Thursday, June 4, 2020

Featured Wines: Deckbusters

If the wine 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 newest location River District in South Vancouver (8570 River District Crossing).


Hi Everyone!
Deck be pretty, deck be warm.
Deck not good in snow or storm.
Deck? Patio? Yard? Same diff,
but all be full of many sniffs.
Grass and BBQs for sure,
but Neighbor Hank just spread manure,
and revved his dirt bike up as well,
plus weed’s legal, so that’s that smell.
How can the wine in your glass
compete with Hank’s both kinds of grass
and odors of a late spring’s day?
It can’t, if it’s weak Beaujolais.
What you need are wines with spunk
and fruit so strong it scares off skunks
and pairs with steak, prawns and tortillas.
I may have a few ideas…..
I present to you my annual guide to quality red wines to enjoy on your deck/patio/roof/yard/boat/yurt once it gets nice, an activity more critical this year than most. Softer, nuanced wines can sometimes get aromatically overwhelmed out there, so counter the chaos with these strong, fruit-driven wines that’ll stand up to even your neighbor’s mink farm. To the juice:

Tenuta di Castellaro 2016 Nero Ossidiana, Lipari, Italy
Everything about this is new and awesome and once you try it you’ll wish you bought buckets. Lipari is one of the Aeolian Islands, the volcanic archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Sicily, and although most wines from here are white and Malvasia-based, they do make a tiny bit of Corinto Nero, one of the rarest red Italian grapes, thought to have been brought to these islands by the ancient Greeks. Grown in obsidian soils (Nero Ossidiana means Black Obsidian), Corinto Nero comprises 90% of this wine with 10% Nero d’Avola, and while the nose is civilized and pleasant and floral with red fruits and nutmeg, the palate explodes with cassis, strawberries and baking spice – this is like a 1er Cru Burgundy crossed with a Roman Candle. Light on its feet but punches well above its weight; this is an altogether new idea, and it is simply delightful. 94 points Robert Parker, 6 6-packs available, $59.99 +tax

Treana 2016 Proprietary Red, Paso Robles, California
Not sure if you can call Treana Austin Hope’s Second Wine or his Day Job, but this cocktail of three parts Cab and one part Syrah has the mark of its maker all over it. Unctuous, big and Caymus-y (for less than half the price), this wine is unafraid of ripeness or barrels, the sweet Vanilla Coke aromas compete with intense blueberries and violets and cinnamon, all wrapped up with a whip of licorice in case you weren’t already paying attention. Treana is so gonzo popular I don’t really have to promote it here, but I include it because it screams “DECK!!” and some of you may have been unaware. If you didn’t know, now you know. Not yet rated. 6 6-packs available, $49.98 +tax

Quinta Sardonia 2013, Castilla y Leon, Spain
We picked this firecracker instantly in a tasting panel, despite having no yardstick to measure it by: this wine would get detained at the airport given how its nationality is kind of a salad. Crafted by a French winemaker from Cognac and grown just outside of Ribera del Duero but drinking with a very Howell Mountain/Mt. Veeder vibe, I’m not sure where I’d place this if I tried it blind, but I’d love it nonetheless. Tempranillo with Cab and Syrah, aged in all manner of barrels, drinking like it has something to prove: intense fruit and body with supportive tannin, notes of black currant, mint and spice, fully in the zone, big and balanced. I could only get 2 6-packs of this because I had to share it with the other stores, despite clearly winning the potato sack race. 94 points Robert Parker, 2 6-packs available, $79.99 +tax

Markham 2016 Merlot , Napa Valley
Drink the hugs you can’t currently get from your friends. Mostly Merlot with a smidge of Cab, Markham wants you to be happy so badly it could be your Life Coach. Generous plums, chocolate, cherries, blueberries and lavender start on the nose and just drive right through to the creamy, decadent finish. Although it kept a low profile, the winery that now houses Markham has been a Napa fixture since the late 1800s, indeed it was one of the first wineries ever built there, and their wines have the vibe of classic Valley Floor: the Merlot clones come from the Three Palms vineyard (Merlot Ground Zero, made famous by Duckhorn) and their winemaker is from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Napa Merlot is ascendant. Nobody doesn’t smile when they drink this. 2 cases available, Reg Price $54.99 Sale Price $49.99 +tax

Natte Valleij 2015 “P.O.W.”, Simonsberg, South Africa
A robustly smooth Bordeaux blend (Cab/Merlot) with an unlikely story: although the Natte Valleij Homestead was founded in 1715, winemaking there was sporadic, given the inability to export anywhere without spoilage. During WWII, an Italian prisoner of war was exiled to Natte Valleij for forced labour, and during his stay he helped to bring winemaking back to the ranch, likely using the know-how from his own growing region as a guide. This wine is a tribute to him, called P.O.W. because he only left his initials carved into the cottage there – they never actually knew his name. Blackberry and anise aromas are tempered with tobacco and cigar box, this doesn’t have the dusty vibes of many S.A. reds, I think you’d have the same reaction that I did if you tried it blind: that it was a perfectly-aged Medoc Cru Bourgeois from a warm year that cost twice as much as it actually does. 2 cases available, $39.99 +tax

Finca Ygay 2015 Marques de Murrieta Reserva , Rioja, Spain
Although no stranger to anyone’s shelf or cellar, Finca Ygay’s strong Second Wine is having a bit of a moment right now; as quality wines around the world keep inflating in price, quality Rioja stays steady and this rustic, gulpable traditional blend (Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha) drinks like history. Spicy cedar, licorice and dried cherry notes precede a rich body and the caramelized Bourbon character that spending 1.5 years in American oak can bring. This wine eats anything that comes off your grill. #40, Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019, 93 points Robert Parker, 18 bottles available, $48.98 +tax

What follows is a brief listing of some wines that fit this theme and have previously been written about, but featured again for the benefit of those who’ve recently joined my Collectors List and may have missed ‘em the first time. If anyone requires more info I’m happy to send over the original blurb to you. The Deckbusters of yore:
Zuccardi 2017 Concreto Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. 96 points James Suckling, 94 points Robert Parker, 18 bottles available, $46.98 +tax
Montalto Estate 2016 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Australia. 97 points Decanter, 18 bottles available, $49.98 +tax
De Martino 2016 “Vigno” Carignan, Maule Valley, Chile. 97 points Robert Parker, 15 bottles available, $61.98 +tax.
Keep healthy, keep happy, and until next time: Happy Drinking!!

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