May 14, 2016 § Leave a comment
I asked Linda what are the two wines that best showcase where Vancouver Island wines have been, where they are going and give reason to believe that the future is bright… oh and are must tries for anyone exploring Vancouver Island wines.
White ~ Rocky Creek Pinot Gris
Tasting Notes: “This is one of our best sellers due to its uniqueness in colour. A short skin contact has enhanced the mouth feel and results in a beautiful hint of salmon colour, which is getting to be very on trend. It balances well with so many foods. Full and smooth on the palate with loads of fruit flavours that continue through a long tangy finish.This wine really showcases our regional characteristics.”
Red ~ Averill Creek Pinot Noir
Tasting Notes: “Delicate but intense. Elegant yet earthy. Our Pinot Noir opens with an alluring bouquet of dark berries & violets, leather & butterscotch. The silky, medium-bodied palate features rich black cherry & ripe plum flavours, finished with a touch of spice & soft, supple tannins. Delightful alongside grilled salmon, beef bourguignon, roasted fowl or sautéed mushrooms.”
the Dork UnCorked
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.
April 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
After meeting the Queen, what do you do? Well for Bailey Williamson, winemaker at Blue Grouse Wines, you become a chef, then get your start in the wine business working vintage in the Barossa Valley of Australia.
What you will notice when you listen to the show (click here for link to podcast version) is how curious and learned Bailey is on all things that come together to impact the quality of the wine he grows and makes.
Prior to doing the show we had a great long chat that brought up so many fascinating topics that we could easily do 2 or 3 episodes. What follows is a summary of our on air discussion. Feel free to let us know what you think of the show and if you have any questions of Bailey or the Dork UnCorked by leaving them in the comments.
Segment 1 ~ Climate Change
Did you know that the Blue Grouse Winery has received 1 meter of rain since November 2015. That is in stark contrast to the Saanich Peninsula who has only received a fraction of that amount.
Climate change isn’t about year long averages, it is about extremes within the year. For instance the hallmarks of the 2015 vintage are extremely wet over the winter and extremely dry over the summer. A long dry summer is preferred to a wet one but the vines need some water at certain times in their annual cycle. For instance water is critical during verasion (time of ripening in the grape where the sugars start to develop; also the time when the grapes change colour. If a red wine grape, verasion is when the grape changes from green to red.). Not enough water and you don’t get sugar development, too much and you get a ton of foliage and the grapes develop too much sugar.
Segment 2 ~ 2015 Wines
I have said it before and I will say it again that I am very excited to taste the wines of the 2015 vintage no matter where they come from. 2015 is unique in that it is universally seen as one of the best vintages in recent memory. The truth to that is only found in tasting.
Recently Bailey bottled the 2015 Quill Rosé and the 2015 Estate Pinot Gris, both of which will be available for release in about 4-6 weeks. He also bottled the 2014 Pinot Noirs but that will be for another show that I’m thinking about… Island Pinots – what do you think?
The 2015’s are looking solid and full of flavour, but just out of interest the 2014 Quill Rosé is tasting at it’s best right now, yet there are only a few cases still floating around. That is the cruel reality of wine. Often when a wine is at its best is when it is hardest to find.
Segment 3 ~ Unique Wines
The new tasting room and winery at Blue Grouse opened last year and by all accounts is well worth a visit. What is interesting is that what sells most out of the tasting room is not what sells most out of a retail outlet or off a wine list.
Ortega, Siegerrebe (or as Bailey calls it a the winery Sieg), Bacchus and Muller Thurgau are not household names and, unless a person is already familiar with them, sit on the shelves in a retail store in deference to items like Pinot Gris. But in the tasting room these are big sellers.
Ortega and Siegerrebe are hybrids created for climates like ours here on the island. They don’t require the same amount of heat or length of growing season to get ripe as do grapes like Chardonnay, Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc. When you taste wines from grapes that are best suited to an area you can tell. They are vibrant, lively and delicious.
Segment 4 ~ Terroir
Recently Bailey and his colleagues enjoyed tasting Dr. Elizabeth Tomasino from Oregon State University (on the air we mention the Ducks but this was wrong, its the Oregon State Beavers). What became interesting was the discussion surrounding what is actually terroir (the concept that the combination of a particular region’s climate, geography, culture, and foods, create a unique flavour in a wine) and what is microbiology, or part of the winemaking process. The result was that we too often default to ‘terroir’ where the difference is actually made by the winemaker in the winery.
I put Bailey on spot by asking him what two wines that he has made, should everyone try? To get the answers you will have to listen to the show (click here for podcast).
Best Buys of the Week
This week we have two. First is the Quill 2014 Rosé, which although in short supply, is tasting at it’s peak.
