Simple Life 2013 Pinot Noir

September 9, 2015 § 2 Comments

Price: $12.99Simple Life Pinot Noir

Score: 8.8 ~ Over Delivers

There is a great deal of animosity and distrust between private liquor retailers and the government run, BC Liquor Stores, so it isn’t very often that I get a tip on a great buy from a private retailer about a wine than can only be had at BC Liquor Stores.

Based on the recommendation by my colleague I rushed over to the nearest BC Liquor Store that I knew carried the Simple Life Pinot Noir and grabbed a bottle. Man was I happy that I did.

The nose shows cherry, pomegranate, a hint of cola and white pepper, while the palate if richly textured and full of flavour. That said there are a number of Pinot’s under $20 that can produce similar olfactory and taste enjoyment, but to me, the real test comes in the finish. If it shows the silky, seductive finish of top quality Burgundy, New Zealand, BC, Oregon and California Pinot Noir, then deserves high praise indeed.

Although not as pronounced as its brethren in the $25-$45 price range, this Pinot has a wonderful silky finish that puts it, in my opinion, well above other Pinot Noir under and over $20 in terms of value. If I were you I would be buying this wine by the case now so that you have it on hand at Thanksgiving, my Wife’s 40th birthday (yes you are all invited, but you have to bring a bottle of Simple Life Pinot), and Christmas, as I don’t imagine there will be much of it around in a few months.

Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores

Section: California and/or Exclusives

Closure: Screwcap

Food: Have this with roasted poultry, mild cheeses like gouda, soups, duck.

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Prospect 2013 Larch Tree Hill Riesling

June 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

6.6/10 ~ Good Drop & I Like It!Prospect 2013 Riesling

Price: $11.29- $12.99

It was 25C yesterday afternoon and the thought of having a red wine just seemed wrong. So I marched off to one of the many local stores and went straight for the whites. I walked in the store thinking either Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. I wanted a crisp, lively, vibrant to caress my palate. I know that I haven’t written much about local wines or VQA wines in general so I thought I would take this opp and grab a well priced Riesling from a producer that I know has always made solid wines, so I grabbed the Prospect Riesling (FYI the packaging has been updated from the photo. Still recognizable from the photo but with more quality and heritage cues). Riesling has, ironically, been the darling of cork dorks and low-end wine buyers for generations. The cork dork crowd can wax poetically of the subtle, seductive nuances of a single vineyard Riesling for hours, but that wine is likely $30. It should blow your hair back at that price. On the other end the low-end sweet German generic Rieslings are still the stable of many in the world, however they have always let me down for value. Great value in Riesling means your mouth feels alive, that your words dance off the tongue and everything is dripping with honeyed positivity. This is what I look for in a Riesling and what I want on a warm summer day. Tasting: The colour is bright flinty straw and the nose shows jasmine flavours, honeyed apricots and pears. The palate is fresh, clean, lively and relatively fruity. Value:It does lack some of the nuances and vibrance that would have gotten it an Over Delivers or Best Buy rating, but it does have the stuff worth of a Good Drop rating and I do like it. You certainly won’t be disappointed with this wine as it does offer decent value for the money. Added Value: The first thing that pops into my head when I think of when and where this wine would be most appropriate is either as a Wedding Wine or as a Date Night Wine. Food Pairings: Fresh fruits, salads, mild cheeses. Great for Sea Bass and cod, even a grilled chicken with a citrus salsa. Service: Chill down, twist the cap and serve. Grapes: Riesling Store Section: BC VQA Appellation: Okanagan Available: BC Liquor Stores, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor Store Alcohol: 12.5% Cheers The Dork UnCorked PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Borsao 2013 Garnacha

June 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

8.7/10 ~ Over Delivers & I Love It!Borsao Garnacha

Price: $13.29- $14.99

“Oh man!” she said “you really have a pair of nards if you think you can get Stone to drink wine.”

“Good news! I have such a pair of nards” I replied. “Here goes”

Wines like this one make me want to share the joy of exploration with everyone, even those that may be dead set against trying anything new or different.

Upon tasting this wine I could see myself at a BBQ with friends and I was doing what I normally do when I come across a wine that I love, especially one that will set you back less than $15.

