Archive for the 'Grenache' Category

Château St. Cosme NV Little James’ Basket Press

I’ve really been digging this wine lately. With the economy tanking, I’ve been a bit more conscious of the money I’ve been dropping on the vino lately… and I’ve been searching out quality wines at good prices. I’ve found a few and this is the first of the bunch I’ll write up.

I’m a big fan of St. Cosme’s wines… I’ve had many of the Rhones and have also loved their Gigondas. Well, some of the grapes used for the Gigondas make their way into this bottle of juice. Each year they take some of the grapes destined for the Gigondas and, using the Solara method, cascade the vintages down into the blend they label “Little James’ Basket Press”.

If you’re not familiar with what the solera method is, the good folks over at have the following description:

In the solera process, a succession of containers are filled with the product over a series of equal aging intervals (usually a year). One container is filled for each interval. At the end of the interval after the last container is filled, the oldest container in the solera is tapped for part of its content, which is bottled. Then that container is refilled from the next oldest container, and that one in succession from the second-oldest, down to the youngest container, which is refilled with new product. This procedure is repeated at the end of each aging interval. The transferred product mixes with the older product in the next barrel.

No container is ever drained, so some of the earlier product always remains in each container. This remnant diminishes to a tiny level, but there can be significant traces of product much older than the average, depending on the transfer fraction…

To sum it up, what you get in the bottle of wine is a blend of older and newer vintages. That’s a good thing. For the money, it presents very good layers of flavour from great grapes and it comes from a very good producer.

The nose is a tasty mix of dusty cherries, licorice, herbs and dark berry. The flavours back all that up, with a firm and mineral-laced finish. This is a very tasty wine for the moolah, folks.

Buy it if you can find it.

$24 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars

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2006 Orin Swift Cellars “The Prisoner”

As Sean had written, the visit to the Orin Swift office in St. Helena was a bit of a challenge to finally make it to, however this wine made the journey worthwhile.

The 2006 Prisoner has added 2% Grenache to the blend of Zinfandel(51%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Syrah (12%), Petit Sirah (6%) and Charbono (6%). While that’s interesting, it’s the end product that shines through.

Like many of the great 2006 Zins/Zin blends we had during our journey, the Prisoner has a vibrant blackberry and ripe plum on the bouquet, which opens into briar and with some dark chocolate in the mix. There is loads going on here.

Besides the bliss of finally being in wine country, a few tasty sips showed big rich plum and briar again with gorgeous coffee and cracked black pepper. The finish went on and on with earthy cassis, more dark chocolate and a hint of mint later on. We agreed, – gorgeous stuff.

Back home in Vancouver, this wine retails for $49.99. This is a kick in the pants considering it goes for $28-32 in California, however I can’t deny that even at this price point it is full value for the money.

The Prisoner is a fantastic bottle of wine – give yourself a present!

4 1/2 stars
(along with some happily stained teeth).

1 comment

2005 Bucklin Mixed Blacks Red Wine

02132007.gifThis was another of the wines I picked up at K & L Wines while I was in SF for ZAP. The friendly and knowledgeable wine guy, Mike, described it as deep and dark – a wine not made for the faint-of-heart. It comes from a field blend of primarily Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, and Grenache from vines planted in 1999.

In case you’re wondering, a “field blend” is when all the grapes are grown together in a mixed patch of the vineyard. Instead of harvesting and fermenting the varieties separately, they’re all picked and crushed together. The wine is just made as a field blend from the start.

I opened the wine with my dolce metà last night (I’m trying to convert her to a Zin lover – “liker”, at the very least) and, although I’d disagree with Mike on the description of the wine, I really liked it. The colour was medium-dark red and the nose had a whack of ripe, juicy berry fruit. This came through in the flavours, along with an edge of vanilla spice… and a nice medium-length finish. It wasn’t too complex, but it was tasty and went well with the Calabrese pizza we had from Incendio.

It sells for $22 (USD) at K&L Wines, but isn’t available up here… I’m guessing it would be roughly $40-45 CDN if it were.

4 stars

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