Pick of the Week & Election Issue Part 1

April 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

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DorkUncorked Podcast Election Issue Part 1

We could have chatted for sometime as we really didn’t get o deep into some of the issues, but one thing was clear is that Mr. Yap, BC Liberal MLA for Richmond-Steveston, an MLA for the supposed free enterprise party, staunchly supports continuing the current hybrid retail system and problematic distribution system.

For those that have listened to the show over the last year or so, you know that I strongly believe that fixing distribution is key to long term liquor reform and the creation of a truly level playing field.

The current system that supports the LDB’s monopoly on the distribution of imported wines, beers & spirits, is broken. By broken I mean costing the government $300M/year in lost taxes because of unfulfilled orders.

How to fix it is remarkably simple, but first let’s look at the biggest problem to solve – capacity.

The current distribution centres we built to handle $1B/annum of volume. 2017 will see $3B in volume go through. What this means is that some orders just can’t get filled because there is no space to accommodate the stock needed. So what was the LDB/BC Liberal solution. Spend $1B in building a larger facility in Delta.

The fact is that all the BC Liberals had to do was to pass an order in council that allowed suppliers to choose their distributor. There are a number of private & bonded distributors that are nowhere near capacity and would gladly take on the extra work. Not all suppliers would move, but a good number would because they value the 10% growth they automatically get.

Secondly this would speed up delivery times. No longer would a product ordered by a store in Richmond have to leave the bonded warehouse (ContainerWorld, Hillebrand) in Richmond, go to the LDB warehouse in Vancouver, only to be shipped to the store in Richmond.

Third, and this is the bonus, the government would not have to re-purpose any workers at the LDB Warehouse. The only thing that would change is that they have the capacity to fill the orders they get.

There are other things that such a change would involve and I would be happy to share those if you like. Drop me a line at dorkuncorked@gmail.com.

Pick Of The Week

Paul Mas Valmont Rouge 1L

In October I took a couple of bottles of the Paul Mas Valmont Blanc to Mom and Dad’s for Thanksgiving dinner and they were a big hit, so when I saw the Rouge version, I thought I would give it a whirl and I am very glad that I did.

This blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah shows classic Languedoc aromas and flavours of black cherry, plums, dried herbs and black pepper spice.

This is a medium bodied wine that is very well balanced. What that means is that the flavour, the body and finish all worked together. It wasn’t flabby, or light, or short or tannic and bitter. It showed fresh ripe fruit, savoury spices with a delightfully fruit filled finish.

I would, and will, pair this with roasted chicken, and beef stews. As for cheese, go with a Gruyere or Ementhal.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Carignan, Syrah

Country of Origin ~ France

Region ~ Languedoc

Price ~ $11.79 1L

Score ~ 8.5/10 – Over Delivers

Purchased At ~ BC Liquor Store Langford

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

Going Camping?

July 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

Heading out of town? Going camping or to the cottage? One of the smartest ways to take wine with you is to take a box of wine; yes a box of wine.

I know the impression is that box wine is total plonk, but here in BC, that is because we have always only known plonk to be in box. The fact is there are a number of great options that provide outstanding value.

For those that don’t know the bag in the box (BIB) format, it is the best way to keep wine fresh over time, it is much lighter to transport than the equivalent number of bottles, and you are typically receiving a volume discount.

When it comes to camping, I like to find wines that will pair well, perhaps not perfectly, but well with classic camping meals. For example we always have hot dogs and beans on the first night, followed by evening meals of chicken, steak, fish and sausage. So we need something that is incredibly versatile in order to make the purchase worthwhile.

To that end here are some of the best values on the market that are versatile, cost effective and damn good.

RedsVina Borgia
Vina Borgia Garnacha 3L ~ $35+

This Spanish Garnacha is made by the same people that bring you Borsao Garnacha which gets 90+ point ratings every year and is truly delicious.

3L equals 4 x 750ml bottles thus your average price/bottle is $8.74. Compare that to $13.99 for the equivalent bottle!

Available only in private stores.

Radio Boka Garnacha 3L ~ $35Radio Boka Garnacha

Again, Spanish Garnacha and really juicy! Ripe raspberry, blueberry and plum. You really can’t go wrong here. Pairs beautifully with grilled chicken, pork, beef, and of course hot dogs and beans.

The bottle equivalent cost is also $8.74.

Available in both private and public stores.

Carawine Rosso 3L ~ $33Carawine Red

This southern Italian blend includes Negroamaro, Primitivo and Merlot and is black in the glass. A little less boozy than the two above, but equally as versatile. Flavours of black cherry, plum, blackberry and pastry. It’s also pretty cool packaging that will get the people in the next campsite asking questions.

The bottle equivalent cost is $8.25

Available in public stores only.

White

Carawine Bianco 3L ~ $33Carawine White

This is a fruit driven white blend is really lively and bright. A blend of Chardonnay, Tebbiano and Pinot Grigio, this is a very versatile white. It’s a great pairing for everything but steak, but if you can’t drink red this is pretty damn good.

Bottle equivalent cost is $8.25

Available in public stores only.

Have a great time camping or at the cottage and please drink responsibly!

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Red Boot 2009 Italian Red

July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

Red Boot WineIf you don’t have time to read this post, then simply drop everything and run out and buy as much of this win as you can!

It is the end of the school year and we always give our kids teachers the gift of a bottle of wine. As it happens we needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home, so I decided to pop into the store 2 doors down from the grocery store. Truth is that the store is not my normal haunt so I was curious to see what I was going to find.

I came across a number of ‘Blow Out’ wines, so I checked the vintages, looked to see who the importer was/is (often found on the back label), and any other information like blend, or viticultural info; anything that could tell me if this wine was a blow-out due to quality or overstocking.

