Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Sippers: Aromatic Whites

In part two of our Summer Sippers post we focus on Aromatic White wines, both single varietals and blends, making for excellent sunny-deck-socializing and picnic pairing. Ideally, to beat the heat and compliment the long summer days we get up north, you want a wine that has the ratio of sugar-to-acid balanced perfectly. A touch of sugar will keep you energized and the right amount of acidic "yin" to match the sugary "yang", will keep your mouth refreshed and ready for more.

The following wines, arranged by price-point, manage the balance of sugar-to-acid, as Goldilocks would say, "just right".

Big House Wines 2009 White - $13
At $13 this wine can be forgiven for not being overly complex, yet the crisp, fun and easy-drinking character of the wine make it an easy addition to your summer sipping rotation.
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Château des Charmes 2008 Aligoté - $14
Aromatic notes of flowery perfume are supported by strong mineral and stonefruit aromas on the nose. Crisp, tart lemon zest and grapefruit flavours on the dry palate. A touch of spice lingers on the moderate finish.
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St. Hubertus Estate Winery 2009 Dry Riesling - $16
The rich, tropical and tangerine nose of this well-priced Riesling from Kelowna also offers delicate perfume and lime zest notes which seem to hover in the glass.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2009 Con-Fusion - $18
An easy-going, crowd-pleasing, Thai food loving, Gewürztraminer-dominant white blend with good acidic notes balancing the concentrated fruit nicely, leaving you refreshed and wanting more.
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Hugel et Fils 2008 Classic Pinot Blanc - $20
A rich and creamy Pinot Blanc from top Alsatian producer Hugel et Fils with strong tropical and orchard fruit flavours and subtle slate minerality. Slightly off-dry with a full mouth feel and lingering lemon zest.
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Wild Goose Vineyards 2010 God's Mountain Vineyard - $20
A delicate nose of apricot, lemon drop and peach fuzz candy aromas is accompanied by light petrol and mineral notes. Crisp acidity follows on the dry palate balanced by a hint of residual sugar and potent citrus and green apple fruit flavours.
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JoieFarm 2010 A Noble Blend - $24
Sweet lychee, spicy grapefruit, aromatic orange blossoms, candied fruits and strong stonefruit. A nice vein of citrus fruit runs through the medium-bodied palate which finishes long with a bit of lingering spice.
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LaStella Winery 2010 Vivace - $25
The balance is spot on with good acidity and enough residual sugar to mask the alcohol and create a joyful and full-ish texture on your palate. With citrus characters aplenty, this wine should be enjoyed in its youth and paired with a fruity, summer salad or with your favourite sun-filled deck.
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Back to Part 1: Rosé

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bargain Bordeaux

The 2009 Bordeaux vintage has been lauded by some wine writers as the best in 50 years. When they write statements like this they are generally discussing the high-end wines to which, fairly or unfairly, all of Bordeaux is measured upon. The positive reviews have caused the prices of the top wines to skyrocket making them unattainable to most of the wine drinking public. Of course, there is much more to Bordeaux than the 1855 classified Medoc wines and the equally expensive top-end Left Bank wines. The "lesser" wines make-up more than 80% of the wines produced and exported from Bordeaux. So, how did the more affordable Cru Bourgeois and non-classified wines fair? Well, pretty darn good, actually, and their prices have remained within reach. Below is a few of our selections for "Bargain Bordeaux" wines that over-deliver and will fit into your budget.

