Archive for the '$41 – 45' Category

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


2005 Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards “Three Hills Cuvée” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

This past weekend, Candace and I made a trip to one of my favourite cities – Portland – for a weekend away. Of course, while we were there, I made sure we tried a few of the local wines; Pinot Noir being at the top of the list. I’ll get into what I tried in another post, but needless to say I brought a few bottles back.

Last time I was in Oregon, this wine from the hills near McMinnville made its way back – stowed away in my luggage. It’s been avoiding the corkscrew since, but my recent trip made its consumption inevitable. I popped it open tonight to have with some tasty sausage. I remember it as being pretty full-bodied, so I was thinking it could stand up to the food… and I was right.

This is a blend of Lange’s “Terroir Series” single-vineyard wines and it is planted firmly on the deep and dark side of the Pinot fence. In the glass, it’s a deep and dark red. A big ‘ol sniff lets loose a bunch of blackberry, dark cherry, dark chocolate and earthy spice. A sip gives up juicy dark berry and cherry fruit along with the chocolate and spice the nose hinted at long with black tea. This leads to a softly tannic and juicy finish.

This is a heckuva’ tasty wine folks and really helps cement Oregon Pinots into a place near the top of my wine loving list. If you’re in the area, pay them a visit. If you can find it in a store, go for it. Yum.

$40 USD at the winery.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2005 Ravenswood Zinfandel, Teldeschi Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley

03162008.jpgWho hates the taste of ripe blackberries? Seriously. C’mon… how can you not like that juicy, dark sweet fruit?? The fact that the best Zinfandels usually have this as part of their medley of flavours only makes me like them more.

Well, apart from the lack of sweetness, this wine has the blackberry juice thing in spades. It also has cherry, pepper and a schwack of tannins on the finish that makes this much more than your usual flabby Zin. This is a blockbuster Zin that is full of swagger and sex appeal.

We’ll skip past the colour (you know it’s dark) and the booze (you know it’s up there – 15.5%) and go right to the nose, which is all about the darker side of things… tar, blackberry, dark cherry and pepper spice. A sip results in what is literally an explosion of flavours in your mouth. There’s all that blackberry, cherry, briar, licorice and pepper spice on the finish. How can you not like a wine like this?

After my recent trip to Sonoma Valley, I would agree 100% with the folks at Ravenswood when they say on their web site, “Zinfandel—a grape that, if God could grow it in only one place, He would grow it in Dry Creek Valley.” A lot of the best Zins I tasted came from there.

I picked this up at the Vancouver Wine Fest’s on-site store, so I’m not sure about its availability around town.

$45 at the Festival’s on-site store.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 1998 Le Charme Labory, Saint-Estèphe

11102007.jpgThis is a silky, seductive, complex and very tasty wine. Here are a few interesting facts to note about it:

  • Le Charme Labory is the second label of Chateau Cos Labory, (the only Fifth Growth in Saint-Estephe)
  • Its two neighbors are Chateau Lafite Rothschild, just over the line in Pauillac, and Chateau Cos d’Estournel next door
  • 30% new oak barrels are used each year

Historically, it’s been a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. What it adds up to is a fantastic value in a really good Bordeaux… I mean have you checked out the prices on its neighbours lately?? They’re into the hundreds of dollars per bottle. For $42 CDN, this is great stuff for the money.

The nose is a darkly fruity mix of cherry and blackcurrant, with an earthy mineral edge. The flavours are mature and layered… there’s the initial bit of vanilla and cherry with a follow-up of black currant and the still-tannic, long mineral-ly finish from the gravelly soil in which the wine was grown.

Seriously tasty stuff. I had it with some steak tonight and it was a match made in heaven. 🙂

$41.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

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Wine – 2004 Owen Roe Cabernet Franc, Slide Mountain Vineyard

09272007.jpg“Succulent.” – Aptly put by Sean when we first tasted this wine. We shared this one recently and have to say we were all wowed by the structure and body of this wine.

Cabernet Franc is produced here in BC with a wide range of styles, usually showing some red fruit and bit of pepper, but generally rather light wine that benefits from a light meat dish.

This is a whole other adventure. This first couple of swirls showed liquorice and beefy black fruit. This was followed up by a massive jammy delight of stewed prune, blackberry, and tobacco in the mouth. This was a monster. The finish went on and on with bitter chocolate, blackberry and some nice spice to top it off.

Easily the most enjoyable 100% Cabernet Franc I’ve ever had.

$38 USD

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Bret Brothers Mâcon-Vinzelles, Le Clos de Grand-Père

07162007.jpgOk, I’ll put this one simply. If you’ve got $45 lying around and you’re dying for a great bottle of white wine, go buy this (if you can find it). It’s all that and a bag of chips.

In the glass, it’s got a gorgeous straw yellow colour with a delicate zesty, mineral-laced lemon nose that hints at the flavours about to party on your tongue.

A sip lets that loose. There’s a refined white wine sluttiness to this one… it’s all dressed up in a fantastic dress, but it’s ready to go – and you want it to. It just tastes so good, I could drink it all summer (if I had the money). There’s all the citrus fruit, backed up by a honey-edged minerality and acidity that pairs it perfectly with chicken or seafood dishes, or makes it a great drop on its own on the patio.

