Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Featured Wines: Titans Of Tuscany

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

Titans of Tuscany

As we settle into another couple of days of beautiful BC autumn, allow me to tell you about a few crackerjack Tuscan wines that have made their way to me of late. We start with the newly in-room elephants:

Antinori Tignanello 2016, Toscana
This is the best-rated vintage of Tig ever, and that’s saying a lot. Like the music of Bob Marley, what started as a vehicle of protest now flows freely at parties; Marchesi Antinori’s revolt against the crippling, grower-biased Chianti Classico DOCG rules of the early ‘70s (he used Barriques and folded in a bit of Cabernet, which carried the same sentence as Armed Robbery back then) is now itself a revered institution, a Tuscan avatar if you will, representing the brilliance of the region at least as well as Chianti has ever done. The 2016 vintage finds Tig in Prince Charming mode, showing less ripeness than the 2015 but somehow more depth, with elegant tannins and notes of red fruits, pine, rosemary and vanilla. Will likely burn off its baby fat in about 3 years. There’s a bit of a mania surrounding this vintage (same with Guado, below), so I wouldn’t wait too long to grab some… 98 points Vinous, 97 points Wine Spectator, 97 points Robert Parker, 15 6-packs available, $125.99 +tax

Antinori Guado al Tasso 2016 Bolgheri
At the risk of repeating myself, this is also the best-ever-rated vintage of Guado al Tasso, so when your great-grandkids ask about the “good old days”, this is what they’ll mean. As bold, complex and huge as its famous next-door Bolgheri neighbours but not so much in price, this Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux blend has long been my favourite Antinori wine. Coffee and chocolate surround currants and plums before a focused, refined palate and a hot ‘n’ spicy finish. It’s like if Pauillac learned dirty dancing. This 2016 has the structure to last until robots learn to drink it, but our drinking window opens in 2 years, I’ll wager. 98 points Robert Parker, 98 points James Suckling, 5 wooden 6-packs available, $150.98 +tax

Carpineto Gran Selezione 2015, Chianti Classico
Don’t take your eyes off this winery, they’ve been killing it and show no signs of stopping. Fresh off their #11 placement on last year’s Top 100 (for the 2013 Vino Nobile), don’t be surprised if this statuesque Chianti, grown on 2 hectares in Dudda (in Greve) gets more listy-love this year too, it’s such great value. Aged 18 months in new French Oak, this Sangiovese is built for a journey: the reviews say you can approach it in 2 years but I’d wait a bit longer. Iron-rich black cherry notes, supported by licorice and lavender, great persistence and structure, this is a bargain for such a Cellar Star. 95 points Wine Spectator, 3 wooden 6-packs available, $67.98 +tax

Gaja Ca’Marcanda Vistamare 2017 Bolgheri
A rare white wine from Angelo Gaja’s Bolgheri house, made from Vermentino (unoaked), Fiano (unoaked) and Viognier (hella-oaked and fatter than a wiener dog running a Shake Shack), grown in a vineyard overlooking Bibbona beach (hence the name Vistamare). Gosh, this is pretty, with bergamot, pear, and nectarines on the nose, it closes with piercing minerality and a touch of salinity, full but crisp. 12 bottles available, $85.98 +tax

Le Potazzine 2013 Brunello di Montalcino
Run by Gigliola Gorelli with her two daughters, Potazzine is rising like a rocket in Montalcino, far more manically famous in Europe than here, perhaps because of Gigliola’s focus on elegance as her North Star. She paints with brushes, not hammers, and this Burgundian Brunello is refined, divine and ready to dine (sorry, that just kind of happened). Soft licorice notes with herbs, rocks, flowers and a solid core of blueberries, great acidity, long finish. Drinking now but will age gracefully, not unlike a Gevrey-Chambertin. I concede that framing it as “Girl-Brunello” is weird and a bit reductive, but Potazzine really does offer a refreshing kind of feminine take on the category. A rare new idea from that old mountain. 95 points Vinous, 94 points Robert Parker, 12 bottles available, $122.98

