Sunday, March 5, 2017

Featured Wines: Wine Salad

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

Wine Salad

By Jordan Carrier

Depending on what time of day you’re reading this, it could be sunny, snowing, raining unicorn tears or hailing armed locusts, goodness knows I’m ready for anything by now. If somebody asks you what the weather is going to be, the only safe answer is “yes”. We in Metro Vancouver enjoy a Maritime Climate, but this year the designation should be changed to Salad.
And it’s in that spirit that I offer you a disparate, eclectic mix of stellar wines – a Wine Salad, if you will – to pair with this silly season. No real continuity ahead, we’re just gonna place the hamster ball on the map and see where that critter takes us. First up, New Zealand!
Felton Road. Central Otago, deep inland on the south end of the South Island, is simultaneously the hottest and coldest terroir in New Zealand, boasting extreme diurnal shifts of up to 15C. It’s dry and dramatic here, but the slopes of Bannockburn provide the ideal aspect for consistently ripening Pinot Noir, even in Tolkien-ish conditions, and that’s where we find Felton Road. Organic, biodynamically Demeter certified, eschewing filtration and fining and using only naturally occurring yeast, Felton Road doesn’t make wine so much as watch while it makes itself. What you taste is all Bannockburn: piercing red fruit over spices and silk. The single cru Cornish Point shows a trail mix of cranberries, grains and nutmeg, while the broader, village-level Bannockburn bottling is a tad darker, adding fat plums and licorice to the mix. They are both grand, rare wines of Gondor, and I grabbed all that I could (I think I took the only 5 6-packs of Cornish to enter the province – oops).
Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015, 94 points Wine Spectator, 3 cases available, $67.99 +tax
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2015, 96 points Wine Spectator, 5 6-packs available, $94.99 +tax
Betz Family Winery “La Cote Rousse” Syrah 2014, Red Mountain AVA, Washington State. Not for the faint of heart, or the impatient. There are only 338 Masters of Wine in the world, and Bob Betz is one of them. His vineyard-focused approach to Washington viticulture led him to Red Mountain, where he still gets fruit from the fabled Ciel du Cheval and End of the Road vineyards and makes Syrah that rivals Hermitage for longevity (really). Classic Washingtonian white pepper over Mediterranean olives and dried fruits, before a tense, currently immovable frame. This is, it must be said, no BBQ wine - it needs a nap - but your future self will be proud of you for grabbing such a classic cellar-star before it got famous and cost a gajillion dollars. Stunning – I took everything in BC. 96 points Robert Parker, 8 6-packs available, $91.49 +tax

Tenuta di Trinoro “Le Cupole” Toscana IGT 2014, Tuscany. To call this beast a “Supertuscan” is both correct and missing the point. Le Cupole “supersedes” nothing, because nothing else is around there, this rustic estate in the Orcia Valley, where Tuscany meets Umbria and Lazio, was the domain of nothing but sheep for 100 years. Enter Andrea Franchetti, a former restauranteur with the air of a hipster who’s about to tell you why your favourite movie stinks and a massive American inheritance (his uncle was the artist Cy Twombley). Not sure why Andrea planted so much Cabernet Franc there, but I’m grateful that he did; the elevated limestone slopes contribute serious depth, and the strangely warm microclimate - provided by the shelter of an extinct volcano – allows for longer hang time and greater phenolic ripeness (the trees still have leaves in December despite the high elevation). Le Cupole is Cab-Franc dominant, with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon playing bass and drums. Big big red fruit and spice, with no funky Greek Salad, this bruiser was off market for 5 years, I’m so happy its back! #29 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2016, 93 points Wine Spectator, $60.99 +tax

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