Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cassini Cellars' Line-Up Expands

Oliver/Osoyoos boutique winery Cassini Cellars is slowly turning into the Lafrenz of the south with a growing line-up of wines each performing well with excellent typicity and signature character.

The line-up expands this Fall to include the Golden Mile Bench winery's first single varietal Cabernet Franc from the excellent 2009 vintage. As well as a new entry-level Pinot Noir from the cool, temperamental 2010 vintage.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Cassini Cellars is certainly a name to get acquainted with. Proprietor Adrian Capeneata is continually refining his skills and style as the head winemaker for his growing operation which is making a name for itself producing both quality, approachable wines and cellar worthy premium fare. Since winning "Best New Winery" at the 2010 BC Wine Awards, Cassini hasn't looked back becoming an award attracting darling. For 2011 the winery won the #14th spot on Wine Access Magazine's list of the Top 25 Wineries of Canada. Impressive. And so are their wines.

Available now:

2010 Sauvignon Blanc - $19
A Sauvignon Blanc hinting towards a New Zealand style with mouth-watering acidity, grassy character and crisp minerality.
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2010 Viognier - $19
The concentration is great and the finish is long, as with most Cassini wines, leaving your mouth with plenty of evidence with which to ponder the lingering flavours.
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2010 Chardonnay - $19
The mouth feel is fairly lush and full for a Chardonnay that only sees a kiss of oak (just 6 weeks in new French oak barrels). The oak succeeds in adding a nice undertone of spice and vanilla bean to the otherwise fruit forward presentation.
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2010 Red Carpet Pinot Noir - $20
The "Red Carpet" Pinot Noir is Cassini's entry-level Pinot produced with minimal oak aging and with the casual meal or get together in mind.
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2009 Reserve Chardonnay - $29
 delightful, fully oaked Chardonnay from a concentrated, hot vintage that manages to remain fairly bright and fruity - not burdened with the chunky nature of lesser, over-oaked Chards.
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2009 Reserve Pinot Noir - $29
Much more complex than the new Red Carpet Pinot Noir. A light-in-the-mouth weight and fluid texture is followed by a long, tart finish with lingering oak spice.
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2009 Malbec - $29
Smooth, integrated tannins are a touch green and won't "ripen" over time, but don't distract from the enjoyment. Lively acid and light mineral notes create a cool and refreshing mouth feel.
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Soon to be released:

2009 Maximus - $29
Silver medal winner at the 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. Perhaps, not as "big" as the 2008 overall, but more refinement on the palate is a welcomed attribute of this new vintage. Based on the pedigree of previous releases and the new use of a real cork enclosure, development seems like a safe bet along with a long lifespan of nearly ten years.
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2009 Syrah - $34
Gold medal winner at the 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. Tannins are plentifully but not intrusive, adding to the texture and longevity of this Syrah.
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2009 Cabernet Franc - $TBA
Silver medal winner at the 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. A delicious Cabernet Franc that tastes like liquid Christmas cake. A great rainy Fall/Winter treat to warm up the senses.
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 -  Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series

The first word that comes to mind when envisioning Tinhorn Creek remains "value" for me. No one else in the valley can top the consistent value-for-money-to-quality ratio executed by Tinhorn Creek with their impressive line-up of varietal wines priced at $20 and below. Yet, each Fall I am happily reminded with the release of the winery's Oldfield Series red wines that there is much more to the Golden Mile institution than simply well-made, well-priced crowd-pleasers. They also produce challenging, high-quality, refined wines which, ironically, do nothing to shake the winery's "value" association for me due to their relative affordability.

The Oldfield Series red wines are afforded plenty of time in barrel and an impressive 18 months in bottle prior to being released. Essentially, Tinhorn has done the aging work on your behalf leaving you free to open them upon release knowing that you won't cut short the potential for the wines growth if you hold on to it, just a little bit longer.

