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

Lovico 2013 Gamza

June 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

YoLovico Gamzau know that part of the store that you walk past each time. Typically it is the dark corner where the dust bunnies hold their daily get togethers. This is where retailers categories that have the lowest sales, but have enough sales to justify being in the store.

I often have walked right by the section but the other day I stopped. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was feeling what it was feeling- I just need some love. Maybe the dusty bunny chatter was getting loud and it caught my attention. Anyway I stopped, looked and found the next wine that I had to buy.

When you think of Italian, French or Spanish wines you likely conjure up visions of rich colours, sensous landscapes and, of course, a couple of little old wizened folk that make the vision complete.

But what of Bulgaria? If you are like me you are likely thinking of row upon row of drab gray concrete Soviet era buildings, with downtrodden colourless people strolling the pock marked, beaten up streets. Hardly inspires confidence or enthusiasm for the wine, but this is exactly where you find great buys; where they are unexpected.

I reached out and firmly grasped the Lovico Gamza by the neck, wiped off the dust, and proudly presented it to the cashier who immediately tried to sell on an Aussie wine. Nope! I’m going Gamza!

Price ~ $9.99

Score ~ 7.8 Over Delivers

I have to say I really got into this wine. I pulled the cork and did my first taste and I thought “funky”, so I let it breathe for 20-30 minutes. Yes a $10 wine that needs to breathe.

When I can back to it the aromas had blossomed and were so intriguing. One would be forgiven if you thought Cabernet Franc. No wait, it must be Pinot. No, no there is too much spice, maybe Gamay Noir. Wow what is Gamza!

Gamza, it turns out, is related to that other household name, Kadarka. When I taste it I can’t believe that its not the distant cousin of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and Cabernet Franc.

Aromas of crushed red berries, cherry and grapes, with spice and pomegranate. The palate is light to medium bodied, hence I wouldn’t suggest those that buy $10 Malbecs run out and get this. Yet there are some many interesting things going on in this wine.

I gotta say that for under $10 the Lovico Gaza was a great find and one that I will definitely seek out again.

Grapes ~ Gamza

Store Section ~ Eastern Europe

Availability ~ most private and public stores.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva

June 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Albas de Los InfantesOne of the things about the wine business is that it is a business of passion. I can tell you there isn’t a lot of money in it, and if you were to ask anyone involved they are not in it for the money, they are in it because they love it. So it is sad when you hear that a talented, passionate importer has decided to pack up and move to a different industry because he can’t make ends meet. The silver lining however is that he has reduced the prices on a number of products in his portfolio. Including the Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva.

For those that don’t know for a Spanish wine to be called Gran Reserva is must be aged 2 years in barrel and further 3 years in bottle. What this means is that the wine grower and the wine maker saw something in the quality of the grapes and resulting wine that was special. So special that they decided to assume the added cost of a min. 5 years of ageing.

Typically the price for a Gran Reserva wine from Spain starts at the $22 mark and goes up, way up from there. So when the importer told me what the ‘clearance’ price was I started to salivate. It took a while for me to find some bottles in stores, but when I did I was over the moon.

It is not too often that a wine gets a Best Buy rating from me, as it truly needs to punch well above its weight to do so, but this is one.

Price ~ $12.99

Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy

It may only be $13 but please let it breathe for at least 30 minutes. If you do you will be rewarded.

The colour is a dark red/purple and the nose shows bright red and blue berries, with some spice and leather.

The palate shows a ton of fresh fruit, while the texture is supple and richly textured. The finish shows generous berry and black tree fruits along with some sensuous savoury spices.

I know that I will be buying this by the case.

This weekend all the dad’s in the family will be enjoying a barbeque, and that is exactly what I would recommend for this wine. Slow roasted ribs, grilled meats, chicken. This would also be a delight with some medium aged cheeses right up to some top quality manchego.

Grapes ~ Tempranillo, Garancha

Store Location ~ Spain

Availability ~ Limited to private stores. I got mine from Spinnaker’s James Bay.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Bolla 2014 Soave Classico

May 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

Bolla SoaveWe had the folks over for dinner last week and I wanted to provide a wine that is from a road less traveled.

