Penfold’s Koonunga Hill 2012 Shiraz-Cabernet

January 29, 2015 § 4 Comments

Price: $16.29-$17.99IMG_0723

The Shiraz-Cab blend is the best of the Koonunga Hill red wine line up. The Shiraz has big opulent fruit, but lacks some structure and finesse. The Cab shows great structure, but lacks big bold fruit. The good news is that the Shiraz-Cab is masterfully blended to showcase each grapes strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Having said that this is a Good Drop and decent value for the money, however at $14.99 or $15.99 I would have said this Over Delivers. If it every goes on sale for $15.99, buy it!

Tasting Notes Sipping: First impressions mean a lot. Either your impression is confirmed or shattered and that makes a difference how you approach people or a wine. In this case the colour is a deep ruby red giving you the impression that the wine will be big, ripe, expressive and round. It is.
Aromas of dark fruits, red berries, chocolate, pepper, spices and even a little vanilla. The palate is ripe, juicy and round. Pretty hedonistic and very easy to enjoy. The finish is of medium length, juicy, sweet tannins and just a hint of spice.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with left over Roast of Beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and raw veggies. I think the gravy over powered the wine, but it was a great match for the beef and potatoes. I would imagine that this would have been brilliant with some grilled lamb, or burgers.

Value: This wine shows decent value for the price, as I have said before, and it is well worth the trade up from items like Yellow Tail. I would even trade up in price from Apothic for this wine. As for competitors in the Australian category at a similar price, it would all depend on the occasion or the food. A big thick steak would mean a quality Cab Sauv like Wolf Blass. A burger or if I’m in a happy go lucky mood, definitely this wine.

I would also suggest that this wine offers better value than Skulls Shiraz at $19.99.

Added Value: Having a BBQ, this wine shines with BBQ. Whether it is southwest style or burgers and such. It is also a great Crowd Pleaser wine that may also appeal the the wedding goer… as long as you have the budget.

More To The Story: Penfold’s has been around for 165 years. That is a long time to be around. In that space of time they have become of Australia’s most recognized exports which means it is really difficult to remain relevant to the consumer. I know that there has been some significant re-direction of funds to product from marketing and I think that is brilliant. After all if you want to remain relevant, the best course of action is to consistently produce a great product.

Score: 7.4  – Good Drop

Service: Twist the cap and let it pour. Room temp is ideal, unless room temp is 30°C, then chill it down to around 18-20°C

Grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: South Australia

 

Alcohol: 13.5%

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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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Dunavar 2013 Pinot Grigio

January 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.4- Good Drop2015/01/img_0680.jpg

Price: $10.99

About the Wine: This is a really good value Pinot Grigio. True to the grape there is melon and citrus aromas and flavours, while the palate is crisp and elegant. Classic.

Value: Definitely worth the $1 trade up from Copper Moon or Naked Grape Pinot Grigio and much closer to a classic Pinot Grigio than many of the Aussie and Californian offerings at $12 or $13.

Added Value: Where this wine really shines is with simple Comfort Foods. This is a great ‘Tuesday’ night wine but I want a little complexity with more complex meals. Very much a Crowd Pleaser and a great Wedding Wine.

More To The Story: In the mid 19th Century all the way up until the mid 20th century, Hungary’s status as a wine region was similar to that of Portugal or Greece. After the Iron Curtain fell on the country following WWII, quality viticulture and winemaking were in very short supply as was the wine itself (most going to Moscow instead of London or New York).

Since the fall of the Eastern Bloc in the late ’80s more and more investment has been flooding into Hungary. Some of the biggest names in wine like Rothschild and Vega Sicilia are spending big dough on upgrading vineyards, wineries and re-establishing a winemaking tradition.

Hopefully we will soon see more than just low-end Pinot Grigios and Muscats, and we will start to see some premium quality indigenous and classic wines.

Service: Chill down and serve, that’s about it. For what to have with it, Pesto pasta, mild cheeses, pizza, grilled or roasted chicken.