Stelvin cap enclosures are used for all Tinhorn Creek wines (with Icewine and Late Harvest wines being the only exceptions) to lock in the freshness and avoid any faults from extensive aging and tainted cork. To some, this may lessen the appeal of these high-end and cellar worthy wines as the screw top enclosures have yet to fully break-down the stigma attributed to cheap, bulk wines. A perception I hope changes soon as most wines, even those purchased to adorn home cellars, will be consumed in the 5 years anyway. The Oldfield Series wines will make you a believer.

2008 Oldfield Series Merlot - $25
Big tannins, due to a prolonged jam session in oak, blend nicely with juicy, ripe mixed berry flavours and sultry, savoury notes of spice and smoke.
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2008 Oldfield Series Syrah - $35
Bold yet refined, extra spicy Syrah with a medium-plus body - one that leans more Rhone Valley than Barossa Valley.
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2008 Oldfield Series 2Bench Red - $30
A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc delivering a potpourri of savoury and fruit elements, wrapped-up in a mouth-watering, sweet spice and sandpaper sprinkled texture.
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Oldfield Series wines released earlier in the year:

2010 Oldfield Series 2Bench Rosé - $22 (sold out)
The 100% Cabernet Franc adds seductive crushed flower aromatics and complexity to the wine's classic rosé nose of Maraschino cherry, cranberry, grape skins and raspberry seeds. Certainly a contender for the top rosé in BC. Available via the winery's "Crush Club" and tasting room only.
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2010 Oldfield Series Kerner Icewine - $30 (200ml)
Nice acidity is present for 2010 adding essential tartness to counter-balance the full bodied, sweet palate oozing with concentrated fruit and a splash of savoury notes, adding complexity.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stag's Hollow Fall Releases

Above the sleepy town and a short drive from Highway 97 you'll find a few wineries nestled together up in the hidden valley and slopes of Okanagan Falls including Stag's Hollow who have recently released their latest crop of wines for the Fall.

Stag's Hollow's wine list includes both reliable single varietal and blends plus experimental small-lot one-offs to keep the collection fresh and intriguing. This Fall we're treated to some returning champions and the latest expression of winemaker Dwight Sick's love for everything Rhone.

2010 Simply Noir - $20
Your dinner party shopping list is complete with this unique blend of 38% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 30% Pinot Noir with the Merlot providing dark berry flavours and tannin structure, the Cab Franc providing flashy, aromatic character and the Pinot Noir rounding-out and lightening the palate creating a softer entry and contributing welcomed spice.
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2010 Viognier - $22
A textured, rich and creamy example of the Rhone Valley varietal resulting from French oak barrel fermentation and extensive lees contact.
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2009 SHV Pinot Noir - $25
The fruit aromas are accompanied by savoury, earthy notes of mushrooms, forest floor and smoke creating a developing bouquet that deserves time to evolve in the glass before drinking.
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2010 GVM - $28
Winemaker Dwight Sick continues his love affair with all things Rhone with the small lot GVM release. A blend of a blend of 66% Grenache Blanc, 23% Viognier and 11% Marsanne reminiscent of white Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
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2009 Cabernet Franc - $28
Another excellent Cabernet Franc release from the exception 2009 vintage which seems to have been ideal for this Bordeaux varietal. The balance is spot on with good acidity and a long finish with lingering Cab Franc funk and a plash of spice.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

BC Wine Deal: October 9th, 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.

Arrowleaf Solstice Gewurztraminer was $20.00 is now $16.99
Open Cabernet/Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.99
Open Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.99
Open Sauvignon Blanc was $14.99 is now $13.99
Rigamarole Red was $14.99 is now $13.99
Rigamarole Rose was $14.99 is now $13.99
Rigamarole White was $14.99 is now $13.99
See Ya Later Ranch Brut was $23.99 is now $22.99
Sumac Ridge Cabernet/Merlot was $14.99 v $13.99
Sumac Ridge Chardonnay Private Reserve was $13.99 is now $12.99
Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Merlot was $15.99 is now $14.99
Sumac Ridge Stellar's Jay Brut was $26.99 is now $24.99
Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc was $18.99 is now $17.49