We often think of Italy as red wine producer and it would be easy to overlook a lot of their white wines, but that would be a mistake as there is a world of diversity and incredibly expressive wines to discover.

The Soave region is found in the Northeast of Italy in the region of Veneto, and the primary grape is Garganega. At one point, in the 80’s and 90’s Soave wines were some of the most plentiful in BC. No fewer than 25 graced the shelves of your local liquor store. However times have changed and there is only a handful of options most of which can only be found in specialty stores. So when I spied the Bolla Soave at the very reasonable price of $11 it made perfect sense.

Price ~ $11

Score ~ 6.7 Good Drop

The trick to enjoying Soave is to pair it with food. This is when it really comes alive. The nose on the Bolla Soave is a little shy to start so make sure you have it at the right temp. If you take it out of the fridge and there lots of condensation, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes and let it warm up. The nose will show classic notes of melon and red apple, that are matched on the palate.

As I said the trick to enjoying Soave is to have it with food and typically this means grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, and lighter fare. We had it with pork tenderloin and it was pretty decent, would make an okay everyday wine but didn’t wow me.

Grapes ~ Garganega

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability: Both private and public stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Picks of The Pros: Linda Holford, Rocky Creek Wines

May 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

I asked Linda what are the two wines that best showcase where Vancouver Island wines have been, where they are going and give reason to believe that the future is bright… oh and are must tries for anyone exploring Vancouver Island wines.

White ~ Rocky Creek Pinot GrisRocky Creek PG

Price: $20

Tasting Notes: “This is one of our best sellers due to its uniqueness in colour. A short skin contact has enhanced the mouth feel and results in a beautiful hint of salmon colour, which is getting to be very on trend. It balances well with so many foods. Full and smooth on the palate with loads of fruit flavours that continue through a long tangy finish.This wine really showcases our regional characteristics.”

 

Averill Creek Pinot NoirRed ~ Averill Creek Pinot Noir

Price: $22

Tasting Notes: “Delicate but intense. Elegant yet earthy. Our Pinot Noir opens with an alluring bouquet of dark berries & violets, leather & butterscotch. The silky, medium-bodied palate features rich black cherry & ripe plum flavours, finished with a touch of spice & soft, supple tannins. Delightful alongside grilled salmon, beef bourguignon, roasted fowl or sautéed mushrooms.”

 

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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The Cheese Platter ~ Show Notes Part 1 Episode 26

May 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

I know that this is a little backwards, but you know what, that is just the way this is going to roll.

Charelli's LogoHeather from Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen was good enough to drop by with a very impressive cheese platter, designed with Mother’s Day in mind.

A word to the wise, if you are looking to order a cheese plate 2016-04-26 13.58.17for Mother’s Day, do so Thursday or Friday this week at the latest (once you see the platter you will know why.) To order it is best to call at 250-598-4794.

There was lot’s to cover and lots of great cheese was enjoyed. Below you will find the name of each cheese, a brief description and the wine that I would suggest to go with each. At the bottom of the page I will make some suggestions that should work with the whole platter.

Le Dauphin

A creamy, ‘tender’ cow’s milk cheese from France. Savory herb and spice flavours.

Pairings

Red – Lighter bodied wine liked Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. I’m thinking specifically the Cono Sur Bicicletta Pinot Noir (Chile, $11)

White – Sparkling or Pinot Gris. Zinck Cremant d’Alsace (France, $22), Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris (BC, $18)

Beer – A good Pale of Amber Ale.

Balsamic & Onion Cheddar

Wow, lots of great savoury flavours all rolled together. I could nibble this all day. Savoury Balsamic, sweet onion & cheddar. Awesome.

Pairings

Red – Gabbiano Chianti Classico (Italy, $18) or Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza (Spain, $18)

White – Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio (Italy, $15), Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)

Beer – Belgian Dubbel or Tripel

Etorki 

Fromage_EtorkiThis cheese has a really interesting story to go along with its generous sweet earthy aromas and flavours.

Made the same way for 4000 years this is a sheeps milk cheese made only from Red or Black faced Manech ewes that are native to the French Basque region. It takes 6 gallons of milk, just to make 1 wheel.

Pairings

Red – Albas Infantes Gran Reserva 2007 (Spain, $14, private stores only), Masia F Tempranillo ($12, Spain, private stores only)

White – Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (BC, $19), Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australia, $13)

Beer – A nice lager like the Hoyne Pilsner.

