Archive for the 'Pinot Noir' Category

2006 Belle Pente Pinot Noir, Murto Vineyard, Dundee Hills

12212009I just can’t understand why some folks out there don’t give Oregon Pinot its due… The stuff really rocks when it’s done right. Like this bottle – it’s done in a way that if you say you don’t like it, I’m going to shoot right back with, “You just don’t like good Pinot Noir.” ‘Nuff said.

The grapes for this bottle came from Belle Pente’s own Murto vineyard, which was planted back in 1978. It results in a wine that some have apparently called “sublimely Burgundian”, but for me it shows a clarity of brairy red fruit shown in the better Pinots from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It made my taste buds cheer.

The nose is all about the bright and ripe red cherry and strawberry fruit along with rhubarb, spice and a bit of earth. The flavours? The first word that comes to mind is “burst”. There’s a burst of fresh and briary ripe red cherries and strawberry fruit that widens the eyes and makes you want to say to the person next to you, “Wow.” That’s followed up by floral, mineral and even light orange citrus flavours that set up shop in your mouth and hang out for a while. The finish has tannins that are smooth, but firm enough to let you know that they’re there.

For what it’s worth, Stephen Tanzer gave this wine a 92 rating and I’d pretty much agree with him on the ballpark. I loved it.

Yep, I’d happily drink it again. If you find some, give it a try.

Bought for $34.95 USD at my favourite wine shop in Portland – Vinopolis Wine Shop.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2008 Wild Rock Cupids Arrow Pinot Noir, Central Otago

12272007.jpgThis wine is hitting the spot tonight – and for good reason. It’s a really well-made bottle of Pinot for the money. Most Pinots from New Zealand’s Central Otago region start at roughly the $50 CDN price range, so it’s refreshing to see this on the shelves for less thank $30.

I’m going to make this relatively quick, so let’s get down to it. The nose has really nice briary red fruit with an edge of dark dried cherry and rhubarb. The flavours are really in-your-face. There’s a big schwack of juicy dark cherry followed up by a bunch of rhubarb/briary spice and solid, but forgiving tannins. It’s a satisfying bottle of wine.

Like I said when I reviewed the 2006 vintage of this wine, it’s a tidy little bargain for the money. If you’re a Pinot fan, and especially if you like Oregon Pinots or have founds ones from New Zealand you’ve liked, you really should give this wine a go.

$29 in LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


Best Damn Tasting Ever! presented by the Seacove Group and New World Wines

OK, so I’ve been really bad with posting lately… and rightfully so. I’ve got a life and a full-time, outside wine job. I’ve been feeling badly about the lack of posts, so I’ve resolved to writing at least a few of ’em a week for the next while. Not only does that accomplish the more-posts-in-a-month goal, but it also makes me document the wine I drink, which was the original idea behind this site.

Well, now that that’s out there, I’ll get down to the task at hand. A few weeks ago, I received an invite from my friend Paul Watkin, who works with the Seacove Group, a wine agency in town for a tempting-sounding trade tasting being held at the Metropolitan Hotel.

The tasting was put on by the Seacove Group and the New World Wines agencies – and featured a diverse selection of wines from pretty much everywhere. There were wines from Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal and the USA. Graham and I made our way around the room and I can honestly say there wasn’t a single wine we didn’t enjoy. Both agencies have some stunners, so I’m just going to give you our top 5’s from each.

Graham’s picks from Seacove:

  • Champagne de Venoge Brut Milliesime 1995 – Stunning length with beautiful citrus and lees.
  • Livon Braide Alte 2006 – Loved this wine.  Superbly crisp with nice pear and lime and solid mineral finish.  I imagined this with mussels or clams.  Mmmmm….
  • Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 – A gorgeous Napa Cab with great black fruit.  This wine was like someone ground a pepper mill over the glass.  Excellent stuff.
  • Chateau des Graviers AOC Margaux “Quintessence” 2001 – Delicious.  Great nose of tea, marker and ground coffee.  Finishes up with some nice graphite and green leaf.
  • Moncellior Pinot Noir 2008 – I really liked this one.  Nice full raspberry nose with great acidity and some nice green stalk on the finish.  This is a great value in the Otago Pinots for $35.

My picks from Seacove:

  • 1995 Champagne de Venoge Brut Millesièmme -Wow. Just wow. So graceful and tasty.
  • 2006 Signorello Winery Padrone – OK, it’s expensive, but it’s also really bloody tasty. Massive black fruit and pepper are followed by equally massive tannins. This one needs time.
  • 2005 Van Zeller Douro CV “Curriculum Vitae” – Elegant dark plum and berry fruit lead to a loooong finish. Pretty wonderful stuff.
  • 2003 Egelhoff Wines Cabernet Sauvignon – Great dark fruit and black pepper flavours made me want to go back for more.
  • 2006 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional – Dark fruit and chocolate with a finish that lasted minutes. I love this wine.