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Store Section: Eastern Europe/Other

Appellation: Hungary

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Cascadia Liquor Stores

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 11%

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Copper Moon Pinot Grigio

January 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.0 – Dead Average2015/01/img_0679.jpg

Price: $9.69

About the Wine: Take a can of fruit cocktail out of the cupboard, add a 1/2 ounce of vodka and you will have duplicated this wine. The reason that I gave this a Dead Average rating is simply because of its popularity. It is a hugely popular wine and I’m a firm believer that the ultimate value of a wine is on the palate of the beholder.

Value: The value here is that there are others out there that give you better value for your money. For $1 more you can get some really good Pinot Grigios, a good example  is the Dunavar Pinot Grigio from Hungary. If you only want to spend $10 then get the Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa), Robertson Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa), or Hardy’s Chardonnay (Australia). It’s a buck more but offers more fresh fruit, character and flavour but the Hardy’s Riesling-Gewurztraminer, is a much better spend.

More To The Story: Clearly not one of my favourites or something that I would suggest people spend their money on. Part of the reason for this is that I don’t believe in a wine like this. This is a blend of Pinot Grigio juice that is imported in bulk bladders from around the world, poured into bottles or boxes with a ‘Canadian’ label and called Canadian. To give the consumer the perception that this is a Canadian wine is false. A standard should be created where a minimum percentage of the wine must be from Canadian grapes in order for a wine to be called Canadian or Cellared in Canada.

Service: Chill it down… a lot

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Store Section: Cellared In Canada

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Liquor Express, Most Private Liquor Stores

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 12.0 %

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Cal Y Canto 2012

January 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.2 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0670.png

Price: $11.99

About the Wine: This wine is a dark ruby purple in the glass. The nose shows fruit aromas bright red berry and ripe Italian plum. The nose also shows white and black pepper, leather, savoury herbs and just the slightest hint of smoked meat. The palate is velvety, round and delivers bold fruit flavours with subtle herbs and spice. The finish is of medium length, soft tannin and dried figs.

Value: This wine, for those that know it, has become one of the most popular Spanish wines to hit the BC market in the last few years. For those looking for a little more finesse and style in their wines, a trade up of $1 to $2 from $10 Argentine Malbec or Barefoot Shiraz is well worth it and highly recommended.

Added Value: For those serving Chicken or Fish at their upcoming wedding this is a great choice for a red wine. A date night that features a plates of cheeses, charcuterie, and prawns, here is your wine… especially if chocolate is to follow. This wine shines when served with comfort foods. A Saturday afternoon treat for me is a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of Cal Y Canto.

More To The Story: You have heard of the concept of terroir? Basically it states that a wine’s character, soul, aroma and flavour are a function of the soil and climate of the vineyard it comes from. In the case of Cal Y Canto I would add another component; the people.

Some of the best wines that I tasted during my travels through Spain as a buyer were at the local wine co-op for a village or collection of villages. I found many wines that had an uncommon ‘truth’ to them. It seems that the simple act of contributing the fruit of one’s labour to be a part of a community wine, gives the community wine an added element. Cal Y Canto comes from just such a place in the middle of Spain’s largest wine growing region- La Mancha.

Service: Twist of the cap and let breathe for about 10 minutes or run it through

Grapes: Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: Castilla La Mancha

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores, Hillside Liquor Store, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store, Beverly Corners Liquor Store

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

Alcohol: 12.0%

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Periquita

January 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 9.0 – Best Buys2015/01/img_0649.jpg

Price: $9.99

About the Wine: The nose shows dried fruits, ripe red berry and delightful spicy, earthy tones. The palate is remarkably complex, complete and lively given the price. The texture is round and soft while the finish features figs and spice and is of medium length.

Value: When I have the choice, and I always do, I would choose Periquita over the likes of Copper Moon Malbec, Barefoot Shiraz and Naked Grape Merlot everyday of the week and twice on Sundays. Periquita is a better match for food and a very enjoyable sipping wine, however my bias has always been to wines that show finesse and completeness over one-dimensional boozy juice bombs. I suggest you save yourself a buck or two over $11-12 California or Aussie reds and red blends.