Livio Sassetti Pertimali 2013 Brunello di Montalcino
The Sassetti family traces their Brunello roots back to the beginning of the 20th century, but the jewel in their crown remains the Pertimali vineyard on the famed hill of Montosoli (Altesino has a vineyard there too), north of the town. Montosoli Brunellos are civilized affairs, often featuring as many savoury notes as fruit. This 2013 follows suit with leather, mushroom and truffle supporting the black cherry and plum. Quite full for a north-side Brunello, with a warming finish full of baking spice and licorice. I forgot about these guys for a bit, I’m very glad to meet them again. 98 points James Suckling, 3 6-packs available, $94.98 +tax
Until next time, Happy Drinking!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Featured Wines: Smart Bordeaux

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

Smart Bordeaux

It’s Bordeaux season, which means that soon collectors all across the province will spend a perfectly good Saturday morning (that they could have spent playing Mario Kart) lining up outside government stores to get their one-bottle rations of Classified Growth, Tickle-Me-Elmo style.
Pshaw. We at Everything Wine are celebrating the near-perfect 2016 vintage by releasing absolutely stellar Bordeaux wines from lesser-known houses that provide just as much awesome without requiring a credit check. We call it Smart Bordeaux 2016, because these are indisputably better value, and also drinking them will make you smarter.* Most of these – just like the more famous labels – need sleepytimes before their windows open (buying new Bordeaux is like buying half-baked loaves of garlic bread, you have to do the rest yourself), but nevertheless we will pour a few of ‘em this Saturday at 3pm in the River District Vintage Room, if stocks hold. To the juice:

Chateau Fonréaud Cru Bourgeois 2016 Listrac-Médoc
In the 12th century, Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband Henry Plantagenet II (showbiz names: King and Queen of England) drank from a natural spring on this property, which became known as the Royal Fountain, or “Font-Réal”. Over time, “Font-Réal” evolved into “Fonréaud”, and today the Chanfreau family farms this, the highest vineyard in Médoc, and crushes the grapes in the Chateau they built there in 1855. Although easily 5 years out from go-time, there is already an unsinkable core of intense fruit on the nose, with shades of mocha, cocoa powder and full body before a spicy finish with elegant, citrus rind astringency. 92 points Wine Enthusiast, 18 bottles available, $49.99 +tax
Chateau Cambon La Pelouse Cru Bourgeois 2016 Haut-Médoc
Every year 166 Cru Bourgeois submit to a jury of 35 experts to decide the vintage’s Best Cru Bourgeois. There are 12 finalists but only one winner, and this year that winner was Ch Cambon La Pelouse 2016, an Haut-Médoc estate on the border of Margaux, sandwiched between Ch Giscours and Ch Cantemerle and owned by Ch Angelus. Half/Half Cab/Merlot with 4% Petit Verdot smushed in there somewhere, there are notes of mint, ripe dark fruit and hay, but this baby doesn’t even know words yet. This is a Cellar Star, rather inscrutable now but singing in 10 years, it’s built like a Predator Drone. Future You says thanks. 93 points Wine Enthusiast (Editors Choice), WINNER – Cru Bourgeois Competition 2019, 22 bottles available, $54.99 +tax
Chateau Paloumey Cru Bourgeois 2016 Haut-Médoc
Paloumey, situated in the warmer southern end of Medoc, was a Hot Tamale in the early 1800s, close to Bordeaux city and so popular with the locals it was praised in the second edition of “Bordeaux and its Wines” published by Féret in 1868. Phylloxera and two world wars took their economic toll, however, and the estate’s owners abandoned it in 1950, leaving the vineyard to become a popular hot spot for rabbits and deer for 40 years (I expect the new patrons called it Chateau Munch Munch Munch). Martine Cazeneuve bought what was left of the estate in 1990, renovated, replanted, and brought it up to Cru Bourgeois status in under a decade. This 2016 is an elegant, medium-weighted affair, with savoury notes balancing the juicy fruit (blackberry and plum) on nose and palate, with vanilla and tobacco notes closing the lid. Needs about 3 years, but so lovely. We’re pouring Paloumey on Saturday at 3pm. 93 points Wine Enthusiast, 22 bottles available, $49.99 +tax
Chateau Larrivaux 2016 Haut-Medoc
Part of the Tesseron family (Lafon-Rochet), Larrivaux sits at the doorstep of Saint-Estephe in the commune of Cissac, and accordingly has a smidge more Merlot than Cab, given the clay-rich soils there. Rich and chewy with robust tannins and a spicy, hot finish, with more citrus rind and sour cherries on the nose. Hints of violets, licorice and blackberry. Closer to the promised land than many others on this offer, but we’re still about a year away. Very yum, see for yourself when we pour Larrivaux this Saturday at 3pm92 points Wine Spectator, 92 poinrs James Suckling, 22 bottles available, $46.99 +tax

