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.

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%

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%

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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Handcraft 2012 Chardonnay

January 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 6.2 – Good Drop2015/01/img_0697-0.jpg

Price: $15.99

About the Wine: This is sunshine in a glass. Bright floral and tropical fruit aromas and flavours bounce out of the glass. The palate is brightly flavoured and shows some well crafted creaminess. The finish is juicy and offers some baking spices.

Value: This is definitely a no brainer trade up from Cupcake and I would certainly choose it over Apothic White at $16.99 or Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay at $19.99.

Added Value: This wine is at it’s best on a Movie Night with a big bowl of hot buttered popcorn. It also shines for Girls Night Out and Date Night.

More To The Story: Do you remember your longitude and latitude from social studies class? If you draw a straight line on a map from Central California going East you will cut across a number of Mediterranean wine growing regions, including that of Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily in Italy. Each of these regions has a wealth of bright, vibrant, fruit driven white wines that are truly wonderful, but who thinks of Italian whites other than Pinot Grigio?

What makes this wine unique in a world of billions of Chardonnays is that it blends a little Malavsia Bianca in with the Chardonnay. Malvasia Bianca is found in the regions I noted above, is commonly used for blending and shows voluptuous fruit and is wonderfully aromatic.

Service: Chill down, but don’t let it get too cold. You will be able to tell it is too cold if the bright, sunshine like flavours are muted. Pair this wine with Prawns, Lobster, Fruit Salad, and Soft Creamy Cheeses.

Grapes: Chardonnay, Malvasia Bianca

Store Section: California

Appellation: California

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

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Fat Bird 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.5 – Over Delivers/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0650.jpg
Price: $18.99

About the Wine: This wine is the child of the new generation of winemaking and viticulture in New Zealand and it shows through. Bright youthful aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon greet your nose. What you notice on the palate is the freshness of the wine without it having biting acidity. The palate shows flavours of citrus, melon and gooseberry as mentioned above, however there is the addition of fresh-cut grass and peas. Think of these last two flavours like little kids playing hide and seek; giggling but a little shy as well. In balance these all work together beautifully. The finish is crisp and refreshing.

Value: This is a tough wine to put into perspective of the market. There has been a lot of price activity from the big boys of Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford where their wines are $17.99. This is most often matched (or exceeded; I have seen it at $14.99 and at that price it is a Best Buy) by Fat Bird. In relation to Oyster Bay at $17.99 Fat Bird is in good stead. A little more youthful and intriguing than Oyster Bay. Oyster Bay is classically New Zealand. In relation to Kim Crawford at $20.99, I would go with Fat Bird.

Would I trade up to Fat Bird from some of the Leyda, Limari or Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blancs from Chile? I feel they at two (or four) different experiences. The Chilean versions are not only a few bucks cheaper, but they are also far more tropical and less vibrant than Fat Bird. When I’m in the mood to brighten my day I would go Fat Bird, if real money is issue I might go Chilean.

Added Value: For those having a Date Night, Movie Night, Girls Night Out, a Seafood BBQ, or are having the ‘Foodies’ over, there is added value in this wine for you.

Service: Chilled but not cold. Take it out of the fridge and if there is condensation on the bottle, then give a few minutes to warm up to enjoy. When it is too cold the wine shuts down its personality; the lovely vibrant citrus aromas and flavours, become muted which allows flavours and aromas of fresh-cut grass and peas to dominate. True enjoyment of this wine is in its balance of aromas, flavours and texture.

As for food (my mouth is watering as I say this), I absolutely adore this wine with fresh, local halibut when it is in season.

Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc

Store Section: New Zealand

Appellation: Marlborough

Available: Everything Wine, Hillside Liquor Store, Vintage Spirits (Victoria)

Buy Online/Delivered To Your Door: Everything Wine

Alcohol: 12.5%

 

Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay: Updated

January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 9.1 – Best Buy/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0658.jpg
Price: $11.99 ($22.99 for the 1.5L Bottle)

About the Wine: There are few better Chardonnay’s under $15 in B.C. This wine shows balance through and through. It offer generous fruit, bright freshness, a creamy texture, layers of spice and hints of vanilla. It provides a complete taste experience from start to finish on the palate.

It’s a big brand, and one doesn’t normally associate an artisan approach to wines from a global giant, but this is the wine that built the Lindeman’s brand and they seem to understand that it is the pillar of the brands growth and stability. I have tasted, bought and enjoyed this wine for each of the last 8 vintages and it has yet to disappoint.

For those fearful of too much oak in Chardonnay, particularly Australian Chardonnay, there is nothing to fear here. The key to this wine is balance and enjoyment. Best Buy for sure!

Value: It would be a mistake not to trade up in price to this wine from the likes of Barefoot, Naked Grape, & Copper Moon and save yourself a buck by trading down in price from Yellow Tail or Woodbridge Chardonnay.

Added Value: There is added value in serving this wine if you are doing any of the following: getting married, having a group of people over or going to a party, snuggling up on the couch for movie night, or enjoying a girls night out.

Part of the Story: I remember when Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay first gained popularity in B.C. It was a part of the first wave of Australian wine back in the early 90’s and Wyndham’s Bin 222 Chard was king. B.C. has long been known to pay the lowest prices to suppliers. Bin 222 was growing by leaps and bounds with every passing year and Wyndham Estate found themselves without enough wine to match global demand. Instead of raising their prices they simply cut supply to markets that paid the lowest prices… first on the list, B.C.

Without the market leader present on the shelves consumers were looking for an alternative and Lindeman’s Bin 65 became that alternative. It was the number 1 selling Australian white wine right up until Yellow Tail stormed the beaches in the early 2000’s. From what I understand from the agent, Lindemans Bin 65 is once again the most popular Australian white wine.

The price for Lindemans Bin 65 in 1995, and this adds to why this gets a Best Buy rating, $9.99. The price today $11.99. An increase of only $2 over 20 years is amazing. An increase of only $2 over 20 years while maintaining quality is priceless.

Service: Chill to about 8C. In the event that you don’t have a thermometer handy, if there is condensation on the bottle when you take it out of the fridge, just wait a few minutes for it to warm up a bit and serve. For food pairings this has always been a favourite of mine with grilled chicken or roasted pork tenderloin, but best of all is pairing this with a big bowl of hot buttered popcorn.

Grapes: Chardonnay

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: South East Australia

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Everything Wine, Liquor Express, Metro Liquor, Liquor Depot

Buy Online/Delivered To Your Door: Everything Wine,  Metro Liquor, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 13%

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