June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
Have you ever watched the move My Summer In Provence? Every scene that involves a meal has a bottle of Rosé. It makes perfect sense because Rosé can be incredibly refreshing and wonderfully versatile. In fact Rosé goes with a broader spectrum of foods than does white (I know I know I am generalizing). So when the temperature rises to above 20C and the grass starts to bleach out, I get a craving for rosé.
As I strolled through my local wine shop I saw a signficant increase in the number of rosés from Provence, which is classic. Prices ranged from $15-$25 which is what I expected, but then I say a lonely wine from Gascogne. Not your typical rosé hotbed and you know how I love to find great values where they are unexpected, so I grabbed a bottle of the Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé.
Price ~ $18.99
Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers
If you follow me on Instagram (rod_phillips) you no doubt saw the photo I took of the wine. The colour is a deep rose, and the nose shows bright fruit of strawberry, raspberry. and currants, while the palate is fresh, alive and bursting with finesse and elegance. The finish shows all the fruit and is dry. It is not possible to not want more of this wine, as evidenced by my instagram photo. This is a highly shareable wine and my recommendation would be to have 6-10 bottles kicking around for when friends drop by as one will not be enough.
Grapes ~ I had to do some research for this one as the label doesn’t really tell you anything. Tannat, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec
Store Section ~ France
Availability ~ Private Stores only
January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
Today’s show is all about exploration without the risk. The world of wine is immense and encompasses far more than those that are top of mind like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz or Chardonnay. Today we feature a number of wines that represent great value, are likely not wines you have heard of before and are different enough from your favourites to be interesting, but similar to make you feel at home.
Episode 13 – Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Shout out to the teams at Lifecycles and Spinnaker’s for coming together to create Backyard Blend Cider. This is a cider made from apples collected from backyards throughout Victoria. It truly is a cider of the community and the taste of Victoria – well done!
Shout out to Chef Sam Harris at Agrius and his mussels. I had the wonderful experience of lunching there with a dear friend and I am a sucker for mussels. Done in a classic white wine sauce and served with Fol Epi’s world famous (certainly famous in my world) Boule. Heaven!
Shout outs to Keith, Deborah, Jason, Karin, Pam, Ernest & Jami for their continued engagement and lively discussion.
Segment 2 ~ A Side Step From Malbec/Shiraz
Here are some wines that are different enough from Malbec and Shiraz to be interesting but share their fruity depth and luscious body.
Nero D’Avola (Italy)
Cusumano – $16-$17 widely available at both private and government liquor stores.
Monte Nobile – $14 distributed mostly in government stores on Vancouver Island.
Montalto Nero-Cabernet – $11 widely available in both private and government liquor stores.
Luccarelli – $13 mostly available in government stores.
Mezzomondo – $9 widely available
Segment 3 – A Side Step From Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Lopez de Haro Crianza – $17-$18 available only in private stores and by the glass at Bodega by Trounce Alley in Victoria (great Charcuterie board for lunch if you are in the neighbourhood).
Campo Viejo – $15 widely available
Periquita – $9 widely available
Grao Vasco Dao – $9 widely available
Segment 4 – A Side Step From Chardonnay
Yalumba Y Series Viognier (Australia) – $18 widely available
Cono Sur Bicicleta (Chile) – $10 mostly available in government stores.
Best Buy of the Week
Grao Vasco Dao 2012 – $9 a true delight for a wine under $10. A wonderful glass that pairs well with grilled or roasted poultry, pasta, pizza even steak or a roast of beef.
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November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Wine is not a commodity. I know this isn’t a revelation but there seems to be a lot of people who assume that every 90+ point wine is going to blow their hair back or that a 90+ point wine priced at $15 is better than a 90+ point wine priced at $25. The reality is that your mood and the scenario within which you will be tasting the wine play a huge role in your value judgement of the wine. With that in mind I have decided to another nuance to my reviews, that being motivations.
