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

Clos des Miran 2013 Visan Cotes du Rhone-Village

June 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

Clos de Miran VisanAs you know the purpose of this blog is to provide useful reviews of wines under $20. The goal is to weed through the plethora of inexpensive wine to find the true values. This wine perfectly encapsulates this.

This wine didn’t have a sale tag but, for those in the know, it is significantly under priced for it’s appellation. Cotes du Rhone-Villages is one cut above Cotes du Rhone, yet most Cotes du Rhone’s on the market are in the $20 range. With that in mind, this wine had all the potential of being a truly magical find.

Price ~ $14.99

Score ~ 6.8 Good Drop

It is a good wine, but it didn’t wow me like I was hoping. For the cork dork looking for elegance and finesse as expressed by bright acidity and relatively delicate palate, this is a great wine. However for those looking for the boldness one comes to expect from Rhone wines, you will not find it here.

I loved exploring this wine as it unfolded on my palate. Cerebraly it kept my attention glass after glass, but it left friends  over for a barbeque, wonting.

The nose shows savoury spices, raspberry and dark plum. The palate is medium bodied and filled with complexity if you choose to let it show.

For food pairings, this is great for chicken and pork on the grill and certainly cheeses like mild Gouda.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both private and public stores.

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

Chateau Pesquie 2013 Terrases Rouge

May 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Chateau Pesquie TerrassesIt is amazing what the combination of proper merchandising and the feeling of optimism can do.

I was in one of my local shops the other day when I got a call from a potential client. This is a company I have been working on for the last 6 months. Finally the call came in that they we were coming on board. That added a little kick in my step and so almost automatically my budget went up. You know the feeling. That celebratory sense, even if it was only a small victory. Initially I was looking for something in the $12-$15 range, with this news I felt justified to go to $18.

I wandered through the BC, Californian, Chilean and Spanish section and nothing really grabbed my attention. I turned the corner and the Chateau Pesquie caught my eye. Not because of the packaging as that is a little dull, but because it comes from a region that just tastes like optimism and blue skies. It was also on sale making it almost irresistible.

Price ~ $19 ($18 on sale)

Score: 8.4 Over Delivers (7.8 at $19)

The wine pours the colour of blackberry and blueberry juice and nose shows savoury spices, black fruits, plums and red berries. The palate is at once elegant and full with big rich flavours, even a little bacon in the finish… just a little. There is a ton of complexity on the palate and as the wine lingers it seems to unfold, or blossom, to reveal more layers of flavour.

This wine comes from the sunny slopes of Mount Ventoux. If you were to spend some time in the region you would notice that the air is filled with the scent of peppery spices, but in the evening the peppery scent is joined by the lovely gentle whisps of BBQ, which is perfect because this wine is so incredibly suited to grilling.

Pair this wine with grilled meats of all stripes. Rubs of savoury spices are heavenly.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

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

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

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

L’Ostal Cazes 2015 Rosé Pays D’Oc

April 7, 2016 § 1 Comment

L'Ostal Cazes RoséI was so excited to taste this wine. Not only is rosé a perfect fit for recent stretch of weather, but it is one of the first 2015 Rosés to hit the shelves.

Price ~ $15

Score ~ 7.5/10 Over Delivers

The colour is a pale pink rose and the aromas are of fresh strawberries, cherries and a dash of spring flowers. The palate is lively and vibrant with the finish showing how finely balanced this wine is.

I couldn’t help but feel optimistic about what the summer will hold when tasting this wine. It just puts a smile on your face and if you have it in the backyard it will transport you to a seaside picnic in the south of France.

As for food, I had this with a simply grilled chicken that was marinated for a number of hours in lemon, lime and orange juice, white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon and rosemary harvested from the backyard…. and it was perfect.

Grapes: 50% Grenache 50% Syrah

Store Section: France

Availability: Exclusive to Government 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

Spring Wines: Episode 22 Show Notes

April 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

Spring is here. We have enjoyed a phenomenal week of sunshine and temperatures around 20C. As the season changes so do our behaviours. Our behaviours when it comes to consumption and what our day to day looks like.

Typically when sun is out we stay up later, get up earlier and start to eat fresher foods and do more grilling. Today’s show is all about wines for a ‘Spring’ lifestyle.

Link To Podcast

Segment 1 ~ Is Wine A Part of A Healthy Lifestyle?

I maybe a little biased but I believe that it is. There are reams of studies suggesting moderate consumption is actually healthier than abstinence and certainly healthier than heavy consumption. But what does moderate consumption mean? The answer to this question is the sticking point.

In North America 1 glass of wine a day for the average person (height & weight), whereas in Denmark moderate consumption is considered 4-5 glasses a day. My belief is that this points to the fact that science hasn’t been able to separate wine consumption from other elements of a culture’s lifestyle.

I do love the stories about the 110 year old Greek man or Italian woman who swears up and down that drinking 4-5 bottles of wine a day is the secret to a long life. I suspect that the truth is not just in the quantity but in the process.

Consider that in Greece and Italy most of the food is without preservatives. Also consider that lunch and dinner are integral to the culture, communal and done slowly over hours. In contrast, North America is famous for a ‘quick’ bite at the desk or shoving some food in prior to taking the kids to ballet/soccer/hockey class.

I believe that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a smile, exercise, clean food and a pace that allows one to consider the beauty of the people, surroundings and food they are enjoying at the moment.

Quick Note on Vintages

This is an exciting time of year for us dorks as the new vintages of whites and rosés from the Northern Hemisphere, and all from the Southern Hemisphere are starting to appear. What makes this spring so exciting is because it sees the arrival of the 2015 vintage. The world over this vintage is said to be one of the best. Some of the wines below may have transitioned already.

