Archive for the 'Cabernet Sauvignon' Category

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.
3 comments

Brown Estate Wine Dinner – 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Chaos Theory & 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

On Saturday night Shea and I headed out to Graham and Leah’s place in the ‘burbs with our better halves to cook up our much-anticipated Brown Estate wine dinner. When we visited the Browns back in July while we were in Sonoma and Napa for the Wine Bloggers’ Conference, Deneen and Coral by-passed awesome and went straight to best ever by giving the three us a great tour, taking us through a tasting of pretty much every wine they had on the property (paired with Coral’s selection of cheeses), giving us a tour of their cave along with tastes straight from the barrels and then topped it all off by handing us 4 bottles of wine to take along as we were headed out.

We told them we would get together and share the 4 wines over dinner. So, the past couple of weeks saw a flurry of emails go back and forth as we decided what would be served with each wine. We settled on a couple of nice cheeses from Les Amis du Fromage here in Vancouver with the Chardonnay, lamb kebabs with the 2001 Cabernet, freshly made pizzas with the 2006 Chaos Theory and finally some delicious tenderloin steaks with the 2004 Cabernet. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed food and wine more than I did last Saturday.

OK, so the first wine out of the gate was the 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay. Shea had brought along a couple of cheeses from Les Amis du Fromage that paired beautifully. They each brought out different flavours in the Chardonnay. If you can find it, buy this wine. It’s a gorgeous bottle of Napa Valley Chardonnay that also shows some of the crispness and complexity of a white Burgundy. Wow. Have a look.

$48 USD at the winery.

4 1/2 stars

The 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (signed by the winemaker, David Brown) was up next. Graham had BBQ’d up some incredibly tasty lamb kebabs to have with the wine. The pairing really worked . The wine had gorgeous round berry and dark cherry fruit that showed a slightly stewed edge to the fruit (very slight) with its age. It was an amazing bottle – and thinking back, possibly my favourite of the night.

Price N/A.

4 1/2 stars

Next up was the 2006 Napa Valley Chaos Theory Cabernet-Zinfandel Blend. I can’t track down the exact percentages in this blend, but WOW, it adds up to a gorgeous bottle of wine. There’s the briary dark fruit from the Zin, with the dark and tannicly fruity edge of the Cab. It’s complex, gorgeous and incredibly fun to sip. It’ simply delicious.

We paired the Chaos Theory with a handmade pizza made up of freshly grilled veggies, a sauce I made when I got out to Graham’s (tomatoes, smoked tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, cracked chilis and freshly ground pepper), mozzarella cheese with a bit of crumbled feta cheese and black pepper.

$45 USD at the winery.

4 1/2 stars

… and finally,  we had the the 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled tenderloin steaks. Wow, this worked. Thanks to Graham’s deft work on the grill, the meat was incredibly tender – cut with a fork tender. It was simply spiced with a brushing of olive oil (from Napa’s Spring Mountain Vineyards – thanks Ted!), freshly ground pepper and coarse salt.

It was incredible with its youthful tannins, cracked pepper sprinkled blackberry and dark currant flavours. It had a finish that went on as long as we wanted and left us longing for more. Like the others, it was a beautiful bottle of wine.

$65 USD at the winery.

4 1/2 stars

The evening was exactly what we wanted it to be, helped along by wines that were simply unforgettable – as much for their quality as our new-found attachment to the place. Brown Estate Winery is a special place, made so by the family that owns and nurtures it. We all felt a special attachment when we visited and can only hope that if you head down to Napa, you give them a call, drop by and have as much fun as we did.

2 comments

2009 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival – Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting

beringer_tastingOn Wednesday, I donned a suit and made my way for the first time into the Vancouver Club for the Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting. I had really been looking forward to this for 2 reasons. Number 1 was that it seemed like a great way to spend a couple of hours on my birthday. Number 2 would be that I’ve always liked Beringer’s high-end wines, but don’t necessarily feel flush enough to lay out the cash to bring them home. So, a tasting like this lets me fill that desire without killing my wine budget.

Ther Beringer Private Reserve Cabs aren’t what you New World nay-sayers out there may picture. There’s an elegance to their dark fruit. It’s like a regular (insanely tasty) Napa Cab, but put through a stone-laced filter and then wrapped in silk. It’s the more fashionably-dressed cousin to the power-suit wearing Napa Cabs we all know.

Upon entering the room, a rich aroma of Cabernet-produced dark cassis gently embraced my nostrils… I took a seat and was happy to see glasses filled with Beringer’s Private Reserve dating from 1993 – 2004. A few vintages were skipped (due to availability in Canada), but the lineup looked promising. There were 9 in total.