Garnacha or Grenache is a grape that one could easily love. Soft juicy tannins, doesn’t like too much oaking, has fantastic fresh berry flavours and undertones of black pepper. For this reason it is the backbone of some of the biggest wine crazes and most sought after wines ever seen, and in my opinion for introducing the beauty of wine to new drinkers and generations.

Remember the tsunami of juicy red wines from Australia in the late 90’s? That wave was fuelled in large part by Grenache’s supporting role of Shiraz.

I’m sure you have heard of Chateauneuf de Pape? The wines of Chateauneuf de Pape are prized because of their balance between power, finesse and fresh fruit flavours. What is the backbone of Chateauneuf de Pape you ask? – Grenache.

Tasting: The colour is a deep purple red. The aromas are of crushed raspberry, blueberry, lavender and black pepper, while the palate is juicy, full, richly textured and balanced. The finish is a juicy kiss of purple flowers, juicy berries and black pepper.

Value: This is awesome value for the money. In fact I would suggest that you walk right past the California and Argentine sections and head right to the not-as-crowded-as-it-should-be Spanish section and load up.

Added Value: This wine has added value for so many occasions – it’s a great Date Night, Movie Night, Girls Night Out, Comfort Food, Foodie, Exploration, BBQ wine.

Food Pairings: Anything BBQ’d including burgers, steaks, pork, chicken, even halibut. Also a great pairing for roasted meats, Pizza, cheeses like Gruyere, Gouda and Cheddar.

Service: Twist off the cap and let the pleasure begin.

Grapes: Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: Borsao

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor

Alcohol: 14.5%

Sileni Cellar Selection 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

May 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.9 ~ Over DeliversSileni Sauvingon Blanc

Price: $14.79 (not including taxes)

There is lot’s to love in a nice chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Clearly because it is one of the most sought after white wine in the world and it fetch’s some of the highest average prices. The challenge in finding real value is finding the differences that add instead of taking away. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be ‘in your face’ Sauvignon Blanc which has a tendency to overshadow and positive nuances. That is what I like about the Sileni 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, it is a well balanced wine that shows its New Zealand pedigree well, but allows for some beautiful highlights to shine through. I would have rated this much higher if it were a couple of bucks less.

Tasting Notes: Bright zesty citrus, mineral and cut grass on the nose that is matched on the palate. The palate is fresh and clean and shows subtle floral highlights like jasmine and violet. The finish is clean and vibrant making your mouth water in anticipation of the next sip.

Value: Amongst other similarly priced New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs this wine over delivers, however there are a few entrants from France and Chile that deliver similar quality but at a lower price.

Added Value: Having a seafood BBQ that includes some oysters and maybe halibut, this wine has added value for you. This wine has special value for Girls Night Out and a summer Date Night.

Food Pairings: Like I said above this is a great wine for oysters (grilled and half shell), grilled halibut and grilled chicken. It is also a wonderful pairing for some aged Gruyere cheese.

Service: Chill down and serve.

Store Section: New Zealand

Appellation: Marlborough

Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc

Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores

ABV%: 12.5%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

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

Domaine Houchart 2013 Cotes de Provence Rosé

April 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.7 ~ Over DeliversHouchart Rose

Price: $15.69-$17.99

Classic Rosé is perhaps one of the most romantic wines there is. Just one whiff of the aromas and a peek at the colour and you will immediately transport yourself to a grassy hill covered with rosemary and lavender, over looking the Mediterranean sea. You look up towards the sun and you can feel its warmth envelope your soul. There is a gentle breeze on your cheek. You take a glance over at your soul mate and she/he has the same smile of pleasure. Without saying a word your pour yourselves a nice glass of chilled Rosé, pop a few fresh strawberries in your mouth, grab some baguette that you purchased fresh, not more than an hour ago. After a few morsels you lose yourselves in the present and …..

Tasting Notes: The colour is salmon, light pink rose. The aromas show fresh strawberries, cranberry and hints of white pepper. The palate… the palate is where the romance is. The texture is crisp almost crunchy, which brings out the fresh strawberry and red tree fruit characters. This wines truly refreshes the palate… and soul.

