Thursday, October 18, 2012

LaStella and Le Vieux Pin: 4 New Releases

At a recent media open house I had the pleasure of tasting the new releases from both LaStella and Le Vieux Pin, two wineries owned and operated by the Enotecca group who often present the wines together to represent two equal halves of their larger Ode to European Winemaking story.

The LaStella wines take their inspiration from Italy while Le Vieux Pin professes Enotecca's love for France's Rhone Valley. Both, however, strive to produce quality, uniquely Okanagan Valley wines, not doppelgangers of each winery's venerable Old World muse. Below are my notes on a few of the recent and upcoming releases from both wineries:

Le Vieux Pin 2011 Ava - $35
14%. 78% Viognier, 11% Marsanne, 11% Rousanne
Though slightly muted, there's lost to like on the aromatic nose with peach and apricot fruit aromas adding to the pleasant bouquet. Clean and crisp with good minerality on the rounded, medium-plus bodied palate. Good length and depth.

Le Vieux Pin 2009 Retouche - $60
14.9%. 62 cases. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
An homage to a near-forgotten time when Bordeaux producers would augment their Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah from the Rhone Valley for much needed tannin structure and colour. LVP's take is a Cab-Syrah blend (roughly 70/30 split) that aims to emphasize the qualities of Cabernet Sauvignon rather than showcase a blended wine - a successful feat. Sadly, however, the story behind the wine is more engaging than the finished product. A solid Cabernet with a good expression of fruit on the palate and a subtle nose of dark berry fruit and oak influenced aromas.
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LaStella 2009 La Sophia - $75
15.1%. 48 cases. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
A stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that grips your attention from the first sniff of sweet, concentrated dark berry fruit and deep licorice aromas. The truly gorgeous palate follows with a near perfect balance between the ripe, silky tannins, elegant texture and smooth acidity. Complex and captivating. Despite the fact this wine has yet to be released most of it has already been snatched up by wine club members. Contact the winery quickly to reserve one of the last few cases.
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LaStella 2009 Maestoso - $100
15.2%. 148 cases. 100% Merlot
The Maestoso is a massive wine that seeks to knock your socks off with its unapologetic, Old World, heavy tannins. This wine needs a further 5-7 years to mature in order to properly appreciate the nuances of fruit, terroir and oak that are only barely perceptible today beneath the massive tannins. Bottled promise.
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- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

BC Wine Deal: October 5th, 2012

The following wines have been marked down at your local BC VQA and participating BCLDB stores.

Bonitas Merlot Artist Series was $39.99 is now $34.00
Bonitas Pinot Gris was $18.00 is now $16.00
Bonitas Pinot Noir Artist Series was $29.99 is now $25.00
Fork in the Road White was $17.99 is now $16.99
Gray Monk Odyssey Meritage White was $26.99 is now $23.99
Inniskillin Pinot Blanc Reserve was $13.99 is now $12.49
Inniskillin Cabernet Sauvignon was $16.99 is now $15.49
Inniskillin Merlot Reserve was $16.99 is now $15.49
Jackson Triggs Silver Sauvignon Blanc was $15.99 is now $14.49
Jackson Triggs Silver Shiraz was $16.99 is now $15.49
Jackson Triggs Silver Viognier was $13.99 is now $12.49
Open Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.49
Open Cabernet/Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.49
Prospect Regatta Red was $14.99 is now $13.99
Rigamarole White was $14.99 is now $13.99
Nk'Mip Chardonnay was $16.99 is now $15.99
See Ya Later Ping was $27.99 is now $25.99
Summerhill Gewurztraminer was $19.95 is now $17.95
Therapy Pinot Gris was $19.99 is now $16.99
Township 7 Chardonnay was $19.99 is now $18.49
Township 7 Merlot was $24.99 is now $22.99

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Flicks and Flights: Love Wine

The Flick: "Love Wine" directed by Mark McNabb, starring Tara Goudreau and Daneen Boone

The Flight: Narramata Bench Fortified Wine, Pelee Island Pinot Noir,

It's hard not to include this film in our Flicks and Flights series as the central plot is certainly about wine: a young woman inherits a family-owned winery and must fulfill contractual obligations to make love on the grapes at first harvest (yes, literally, make love on the grapes). However, I must warm you what you're getting yourself into if you decide to rent or otherwise seek-out this film. Simply put, it's bad, really bad. Even the "so bad it's good" novelty wears off about 45 minutes into the film as the oh-my-god giggles transition to mouth-open-aghast embarrassment for all parties involved including the many Pelee Island locals who undoubtedly hadn't read the script before signing up to be apart of such a poorly executed film.

