Archive for the '$36 – 40' Category

2006 Dönnhoff Riesling Estate QbA

02122009This’ll be short and sweet, but I wanted to get it onto the site. I’m about to head out to dinner with Candace and popped this open as an aperitif – a tasty sipper, if you will.

Wow. Anyone who reads this site knows I’m a sucker for a crisp and fruity Riesling and this has that in spades. It’s a beautiful mix of light diesel and citrus fruit on the nose (much better than that sounds – you Riesling folks know what I’m talking about) with flavours that burst in beautiful fireworks on the tongue. It zings across the tongue. There’s lime, grapefruit and orange with a long mineral-edged finish. It’s the classic dip a flinty rock in a citrus cocktail and give it a good lick kinda’ wine.

I love it. ‘Nuff said. Drink more Riesling, especially the German stuff. You’ll thank me.

$40 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars


2004 Tommasi “Ripasso” Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Magnum

12192008I was on one of my regular visits to Kitsilano Wine Cellars last week when Kirk pointed me to this 1.5L Magnum as a frugal and food friendly crowd-pleaser. I was thinking I’d be having sometime next week at a party, but the cork was popped last night when Candace’s brother Michael was over for some pizza.

I’ve gotta say – this is my new favourite pizza wine. Its flavours paired so well that it brought a smile to my face.

If you’re not aware of what a Ripasso is, it’s an red wine from Italy’s Valpolicella region made by fermenting the young wine with the unpressed but drained skins and lees left over from making Amarone. This blend of 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella and 5% Corvinone was all dusty sour cherry fruit on both the nose and in the mouth with bits of milk chocolate and raisin rounding out the flavours. Very tasty stuff that is completely ready to drink now.

Kits Wine Cellars was selling the wine only in Magnums… and I’m headed over tonight to see if they have more.

$40 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars for the Magnum.

4 stars

1 comment

2004 Bodegas Y Viñedos Luna Beberide Tierras de Luna

This is, to me, one of those wines that successfully straddles the New World/Old World fence. It’s got all that New World sexy fruit and some of the Old World terrior-driven minerality to its flavours.

I picked it up last week at Kitsilano Wine Cellars on a staff recommendation (these folks love their wine) and popped it open tonight with some grilled Oyama elk sausages… and holy crap, this is my kinda’ wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Mencia that carries a healthy 14.4% booze.

I gave it some air and it opened up into a sexy nose of ripe and dark berry and cherry fruit, coffee and an earthy mineral edge. A big ‘ol sip gave me a balanced bunch of the dark fruit, sour cherry, a bit of leather and a bunch of tannins on the crisp and earthy finish.

What can I say? I loved this wine. If you can find it, take it home, give it an hour or 2 of air and enjoy.

$36 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars


2003 Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Trittenheimer Apotheke

Oh. My. God. Anyone who has read this site for a while knows I’m a fan of a good Riesling… and this, folks, is a good Riesling.

The nose is a classic light mix of that diesel fuel-citrus nose that only the Germans seems to get down with in their Rieslings. A sip really shows what this wine is throwin’ down. There’s a bunch of stone fruit (peach & apricot) along with lemon/lime and a beautiful, slightly sweet mineral-laced finish.

It’s really just so damn good… and one sip makes you want another. At 9% booze those bunches of sips won’t put you under the table either. 🙂

$39.99 at Liberty Wine Merchants here in Vancouver.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2005 Staete Landt Pinot Noir, Marlborough

I was driven to try this wine by Gary Vaynerchuk choosing its 2006 version as #88 in his 101 Wines Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World. You know I’m a big fan of the Pinot and am always on the lookout for a new one to love… especially if it’s a good one in the under-$40 range.

So when I did some research and found that the Wine Dictator rated the 2005 as an even better wine (they gave it 92 points vs. 91 for the 2006), I set out to find it. Well, I came across a bottle of the 2005 tonight at the main LDB store here in Vancouver.

So, this wine really kinda’ rocks. It’s delicious. What it reminded me of were some of the better Pinots I’ve had from Oregon. It had more strawberry/red twizzler kind of flavours than ones I’ve had from New Zealand’s more celebrated Central Otago region, which are more mineral-herbal-tea focused.

This wine’s nose is a mix of pepper, tea and black cherry mixed with strawberry. A big ‘ol sip gives up a hit of juicy ripe strawberry with a swirl of cherry and a splash of black tea. It finishes with a nice bunch of sweet red fruit and stone – like you’ve poured some fancy-schmantzy organic strawberry-cherry juice poured over a clean wet rock.

This is  “Wow” wine… and one that I’ll definitely be buying again. Damn good stuff.

$39.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2006 Belle Glos Pinot Noir, “Meiomi” Sonoma Coast

After having the last 2 vintages of the Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir, I was definitely curious about the winery. So, when I came across this wine from the same folks, I grabbed it.

The Belle Glos wines come from Joseph Wagner, who chose the name Belle Glos (pronounced BELL GLOSS), to honor his grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, a co-founder of Caymus Vineyards.

On to the wine – the nose is a cool mix of black tea, black cherry and licorice. The flavours are a juicy mix of that tea, lots of ripe cherry cola and and some black licorice on the medium-long finish. Sounds good, right? Well it is.

