ever done this? Gone into the Liquor Store with a specific purpose like “Washington, red between $12-$16”, and come out with something completely different? That was me this past weekend. I thought I would get something ‘SuperBowl-ish’ from Washington State to show my support for the Seahawks (can you believe that last play call!?). I can’t say what grabbed my attention about this wine, maybe it was the packaging, maybe it was because it looked a little lonely being the only Portuguese wine in a sea of others. Perhaps it was the underdog and I always cheer for the underdog (yes, I’m a Canucks fan. To be one you have to cheer for the underdog).

As I got home doubt had crept in. It was Sunday night, special dinner, had I just wasted $14? How was I going to explain this to my wife and kids if I had. Oh my god what have I done!?

Finally, after a crappy end to the game, the moment of truth arrived.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is medium ruby red and the aromas feature plum, black cherry, just a hint of oak and spice. The palate is of medium weight, fresh, with just a touch of tannin or grip on the finish. Flavours of plum, cherry and some dried herbs. Not very complex for $14.99 hence the dead average rating.

Tasting Notes with Food: Being Super Bowl Sunday dinner was a mish mash of a number of things. There was some proscuitto, some English & Irish cheddar, Spinach Salad, and some leftover pork tenderloin. I tried the wine with each of the ‘tapas’ and I have to say the wine kind of cowered from the food. Given its ‘okay-ness’ as a sipping wine, I really hoping to see it shine through some more, at least with the pork tenderloin and cheese.

Value: This is an okay wine, but I think there are better values in the same price range. In fact if you want Portugal I would go after the Periquita for $9-$10.

Added Value: Given that the wine is a blend of only Portuguese grapes, this is a great wine for the Foodies or to explore. Although for $14.99 it didn’t blow me away, it is well made, there is varietal character and it would interesting for those looking to explore.

More To The Story: The verdict is that the wine was pretty average, thus I don’t feel that I threw my money away, I’m glad I had the experience, however like you I want more for my money, especially as the price of gas seems to be on the rise again.

One thing this wine did do that I have to give it credit for, it was able to transport me to a cafe in Porto that overlooks the Douro river and the many Port houses on the south bank. I saw myself sitting across from my wife on a pleasant late spring day. We were enjoying the sun on our faces, the pleasure of the moment that wrapped together the flavours of the olives, local cheeses, small plates of fish and meats, the view, the pace of the river and of course each other. For this I am greateful to the Grilos.

Score: 5.6  – Dead Average

Service: Pull the cork and let it breathe for 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.

Grapes: Touriga Nacional. Tinto Roriz, Joen

Store Section: Portugal

Appellation: Dao

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.0%

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Voga Pinot Grigio

January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.9 – Dead Average2015/01/img_0711.jpg

Price: $14.99

This wine sits at the top end of Dead Average (high praise indeed) as it has improved from the wine flavoured water that it was a few years back.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The nose shows some lifted lime and lemon which are to be expected from Italian Pinot Grigio. The palate shows some additional flavours of peach, apple and pear. It is a clean and fresh wine, but I expect this at $14.99+.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with what my daughter calls Veal Style Chicken, which is simply substituting Chicken breast for veal in a Vitello al Limone recipe (relatively light meal). The palate became muted and only showed hints of fruit. The good news is that the acidity was up to the task which allowed my palate to remain fresh, thus the whole experience was made better.

Value: I think there are better values out there. I would trade up in price to Villa Theresa Organic Pinot Grigio at$15.99, it’s worth it. I also think a lateral move to the Gabbiano Pinot Grigio (Private Stores $14.99) is a better choice. The Montalto Pinot Grigio is not as good a wine but the $4 savings makes it a better value.

Added Value: Where this wine might offer some added value is as a Wedding Wine as the packaging is pretty damn good.

More To The Story: Pinot Grigio, until recently, was an everyday white wine commonly drank in the northern half of Italy (North of Tuscany). Following the massive move by the consumer from big rich opulent Chardonnays, Italian Pinot Grigio’s saw a huge up swing in popularity as did New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines offer clean, crisp, zippy flavours and texture, but Pinot Grigio is commonly a couple of bucks less.

What happens when there is a huge upsurge in a product? There are millions of copy cats trying to tag along for the ride. As it turns out the market is now filled with pretenders, so be careful.

Service: Chill it down to close to cold and let it rip. Serve with light olive oil pastas, Tilapia and lighter chicken dishes.