Beringer’s very likeable head winemaker, Laurie Hook took over the room and as well as taking us through the wines, filled us in on stories and the history of the winery and its people.

OK, it’s a busy week, so I’m going to get into the wines.

1993 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: First out of the gates was the oldest wine they brought. The 1993 was still very youthful, with dark cherry, cassis, mint, cedar and a tobacco-like edge to the very tannic finish. It was chewy. I rated it 4.5 (or a 91 for you folks who like things on a 100-point scale – I did that for this tasting because really, was there a lower wine in the bunch?).

1995 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Next up was the 1995. This was again, very youthful, with black cherry, blackberry, nuts, cocoa, herbs, leather and a bit of a floral edge. I rated it 4.5 (or a slightly higher 92).

1997 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This was a real crowd-pleaser. It had the refinement of the previous 2 with a bit more going on. It came down to whether this or the 2001 was my favourite of the tasting. It was slightly darker in colour and was just plain epic. There was all that dark fruit, cocoa and cherry along with a lasting and balanced finish that reminded me exactly why I love this stuff. Rated 4.5 (or 94).

1998 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine came from what is considered a poor vintage, but drinks incredibly well. It was noticeably more austere and smooth in the mouth. It had fruit that just seemed more “red” as opposed to black. In the mouth, it was silky and complex with a nice herbal edge to the red fruit and mineral. Very elegant. Rated 4.5 (or 91).

1999 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This one was probably my least favourite of the tasting. On the nose, there was mint and eucalyptus along with cedar and cherry. The flavours were there, but didn’t make me go, “Yum”. It had a bit of a green edge. Rated 4 (88 points).

2000 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Tight. That’s what this wine was… and I’m not 100% convinced it’s going to be one to evolve into a mind-blower. It was good, but right near the 1999 in my mind. There was the dark fruit, along with some cocoa and cherry leading out to a mineral-laced finish. Don’t get me wrong. I’d happily drink it, but it’s not up to some of the other bottles in the tasting. Rated 4 (88 points).

2001 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Yum. According to Laurie, this was a “Christmas morning vintage” – on one of those Christmases you received everything you wanted. They had perfect fruit and great picking conditions, which leads to a great wine. It’s big without being massive and fit my palate to a “T”.  This was a fave of many folks in the room. It had silky licorice-edged cassis and cherry fruit, along with blackberry, cocoa and brambles. Wow. Tasty stuff. Rated 4.5 (or 95 points).

2002 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: After the 2001, I was due for a bit of a coming down, but this held up respectably. The fruit was softer and showed some earthy “red”-ness. The cherry and herbs made for a velvety and elegant wine. Rated 4.5 (or 90 points).

2004 Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: The last wine of the day was quite a bad boy bit of juice. It was dark, chewy and complex. I loved it. It may have been my #3 wine of the day. Ripe blackberry, dark cherry, cocoa, and herbs all came together for a heckuva’ tasty bit of juice. Rated 4.5 (or 93).

Apparently some of these are in stores, so if you see one (and have the cash in pocket) I’d really recommend giving some of these a go.

~$160 in LDB stores here in BC.

3 comments

2004 Mauritson Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

03062009While we were down in San Fran for ZAP, Graham and I spent an afternoon hanging out with Shea from Just-Grapes having some lunch, driving around in a rented convertible and shopping for some wine at K & L Wines.

This bottle comes from a winery better known for its Zinfandels, but with this wine, they make a heckuva’ Cab. The 100% Cabernet fruit comes from the Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and Rockpile areas. What that blending adds up to is a 14.5% ABV wine that could age in your little cellar for a while yet – I’m thinking another 5 -10 years could do it a world of good.

This is a gorgeous, balanced and reasonably-priced Sonoma Cabernet. It has a nose that gives up a bunch of red currant, blackberry and dark berry fruit. A smooth sip shows what it would be like to lick dark and juicy red fruit cocktail off a satin sheet. This is a polished wine, folks… The fruit is refined and the tannins are gentle, but firm. The finish carries on for a while and reminds you exactly why you are eager for the next sip.

$24.99 USD at K & L Wines in San Francisco.

4 1/2 stars

3 comments

2004 Caves Aliança Bairrada Quinta das Baceladas Single Estate

012120091I happened on this wine at the Alberni LDB store in downtown Vancouver the other day. The wine is mainly a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon along with some of the Baga varietal that is native to the Bairrada region. I’m always up for trying something from Portugal, so I grabbed one.

