Archive for the 'Grenache' Category

2005 Los 800 Priorat

The preview for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival has piqued my interest in Spanish wine again, directly impacting my shopping habits at the same time. Even out here in the ‘burbs, we are seeing a better variety on the shelves.  I picked out this one considering that I love Priorat, and the price was right.

I popped this one open the other night and was immediately struck by the inky, almost felt marker hints and pencil shavings on the nose (a teacher’s dream I guess ☺) with some tobacco and dusty currants. All the things I love in the unique nose of Priorat – and this one is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Carignan, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. A few sips brought on loads more currant with some rustic earth and plum. As the evening went on, the plum became more pronounced with some nice spices. The finish was distinctly Priorat in my experience, – long with cherry, chalky mineral and some pepper. A winner all around in my mind as it got better as the night went on. We had this with some nice charcuterie and and cheese – a great complement.

I tasted the Les Terasses at the festival night, and as always, it was delicious and well worth the $45. Given this reference point, this one is well worth the $29 price tag.

I’m looking for to tracking down many more wines like this in just over a month!

$28.99 at the LDB here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

2006 Domaine Tempier “La Tourtine” Bandol

The other night I walked into Marquis Wine Cellars with an open mind – without any idea what I felt like sipping. Marquis is arguably the best shop in town to happen upon in that state of mind. Through their entrance to the right is an area piled with recent arrivals and staff picks. It was there that I found this wine.

This is my first Bandol, yet I’ve had all the grapes in the mix many time before… and why not start with a single vineyard wine from what is arguably the area’s best-known winery. What’s in the wine? Well, it can vary vintage to vintage, but it’s generally 70-80% Mourvèdre, which is rounded out with an equal blend of Grenache and Cinsault.

What’s it like? I loved the nose. It’s full of black pepper along with some burnt rubber (it fits better than you would think), ripe plum and dark berries. The flavours deliver on the promise of the nose. There’s so much going on with this wine – it’s so complex. There are layers of jammy dark fruit with a big backbone of black pepper and firm flinty tannins. Wow.

Drink it now or in 15 years. That’s your choice. It could certainly cellar for a while.

Strongly recommended.

$60 at Marquis Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4    1/2 stars

No comments

2007 Château de Paraza Minervois Cuvée Spéciale

Holy value alert! Along with a 2005 Di Majo Norante Contado Aglianico (review coming soon) I had a week ago, this is the best red wine value I’ve come across since I started the under-$30 challenge a while back.

This wine from Minervois, in the heart of France’s Languedoc region, is  just plain tasty. It’s a blend of Syrah (40%), Grenache (40%) and Mourvèdre (20%).

A sniff gives up some vanilla from the oak along with ripe red cherry and black pepper. A big ‘ol sip of this medium-coloured red shows juicy ripe blackberry, red cherry and plum fruit, licorice, black pepper and a nice minerality on the medium finish. It just feels good and rich in the mouth, unlike many reds in this price range.

It’s a heckuva’ value, folks. It may not blow you away, but I’m thinking it will make you raise your eyebrows and go, “Mmmm.” Not many red wines under $20 will do that these days.

$17.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

2004 Domaine Gauby Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Vieilles Vignes

09302009So, the story goes something like this. In 1985, Gérard Gauby began making wine from his family’s grapes which had previously been sold to the local co-operative. Domaine Gauby was born from the grapes that his family had been growing for generations.

Domaine Gauby’s vineyard management is biodynamic and Gérard Gauby has become a rockstar in the Languedoc-Roussillon… What’s not to like?.. and when Kirk at Kitsilano Wine Cellars poured me a sample of their wine, I knew I had to take a bottle home. I chose this one.

According to their web site (in French) it’s made up of 35% Carignan (from 125 year-old vines), 30% Syrah (20 year-old vines), 25% Grenache (55 year old vines) and 10% Mourvèdre (25 year-old vines). That all adds up to a bloody tasty bottle of wine.

On the nose it has a bunch of cool stuff going on. There’s gorgeous ripe red berries, cherry and an herb and floral edge to it. A sip gave me even more. There’s the cherry and berry, along with licorice, the herbs (thyme? – maybe because I had some with dinner tonight) and a long and kinda’ tannic finish that goes on for over a minute.

Do I like this wine? Actually, I love it. It’s a gorgeous Old World wine with a bit of the New World’s density of flavour tossed in. It’s naturally farmed, comes from a great producer and has a very reasonable price for its quality.

$35 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars from the Farmstead folks.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Vinifico on D3 TV

Last Friday, my colleague at Sitemasher, Shannon Yelland and I paid Clinton Kabler a visit at D3 Security Management Systems to appear with him in an episode of their D3TV video blog. We talked business and, just as importantly – wine.

