Michel Picard 2011 Macon-Villages Chardonnay

March 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 6.7 – Good Dropimage

Price: $15.99

I love Chardonnay! There I said it. It’s not cool to like Chardonnay, but I do. I love the curvy, sultry, seductive nature of a well balanced oaked Chardonnay. It is almost as if such a Chardonnay is one of temptations that those on a pulpit may warn you of. This wine was once one of those, however retains a good amount of its previous allure. I really liked this wine but it has seen better days.

Tasting Notes: The colour is a bright amber yellow. The nose shows caramel, ripe ripe delicious apple, and just a touch of hazelnuts (the hallmark of an older wine). The palate has a welcome creamy texture with a delightful caramel apple flavour. On the finish there is a touch of hazelnut to go with the apple flavour.

Value: This wine is for one looking to taste how older whites develop without spending $25/bottle. It also provides a great opportunity to taste the region that popularized Chardonnay.

Added Value: This wine has added value for those looking to explore the flavours of older Chardonnays; Exploration Wine. This is also a damn fine wine for movie night with lots of hot buttered popcorn.

Food Pairings: This wine is a great pairing for a Spinnach salad with nuts and feta, otherwise it is a great wine for hot buttered popcorn.

Service: Serve this wine chilled but not cold. If it comes out of the fridge with condensation, let it warm up a bit before serving.

Store Section: France

Appellation: Macon-Villages – Macon-Villages is in the South of the region of France called Burgundy… you may have heard of it. You may have also heard of French oak as being the oak of choice for many winemakers and, certainly, Chardonnay. The combination of Macon-Villages with its relatively affordable pricing (in comparison to Mersault or Pouilly Fuse), aged in French oak is the style that inspired the pioneers of California winemaking and lead to the Judgement of Paris that truly launched the California wine industry.

Available: Liquor Depot ‘Preferred Vintages’ (wines exclusive to Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn stores)

ABV%: 12.5%

 

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Lurton 2013 Pinot Gris

February 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99 (Feb. 2015 – $13.99)image

The Uco Valley of Argentina is one of my top ten wine regions to visit in the world. Not only does it offer stunning beauty, but it produces my favourite ever Pinot Noir, Malbec, Chardonnay and, yes Pinot Gris. It is a small area in comparison to appellations in California or Australia, but the wines tend to offer great flavour, texture and balance and because it is not as well known as other regions of Argentina, the wines generally drive greater value than what their price suggests.

I have experienced many a Lurton wine and have seen them expand their wings into various regions outside of France, and I’m not surprised at all that they are in the Uco, in fact I’m impressed.

Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of Pinot Gris. There are many that are well made, but there are other profiles that when using my own money, I would buy over Pinot Gris.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is a flinty pale straw. Likely best described as the colour of filtered sunlight at midday. The aromas show pear, citrus, melon and some lovely minerality. The palate is fresh, balanced and complete; there are no holes. The flavours match the aromas and there is a juicy pear ‘center’ that is really appealing. The finish is crisp and juicy.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with a simply grilled Tilapia filet and it worked beautifully. Tilapia is relatively light and it was seasoned with some herbs (taragon, parsley, basil), butter and a touch of lemon. The fruit in the wine came alive and made the meal greater than the sum of its parts; isn’t that what you want from a Monday night dinner? Why not make Monday special?

Value: I know that many will dislike the following comment, however this wine is every bit as good as BC Pinot Gris’s at $17-$20. I would happily trade up a couple of bucks from wines such as Woodbridge (California), Yellow Tail (Australia) and Nederburg (South Africa).

Added Value: This wine has added value for those looking for Wedding Wine. It makes a fantastic Girls Night Out and Date Night Wine, and it is very much a Crowd Pleaser.

More To The Story: I love that this wine immediately took me to the Uco Valley. I could feel the gentle breeze on my face, the dryness of the air and the vista as I looked up at the snowy peaks of the Andes. For me if there is a signature of a great wine, this is it. If it can transport me to a place, whether an idea or memory of a place, it has made a positive impression.

Score: 8.7  – Over Delivers

Service: Chill down and enjoy. Make sure that it is not too cold. You will be able to tell if there isn’t a juicy ‘middle’ to the wine.

Grapes: Pinot Gris

Store Section: Argentina

Appellation: Uco Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Liquor Depot, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 13.5%

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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Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Blanc

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.0  – Good Drop2015/01/img_0678.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Close your eyes for a moment and think of sitting on the patio. It’s a warm spring day with the scent of fresh flowers and rebirth in the air. The sun warms your face and your cares just slip away, if only for a moment. If you can put yourself there then you can get a good sense of this wine.