Added Value: If you want to have some fun when the ‘foodies’ come over, stun them by serving this wine, asking what they think the price is and then showing them the bottle. I’ve done this at Brown Bag parties and it amazes people every time. This wine also shines for BBQ’s, Comfort Foods, Crowd Pleasers and Movie Nights.

More To The Story: Over my years as a buyer and importer I have come to find that the best wines values in the world are often not from the best known regions. Wine from the best known regions is a limited resource and therefore basic economics instead of quality, bumps the price up. However looking in the shadows of the celebrity regions often bears great fruit for a great price. Portugal is just such a place.

Nestled beside Spain and its superstar regions of Rioja and Ribero de Deuro is Portugal. Its most famous wine regions like Duoro, Dao, Alentejo do not enjoy much notoriety outside of the Cork Dork world, but in terms of wine value, that is a good thing.

Red table wines from Portugal have always offered incredible value and are one of the best buys on the market and the Periquita is a great example.

Service: Serve at room temperature and there is no need to worry about breathing this wine. Food wise, I love this wine with anything pork related, even a simple BLT. Grilled pork tenderloin seasoned with some cumin and paprika is not only simple but to die for with this wine.

Grapes: Castelao, Trincadeira, Aragonez

Store Section: Portugal

Appellation: Terras do Sabo

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Liquor Depot, Metro Liquor, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Firefly Wines & Ales

Buy Online/Delivered To Your Home: Liquor Depot, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Firefly Wines & Ales

Alcohol: 13.4%

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Red Barn 2012 Pinot Noir

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.6 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0662.jpg
Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Pinot Noir is a tough one to measure on the same scale as say a Shiraz or Chardonnay. The low-end, in terms of price for Pinot Noir is about $14.99. Pinot Noir is a very fickle grape and very difficult to make into great wine and very easy to make into terrible wine. Having said all that we are blessed here in BC to have the quality that we do right around the corner from us. This wine shows dense red and black cherry, hints of cassis, savoury spices and leather. Very complex for a wine at $14.99 and extremely complex for a $14.99 Pinot Noir.

The palate is lush and layered showing a classic silky texture expected by those who love Pinot Noir (we call them Pinot-philes). The finish is of medium length and features fruit, spice and silk all the way through to the end.

Value: Pinot Noirs, including this one are more cerebral than hedonistic, and thus one who is willing to let the aromas and flavours wash over them will enjoy it more than those looking for a big blast of fruit and alcohol. When I’m in a pensive, calm mood I would trade up in price from $13 wines for this wine every time. In relation to California Pinot Noirs that average $20 and up, I would grab the Red Barn over them during the week, but on the weekend, with a special meal, I would stick with the $20 range.

Added Value: This is a great wine for when the ‘Foodies’ are coming over or if you want to introduce yourself and friends to the potential of the Pinot Noir grape.

More To The Story: Each year one of the world’s most prestigious wine magazines, Decanter, has its world wine awards. Each year Master’s of Wine, Master Sommeliers, Media and Sommeliers blind taste through thousands of wines to come up with the best in each class and the best overall. In 2013 Martin’s Lane 2011 Pinot Noir made by my friends at Mission Hill in the Okanagan, won World’s Best Pinot Noir. That is no small feat when you consider the pedigree of Burgundy. The Red Barn Pinot Noir comes from the same vineyard as the Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir. Maybe get a case.

Service: Serve at room temperature and if it is a hot day, chill it down in the fridge for a few minutes. As for food my preference is a simple roasted chicken, but local wild salmon will work as well.

Grapes: Pinot Noir

Store Section: VQA

Appellation: Okanagan

Available: Cascadia Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store

Buy Online: Legacy Liquor Store.

Alcohol: 12.5%

The Dork UnCorked provides fun and useful reviews of wines that retail under $20 and are available in B.C. If you would like these delivered daily to your e-mail in-box, feel free to subscribe to the blog.

 

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