Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top 20 Value Wines of 2016

We've selected the top 20 wines for 2016 that we feel represent the best value to the consumer. Though all wines selected are priced at $25 or less, with this list we allowed ourselves to be subjective as to what "value" represents. Prices shown do not include taxes unless marked.

#1 - Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars N/V Gold Label Brut - $24

Look for fresh apple pie, lemon meringue and seashell aromas followed by a crisp, mineral-infused mouthfeel with flavours of lemon/lime, unpasteurised honey, peaches, stainless steel and light herbs. Finishes dry with lingering lemon rind and mineral notes. An absolute steal at under $25. Drink now or hold for 5-7 more years.
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#2 - Chateau Des Charmes 2013 Cabernet Franc - $14
An earthy, briny, Cabernet Franc with both fruity and delicate aromas in the form of mixed berries and dried flowers. The smooth, (mostly) dry palate offers fantastic balance for an >15$ wine with fruit and savoury elements existing harmoniously. Wild berry acidity and lingering spices keep the finish vivacious and memorable. Ready to go now.
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#3 - Monte Creek Ranch 2015 Hands Up White - $15
Following a similar recipe as the 2014 edition, the new vintage sees 61% Frontenac Blanc, 25% La Crescent, and 14% Viognier blended to produce a tangy, off-dry wine with an aromatic and orchard fruit-driven nose and a well-balanced, citrus-infused palate with ripe fruit flavours of pear, peach and nectarine. Moderate finish leaves your mouth watering for the next sip.
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#4 - Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Glow Rosé - $20
Salmon-hued and subtly textured, "Glow" is a blend of 75% Malbec, 10.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.3% Syrah and 5.2% Cabernet Franc, produced with minimal skin contact and aged in stainless steel tanks. Finishes long with lingering herb, melon and tangy, tropical fruit notes. Delightful.
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#5 - Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2015 Pinot Gris - $21
An excellent, partially oaked Pinot Gris, both refreshing and rich with a nice balance between its crisp, orchard fruit characters and acidity and its creamy texture endowed with savoury notes of herbs, spice, brioche and vanilla bean. Deleightfully complex, especially for the price. 
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#6 - Stag's Hollow Winery 2015 Tragically Vidal - $18
An intense, beautifully-textured, off-dry blend of 89.5% Vidal and 10.5% Orange Muscat that tastes and smells of fresh-off-the-tree peaches and ultra-ripe tropical fruit. Residual sugar is nicely balanced by a wave of citrus acidity and touch of cool mineral and light, dry herb notes. A truly delightful wine with a pure expression of joy that should be shared with friends and family in its youth.
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#7 - Spier 2015 Signature Chenin Blanc - $15
An extremely well-priced Chenin Blanc from the Western Cape with zesty citrus, macadamia nut, Golden Delicious apple and stone fruit aromas on the nose. The palate offers good continuity with a similar profile of both zesty citrus flavours and richer, creamy tones from baked apple/pear and brioche. Refreshing citrus peel, mineral and spice notes linger briefly on the balanced finish.
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#8 - See Ya Later Ranch 2015 Pinot Gris - $15
Light brass in colour, the See-Ya-Later Ranch Pinot Gris is an exceptionally well-priced wine that often goes on sale for $12.99 at the BCLDB stores (plus taxes) offering a slightly, off-dry and unctuous version of BC's most planted white variety.
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#9 - Nederburg Wines 2015 Winemaster's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc - $15
Pungent and refreshing on the nose with fresh oyster minerality and sodium. Tangy gooseberry, crisp citrus and green apple flavours blend nicely on the sharp, mouth-watering palate. A touch of citrus peel and spice lingers on the moderate finish. 
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#10 - KWV Winery 2014 Roodeberg - $14
A cool, masculine, menthol-scented blend of Bordeaux and Rhone grapes with added aromas of dark red fruit, spiced plum sauce and sweet, cured meat. The palate is sprightly with dark fruit and rustic components supported by sweet oak, licorice and light spice flavours. Length and balance are good, especially for the under $15 price-point.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Top 20 Wines of 2016

The format for our Top 20 list uses a subjective approach taking into account availability, collectability and relevance in the world of wine. For simply the highest rated wines of the year please visit our Top Rated Wines of 2016 list on IconScores.ca. All Top 20 Icon Wines of the Year were released within the calendar year in the BC market. Reviews based on barrel samples were excluded.