Graham’s picks from New World Wines:

  • Barnett Vineyards Merlot Spring Mountain 2006 – Amazing spice on this wine.  Anise and Cinnamon with gorgeous red fruit.  Loved it.
  • Darioush Winery Signature Series Shiraz 2005 – Deep intense black fruit with nice black pepper and firm tannins.
  • DeLille Cellars D2 2006 – This was soft and sexy goodness.  Gorgeous red fruit and silky finish.
  • Betz Family Winery Clos de Betz 2006 – Beautiful dark chocolate, black fruit and some nice mint on the finish. – Loved it.
  • Flowers Vineyard & Winery  Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2006 – Elegant, with beautiful cranberry and currant.  Great length with a bit a brown sugar on the finish.

My picks from New World Wines:

  • 2005 Darioush Winery Signature Series Shiraz – So good! Immense dark fruit, dark chocolate and black tea flavours lead out to a long-long finish.
  • 2006 Barnett Vineyards Merlot Spring Mountain – Dark chocolate and plum fruit with a toasty edge. So good.
  • 2006 Betz Family Clos de Betz – It may be starting to sound like a record on repeat, but dark chocolate and blackberry flavours made me want more.
  • 2006 DeLille Cellars D2 – Mouth-filling dark fruit. Yum.
  • 2004 Lail Vineyards Blue Print – This had a hint of bell pepper to its dark fruit and spice. Bloody good.

André & Mireille Tissot Crémant du Jura, NV

11042009After reading and hearing about wines from France’s smallest wine region (it totals ~1,600 hectacres), I’ve been on the lookout for any of the wines from Jura around town. This sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the first wine from there that I’ve found.

The Jura region is located in Western France, between Burgundy and Switzerland. There are four regional appellations: Arbois, Côtes du Jura and the smaller Etoile and Château-Chalon, plus two wine style appellations that cover the whole area, Crémant du Jura and Macvin (a Vin de Liqueur).

Basically, five grape varieties make up their wines. For whites there’s Chardonnay and Savagnin – sometimes called by its old name, Naturé and Trousseau Gris. For reds, there’s Poulsard (also called Ploussard), Trousseau Noir and Pinot Noir. I could go on, but a further exploration calls for more of their wines… and I just have this tasty bio-dynamically farmed bottle of sparkling wine.

So, let’s get down to it. To me, this wine has a lot in common with decent Champagne. It’s got a nose that has a schwack of toast, pear, strawberry, honey and citrus. A sip gives up a concentrated dose of fine bubbles that give way to berry and melon fruit followed up by a long honey and grapefruit-like citrus to its crisp pear-edged finish.

It’s really tasty – better than I thought it may be, in fact.

If you like the bubbly and want to try something new, I’d say you should give this wine a try. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

$43 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars
(verging on 4.5)


2008 Rigamarole Winery Rosé

08162009Both Graham and I received bottles of this wine as agent’s samples, so I thought we’d put our reviews together and get them on the site. I think this bottle surprised both of us… pleasantly. It was both tastier and better than we thought it would be.

It’s got a cool nose that is all about the cranberry, mandarin orange and flinty stone. The flavours are pretty interesting as well. There’s the juicy cranberry, sour cherry, some lemony citrus and a crisp, lightly mineral-edged finish. There’s a bit of a boozy edge, but it’s not out of balance.

You know I’m a rosé fan and all in all, I’d have to say that I would buy this wine. It goes really well with the warm weather we’re having in Vancouver this summer. It’s a nice little aperitif wine to sit and sip on the patio and would also pair well with various things grilled (think chicken, veggies and pork).

It’s a great deal for the money.

With the Hades-esque heat wave we’ve had of late in Vancouver, the wine consumption has been limited. The search for a few crisp whites and some nice rosés has been a common theme in recent weeks.

To be honest, I generally default to French Rosés for fear of encountering an overly sweet homage to the blasphemy that is white zin. I cracked this open the other night and must confess that was a tasty patio sip.

A blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, it has nice ruby cranberry color in the glass It has a zingy nose of some pine notes with strawberry jam and a bit of cotton candy- things I like in a Rosé. A few sips and the strawberry continued on with some cranberry and rhubarb in the middle. Generally this wine was light on the palate and had some nice soft red fruit on the finish with a bit of white pepper to top it off.

This is a tasty local rosé. The price point makes it a great choice to share with a mixed crowd (Wine geeks and non). Would I buy it? Absolutely, especially if our weather continues as it is.

$14.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2006 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

06222009This was a wine I picked up thinking I would try it, make my notes and move on. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to get blown away… and well… I wasn’t. Having said that though – did I like this wine? Hell yeah. It’s just that it was selling up here in booze-pinched BC for ~$90. I grabbed this bottle during an agent’s mark-down sale, which took it down to ~$60. Why? Because I love the Pinot and had had my eye on trying something from the Merry Edwards folks for a while.