Gorgeous stuff.

~$45 at private wine shops in Vancouver.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2005 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Carneros

07092007.jpgLately, I’ve found a few great ‘cheap’ are ‘cheap’, so I’ve been digging those with our sudden summer weather here in Vancouver. Some are already up here (the Brumont Gros Manseng-Sauvignon and the Babich Sauvignon Blanc spring to mind), while others haven’t made it past my wine geek notebook. C’est la vie… we’re in the lazy days of summer and my writing has been a bit lazier than normal lately. I’ll try to get on it a bit in the next while.

Starting with today’s wine, the posts are going to be a bit of a clearing of my backlog of notes. I’ve written ’em down, so I should bloody well get ’em on the site. 🙂

OK… enough of that. Back to wine. I picked this one up with my buddy Mike a few weeks ago while I was having another Pinot tasting. I’m nuts about the stuff (Pinot) and am trying to infect everyone I know with the bug.

It’s a medium-red, licorice-laced cherry cola, berry bomb… big and tasty, but a bit on the “stemmy” side. It just tasted like they hadn’t really minded their P’s & Q’s while crushing and fermenting. The bitterness of the stems took away any real juicy fruit joy I was picking up from this one.

Don’t get me wrong… it was a tasty wine, just not what I’ve come to expect when I drop $40 or more for a bottle. The Four Graces Pinot Noir had more elegance and pure Pinot fruit for less money. Buy that instead.

$42.99 in LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2005 Landmark Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Grand Detour

05182007.jpgWow… what did I do before I became such a Pinot freak?? Oh yeah, I drank a lot of other wine (still do). I guess it’s just that I tended to avoid Pinots. Well, that’s certainly no longer the case.

These days, whenever I see a Pinot Noir that looks promising, I tend to grab it. I’m on a self-motivated learning and tasting journey. Mmmm… and when it’s like this, it tastes bloody good.

This wine is silky, slinky, sexy and damn good. Like many Pinots, it’s lighter in colour. A swirl and a smell shows a beautiful cinnamon-edged fresh-crushed bowl of cherries and spicy plums. Another swirl and a sip lets it all hang loose. There’s a burst of flavour showing all those cherries, cranberry and a dash of cinnamon to round it out.

It has a seductive texture and balance. The flavours are incredibly delicious and the 14% booze is very much in balance. There’s also that finish… the one that settles in on your taste buds and pretty much sets up shop. It’s in no hurry to leave and lasts pretty much until the next sip.

Gorgeous stuff. I highly recommend grabbing a bottle and sipping away.

$44.99 at BC LDB stores.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2005 Russell Creek Sangiovese, Columbia Valley

05032007.jpgI’ll say it straight up: I loved this wine. It may not be for everyone, but my taste buds tell me that Larry Krivoshein has made a heckuva’ Sangiovese. It was the best one we tasted on our trip through Walla Walla and Oregon.

I picked it up at the Russell Creek Winery after we had chatted with Larry for quite a while about the wines, the grapes and his winemaking philosophy. He uses only new oak (he says it allows him to make the wine he wants to make) and definitely does things his way. I like that… and I really liked his wines – along with the Sangiovese, I picked up a 2003 Winemakers Select Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine is a beautiful black/purple colour. the nose is INTENSE – showing syrupy ripe raspberry, blackberry and dark plum. It has a strong vanilla edge from the oak, but it blends incredibly well with the dark and ripe fruit…

A big sip shows a mouth-filling bunch of vanilla-dipped ripe dark fruit. There’s a handful of dark cherries, a scoop of raspberries and a big slice of dark plum… so good. The flavours actually build in the mouth through the long, delicious finish.

Fantastic stuff.

$28 USD at the winery.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Carrick “Unravelled” Central Otago Pinot Noir

02282007.jpgI’ve been hearing a tonne about wines from the Central Otago area of New Zealand… and with the Pinot kick I’ve been on for a while, I figured it was high time to give one a try.

The two factors that had been standing in my way of going to town on a few of them are:

  1. They’re tough to find – I’ve only seen a few in town. C’mon wine buyers, get on the wine trend wagon.
  2. When I have found them, they tend to be pricey. The cheapest ones run ~$45.

So, after a phenomenally odd career day – another story entirely – I figured tonight was as good a time as any to track down a Central Otago Pinot Noir to try. This was the one I chose.

OK, I’ll get right into it. It’s medium red in colour, has got 14% booze, a nose that is a bit oaky and shows a lot of dark cherry along with some leather and tar (with some fumes from the booze)… and you know what? It has a twist-top. After all the corked bottles I’ve had in the past year, I like that. Traditionalists be damned.

What does it taste like? Well, it is tasty… there’s strawberry, dark cherry, and edge of that tar I already mentioned with some lightly tongue-gripping tannins holding it all together.

It’s a good wine…. just not a blow-me-away wine. Would I buy it again? Probably not, but I’m glad I tried it. This is a great food-friendly sipper – it’s just a bit expensive for what you get in the glass. There are much better wines for less money.

~$40 in private wine shops here in BC.

4 stars

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