February 14, 2016 § Leave a comment
This is a rare find (bottom shelf Everything Wine French Section). I say this with the power of hindsight as I hadn’t noticed the vintage on the bottle until after I got home and when I went looking for where it is available, I found bubkus.
It seems that a few years back it received lots of attention from the press and broad distribution in both government and private stores. However, as far as I can tell, I may have gotten one of the last bottles available in the market. I’m counting my lucky stars.
Price ~ $14
Score ~ 7.7/10 Over Delivers
The wine opens with juicy ripe raspberry, plum and blueberry fruits on the backdrop of earthy spice and licorice. Very hedonistic. The palate is soft and without angles, but still maintaining freshness despite it being 7 years old. The finish is loaded with ripe fruits, spice and is silky.
Wines at this price point are rarely this fresh after 4 years let alone 7. Typically these wines are meant for early consumption and thus this was a rare treat. I would have scored it higher if it was more widely available.
Grapes ~ 100% Grenache
Store Section ~ France
Availability ~ Everything Wine
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December 28, 2015 § 1 Comment
What the pros would pick for themselves for New Year’s 2016. Today’s installment comes from Ernest Sargent the Vintage Room Consultant at Everything Wine in Langford.
Here’s my picks – not a Champagne among them…
Muga Conde de Haro Brut Cava ~ $28
For me, as I was only allowed to pick one (close runner up is the Henriot Rosé Champagne ($80)), it would be the Muga Conde de Haro Brut Cava. This is the best Cava I’ve tasted in a long time. Beautiful balance between the apple, apple skin and citrus flavours with a touch of honey thrown in. What puts this one over the top for me is the long and complex finish. An absolute winner!!
Road 13 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc ~ $40
For my family (because they deserve the best), my favourite of the many quality sparkling wines that are now coming out of BC, the 2011 Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc. I love the fresh fruit on this wine that pairs so nicely with the acidity and the slight touch of yeast. A top quality wine from one of BC’s best wineries and if I give it my family, chances are I’ll get some too.
Blu Giovello Prosecco ~ $21
For my friends – the Blu Giovello Prosecco from Piera Martellozzo. This Extra-Dry Prosecco, beautifully presented in its unforgettable blue bottle, has just a touch of fruity sweetness but carries enough acid to give it balance. It showcases the classic peach and citrus flavours you get from the Glera grape. A fun wine to share with fabulous friends.
Ernest is an ISG accredited Sommelier and all round brilliant guy. For me Ernest has proven his eye for real value on a number of occasions.
December 28, 2015 § Leave a comment
This week culminates with New Year’s 2016. If you listened to the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour this past week (here is a link to podcast; here is a link to the Show Notes) you would have seen my picks, but I thought it would be cool to see which Sparkling Wines and Champagnes the local pros would pick for themselves.
Over the week you will see posts from Ernest Sargent, Vintage Room Consultant at Everything Wine in Langford, Stacey Brennan, General Manager at Hillside Liquor Store, Pamela Sanderson General Manager at Cascadia Liquor Stores, and Jami Wood of Spinnaker’s James Bay.
I hope you enjoy each selection as I much as I did chatting with each about them.
the Dork UnCorked
December 24, 2015 § 3 Comments
Truth be told I am a bubble head (as if you didn’t know that already), and I firmly 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.
the Dork UnCorked
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July 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
I bought this wine because I was in the mood for a hedonistic fruit and baking spice explosion, and because McLaren Vale is the source of my favourite Aussie Shiraz’s.
There is a lot more finesse in this wine than what I was expecting… and that is a good thing. This wasn’t your run of the mill fruit bomb explosion so it kind of missed the mark there, however it more than made up for it with finesse.
The trick here is to let it breathe. I had this wine open on my counter for 4 days. Tasting on days 2 and 3 were far better than day 1 or 4.
The nose shows classic dark fruit, smoked meat and a little purple flower thing that I really liked. The palate is richly texture but not bomb-ish, and it was very well balanced with the alcohol (14.5%) and not boozy. Flavours of blue and blackberries with some cardamom and bergamot spice thrown in for good measure.
This is a great wine to have with grilled lamb or a pizza with prosciutto on it.
