Cielo 2014 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie

April 30, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 6.6 ~ Good Drop image

Price: $13.99

Do you know what the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio is? It’s subtle and with the explosion of Pinot Grigio on the market, the lines have been blurred. Pinot Grigio is about freshness, citrus and minerality in a light bodied wine. It is something simple and refreshing and that is its beauty. On the other hand Pinot Gris should have more body, show tree & tropical fruit flavours and be far more complex. I don’t hold one over the other as each has their place. The trick is to be in the frame of mind to truly enjoy each.

Tasting Notes: This is a simple classic Pinot Grigio. It is pale straw, flinty green in colour and shows good citrus fruits with a mineral backbone. The palate is light and straightforward, while the finish is crisp and clean with just a hint of pear on the finish.

Value: At $10.99, the sale price, this is a steal, at $13.99, regular everyday price, it is a good drop that you won’t be disappointed in.

Added Value: This wine would have added value for Girls Night Out or on Date Night.

Food Pairings: This is a great wine for simple fair. Grilled trout or chicken breast, but perhaps best with a simple plate of fresh fruit, light cheeses, baguette and some nuts.

Service: Chill down and serve.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Veneto – The ‘delle Venezie’ region is primarily clay and volcanic soils with some health elements of limestone thrown in the mix. This and the rolling hills of the region account for the citrus and mineral flavours that come through with classic Pinot Grigio.

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Available: Everything Wine

ABV%: 12.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Domaine de Grachies 2013

March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

imageScore: 8.8 – Over Delivers

Price: $13.99-$15.99

It has been unseasonably warm and bright these last few weeks and I can’t help but have my palate turn to fresh whites that are designed, it seems, to pair with bright, fresh Spring days. I contacted a long time colleague and asked him for his reco for best white under $15 currently on the market. Without hesitation he directed me towards the 2013 Domaine de Grachies. Am I glad he did.

This is a blend of 4 grapes of which most are not household names. If you are in the mood for finding a great new white wine experience that you don’t need a mortgage for, here you go.

Tasting Notes Sipping: Flinty gold in colour. The aromatics are tremendous. A fresh combination of jasmine blossoms, fresh pear, some white peach and green apple, and, to top it off, a hint of savoury herbs. The palate is ctirussy and really refreshing. Definitely a delicious reward for cutting the grass, watching the cherry blossoms drop or chatting with songbirds. The finish is vibrant, refreshing and features citrus, pear and dried herbs.

Tasting Notes with Food: I wish I had this with some fresh oysters as I’m sure it would have been tremendous. Instead I had to settle for some cheap brie on Ritz crackers. The wine performed beautifully in reality and virtually, as I considered what it would have been like with fresh oysters on the half shell.

Value: Definitely a great value at $12.99. This wine packs a lot of value into its high-shouldered frame and should be added to everyone’s white wine arsenal for spring and summer.

Added Value: This wines offers added value for those looking to discover new wines, from unfamiliar grapes, from regions outside of their comfort zone. This is clearly an Exploration Wine and would make a great Wedding Wine, Girls Night and Date Night Wine.

Service: Chill down, screw off the top and enjoy.

Grapes: Colombard, Ugni-Blanc, Gros Manseng, Sauvignon Blanc

Store Section: France

Appellation: Cotes de Gascogne

Available: Metro Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Penny Farthing (Victoria), Legacy Liquor Store, Firefly Wines & Ales

Buy OnLine: Metro Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Firefly Wines & Ales

Alcohol: 11.5%

Aveleda 2013 Vinho Verde

March 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

imagePrice: $14.99

Vinho Verde has long been a favourite of many cork dorks and those immersed in the industry, however its beauty and style has been often overshadowed by the marketing power of major brands and major wine regions. Think of Pinot Grigio meets Sauvignon Blanc. Put another way this wine is like a mash-up of Meg Ryan and Meryl Streep. It is fresh, vibrant, sometimes bubbly, but is also serious, elegant and sophisticated.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is pale straw to flinty green and the nose shows spring blossoms, fresh pear and first harvest green apple. The palate is fresh and alive and filled with vibrancy that lifts the spirits. This finish is surprisingly long for such a light fresh wine with lots of fresh fruit and savoury herbs.

Tasting Notes with Food: I enjoyed this on a fresh, warm spring afternoon with some light cheeses, first of season strawberries, and fresh baguette, truly outstanding!