Beyond the amateur acting and direction, it's the very concept of Love Wine that is so silly it becomes insulting to one's intellect. Notions like pouring one's passion into the production of wine should remain a parable. It's one thing to romanticize the craft of winemaking and compare it to an act of love. It's another to actually create a plot around the physical execution of said grape-christening. Surely it's against any number of agricultural codes (one would hope). In any case, the plot is fairly predictable once put in motion and meanders from one silly situation to another until the inevitable "happy ending". 

The Love Wine Drinking Game:
  1. Finish the bottle of Fortified Wine... Before the film starts. Seriously, you're gonna need a significant buzz to survive the world of well-meaning-but-completely-clueless-amateur-hour-filmmaking that is Love Wine.
  2. Take a sip of Pinot Noir every time… You grab for the remote to fast-forward through an awkward "acting" moment or extended dialog sequence.
  3. Finish the bottle of Pinot Noir… When you start to get sick at the thought of actually drinking a glass of wine that was made from grapes that came in contact with the naked body parts of strangers (and all their various bodily secretions) before arriving at your lips. Disgusting.
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monthly Picks: October 2012

In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. For the US, it's November. The origins, too, are different, but the modern day traditional meal and cultural experience are quite similar: family, friends and food. Our Monthly Picks list for October is focused on perfect pairings for the ultimate Thanksgiving meal, no matter when you celebrate it.

Chateau Des Charmes 2009 Gamay Noir - $13
This is the perfect wine for a Thanksgiving feast of roasted turkey, especially the succulent dark meat. At this price you can afford a few bottles to make sure the whole table gets a glass or two!
Thanksgiving Pairing: Turkey (dark meat), Stuffing
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Little Straw Vineyards 2011 Tapestry - $17
The aptly named Tapestry, weaves together the varietal characters of Riesling, Auxerrois, Gewurztraminer, Siegerrebe and Schonburger. Easy drinking, to be sure, but with more going on than your average crowd-pleasing, off-dry white blend.
Thanksgiving Pairing: Ham, Apple- sauce
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2011 Syrah Rosé - $19
The cheerfully sublime nose of this rosé of strawberry, rose petal and light rhubarb notes with the comforting aromas of Peek Freans' Fruit Cream cookies. How can you resist that? The blend of 91% Syrah, 5% Viognier and 4% Muscat adds complexity and supports flexible food pairing options.
Thanksgiving Pairing: Football Icon Score  
Young and Wyse Collection 2011 Amber - $20 A lively and cheerful blend of 43% Viognier, 37% Pinot Gris and 20% Gewurztraminer with intense green apple acidity, lemon/lime flavours and cool minerality. A long finish with lingering tartness, light spice and a hint of edible flowers.
Thanksgiving Pairing: Apéritif
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Cassini Cellars 2010 Moscato - $24
This charming, honeydew and spicy peach flavoured wine opens with a lovely nose of pecans, tangerines and violets and will compliment your favourite nutty pie or crème brûlée rather than compete with it.
Thanksgiving Pairing: Pecan pie, Pumpkin pie
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Fairview Cellars 2010 Cabernet Franc - $27
A cool, but long 2010 growing season has given birth to a low alcohol and nuanced Cabernet Franc that is reminiscent of a Pinot Noir crossed with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Thanksgiving Pairing: Roast beef
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JoieFarm 2010 Reserve Chardonnay - $30
Another stellar vintage of Chardonnay from JoieFarm who each year release an amazingly consistent reserve-tier, robust, age-worthy wine, no matter what the growing season seems to throw their way. Has the richness to hang with even the most buttery of butter braised Turkeys.
Thanksgiving Pairing: Turkey (white meat)
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