Segment 2 ~ Red Wines For Spring

In spring we tend to get out of the kitchen and on the BBQ and that typically means more grilled meats, salads and fruits. To that end here are some red wines that pair well with Spring because they are a little light in body, are a little brighter on the palate and offer fresh fruit flavours instead of stewed or cooked fruit flavours.

Borsao 2014 Garnacha – $15, Grenache, Spanish Section of the Store and available in both public and private stores (2014 review to follow, click here to see 2013 review).

Ermelinda Monte da Baia 2014 – $12, Castelao-Touriga Nacional-Syrah, Portuguese section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).

Cono Sur Bicicleta 2014 Pinot Noir – $14, Pinot Noir, Chilean section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).

Segment 3 ~ White Wines For Spring

Halibut season is upon us and just around the corner is Spot Prawn season. Anyway you look at Spring means more fish in our diets along with more fruits and vegetables. Here are some white wines under $20 that are brilliant with Spring fare.

Campogrande 2014 Orvieto – $17 Trebbiano, Italian section of the store, and only available in private stores (click here to see review).

Lindemans Bin 65 2015 Chardonnay – $13 Chardonnay, Australian section of the store, available in both public and private stores (click here for review).

Aveleda 2014 Vinho Verde – $17, Loureiro-Trajadura-Arinto, Portuguese section of the store and only available in private stores (2014 review to follow; click here for 2013 review).

Segment 4 ~ Rosé Wines for Spring

Did you know that Rosé is the fastest growing category between red, white and pink wines. It is a category that is finally coming into its own and truly provides the flavour essence of Spring.

Mocojo Long Stem 2014 Rosé – $18, Pinot Meunier-Pinot Noir, BC section of the store and available only in private stores (click here to see review).

Quill 2014 Rosé – $18, Gamay Noir, Vancouver Island section of the store and available only in private stores. (click here to see review).

Cazes de L’Ostal 2015 Rosé – $15, Grenache, French section of the store and available mostly in public stores right now (click here to see review).

Best Buy of the Week – Ermelinda Monte da Baia – see above for detail and click here to see the review.

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

 

Cono Sur 2015 Bicicleta Pinot Noir

March 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir2015 is the most anticipated vintage in recent memory. The world over 2015 was one of the best vintages, so as I was strolling through the ‘candy’ store looking for a Pinot Noir I spied a 2015 and grabbed it.

The reason we are seeing 2015 light bodied red wines from South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia is because the growing season is opposite to ours in the southern hemisphere. Medium and full bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz & Malbec will likely appear in a couple of years. Expect to see 2015 whites and rosés from the northern hemisphere in the next few months.

The Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir has consistently over delivered for as many vintage as I can remember, so my expectations were kind of high. Not only was I expecting a strong showing due to consistency, but add on the 2015, and I was expecting a lot.

The good news this wine does totally over deliver for the price. Amongst Pinot Noirs of this price range, this would easily be in my top 2. I’m not so sure the quality of the vintage showed through as much as I was expecting, but given my overall enjoyment of the wine I would say the 2015 is a testament to the truly high quality for the price of previous vintages.

Price ~ $11

Score ~ 7.7/10 Over Delivers

The nose shows cherry, cola and strawberry, while the palate has a lovely silky texture. As for the finish there is some fresh cherry and black pepper just to entice you into a second glass.

I would pair this with a nice gouda cheese, grilled or roasted poultry, pasta marinara.

Grapes ~ 100% Pinot Noir

Store Section ~ Chile

Availability ~ Both Private and Public Stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

PS – to keep things rolling I have signed onto acting as an affiliate for items that I think are truly noteworthy, remarkable and consistent with my values. If you don’t please click on the following, take a look and if you purchase, they send a commission that would be greatly appreciated.

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La Bastide 2014 Pays d’Oc

March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

La BastideI firmly believe that Grenache, and Grenache blends will be the ‘it’ wine of 2016/2017. I declare this to be true for a few of reasons.

  1. Taste Profile – Grenache is alway juicy and easy to enjoy, with a delicious kiss of savoury spices and a soft round texture because the grape is naturally low in tannin (pucker).
  2. The Underdog Effect – Grenache has long been considered a blending grape and therefore its impact on the quality of a wine has either been overshadowed or totally missed. Loads of cork dorks around the globe are choosing Grenache because it so overlooked.
  3. Value – Grenache is the second most planted red grape in the world meaning there are oceans of quality Grenache produced each year meaning there are lots of great wines under $20 and even under $15.

I was strolling around my local store looking for that underappreciated bottle of Grenache at a real good price… enter La Bastide.

La Bastide hit the market like a bomb a few years back. Every store had a stack and it was flying out the doors. Little did people know that this wine is about 70% Grenache, hence its juicy delicious character. Well that was a few years ago and now this wine is most likely found on the bottom shelf as the shine has worn off. That is great news for those looking for a juicy, delicious wine with loads of flavour, lively spice, a soft texture and are willing to bend their knees to get a bottle that totally over delivers for the price.

Price ~ $11

Score ~ 7.4/10 – Over Delivers

This is a real crowd pleaser and if you are looking to get married this summer or perhaps you are buying the wine for the nuptials, this is a great choice- inexpensive, over delivers and is incredibly food versatile.

Speaking of food I would have this wine with anything BBQ. Either BBQ sauce or slow roasted. Oh and it is also awfully good with a flank steak that has been marinating all day.

Grapes ~ 70% Grenache, Carignan, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both Private & Public Stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

PS – to keep things rolling I have signed onto acting as an affiliate for items that I think are truly noteworthy, remarkable and consistent with my values. If you don’t please click on the following, take a look and if you purchase, they send a commission that would be greatly appreciated.

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