June 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
6.6/10 ~ Good Drop & I Like It!
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.
June 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
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
Available: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor
May 27, 2015 § 1 Comment
I picked up this wine to indirectly honour the efforts put in by the sale rep here on Vancouver Island. As a former sales rep I can appreciate how much planning and elbow grease it takes to get a new wine to the market in so many stores in such good position.
Tasting Notes: The colour is purple with crimson hues, and nose is brimming with ripe purple and red fruits. There is a whole lot of youth in this wine with just a little hint of spice on the finish. This is very much a sipping wine and less a food wine.
Value: It’s pretty decent value and definitely a good drop however I thought is a little to one dimensional to suggest that it over delivered or was a best buy.
Added Value: This has more value when applied to occasions that require a crowd pleaser wine or for snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie.
Food Pairings: As for food, this worked well with simpler medium weight foods such as veggie or Margarita pizza, creamy mild cheeses, and simple grilled chicken.
Service: Twist the cap and let breathe for 15 minutes or let it run through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Store Section: France
Appellation: Rhone Valley – Did you know that the Rhone Valley lies directly south of another famous French wine region – Burgundy. The story goes the Romans popularized the area as a wine growing region and that Emperor Probus is who introduced Syrah to the valley.
Syrah’s native home is a small town in Northern Iran called Shiraz. Probus loved the wines made from this grape and shipped vines from Iran to Gaul. It is said that he intended on planting these vines further north than the Rhone Valley, but the ship carrying the vines ran aground in the Rhone Valley and that is where the vines were planted. A happy accident for all of us.
Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre
Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.
Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Cork & Barrel
The Dork UnCorked
PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.
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.
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
Available Cascadia Colwood & Uptown.
Link to the original review: Buon Tempo 2010 Rosso di Montalcino
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
Available at Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Spinnaker’s James Bay.
Link to original review: Masia F Vino Tinto
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
Available in almost all private stores including Cascadia, Metro, Everything Wine, Hillside Liquor Store
Link to original review: Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah
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
Available in Cascadia, Metro Liquor, Hillside Liquor Store, Everything Wine.
Link to the original review: Casa Viva 2012 Pinot Noir
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
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!
March 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
It was a cold and rainy night. Seriously it was. After an unbelievably beautiful warm Spring, this day was cold, wet and miserable as is expected on the West Coast at this time of year. That inspired me to find an under $20 Washington State wine that would warm the soul with its power and elegance.
It is remarkable to me that the wines of Washington State are not more popular. Typically they feature robust Cabernets and Merlots, meaty Syrahs, and refined whites. I suppose part of the issue is the fact that most stores shelve the few Washington State wines that we have here in BC, in close proximity to the numerous California based offerings. However overshadowing, more often than not, has the effect of giving more bang for the buck.
Tasting Notes: The colour is deep dark reddish purple which immediately conveys power and intensity. The nose shows cherry, plum, cassis and just a hint of smoked meat and black pepper. The palate is rich, juicy and very well balanced. This is not a simple juice bomb but offers lots of juicy character with the added bonus of being elegant and fresh. Look for flavours of black cherry, plum and pepper to dominate. The finish is juicy and of medium length showing some sweet and bold tannins.
Value: This is a great wine for those who love big bold Cabernets but want something with a little more finesse and elegance than the juice bombs of California (Apothic, Cupcake Red Velvet).
Added Value: This wine would shine at a BBQ, with Comfort Foods and for a Date Night.
Food Pairings: This wine loves a big steak that is simply seasoned with Salt and Pepper or Montreal Steak Spice. This is also a great choice for Spaghetti and Meat Balls, Pizza and, of course, Sunday Night Roast Beef.
Service: Open this up and let it breathe for about 15-20 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times.
Store Section: Washington State or USA
Appellation: Walla Walla
Available: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor
March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
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
March 9, 2015 § 1 Comment
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