The nose features fresh pears, melon and delicious apple, while the palate is crisp, clean and refreshing. Flavours of Bartlett pear, honeydew melon and red, crisp apples grace the palate. The finish is short to medium and crisp.

Value: I would trade up from any Pinot Gris at $12-$13 for this wine. In addition I would save myself a buck or two over California Sauvignon Blanc priced at $16-$17.

Added Value: This wine strikes a chord for Foodies, as BC Pinot Blanc is in short supply but is almost perfect with spot prawns and crab. This is also a great wine for Weddings as it is fresh and very food versatile. I find it is more food versatile than many BC Pinot Gris’.

More To The Story: A number of years ago a study was done to determine which are the best grapes to grow in BC’s various appellations. Pinot Blanc was determined to be B.C.’s white grape as a quantity of high quality grapes can be grown. Sadly Pinot Blanc vines are being pulled out of vineyards and replaced with Pinot Gris. This is a response to the incredible and growing demand for Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio, but it also means that the growers and wine makers that continue to work with Pinot Blanc are true artisans and are producing jewels that, I think, represent BC better than Pinot Gris.

Service: Chill down to about 8ºC. In case you don’t have a thermometer handy, if there is condensation when you take it out of the fridge, let it sit and warm up a few minutes before serving.

Grapes: Pinot Blanc

Store Section: BC/VQA

Appellation: Okanagan

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Depot, Hillside Liquor Store, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, VQA Stores

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

Alcohol: 10.4 %

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Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.0 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0682.jpg

Price: $17.99 (also available in 375ml and 1.5L bottles)

About the Wine: The wine that started it all for Australian wines in Canada 30+ years ago is classic Aussie Cab. The nose shows rich, ripe berry, cassis, eucalyptus and spice, while the palate is full, layered and complex. Flavours of cassis, berry, spice and mint dominate the palate. The finish is medium to long in length and is awesomely juicy.

Value: This is a much better wine that wines like Apothic Red and Cupcake Cabernet. In both cases I would recommend the trade up in price. I would also recommend that you save a couple bucks by trading down in price to the Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cab from Louis Martini Sonoma Cab and The Show Cabernet Sauvignon.

Added Value: This is a great BBQ wine, and really shines as a Crowd Pleaser or on Move and Date Nights.

More To The Story: A little inside information. The grapes from this wine, although it is not on the label come from the phenomenal Cabernet region of Langhorne Creek. I understand that it will be on the label with the next vintage.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed a renaissance in quality. A few years back the decision was made to get more money out of the brand by reducing the cost of the grapes. Predictably the wine started to get thin, unappealing and would have been given a Waste of Wine rating. However a few years back a new team took over the brand and the winemaking. They decided to invest millions in new winemaking facilities, vineyards and people. I had written the wine and the brand off, until a good friend told me I was an idiot and that I should give it another whirl, I’m glad I did.

Service: Twist off the cap and let it breathe or run it through your Vinturi. Grilled up a big thick steak and take it all in. It is also a great pairing with poutine, yup poutine.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: Langhorne Creek

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Liquor Depot, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Liquor N’ More Stores, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 13.0 %

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Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

January 8, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 9.1 – Best Buy /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0660.png
Price: $9.99-$10.99

About the Wine: Juicy, seductive, spicy, layered sub $15 bliss. The nose shows generous lush dark plum, blackberry and black pepper, while the palate is lush. The complexity of this wine suggests $15/bottle easily. It does the job from start to finish. Speaking of the finish, it is very long for an $11 wine, and leaves you with a spicy, juicy kiss goodbye.

I recall a time about 10 years ago when I was an importer and we carried this winery and wine. The price then was $14.99 and we had trouble keeping it in stock. At $10.99/$11.99 this is a steal. Best Buy indeed.

Value: Put down the Fincas Los Primos or Copper Moon Malbec and trade up to this wine. In fact I would save myself a buck or two and choose this wine over Beringer Stone Cellars Cab Sauv or the Vina Maipo Carmenere.

Added Value: Those who would serve this as a wedding wine or having a BBQ will find extra value in this wine.

Service: Twist off the cap, wait 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Grapes: Carmenere, Syrah

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store,Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express, Liquor Depot

Buy Online/Delivered To Your Door: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 12.5%

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