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Northeast (Alto Adige, Trentino, Fruili)

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Buy Online:

Alcohol: 13%

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Ticket To Chile 2012 Carmenere

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.5  – Dead Average2015/01/img_0702.jpg

Price: $10.99

Tasting Notes Sipping: The nose only has hints as to the varietal and terroir. I get some dark plum and blueberries with some spice, but also a dose of green pepper. The palate is simple, a little astringent/tannic but does show flavours of blueberry and black currant. This finish relatively short, gripping tannins, and a hint of green pepper. Not a great sipping wine

Tasting Notes With Food: I had this wine with a Beef Stew and the weight of the stew reduced the grip of the tannins and let both the fruit and spice of the wine shine through. This was much better with food than without.

Value: All in all I wouldn’t go back to this wine as I think there is better on the market. From the Savvy Shoppers display choose the La Vuelta Malbec ($9.99), however if you are looking for a better Chilean choice for the same or better price, head to a private store and look for Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah ($9.99) or the Vina Maipo Cabernet-Carmenere ($10.99).

Added Value: If there is some added value in this wine it is when it is paired with a hearty Comfort Food like stew or pizza.

More To The Story: Like all grapes Carmenere can show a broad spectrum of flavours. The lesser the quality of the Carmenere the more the vegetative flavours like green pepper comes out. You can really see this in wet or cool vintages when the sugars in the grapes don’t fully form. There is no way for the winemaker to change this, however she is able to try to cover it up either through blending or oak aging.

Service: Twist the cap and let it flow. For food I would go with hearty Comfort Foods like and meat lovers pizza or beef stew.

Grapes: Carmenere

Store Section: Savvy Shoppers

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

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Barefoot Shiraz

January 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.1 – Dead Average2015/01/img_0696.jpg

Price: $9.99 On-sale January 2015 $8.49 ($19.99 1.5L)

About the Wine: Price must be the only reason why this wine has the popularity that is has; that and good merchandising. The wine tastes more manufactured than grown and is one-dimensional at best.

The nose shows over ripe black fruits with some vanilla. The palate is a simple juice bomb that has been infused with oak chips to give it a vanilla component. The finish is short and sweet.

Value: The best value is in selecting other wines that offer better value for your money… even at $8.49. Go with Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah, La Vuelta Malbec or Lindeman’s Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet all at $9.99.

More To The Story: Prior to the Barefoot brand being sold to E & J Gallo, Barefoot was a bit of a pioneer. It was the first virtual winery that showed success. A virtual winery doesn’t own a winery or vineyards. They purchase grapes from growers and contract wineries with excess capacity to make the wine. All in all its a pretty good business model as it fills a need in the market while supplying affordable wines.

Service: Twist off the cap and let if flow.

Grapes: Shiraz

Store Section: California

Appellation: California

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Liquor Express, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Liquor Depot (on-sale $7.99), Beverly Corners.

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 12.5%

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Painted Wolf Chenin Blanc

January 14, 2015 § 2 Comments

Score:  8.4 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0689.jpg

Price: $17.99

About the Wine: Chenin Blanc is a truly noble grape that makes a royal wine. Citrus, pear and creamy apple, this wine if a richly textured white wine that also offers vibrancy and freshness. You have likely seen photos depicting the incredible beauty and diversity of South Africa. Close your eyes, taste the wine and you can get a sense of the sheer opulent beauty of the region this wine comes from.

Value: I have often chosen this wine over a $17-$20 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or California Chardonnay such as Wente Morning Fog. A great alternative to run of the mill $15-$16 Chardonnays & Apothic White. Sadly there aren’t many Chenins on the market which gives this wine some added ‘discovery’ value.

Added Value: As there are only a few Chenins on the market, this is a great wine to share with the Foodies. This wine also provides added value to those about to enjoy a Date Night or just a comfortable Movie Night. If you are planning on Beer Butt Chicken or Grilled Halibut from the BBQ… heaven awaits.

More To The Story: There are really two stories here. The wine comes from the Paarl Valley of South Africa and is the artistry of Jeremy and Emma Borg.

Jeremy and Emma have shared a life as Safari guides. They were both struck by the beauty of the African Wild Dog, also known as the Painted Wolf, and the fragility of their environment and numbers. Part proceeds of every bottle sold goes to support the Painted Wolf in their natural habitat.

