Archive for the 'Under-$30 Challenge' Category

2008 Fred Loimer Lenz Riesling

I picked this up the other night when I was in the mood for a crisp Riesling… something that happens fairly often. 🙂

The nose showed a tonne of zesty grapefruit, lime and dusty-flinty stone. I love Riesling. A sip gave a refreshing squirt of fresh grapefruit and lime and finished off with that I-just-licked-a-rock flinty minerality that stays around for a bit. It really hit my taste buds in the right way.

This wine really hit the spot, especially if you’re not in the mood for, say a Spätlese with its hint of sweetness – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Its crisp minerality is just right in that tangy kinda’ way. It’s a perfect aperitif wine (sitting around sipping on its own) and its crisp acidity means it would also pair very well with foods like sushi, squash soup or even a salad.

Tasty stuff… and oh yeah, drink more Riesling!

$22.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

2007 Flying Horse Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

A couple of days ago, I had the chance to sit down with Shea (from JustGrapesWine.com) and the owner of Marquis Wine Cellars, John Clerides to taste the delicious wines from Mayacamas Vineyards. Last night I headed into Marquis hoping that the Sauvignon Blanc would hit the under-$30 sweet spot. Alas, it didn’t… being priced at $34.90 (though it’s very good and may make its way into a future post). So, in its place – and due in part to Shea’s glowing review of their Petite Sirah (yes, I picked some up) – I chose to give this a go.

Well, I’m glad I did. For those of you who are New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc fans (myself included), California SB’s are a different beast entirely. Many of them see time in oak and show a completely different range of flavours. According to the winery’s web site, this wine was cold pressed into stainless steel tanks, then spent its fermentation in 60 gallon French Oak barrels; (80% once-used and 20% new). Once fermentation was finished, the wine rested sur lie for 7 months prior to bottling. It was not put through malolactic fermentation. This all adds up to give the wine a very complex and alluring nose and flavour profile.

The nose was really interesting. I got something like candied ginger peach. The flavours were completely different from the nose – I got vanilla-spiced pear leading out to a round and then crisp lemon and orange edged finish. It’s really very nice stuff.

If you want to explore how Cali Sauvignon Blanc differs from the New Zealand fruit bombs, this would be a great start.

$26.90 at Marquis Wine Cellars.

4 stars

1 comment

2007 Blue Mountain Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley

Given that the last couple of Chardonnays I’ve had have come from France’s outstanding Tissot winery, this wine had a tough act to follow. To move from having those fresh in my taste sense memory into this bottle was a bit of a shock, but we’re also talking about 2 Chardonnays that sell for over $60 (CDN) being compared to one 1/3 that price. Having said that, this wine didn’t make my mouth happy in the way a really good Chardonnay can.

I’m not saying it’s a badly made wine… or that was unpleasant to drink – just that it does nothing to stand out, even in this price range. There was nothing at all memorable about it. It had a pleasant crisp edge that shows it would pair decently with food. The nose had a nice dose of light citrus and minerality. A sip showed a slight edge of green bitterness on the thin body and led to a light clean and crisp finish.

It’s a decent wine… just not, in my opinion, memorable.

~$2o at private wine shops here in BC.

3 stars

No comments

2006 Marchesi di Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni, Toscana

So far this under-$30 thing is working for me. I’m 2 for 2 in finding wines I would happily sip at any price, let alone for under $30 CDN.

While I was in the Thurlow & Alberni specialty LDB store last week, I took a look at the Italian section. Knowing that 2006 was a phenomenal vintage for all things Tuscan, I spotted this 2006 and decided to give it a go. It’s a super-Tuscan blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Sangiovese and 21% Merlot that I had tasted, but not loved, a few times in the past.

Well, 2006 seems to have fixed that. For the money, I was really happy with this wine. After a bit of time in the glass, the nose was a sultry mix of ripe cherry, perfumed rose petals, tobacco and an earthy minerality. The flavours were equally seductive, offering up rich and ripe berry/cherry fruit, chocolate and a finish laced with floral notes and silky tannins.

This is a seriously tasty and enjoyable wine for $25 (CDN).

$24.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

2 comments

2007 Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne Paulée – A Nuits-Saint Georges

So, we’ve started the under-$30 challenge. I’ve decided that I’m going to embrace the challenge, and begin my search with the heartbreaking Pinot Noir. To be honest, I’m not sure it’s possible given my growing love for the beautiful arts of Burgundy.

That said, we promise to keep an open mind and I will endeavor to explore the breadth of the pinot world.

Tonight I cracked open the Joseph Faiveley 2007 Bourgogne to give it a whirl. A few swirls of the Pinot glass gave me loads of barnyard, and a bit of floral and brine – nice and interesting to start. I let it sit for a while and some tart cranberry and red currant started to show on the nose.

A few sips bring a blend of green stalk veg and tart red fruit. Rhubarb and more red currant on the palate with some really solid acidity. The finish has more veg and some soft violet. As the evening went on, the currant was joined by some tart cranberry, but consistently backed by the consistent tight acidity that characterizes this wine.

This wine would rock with some mushroom risotto or some hard goat cheese given the tight acidic backbone. I liked this wine for it’s rustic nature but didn’t love it. I still believe that finding a solid pinot under $30 will be a challenge, but this one inspires me to keep searching…

$22.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

1 comment

2006 Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla

OK, let’s get this under-$30 thing going… and up first is this nice bottle of juice. It’s a 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) from Spain’s Jumilla region in the southern province of Murcia that spends 12 months in French oak barrels.

I’m happy with this start to the challenge. Candace and I both really liked this wine. The nose is full of ripe dark plum and blackberry with a nice floral and herb edge. The flavours are a sexy blend of jammy dark ripe blackberry and plum with something like leather, tobacco and a bit of floral violet on the medium-long finish. It’s very well-balanced and the 14.5% booze isn’t at all noticeable.

I’m not sure on the vintage rating for 2006 in Jumilla, but I liked this every bit as much, if not more, than the 2004 I wrote up back in November, 2006. For what it’s worth, the Wine Dictator gave it 90 points and chose it as the #83 wine of 2009.

This is a heckuva’ good value. I’ll be drinking it again.

$24.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

2 comments

Wines under $30 challenge

Over the last few months, I’ve had a few comments and emails from folks who read this blog pointing out that I seem to have gotten off-track from this site’s original goal.

When I first started Vinifico, I was determined to search out those really good wine finds in the $20 – $50 range. More expensive wines are great and everything – as well they should be – but the sweet spot for shoppers, at least in BC, is probably in the under-$30 range and I wanted to search those out.

I’m listening – and so is my wallet (I’ve recently done a New Year’s budget) – so for the next couple of months, I’ve put forth a challenge to only have reviews of wines in that wine pricing sweet spot. I’m looking forward to new finds and to re-visiting new vintages of old value favourites. At the end of this, I’ll post a top 10, as well as a bottom 10. That should be in early March.

Let the challenge begin.

4 comments

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