Second is the L’Ostal Caze 2015 Rosé, absolutely stunning for its delicacy and finesse. Beautiful on a spring day.
the Dork UnCorked
February 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Second in the series that pairs wines under $20 with cheese that you likely have in your fridge. In Part Un we covered Cheddar, Parmesan and Flavoured Goat Cheese (in case you missed it, here is a link to Part Un). In Part Deux we get into Gouda, Brie and Swiss Cheese.
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Royal Bay Bakery – Royal Bay Bakery can be found at the corner of Lagoon Road and Metchosin Rd in lovely Colwood. From the outside it looks like any other bakery but it is truly the people that make and have made the difference.
David & Gwen opened the Barkery 19 years ago and have made a commitment to local, organic ingredients (they grow all their own herbs) and have been at the forefront of solar power in Victoria. Oh, and the goods they craft are extremely good. Stay away from the jelly donuts and there never seems to be enough to satisfy my craving.
Royal Bay Bakery is also where I buy my coffee beans and that leads me to the second shout out – 2% Jazz Coffee.
Sam Jones is the vibrant and gregarious proprietor and has been operating 2% Jass since 1996 and now has two locations (click the link above for details). His roasts are balanced and wonderfully aromatic. A simple shot of his espresso and a jelly donut and everything is right with the world.
Segment 2 ~ Wine For That Hunk of Gouda
Gouda, like most cheeses, has a wide range of flavours, however for our purposes I have focussed on the mild Gouda which, when I talk to the Cheesemongers, is the most popular of the Gouda family.
Mild Gouda is softer than parmesan meaning there is more moisture left in the cheese and it has a mild, nutty flavour that makes it very versatile.
The best red wine options for Mild Gouda are juicy wines with dark and red fruit flavours. Tannins should be mild and the finish should be juicy with a kiss of black pepper spice. To that end seek out either Aussie Shiraz or Languedoc Grenache. Here are two that I think offer the best bang for the buck when it comes to working with Gouda.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz (Australia) – $18
Three Winds 2009 Grenache (France) – $14
Over the years I have found that one varietal consistently works the best with mild Gouda and that is Riesling. In particular I recently found two BC Rieslings that were spectacular with Mild Gouda.
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Riesling (BC VQA) – $12
Gehringer Brother’s Private Reserve Riesling (BC VQA) – $14
Segment 3 ~ Brie
Brie is perhaps the cheese most associated with wine. It seems to be in every photo of wine and cheese and is easily the most common ‘special’ cheese. Creamy, sometimes nutty, but often buttery, Brie loves wines that have ripe fruit flavours and silky finishes. Here are a couple of recommendations from what is currently on the market.
Sibaris Pinot Noir (Chile) – $13
Paul Mas Grenache Noir (France) – $12
In terms of white wines, Brie has a special affinity for Chardonnay. Have you ever had a wedge of Granny Smith Apple with some Brie. Truly outstanding! Granny Smith Apple is a classic flavour in cool climate Chardonnay (BC, Ontario, Central Coast California, Chablis France, New Zealand & Coastal Chile).
On of my favourite Sunday morning breakfasts is fresh, flaky butter croissant and room temperature Brie with maybe some apple wedge or fresh strawberries if they are in season. Fresh pastry like Brioche, or Buttered Toast coupled with flavours of apple or pear (strawberry if you like Rosé Sparkling), are classic Champagne and Sparkling Wine made with Chardonnay, flavours.
I guess this is a long way to say that Chardonnay and Sparkling wines made with Chardonnay are fantastic with Brie. Let the Brie warm up so that it is creamy and you will be well rewarded.
Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay (BC) – $21, available in private stores only.
Grove Ridge Chardonnay (California) – $14, available in private stores only.
Segment 4 ~ Swiss Cheese/Emmental
Swiss Cheese is a little harder than Gouda and has a more distinct flavour. I particularly love wines with ripe, sweet fruit, a round silky texture and a little spice on the finish.
Simple Life Pinot Noir (California) – $14, available exclusively at government stores.
Mark West Pinot Noir (California) – $18, available in both private and government stores.
Cono Sur Viognier (Chile) – $13, available in both private and government stores.
Best Buy of The Week ~ Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio (Italy) – $15 available in private and government stores.
If there is anything that you would like us to cover on the show please let us know by dropping us a line either in the comments here, by email at email@example.com, on Facebook at DorkUncorked or on Twitter @dorkuncorked.
the Dork UnCorked
September 9, 2015 § 2 Comments
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
Food: Have this with roasted poultry, mild cheeses like gouda, soups, duck.
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!