Motivations: It’s been a hard week and its a dreary wet, chilling Friday. I could either go with something that is moody, a little stormy, heavy and brooding, or exactly the opposite; something bright, vibrant and juicy.
Dinner is a Turkey casserole the recipe of which came from a neighbour as a great way to enjoy Turkey leftovers. So the wine will have to work well with Turkey, gravy, stuffing, peas, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
Decision: Moody & Stormy – Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec
Store Section: Argentina
The Wine: The Uco Valley is one of my favourite regions in the world. It isn’t that far away from other wine growing areas surrounding Mendoza in Argentina. The wines offer amazing complexity and layers while being priced as well as others, and the Tinto Negro is no different.
The nose shows dark fruit with violets, hints of smoke, spice and cured meats, while the palate is full, multi-layered and round. The finish shows off the richness of the fruit along with subtle spice and floral tones. Overall this wine is a great wine for a slow moving, dreary evening and brooding, heavy mood.
Value: 8.7 – Over Delivers
Added Value: This has added value when paired with Movie Night, Comfort Foods, and dark misty nights.
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 7.8 – Over Delivers
As I strolled the aisles of the liquor store on a Saturday afternoon I came across this wine. What I was looking for was a Bonarda but in this store the Argentine red wine selection was limited to 30 Malbecs, 5 Cabs and 1 Syrah. Given that I was out of luck on the Bonarda, and dinner was fast approaching, I went looking for the wine that presented the best value for the money.What I mean by this is to find the wine with the best packaging, the highest accolades at the lowest price.
Ta Da! TintoNegro 2013 Malbec. At $13.99 and 90 Points from the Wine Advocate, the TintoNegro was the clear choice.
Tasting Notes Sipping: Deep dark purple, almost black in colour. The nose if brimming with a complex combination of dark berry and tree fruits, dark earth, leather and savoury herbs, that are at once bright and muscular. The palate big and boozy and full of power. The tongue is struck by the bold dark fruits wrapped in spicy leather… think of a spicy fruit leather.. without the big sugar. The finish is long, a bit boozy and brooding.
Tasting Notes with Food: This is a wine for a big thick steak. I particularly liked how this wine worked with a steak smothered in Montreal Steak spice. While sipping the fruit is somewhat muted, but with the steak and the spice the fruit shines through.
Value: For $13.99 you should buy this wine… perhaps by the case… assuming you like big boozy wines. If power and weight are key to your enjoyment, this offers both in spades and more so than most in this price point.
Added Value: This wine offers huge added value to BBQ’s and Comfort Foods. It also a nice choice for Date Nights.
Service: Twist off the cap and let breathe for about 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times. It is not common to aerate or breathe a wine at this price, but this is a testament to the quality of this wine.
Store Section: Argentina
Appellation: Mendoza – The Mendoza appellation encompasses all the sub-appellations in the Mendoza area including the highly touted areas of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.
Available: BC Liquor Stores
January 28, 2015 § 3 Comments
As much as I enjoyed this wine, I almost didn’t review it as I had trouble finding retailers whose price was below $20. I’m sure there are many out there, however the only one that with which I could confirm stock and a sub $20 price was the 16th Street Liquor Store in West Vancouver.
For a wine lover I really enjoyed this wine, but the question is does the quality of the wine justify the price or is it a great deal. The answer is that this wine is worth every penny at $20. Is it priced below its value, inconclusive.
Tasting Notes Sipping: You immediately know you are dealing with a serious wine by the colour; it is dark purple, almost black. The nose shows dark, masculine fruits and spice and gives you the impression that this wine is not to be trifled with. This isn’t your whimsical little happy wine, there is some Johnny Depp like angst in this wine. The palate is big, bold and richly textured. I tasted this over three days and it didn’t lose a step at all. The fruit flavours are intense black plum and black, ripe cherry that are married with earthy, leathery, sultry tones. The finish is long and languid, showing structure, spice and fruit.
