Archive for the '$26 – 30' Category

2005 Renzo Seghesio “Ruri” Nebbiolo, Langhe

11192009This wine falls squarely in the value category – especially if you want to try a decent Nebbiolo, but don’t want to lay out the $60 CDN or so that a Barolo or Barbaresco will set you back. It’s $28 at BC LDB stores – or at least at the one in downtown Vancouver at Thurlow and Alberni. For what I’m getting in my glass, it’s a very good value indeed.

In the glass, it’s got a very nice darker-than-normal-for-a-plain-‘ol-Nebbiolo colour, with a brick-ish edge. It looks rich. The nose has that classic tar and rose with walnut and sweet dark cherry. A sip gives me a soft mouthful of dark cherry, chocolate and walnut liqueur. The finish is velvety soft and mineral-edged. It’s not all that long-lasting, but this is a regular Nebbiolo and not a Barolo or Barbaresco. It is what it is and that’s pretty tasty, especially for the money.

It’s very approachable and would be a good introduction to the main Piemontese red grape for folks who want to learn more about the region.

$27.99 at the Thurlow & Alberni LDB store.

4 stars

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2008 Wild Rock Cupids Arrow Pinot Noir, Central Otago

12272007.jpgThis wine is hitting the spot tonight – and for good reason. It’s a really well-made bottle of Pinot for the money. Most Pinots from New Zealand’s Central Otago region start at roughly the $50 CDN price range, so it’s refreshing to see this on the shelves for less thank $30.

I’m going to make this relatively quick, so let’s get down to it. The nose has really nice briary red fruit with an edge of dark dried cherry and rhubarb. The flavours are really in-your-face. There’s a big schwack of juicy dark cherry followed up by a bunch of rhubarb/briary spice and solid, but forgiving tannins. It’s a satisfying bottle of wine.

Like I said when I reviewed the 2006 vintage of this wine, it’s a tidy little bargain for the money. If you’re a Pinot fan, and especially if you like Oregon Pinots or have founds ones from New Zealand you’ve liked, you really should give this wine a go.

$29 in LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


2003 Tormaresca Negroamaro Salento Masseria Maìme

10062009I walked into my local Specialty LDB store here in Vancouver tonight not knowing what I felt like picking up… just that I’d like it to be tasty and a great value. In the back corner of the specialty section, there’s a little cart upon which the folks that run the store put mark-downs in the more-than-$25 range. When I saw this wine on the table (marked down to $29 from $39), it really piqued my interest. It checked two boxes on my wine dance card – it’s Italian and it’s a semi-obscure grape, Negroamaro.

Now for a little background on Negroamaro. The grapes that made up this bottle were grown in the Southern Italian region of Puglia and more specifically in the Salento area, which would be pictured as the “heel” of Italy (if you think of the boot shape of the country). It’s an ancient grape, which can generally be described as a deep, dark and perfume-y.

Well, this wine is certainly deep, dark and perfume-edged; although it’s more than that. 2003 was an extremely hot year throughout much of Europe… and many wines suffered. The native Negroamaro grape seems to have fared well though. It’s accustomed to the heat of southern Italy, so the heat of that summer wasn’t too much for it. In fact, instead of the flabbiness of many of the wines from 2003, this one shows depth and structure.

It’s got a nose that is loaded with ripe dark fruit, perfume-like floral notes (think violets) and a rustic felt-tip marker like earthy edge. A sip gives up a really tasty gob of that dark fruit with blackberry and ripe black cherry, violets, leather, tar and a long and tannic rustic finish. It’s got healthy, but not very noticeable 14% booze.

For the money (at least here in tax-burdened BC), this is a helluva’ a wine for $29. I actually can’t think of another red wine I’d rather drink in that range. If you can find it for this price, you really should give it a try.

$29 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


2007 Montlouis Sur Loire Sec Cuvée Touche-Mitaine, Le Rocher des Violettes

08282009OK, so a couple of days ago, fresh from loving the Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc, I wandered into Kitsilano Wine Cellars and Kirk told me a had to compare it to a Loire Valley Chenin. Of course I was game for that, so I grabbed this bottle.