Chateaux Saintayme 2016 Saint-Émillon
Denis Durantou owns and runs a few estates on Bordeaux’s Right Bank – notably the insanely hard to get Pomerol Ch L’Eglise Clinet - but this tiny  estate on the eastern edge of Saint-Émillon is by far the best value. Although he plants a smidge of Cabernet Franc on the property, this 2016 Saintayme is 100% Merlot from 35-year-old vines, and it’s bursting with black cherries and mocha with kirsch notes and crushed rocks. Quite rich, although we’re about 3 years away from Act One. 93 points James Suckling, 20 bottles available, $59.99 +tax
Chateau Le Doyenne 2016 Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
The sparse, largely forested Entre-Deux-Mers region is a kind of peninsula between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, thus between the Left and Right bank. Although one of the first areas in Bordeaux to plant vines – back in the times of Julius Caesar – the modern age hasn’t embraced the area, largely relegated to bulk wines and party hooch, except…. The Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux AOP has been wresting quality out of the ancient river deposits of sandstone and clay along its southern bank, producing rich, Merlot-based wines with medium structure and great approachability. Doyenne has farmed this shore since 1781, and this 2016 is teeming with blueberries in violet skirts, with soft tannins and immediate drinkability. Try this on Saturday as well92 points Robert Parker, 22 bottles available, $42.99 +tax

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Varietal Focus: BC Sauvignon Blanc

Not a lot of Sauvignon Blanc is grown in BC, it certainly isn't a signature grape of the Province's wine regions... any of them. That doesn't mean there aren't some absolutely fabulous versions of the ancient varietal on option.

There is no one definitive style of BC Sauvignon Blanc. Some showcase the pungent, or, pleasantly stinky characteristics of the varietal while others focus more on clean, crisp expressions of acidic and mouth-watering fruit. 

Here is a list of our favourite Sauvignon Blanc, year-in, year-out, grouped by style:


Fairview Cellars 2018 Sauvignon Blanc - $22
A pleasantly pungent and boisterous vintage of Sauvignon Blanc with aromas and flavours of gooseberries, grapefruit, crab apple, stone fruit, and grass. This Sauvignon Blanc has body and a corpulent, complex texture with layers of fruit peaking through tart tinges of citrus acidity and crisp, mineral notes.
Icon Score

River Stone Estate Winery 2018 Sauvignon Blanc - $22
Subtler, on the pleasantly pungent nose than recent, more aromatic vintages, the 2018 edition of Sauvignon Blanc, sourced from a neighboring property in Oliver, keeps with the house style of a punchy mixture of herbs, citrus zest and tropical fruit.
Icon Score


Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2018 Sauvignon Blanc - $25
Opens with a subtle, Loire-esque scented nose with a focus more on fresh, fleshy fruit and rounded savoury aromas than the more in-your-face, pungent, New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc. This subtlety is juxtaposed by a bracing wave of Champagne-worthy acidity on the otherwise, similarly flavoured palate where added notes of herbs, spice, minerals and lemon zest add complexity.
Icon Score

Bench 1775 Winery 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc - $26
This new release leans more towards the Loire Valley in profile when compared to the multi-site blends of previous vintages. Less pungency and more laser-focused fruit and minerality, though, a touch of exotic fruit shows on the otherwise, stonefruit and citrusy-peach flavoured finish.
Icon Score

Somewhere In-between

La Frenz Winery 2018 Sauvignon Blanc - $22
A balanced, well-constructed Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of pungency on the nose but primarily a showcase for how nicely citrus and melon fruit can coexist. The palate is bright and lip-smacking with just a hint of residual sugar on the lightly savoury and effervescent finish. Ready to be enjoyed in its youth.
Icon Score

Winemaker's Cut 2018 Sauvignon Blanc - $26
A single vineyard cuvée sourced from Oliver, explores textural layers on its crisp, mineraly and fruity palate and offers a subtle, delicate medley of citrus, tropical and orchard fruit aromas on the nose. Slightly dialed back from the extravagant 2017 edition, though, likely more accessible to the more casual fans of this pungent varietal.

- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2019 IconWines.ca