Black Hills 2014 Syrah

September 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

black-hills-2014-syrahThe main thrust of this blog is to weed through the masses of under $20 wines to find the true values. Having said that, every so often I come across a wine that is over $20, that grabs my attention and excitement. This is one of those wines.

Released to the market in the last week the Black Hills 2014 Syrah. Black Hills has a long history of producing great wines including Nota Bene, so I was really looking forward to tasting this year’s release of the Syrah.

I will cut right to the chase, I was totally enthralled with this wine. I was expecting a meaty, leathery Syrah with some big aggressive tannins; after all it is a new release. What If found was a wine with wisdom beyond its years.

Deep purple in the glass and ripe fruit aromas with hints of smoked meat and tobacco leaf. The palate was deep and engaging with a finish that showed finesse and the quality of the fruit.

I could easily see purchasing this wine as a gift or for a special evening like a date night or celebrating one of life’s victories. I’m even motivated to get on the Black Hills mailing list, and get myself a case as I don’t think this will last long in the market, even though the price will be $35-$45 in private stores… if you can find it.

Price ~ $35-$45

Score ~ 8.9/10 Points – Best Buy

The reason I would buy a case of this as I would be really curious to see how this wine develops over time. The vineyards for this wine are primarily sandy which is great for fully developing fruit flavours and ripening, but makes developing the acidity necessary for aging a challenge. When I taste this the acid is bright and lively, and I suspect that this wine will age well.

As for food, we had this with a pork roast and root vegetables and it was awesome. The fats in the pork roast allowed the fruit and savoury flavours in the wine to shine through.

Grapes ~ Syrah

Availability ~ Fine Wine Stores, Restaurants, Winery

Store Section ~ BC, VQA

Cheers

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Next Up: Tasting Aged Wines

Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé

June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Domaine de PellehaudHave 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

Cheers

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Clos des Miran 2013 Visan Cotes du Rhone-Village

June 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

Clos de Miran VisanAs you know the purpose of this blog is to provide useful reviews of wines under $20. The goal is to weed through the plethora of inexpensive wine to find the true values. This wine perfectly encapsulates this.

This wine didn’t have a sale tag but, for those in the know, it is significantly under priced for it’s appellation. Cotes du Rhone-Villages is one cut above Cotes du Rhone, yet most Cotes du Rhone’s on the market are in the $20 range. With that in mind, this wine had all the potential of being a truly magical find.

Price ~ $14.99

Score ~ 6.8 Good Drop

It is a good wine, but it didn’t wow me like I was hoping. For the cork dork looking for elegance and finesse as expressed by bright acidity and relatively delicate palate, this is a great wine. However for those looking for the boldness one comes to expect from Rhone wines, you will not find it here.

I loved exploring this wine as it unfolded on my palate. Cerebraly it kept my attention glass after glass, but it left friends  over for a barbeque, wonting.

The nose shows savoury spices, raspberry and dark plum. The palate is medium bodied and filled with complexity if you choose to let it show.

For food pairings, this is great for chicken and pork on the grill and certainly cheeses like mild Gouda.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both private and public stores.

Cheers

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Cote Mas 2014 Languedoc

April 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Cote Mas Languedoc

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.

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I first came into contact with the brand Cote Mas a few years ago when I was the buyer for a chain of liquor stores. I was introduced to a wine called Cote Mas Intense and man was it intense. For a while there we were moving 15-20 cases/week. The wine was a mouthful of ripe raspberry, cherry and black plum with a generous crushing of black pepper. If am not mistaken it was 70%+ Grenache and it was great.

This wine shows more finesse and I suspect, it is attempting to show that the Languedoc is not just neon paint thrown against a canvas, rather that the Languedoc can also produce wines that are gentle brushstrokes of nuanced shadows and light.

Price ~ $14

Score ~ 7.8/10 Over Delivers

The nose is brimming, almost restrained, with bright ripe raspberry, blueberry and plum. While the palate is well layered, shows finesse and structure. There are no holes in this wine and it finishes with a delightful burst of fruit, pepper and savoury spices.

I would not hesitate to buy this wine again even if it was a couple bucks more, but please don’t change the price. I’m having friends over for a BBQ and I would love to serve it to them. I know that the group has a vegetarian, a few steak lovers, definitely some who default to chicken burgers, and this wine will please them all.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mouvedre

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both public and private stores

Cheers

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.

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L’Ostal Cazes 2015 Rosé Pays D’Oc

April 7, 2016 § 1 Comment

L'Ostal Cazes RoséI was so excited to taste this wine. Not only is rosé a perfect fit for recent stretch of weather, but it is one of the first 2015 Rosés to hit the shelves.

Price ~ $15

Score ~ 7.5/10 Over Delivers

The colour is a pale pink rose and the aromas are of fresh strawberries, cherries and a dash of spring flowers. The palate is lively and vibrant with the finish showing how finely balanced this wine is.

I couldn’t help but feel optimistic about what the summer will hold when tasting this wine. It just puts a smile on your face and if you have it in the backyard it will transport you to a seaside picnic in the south of France.

As for food, I had this with a simply grilled chicken that was marinated for a number of hours in lemon, lime and orange juice, white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon and rosemary harvested from the backyard…. and it was perfect.

Grapes: 50% Grenache 50% Syrah

Store Section: France

Availability: Exclusive to Government Stores 

Cheers

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.