Humboldt Fog

Humboldt_Fog__1This cheese comes from the US and is a Goat Cheese that has a little sliver of ash through the middle. The ash is tasteless and acts and as a natural ‘cleanser’. The cheese is definitely a goat cheese but also has citrus y element. I love goat cheeses and this was a dream, especially the slightly runny part just inside the rind.

Pairings

Red – Red wine is not the perfect pairing for this cheese, but if you insist on red it should be something with bright acidity, fresh fruit and some earthy character like either a Gamay Noir or Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir – McPherson ‘The Butterfly’ Pinot Noir (Australia, $15)

Gamay Noir – Regnie Maison de Buillaits (France, $20)

White – There is only one type of wine I would recommend with this cheese and that is Sauvignon Blanc!

Lurton Fumees Blanches (France, $14), or Sileni Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, $19)

Beer – Steamworks Jasmine IPA (BC, $6), it is the gentle floral quality of this brew that makes it special for the Humboldt Fog.

Manchego

ManchegoManchego comes from the home of Don Quixote, the plains of La Mancha in central Spain. This sheep’s milk cheese can have grassy flavours if it is young, the one that Charelli’s brought is middle aged and has more of a combination nutty, fruity, grassy kind of flavour. Manchego is one of my go to cheeses when I am at home.

Pairings

Red – I’m partial to Garnacha with this cheese although I could be talked into a good Tempranillo or Portuguese Castelao.

Garnacha – Borsao Garnacha (Spain, $14).

Tempranillo – Masia F Tempranillo (Spain, $12)

Castelao – Ermelinda Monte de Baia (Portugal, $13)

White – My best pick would be of a Chardonnay that has a little age to it. Something from 2012. Sadly these are little harder to find.

Chardonnay – DMZ Chardonnay (South Africa, $19)

Viognier – Le Paradou Viognier (France, $15)

Beer – A Kolsch (lagered ale) would be great – Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch (Victoria, $12, 6 Pack Cans).

Saint Agur

SaintAgurCheeseSt. Agur is a creamy blue cheese, but not as intensely blue as traditional blue cheese. For this reason it is very versatile. It can be pretty runny which makes it great for dipping.

Aged for 60 days, this cheese has a ton of flavour which makes it a great choice for a cheese plate as it balances the more subtle cheeses.

Pairings

All I can think about is Port with this cheese, but here are some everyday pairings that will also work.

Red – This cheese would love a big rich, juicy full flavoured red like an Aussie Shiraz or California Zinfandel, and for those a little more adventurous I would go Nero D’Avola or Monastrell/Mouvedre.

Aussie Shiraz – Skulls Shiraz (Australia, $20)

California Zinfandel – Paso Creek Zinfandel (California, $16)

Nero D’Avola – Cusumano Ner D’Avola (Italy, $16)

Monastrell/Mouvedre – El Petite Bonhomme (Spain, $14)

White – Big juicy, unctuous Chardonnay is the ticket.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay – (Australia, $15)

Road 13 Stemwinder Chardonnay Blend – (BC, $16)

Beer – nice malty brew seems to be the best bet here.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Ale – (UK, $3, 330ml)

Gulden Draak – (Belgium, $4, 330ml)

Cantenaar

cantenaarThis dutch cheese is best known for being low in fat and sodium, and that could contribute to why it is so popular, but my guess is that it is more about the fact that it may be reduced in fat and sodium but it is huge in flavour.

Cantenaar is a medium gouda that offers delightful nutty , buttery flavour.

Pairings

Red – this cheese is a crowd pleaser and deserves a crowd pleasing wine to go with it.

Grenache – Gayda ‘Flying Man’ Grenache  (France, $15)

White – just like the above, I would go with a versatile wine that almost everyone will love.

Prosecco – Ogio (Italy, $17)

Pinot Gris – Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)

The pairings noted above are to go with each specific cheese, which would be great but you will be left with about 12 bottles of wine to purchase which may not be to feasible, so here are a few suggestions for Mother’s Day that will work with the entire cheese plate, and are versatile crowd pleasers.