#1 - Icon Wines of the Year
Cassini Cellars 2013 The Aristocrat - $40
This is a world class, single-vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Southern Okanagan showing excellent typicity for the variety and aged in French oak barrels. Look for ripe cassis and elegant vanilla aromas on the nose with some added spicy-savoury notes providing more layers to explore.

#2 - LaStella 2013 La Sophia - $80
Beyond its tell-tale, Southern Okanagan watermark of dried herbs,  LaStella's "La Sophia" is a doppelgänger for the top-end Cabernet Sauvignon that come out of Washington State's Walla Walla Valley. Both complex and ultra-refined with layers of dark fruit, vanilla extract, licorice, sweet coffee grinds, mint and a hint of graphite already developing.

#3 - Painted Rock Estate Winery 2014 Red Icon - $55
Though tasting a little tight and wound-up today, the youthful 2014 Red Icon shows fantastic promise with excellent concentration and depth on the intense, masculine nose and the refined, long-lasting palate. This year's blend is comprised of 33% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 19% Malbec, 16% Petit Verdot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, each contributing their own unique aromas and flavours to the collective.
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#4 - LaStella 2013 Maestoso "Solo" Merlot - $90
Harmonious layers of ripe, blackberry and dark plum fruit, vanilla fudge, spiced oak, chocolate nibs, dried herbs and light menthol aromas make the developing bouquet as equally compelling as the complex. refined palate. Intense, ultra-ripe, dark fruit dominates, supported by savoury notes; toasted oak, vanilla mocha, smokey tannins and cooking spices. Has the structure to age gracefully, though, with several hours of decanting you can enjoy this wine today.

#5 - Le Vieux Pin 2013 Équinoxe Syrah - $90

A feminine and moody Syrah with densely packed layers of ripe black cherries, peppercorn, spiced plums, licorice, sweet pipe tobacco aromas and lovely floral notes of potpourri, nectar and violets. The palate is equally dense and concentrated, bursting with mouth-watering, cherry-cola and smoky, black pepper flavours with fine tannins and red berry acidity contributing structure and balance.



#6 - JoieFarm 2014 Viognier - $28
A new edition to the JoieFarm portfolio and affixed with a shiny, new label, this is a supple and supremely well-balanced Viognier loaded with apple, honeydew, ripe peach, apricot and citrus flavours. On the nose are similar melon and orchard fruit aromas enhanced by sweet, floral notes and hints of exotic, tropical fruits.
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#7 - La Frenz Winery 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir - $35
Opens with a luxurious nose of big, California-ripe, red fruit aromas which instantly grab your attention, yet, this is BC Pinot Noir, through and through, with layers of both savoury and sensual notes like dried spices, sweet peat, spiced plum, French vanilla cream and dark chocolate. The palate offers a similar fruit-to-savoury ratio with prominent, dark cherry and black plum flavours leading the way, medium-plus weight, fine tannins and effortless, wild berry acidity adding viscosity to the finish and leaving your mouth watering and in-anticipation of the next sip.
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#8 - Le Vieux Pin 2014 "Cuvée Classique" Syrah - $45
The palate is dense and solidly structured with levity coming from blood orange acidity. Good continuity from the nose carries through to the flavour profile with more emphasis put on berry fruit on the entry and peppery spice on the long finish. Ready to go now with more development to come over the next 5-6 years.

#9 - Bench 1775 Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc cl 214 - $27.50
An elegant, sweetly perfumed Cabernet Franc produced from a single clone of the French variety and sourced from the winery's Osoyoos vineyards. Both rich and lively on the palate with refined tannins, concentrated berry fruit, rounded texture, smooth spices, surefooted oak, fresh berry acidity and good length.