Clinton had picked up 2 bottles of wine to taste while we chatted – both are available at Marquis Wine Cellars here in Vancouver:

  • 2007 Churton Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough Valley – I didn’t pick up on it initially, but I think this wine was slightly corked… and I mean slightly. It had just enough of that TCA sharpness on the edge. It became more apparent as the wine warmed up. Although it was not at all unpleasant, I’d like to give this wine another shot sometime soon (not rated due to TCA). $29 at Marquis.
  • 2007 Domaine du Joncier Lirac Rosé from France’s Southern Rhône – this was bloody tasty. I’ve actually bought the wine since and will again over the summer. It had a load of bright berry flavours (raspberry and cranberry came to the front). Clinton got bubblegum in there as well… and I can’t say I disagree. Tasty stuff! (**** stars). $24.50 at Marquis.

Here’s the video:

No comments

1999 Lopez de Heredia “Vina Tondonia” Reserva, Rioja

06022009I’ve always enjoyed seeking out things off the path. As a youth, I took great delight digging through the “bins” at the front of the record store (yes records) I worked at to find a gem that had been overlooked. Finding this wine reminded me of this.

1999. That grabbed me off the bat, but a nice Rioja at 30% off at the back of the store. Sold. This one is 75% tempranillo, 15% garnacha and 5% each of graciano and mazuel. from a family winery founded in 1877.

The other night I popped it open and decanted it. The wine was a nice garnet color with some enticing tawny hints at the edges. Great start! After a nice dinner it was time to dive in.

The nose had a nice blend of sweet spices and red fruit. Lots of cedar and anise with some light cherry and a noticeable felt tip marker edge. Interesting. A few post dinner swirls and slurps brought out more cherry and some plum to a medium body that I was glad I left until after eating. The finish was really interesting, more nice spice with some tobacco and really firm tannins and acidity. I found myself liking the finish more and more, looking forward to each sniff followed by some pretty serious tartness on the finish. This was a really cool bottle.

Even after 3 hours in the decanter, this wine certainly showed it has lots of years left in it. Kind of like finding David Bowie’s Low album in the bin for a couple of dollars way back when.

If you see it, dust it off and grab it!

$34 (regular $55) at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

5 comments

2004 Vinos Sin-Ley G-5, Vinos de Madrid

03182009OK, so after a bit of a break, it’s back to the wine. I was given this wine a couple of weeks ago by Sitemasher CEO, Ron Moravek. I finally cracked it open tonight with dinner to share with Candace.

From a winery whose name translates as “Wines Without Law”, I’m really liking what they’re doing – and that’s their own thing. They’re out to create wines of their taste using innovative methods. They make a few series of wines from different grapes. The “G” series are made entirely from the Grenache (or Garnacha) grape and make up G-1 through G-6. This wine’s grapes come from the Madrid area from vines that average 120 years in age…. and that age explains the complexity of the wine.

Wow… what can I say? The second I stuffed my nose into the glass to give this a sniff (after an hour of air), I was in love with it. The nose is all about the ripe red plums and some smoke with a peppery edge. A big ‘ol sip really gives you all the nose hints at. It’s juicy without being ankles-behind-the-ears slutty and earthy without being too puckery and Old World. It successfully straddles that fence between the 2 – Old World and New World. All the fruit and mineral balance, without being too juicy or austere.

If you can find it, this is a fantastic value wine. If you’re lucky enough to snag one, it should be in the $25 range.

4 1/2 stars

2 comments

2005 Stags’ Leap Petite Syrah, Napa Valley

A video run-down of our latest wine… turns out it’s a field blend of Petite Syrah, 8% Syrah, 4% Grenache and 2% Viognier vines, all of which are around 85 years old.

$34.99 USD on Maui.

4 1/2 stars

6 comments

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 Domaine Gallety Récolte, Côtes du Vivarais AOC

This wine comes from the Rhône Valley’s Côtes du Vivarais, which was made an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in 1999 and is a blend of Grenache and Syrah (with maybe some Carignan and Cinsault tossed in for good measure).

After some air, the nose really reached out of the glass and grabbed me. It’s full of dark plum and cherry jam with a spicy and smoky edge. The flavours show a big glass of dark plum juice with a splash of black cherry and a spicy minutes-long balanced mineral-edged finish.

It’s juicy goodness caught me off guard with the ripeness it offered up. This wine hits on so many levels and layers… its kinda’ slutty, but also has enough going on in its earthy finish that I sat and went “Hmmmm”. It’s got that New World appeal, with the Old World mineral edge. I wanted sip after sip to last all night. You can drink it now or sit it down for a while. Your choice. I’d find it tough to not sip away though… I’ve already gone through 2 of them.

I’ll definitely be buying it again.

$45 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

2 comments

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