It may be Old World in location, but there’s definitely some of that New World fruit and oak going on. I’ve had it open for a few hours.. so let’s go. The nose is a sexy mix of ripe blackberry, plum, dark chocolate and mineral. The flavours are all about the ripe berry and what struck me as sweet fig with a long dark chocolate  coated finish. Sounds tasty, huh? Yep, it is.

Apart from some bitterness in the middle, it’s just a hint away from being absolutely outstanding. It is pretty damned fine. For the moolah, I’d buy it again. Yes, I would.

$28.50 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

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2007 Henry’s Drive Pillar Box Red, Padthaway

01202009So, my friend Eric phoned me earlier tonight while in his local LDB store asking what to buy. We ran through a few choices (finding none – it WAS over the phone) before he mentioned that while they didn’t have the Pillar Box Shiraz, the Red was in stock. I told him to go with it… and because I like to taste what I recommend, I went out and picked one up myself.

I opened this after dinner while watching the Canucks game against San Jose (loss, dammit)… and what can I say? I really like it. It definitely stands firmly on the “slutty” side of the fence, but also offers up enough depth of flavour that it’s an interesting quaff.

The nose shows ripe, stewed black cherry, along with black currant and berries with a bit of earth. A sip leads to an explosion of dark fruit (think black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, etc.) and a long-lasting, slightly boozy (it weighs in at 15% alcohol) finish.

Do I like it? Yep. But, you have to be in the mood for a Robert Parker-styled fruit bomb to love it. I was in the mood for that… and it’s a great value at under $20 CDN.

$19.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

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2007 Orin Swift Cellars The Prisoner

01172009I’m always up for trying a vintage of The Prisoner. I’ve loved the last 2 vintages (the 2006 made my list for top wines of 2008), so when I came across the 2007 on Friday, I grabbed one to test it out.

One thing I should point out – this is a young wine and really benefits from some time in the decanter. I’ve grabbed a couple to put away for a while (if I can keep my hands off them).

So, I decanted this for a couple of hours last night before taking a sip and that really helped it out. When I first popped the cork, the wine had that bright and youthful fruit thing going on… as the air mellowed it, that evolved into dark jammy blackberry fruit with chocolate.

That really became evident when I took a sip. This blend of 50% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono and 1% Grenache made for a concentrated dark fruit explosion with a beautifully balanced chocolate edge to the long finish. Imagine a big handful of ripe blackberries mixed with chocolate covered cherries. Yep, that’s this wine.

Another score for Dave Phinney and the gang down in St. Helena. Tasty stuff.

$52.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

11 comments

2005 Celler del Roure Les Alcusses, Valencia

01152009This was one of those bottles that I picked up for 2 reasons – I love Spanish wine and I liked the label. Yep, even wine geeks buy a wine because of the label occasionally. :)

When I opened it and let it grab some air I knew I was in for something surprisingly tasty. The nose gives off a beautiful mix of ripe black cherry, berry and earth. A juicy sip was all about the ripe (yes, I used that word again, but it really applies here) cherry and berry along with a really nice earthy edge to the medium-long finish. I really liked it. It fills the mouth with its rich flavours.

It’s a blend of Tempranillo, Mourvédre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mando, which is a varietal indigenous to the Valencia area. What it all adds up to is a wine I’ll definitely buy again. Go look for it.

$24.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

2008 – My Favourites in Wine and Music

It’s the time of year that the “best of” lists make their appearances. Despite what some folks may say, these lists are pretty fun to put together and it’s always good to hear what others liked the most in the past year. What better thing to do on a snowy Saturday than to sit down and make my list? :)

Music and wine are a natural match. I’m a music freak/I’m a wine geek. Almost every memorable bottle of wine I’ve had over the years was drunk while music was playing. With that bond in mind, I thought for fun that I’d put together a list of my most memorable albums of the year and pair them with the wines I loved most in 2008 (in no particular order and based only on full bottle samples).

mgmt12000 Paitin Barbaresco, Sori Paitin paired with Oracular Spectacular” by MGMT
I’ll lead off with this one because they were both my top choices for the year. The wine was memorable in a way no other matched and the album still gets regular play. There’s more going on with both than you get at first taste or listen. They both just get better as you go. The wine was, in a word, stellar. The album had standout tracks such as “Time to Pretend”, “Kids” and “Electric Feel” – great stuff.

tvontheradio2001 Yalumba The Octavius, Barossa Old Vine Shiraz paired with Dear Science,” by TV on the Radio
What can I say about these two?.. This was what I popped open on my fortieth birthday and TV on the Radio have put out three of my favourite albums. Both have layers and layers and make you think as much as they are just plain good. The more you taste the wine, the more it comes alive – the same goes for the album. It requires multiple listens to worm its way into your consciousness… and I’m glad it did. Standout tracks include “Halfway Home”, “Golden Age” and “Dancing Choose”.

