Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monthly Picks: October'15 - Argentina

This month we celebrate the well-priced, varied wines of Argentina by showcasing some of our recent favourites. From classic French varieties to home-grown grapes, Argentina can produce over-achieving wines at any price-point, though, our selections are all $16 or less (plus taxes) in BC.

Bodegas Catena 2013 Alamos Chardonnay - $13
Sourced from the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza, the wine does spend 6 months in a combination of American and French oak, imparting a myriad of spices on the finish and texture on the palate, balancing the bright, apple and peach flavours.
Icon Score

Pascual Toso 2013 Malbec - $13
A fruit-forward Malbec with ripe'n'tangy blackberry and chocolate-cherry liqueur aromas followed by a bright, yet, approachable palate of similar flavours and added earth, spice, vanilla and light oak notes. 
Icon Score

Michel Torino 2013 Cuma Torrontés - $14
A straight-forward, yet, impressively balanced Torrontés, sourced from organically farmed vineyards, offering an unctuous entry of plump, peaches and cream flavours leading to a citrus-y, refreshing finish where stonefruit, lemon zest and spice notes linger.
Icon Score

Michel Torino 2013 Don David Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - $14
Opens with a dense nose of cassis, blackberry, anise, pepper, toasted oak and Brazil nut aromas. Followed by a palate with similar flavours and a full-ish body from residual sugar that just stops short of being too sweet thanks to well-proportioned, fresh berry acidity and impressive, dusty tannins - especially for the price-point.
Icon Score

Viña Chela 2013 Reserve Malbec - $15
A supremely smooth and balanced wine for the price point with an unapologetic, easy-going demeanour that focuses on pleasant, juicy and savoury aromas of sweet plums, spiced mocha and fig on the nose and delivers a food-friendly blend of blue fruits, toasted oak and savoury spices on the medium-bodied palate.
Icon Score

Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón 2013 '1884' Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon - $16
A dark ruby-purple, fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza that delivers a Malbec-y nose of mixed berry fruit and spicy plum aromas followed by a more typically Cabernet palate of cassis and oak supported by savoury flavours and firm tannins.
Icon Score

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bordeaux 2012 Best Bets

The pundits have declared the 2012 vintage "Good, not great" and they may be right. There were no perfect scores to be found from any of the famous Bordeaux reviewers and anything short of a perfect vintage was destined to be over-shadowed by the wake from the back-to-back juggernauts that were 2009 and 2010. 

However, there are still some great wines to be found in 2012, especially from Graves and studious collectors will know that even the so-so wines of the new vintage will outshine the best of anything coming from the forthcoming 2013 vintage, so you better stock up on 2012's now, cuz you won't be buying anything next year!

Below are our recommendations, based on our own research, on what we consider the 'Best Bets' from the vintage taking into account price, metacritic scores and longevity potential.

Our picks for 2012:

  • Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, St-Émilion  $99
  • Château Belgrave, Haut-Médoc  $50
  • Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac  $88
  • Clos de l’Oratoire, St-Émilion  $69
  • Clos du Marquis, St-Julien $88
  • Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan  $90 
  • Château La Dominique, St-Émilion  $68
  • Château Fleur Cardinale, St-Émilion  $69
  • Château La Garde, Pessac-Léognan  $38
  • Château Gazin, Pomerol  $118
  • Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan  $138
  • Château d’Issan, Margaux  $85
  • Château Larcis Ducasse, St-Émilion  $95
  • Château Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan  $160
  • Château Rahoul, Graves  $28
  • Château Rauzan Ségla, Margaux  $99
  • Château Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Léognan  $58
  • Château Climens, Sauternes  $58 (375 ml)

Please note: The prices above relate to the release price via the BCLDB. The 2012 Bordeaux release is on Saturday, October 3rd. Go to their website for more information: 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Monthly Picks: September'15 - BC Pinot Noir

This month we cast our critical eye towards BC Pinot Noir... and like what we see. 

SpierHead Winery 2013 Pinot Noir - $24
This release is their largest production at 600 cases and is a blend of their different East Kelowna vineyards, revealing a minimalist, fruit-forward approach with a pleasant balance of red fruit and earthy notes on the sweetly scented nose and the smooth, yet, mouth-watering palate. Dry herbs and spice add depth throughout. A hint of bitterness and sagebrush lingers on the moderate finish.
Icon Score
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir - $25
Black cherry, forest floor, brambly berries and mineral aromas give way to a combination of bright red fruit, spicy plums and weighty oak and earth flavours. The finish is long with lingering bite from tannins and spices. Excellent.
Icon Score
Eagle Bluff Estate 2013 Crooked Post Pinot Noir - $27
Fairview's popular Pinot Noir is made without bleeding a portion of the juice off the skins during the crush to intensify the colour and flavours - this wine needs no alternation to add intensity, it has heaps of natural red fruit and earth flavours to begin with.
Icon Score
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Noir - $30
This is a big, bold wine with the concentration and 'heat' to match the winery's flagship Meritage label. Intense, red fruit, dialled-up to '11', opens this Pinot with layers of toasted oak, sweet flowers, cured meat, cedar plank and pepper aromas on the nose.
Icon Score
Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Noir - $30
Essentially, this is everything you want from a BC Pinot Noir: expressive red fruit supported by earthy characters and hints of herbs and oak. The nose is generous and ripe and worth quaffing while you enjoy this mouth-watering, slightly smoky-tannin Pinot with classic, Pacific Northwest pairings of BBQ salmon and game birds.
Icon Score
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2011 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir - $35
The 2011 vintage had its ups and downs with a cooler than average growing season, yet, the finished wine shows ripeness in its tasty, New World blend of both juicy and tangy red fruit and light, earthy-herbal notes. The flavour profile is further enhance with a savoury blend of spices like anise, spearmint and cloves and is neatly wrapped in a blanket of mouth-watering acid and ever-so-slightly greenish tannins.
Icon Score
JoieFarm 2012 "En Famille" Reserve Pinot Noir - $40
Produced from a blend of Pinot Noir fruit sourced from vineyards in Summerland and the Skaha and Naramata benches. This reserve wine spends 8 months in Burgundian oak prior to bottling and then a further 18 months in bottle prior to release preserving the wine's fresh, vibrant red fruit characters while allowing the earthy notes and tannins to integrate beautifully.
Icon Score

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015