Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Treats

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends and when those closest to you are as enamored with wine as you are, some very nice bottles get uncorked. This year I decided to get a bit more organized and created a "BC Icons" theme for our Christmas Eve dinner. We tasted three iconic BC wines: Blackwood Lane's Alliance, Fairview Cellars' The Bear and Mission Hill's Oculus.

All three wines were made (primarily) from southern Okanagan Valley fruit, all three were from the 2004 vintage and each wine was very distinctive. I might also add that each wine is sold-out and thus sourcing these wines for your own horizontal tasting may be difficult - but not impossible. Best to talk directly with the winery, in person, and ask if they are willing to sell any of their reserve stock or have a planned "library release" upcoming - you will pay a premium, but the experience is worth it. Mailing lists are also a great way to stay informed about back-catalog releases.

We tasted in order from lightest to heaviest:

Fairview Cellars 2004 The Bear - $70-80 (est)
With a fresh and vibrant bouquet of both red and dark berries, orange peel, minerality and mellowed oak, the nose offers impressive complexity. The palate of the 2004 is reletively light for a Meritage blend - not uncommon for wines of the vintage. Red fruits dominate the palate. This wine has peaked and is drinking beautifully now. Don't wait too much longer to open yours if it's waiting patiently in your cellar.
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Blackwood Lane 2004 Alliance - $80-90 (est)
The Alliance, a Cabernet Sauvignon-leading blend, surprised with its youthful, vibrant nose that suggested a wine that was still years away from its peak. Cassis and other dark fruits mingled on the developing bouquet with aromas of graphite (a Blackwood Lane signature), fig, stewed plums and licorice. A very complex nose. The palate wowed everyone with its intense concentration and complexity. Full bodied and powerful, but not over-extracted. Dark fruits, plums, cassis and savoury oak flavours with mulled-wine spices. The wine has aged beautifully and effortlessly. Drinking well now and suggests, with its fine structure of tannins and near perfect balance, it won't peak until 2014 and then hold for further 5 years.
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Mission Hill Estate Winery 2004 Oculus - $80-90 (est)
The group agreed that the Oculus is an exceptional wine worthy of one's cellar but one that it is slightly dishonest. The high tannins, crucial to longevity, seemed a bit too "by design" rather than a more natural by-product of the oak treatment and extended skin contact. Right Bank Bordeaux is certainly served well here in tribute with a brooding, Merlot driven blend, but not in an organic, effortless way. Should your cellar already contain a bottle, I recommend another 2-3 more years - an exceptional incubation time for a BC wine. How long will it last beyond that? Will it hold once it has peaked? Hard to say with certainty.
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The only "winner" at the tasting was each guest as all of the wines were fantastic but the consensus was that the Alliance stood above the rest and stole the show. It was the wine everyone wanted a second serving of before revisiting the other wines and the wine everyone was eager to try and source for futures wine tastings. A fun and tasty horizontal tasting of true BC icon wines.

 - Liam Carrier (with tasting notes from Hugh Carter and Jordan Carrier) ©copyright 2011

BC Wine Deal: February 11th, 2011

The following wines have been reduced in price at participating VQA wine shops like The Wine Emporium in Langley. Some reductions are due to new vintages being released and others are simply to move stock.

Aces Pocket Kings Red was $64.90 is now $45.43
Arrowleaf Bacchus 375 ml. was $8.99 is now $6.99
Arrowleaf Bacchus 750 ml. was $14.99 is now $12.99
Arrowleaf Merlot 375 ml. was $9.99 is now $8.99
Arrowleaf Pinot Gris was $15.99 is now $14.99
Domaine de Chaberton Shiraz Canoe Cove was $32.99 is now $30.00
Domaine de Chaberton Syrah was $29.99 is now $28.00
Domaine de Chaberton Pinot Gris was $14.99 is now $13.49
Greata Ranch Chardonnay was $19.90 is now $15.00

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seriously Cool Chardonnay

Congratulations to the follow BC and Ontario wines selected for the "Seriously Cool Chardonnay" event in New York on March 8th, 2011. A follow-up to the enormously successful inaugural event in London in 2010 which helped showcase some of the fantastic Chardonnay being produced in the Oakanagan Valley, the Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward County. An eclectic collection of cool-climate Chardonnay including Sparkling wines and past vintages. Icon Score tasting notes linked when available.

