Archive for the 'Chardonnay' Category

2006 Domaine André et Mireille Tissot Chardonnay “En Barberon”, Côtes du Jura

11272009Thanks to Jake over at Cherries & Clay and Matt at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, I’ve been drinking some mighty fine grape juice from France’s Jura region in the last couple of weeks. It started with the Tissot non-vintage Crémant, carried on with their very (very!) tasty Trousseau along with their beautiful Rosé Crémant (check out what the folks at Kitsilano Wine Cellars had to say about it on Twitter). The latest one to make its way to my glass is this tremendous Chardonnay from the Côtes du Jura Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC).

The nose is very unique. I mean its unlike anything I had ever smelled in a white wine. I got sweet buttery melon and smoky popcorn with an herbal (dill?) earthy edge. The flavours are intense and again, very interesting, There’s a big burst of slightly sweet melon followed up by what I can only describe as pickled popcorn, especially when the wine is first opened. Have you ever had that powdered dill pickle flavouring for your popcorn?… I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but I’m getting some of those flavours. That powdered stuff is pretty crappy, but this wine isn’t.

The wine kept evolving. I decanted it and a couple of hours later the dill edge was pretty much gone, but other flavours emerged. Caramel, more melon, lanolin and a vegetal edge. Those flavours are followed by a balanced light citrus and mineral-edged finish – that went on for minutes. Seriously.

How simply can I put it? The taste is big and made me very happy. What more can I ask? It also made me think of what I would pair with it. A baked white fish with capers maybe?

If you live in Vancouver and are a wine fan, you really should make the trek to Kitsilano Wine Cellars to check out their selection of wines from Jura. If they’re all this good (and they seem to be – check out what Shea over at had to say about their Chardonnay “Les Graviers”), they won’t last long.

$65 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

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)


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.


2006 Antech Blanquette de Limoux Brut Grande Réserve

I’ve been drinking a lot of this wine lately – it’s pretty much my go-to bubbly without being a full-on Champagne (and without their larger price tag). I only recently realized that I hadn’t written up this vintage. The last one I wrote up was the 2004. It comes from the limestone and gravel soil of France’s Limoux region near the sunny Mediterranean  – an area that has been making sparkling wines much longer than the better-known region of Champagne.

Well, like the 2004, it’s a blend of Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc that adds up to sip after sip of crisp lemon-zested and honeyed pear and mineral-laced goodness. It’s fantastic on its own, or pairs really well with foods like grilled chicken, turkey burgers, salmon or some goat cheese.

Search it out. It’s well worth a try. You’ll be hooked. I am.

$26 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 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

1997 Remoissenet Père & Fils Renommée Bourgogne Blanc

04172009We don’t get much wine in Vancouver with more than a few years of age, so when I came across this reasonably-priced ’97 white Burgundy last night at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, I got a little giddy and grabbed it. Thanks to the Burgundy Wine Board’s tasting at the Terminal City Club last month, I’ve been drinking a lot of wine from their region… and well, I always have a healthy curiosity when it comes to French wine – I am a wine geek, after all.

I opened it tonight with some tuna… and wow. Tasty. It has a lemon yellow colour and is still very crisp and youthful, with lemon, green apple and a lip-smackingly flinty finish. There’s a bit of a honey and caramel edge to the flavours, but that’s its only nod to its 12 years of age. Very cool.

It’s a food wine. Open it with some fish/shellfish/chicken or cheese and enjoy. I think you’ll be pretty happy you did.

~$37 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars


2007 Township 7 Vineyards & Winery Chardonnay

02172009Brad Cooper dropped by my office last week and left me some wine to taste for the site. This is the first to hit my glass.

I’ve always been a fan of the Township 7 wines. Unlike many BC wineries these days, they tend to offer real value for your money. Their wines compete dollar for dollar with pretty much any others in their price range – from anywhere in the world.

The 2007 Chardonnay, which is aged in French and American oak barrels, offers up a beautiful nose of roasted hazelnut, pineapple-tinged tropical fruit and a crisp citrus edge. The flavours are very Burgundian – the lightly nutty tropical fruit is backed up by a very crisp green apple and lemony flinty mineral-edged finish. It’s definitely a food-friendly Chardonnay.

This is a very nice wine for the money. I’d actually go so far as to say it’s currently my favourite under-$20 Chardonnay.

$19.99 from the winery.

4 stars


2005 Ridge Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Santa Cruz Mountain Estate


NOTE: Graham opened this a couple of weeks before I opened mine. Here’s what he had to say. (Sean)

Resistance is like the Borg said “futile” when it comes to a wine like this. It’s amazing this one has lasted this long in the cellar. I ‘ve been debating opening this for a while and man, it did not disappoint.

We first tasted it last year at the Playhouse wine fest and were stunned at the nutty tropical goodness. Plain and simple – this is an amazing bottle of chardonnay.

The nose is full of sweet hazelnut and with hints of almond and some lemon as well.  Basically I could sit and swirl and sniff this wine for hours….

On to a couple of gorgeous sips – right off the bat there’s loads dried pineapple and apple that leads into sweet figs. The beautiful fig flavor continues long into the finish with some toasty caramel, some citrus and beautiful honey notes that go on and on.

No doubt about it. This wine is amazing. Love it. Want more.

~$50 when I bought it at a BC LDB store.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2005 Ridge Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Santa Cruz Mountain Estate

01242009One of the best wines I’ve had in the last few years is… *gasp*.. a California Chardonnay. This wine. I was lucky enough to have tasted it a while ago and loved it then. It just blew me away with its layers of flavours and finish that lasted a week. So, when I had the chance to grab a bottle, I was all over it. Graham was there as well and grabbed one of his own (there were only a couple of bottles left).

Well, after Graham opened his a week or so ago, I was thinking it was time to pop the cork on my bottle. Tonight was the night.

Last year, the Wine Dictator named it their #2 wine for 2007 and rated it at 95 points. That’s some pedigree. 100% of the grapes come from Ridge’s vineyards in the mountains near Santa Cruz, South of San Francisco.

It carries 14.6% booze, but couldn’t be much more in tune. There’s no heat to it, just an incredibly balanced bunch of fruit and mineral.

What do I think? Well, it’s just as good, if not better than I remember it being. In the glass, it’s a golden yellow – it looks like apple juice. Initially, the nose is all about the hazelnuts… and then has honey and an earthy minerality to it. Flavours of candied pineapple, figs, almonds, honey and mineral-edged hazelnuts dominate. It’s amazing in its complexity and length. Its finish lasts minutes. If all Chardonnay tasted this good, I’d probably never drink anything else. It’s incredibly sexy in that “I would marry you”, sort of way. This is a wine you want to spend some time with.

This is seriously good stuff. Amazing, actually. Wow.

~$50 when I bought it at a BC LDB store.

4 1/2 stars


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