#10 - SpierHead Winery 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvée - $32
 Lives up to its billing as the winery's flagship Pinot Noir (they make 2 others), this micro cuvée is blended from select barrels and produces a beautiful wine, rich in complexity and texture. The loving embrace of French oak is felt on the vanilla-kissed, cherry-raspberry nose and on the vibrant, medium-plus bodied, red fruit and tea leaf palate. Structure is solid with silky-smooth tannins and huckleberry acidity. The finish is long and spicy with lingering dark cherry and Black Forest cake flavours.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 Icon Wine of the Year

In a stark contrast to last year's champion, the 2016 Icon Wine of the Year award goes to our most "affordable" winner to date, the Cassini Cellars 2013 The Aristocrat. At only $40, this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon is a bargain for the quality and refinement in the bottle. Be sure to snap up the remaining 50 cases of this stunner and look for it on the wine lists of the Province's top restaurants.


Some wine writers have proclaimed BC producers should give-up on Cabernet Sauvignon, suggesting the Bordeaux variety is too difficult to rippen in the Okanagan. The wines placing first and second in this year's ranking offer a compelling argument for the folley of that proclomation.



Cassini Cellars 2013 The Aristocrat
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
$40 - 290 cases - 15%
93pts


Congratulations to our runner-ups for this year's Icon Wine of the Year award: the LaStella 2013 La Sophia and the Painted Rock 2014 Red Icon.





The Wine
This is a world class Cabernet Sauvignon from the Southern Okanagan showing excellent typicity for the variety. Look for ripe cassis and elegant vanilla aromas on the nose with some added spicy-savoury notes providing more layers to explore. As with the 2012 vintage, the distinct, (and memory-triggering) aroma of warm Fig Newton cookies is again present.

The dry palate that follows is both uber-refined and rich in texture with a similar flavour profile and silky-smooth, yet, grippy tannins. The finish is long and expertly balanced. Though the residual alcohol clocks in at a whopping 15% it is so seamlessly integrated, it goes unnoticed, as it should.


The Story
The grapes for The Aristocrat were sourced from the Milestone vineyard situated along the east side of Osoyoos Lake, restricted to a low yeild of 2.6 tones per acre. A sun-drenched site consisting of a mix of sand and gravel soils. As winemaker and proprietor, Adrian Cassini's program for his Cabernet is attentively detailed and work intensive:

"I fermented on skins for 50 days in small batches. Punched down by hand 4 times a day to avoid the bitterness of pump-overs and then aged for 24 months in new barrels: 95 % French and 5% American oak. Very tight grain wood, a mix of 7 coopers for complexity. Ageing 24 months is a pain on our cash flow but the results are here.

Yes, they are!
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2016 IconWines.ca

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

'Tis The Season...

... For Gifting Wine

As we approach the holiday season it's time to start thinking about gifts for the wine lovers in your life. Many BC wineries are looking to attract your business with curated cases and half-cases of their wines. Here are a few of the most appealing offers currently available:


JoieFarm
The "JoieBox" at $170 includes a selection of pre-release, sold-out, and limited production wines and they are offering free shipping in BC:

2014 Joie Brut - 2 bottles 
2015 'En Famille' Reserve Riesling - 2 bottles 
2014 'En Famille' Reserve Pinot Noir - 1 bottle 
2013 JoieFarm Gamay - 1 bottle




Black Hills Estate Winery
The Black Sage Rd winery offers white or red themed boxes of their portfolio wines. The Big Red Box at $339 is likely your best bet as it includes the "sold-out" Note Bene and their underrated Syrah:

2014 Note Bene - 2 bottles
2014 Syrah - 2 bottles
2014 Per Se - 2 bottles

Laughing Stock Vineyards
The Naramata Bench property has a few gift box options including a nice, mixed, half-case of their red releases but for something a little different, why not "go big" with a handsomely packaged magnum of their flagship wine for $119?:

2014 Portfolio - 1 bottle (magnum)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Canadian Wines for the US Election

Being a political junkie, watching the American election coverage is appointment TV of the highest order, despite the facts that I'm Canadian, have never lived in the United States nor boast but a few friends from down South. I will be glued to the TV nevertheless.

As we've all seen over the past 18 months, the political rhetoric of the 2016 campaign has been particularly nasty in nature, bringing out the worst of humanity from time-to-time; fear of immigrants, fear of women, fear of change. There's been many a day when my mood was darkened by scrolling through the end-of-the-world themed comments and the ridiculous, false-equivalency, "...two evils" posts of my Facebook feed, where the only thing that kept my spirits from completely spiralling out of control was stumbling across a video montage of kittens playing or abandoned dogs being rescued (always brings a joyful tear to my eye).

