February 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
There was a time when I craved Pinot Grigio. I loved it citrus, mineral flavouring and the freshness with which it greeted my palate. Then came along a tsunami of Pinot Grigio’s trying capitalize on the grapes global popularity and I quickly lost interest.
A couple of week’s ago I was tasting a number of wines to pair with the cheeses that we have in the fridge. I tasted the next glass and recognized it as a classic Pinot Grigio and wouldn’t you know it, it comes from Italy.
The Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio is a true delight that over delivers for the price.
Price ~ $14.99
Score ~ 7.2/10 Over Delivers
Aromas of citrus, melon and ripe pear that are matched on the palate with some lovely minerality near and through the finish.
Chill this wine, but if it comes out of the fridge with some condensation, let if warm up a bit for best results.
I had this with some Gouda, Swiss, Parmesan and Saint André (it was on sale), and the Santa Cristina worked beautifully with the Saint André as well as the Parmesan (I’m sure there is no surprise there). I also had it with some Mac N’ Cheese, and then some chicken wings and it over delivered on both occasions.
Grapes ~ Pinot Grigio
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ Both public and private stores
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December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I say the word Shiraz what do you think of? Probably Yellow Tail right? I have a very clear recollection of the Aussie wave that hit our shores in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Every Shiraz coming into the market seemed to fit a very thin taste spectrum. I remember thinking that could be a big mistake. As it turned out, like most things, people tired of the same flavour and body and started to migrate to Malbec thus insuring the rapid decline of Australian wine fortunes in BC.
The fact is that only those Shiraz’s manufactured to taste the same year after year do. 99% of Shiraz made in Australia is not manufactured and actually reflects the region and winery it comes from.
I know that the Grey Label is outside of the $20 but holy crap does it represent a great value. Close your eyes here comes some dorky terms – very well balanced, bright acidity, dense flavours and aromas from start to finish. This is the whole package and thoroughly enjoyable.
Price ~ $29-$33
Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy
Unscrew the cap and let this wine breathe for a few minutes (10-15) and you will be well rewarded. Stick your nose right in the glass and take a deep breathe. What you will notice is the scent of blueberry, blackberry, ripe plum, black cherry, black pepper, violets, lavender, and just a hint of cured meat. I know, I know it seems like there couldn’t be all that, but there is.
The palate is bright yet full and ripe and the finish is juicy with just a kiss of spice and sultry smoke.
Grapes ~ 100% Shiraz
Store Section ~ Australia
Availability ~ Both government and private stores.
Food ~ Roasted or grilled lamb, Duck, even Turkey, Aged Cheddar.
Acknowledgements: Stacey Brennan, Pam Sanderson, Ernest Sargent, Brianna Kirby, Jami Wood, Karin Kallio, Angela Phillips, Patti Raffle.
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December 18, 2015 § Leave a comment
As we are coming to the end of 2015 I took a few moments to look back at my posts. It dawned on me that I haven’t done much on white wines at all. With this happy justification in my pocket I trundled off to the liquor store.
So where to start looking for white wine? I walked down the BC aisle and saw lots of options. Then it dawned on me that the best place to find something white lurking in shadows of stardom was in the New Zealand category.
Sauvignon Blanc makes up the vast majority of sales of New Zealand wine here in BC. Of Sauvignon Blanc sales the overwhelming leaders are Kim Crawford and Oyster Bay. Both great wines, but I kind of look at them as the baseline of quality and price by which competitors should be gauged. To that end I looked through a number of offerings, and narrowed my choices down to a couple that I know are small producers not owned by big conglomerates. I selected the Sileni Estate 2014 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Price ~ $15.99
Score ~ 8.6/10 Over Delivers
The nose is brimming with vibrant gooseberry and grass. I say vibrant as if, it were possible, the aromas were vibrating with energy, just waiting to get out of the glass.
The palate is crisp and alive leaving your mouth feeling refreshed and great. I’m sure that I smiled shortly after my first taste.
Given that both Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford are normally a couple of bucks more per bottle, this wine way over delivered.
Grapes ~ 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Store Section ~ New Zealand
Availability ~ Both private and government stores.
Food Pairing ~ White fish, fresh oysters, pasta with creamy sauces, fish tacos.
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If there is a wine you would like reviewed please let me know.
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November 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
What makes some people incredible accountants, lawyers, plumbers and entertainers? I don’t have the answer, but I do know that everyone who is fantastic at their jobs brings a special quality. Let’s face it every task can be broken down and learned, but some people just inject a little bit of
inspiration and magic in each step. In the wine world one of the great entertainers was Wolf Blass.
If could be argued Wolf Blass is introduced the beauties and simplicity of wine to more people than anyone else. First he crafted very easy to enjoy wine. Then he made himself available to anyone who wanted to learn more. Finally he tirelessly entertained consumers around the world and made wine approachable to everyone.
When I saw this wine I read the back label and found that it is an homage to Wolf Blass himself and so I jumped at the opportunity to try it.
Hopefully it entertains the palate as much as he entertained the world.
Notes: The wine pours into the glass a dark purple with cherry red hues. The nose betrays the juicy, fruit forward, hedonistic wine this turned out to be. Aromas of juicy red and black berries, pastry and hints of smoky
pepper join a rich, textured palate to make a very enjoyable glass.
I would highly suggest this wine for a romantic comedy movie night or when you have friends over for light and enjoyable evening. It speaks well to fun loving nature of Wolf himself.
Score: 7.5/10 ~ Over Delivers
It pairs really well with mild cheeses, hot dogs, grilled chicken and
mashed potatoes, and plenty of comfort foods.
If you have the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know your thoughts.
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
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PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.