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%

Picks of the Week… So Far

January 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Something new!

Each week I will post the Top 3 Scoring Wines of the week, that way you can plan your weekend shopping and get the most out of your wine weekend.

Given that this is the first time that I have done this I have expanded the pool to the last 2 weeks. Seems only fair.

Did you know that the Bold black non-Italicized text is a link to the original review? Go ahead, click the link and enjoy the ride.

1. Santa Rita Winemaker’s Lot Carmenere-Cabernet Franc-Cabernet SauvignonIMG_0691

Price – $13.99

Rating – Over Delivers

Score – 8.7

2. Vina Maipo Carmenere-Cabernet Sauvignon

Price – $10.99

Rating – Over Delivers

Score – 8.7

3. Cono Sur Organic Carmenere-Cabernet Sauvignon

Price – $14.99

Rating – Over Delivers

Score – 8.5

Honourable Mention – Painted Wolf ‘The Den’ Chenin Blanc

Price – $14.99

Rating – Over Delivers

Score – 8.4

Have a great weekend and look to see a fresh reviews starting again tomorrow.

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The Dork UnCorked

Vina Maipo Carmenere – Cabernet Sauvignon

January 21, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.7 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0712.png

Price: $10.99

About the Wine: This wine is not available in BC Liquor Stores so check out your favourite private store. Hailing from Chile, this wine is priced to compete with ‘everyday’ wines like Copper Moon etc.

Tasting Notes Sipping: This wine, for the price, is a very good sipper. It is well balanced, offers good fruit, some spice and the tannins are soft and supple making the wine smooth. Aromas of crushed plum and berry are highlighted with black pepper and violets, while the palate shows similar flavours with the addition of a hint of mocha.

Tasting Notes With Food: The complexity of this wine avails itself to simple foods like pizza, tomato based pasta dishes, or straight up meat and potatoes. I had this with a meat lovers pizza and it worked great. The berry fruit flavours and spice tones become more pronounced and the structure was up to the task of refreshing my palate.

Value: Definitely worth the trade up in price from Naked Grape, Copper Moon et al. I would also look at saving myself a few bucks on the likes of entry level BC or California straight Cabs or Merlots.

Added Value: This wine shines as an everyday wine and thus is great when you are serving a big group (Crowd Pleaser, Wedding Wine), or when you are having Comfort Foods.

More To The Story: I have spent the last number of years tasting thousands of wines each year and I have come a ‘generalization’. The best red wine values that are priced under $12 are most often blends. There is an assumption that a single varietal ‘New World’ wine is worth more than a blend, and once you are above $15/bottle that seems to be true. However for red wines under $15 blends are the way to go, and here is why.

Each varietal has its strengths. Cabernet Sauvignon is known for bringing structure and boldness to a wine, Cabernet Franc aromatics. Merlot and Carmenere are often used for their fruit and texture. So where you are making a wine for the ‘value’ market you are usually using grapes that are not the best and thus have some glaring weaknesses. Blending complimentary grapes makes a better wine.

Service: Twist off the cap and let if flow.

Grapes: Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Express

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

Alcohol: 13.1%

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Ticket To Chile 2012 Carmenere

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.5  – Dead Average2015/01/img_0702.jpg

Price: $10.99

Tasting Notes Sipping: The nose only has hints as to the varietal and terroir. I get some dark plum and blueberries with some spice, but also a dose of green pepper. The palate is simple, a little astringent/tannic but does show flavours of blueberry and black currant. This finish relatively short, gripping tannins, and a hint of green pepper. Not a great sipping wine

Tasting Notes With Food: I had this wine with a Beef Stew and the weight of the stew reduced the grip of the tannins and let both the fruit and spice of the wine shine through. This was much better with food than without.

Value: All in all I wouldn’t go back to this wine as I think there is better on the market. From the Savvy Shoppers display choose the La Vuelta Malbec ($9.99), however if you are looking for a better Chilean choice for the same or better price, head to a private store and look for Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah ($9.99) or the Vina Maipo Cabernet-Carmenere ($10.99).

Added Value: If there is some added value in this wine it is when it is paired with a hearty Comfort Food like stew or pizza.