Value: This is a classic southern French Rosé and as such stands out. If you would like to see why the French, Spanish and Italians choose Rosé first and foremost over their summers, this wine will show you the way.

Added Value: This wine truly shines on Date Nights and as a BBQ Wine for seafood or Salmon BBQ’s.

Food Pairings: Great choice for Cedar Plank Salmon, salads, fresh fruit and light creamy cheeses. Perhaps the best pairing is a view, a blanket, a baguette, some cheeses & fruits, and a summer afternoon to spend together.

Service: Chill down and enjoy.

Store Section: France

Appellation: Cotes de Provence – This region is the same that you have read about in Peter Mayle’s A Year In Provence. The summer air is warm and enveloping and has the scent of Thyme, Rosemary and lavender. Romance is everywhere.

Grapes: Grenache, Syrah

Available: Hillside Liquor Store, BC Liquor Stores

ABV%: 13.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

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

Fascino Passo 2011

April 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

Fascino Passo 2011Score: 9.3 ~ Best Buy

You know how some scents can instantaneously transport you back in time. My grandfather used to smoke White Owl cigars and when I was a kid I used to climb up onto his lap and he would tell me stories of his hockey playing days. His favourite cardigan held the subtle scent of a freshly unwrapped cigar. Some of my best and favourite memories of being with my grandfather automatically invoke the wonderful, delicate aroma of an unwrapped cigar. As I first opened this wine and put my nose to it, I was immediately transported back to my grandfather’s lap. It brought a smile both to my face and heart.

Price: $17.99

Tasting Notes: The colour is dark red with violet highlights on the edges. The aromas show red tree fruit such as cherries, ripe black plums, hints of violet and licorice and something that I absolutely adore, the scent of a freshly unwrapped cigar. The palate is velvety, juicy, well balanced and of medium to full weight. Flavours of cherries, leather, savoury spices, dried plums and pepper come alive. The finish is almost silky and juicy with a final cherry kiss at the end.

Value: This is a case buy for sure. After my first purchase I have gone back and grabbed few more bottles. If I have $18 to spend I would be hard pressed not to make this my choice if I were having lamb, beef, or just a simple platter of cheese and charcuterie.

Added Value: This wine really shines as a BBQ Wine, Comfort Food Wine and because of its sultry, velvety nature, as a Date Night Wine. I would also highly recommend this wine to anyone who is looking to explore either unique grape types or regions.

Food Pairings: As mentioned above, this wine works beautifully with roasted or grilled beef or lamb, but my favourite pairing is a simple platter of cheeses, cold cuts, olive oil and some olives.

Service: Room temperature is best and let it breathe for a good 20-30 minutes. If you have a Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
, run the wine through a couple of times and you are good to go.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Salento – The Salento region of Italy is on the heel of the Italian boot. As you can imagine it is a very warm region which produces voluptuous red wines that are very dark in colour. Did you know that Primitivo is the Italian cousin of California’s Zinfandel. Have a little fun and try a Cali Zin beside a Salento Primitivo and sense the differences.

Grapes: Negromaro, Primitivo

Available: Everything Wine

ABV%: 13.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

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

Top 5 Red Wines for Easter 2015

April 3, 2015 § 1 Comment

I can still recall a time not that long ago when red wine sales were a fraction of those of white wine. It was cool to order a glass of “dry white wine”. Then reports hit the media that red wine had restorative properties and a glass or two a day was recommended for healthy living, so the pendulum rapidly swung in the opposite direction. At one point in the early 2000’s red wine represented 90% of all wine sales. The pendulum has again started to swing back and now 6 of every 10 bottles of wine purchased are red. The selection of red wine doubles that of white, with the vast majority being priced between $7 & $20. Finding wines that represent true bang for your buck is a a great challenge and one that I happily have embarked upon.

Here are my Top 5 Red Wines for Easter 2015 that are currently on the shelves.

1) Buon Tempo 2010 Rosso di Montalcinoimage

Truly one of the Best Buys on the market no matter what the price. Although it is showing a little weariness from its peak, it still represents incredible value. Lush, complex, expressive, deep, succulent, silky are all words that could be applied to this wine. Looks for aromas and flavours of ripe and sour cherries, savoury herbs, plum, subtle white and black pepper spice. The palate is silky and complete from start to finish.