So, what’s it like? Well, a big sniff gives up black cherry, raspberry, orange peel and mineral. A juicy sip pretty much shows the same. It’s a refined bunch of the cherry and berry that shows a bit of heat on the finish (it has 14.2% booze) and finishes as smoothly as silk.

It all pretty much adds up to a tasty bottle of wine that still makes me feel pretty gouged – even with the $30 mark-down. I’d love this wine in the $40 range. It was bloody tasty. For the money, I expect more.

~$60 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars


2007 Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley

06162009I tasted (and liked) Stoneboat’s wines back at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival back in March, so when I found their new releases at Taylorwood Wines last weekend, I thought I’d pick up a couple of bottles to try. I grabbed one each of their white blend Nebbia and their Pinot Noir.

OK, let’s get down to it… it’s a Pinot – kinda’ classically so. There’s not much of the New World sluttiness going on. The nose has that disinct barnyard edge to it, with stewed cherry and a bunch of citrus and spice. A big ‘ol sip shows the cherry juice, as well as orange peel and a bit of a tobacco edge to its mineral-laced finish. It’s tasty stuff, especially for the $24. I do have to say that it is a bit rustic though… with some stemminess to the flavours. This gives it a bitter edge that many folks may not find too appealing.

Having said that, I do have to say that I enjoyed this wine. Did I love it? No. Would I buy it again? Maybe. Would I drink it again? Yes. It’s much better than almost any other Pinot available at this price.

If you come across it and are a Pinot fan, give it a go and decide for yourself.

$24 from the winery.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2005 Moillard Mercurey Clos l’Eveque 1er Cru

When I first gave this wine a swirl, I thought some of my neighbors on the farms were spreading some fine grade manure. This is definitely a shining example of the “barnyard” character often attributed to Pinot Noir… and once you get past that, this is a neat bottle.

I swirled a bit more, and mixed in are some tobacco and meaty overtones. Anything this unusual deserves a few good slurps. Raspberry, red currant and some orange zest quickly took over for the funk and revealed an enjoyable glass of Bourgogne. The finish brings some nice earthy black tea and some tasty raspberry and floral notes.

Despite a rather odd beginning, this is a really elegant and tasty glass. It runs a full spectrum of the classic Pinot attributes and was equally unique the next day. At $21 in the current LDB clear out, it’s a really great deal.

$21 (regularly $34.99) at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

2005 Ken Wright Cellars “Angela” Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District AVA

05022009What can I say about this wine? Well, here we go: Holy crap! This is a bloody tasty bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir. I’ve been looking for a bottle to blow me away lately. I’ve had some good wines… but nothing with that “Wow” factor. This bottle, from 300 cases produced, did that… effortlessly.

I picked it up last year at one of my favourite wine shops, Vinopolis in Portland on sale for ~$45 and brought it home to my little cellar. It’s from the Yamhill-Carlton AVA Ditrict south of Portland – an area that turns out many of the Pinots that have really grabbed my attention over the last few years. It’s also made by Ken Wright Cellars. They’re a winery that’s based in Carlton and have been on my radar for a while now. This is the first wine of theirs that I’ve had in my glass. It won’t be the last.

Wow. This is pure hedonism in  glass. It’s unfined and unfiltered and is a slightly cloudy dark raspberry red in the glass. It has a beautiful nose of ripe raspberry and what I would best describe as a cedar forest earthiness. A sip is when this wine  really lets you know what’s going on. There’s an “I just licked raspberries off a cedar plank” thing going on – it literally smacks your taste buds with a bunch of ripe raspberry juice, a bit of citrus, herbs and an earthy cedar edge.

Is it good? Do you really need to ask? Seriously. OK… YES, it’s bloody wonderful.

Get some if you’re lucky enough to find it.

~$45 at Vinopolis in Portland last year.

4 1/2 stars


2000 Moët & Chandon Brut Rosé Champagne Grand Vintage

04272009I’ve been a little slow on the posts lately – life gets in the way sometimes. What I do have is a schwack of notes from wines I’ve been tasting, so I’ll try to get those on the site over the next couple of weeks.

This bottle is one I opened this to quaff as an aperitif back in March on my birthday before heading out for dinner with Candace. These are some tasty bubbles, folks! It’s a blend of 39% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier that more than hints at the quality of its big brother, the Dom Perignon Rosé.

In the glass, it’s got a beautiful light pink colour, with a lot of those fine-Champagne bubbles going on. A sniff shows strawberry and ripe cherry fruit with a splash of lemon and melon on grass. Along with all those tiny bubbles (cue Don Ho), there’s a generous dash of ripe strawberry with a splash of lemon that leads to a long mineral-laced finish.

This was a really enjoyable bottle of bubbly. Give it a try if you can find it.

Found for $45 CDN marked down at a LDB store here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

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