This is a HUGE Pinot… It checks in at a ripe 14.6% booze and makes most Pinots look wimpy with its roundness. It literally fills the mouth with its juicy goodness.

If you like your wines soft, ripe and juicy… and you’re a fan of Pinot, I pretty much guarantee you’ll like this wine.

$39.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars


Conterno Fantino – 2004 Nebbiolo Ginestrino and 2001 Mon Pra

03042008.jpgAbout a month ago I went on a wine outing in the Langhe and we ended up stopping in at the Gallo Wine Gallery in La Morra. Well, this is certainly an easy place to spend your money–be warned! Michele, an Italian sommelier who speaks perfect English, put me onto a lot of great bottles. When I mentioned my passion for all forms of Nebbiolo, he suggested a 2004 Conterno Fantino Nebbiolo Genestrino.

I only got around to drinking this bottle last Sunday. It was certainly everything I want a Nebbiolo to be: big, bold and straight-forward. Nebbiolo is great because you can drink it quite young. Sure, maybe it lacks the complexity that wood can impart; at the same time, it speaks directly of grapes and tells no lies about the quality of the fruit. This particular example of Nebbiolo had a great balance of acidity and tannins. Its freshness really hit the mark for me. A young red in the glass, hints of cherries in the nose and mouth filling, balanced goodness with an ample finish. Where did my wine go? This one disappears before you know it.

So I had Conterno Fantino on the brain today when I went down to the Banca del Vino at work. I asked if they had anything by these guys and they smiled at me in a way that said, “It will cost you dearly.” (Lucky they were wrong when I got to the till). They had the 2001 Langhe Rosso Mon Pra and I had to have it. This is a blend of Nebbiolo Lampia and Michet (45%), Barbera (45%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (a grape that grows very well around Monforte – 10%).

03042008a.jpgOverlooking the other bottles I had picked up, I tore into this one as soon as I got home. A young ruby red in the glass, this looked like it was going to deliver. The nose is somewhat floral (violets) and red berries. The wood is present, but not overwhelming. Once it hit my lips my mouth was overwhelmed with tannins and proceeded to turn black. It’s persistent! Despite what they told me at the old wine bank, I think this one needs a few more years to mellow out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good; I just want to like it more than I do. I honestly preferred the Nebbiolo even though the Mon Pra is the big deal (not to mention the Barolo Genestro).

I will say that those boys at out in Monforte are up to something good. I have no idea if you can get this in Canada, but if you come here (you could pay for your trip in wine savings) it won’t set you back more then 25 euros.

4 1/2 stars

4 stars
Mon Pra

No comments

2003 Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim, Alsace

02212008.jpgWow. How can you possibly go wrong with a Zind-Humbrecht wine?.. I’ve had a few of them now and they’ve all been among the best white wines I’ve had the pleasurable opportunity to quaff. I had this wine tonight with some Thai food. Thai and Gewürztraminer make for one of my favourite wine and food pairings. If you’ve never tried it, you should.

This Gewürztraminer shows a lot of what I love about the grape. The nose literally leaps out of the glass… with loads of of ripe lychee, white pepper and smoke. There’s a thick mouthfeel to the wine. The flavours follow that up in spades. There’s honey, lychee fruit, rose petal and a nice mineral edge to the soft and round finish.

Pretty bloody tasty stuff.

$39 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars (after a $20 agent mark-down – get it while it lasts).

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2006 Wild Rock Cupids Arrow Pinot Noir, Central Otago

12272007.jpgI picked this up at Kitsilano Wine Cellars during my December buying frenzy. Rachel and I cracked it open while watching a movie last night.

In the glass it’s quite a light red, which is pretty typical of a Pinot. A big sniff showed bright red berry fruit with a nice herbal edge. The flavours were all that and more… green tea and some vanilla from the oak rounded it out, with a finish that went on until my next sip.

I really liked it. I’ve had much more expensive wines from New Zealand’s Central Otago that I’ve enjoyed less, so for the moolah this is a tidy little bargain.

~$35 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars

1 comment

Wine – 2004 Campe della Spinetta Nebbiolo Langhe Piemonte

Wow. Since Rachel left to teach at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, I’ve been Skype-ing with her pretty much every day (thank God for this webernets technology) and hearing a lot about Nebbiolos from the Langhe. I finally had to go out and grab one from the big LDB outlet at 41st and Cambie here in Vancouver.

I’ve had many Nebbiolos before… and have always loved them, but it’s been a while. I’ve gotta say, this was a pretty fine choice. It’s imported by Liquid Arts in Vancouver and is carried in LDB stores.

After decanting it for a good hour, I poured a glass and after taking a big sniff, my first impression was of flowers, earth, dark fruit and felt marker (yep, again). It was definitely intriguing. It has 14% booze, but is pretty much perfectly on balance.

A sip showed dark plum, cherries, a tonne of floral stuff going on and a long, lightly spicy finish braced up with medium-firm dusty (but smooth) tannins. Positively yummy stuff.

This is a treat, folks. I’d definitely recommend it.

$39.90 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


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