Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Willamette's White Rose Estate

If the wine in this week's Featured Wines column tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan by email (JCarrier@everythingwine.ca) or find him in the Vintage Room of Everything Wine's Morgan Crossing location in South Surrey.



Willamette's White Rose Estate
By Jordan Carrier


There are more opinions out there on Pinot Noir than the Oxford comma (on which I don’t personally have a stance - pro, con or otherwise). Many New World Pinot-fans seek body and purity of fruit, dismissing the more subtle, earthen notes of Euro-Pinot as “Old Sock” (one of the more popular and curious descriptors I’ve encountered – would they prefer New Sock?). Burgundy-philes reject Californian Pinots in particular as rooty-tooty pancake syrup, placing greater value on the light-to-medium layered textures, tannins and crisp acidity (they would call it Freshness) found in traditional bottlings. Brothers and sisters, can we get along?

Yep, over a glass of White Rose.

There is bold fruit here, balanced among the flowers and spices, further amplified by the whole-cluster pressings that they’re famous for. In the glass, though, it looks and acts like Pinot, unapologetically medium-bodied and racy (lower weight does not equal lower intensity, if unconvinced, see: Barolo). Tucked in behind Domaine Serene in the Dundee Hills, White Rose has tried to maintain a low profile while a cult built up around them; ultra-low yields (hence the intensity), super-gentle pressings (it’s more like a neck rub), natural yeast fermentation and neutral barrel aging – this method of winemaking couldn’t be less interventionist if it were performed by tree nymphs.

And they really don’t make much of it, we’re lucky to get any at all. I’m not sure why we get it at such a relatively low price either, but I don’t want to look too closely at it in case it’s a mistake.

White Rose Pinot Noir 2015
Cult Pinot at a mainstream price. One could be forgiven for calling this catch-all “Willamette” appellation bottling their “entry level” wine, but it doesn’t drink like one. Vibrant red fruits, singed herbs, cardamom, clove, orange peel. Medium bodied and zippy, focused and long, this is mega-happy-juice for well-informed patios. Sells for $40 USD at the winery. 5 cases available, $46.49 +tax

White Rose “Dundee Hills” Pinot Noir 2011
Loved it so much last time, I brought it back. This is the sneaky, re-labelled wine the Americans call “The Neo-Classical Objective” that was imported into BC under the generic “Dundee Hills” label so that the Oregon peeps wouldn’t get mad about us getting it cheaper. Jeepers creepers, I love this sleeper vintage, I fell in love with the misunderstood 2011s when I was down there last summer. Like the unusually late harvest, these wines just needed more patience to start coming around. Now they’re around. Boy are they ever. Dried flowers, white pepper and allspice surround the bright raspberry and strawberry notes. Layers and layers on the palate, good fruit intensity, a very Burgundian lift just on the end. Sells (as “Neo-Classical”) for $80 USD at the winery. 6 6-packs available, $64.99 +tax

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

International Sauvignon Blanc Day on Friday, May 5th

On the heels of World Malbec Day comes the lesser promoted (in the BC market, anyway) International Sauvignon Blanc Day on Friday, May 5th. To mark the occasion and the celebrate one of my personal favourite varieties, I offer a selection of Sauvignon Blanc to seek out and enjoy. Not all of the selections are of the current vintages available, but each is a consistent producer, from year to year.

Nederburg Wines 2015 Winemaster's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc - $13
Pungent and refreshing on the nose with fresh oyster minerality and sodium. Tangy gooseberry, crisp citrus and green apple flavours blend nicely on the sharp, mouth-watering palate. A touch of citrus peel and spice lingers on the moderate finish.

Sileni Estates 2016 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc - $18
The 2016 offers greater balance than recent vintages thanks to a more perceptible layer of lees and baked orchard fruit notes beneath the prominent citrus and mineral characters on the stonefruit-infused nose and textured palate.

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2015 Sauvignon Blanc - $19
A supremely refreshing, low-alcohol Sauvignon Blanc produced from 8-10 year old vines using a wild yeast ferment and minimal oak contact: a clean, pure expression of the French variety. Opens with a with a mellow nose of citrus fruit and Jazz apple aromas and the faint smell of oak and briny seashells. An intense, citrus and mineral-infused palate follows sporting a fairly full mouth-feel with hints of herbs and lemon peel through to the long finish.

Jackson Estate 2011 "Stich" Sauvignon Blanc - $20
This wine wins with its excellent balance of citrus acidity and light residual sugar on the rich, concentrated palate of gooseberry, kiwi fruit and mineral flavours. The finish is impressively long for this price point with lingering, mouth-watering lemon-lime peel notes and just a hint of spice.

Fairview Cellars 2013 Sauvignon Blanc - $20
The nose of this Sauvignon Blanc doesn't appear until the wine has warmed in the glass, which many of us won't wait to experience. If you do, it's a nose fuelled by apples, citrus and stonefruit aromas.Instead, we'll enjoy this tasty wine, with our favourite seafood dish or a hard cheese plate and appreciate the multitudes of textures on the palate.

La Frenz Winery 2012 Sauvignon Blanc - $22
Tangy citrus, ripe papaya and sea shells grace the nose of this boisterous Sauvignon Blanc from Naramata Bench produce La Frenz Winery who, through past success, have become one of the most consistent producers of the French variety. The palate's flavour profile, which ranges from lemon/lime to green apple to stonefruit to brioche, benefits from selective blending from multiple fruit sources and prolonged lees contact creating mouth feel and a long finish.

Le Vieux Pin 2015 Sauvignon Blanc - $30
A complex, finely tuned, rich-yet-refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with ample layers of tropical fruit, herbals, minerals and lees on the delicate nose and medium-bodied palate. The finish is long and richly textured with lingering citrus peel and level, spice notes.


Bench 1775 Winery 2011 Whistler Sauvignon Blanc Icewine - $30
Produced under Bench 1775's 'Whistler' brand, this tasty 100% Sauvignon Blanc icewine delivers an impressive punch of concentrated, honey crisp apples on the serene, sweet-smelling nose and on the well-balanced, intense palate. The sticky, pineapple upside-down cake and candied-peach flavours are beautifully managed with impressive, green apple acidity keeping the gooey texture fresh and mouth-watering.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca

Friday, April 28, 2017

Try This, Cellar That - Kaiken Malbec

This week we showcase two Malbecs from Argentina's Kaiken Wines:

Try This...
Kaiken 2015 Reserva Malbec - $15
Impressive balance and intensity for the price, the Kaiken Reserva Malbec is produced by the Montes family of Chile from Mendoza fruit and offers a blooming nose of dark berry fruit, charred oak and sweet pipe tobacco aromas followed by a mouth-watering, full-bodied and round palate with a combination of sweet berry and spicy flavours. Finished with a hint of mint. Enjoy in its youth with sweet'n'spicy, BBQ dished. Drink now-2019.

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Cellar That...
Kaiken 2014 Ultra Malbec - $25
The Ultra Malbec sees 12 months in French oak prior to bottling, imparting a smoothness to the palate and light oak aromas and flavours. Ripe, dark fruit throughout with lively, brambly acidity, soft, fine tannins and a touch of smoke and spice that linger on the moderate-plus finish. Handles its 14.5% alcohol superbly. Ready to go now, or hold for some further development over the next 2-3 years. Drink now-2020.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017 IconWines.ca