It’s got a nose that is a lot like a Chablis – light vanilla, lemon rind and stone. The flavours are loaded with juicy melon, lemon, peach and a finish that’s like licking a rock. The finish lasts for minutes. This is quality stuff.

The Wine Dictator descibes it as, “Round and medium-weight, with peach, almond, fig and mineral notes that linger softly on the finish.” I’m not getting all of that, but I do really like this bottle of wine.

If you can find it, give it a try. This is an under-appreciated varietal and a really tasty bottle of grape juice.

$28 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars


Video review of the 2007 Orin Swift Saldo Zinfandel

While Graham and I were down at the 2009 Wine Bloggers’ Conference, we took some time after tasting wine all day on Saturday to sit down with Shea from and try this wine. As you’ll see, we liked it.

$26.99 at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa.

4 1/2 stars


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:

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1999 Jakoby-Mathy Riesling Kabinett Kinheimer Rosenberg Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

06092009When I think of great wines for summer sippin’, I think crisp and light-weight, with a lip-smacking refreshment factor. Well, this one hits all those marks – it has the lime zest and diesel on the nose and a flavour burst of lime zest along with tart green apple and honey. The crisp finish goes on for a bit with a honey-licked-from-a-rock minerality.

Added on to all that is the fact that it’s 10 years old and is starting to show what’s so good about well-made, aged Rieslings. You folks need to drink more of this stuff.

It’s tasty. If you’re a fan of Riesling and come across this wine, I’d recommend giving it a try.

$29 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

No comments

1996 Schloss Schönborn Estate Riesling Qualitätswein, Rheingau

It’s been a busy and hot night, so I’m going to keep this short. I dropped by Kits Wine Cellars tonight before grabbing sushi and wanted something cool and tasty. The folks there pointed me to this wine… and I’m glad they did.

Hey, it’s a 1996 vintage wine (an OK vintage for Germany), which is pretty cool. I like being able to try a wine with some age on it. I’m not always the best at keeping bottles in my cellar. :)

Sipping it on the patio was a pure touch of tasty summer. The diesel nose typical of German Rieslings has mellowed with age to citrus and honeyed apple. A juicy sip is pure ripe apple dipped in honey. It’s a tasty bottle of wine for a warm night… or any night, really.

$29 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars

No comments

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


Quinta Vale D. Maria Reserve Porto Lote 06

04222009Wow. Mmm… Port. It’s one of those things you either love right away, or come to love after learning about it and tasting multiple bottles. Fortunately, I loved Port the second I tasted it years ago – I have a sweet tooth and a love for big reds. That helps. I tasted this one at the Vancouver Wine Fest a while back and a recent craving led to it recently being popped open.

The QVDM Reserve Port was bottled unfined and unfiltered, as winemaker/owner Cristiano van Zellar’s personal reserve. It’s produced from single vineyard Douro grapes – a blend of Tinta Amarela, Rufete, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional and Sousão – and is crushed by foot (I hope they washed) before being aged for 2 years in old wood vats. It’s bottled only once every year, on the date shown on the label. In this case, that would be 2006.

This is a wine that would pair very well with a lot more than dark cocolate (check – I loved it): try blue and hard, flavorful cheeses, as well as dark chocolate-based desserts. I’m getting hungry just writing this.

Because it’s unfiltered and unfined, be careful when pouring this wine. There’s a lot of sediment in the bottle. You want the wine, not the sludgey stuff.

So, what did I think? Well, it’s a bloody tasty Port for the money. It’s got a lot of the character of a Vintage Port, without the price tag. The nose shows ripe blackberry, black tea and dark chocolate. A sip gives up a bunch of ripe and juicy blackberry along with the dark chocolate and a finish that has that black tea edge.

Is it good? Hell yeah. It’s very good. If you love the Port and can find it, you won’t be disappointed.

~$30 CDN if you can find it.

4 1/2 stars


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