Well, that's all coming to an end tonight (we hope) when the news outlets call a win for Trump or Clinton and the longest-ever US election cycle will finally be over. Something to celebrate, no matter who becomes President.

I present my picks for just such a celebration. Let's call it a list for, It's-Finally-Fu*%ing-Over! wines. Each are guaranteed to put a smile on your face... and isn't that exactly what you need right about now?


Stag's Hollow Winery 2015 Tragically Vidal - $17
An intense, beautifully-textured, off-dry blend of 89.5% Vidal and 10.5% Orange Muscat that tastes and smells of fresh-off-the-tree peaches and ultra-ripe tropical fruit. Residual sugar is nicely balanced by a wave of citrus acidity and touch of cool mineral and light, dry herb notes. A truly delightful wine with a pure expression of joy that should be shared with friends and family in its youth.
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Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Glow Rosé - $20
A truly lovely rosé to experience via its delicate, candied fruit and floral-herb nose and superbly balanced, slightly off-dry, mouth-watering, berry and citrus-infused palate. Salmon-hued and subtly textured, "Glow" is a blend of 75% Malbec, 10.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.3% Syrah and 5.2% Cabernet Franc, produced with minimal skin contact and aged in stainless steel tanks. Finishes long with lingering herb, melon and tangy, tropical fruit notes. Delightful.
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Chateau Des Charmes 2012 Rosé Sparkling Wine - $30
This sparkling rosé, made in the traditional method, is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser at your next celebration with its delicious combination of red berry fruit, honeycomb, melon, vanilla-icing and baked brioche aromas and flavours. Palate is both lively and smooth with some residual sugar, mineral and plump, yeasty notes. The finish is crisp and satisfying.
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Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2012 Brut Rosé - $33
An elegant and silky smooth Brut Rosé made in the traditional method with compelling aromas of honey-dipped scones, grapes, sweet lees and prune fruit. A pale, bronzed-salmon colour, this dry, zesty sparkling wine with loads of texture and creamy, strawberry notes, is to be enjoyed with savoury appetisers or on its own where it can comfortably hold your attention.
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JoieFarm 2014 "En Famille" Reserve Pinot Noir - $40
A fantastic, barrel select, Pinot Noir sourced from Naramata and Summerland vineyards and true to its cool-climate roots with an only-in-BC blend of vibrant red fruit, silky-smooth sweet herbs and flowers, cedar plank, fine tannins and spicy earthy notes. The finish is long and mouth-watering with lingering, savoury and tangy raspberry seed notes.
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Le Vieux Pin 2013 Équinoxe Syrah - $80
A feminine and moody Syrah with densely packed layers of ripe black cherries, peppercorn, spiced plums, licorice, sweet pipe tobacco aromas and lovely floral notes of potpourri, nectar and violets. The palate is equally dense and concentrated, bursting with mouth-watering, cherry-cola and smoky, black pepper flavours with fine tannins and red berry acidity contributing structure and balance. The finish is long with lingering dark berry notes and smoky goodness.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Featured Wines: Bordeaux Offering

If any of the wines in this week's Featured Wines column tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan by email (JCarrier@everythingwine.ca) or find him in the Vintage Room of Everything Wine's Morgan Crossing location in South Surrey.



Bordeaux Vintages

By Jordan Carrier



If wine is romance made liquid, what does Bordeaux bring to the door on a first date? Well, it depends on when he was born.
  • 2009 shows all his cards. He loves you sight unseen and he brought a yacht. He couldn’t park it on the street so it’s lying on its side and disrupting traffic, but it’s a yacht.
  • 2010 shows you one card, on your doorstep. As soon as you bend to pick it up, you notice the next card, several feet away, gleaming in the moonlight. You follow the subsequent cards, perfectly spaced between each other that lead towards the vintage Cadillac on the street, where Bruce Springsteen (the driver) will take you anywhere you wish, just so long as you stay amazing.
  • 2011 apologizes for being late, he couldn’t get to the door because of all the boats and cars. He has tickets to the latest Terrence Malik movie, which you probably won’t understand now but totally will later. He is kind, smart, even smoldering, but shuts down when you try to talk about his older brothers.
  • 2012 comes to the door dressed in sweatpants because he already knows what you think of him, but wows you with a box of chocolates that contains flavours you weren’t expecting. He leads you to a horse-drawn carriage that takes you to a heritage theme-park full of proper people in full dress speaking proper sentences. It is only later that you realize that you married him.
  • 2013 arrives brandishing a stick with a happy face sharpied onto it. He tells you that the stick is for you but he won’t let go of it. After an awkward silence, he relinquishes the stick and slowly backs away into your yard. The next morning, you discover that he took all of the apples off your tree.


