Friday, January 29, 2010

WCOW: Chile Red Blend National Try-outs

Country: Chile
Manager: Liam Carrier

Chile produces many great red blends so this was a tough list to narrow down. I ended up with two blends which incorporate one of Chile's greatest exports: Carmenere. This lesser-known varietal of the classic six Bordeaux varietals (yes there are six) is what I consider the Grenache of South America: a superb blending grape. Add this puppy to your blend with skill and you will add a touch of heaven. Carmenere can also produce amazing solo efforts with the right winemaker. Look for those when we take on Chile Single Red Varietal wines next month.

Wine #1: Palo Alto 2008 Reserva
Price: $14.99
RegionMaule Valle
Country: Chile
Notes: A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carmenere and 15% Syrah. A complex wine at a bargain price.
Full review: Follow Link
Score: 88 points

Wine #2: Montes 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere
Price: $19.90
Region: Colchagua Valley
Country: Chile
Notes: A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Carmenere. Balanced, ready-to-drink pleaser with great fruit concentration and tasty spice.
Full review: Follow Link
Score: 89 points

Conclusion: The Montes wins this match-up with its incredible smooth and sexy texture. A solid wine to enjoy on its own or with food. Montes has a great line-up of wine with many different varietals and blends to choose from in multiple price points. I have yet to be unsatisfied with any of their many wines. Look for them at your local liquor store and fine wine shop. Enjoy. - LC

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blasted New Labels

Okanagan Valley winery Blasted Church Vineyards (Skaha Bench) have long been known for their excellent wines, gorgeous property and creative labels. New for their upcoming 2010 releases they have decided to take a gamble and update the look of their branding with new labels. The new branding keeps to the whimsical and tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek themes of the old look which should appease any of their skeptical fan base while introducing new patrons to an updated and cutting-edge design. An excellent execution in product updating.

(Old) 2008 Pinot Gris Label:

(New) 2009 Pinot Gris Label:

To view a sneakpeak of their new lables click here:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vancouver Wine Shopping Tip

Buying wine in Vancouver, BC just got a little easier.

One of Vancouver's top private wine shops, Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie Street in downtown's West End,  has just re-launched their website with full e-commerce capability. View and purchase the store's extensive selection of wines which are conveniently organized by price-point, region or wine type. I especially appreciate the region selector which allows you to drill down to France-Alsace or Spain-Rioja, for example.

Marquis is not the first Vancouver wine shop to offer online shopping and delivery options and hopefully it won't be the last to join the fray. North Vancouver's Everything Wine must be given full "props" for setting the bar high with its website which boasts over 3000 wines to choose from and an excellent blog written by owner Mari Kane.

Even if you aren't a fan of ordering online and having things delivered and prefer to actually go into shops to purchase and browse, these sites give you a better idea of what each store has in stock and helps avoid disappointment when you are looking for a specific wine. Thank you Marquis and Everything Wine!

Now, if only the government would make it easier for these shops to ship their wares to customers wherever they are...
- LC

Friday, January 15, 2010

BC Wine Deal: January 15th, 2010

Two Averill Creek Winners on sale:

Cowichan Valley winery Averill Creek Vineyard has reduced the price of two of its excellent wines. Look for these wines at the new lower price at BC VQA stores. The selection includes the superb 2007 Pinot Gris that made Icon Wines' Top 10 Value Wines of 2009.

Averill Creek Vineyard 2007 Pinot Gris
Was $23 - Now $18
Full Review

Averill Creek Vineyard 2007 Prevost
Was $22 - Now $18
Full Review

Sunday, January 10, 2010

WCOW: South Africa Single Red Varietal Nationals

Country: South Africa
Manager: Hugh Carter

South Africa is growing in prominence as a wine region in the West. It has long been a prolific supplier of bargain wines to North America while its higher-end wines remained harder to track down. This trend seems to be diminishing with more quality product coming to our shores. Great to see as SA offers unique wines like Pinotage and does admirably with classic European varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine #1: K.W.V. Cathedral Cellars 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Paarl
Cost: $19.99
Notes: Smooth with good fruit concentration and a beautifully complex nose.
Score: 88
Full Review: Follow Link

Wine #2: Beyerskloof 2007 Pinotage
Region: Stellenbosch
Cost: $15.99
Notes: The nose exhibits band-aid (in a good way) and coffee aromas which continue onto the palate with notes of strawberry. Light and flavourful.
Score: 87
Full Review: Follow Link

Conclusion: The Cathedral Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon takes this round due to its excellent complexity and silkiness in the glass.