I focussed on the Red Boot Italian Red. The importer was Freehouse Wine & Spirits, a very well respected importer known for finding exceptional quality, that has since merged with Icon Wine & Spirits. When importers merge there are often products that get blown out for a variety of reasons, quality issues are rarely one of them. So I decided to pick up a bottle.

Price ~ $9.99

Score ~ 9.2/10 Best Buy

The colour is a dark inky red and the nose show ripe cherry, currant and black plum. The palate is dense yet fresh (wine is at its peak right now) and wonderfully silky. The finish is medium length with lots of ripe fruit and hints of savoury spices. Seriously this wine has the quality of $18-$22 Toscana wines. I truly loved it!

I loved it so much I started asking around to stores to see who actually carried it as I know that the Freehouse/Icon merger was at least 6 months back. So far I could only find it at the 4 Mile Liquor Stores. I understand they have about 16 cases in total, 10 at their Admirals Store and 6 in Colwood.

As for food pairing this would would be a treat if you are grilling just about anything. Burgers, Chicken, Ribs, Lamb, etc. It would also go with some fine Parmesano or Gruyere.

As I said at the top of the post, get on your horse and buy as much of this as you can, you won’t be sorry and these are the last cases available.

Grapes ~ Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot

Store Section ~ Italy & on display

Availability ~ very limited, so far I could only find this at the 4 Mile Liquor Store in Colwood & on Admirals.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

 

Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewurztraminer

May 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tinhorn GewurzI had a long chat with a fellow veteran of the liquor industry and put me in a nostalgic mood.

Back in the late 90’s VQA and BC Wines were still on fringe of wine culture, and most of the brands that we take for granted today were start-ups.

This was the case for Tinhorn Creek. In 1998 the agency I was running became the sales agent for Tinhorn Creek. Previous to that Kenn and Sandy were selling their wine out of the back of their car. The labels were a sea foam green 3/4 wrap that feature a metallic burgundy creek running down the middle. The whites showed biting acidity and it wasn’t unusual to find ‘wine diamonds’ at the bottom of the bottles. With all that said, it wasn’t hard to see the quality and potential of the winery.

Another reality of the time was that every BC winery had a Gewurztraminer and most of them were off-dry to sweet, but Tinhorn’s was drier and the wine brought out loads of flavours.

Price ~ $16 (almost exactly what it was in 1998)

Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers

The nose is brimming with spices, melon, pear and generous lychee nut. The palate is alive refreshing with a finish that gives a spicy, lychee, pear kiss to the taster.

The get the most out of this wine just chill it down a few degrees so that the bottle is cool to touch (should take about 1 hour in a normal fridge), then serve with either seafood including prawns, anything curried,  salads (especially those with fruits in them), and grilled chicken.

Grapes ~ Gewurztraminer

Store Section ~ BC/VQA

Availability ~ In both private and public stores

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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.

Wine Folly Image

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.

Wine Folly Image

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

Cote Mas 2014 Languedoc

April 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Cote Mas Languedoc

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.

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-15993″ src=”https://dorkuncorked.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/wine-folly-image.jpg&#8221; alt=”Wine Folly Image” width=”202″ height=”250″ />

I first came into contact with the brand Cote Mas a few years ago when I was the buyer for a chain of liquor stores. I was introduced to a wine called Cote Mas Intense and man was it intense. For a while there we were moving 15-20 cases/week. The wine was a mouthful of ripe raspberry, cherry and black plum with a generous crushing of black pepper. If am not mistaken it was 70%+ Grenache and it was great.

This wine shows more finesse and I suspect, it is attempting to show that the Languedoc is not just neon paint thrown against a canvas, rather that the Languedoc can also produce wines that are gentle brushstrokes of nuanced shadows and light.

Price ~ $14

Score ~ 7.8/10 Over Delivers

The nose is brimming, almost restrained, with bright ripe raspberry, blueberry and plum. While the palate is well layered, shows finesse and structure. There are no holes in this wine and it finishes with a delightful burst of fruit, pepper and savoury spices.

I would not hesitate to buy this wine again even if it was a couple bucks more, but please don’t change the price. I’m having friends over for a BBQ and I would love to serve it to them. I know that the group has a vegetarian, a few steak lovers, definitely some who default to chicken burgers, and this wine will please them all.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mouvedre

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both public and private 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.

Wine Folly Image

Ermelinda 2014 Monte da Baia

April 1, 2016 § 2 Comments

Monte da Baia RedCastelao, Castelao, Castelao! If you say that 3 times fast wine miracles happen I promise.

I was in the liquor store the other day and ran into a friend of mine who is on the floor as a product consultant. It was great to catch up to her and I was reminded that we are all looking for a great glass of wine.

I told her I was looking for a killer wine but it had to be under $20. She looked both ways, looked back at me and said, “come over here.” We silently strolled past a few other people in the store and went to the Portuguese section. She silently reached down and picked the bottle up. After staring at it with a smile for a few seconds she handed it to me and said “this one.”

Price ~ $11.29-$12.99

Score ~ 7.4/10

This one is called Monte da Baia from the Ermelinda winery in Portugal. It is a blend of Castelao, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. The nose shows blackberry, plum and black cherry. The spice offers some dark cocao, but what is truly amazing is this sense that I’m tasting the soul of mother nature. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m telling you there is an earthy sense, that slows the heartbeat to slow down, makes you feel connected to something more than a collection of grapes, tanks, a label and some words.

For food I would suggest simply grilled steak, or chicken with BBQ sauce. A roast ham would do well to. Perhaps a Ham and Pepperoni pizza.

Grapes ~ Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Syrah

Store Section ~ Portugal

Availability ~ both public and private stores.

Cheers

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.

Wine Folly Image

 

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