Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Best of BC: Riesling

When Riesling is done well in BC, it is done very well. The Western-most Province may not have as many top-notch Rieslings as Ontario, but the interest, and quality, is increasing.

The Riesling coming out of the Central and Northern parts of the Okanagan Valley attracts most of the acclaim and represents the largest acreage under vine for this Germanic and winter-hardy varietal. Much of the Southern Okanagan Valley is too warm for quality Riesling, but there are a few pockets here and there that are producing excellent fruit used in both blends and single varietal wines.

Below, arrange by price-point, are our favourite Rieslings from British Columbia.

$20 and below:

Fort Berens Estate Winery 2014 Riesling - $18
This single-vineyard Riesling is one to sip slowly, despite the urge you may have to take a big gulp of the finely balanced, off-dry fruit cup, cool stonefruit and zesty citrus characters.
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SynchroMesh Wines 2012 Thorny Vines Vineyard Riesling - $19
'Thorny Vines' is SynchroMesh's "other Riesling", essentially a nice companion piece to their $30, Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence winning Storm Haven Riesling which is produced from their home vineyard vines in Okanagan Falls.
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery 2013 Organic Riesling - $20
Fans of the "Dr. L" Riesling, and there are many of you, should take note of Summerhill's Organic Riesling as a locally made alternative, made in a similar, opulent, fruity, fully off-dry style (36.5 g/l of residual sugar).
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La Frenz Winery 2012 Riesling - $20
Off-dry levels of residual sugar are well-balanced by the mouth-watering green apple and pineapple acidity on the palate adorned with boisterous orchard and tropical fruit flavours. A nice vein of minerals runs through the palate to the long, balanced finish where just a hint of spice is perceptible.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2013 Riesling 0 $20
The nose boasts lively apricot, white peach, lime peel and orange blossom notes while the off-dry palate preens with honeyed citrus fruit flavours off-set by mouth-watering green apple acidity through to a moderate finish
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$30 and below:

SpierHead Winery 2012 Riesling - $22
Flinty with lemon-lime citrus notes aplenty, this well-balanced wine hails from East Kelowna yet adheres to the Niagara Riesling formula of matching sweetness to acid while keeping the alcohol low and maintaining a light and mineral-y texture.
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Upper Bench Estate Winery 2013 Riesling - $22
Impressive depth on the expressive nose and the off-dry palate with added tangerine, kiwi, honeydew and flint aromas and flavours with light kerosene notes floating in the background.
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JoieFarm 2013 Riesling - $23
The palate is unabashedly off-dry, bursting with pineapple, kiwi, Fiji apple and mineral flavours, yet, finely tuned with generous amounts of lemon/lime acidity keeping the sweetness in-check, without detracting from the delicate tropical fruit characters.
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monthly Picks: May '15 - Go Big!

This month we're going big, or going home! All the wines on this month's list are full bodied and pack a punch. Enjoy.

Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards 2012 Knotty Vines Zinfandel - $21

Hits you in the face, as many Zins do, with a powerful nose of puréed dark berry fruits, sweet peppercorn, vanilla-mocha and spicy oak aromas. Sourced from multiple Northern Sonoma vineyards, this Zin is full bodied from 15% alcohol and a touch of residual sugar, matching the intensity of the berry fruit flavours on offer.
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Domaine Saint-Damien 2013 Vieilles Vignes - $25
Big, round and bursting with aromas of roasted herbs, bramble-y red fruits and sun-soaked rocks, this blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Carignan and 5% Mourvèdre is sourced from vineyards ranging from 35-65 years of age, and offers fabulous value for money.
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Cassini Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve - $40

A nice, broody, cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon with masculine aromas  of cassis, plum, blackberry, coffee grinds and vanilla fudge with subtle oak and cooking spice notes in the background. Cool-berry fruit leads the entry on the well-structured palate with layers of savoury and cocoa flavours appearing mid-palate and through to the long finish where dusty tannins and spicy-vanilla-mint notes linger.
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Rombauer Vineyards 2011 Zinfandel - $45
A blend of 93% Zinfandel and 7% Petite Syrah sourced from vineyards in Napa Valley and beyond, this wine offers good continuity from the nose with added red fruit sweetness and peppery wood flavours on the intense, spicy palate.
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Black Hills Estate Winery 2012 Nota Bene - $52
The latest edition sees a whopping 57% Merlot mixed with 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc and despite the changes, the 2012 offers good typicity for the iconic brand suggesting the vineyard site is the most dominant influence over the finished wine and not the finite percentages of the main components.
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Viña Montes 2011 Montes Folly - $87

Another killer Folly with an enchanting, sweetly scented nose of cherry, plum, blueberry, cola and pepper aromas complimented with elegant, toasted oak and warm earth characters. The palate is equally complex and smooth with solid structure from refined, developed tannins.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

BC Wine Deal: May 13th, 2015

The following VQA wines have been reduced in price at your local participating VQA and BCLDB stores. 

Please, the prices below reflect the VQA store prices which include all taxes. The prices will be different at BCLDB stores which no longer include the %15 sales tax on wine.