Maison Calvet 2009 Reserve - $16
Ripe, dark fruits and black licorice candy aromas dominate the juicy and concentrated nose. The dry palate follows with lighter than expected weight, easy-drinking tannins, a touch of spice and ripe plum and blackberry flavours.
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Chateau Pey La Tour 2009 Grand Vin - $17
The Chateau Pey La Tour is a blend of 77% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot and offers good value for money with juicy, dark berries and savoury, leather and coffee bean characters.
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Chateau Bellevue La Randee 2009 Grand Vin - $25
Far from a wallflower, this intense blend from Bordeaux offers a big nose full of earthy characters and complex aromas of blueberry, cassis, plum, cedar, hazelnut, vanilla, oak and smoke with floral notes and Cabernet Franc funk.
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L'Etoile de Bergey 2009 Grand Vin - $20-30
Elegant and polished from the refined, cherry, field berry, cassis and savoury oak infused nose through to the dry, blackberry puree, poppy seed, licorice and rhubarb influenced palate.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Sippers: Rosé

As the residents of British Columbia know all too well, it's been a trying year for weather thus far. Rain, cold, greyness... blah. However, glimpses of summer sun have been reported and although the onset of summer is far from a certainty even just the potential for good weather makes me want to stock the fridge with wines suited for a sunny deck full of hungry and thirsty friends.

Rosé wines make for perfect sunny deck/ summer BBQ weather companions due to their broad compatibility to many foods and to their refreshing nature. Add a hint of savoury tannin to the mix and you have a reasonably complex, food-friendly and cheerful wine that will appeal to all of your guests who can recess the memories of White Zinfadel to the back of their heads and get over the supposed emasculating colour. Below are our picks for your rosé-drinking pleasure during summer or for the moments spent longing for summer to arrive.

Tawse Winery 2009 Sketches of Niagara Rosé - $15
Hard to beat the value this wine others. The tartness lingers on past the moderate finish making this wine perfect as sunny-deck companion or as a palate cleanser between BBQ courses (or seconds).
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St. Hubertus Estate Winery 2010 Frizzante Rosé - $16
A tasty, fun and lovingly tart Rosé sipper for your hot summer deck or for pairing with picnic fare like cheeseburgers and corn-on-the-cob. Mild effervescent texture on the palate pays homage to the "frizzante".
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Marqués de Caceres 2009 Rosé - $16
A bright pink, dry Rosé made of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. Delicious raspberry and strawberry flavours and aromas. Great food wine. (Widely available at BCLDB stores across BC)

La Frenz Winery 2010 Rosé - $18
Playful cranberry Kool-aid colour compliments the fun palate filled with strawberry and cherry fruit flavours that remind you of summer. Handles the balance of acidity-to-tannin-to-sweetness very well. Produced, primarily, from Pinot Noir grapes.
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Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery 2009 Blanc-de-Noir Rosé - $20
Made in the traditional "Saignée" method ("bleeding" the colour from the skins) from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The 18 g/l of residual sugar may over-power most foods except the spiciest dishes but the wine will make it an excellent pairing for a hot deck next summer.
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River Stone Estate Winery 2010 Malbec Rosé - $20
New Black Sage Bench winery River Stone introduces the valley's first Malbec rosé and it's a winner. The medium ruby hued wine offers a classic rosé nose of strawberry and pomegranate enhanced with subtle notes of plum, blueberry punch and minerals.
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JoieFarm 2010 Rosé - $21
This is the rosé to pour your non-pink drinking friends who believe that the much maligned (and emasculated) wine style can't offer the complexity of white and red wines.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

BC Wine Deal: July 6th, 2011

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

Gray Monk Pinot Blanc was $16.99 is now $14.99
Inniskillin Cabernet Sauvignon was $16.99 is now $15.99
Inniskillin Chardonnay Reserve was $13.99 is now $12.99
Inniskillin Merlot was $16.99 is now $15.99
Inniskillin Pinot Blanc Reserve was $13.99 is now $12.99
Mission Hill Reserve Riesling was $18.99 is now $16.99
Sumac Ridge Black Sage Chardonnay was $17.99 is now $14.99
Sumac Ridge Black Sage Meritage  was $28.99 is now $20.99
Sumac Ridge Pinnacle White was $24.99 is now $18.99
Sumac Ridge PR Cabernet-Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.49
Sumac Ridge PR Chardonnay  was $13.99 is now $12.49
Sumac Ridge PR Merlot was $15.99 is now $14.49
Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc was $18.99 is now $17.49