Value: For $14.99 I would happily choose this wine over many of the whites offered at $14.99. To me this is on a similar scale to classic Italian Pinot Grigio (circa $18) and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (circa $18.99).

Added Value: This is an awesome wine for Weddings, BBQ’s (fish), as a Crowd Pleaser and certainly for Girls Night Out. This wine also has added value as a discovery or Exploration Wine. If you haven’t had Vinho Verde before, you must have this before summer is out.

Score: 8.9 – Over Delivers

Service: Chill down and enjoy. I highly recommend pairing this wine with a back deck or yard and sunny spring or summer afternoon.

Grapes: Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura

Store Section: Portugal

Appellation: Vinho Verde

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

Buy OnLine: Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 11.5%

Casa Viva 2012 Pinot Noir

February 21, 2015 § 2 Comments

imagePrice: $14.99-$16.99

Some of the best buys on the market sometimes are head scratchers. I bought this wine from Cascadia Langford. It caught my eye because of the packaging, the region and the winery. I took it home and eagerly anticipated my first sip. As you will see by the score, for the money, this is, in my opinion, a Best Buy so I contacted the proprietor under the assumption that it was a one time buy or that it was selling by the case and that there was only a few bottles remaining. Her response is the head scratcher “nope, not really moving.” If you love Pinot and would like to have one priced for everyday consumption, this is it. If you have heard lots about Pinot Noir but didn’t want to spend $20+ to get a good one, this is your wine. If you just want a great glass of wine, this is your wine.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is dark, bright red. The aromas show ripe black cherry, cola, white pepper, and the lovely scent of walking through the forest in fall. The palate is fresh, alive and of light to medium weight. The texture is soft which allows the aromas to express themselves as flavours on the palate. The finish is juicy, somewhat silky, but totally delicious.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with one of my favourite meals. When life insures that we eat a little later than usual, we feed the kids earlier, but wait to sit down to dinner after the fury of the evening is done so we can relax, enjoy each others company and the meal in front of us. Typically this means a simple selection of charcuterie like prosciutto, salami, liver pate, combined with some cheeses that are usually white cheddar, and either brie or Cambazzola. I cut up some baguette, pour some olive oil on to a plate and we are good to go.

The wine showed beautifully. The flavours were incredibly expressive while the body held up to the various fats and acids. The texture became silky and luxurious. For $15-$17, this is a great wine and you should get this one by the case.

Value: As a Best Buy this is an easy trade up from many wines under $14 no matter their type, and, in fact I would save myself a couple of bucks and choose this wine over many $18-$20 wines. I will never give up the diversity of wine for one wine, but I am adding this wine to my go to arsenal.

Added Value: This is an awesome wine as a Crowd Pleaser, would make a great Wedding Wine. Brilliant for Date Nights, Movies Night and certainly for when the Foodies come over. I would also suggest this wine as a great way to explore or introduce yourself or someone else to the beauty of the Pinot Noir grape.

Score: 9.1 – Best Buy

Service: Twist off the cap and let it breathe for a few minutes then enjoy.

Grapes: Pinot Noir

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Casablanca Valley

Available: Cascadia Liquor Stores, Everything Wine

Buy Online: Everything Wine,

Alcohol: 14.5%

Gabriel Meffre ‘Plan de Dieu’ 2013 Cotes Du Rhone Villages

February 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

imagePrice: $17.99

The Plain de Dieu. It was rumoured, in the middle ages, that you put your life into God’s hands if you were to cross the Plan de Dieu in the Rhone Valley of France. I think that it is fair to say that God had a hand in bringing forth some incredible wines from an area that, formerly was the domain of highwaymen and bandits of all sorts.

The Plan de Dieu is a small little area that only produces red wines and has the denomination of Cotes du Rhone Villages, which isn’t as valuable a moniker as Cotes du Rhone. However this is means this region is a source of great value for the money. Cotes du Rhone Villages doesn’t fetch the big dollars on the global market and that means that a wine like the Gabriel Meffre can be on the retail shelves for under $20 while similar quality wines pitch a price tag of $20 and over – Over Delivers.

Tasting Notes Sipping: Dark purple to black in the glass, with aromas of dark ripe plum, cherry, cassis, bay leaf and host of fragrant savoury spices. The palate is round and voluptuous with great balance between tannin and acidity meaning that it has both power and freshness. The flavour punch is an impressive expression of dark ripe fruits and spices. The finish is relatively long and ends with a kiss of spice.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with lamb burgers and it was a great match. The fruit and spice became vibrant while the tannins softened to make the whole experience delightful.