Ancient Hills Gewurztraminer was $15.99 is now $13.99
Ancient Hills Lazerus was $16.99 is now $14.99
Andrew Peller Cabernet Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.09
Andrew Peller Pinot Blanc was $12.99 is now $11.29
Arrowleaf Pinot Gris was $17.85 is now $16.95
Arrowleaf First Crush Rose was $14.95 is now $12.95
Arrowleaf First Crush White was $14.95 is now $12.95
Bartier Bros. Merlot was $26.99 is now $21.99
Bartier Scholefield Rose was $18.90 is now $15.90
Black Hills Cellar Hand Free Run White was $16.99 is now $15.99
Broken Shadow Weathervane was $17.99 is now $15.99
Broken Shadow Wind Station was $17.99 is now $16.99
Calona Cabernet Merlot was $14.99 is now $12.99
Cassini Cab/Merlot was $18.90 is now $16.90
Cassini Merlot was $18.90 is now $16.90
Cassini Sauvignon Blanc was $17.90 is now $15.90
Cedar Creek Chardonnay was $19.95 is now $18.95
Clos du Soleil Signature Meritage was $41.99 is now $39.99
Crowsnest Chardonnay Reserve was $17.80 is now $16.90
D'Angelo Setta Coppa was $24.90 is now $19.99
Daydreamer Pinot Gris was $22.00 is now $20.00
Daydreamer Rose was $22.00 is now$18.50
Desert Hills D Minor White was $14.90 is now $13.90
Ex Nihilo Night was $42.00 is now $36.00
Fort Berens Meritage was $28.99 is now $26.99
Gehringer Cabernet Franc Late Harvest 375ml. was $17.99 is now $16.99
Gray Monk Odyssey Meritage White was $23.99 is now $18.99
Hester Creek Merlot was $18.95 is now $17.95
Jackson Triggs Sunrock Meritage was $34.99 is now $29.99
Jackson Triggs White Meritage was $19.99 is now $18.99
Kalala Gewurztraminer was $17.90 is now $16.00
La Stella Leggiero Chardonnay was $24.98 is now $21.90
Little Straw Tapestry was $17.90 is now $16.90
Lixiere Gewurztraminer was $18.45 is now $13.95
Mistaken Identity Bianco was $16.99 is now $15.50
Mistaken Identity Debut was $22.99 is now $14.90
Mistaken Identity Rosso was $17.99 is now $16.50
Mt.Boucherie Gamay Noir was $15.90 is now $13.90
Mt.Boucherie Gewurztraminer was $17.00 is now $15.00
Mt.Boucherie Riesling was $16.00 is now $15.00
Moon Curser Merlot was $24.90 is now $19.90
Noble Ridge Pinot Grigio was $19.99 is now $18.99
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Grigio was $15.99 is now$14.49
Mission Hill Sauvignon Blanc Reserve was $21.99 is now $19.99
Noble Ridge Pinot Grigio was $18.99 is now $16.99
Paradise Ranch Cabernet/Merlot Late Harvest 375ml was $18.90 is now $16.90
Red Rooster Cabernet Merlot was $18.99 is now $16.59
Red Rooster Gewurztraminer was $16.99 is now $14.79
Red Rooster Merlot was $17.99 is now $16.99
Red Rooster Meritage was $24.99 is now $21.79
Red Rooster Pinot Gris was $17.99 is now $16.99
Rigamarole White was $14.99 is now $13.99
Robin Ridge Chardonnay 375ml was $16.90 is now $15.90
Robin Ridge Merlot was $24.85 is now $22.99
Robin Ridge Pinot Noir was $22.85 is now $21.90
Robin Ridge The Big Bird was $31.90 is now $29.90
Sage Hill Gewürztraminer was $28.85 is now $27.90
Sage Hill Rose was $28.85 is now $27.90
Sandhill Cabernet Merlot was $19.99 is now $18.99
Sandhill Chardonnay was $17.99 is now $15.69
Sandhill Gamay Noir was $19.99 is now $17.39
Sandhill Merlot was $20.99 is now $19.99
Sandhill Pinot Gris was $18.99 is now $16.59
Sandhill Sauvignon Blanc was $17.99 is now $15.69
Sperling Pinot Gris was $18.99 is now $17.99
Stag's Hollow Syrah was $28.99 is now$27.99
Summerhill Alive Red ORGANIC was $24.95 is now $22.95
The View Riesling was $18.90 is now $15.90
Time Sundial was $19.99 is now $17.50
Therapy Pinot Gris was $20.99 is now$19.99

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Get To Know... Bill Eggert

Bill Eggert
Vintner, Fairview Cellars
Oliver, BC

Describing the wines of Fairview Cellars is a little like describing the man behind the winery, proprietor and winemaker Bill Eggert: lively, intense, charming layers of discreet refinement and a whole lot of outward character.

Eggert is one of the most personable (and knowledgeable) characters in the BC wine industry. The quintessential farmer-turned-winemaker who understands that great wines come from great terroir and careful vineyard management. His 6 acre home vineyard has long been a bastion of ripening Cabernet Sauvignon which forms the core component of his Premier Series wines. 

Get to know Bill and get to know Fairview Cellars wines a bit better...

Key wines to try:
The Bear: 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Cabernet Franc: 2007, 2009, 2010
Sauvignon Blanc: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

1. What do you enjoy most about making wine? 
Observing the satisfied faces of those who taste my wine

2. What inspired you to become a winemaker?
I have always been a farmer. The land I purchased was perfect for grapes. It was a natural progression to convert those grapes into wine.

3. What causes you the most stress during harvest?
The availability of people to hand pick the grapes.

4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché? 
Answer to what is your favourite wine; “the one that is in my glass at the time”. 

5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?
Up until recently it was skiing, but the knees have told me to search for a new passion. Sailing is in the running.

6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment?
It takes a lot of beer to make good wine......

7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why?
There are many (wines to be proud of), but Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir Family Reserve comes to mind.

8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines?
Oysters with the Sauvignon Blanc, Salmon with the Pinot Noir, Moose with The Bear.

9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years?
Authenticity and sense of place.

10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference? 
I’m still divided. Screwcap for whites, no question. I’m experimenting with varying levels of oxygen permeability in screwcaps. I have wines as far back as 2007 in screwcap, and they are ageing beautifully. Marketers still pushing for cork wines.  

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015 IconWines.ca