Archive for the '3.5 stars' Category

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé, NV

08042009This is a really tasty bottle of sparkling wine for the summer. It’s inexpensive, enjoyable, bubbly and fun.This Brut Rosé is made in the same méthode traditionelle used to make Champagne. That makes it a deal at less than $16. It has undergone a 2nd fermentation in the bottle for somewhere between 1 and 2 years.

It’s got a beautiful light cranberry colour in the glass with a steady stream of fine bubbles. On the nose it has strawberry, cherry, cranberry and a floral mineral thing going on. A fizzy sip comes with a mouthful of bright cherry, a bit of lemony citrus and a medium-long crisp flinty finish with a bit of a toasted edge.

In a word, it’s tasty… and is a very good deal. It’s better than you might think it would be. I’ll buy it sometime soon to sip on the patio.

*Note: I received this as an agent’s sample.

$15.99 in LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

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2007 Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley

06162009I tasted (and liked) Stoneboat’s wines back at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival back in March, so when I found their new releases at Taylorwood Wines last weekend, I thought I’d pick up a couple of bottles to try. I grabbed one each of their white blend Nebbia and their Pinot Noir.

OK, let’s get down to it… it’s a Pinot – kinda’ classically so. There’s not much of the New World sluttiness going on. The nose has that disinct barnyard edge to it, with stewed cherry and a bunch of citrus and spice. A big ‘ol sip shows the cherry juice, as well as orange peel and a bit of a tobacco edge to its mineral-laced finish. It’s tasty stuff, especially for the $24. I do have to say that it is a bit rustic though… with some stemminess to the flavours. This gives it a bitter edge that many folks may not find too appealing.

Having said that, I do have to say that I enjoyed this wine. Did I love it? No. Would I buy it again? Maybe. Would I drink it again? Yes. It’s much better than almost any other Pinot available at this price.

If you come across it and are a Pinot fan, give it a go and decide for yourself.

$24 from the winery.

3 1/2 stars

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2006 Rodney Strong Knotty Vines Zinfandel

2006 Rodney Strong Knotty Vines ZinfandelI’m throwing my hat into the wine review ring as it were. I’m assuming my appeal to readers might be that I’m “accessible” or “tells it like it is”, for the reason that I’m something of a noob at this. Not the writing part, or even the drinking part, but rather, the writing-about-drinking part. So let’s get started shall we?

It was a pleasant Spring afternoon when I decided to mosey into my local wine shop… no, scratch that. Start over. Ahem, hrm…

Last night I opened up a bottle of said wine. I had had some of this same elixir several days ago, but on the heels of a much inferior libation called Misterio. As such I wanted to dig into this bad boy with a clean palate. Now, as an non-conscientious imbiber, I’m sure the first mistake I may make is to dive into the bottle immediately upon opening. Sorry, but when I pop that cork (or untwist that screw nowadays), I’m usually on a mission. So in this case let’s say I gave it, oh, 2 minutes to breathe before pouring. Sue me.

Now, when I swirl and look at  the wine in my glass my wife will roll her eyes and move slowly away from me. However, I do take pleasure in it and I’m not sure if it’s the whole ritual of it or if I’m actually appreciating its characteristics. Let’s call it both. In this case, Rodney was a rich and ruddy color, leaving nothing but the clearest residual of itself after doing “The Tip”. Nose was really nice, and dammit if I didn’t notice the label on the back used the same adjective I came up with: peppery. But there you have it. There was some berry action happening too, but I’ll need to learn to focus better to further decipher which of the berry family was represented for future entries. Buuuuut… sticking my nose in that glass and drawing in invoked a nice little tingle deep in the ol’ nostrils. Like Alice in Wonderland enticed by a bottle hollering ‘Drink Me’, well, that I did.

So anyway, I’m a newcomer to Zins, but I have to say I’ll be sticking around for a while. I really like this wine. It’s clean, sticks in your mouth just long enough to remind you you want another sip and the finish struck me as… buttery? Can I say that? It had a bit of a buttery finish to me, not sure how else to put it. I mean it in the nicest way because believe me, I had more than the one glass.

At any rate I’ll be picking this one up again. And again. And in the meantime hopefully improving my God-given talents around discussing wine. Or at the very least, appreciating it.

Now go buy a bottle.

Picked up at my nearby Government liquor store for, oh, around 24 bucks.

3 1/2 stars


2006 Pierre Boniface Apremont (Savoie)

02182009This one came about by accident. I had just read Sean’s tweet (@vinifico) about the “Wine Century Club,” – the quest to taste said number of varietals, popped into the local liquor store and saw this on the sell-off rack. I asked the consultant and he said “it’s pretty much a wine geek kind of wine.” Well… it fit so I picked one up and I’m glad I did.

Apparently, Apremont is made in Savoie from the local Jacquere grape. It’s a pretty good find if you ask me. Subtle lime and pear with a bit of straw/grass with a few sniffs and swirls, it’s dry and stony on the palate with some more crisp tart green apple toward more mineral on the finish.

Interesting in a word, a really old world, rustic find. A different little wine that’s a pretty good value right now. I’d buy it again to have with some nice mild cheese and sliced green apples.

$16.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars


2005 Osoyoos Larose Pétales d’Osoyoos

12222008One thing I may be guilty of is not drinking enough of British Columbia’s red wines. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them, but here in my home province, we’ve got a bunch of newer wineries charging very established prices for some unproven wines. I really have liked a few of them over the years. Recent ones that stand out in my memory are Township 7’s Syrah, Inniskillin’s Zinfandel and even the verging-on-ridiculously-priced Black Hills Note Bené (one of the only wineries to charge me for a tasting in the last bunch of years) was tasty.