Score: 6.9 – Good Drop – Certainly an enjoyable wine, but I thought I got what I paid for, but what I am looking for is a wine that exceeds what I paid for it.
Purchased At Everything Wine
June 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’m a podcast junkie. In fact I almost never listen to the radio in the car anymore, unless I’m with my kids and then I get my quota of pop songs that all sound alike and have the same theme. One of my favourites is the TED Radio Hour. The theme of a recent episode was ‘Storytelling’ and it immediately grabbed my attention. For the last number of years I have been thinking about writing a book. No not another diatribe about tasting wine in fantastic places or about the vagaries of the BC liquor system. Rather a book of fiction.
Wines, unlike other things, seem to tell me a story, either about themselves or about those who also enjoy the wine. This is why this particular podcast grabbed me. Two takeaways from the podcast were ‘tell stories about what you know’ and ‘let the subject should tell a truth about you’. No I am motivated. I seem to have greater clarity as to what and how I am to write my book. What you will find in each post from now on, is I will try to put into words the story the wine is trying to tell me and hopefully, that will also tell me a truth about myself.
The Muga 2014 Rosé gives me the impression that it is the mental floss or ‘romantic comedy’ of this illustrious winery. Muga is a great producer of top quality Rioja. Although each wine is brilliant and showing enticing finesse, they are also very serious wines. You know the type. If this wine was a colleague it would be that guy that is both brilliant, fastidious, and necessary for success, but who would feel totally uncomfortable at a music festival or in a food fight. The Rosé on the other hand shows that the winery has a soft, whimsical spot, that takes the tension away and adds some softness to an otherwise stalwart exterior. In fact, as important as the brilliant, outstanding and fastidious wines are to the winery, it is the Rosé that is the love that makes all the wines a family.
Tasting Notes: This pale pink Rosé has a classic red berry/cherry nose which is repeated on the refreshing, crisp palate. Many Spanish Rosés feature an undertone of black or white pepper spice that is not really evident here, however if you slow down, taste slowly, and let the wine caress the palate in a deliberate manner, then indeed there is just a hint of pepper.
Value: I think I got good value for my money, and I was craving a Rosado, however it didn’t blow me away and I’m not sure I would ‘camp out’ on this one. I’m already thinking of what Rosé I will try next.
Added Value: This wine is really good wine for those looking to explore the whimsical side of Rioja or need a well made wine to pair with a specific dish when the Foodies come over.
Food Pairings: I had this with some light triple cream brie and it worked beautifully. I would say that if you go with young cheeses and some fresh fruit, you will have it nailed.
Service: Chill this wine down, pull the cork and serve.
Grapes: Viura, Garnacha, Tempranillo
Store Section: Spain
Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine
May 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
May is not only glorious for weather here on the West Coast of BC, but May also brings the first Grand Tour of the Pro Cycling Season – Giro d’Italia. The third week of the Giro is the toughest week as it winds its way through the hills and mountains of Tuscany. In light of this fact, and that I am serious fan, I thought I would test run a wine that has long been on the market here in BC – Monte Antico.
The Monte Antico has great, rustic, old school packaging and is, now, conveniently, under screwcap, which I really like for wines under $20.
Tasting Notes: The colour is dark crimson and the nose shows dark cherry, leather, earth, and savoury spices. The palate shows similar flavours but has added the added complexity of plum and raspberry fruit flavour, hints of dried cocoa and pepper. The palate is of mid-weight and can stand up to most comfort foods from grilled chicken dishes to steak. The finish is round and juicy leaving you with the delicate marriage of cherry, plum and spice flavours.
Value: As much as I enjoyed this wine, I found that I wanted more out of it for the price. It certainly has more complexity than the big brand names out of California, and the flavours are well honed, but I would have rated it much higher if the price was a buck or so lower.
Added Value: This wine has added value as a pairing for Comfort Foods, as a BBQ wine and for those looking to venture into the wines of Italy/Tuscany for the first time.
Food Pairings: Comforts such as pizza, pasta, grilled chicken or steak, casseroles, firm cheeses, lasagne, Mac ‘N Cheese and cold cuts.
Service: Twist the cap and let breathe for 15 minutes or let it run through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Store Section: Italy
Grapes: Sangiovese, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.
Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine
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PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.