February 21, 2015 § 2 Comments
Some of the best buys on the market sometimes are head scratchers. I bought this wine from Cascadia Langford. It caught my eye because of the packaging, the region and the winery. I took it home and eagerly anticipated my first sip. As you will see by the score, for the money, this is, in my opinion, a Best Buy so I contacted the proprietor under the assumption that it was a one time buy or that it was selling by the case and that there was only a few bottles remaining. Her response is the head scratcher “nope, not really moving.” If you love Pinot and would like to have one priced for everyday consumption, this is it. If you have heard lots about Pinot Noir but didn’t want to spend $20+ to get a good one, this is your wine. If you just want a great glass of wine, this is your wine.
Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is dark, bright red. The aromas show ripe black cherry, cola, white pepper, and the lovely scent of walking through the forest in fall. The palate is fresh, alive and of light to medium weight. The texture is soft which allows the aromas to express themselves as flavours on the palate. The finish is juicy, somewhat silky, but totally delicious.
Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with one of my favourite meals. When life insures that we eat a little later than usual, we feed the kids earlier, but wait to sit down to dinner after the fury of the evening is done so we can relax, enjoy each others company and the meal in front of us. Typically this means a simple selection of charcuterie like prosciutto, salami, liver pate, combined with some cheeses that are usually white cheddar, and either brie or Cambazzola. I cut up some baguette, pour some olive oil on to a plate and we are good to go.
The wine showed beautifully. The flavours were incredibly expressive while the body held up to the various fats and acids. The texture became silky and luxurious. For $15-$17, this is a great wine and you should get this one by the case.
Value: As a Best Buy this is an easy trade up from many wines under $14 no matter their type, and, in fact I would save myself a couple of bucks and choose this wine over many $18-$20 wines. I will never give up the diversity of wine for one wine, but I am adding this wine to my go to arsenal.
Added Value: This is an awesome wine as a Crowd Pleaser, would make a great Wedding Wine. Brilliant for Date Nights, Movies Night and certainly for when the Foodies come over. I would also suggest this wine as a great way to explore or introduce yourself or someone else to the beauty of the Pinot Noir grape.
Score: 9.1 – Best Buy
Service: Twist off the cap and let it breathe for a few minutes then enjoy.
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Store Section: Chile
Appellation: Casablanca Valley
Available: Cascadia Liquor Stores, Everything Wine
Buy Online: Everything Wine,
January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 8.6 – Over Delivers
About the Wine: Pinot Noir is a tough one to measure on the same scale as say a Shiraz or Chardonnay. The low-end, in terms of price for Pinot Noir is about $14.99. Pinot Noir is a very fickle grape and very difficult to make into great wine and very easy to make into terrible wine. Having said all that we are blessed here in BC to have the quality that we do right around the corner from us. This wine shows dense red and black cherry, hints of cassis, savoury spices and leather. Very complex for a wine at $14.99 and extremely complex for a $14.99 Pinot Noir.
The palate is lush and layered showing a classic silky texture expected by those who love Pinot Noir (we call them Pinot-philes). The finish is of medium length and features fruit, spice and silk all the way through to the end.
Value: Pinot Noirs, including this one are more cerebral than hedonistic, and thus one who is willing to let the aromas and flavours wash over them will enjoy it more than those looking for a big blast of fruit and alcohol. When I’m in a pensive, calm mood I would trade up in price from $13 wines for this wine every time. In relation to California Pinot Noirs that average $20 and up, I would grab the Red Barn over them during the week, but on the weekend, with a special meal, I would stick with the $20 range.
Added Value: This is a great wine for when the ‘Foodies’ are coming over or if you want to introduce yourself and friends to the potential of the Pinot Noir grape.
More To The Story: Each year one of the world’s most prestigious wine magazines, Decanter, has its world wine awards. Each year Master’s of Wine, Master Sommeliers, Media and Sommeliers blind taste through thousands of wines to come up with the best in each class and the best overall. In 2013 Martin’s Lane 2011 Pinot Noir made by my friends at Mission Hill in the Okanagan, won World’s Best Pinot Noir. That is no small feat when you consider the pedigree of Burgundy. The Red Barn Pinot Noir comes from the same vineyard as the Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir. Maybe get a case.
Service: Serve at room temperature and if it is a hot day, chill it down in the fridge for a few minutes. As for food my preference is a simple roasted chicken, but local wild salmon will work as well.
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Store Section: VQA
Available: Cascadia Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store
Buy Online: Legacy Liquor Store.
The Dork UnCorked provides fun and useful reviews of wines that retail under $20 and are available in B.C. If you would like these delivered daily to your e-mail in-box, feel free to subscribe to the blog.