Value: I would definitely choose this wine over a number of the 2012 Cote Du Rhones on the market that are priced at $19.99 and I prefer this wine to that of the La Fiole 2012. If you are used to rich, juicy powerful Shiraz’s from Australia this might not be your wine as the flavours and textures are finer. Well worth the exploration.

Added Value: This wine really shines as a Foodie Wine or BBQ wine. If either of these categories describe your activities, then give this wine a shot.

Score: 8.8  – Over Delivers

Service: Let breathe for 30-45 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.

Grapes: Grenache, Mouvedre, Syrah

Store Section: France

Appellation: Plan de Dieu, Cotes du Rhone Village

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Liquor Depot, Everything Wine

Buy Online: Everything Wine,

Alcohol: 13.5%

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%

Anciano Gran Reserva 2006 Tempranillo

February 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

imagePrice: $14.99

There are very few proven facts about wine. One of the only things about wine that we know for sure is that one size does not fit all. Unlike the soft drink, beer and electronics industry, one brand does not dominate the market and to me that is apart of the eloquence and seductiveness about wine. Every wine has a story. Some are liked by many, and some are liked by a few, but there is a home in the heart of someone for every wine. This wine for me is no exception. It didn’t wow me, but I can see how it would be ‘crave-worthy’ to many. There are lots of attractive elements and that is why this was a difficult wine to review for me. I get the distinct impression that in a couple of years the oak and fruit components will have found peace and work together. At present they seem a little at odds. I came down to the conclusion that to a specific segment of the wine drinking population this wine would be all they ever wanted from a $15 and more wine. For me it was a better than the average Good Drop, but lacked complete balance to get an Over Delivers rating, hence I rated this at the highest end of the Good Drop range. I’m glad to have had the experience.

Tasting Notes Sipping: Dark red to purple in colour (classic Tempranillo colour). The nose is dominated by oak but lurking in the shadows is some delightfully ripe red and black fruits and black pepper spice. On the palate you will immediately notice some structure and power (tannin), while the fruit flavours come out a bit more. There is still a good dose of oak that seems to be contesting the fruit for center stage. The finish is of medium length and you will get a big kiss of oak at the end.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with a simple chicken dish that featured lots of savoury flavours and was of medium weight. The wine definitely stood up to the challenge, however near the end of the meal the oak really started to express itself.

Value: For those that usually buy Apothic or other lavishly oaked wines this is a definite winner. It provides excellent value for the price if you are willing to explore a bit.

Added Value: This wine would shine as a BBQ wine as long as the BBQ featured grilled red meats. I would also suggest this wine would be awesome with some hot buttered popcorn on Movie Night.

More To The Story: Oak ageing was an unquestioned part of the wine business until the mid-90’s when there was a huge backlash to the amount of oak influence on a wine. The backlash was so significant that hundreds of wines started appearing boasting the fact that there was no oak used in the making of the wine. Brands like Naked Grape too hold of the market. The effect was so comprehensive that it became very difficult to find wines that were proud of their oak ageing. Gone were the ‘buttersticks’ of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Thank goodness the pendulum is starting to swing back because oak, when used well, can add so much to a wine. Flavours like caramel, cinnamon, and butter are a function of oak and not of the grape. Oak can also have a positive effect on the texture of a wine. It can soften sharp edges, it can add complexity, and when used with malolactic fermentation, it can give a wine a pronounced creamy texture and finish. In the late 80’s and early 90’s this wine would be at the top of the list, 10 years ago it would have been completely banned, now it is apart of a welcome swing of the wine pendulum.

Score: 7.4  – Good Drop

Service: Pull the cork and let it breathe for at least 30 minutes to let the fruit aromas and flavours express themselves. If you have a Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
, run it through that a few times and you are good to go.

Grapes: Tempranillo

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: Valdepenas

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

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor,

Alcohol: 13.0%

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Lurton Les fumees blanches 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

February 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Over Delivers & I Love It!! ~ 8.6/10

Price: $13.29-$14.99image

Years ago I had a torrid and intense relationship that I liken to my relationship with Sauvignon Blanc. She was young beautiful, expressive and bursting with energy. We were inseparable for a number of weeks and then just had to take a break, then we would resume at a torrid pace. It was either full on or full off, there was nothing in between. Sauvignon Blanc is that way for me. I find it easy to dive head long into its vibrant, fresh expressive beauty and then I reach a saturation point where I just can’t have another glass.