And this (2013) is the vintage that the BC Liquor Stores will be offering in a week’s time in their annual Bordeaux release. Private stores are prohibited from participating, but we frankly wouldn’t if we could, 2013 is a dud.

Given the outsized prices of certain recent Bordeaux vintages, I don’t feel bad practicing a bit of Schadenfreude here: 2013 is a vintage without fruit and without joy. I tried select barrel samples from a wide variety of 2013s a couple of years back, and I left the tasting with the distinct impression that I had just French-kissed a pencil. I’m not even sure that age can help, here, a stick of wood may simply develop into an older stick of wood. There will inevitably be the odd gem in this vintage (the whites, particularly, also Fronsac?), but I’d overall give it a miss. If you are collecting verticals, buy single bottles for the sake of continuity, but don’t go deep.

Instead of that vintage, we are offering an affordable (all under $100) selection of well rated Bordeaux from other recent, solid, proven vintages, and because we are ninjas, we are offering people a chance to try them first. Come to our store on Saturday September 24 between 2pm and 6pm and try the following wines from 2012, 2011, and the legendary 2010. None of this silly ’13 business. These are classic wines of beauty and strength, and though it’s a diverse cull, they are all quintessentially Bordeaux.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Featured Wines: Small Batches of Brunello

If any of the wines in this week's Featured Wines column tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan by email (JCarrier@everythingwine.ca) or find him in the Vintage Room of Everything Wine's Morgan Crossing location in South Surrey.



Small Batches of Brunello

By Jordan Carrier


This is another chapter of the Summer Reading series, in longer form. You do not want to miss this selection of Brunellos, however, so if you’re time constrained, scroll down to the bold type to get to the wines.

The seminar was already bizarre. The kind, older Tuscan winemaker was full of wisdom but not of English, so his comments had to be filtered through the agent who’d organized the afternoon event, in the dusty upstairs of a downtown Italian restaurant. It was evident from the beginning that this agent was an hobbyist translator at best: we would ask a question, the agent would slowly translate it to the winemaker, who eagerly responded with several flowing paragraphs using gregarious hand gestures and at least 2 octaves of vocal tones, only to be nervously refracted back to the attendees with one word translations like “yes”, or “five”.

We adaptively began to simplify our questions, and someone asked what percentage of Italian vineyards were growing Sangiovese. We watched that question ping between the agent and the winemaker until the answer came: “ten percent”. What? Italy’s most famous grape accounts for only ten percent of plantings? It’s, like, planted everywhere! My hand shot up.

“Is the gentleman saying that only 10% of Italian vineyards are planted to Sangiovese? That seems low”

Ping, ping, back comes the answer: “I’m sorry, poor translation. The gentleman is saying that 10% of Italy is planted to Sangiovese”

Yes, he said ten percent of the Italian landmass grows this legendary grape, a progeny of Ciliegiolo, an ancient Tuscan grape, and Calabrese Montenuevo, an immigrant from Calabria that is now effectively extinct. Sangiovese took hold in Chianti 500 years ago, big time: the grape was the boldest, most tannic variety with the most longevity that the region had ever seen, and the wines became the toast of Renaissance Florence, championed by its ruling family, the Medici.

The Medici expanded Florentine influence all over Tuscany, eventually incorporating southern Sienna and its holdings, notably a small, nearby hilltop town with an impressive fortress: Montalcino. With the Medici came the Florentine grapes, and the meager vineyards around the fortress were replanted to Sangiovese, mostly for Sacrament, and then everything carried on pretty much as normal. The Medici faded into memory. The Renaissance became the Enlightenment, which became the Romantic era, which became Modernity. Since the town wasn’t a commercial producing region like Chianti, centuries went by without anyone realizing what was happening to the Sangiovese around Montalcino.