boniver2003 Russell Creek Winemakers Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley paired with For Emma, Forever Ago” by Bon Iver
This is one of my favourite Washington State wineries, owned by a cantankerous and interesting guy, Larry Krivoshein. I bought this wine at his tasting room in Walla Walla and really liked talking and tasting with him. Both the album and the wine are the work of solitary guys in relatively remote locations – Justin Vernon in a remote Wisconsin cabin during a cold winter and Larry down in Walla Walla (seriously, do the drive some time). Both of them doing it their way. In 2008 they both put out products worthy of praise and enjoyment. Standout tracks on the intimate and beautiful album are “Skinny Love”, “The Wolves (Act I And II)” and “Blindsided”.

m831997 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico paired with Saturdays = Youth” by m83
Both the wine and the album had many layers… Hell, the wine was in the running for my wine of the year. Everyone who knows me knows that I love the Amarone.. and this is a helluva’ bottle of the Amarone. The wine was absolutely seductive – with raisins, plums, cherries, brandy and spice in its flavours. The album? Amazing. m83, aka Anthony Gonzalez, pulls off stuff you wouldn’t think anyone is trying these days. It’s symphonic in parts, with a sense of pop melody that leaves many of the songs in your head long after you’ve given it a listen. It’s also a “grower”, which is a good thing – it’s one of those albums you like more with each listen because you’re getting more from it. Strong stuff. I’d say it’s in my top 3 albums of the year. Tracks such as “Graveyard Girl”, “Kim & Jessie” and “Couleurs” help show why this album made my list.

elbow1999 H. Billiot Millésime Champagne paired with The Seldom Seen Kid” by Elbow
Classics… that’s what both of the wine and the album strike me as. The Billiot is amazing… and to me, is what a Champagne should be – toasty, complex and sexy, with an everlasting finish. The flavours were all about baked apples, along with some peach, honey and ginger spice. Onto the album – Elbow is one of those bands about whom I constantly marvel they’re not more popular. The singer, Guy Garver has an amazing voice that sounds like Peter Gabriel on a bender… and they consistently record strong albums. Great songs on the album are “Grounds For Divorce”, the cheery, hopeful and amazing “One Day Like This” and “The Fix” which just begs to open a British gangster film. I may have listened to this more than any other album this year.

fleetfoxes1998 Castello di Verduno Barolo, Massara paired with Fleet Foxes” by Fleet Foxes
Both of these choices were unexpected finds in 2008. I stumbled on the wine while having lunch in Verduno, Italy. It may have been the setting, but I loved this wine. The Marsala sherry, nuts, leather, cherry and flowers led to a sexy cherry brandy finish. Likewise for the album. At first it struck me as too softly harmonic and folksy (very Simon & Garfunkel-y)… but the more I listened to it, the beauty of the music won me over. It’s a mellow-day album that will leave you in a better mood for having heard it. I can’t say there are standout tracks. It’s a complete and round achievement that stands as an album.

hercules2005 Mazzocco Sonoma Zinfandel Pony, Dry Creek Valley & 2004 Mazzocco Stone Ranch Zinfandel, Alexander Valley paired with Hercules and Love Affair” by Hercules and Love Affair
These choices represent the good-times party choices of the year. If you’re at a party and drag these wines out, anyone who likes wine (especially a great Zin) will love them… and the album will get their booties moving. Both the Mazzocco Zins are made in that crushed blackberry syrup and briar style with balanced structures and finishes. Winemaker Antoine Favero does a great job there. I think they were my favourite Zins of the year – and that’s saying a lot. The Hercules album has the fantastic tune “Blind” that Pitchfork chose as their track of the year. I have to admit, it is pretty bloody good.

neonneon2006 Orin Swift Cellars “The Prisoner” paired with Stainless Style” by Neon Neon
Both of these choices are just plain unique and rock n’ roll. Dave Phinney heads a small (when we visited last January, there were 4 people doing it all) operation that turns out phenomenal wines. I first tried this wine in their offices and then gladly took one to enjoy that night. Graham’s review noted, “the Prisoner has a vibrant blackberry and ripe plum on the bouquet, which opens into briar and with some dark chocolate in the mix.” Loved it. Neon Neon grab you right away with their brand of tense early-80’s musical nostalgia and take it from there. It’s a lot of fun for someone who actually became an adult in the 80’s. I loved the tracks “Dream Cars”, “Belfast” and “Michael Douglas”.