Red 

Borsao Garnacha – (Spain, $14)

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir – (Chile, $11)

Masia F Tempranillo – (Spain, $12)

White

Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)

Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)

Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australian, $13)

Sparkling Wine

Ogio Prosecco – (Italy, $17)

Beer

Hoyne Pilsner – (Victoria, $6, 650ml bottle)

Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch – (Victoria, $12, 6 Cans)

Well I hope this is helpful and that you enjoy a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gayda 2012 ‘Flying Man’ Grenache

April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

GAyda Flying ManSteak was on the menu for Friday. I had started marinating the steak in some balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, lime juice, red wine and pesto at about 3 in the afternoon (I have done it with frozen steak where I make the marinade – about 5 minutes – and plop the frozen steak in the marinade while it thaws. By the time everyone gets home at night, everything is good to go). As you can surmise and good steak needs a good wine and I was in the mood to continue my exploration of Grenache.

As I have said before I really think that Grenache as a wine grape is on the cusp of rising to the top of the heap in terms of popularity and volume. Why? Because the flavour profile is perfectly in line the North American palate, there is a ton of it made each year, it is made in most growing regions around the world, and it’s quality is rarely in doubt (just ask the producers in Chateauneuf du Pape & Priorat).

With all this in mind, and because one of my favourite stages to watch in the Tour de France is the summit finish on Mount Ventoux, I went looking in the French section and found the Gayda 2012 ‘Flying Man’ Grenache.

Price ~ $15

Score ~ 7.4 Over Delivers

The wine is dark in the glass and the nose shows deep blackberry, plum and ripe raspberry. The palate is richly textured with good structure (meaning it feels good in the mouth and it could stand up to a big steak), and a medium-long finish. The flavours match the nose with the added bonus of savoury spices like Rosemary, Thyme, black pepper and just for good measure, a kiss of lavender.

There is some depth to this wine and I suspect that although this wine is already 4 years old (3 in the bottle), it improve with another year or so under its belt. I suspect that if I returned to this in one years time the score would be in the 9’s or Best Buy range.

In addition to steak, this would work well with lamb or pork chops, roasted turkey or turkey kebabs with savoury spices. This strikes me as a great wine for some Manchego cheese or an aged Gouda.

Grapes ~ 100% Grenache

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ 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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Gehringer 2014 Private Reserve Riesling

April 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gehringer RieslingEvery morning I take Oxxo the family dog for a stroll around what we call the loop. Recently the loop has not only provide some wonderful vistas but it also bursting with Spring flowers. The morning air has been filled with a Cornucopia of floral scents and it put me in the mood for some aromatic white wine.

To that end I tripped down to my local store and spend some time perusing the BC/VQA shelves. I came upon a wine that made me smile. I smiled because I have such fond memories of meeting with Walter Gehringer at his winery on the Golden Mile Bench.

I spied his 2014 Private Reserve Riesling and snapped it up.

Walter has some of the oldest Riesling vines in BC that has consistently produced some of the best wine year after year after year.

I recall first trying what has become the Private Reserve Riesling back in 1995 when you could count on one hand the number of quality producers in the Okanagan. Today there are over 150 inching towards 200, and yet the Gehringer wines are still priced under $20… well under $20. Thank you Walter.

Price ~ $14

Score ~ 7.6/10 Over Delivers

When I stick my generous nose in the glass I am pleasantly welcomed with white peach, pear and a hint of Jasmine flower. The palate is well balanced showing great flavour and finesse, with the finish delivering fresh fruit and real refreshment (hard not to have a second glass).

I suspect the elegance of this wine is a function of this wine being in bottle for a year before it got to me. Old vines like the ones that Walter has, can not be rushed into expressing themselves fully. Time allows the wine to make its full statement and allow the taster to sense the wisdom of their choice. I would love to try the 2015 beside the 2014, but that is just the dork in me.

Pair this wine with, and this is really simple to do, chicken thighs marinated for a number of hours in Lemon juice, Orange Juice, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, touch of cayenne pepper, and a half a cup of white wine. The pairing is simply fantastic. I would also pair this wine with anything that has cumin and little spice to it, fresh fish and Spinach salad with some citrus in it.

Grapes ~ 100% Riesling

Store Section ~ BC/VQA

Availability ~ both private and public stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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