February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
I was chatting with a colleague in Vancouver, and inevitably the conversation turns to the weather. We have enjoyed a beautiful week and as my colleague said “the sun comes
out and people are nice, happy and greet you on the street.” This conversation inspired me to go a pick up a bottle of one of my all time fave ‘happy and greet you on the street’ type of wines, the Campogrande Orvieto.
The Campogrande Orvieto is a white wine which comes out of the Orvieto region of Umbria in Central Italy. It is a blend of Grechetto (Gre – ketto) and Trebbiano. Strangely if we were to turn the clock back 5 -10 years not only would I be able to bound up the stairs, but 90% of all the Italian white wines on the shelf would have been either a Trebbiano or a Trebbiano blend, like Orvieto.
Orvieto, like Trebbiano and Gavi have mostly been pushed out of the market in favour of a plethora of lifeless Pinot Grigios. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of great Pinot Grigio’s on the shelf, but there are just too many wines capitalizing on the popularity of PG and are pushing out truly awesome wines like those of the Orvieto.
Price ~ $16-$17
Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers
The Campogrande, actually Santa Cristina Campogrande, should be served just chilled, not cold, to showcase the wonderful melon, bartlett pear, hints of citrus and minerality. The nose is a little shy at first and that is how you will know that the wine is too cold. If you don’t get the generous aromas, then it is too cold.
The palate is crisp and refreshing and just feels good in the mouth. So good that it might be difficult to only have one glass. The finish shows more of the minerality and just a kiss of melon.
Pair this wine with light pastas, caprese salad with Arugula, and simply grilled prawns or scallops, this is also an awesome choice with a classic Ceviche.
Grapes ~ Grechetto, Trebbiano
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ Private stores only.
If you do get the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know what you think.
the Dork UnCorked
December 24, 2015 § 3 Comments
Truth be told I am a bubble head (as if you didn’t know that already), and I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if everyone enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine a day.
I was in a bit of a funk the other day and my spirits needed lifting so I endeavoured to find a sparkling wine that would put a smile on and in my mouth and a skip in my step. Enter Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay.
Price ~ $21-$22
Score ~ 8.6/10 Over Delivers
The packaging isn’t all fancy and it comes with a classic beer cap instead of a big cork with a cage around it. Simply pop the cap off and immediately your spirits will lift.
The aromas (scent) is brimming with fresh apples, bartlett pears and hints of citrus. Isn’t this the combination aromatherapy uses to bring one’s energy up… I see a trend here, alas I digress.
The mousse (the head if you are a beer drinker) is made up of thousands of tiny bubbles that dance upon the palate while also making the texture a little softer and creamier. The juicy, citrus flavours come alive and heighten the senses.
As you can tell I truly loved this wine and will be making a regular around the house.
Grapes ~ 100% Chardonnay
Store Section ~ Sparkling Wine
Availability ~ Limited, Private Stores including Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Spinnakers, Cork & Barrel and Caddy Bay Liquor.
the Dork UnCorked
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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.
November 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
One of the things I truly love about my journey through the world of wine, is having my ‘knowledge’ challenged. It seems that as humans, in order to form an opinion we must collect a few seeds of ‘solid’ knowledge on a subject. From these seeds grows our beliefs of what is true. This was my introduction to the grape Graciano. It was early on in my journey and the seeds planted were from the proprietor of Rioja based winery.
Rioja is a region in the north of Spain and is certainly world renowned. The wines are governed by the rules of Denominacion de Origen Califcada (DOC) and at the time to be called Rioja the wine must be a blend of Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano, with Tempranillo making up at least 60% of the blend. Graciano traditionally made up a fraction of the blend. Why? Well as the proprietor told me Graciano on its own “tastes like wet woolly socks at worst and dry wooly socks dipped in plum juice at best.” It has been almost 20 years since then, but I have continued to hold true that Graciano was nothing to get excited about. That was until last week.
I was happily walking through one of my local stores looking for the unusual, the lesser known, because my experience has always told me that this is where you find the best deals. A very nice staff person that I trust to point me in the right direction suggested that I try the Rio Madre 2012 Rioja Graciano.
Price Paid: $14.99
Notes: Pleasure is part of the fabric of being who we are and thus as our lives weave the tapestry that will be our story, different things provide pleasure. I have spent the last couple of years shedding the shackles of the expected and making a living by changing longstanding truths and behaviours. In other words life has been a wild, fully flavoured ride. As good as this sounds, a wild ride doesn’t always meet ones needs or desires.
I pulled open the cork and let the wine breathe for about 15 minutes and poured a generous glass – it had been a wilder day than normal – and I immersed myself in the aromas. There is indeed a wildness to the wine, but also a timeless, natural beauty. Aromas of black fruits, plums and floral tones blend with the untamed spicy essence of drylands.
The body of the wine is rich but balanced. As the wine washes over your tongue you will get the sense of wild fruit like blackberries found in the back woods at the end of a long dry summer, combined with refined layers of plum, spice and a hint of hickory.
I really really enjoyed this wine and highly recommend it to others, especially those feeling a glint of excitement from the wild side of life.
Rating: 8.25/10 ~ Over Delivers
Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores
Section of the Store: Spain
If you happen to try this wine, please let me know what you think, and if you have any questions or want a specific wine researched, drop me a line.
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.
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