lykkeli2001 Damilano Barolo paired with Youth Novel” by Lykke Li
I loved this wine… it was one of my finds at the Vancouver Wine Fest and was helping me set up for my forthcoming trip to Piedmont at the end of March. Like I wrote back then “…it’s a complex mix of brandied cherry, plums, leather, tar, and spice along with a violet-floral thing going on.” This family-owned winery located near the town of Barolo consistently turns out some of the best values (and wines) from the Langhe. Production on the album is provided by by Bjorn Yttling of Peter Björn and John and are just plain catchy – with Lykke’s sexily fragile voice. Standout tracks are “Dance Dance Dance”, and “Let it Fall”.

cutcopy2007 Seghesio Zinfandel, Sonoma County paired with In Ghost Colors” by Cut/Copy
An amazing wine and an equally impressive album. The Seghesio Zin was tapped by the Wine Dictator as their #10 wine of the year and given a hefty 93 points. I can’t disagree with them much. Personally, I enjoyed the Mazzocco Zins more, but I also loved this wine. We’ve gone through 6 bottles in the last while. It’s got ripe and juicy blackberry fruit long with a form and tannic backbone showing a brambly and spicy finish. Wow. The album is also a “Wow”. I loved it the first time I heard it and have listened to it countless times since then. It’s another 80’s-influenced wonder, is funky as Hell and makes you want to shake your ass. I’m still digging tracks such as “So Haunted”, “Far Away” and “Hearts On Fire”.

frenchkicks2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough paired with Swimming” by French Kicks
I’ve drunk a helluva’ lot of this wine this year. It’s amazingly diverse in its food pairings and is mouth-wateringly tasty… and it’s the wine I ordered on my first date with Candace in 2008. We still drink it regularly. It’s got lots of tropical and citrus fruit, with a crisp backbone of acidity. It’s also a pretty amazing deal at $21.99 here in BC making it my value wine of the year. The album. I loved it. It’s one of those albums you put on and like pretty much every track. I’ve listened to it a tonne this year while preparing dinner, driving and working. It stands pretty strongly as an album, but also has great tracks with chiming guitar like “Sex Tourists”, “Abandon” and “Love in the Ruins”.

lsp2005 Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards “Three Hills Cuvée” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley paired with The Age of the Understatement” by The Last Shadow Puppets
OK, last on the list, but certainly not least… I grabbed this bottle on a trip down to the Willamette Valley last year and had been saving it… for a Pinot craving. I popped it open after Candace and I visited Portland in October and it was all it should have been – blackberry, dark cherry, dark chocolate and earthy spice. The album? Again, I loved it. It’s a very stylish side project from the Arctic Monkey’s singer, Alex Turner and  good friend of his, Miles Kane, the guitarist of the Rascals. What they came up with is a stylish and catchy sound that’s like a 60’s garage band that has developed a sudden taste for martinis. I personally think it’s a crime that the amazing tune “My Mistakes Were Made for You” wasn’t the theme for the latest Bond film, “Quantum of Solace”. Other good tracks are “The Age Of The Understatement”, “Standing Next To Me” and “I Don’t Like You Anymore”.

Honourable mentions for wines in 2008 (based on me just really likin’ them):

5 comments

2005 Osoyoos Larose Pétales d’Osoyoos

12222008One thing I may be guilty of is not drinking enough of British Columbia’s red wines. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them, but here in my home province, we’ve got a bunch of newer wineries charging very established prices for some unproven wines. I really have liked a few of them over the years. Recent ones that stand out in my memory are Township 7’s Syrah, Inniskillin’s Zinfandel and even the verging-on-ridiculously-priced Black Hills Note Bené (one of the only wineries to charge me for a tasting in the last bunch of years) was tasty.

One wine that I’ve seen around, but had stayed away from because of its higher price has been the Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin. So, when I came upon its little brother, I thought I’d give it a go. I have had this wine once before, but it was one of those nights that involve multiple bottles and I didn’t take notes. I thought I’d change that.

Osoyoos Larose is a joint venture between Vincor and a big Bordeaux wine company, Groupe Taillan, whose major French property is Château Gruaud Larose.

The wine is offered up at the very reasonable price of $25 here in BC… and after tasting it, I have to say that it’s one of the better buys in an under-$30 Bordeaux-varietal red wine. The nose is a crush of red currant, vanilla and bell pepper. The flavours show dark cherry, currants, vanilla and a bit of dark chocolate on the medium-long finish. Not bad for the moolah, folks.

The true test is whether I’d buy it again. Would I? Yes, I would… and you should too. It’s tasty and well-priced.

$25 here in BC at LDB stores.

3 1/2 stars
(verging on 4)

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