The second story is the wines of South Africa and what their impact will be in the coming years. For a number of years South African producers spent their sales efforts on the UK and Northern Europe, and exported whatever they had left to BC & Alberta. Today there are far more wineries competing for space in the European markets meaning that we will start to see some great values here.

I was in South Africa a couple of years back and tasted some incredible wines, including those of Jeremy and Emma Borg. I believe that the next hot category could be South Africa.

Service: Chill down, but not too cold. If there is condensation on the bottle after coming out of the fridge, let it warm up a bit and the fruit and full complexity of the wine will shine through.

Grapes: Chenin Blanc

Store Section: South Africa

Appellation: Paarl

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany, Legacy Liquor Store

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store

Alcohol: 13.5 %

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Copper Moon Pinot Grigio

January 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.0 – Dead Average2015/01/img_0679.jpg

Price: $9.69

About the Wine: Take a can of fruit cocktail out of the cupboard, add a 1/2 ounce of vodka and you will have duplicated this wine. The reason that I gave this a Dead Average rating is simply because of its popularity. It is a hugely popular wine and I’m a firm believer that the ultimate value of a wine is on the palate of the beholder.

Value: The value here is that there are others out there that give you better value for your money. For $1 more you can get some really good Pinot Grigios, a good example  is the Dunavar Pinot Grigio from Hungary. If you only want to spend $10 then get the Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa), Robertson Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa), or Hardy’s Chardonnay (Australia). It’s a buck more but offers more fresh fruit, character and flavour but the Hardy’s Riesling-Gewurztraminer, is a much better spend.

More To The Story: Clearly not one of my favourites or something that I would suggest people spend their money on. Part of the reason for this is that I don’t believe in a wine like this. This is a blend of Pinot Grigio juice that is imported in bulk bladders from around the world, poured into bottles or boxes with a ‘Canadian’ label and called Canadian. To give the consumer the perception that this is a Canadian wine is false. A standard should be created where a minimum percentage of the wine must be from Canadian grapes in order for a wine to be called Canadian or Cellared in Canada.

Service: Chill it down… a lot

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Store Section: Cellared In Canada

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Liquor Express, Most Private Liquor Stores

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 12.0 %

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Ruffino Chianti 2013

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.5 – Dead Average/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0647.png

Price: $15.99

About the Wine: The colour is on the lighter side of ruby-red while the nose shows some simple cherry and some dried herbs. The palate is pretty thin and straightforward. Flavours of sour cherry, some black pepper and violets. The finish is short and dry which means you definitely need to have food with this wine. As wine goes this is dead average. It’s fairly priced given its region and how far it has come to get here, but there are better options on the market.

Value: This wine needs food and then it can be okay, but the food should be really simple like pasta with a ragu sauce. I wouldn’t be trading up from $12-$14, or down from $17-$20 for this wine.

Added Value: Where this wine could shine is with a simple dish and perhaps some comfort foods like pizza or pasta.

Service: Let it breathe for at least 20 minutes or use your Vinturi. If you don’t the tannins are going to get you.

Grapes: Sangiovese

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Chianti DOCG

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Beverly Corners

Buy Online:Delivered to Your Door: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor

Alcohol: 12.5%


Apothic Red

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.7 – Dead Average/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0646.png

Price: $16.99

About the Wine: A total juice bomb. It is the quintessential hedonistic wine and it was designed to be. So popular that it has become the standard by which an ocean of also-rans are measured. The nose is blackberry, black plums and vanilla, with some significant oak underpinnings. The palate is round, soft, juicy and filled with sweet fruits and pie pastry. The finish is sweet and juicy and that is about it. This wine sacrifices complexity for sweetness and there are many wines on the market that show ripe juicy fruit and offer complexity for the same or better price, therefore this wine is dead average… at best.

Value: The real value in this wine is its social value. Its popularity attracts more to the crowd with each passing year.

Added Value: Where this wine shines is as a crowd pleaser. Its simple straightforward juice bomb nature makes it an easy quaffer whiles its popularity means easy acceptance.

Service: Nothing too complicated here, just twist the cap and start to pour. For food I would suggest milk chocolate or big thick steak with potatoes.

Grapes: Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: California

Appellation: California

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Planet, Private Liquor Stores, Liquor Express, Metro Liquor, Beverly Corners Liquor Store

Buy Online/Deliver To Your Door: Everything WineMetro Liquor

Alcohol: 13.1%



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