Thursday, October 29, 2015

Featured Wines: Bordeaux and the Value of Perspective

Welcome to the first edition of our new "Featured Wines" series produced in partnership with Everything Wine's Vintage Room Buyer Jordan Carrier (aka, my brother). We're starting big with collector-friendly Bordeaux as the featured region this week. If any of the wines tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan:

Bordeaux and the Value of Perspective
by Jordan Carrier

The past little while saw the release of 2012 Bordeaux in BC. For the first time that I can remember, private stores like Everything Wine were completely excluded from obtaining any of the wines, at least the ones that the BCLDB was carrying. To be honest, I’d be more upset if we were talking about 2009 or 2010 or even upcoming 2014, but I wasn’t planning on grabbing much 2012 anyway so I largely carried on eating my donut. Many of you had asked for my thoughts on the vintage, however, so I offer this analogy based on tasting the barrel samples a couple of years ago:
The 2012 vintage is a Steven Seagal movie. Your expectations going into the experience will be met but not exceeded. You will anticipate fist fights, one liners and bad guys shooting rounds of machine gun fire without hitting anything, and all of those boxes will be checked, but as soon as the movie is finished you will forget about it. There will be no profound silence on the drive home as you contemplate life from a new perspective. At least 2012 delivers, if the joyless 2013 vintage were a Seagal movie it would consist solely of Steven reading from a textbook on how to wipe counters.
Inexpensive to medium-priced 2012s deliver Bordeaux structure and higher than normal fruit, and they are very pleasing to drink. Medium-priced to high-end 2012s deliver Bordeaux structure and higher than normal fruit, and they are very pleasing to drink. My advice to collectors is to buy cheap and drink soon for 2012, by all means continue your verticals if you are building them, but don’t go nuts on the classified growths or high-end bottles. Favour Right Bank over Left. This is a fun, place-holder vintage.
Our Bordeaux strategy here in the Vintage Room is one of clearer, if forced, perspective: we populate our shelves with classic, proven vintages that you can drink sooner or cellar more confidently because there aren’t any surprises. If I could use another analogy: we are Elton John’s Greatest Hits, as opposed to whatever that new thing he just put out is. All of our “new” Bordeaux is already classic, its awesomeness having already been determined by consensus. Here are some wines (with somewhat briefer descriptions) that recently arrived into our Morgan Crossing location (my home base):

2003 Chateau Latour, Pauillac
What Cabernet Sauvignon would become if it were bit by a radioactive spider. Called “the sexiest Latour ever made”, ripe but not over-ripe, from a generally low-acid vintage. No, I haven’t tried it but if you buy one, I’m coming over. One of the 5 First Growths. 100 points Robert Parker, $2.024.99 +tax

2011 Pauillac de Latour, Pauillac
The 3rd wine of Chateau Latour, a tad less Cab and more Merlot, comprises about a quarter of the Chateau’s entire production. As though a young attractive blackberry met a nice pencil and went dancing in a field. Medium bodied, very well put together. $153.99 +tax

2009 Pauillac de Latour, Pauilla
Everything I just said about the 2011 except a bit riper and a little better because 2009. $162.99 +tax

2000 Chateau d’Armailhac, Pauillac
A 5th Growth owned by the Mouton Rothschild family. Pretty much smack dab in the middle of its window, showing currant and mocha and tasting like the best idea you’ve had in a long time. $209.99 +tax

2013 Y d’Yquem, Bordeaux SuperieurA dry white Bordeaux from the makers of Chateau d’Yquem, the most famous Sauternes in the world. Predominantly Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc in a supporting role. Rich and creamy with fun tropical fruits bursting out, all kept in place by the paternal impatience of acidity. 96 points Wine Spectator, $264.99 +tax

2005 Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estephe
Just starting to enter its window, this still probably needs to nap for a couple more years, but it is starting to make friends. A 4th Growth owned by the Pontet-Canet family, known for producing backwards steely time capsules that need at least a decade before they can even speak English. A big boy with currant and incense notes and lots of attitude. $143.99 +tax

2010 Chateau Beaumont Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Medoc
Only available in Magnums. Stemmy blackberry, tobacco and chestnut towards a medium body and smooth tannins that won’t put up a fight. Interesting to see how this will cellar, because it’s ready to drink but the larger format would carry it forward a lot further. $85.99 +tax
Next Page: Right Bank and Value Wines

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monthly Picks: October'15 - Argentina

This month we celebrate the well-priced, varied wines of Argentina by showcasing some of our recent favourites. From classic French varieties to home-grown grapes, Argentina can produce over-achieving wines at any price-point, though, our selections are all $16 or less (plus taxes) in BC.

Bodegas Catena 2013 Alamos Chardonnay - $13
Sourced from the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza, the wine does spend 6 months in a combination of American and French oak, imparting a myriad of spices on the finish and texture on the palate, balancing the bright, apple and peach flavours.
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Pascual Toso 2013 Malbec - $13
A fruit-forward Malbec with ripe'n'tangy blackberry and chocolate-cherry liqueur aromas followed by a bright, yet, approachable palate of similar flavours and added earth, spice, vanilla and light oak notes. 
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Michel Torino 2013 Cuma Torrontés - $14
A straight-forward, yet, impressively balanced Torrontés, sourced from organically farmed vineyards, offering an unctuous entry of plump, peaches and cream flavours leading to a citrus-y, refreshing finish where stonefruit, lemon zest and spice notes linger.
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Michel Torino 2013 Don David Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - $14
Opens with a dense nose of cassis, blackberry, anise, pepper, toasted oak and Brazil nut aromas. Followed by a palate with similar flavours and a full-ish body from residual sugar that just stops short of being too sweet thanks to well-proportioned, fresh berry acidity and impressive, dusty tannins - especially for the price-point.
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Viña Chela 2013 Reserve Malbec - $15
A supremely smooth and balanced wine for the price point with an unapologetic, easy-going demeanour that focuses on pleasant, juicy and savoury aromas of sweet plums, spiced mocha and fig on the nose and delivers a food-friendly blend of blue fruits, toasted oak and savoury spices on the medium-bodied palate.
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Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón 2013 '1884' Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon - $16
A dark ruby-purple, fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza that delivers a Malbec-y nose of mixed berry fruit and spicy plum aromas followed by a more typically Cabernet palate of cassis and oak supported by savoury flavours and firm tannins.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2015