Rosso di Montalcino is the little brother of Brunello di Montalcino. Brunello is one of the world’s most sought after, iconic wines in the world and the price reflect that (average $60-90/bottle). Rosso is a younger expression of Brunello and thus is usually about half the price ($30-$45/bottle). When this wine hit the shelf at $16.99 I was more than a little suspect, but was I pleasantly surprised. I think my own enjoyment of this wine could be approaching 36-40 bottles since its release.

The only challenge here is finding it. As far as I can tell there are only a couple of stores that currently have stock and that is dwindling. When you do find it, open it and give it a couple of hours to blossom.

Score – 9.4/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$16.99

Available Cascadia Colwood & Uptown.

Link to the original review: Buon Tempo 2010 Rosso di Montalcino

2) Masia F Vino Tintoimage

I first bought this wine because it looked like the kid on the playground that always gets picked last. Here is a wine whose packaging is not going to sell it, in fact, in a retail setting, the packaging makes it disappear on the shelf. Am I ever glad that I took the chance. If I didn’t know the price I had paid for it, I would have pegged it at around $16-$18/bottle. For $12.99 this is a steal.

Aromas are both fruit, floral and savoury herbs. While the palate is round, soft and very flavourful. Look for plum and red berry flavours, black pepper, hints of violet and velvety smooth.

Like the Rosso di Montalcino above, this is a hard one to find, but when you do buy it by the case.

Score – 9.3/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$12.99

Available at Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Spinnaker’s James Bay. 

Link to original review: Masia F Vino Tinto

3) Terra Andina Carmenere-SyrahIMG_0660

I have been enjoying this wine for over 15 years. My first taste of it was in Chile while on a buying trip. It was one of the few wines on the trip that showed ripe fruit, complex flavours, and a round, rich texture. It was indeed available in BC, however the price was around $14.99-$15.99. Now that it is hovering around the $10 mark, and has only improved over the years (more mature vines), it is a steal. In fact if you are planning a wedding or having a whole bunch of people over for Easter dinner, and need multiple bottles of something, go out and get a case.

Aromas of ripe plum and dark berries and black cherry. Under the fruit you will sense savoury spices, hints of clove and perhaps even a touch of bacon. The palate shows similar flavours and is juicy, ripe and round.

Score: 9.1/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$10.99

Available in almost all private stores including Cascadia, Metro, Everything Wine, Hillside Liquor Store

Link to original review: Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

4) Casa Viva 2012 Pinot Noirimage

Good Pinot Noir can be seductive, sultry and very sexy. I have heard some people suggest that great Pinot Noir doesn’t have aromas but pheromones. By no stretch of the imagination does this wine compete with the greats of Burgundy, New Zealand, BC and California, but it does have many of the characteristics of the greats, but at 20% of the price.

There now exist many quality Pinot Noirs on the market under $20, but few have the combination of complexity, flavour and texture that this one has. Look for aromas and flavours of dark cherry, earth, black raspberry, black pepper and a delicate hint of cloves. The texture is silky and seductive, so much so that one should be in a resting position to enjoy this as it is kind of like a nice neck rub or massage.

Score: 9.1/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$14.99

Available in Cascadia, Metro Liquor, Hillside Liquor Store, Everything Wine.

Link to the original review: Casa Viva 2012 Pinot Noir

5) Artesa 2010 Rioja
IMG_0724

I love the wines of the Rioja (a close second to this one is the Lopez de Haro 2010 Rioja Crianza). The red wines of this region are a wonderful blend of elegance, perfume, ripe fruit, texture and power. For a cork dork like me, I can get lost in a wine like as it takes me on a trip through the hills, valleys and simple cafes of the region.

The Artesa shows lush ripe berry and plum fruit, is wonderfully perfumed, and has the power to stand up to a thick steak, while having the elegance to enhance the nuances of more delicate meats. I would highly recommend this wine if you are having a classic Easter Ham this weekend.

Score: 9.1/10 Over Delivers

Price: ~$14.99

Available in Metro Liquor, Cascadia Liquor Stores.

Link to the original review: Artesa 2010 Rioja

I hope that you have enjoyed this list and from me and my family have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

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