It was changing. It evolved. Likely because of the altitude and increased solar influence, Montalcino’s Sangiovese mutated into its own clone; one that was thicker-skinned, darker and deeper than the Sangiovese Piccolo that Chianti grew. Botanists called the clone Sangiovese Grosso (means “bigger” but the berries are, in fact, the same size), but the residents of Montalcino have always used their own distinctive term: Brunello.

Here are some Brunellos that I’ve been collecting in (mostly) small batches for a while, now. My girlfriend, 2010, is included here (the Riservas are trickling in), along with some great older vintages. I’ve hoarded some of this for a while, just until I had enough for an offering, but the quantities are low and we won’t see these vintages again, so don’t hesitate to call me if you want any of these (and you do). We start with the Riservas:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Featured Wines: Masi Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron

If any of the wines in this week's Featured Wines column tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan by email (JCarrier@everythingwine.ca) or find him in the Vintage Room of Everything Wine's Morgan Crossing location in South Surrey.

Masi Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron
By Jordan Carrier


Those of us familiar with Ontario may know Guelph as “Lesser Kitchener”, but not many people know that it was named Guelph as part of an effort to bring some British Royal flavour to Upper Canada. Conceived and planned out like a European city, complete with squares, broad main streets and narrow side streets, the fledgling Canadian town was given its name to honour the origins of King George’s Hanoverian Royal Family, the House of Welf.

How Welf morphed into Guelph is a linguistic question (or perhaps a contraction of the Welf-ian cheerleading cry “Go Welf!”), but the House itself stretches back to the 11th century, boasting ruling Monarchs of England, Bavaria and Russia to name just a few. A branch of this house, interestingly, found their way to Rome, where they supported the Papacy against the Holy Roman Empire in the late 1100s, and later settled in the city of Florence, where the Guelphs flourished as merchants and burghers for another century.

Having achieved super-awesome Florentine success and having run out of enemies to fight, the Guelphs naturally split in to two opposing factions, the White Guelphs and the Black Guelphs, and began battling for control of Florence (you could tell the sides apart by how they wore the feathers in their caps – parentheses are usually where I tell jokes but this is true). When the Black Guelphs won and ran the White Guelphs out of town, they also ousted a former Pharmacist and poet who had been serving as City Prior (like a Mayor), a White-affiliated man named Dante Aligheri.

Falsely accused of corruption and threatened with execution if he ever returned to Florence, Dante moved north to Verona in 1302, where his family put down roots and he began working on what became Italy’s preeminent literary work: The Divine Comedy, which chronicles Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso). Dante moved away before finishing the piece but his family stayed, and his son Pietro got into the local wine business, purchasing the Casal dei Ronchi estate in the heart of the nearby Valpolicella region in 1353.

Twenty-one generations later, that estate still belongs to Dante's direct descendants, the Counts Serego Alighieri. Most of the original Villa still stands, surrounded by vineyards, including the legendary Vaio dei Masi, from which is produced one of the world’s most famous Single Vineyard Amarones - the Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron – and which gave the Masi winery its name.

I have 3 vintages of this great wine to offer, if you’re interested please reply or call me right away.

Masi Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron 1996
20 years young. Dried fruits, toffee and cocoa powder run the table here, overshadowing the sweet soy notes that usually evolve in aged Amarones. The palate is pure elegance; we Wine Geeks avoid/loathe the word “smooth” but this wine embodies it, the acidity is down (was it ever that up?) and the softened tannins support the substantial weight instead of putting a period on it. Drinks like what calligraphy looks like. 92 points Wine Spectator, 4 wooden 6-packs available, $158.99 +tax

Masi Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron 2007
As though a cinnamon coffee cake with cherry icing came alive and started to demolish your living room. According to Robert Parker’s Vintage Chart, the Valpolicella/Amarone region has never had a better year than 2007 (score: 95), and the top marks are likely due to the vintage’s celebrated longevity, supported by firm tannins and the perfect acidity of a not-too-ripe year. Fitting, then, that we should be able to offer the vintage in a 1.5L large format, perfect for long-term aging, and fitter still that each Magnum should come in its own wooden box with a rope handle, so you can swing the box like a lunch pail and look like you’re headed to the Best Lunch Ever. 95 points Wine Enthusiast, 6 Magnums (1.5L) available, $214.49 +tax