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Ermelinda 2014 Monte da Baia

April 1, 2016 § 2 Comments

Monte da Baia RedCastelao, Castelao, Castelao! If you say that 3 times fast wine miracles happen I promise.

I was in the liquor store the other day and ran into a friend of mine who is on the floor as a product consultant. It was great to catch up to her and I was reminded that we are all looking for a great glass of wine.

I told her I was looking for a killer wine but it had to be under $20. She looked both ways, looked back at me and said, “come over here.” We silently strolled past a few other people in the store and went to the Portuguese section. She silently reached down and picked the bottle up. After staring at it with a smile for a few seconds she handed it to me and said “this one.”

Price ~ $11.29-$12.99

Score ~ 7.4/10

This one is called Monte da Baia from the Ermelinda winery in Portugal. It is a blend of Castelao, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. The nose shows blackberry, plum and black cherry. The spice offers some dark cocao, but what is truly amazing is this sense that I’m tasting the soul of mother nature. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m telling you there is an earthy sense, that slows the heartbeat to slow down, makes you feel connected to something more than a collection of grapes, tanks, a label and some words.

For food I would suggest simply grilled steak, or chicken with BBQ sauce. A roast ham would do well to. Perhaps a Ham and Pepperoni pizza.

Grapes ~ Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Syrah

Store Section ~ Portugal

Availability ~ both public and private stores.

Cheers

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.

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Knock Out 2014 Red Wine

March 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

Knock Out YeclaI’m always on the lookout for a bill buster wine that over delivers, so when I was cruising through my local store and came across Knock Out 2014 at $8.99, it was just cheap enough and unique enough to catch my attention.

I have had, and enjoyed, a number of wines from Bodegas Castano in the past, so when I saw their name attached to this wine I was sure I was in for a treat.

This is wine is fairly priced. If you are okay with fairly priced then this is a good wine. However I was looking for something that over delivered for the price and I just don’t think this wine did.

Price ~ $8.99

Score ~ $6.3/10 Good Drop

The nose showed dark cherries and red berries with a hint of savoury herbs. The palate is medium bodied and well balanced, and the finish was okay with a touch of fruit flavour.

As for food, this would work okay with lighter comfort foods like simple grilled chicken with BBQ sauce, simple think crust pizza, that sort of thing.

Grapes ~ Monastrell (Mouvedre), Syrah

Store Section ~ Spain

Availability ~ Exclusive to BC Liquor Stores

Cheers

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.

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Perrin 2014 Ventoux

February 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Perrin VentouxOne of my favourite events each summer is the Tour de France. Every couple of years the race features one of the most difficult cycling climbs on the planet – Mount Ventoux. It is a heart crushing, leg grinding climb that is not for the faint of heart.

I really enjoy road cycling and would someday like to attempt the climb up Mount Ventoux. I was strolling through the wine shop the other day and found a key part of my training regimen; the wines of the Ventoux. I understand that the grapes grown on Mount Ventoux have magical powers when it comes to strengthening one’s legs.

The Perrin family has vineyards throughout the Rhone Valley and is best known for Chateau Beaucastel which is the iconic wine of Chateauneuf du Pape. The grapes for the Ventoux are grown on the hillsides of Mount Ventoux.

Price ~ $16

Score ~ 7.9/10 Over Delivers

The aromas a brooding and somewhat moody. By all means give this wine time to breathe as there is a great story to be told if only you wait for it. Dark ripe and stewed fruits like plums. berries and blackberries open on the palate and are then enhanced by earthy, spicy flavours along with hints of smoked meat.

This is not a big heavy wine, rather it is bright but with a moody side. I loved this with anything with smoked paprika or bacon. I really loved this with a simple cheese and charcuterie plate. Fantastic!

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ private stores only

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Cheers

 

Tormaresca 2013 Trentangeli

February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tormaresca TrentangeliI was feeling like I was on top of the world. The sun was out, the kids were happy, business was positive and I wanted something that had some depth, substance and a strong sense of destiny. As I was strolling the Italian section I saw the Tormaresca Trentangeli. I have had and enjoyed the Tormaresca Neprica ($14-$16 private stores only) on a number of occasions and loved it, so I thought I would put on my wings of exploration and take on the Trentangeli.

Price ~ $18

Score ~ 8.2/10 Way Over Delivers

The Neprica is a blend of Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo, whereas the Trentangeli is a blend of Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and the difference is striking.

Trentangeli and Neprica share a well balanced nature with a vibrant heart, but this is where any similarities end. Trentangeli is dark, deep, substantive with a well defined body. As I was filled confidence and feeling bold this was the perfect wine for me.

Black in the glass with aromas of blackberry, ripe plum, black currant/cassis, savoury spices, hints of smoked meat. The palate shows depth, structure and some muscle, the kind of muscle that suggests that any challenge is welcome.

My mood called for a meal that would stick to my ribs. Something like steak, a hearty pasta, cheesy dishes, roast Pork or pork chops. In my case we had a grilled steak and it was fantastico!

Oh and here is a bonus – the grapes for this wine are organically grown.

Grapes ~ Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ both private and government stores.

When you head out looking for this wine, please let the store know who sent you.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked.

The Entertainer 2012 Red Blend

November 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

What makes some people incrediblethe entertainer red blend 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.

Price: $17-18

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.

Section: Australia

If you have the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers

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