(List provided by the BC Wine Institute)

Angels Gate Winery Mountainview 2008
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2005
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2008
Casa Dea Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Cave Spring Cellars Blancs de Blancs Brut 2004
Cave Spring Cellars CSV 2007
Chateau des Charmes Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard 2007
Chateau des Charmes Musqué 2009
Closson Chase Vineyards Beamsville Bench 2005
Closson Chase Vineyards S.Kocsis Vineyard 2007
Closson Chase Vineyards Closson Chase Vineyard 2008
Colaneri Estate Winery 'Paese' 2008
Coyote's Run Estate Winery Black Paw Vineyard 2007
Coyote's Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard 2009
Exultet Estates 2009
Flatrock Cellars Reserve 2007
Flatrock Cellars 2008
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Speck Res 2007
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Hidden Bench Vineyards Tête de Cuvée 2008
Hidden Bench Vineyards 2008
Hillebrand Winery Oliveria Vineyard 2008
Hillebrand Winery Trius 2009
Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff Blancs de Blancs 2006
Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards 2008
Lailey Vineyard Old Vines 2008
Lailey Vineyard 2009
Lakeview Cellars Reserve 2000
Lakeview Cellars Reserve 2007
Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace 2008
Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard 2008
Malivoire Moira Vineyard 2008
Malivoire Mottiar 2008
Meyer Family Vineyards Tribute Series 2009
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery SLC 2005
Norman Hardie Cuvée ‘L’ Unfiltered 2008
Norman Hardie Unfiltered 2008
Pelee Island Winery Barrique 2005
Pillitteri Estates Winery Cellar Series 2006
Pillitteri Estates Winery Icewine 2007
Pondview Estate Winery Unoaked 2009
Quail's Gate Estate Winery 2008
Quail's Gate Estate Winery Stewart Family Res 2006
Ravine Vineyard Reserve 2009
Rosehall Run Cuvée County 2008
Rosewood Estates Reserve Renaceau Vineyard 2007
Rosewood Estates Reserve 2008
Southbrook Vineyards Poetica 2003
Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy! 2008
Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe 2009
Tawse Winery Beamsville Bench Reserve 2002
Tawse Winery Quarry Road Vineyard 2008
Tawse Winery Robyn's Block Vineyard 2008
The Grange of Prince Edward County Victoria Block 2008

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BC Wine Deal: February 1st, 2011

The following wines have been reduced in price at participating VQA wine shops like Taylorwood Wines in Yaletown. Some reductions are due to new vintages being released and others are simply to move stock.

Arrowleaf Bacchus 2008 was $14.99 now $11.99
Arrowleaf Merlot was $16.99 now $14.99
Averill Creek Pinot Grigio was $17.99 now $16.99
Bonitas Pinot Noir 2007 was $39.99 now $29.99
Camelot Pinot Gris was 22.39 now $18.95
Camelot Gewurz was $24.99 now $19.95
Fork in the Road Red was $22.99 NOW $19.99
JT - Grand Reserve Cab Sauv/Shiraz 2007 was $26.99 now $19.99
JT- Grand Reserve Sauv. Blanc was $18.99 now $15.99
Nk'Mip Pinot Blanc was $16.99 now $15.99
Road 13 Honest John White was $16.99 now $15.99
Road 13 Honest John Rose was $17.99 now $15.99
Sumac Ridge Tribute Gold Sparkling was $50.00 now $29.99
Sumac Ridge Tribute Silver Sparkling was $30.00 now $22.99
Therapy Chardonnay 2008 was $24.01 now $21.99
Therapy Gewurztraminer 2009 was $20.06 now $17.99
Therapy Merlot 2008 was $26.05 now $21.99
Therapy Pink Freud 2008 was $19.04 now $16.99
Therapy Pinot Gris 2009 was $24.05 now $19.99
Therapy Pinot Noir Was $26.05 now $21.99
Tinhorn Creek Merlot was $18.99 now $17.99
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield's Merlot 2006 was $28.00 now $24.99
Volcanic Gamay Noir was $15.90 now $12.90