More To The Story: Like all grapes Carmenere can show a broad spectrum of flavours. The lesser the quality of the Carmenere the more the vegetative flavours like green pepper comes out. You can really see this in wet or cool vintages when the sugars in the grapes don’t fully form. There is no way for the winemaker to change this, however she is able to try to cover it up either through blending or oak aging.

Service: Twist the cap and let it flow. For food I would go with hearty Comfort Foods like and meat lovers pizza or beef stew.

Grapes: Carmenere

Store Section: Savvy Shoppers

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

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Con Sur Organic Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere

January 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.5  – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0699.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Dark purple/ruby in the glass. The nose shows ripe plum, currant, red berries and just a hint of black pepper. The palate is ripe and well-balanced. Juicy soft tannins make this a good sipper or a great match for red meats and hearty dishes. It is also certified Organic.

Value: This is a no brainer trade up in price from Santa Rita 120 Cab or Merlot, Beringer California Cab, and Bear Flag Smooth Red. I would also suggest that, if you’re having Steak or Lamb, you might as well save yourself a couple of bucks and choose this wine over the likes of Apothic Red, or 14 Hands Hot to Trot.

Added Value: This wine really shines if you are BBQ’ng. It is also very applicable to Movie Night or Girls Night Out.

More To The Story: The people in the Chimbarongo region of Chile have always had a down to earth tradition. Simple foods, sustainable agriculture, and perhaps most importantly, respect for others. Did you notice the bicycle on the label? This is the main mode of transportation in the Chimbarongo and has become the symbol that represents their way of life.

Service: Let this wine breathe for about 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi. This wine is like a rose that needs to blossom; give it time and it will be a wonderful experience.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Colchagua

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Beverly Corners Liquor Store

Buy Online: Metro Liquor, Everything Wine

Alcohol: 14%

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Santa Rita ‘Winemakers Lot’ Carmenere-Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon

January 15, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.7  – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0691.png

Price: $13.99 ($10.99 On Sale)

About the Wine: This blend is very much the Chilean improvement on a classic Bordeaux blend. Full disclosure: Carmenere is my go to varietal out of Chile.

The nose shows generous plum, blueberry, red currant, cocoa, mint and black pepper. The colour is dark purple, making it look like a behemoth of a wine. The palate is full and complete and shows layers of complexity of flavour and texture. The finish is juicy, spicy and of medium length. For $10.99 this is an awesome buy, at $13.99 I think it Over Delivers.

I should also make clear that this wine is exclusive to Everything Wine.

Value: I can’t say how long this wine will remain in stock. My guess is that once it is gone it won’t return for a while. With that in mind I would save myself a buck or two from any Chilean, Argentine Bordeaux Blend, California Cab & Cab Merlot, and any similarly priced BC Cab blend. It should go without saying that this wine is well worth the trade up from under $9.99 Cabs and Cab blends especially when on sale.

Added Value: This wine shines if you are looking for a value priced wine to serve the masses (Crowd Pleaser, Wedding Wine), but is also spectacular for when the Foodies come over, Date Night, Movie Night and of course BBQ.

More To The Story: Carmenere used to be a key ingredient in Bordeaux blends. In fact Merlot wasn’t considered good enough to place in the official Bordeaux blend, that is until phylloxera wiped out Carmenere in France.

Just prior to the phylloxera epidemic in France, Chilean landowners overthrew their Spanish overlords with the assistance of the French. Instead of travelling to Spain, the landowners would now go to France. Many brought back clippings of vines to plant on their own estates. Prior to 1994 Carmenere was thought to have been extinct, until it was discovered to be thriving amongst the ‘Merlot’ vineyards of Chile by Alvaro Espinoza. DNA tests show that the Carmenere vines found by Senor Espinoza can be traced directly back to the original clippings brought back from France in the 19th century.

With the re-discovery of Carmenere in Chile, Chile had found its defining grape. However there was a cost. Prior to 1994 Chilean Merlot was highly sought after for its juicy character. It was discovered that Carmenere is what gave Chilean Merlot its soul. Once Carmenere was separated from Merlot, the quality and value of Chilean Merlot suffered greatly.

Service: This wine should be served at room temperature,thus just twist off the cap and let it flow. I love this wine with a simple grilled steak, or a meat lovers pizza.

Grapes: Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine

Buy Online: Everything Wine

Alcohol: 13 %

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