Tasting Notes with Food: I had a plan when I got this bottle. My plan was to justify a big thick steak and it worked. Simply prepared, thrown on the grill with some salt and pepper and accompanied with a simple spinach salad and good hearty bread. It was a great match. It seemed like the wine on its own was restrained, it was holding something back, but with the steak the genie in the bottle was released. The fruit flavours showed bright intensity. The texture showed its sensitive side and became a loving, velvety caress. For $20 with a steak (total ~$30) this wine over delivered.
Value: The Kaiken was worth every penny when served with the steak. If a steak is part of your dinner plans, treat yourself, value yourself, and get this bottle. On the other hand if you are looking for something to sip while watching TV or having an everyday meal, then save yourself a few bucks and get either Alamos Malbec if you want Malbec, or the Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cab.
Added Value: This wine really shines when the BBQ is a light. You can almost hear it struggling to get into your glass.
More To The Story: Kaiken is the Argentinean property of the Montes family of Chile. After decades of making incredible wines in Chile (if you ever find yourself with a spare $70 burning a hole in your pocket, get a bottle of Purple Angel. I promise that you will absolutely love it!). The family opened their wings and flew over the Andes and picked up the property that is now Kaiken. You would think that all the experience of making wine in Chile would totally influence how Kaiken is grown and made, however in a bit of a reversal, Kaiken forever changed how Montes is grown and made.
A majority of the best vineyard sites in Argentina are at elevation or on the mountainsides. Until the 90’s most vineyards in Chile were in the valley’s. The quality of the wines coming out of Kaiken was like a light bulb going off. Pioneering wineries like Montes soon started planting hillside vineyards to great success.
A Kaiken is a wild goose that flies over the Andes between Chile and Argentina. This wine is very appropriately named as it’s spirit is in one heart but on both sides of the mountains.
Score: 7.4 – Good Drop
Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for 45 min to an hour. Alternatively run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times. As I mentioned above this wine held its own and even improved the longer it was open. Serve at room temperature.
Store Section: Argentina
Available: 16th Street Liquor Store, Guildford Station Liquor Store (not sure of price), The Strath Ale (not sure of price), Wine & Spirits (not sure of price), Everything Wine Victoria (not sure of price)
Buy Online: 16th Street Liquor Store
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January 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 7.2 – Good Drop
About the Wine: Your sniffer will immediately find a masculine wine. Lots of dark brooding aromas including, leather, black and blueberry compote, black pepper and clove spice. The palate is also quite brooding, almost like a big summer storm coming over a lake. Ripe to stewed black fruits, spicy leathery notes, a little hot/boozy which gives the wine a more voluptuous feel than it is. The finish is short, port like, lacking in tannins and a little boozy.
Value: This isn’t first time I have seen this wine. In fact it has been in the market before, but only available through private stores. The BC Liquor Stores have bought 300 cases of this wine for a January promotion called Savvy Shopper and I suspect they got a special price. At $9.99 I think it offers better value than perennial powerhouse Fincas Los Primos at $11.99. I also think it is a better, truer buy than Copper Moon, Naked Grape, Barefoot or Flip Flop Malbec (all priced at $9.99)
Added Value: For the month of January this wine has added value when having a big thick, Argentine-like steak or Comfort Foods like Mac N’ Cheese.
More To The Story: La Vuelta is made by one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. Bodega La Rural was established with the arrival of the first Italian immigrants to the Mendoza area of Western Argentina. I visited with them a few years back and tasted through their entire line, which were all clean and well made. What impressed me most was the winemaker. He had been crafting wines for Bodega La Rural for 20 years. Why is that important? Wine is an art that takes time to perfect. Of course there is the science of fermentation but wine is a living thing. Being able to craft a consistent quality product means understanding the land in a way that a book can not do. I liken it to a conversation with the grapes that is hosted by the vineyard and Mother Nature. It’s invitation only and invitations are hard to get it. Mariano di Paolo gets an invitation every year.
Service: Twist off the cap and let it roll. The tannins are very light so breathing won’t have much of an effect.
Store Section: Argentina
Available: BC Liquor Stores
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