Masi Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron 2008
Ok. This is where everyone gets mad at me, because this wine placed #8 on Wine Spectator’s most recent Top 100 list, we are the only store in B.C. to carry it, and I only have six 6-packs. Yikes. Because of the short supply, I’ll have to “be that guy” and limit availability to one 6-pack per customer, awarded to the first 6 folks that contact me (I’ll ask for payment if you need me to hold it). If you are #7 or later, please remember how pleasantly funny I can be. 95 points Wine Spectator, #8 – Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2015, 6 6-packs available, $97.49 +tax

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pink Wines for Canada Day

You may have have envisioned a day of sprinkler dodging and outdoor grazing but there's no guarantee the crisp, white, patio sippers you're hoping to pair with a smokin' hot deck or backyard will meet their match on Canada's birthday. In Vancouver, especially, the weather forecast for Canada Day has rarely been reliably hot and sunny. So why not plan on serving the most versatile category of wine available with your flexible festivities? "Think Pink", as JoieFarm likes to remind us, and try one of the following blush wines on July 1st:

Chateau Des Charmes 2015 Cuvée D'Andrée Rosé - $16
A fruity and fresh rosé with lifted, red berry aromas and a touch of cooling minerality on the nose. Medium bodied with a touch of residual sugar mid-palate that finishes dry thanks to a refreshing wave of cranberry-rhubarb acidity and flavours. Grapefruit rind and light, dried herbs linger on the moderate finish.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé - $18
An orangy-pink rosé with a lovely combination of delicate, sweet berry fruit and warm, sage and dried herbs aromas on the appealing nose and the off-dry, approachable palate. Cool, steely-mineral notes and cranberry acidity balance the residual sugar nicely and linger on the finish.
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Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2015 Rosé - $18
A consistent blend, from the 2014 vintage, of 80% Gamy Noir, 10% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris offering a pleasant, delicate, nose of Spring flowers, strawberry, watermelon, citrus peel and white pepper. Followed by a fruity, slightly off-dry and slightly boozy, effervescent palate of ripe citrus, strawberry, cranberry, minerals, wild herbs and watermelon rind flavours. A delicious taste of Spring. 
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Bench 1775 Winery 2015 Glow Rosé - $20
A truly lovely rosé to experience via its delicate, candied fruit and floral-herb nose and superbly balanced, slightly off-dry, mouth-watering, berry and citrus-infused palate. Salmon-hued and subtly textured, produced with minimal skin contact and aged in stainless steel tanks. Finishes long with lingering herb, melon and tangy, tropical fruit notes.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2015 Oldfield Series Rosé - $20
2015 was another stellar vintage for this Provence styled, salmon-pink rosé made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes sourced from the winery's Diamondback Vineyard along the Black Sage Bench in the Southern Okanagan Valley. Its balance of sweet and savoury characters on the joyful nose and on the off-dry, mouth-watering palate is spot on.
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River Stone Estate Winery 2015 Malbec Rosé - $20
Though muted on the nose, with a youthful bouquet of strawberry, raspberry and mineral aromas, this rosé is as bright and cheerful as its cherry-coral colour suggests. Made from 100%, estate-grown Malbec grapes this blush's raison d'être is its delightful, juicy'n'crisp, off-dry palate of plump, strawberry-kiwi and citrus-pomegranate flavours.
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LaStella 2015 LaStellina Rosato - $20
Produced in the saignée method which "bleeds" juice from newly crushed red grapes imparting a pale strawberry colour and just a touch of tannin texture, the LaStellina is a blend of 62.6% Cabernet Franc, 29.9% Merlot and 7.6% Sangiovese with a fruity, joyful flavour profile of strawberry, rhubarb, cherry and mouth-watering tropical fruit. The balance between the sweet fruit and the acidic elements leans towards off-dry, but not fully.
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JoieFarm 2015 Rosé - $21
A very consistent wine, year-to-year, with a distinct colour and profile offering juicy, red fruit and light, dried herbs on the expressive nose and the slightly, off-dry, textured palate where the residual sugar is balanced beautifully by tart cranberry acidity, light tannins and tangy citrus notes. Your go-to, feel-good rosé. 
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