This wine seems highly capable of enticing me to fall deep into its seductive embrace and at this price I feel it is well worth the indulgence. Over Delivers

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is a flinty shade of straw. The nose is fantastic! Bright expressive gooseberry, citrus zest and tropical fruits like guava and mango. The nose alone will make you think of being on your deck in the middle of summer even if it miserable and dark outside. The palate is fresh, vibrant and highly expressive. The finish is crisp and clean and leaves a lovely citrus/tropical fruit aftertaste.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with a classic, non-creamy, Ceasar salad and grilled seasoned chicken breast. It was beautiful. It was like a bright spring day that is full of life and rebirth. The citrus flavours really came alive with the salad, while the chicken brought out the tropical fruit and minerality of the wine.

Value: I would be more than happy to trade up in price from $14 California & Chilean Sauvignon Blancs into this wine, and I would likely, for a change of pace, save myself a couple of bucks on Kim Crawford or Oyster Bay (although I really love both those wines).

Added Value: This wine offers added value as a Movie Night, Girls Night Out, or Wedding Wine.

More To The Story: This is a wine that truly makes you feel like the world is your oyster, and, incidentally this would be a lovely wine with oysters. Each sip took me to a place where life was easy and full of optimism. In fact I’m sure that the latin word for optimism is Sauvignon 🙂

Score: 8.6  – Over Delivers

Service: Chill down just a bit. When you bring it out of the fridge and there is still condensation on the bottle, let it warm up for a few minutes and what you will find is that the tropical fruit tones come out. If the wine is too cold these tones are lost.

Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc

Store Section: France

Appellation: Vins de France

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine

Buy Online: Everything Wine

Alcohol: 12.0%

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Artesa 2010 Rioja Crianza

January 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99IMG_0724

Here is another example of the best are often always in short supply. I first tried this wine last year at a trade tasting and it was very impressive. A year later and it is still a Best Buy. For $14.99 this is truly a no brainer for anyone looking for a wine that shows balance, finesse, depth, complexity, softness, bright fruit and spices. On the other hand this is not the wine for those looking for a simple fruit bomb with high alcohol. As it turns out it is a one time offer and a pricing mistake that was honoured by the winery… see below under More To The Story.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is deep dark crimson, while the nose shows dark and red berries, plums, herbs and savoury spices. The palate is bright, complete and shows layers of flavours and textures much like a $20+ should do. The flavours are wonderfully married so as not to overshadow one particular component, rather to allow the enjoyment of sensing the blossoming of a beautiful flower. Black plum, red berries, balsamic, savoury spices and just a hint of oak. The finish is of medium length and supple. Beautiful.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine over two nights. The first night was with roasted chicken legs, some rice and raw veggies and the second night was a classic (not creamy) Ceasar Salad with grilled chicken breast. In both cases the wine showed beautifully. With the roasted chicken legs the spices and dark fruits showed beautifully, whereas with Ceasar Salad and grilled chicken breast, the red fruits, balsamic and a hint of black licorice became the players. It was great in both cases.

Value: I’m not sure if there is a better value in the Spanish section. Sadly this wine only seems to be available in a very few stores. I would easily put down the Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza at $19.99 for the Artesa. As for trade ups I would happily move up from entry level $12-$14 California Cabernets and Merlots for this wine. Caveat: If you are looking for a big powerful fruit explosion, this is not your wine.

Added Value: This wine has huge added value when the Foodies come over and I would suggest it has the same for a Date Night or Movie Night with a Spanish or Southern European theme (Charcuterie, cheeses, olives, nuts, bageutte, etc.)

More To The Story: As I mentioned above this wine is a one time shot, or should I say an once in a lifetime shot. 2010 was one of the best years for Rioja in the last 50 and as such the wines are in high demand. The importer had struck a deal that involved a specific price for a specific volume, however the winery, at the last minute, noticed a pricing error. They had quoted the price of the wine a level below the Crianza (Joven or Young). In other words this wine should be priced at $20+, however understanding that the real value in this deal is in the relationship between the winery, the importer and the consumer, they agreed to honour the original deal. It is suppliers like this that make this industry more than just liquid in a bottle.

Score: 9.1  – Best Buy

Service: Pull the cork and let this wine breathe for 45 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
. You’re going to love it.

Grapes: Tempranillo

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: Rioja

Available: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village

Buy Online: Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.0%

The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at email.

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%

The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at email.

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