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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Cal Y Canto 2012

January 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.2 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0670.png

Price: $11.99

About the Wine: This wine is a dark ruby purple in the glass. The nose shows fruit aromas bright red berry and ripe Italian plum. The nose also shows white and black pepper, leather, savoury herbs and just the slightest hint of smoked meat. The palate is velvety, round and delivers bold fruit flavours with subtle herbs and spice. The finish is of medium length, soft tannin and dried figs.

Value: This wine, for those that know it, has become one of the most popular Spanish wines to hit the BC market in the last few years. For those looking for a little more finesse and style in their wines, a trade up of $1 to $2 from $10 Argentine Malbec or Barefoot Shiraz is well worth it and highly recommended.

Added Value: For those serving Chicken or Fish at their upcoming wedding this is a great choice for a red wine. A date night that features a plates of cheeses, charcuterie, and prawns, here is your wine… especially if chocolate is to follow. This wine shines when served with comfort foods. A Saturday afternoon treat for me is a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of Cal Y Canto.

More To The Story: You have heard of the concept of terroir? Basically it states that a wine’s character, soul, aroma and flavour are a function of the soil and climate of the vineyard it comes from. In the case of Cal Y Canto I would add another component; the people.

Some of the best wines that I tasted during my travels through Spain as a buyer were at the local wine co-op for a village or collection of villages. I found many wines that had an uncommon ‘truth’ to them. It seems that the simple act of contributing the fruit of one’s labour to be a part of a community wine, gives the community wine an added element. Cal Y Canto comes from just such a place in the middle of Spain’s largest wine growing region- La Mancha.

Service: Twist of the cap and let breathe for about 10 minutes or run it through

Grapes: Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: Castilla La Mancha

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores, Hillside Liquor Store, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store, Beverly Corners Liquor Store

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

Alcohol: 12.0%

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Gabbiano 2011 Chianti Classico

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.2 – Over DeliversGabbiano Chianti Classico 2011
Price: $17.99-$19.99

About the Wine: What a delightful wine. Classic notes of sour cherry and fresh plum, dried herbs and violets. Hints of leather and oak combine with the fresh fruit on the finish.

Value: Pay the extra dollar or two, and buy this by the case. Most Chiantis are priced $14-$16, but most Chianti Classico is over $20 which means this could have been a dud, but it way over delivers for the price.

Added Value: There is added value to those who are foodies. This wine seems to have been made to have with a meal, break some bread and dream of tomorrows to come.

Service: Let breathe for at least 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi and serve at room temperature. If you live in the desert and it is over 25C in the house/on the patio chill it down a few degrees. As for a food pairing, I had this wine with a simple plate of prosciutto, olives, baguette and Asiago and it was divine. Sometimes simplicity is the best thing when it comes to food and wine pairing.

Grapes: Sangiovese

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Chianti Classico

Available: BC Liquor Stores (Multiple), Everything Wine , Hillside Liquor Store (Victoria), Beverly Corners Liquor Store

Buy Online: Everything Wine (Multiple)

Alcohol: 14.0%

Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

January 8, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 9.1 – Best Buy /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0660.png
Price: $9.99-$10.99

About the Wine: Juicy, seductive, spicy, layered sub $15 bliss. The nose shows generous lush dark plum, blackberry and black pepper, while the palate is lush. The complexity of this wine suggests $15/bottle easily. It does the job from start to finish. Speaking of the finish, it is very long for an $11 wine, and leaves you with a spicy, juicy kiss goodbye.

I recall a time about 10 years ago when I was an importer and we carried this winery and wine. The price then was $14.99 and we had trouble keeping it in stock. At $10.99/$11.99 this is a steal. Best Buy indeed.

Value: Put down the Fincas Los Primos or Copper Moon Malbec and trade up to this wine. In fact I would save myself a buck or two and choose this wine over Beringer Stone Cellars Cab Sauv or the Vina Maipo Carmenere.

Added Value: Those who would serve this as a wedding wine or having a BBQ will find extra value in this wine.

Service: Twist off the cap, wait 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Grapes: Carmenere, Syrah

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store,Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express, Liquor Depot

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

Alcohol: 12.5%

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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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Hardy’s Riesling Gewurztraminer

January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.2 – Over Delivers/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0657.jpg
Price: $10.99

About the Wine: For the money there are few light, fresh slightly sweet wines that can compete with this one. The nose is full of peach, pear and citrus fruit with hints of fresh spring flowers (I envision an old Irish Spring Soap commercial; do you remember those or am I dating myself?). The palate is light and fresh and bursting with fresh tropical fruit. The finish is, again, fruity but with a kiss of sweetness which makes it easy to reach for a second or third glass. The good news is that it is lighter in alcohol at 11.5% so having a second glass isn’t likely to put you under the table.

The balance between fresh lively fruit, freshness and subtle sweetness at this price means this wine Over Delivers. Why not a Best Buy you ask? Good question- it is definitely on the cusp of greatness. A few years back there would be no question of its Best Buy status, however in recent years, perhaps due to increased popularity around the world, the quality has dropped a little.

Value: This wine is worthy of a trade up in price from the likes of Copper Moon, Naked Grape and Barefoot Pinot Grigio, and it is worth a trade down in price from some of the big brand California wines like Beringer & Woodbridge Pinot Grigio. I would also suggest that this wine is a better buy than the Jackson-Triggs 2013 VQA Riesling-Gewurztraminer at $13.99.

Added Value: There are many scenarios where this wine will shine. Girl’s Night Out, Crowd Pleaser, Wedding Wines, Movie Night, Date Night, these are all occasions where this wine will offer greater value than just what is in the bottle.

Service: Chill down to about 8C. If there is condensation on the bottle when you take it out of the fridge, then let it warm up just a bit before enjoying. Serving food with this is fun as you can have some creamy cheeses like Brie, or you could enjoy some shellfish like prawns or shrimp. My fave pairing has been with fresh fruit on some light ricotta cheese.

Grapes: Riesling, Gewurztraminer

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: South East Australia

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

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

Alcohol: 11.5%

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Monasterio de las Vina Reserva 2006

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.4 – Over Delivers/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0654.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Reserva, in this case, means something and I like that. This wine has been barrel aged for at least 12 months and bottle aged for at least another 2 years given the vintage. The effect is to soften the rough edges that can be found in blends like this. The colour is deep ruby-red bordering on purple, while the nose is a cacophony red and purple fruits, spices, leather, herbs and purple flowers. The palate is complete as there are layers of flavours that unfold right from the attack through the mid-palate and the finish. The texture is firm but with soft edges; no hard angles. For the money this wine over delivers for the price. I didn’t give it a best buy because the wine lost its composure overnight and when I went back to it the next evening it wasn’t the same wine.

Value: There is a lot to this wine and it is well worth the $1 trade up from some of the $11-$14 wines on the market from California, Australia and Argentina. It is not for everyone so those looking for big generous gobs of fruit should look elsewhere. This wine is about finesse and nuances.

Added Value: All foodies take note of this wine. For you this is a Best Buy.

Service: Let this wine breathe for 20-30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi before enjoying. Have this with a big plate of paella, flat bread or small plates. It would be a mistake not to share this wine at the same table with others.

Grapes: Garnacha (Grenache), Tempranillo, Carinena

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: D.O. Carinena

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Beverly Corners

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

Alcohol: 13%

 

 

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