One wine that I’ve seen around, but had stayed away from because of its higher price has been the Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin. So, when I came upon its little brother, I thought I’d give it a go. I have had this wine once before, but it was one of those nights that involve multiple bottles and I didn’t take notes. I thought I’d change that.

Osoyoos Larose is a joint venture between Vincor and a big Bordeaux wine company, Groupe Taillan, whose major French property is Château Gruaud Larose.

The wine is offered up at the very reasonable price of $25 here in BC… and after tasting it, I have to say that it’s one of the better buys in an under-$30 Bordeaux-varietal red wine. The nose is a crush of red currant, vanilla and bell pepper. The flavours show dark cherry, currants, vanilla and a bit of dark chocolate on the medium-long finish. Not bad for the moolah, folks.

The true test is whether I’d buy it again. Would I? Yes, I would… and you should too. It’s tasty and well-priced.

$25 here in BC at LDB stores.

3 1/2 stars
(verging on 4)

No comments

2004 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico Reserva

32131I was cooking a little homemade pizza this weekend and spotted this bottle being cleared out at the local liquor store. One of the perks of living in the ‘burbs seems to be that our local stores are often discounting some pretty nice stuff.

It definitely didn’t disappoint. Deep purple in colour, it has some nice earth and floral hints with a bit of toasty espresso. Lots of dark cherry and plum with tight acidity made it nice pairing with the pizza (love my whole wheat crust!). The finish had more dusty violet and again the espresso made an appearance.

This was a really nice bottle for the money. If you see it in the discount section of your local store, it’s definitely worth a go.

$24.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

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2005 Casalone Bricco Morlantino Barbera del Monferrato

Like many of you, I’m a big pizza guy. I love cooking a good pizza at home (tonight’s was a prosciutto, artichoke and red pepper concoction). What’s not always so easy is pairing wine with those pizzas.

As a rule of thumb, I’ve always stuck with relatively inexpensive, earthy and lightly fruity Italian reds when it comes to my pizzas. It’s a mix I’m pretty bloody happy with. Tonight’s wine fit the bill to a “T”.

Barbera del Monferrato is generally known in Italy as a pretty middling sparkling or still red wine. Obviously some folks are striking out to create a quality product in the region though… I found this as enjoyable as almost any Barbera I’ve had in the last while.

On the nose, you get cherry syrup, mineral and a spicy earthiness. A sip shows some dark cherry fruit, licorice and some pomegranate on the mineral-laced finish.

Tasty stuff, especially for the money. Try some… even with pizza. 🙂

$24 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

3 1/2 stars


Osake Granville Island Junmai Nama Nigori, Craft Sake

Well, this is the first Sake write-up for my site. For me – like many of you – Sake brought to mind warm and fume-y concoctions served from pretty containers in sushi restaurants… That is, until recently.

Earlier this year, a corner of the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival changed all that. I tasted some beautiful variations of Japanese rice wine, including a few from the artisan Sake makers based right here in Vancouver, Osake.

After trying their wines at the festival, I resolved to making a trip to their studio to try more of them… and I hadn’t until last weekend. We were out doing the tourists-in-our-own-town thing – having a wander around Granville Island – when I remembered that the Sake studio was located in Railspur Alley. You know what happened next – we went, we tasted… and I grabbed a couple of bottles to take home. It won’t be the last time.

In their words, “Osake is the first ‘fresh premium’ Junmai Sake [Namazake] of its kind produced in Canada.” I’m glad they’re here in town. 🙂

They have three Sakes: the fresh and brightly flavoured Junmai Nama, the cloudy and fruity Junmai Nama Nigori and the full and round Junmai Nama Genshu. Tonight, I popped the Junmai Nama Nigori open to have with some sushi.

This is a pretty cool drop. It’s unfiltered and has a cloudy sediment that mixes into the wine with a little movement. In the glass it looks like watered-down skim milk. A sniff brings up lychee nut and sweet rice. A sip gives up a medium-bodied bunch of that juicy lychee along with honeydew melon and a bit of tannin and booze on the finish (it clocks in at 14%).

It went pretty bloody well with some wasabi-laden sushi tonight and I can also see it going really well with some spicier Asian dishes. It’s really tasty stuff.

I won’t pretend to be anything of a Sake expert… Hell, I’m just getting into the stuff, but this isn’t a bad place to start. Go try some, especially from a quality maker. You’ll be glad you did.

~$30 at Osake on Granville Island.

3 1/2 stars


2006 Giant Wine Company “Sinner’s Punch” Red Wine, Columbia Valley

So many of the Columbia Valley wines I’ve tasted over the last while are big rich Bordeaux Blends.  I really love ‘em, but when I spotted this one on my recent trip to Seattle, I had to give the 90% Syrah 10% Cabernet blend a go.

Big and black in the glass, a sniff brought some fresh cracked pepper into play with nice black plum and bit of mint and brown sugar.  Definitely both grapes at work here.  A few tasty sips and I was in jammy black cherry and plum bliss.  Mouth-filling to say the least, it certainly belies the $13.99 price tag.  The finish was nice and full with more sweet spice and and a medium acidity.  Good stuff, complementing a nice burger on the BBQ while sitting in the backyard.

Summer’s not done yet and BBQ season never ends.

$13.99 at Esquin Wine Merchants.

3 1/2 stars
(leaning toward 4)

No comments

2004 Dourthe Bordeaux White No. 1

I picked this up last night at Kits Wine Cellars with the aim of pairing it with some food this week. Well, that time came tonight with some chili and corn chicken sausages from Granville Island’s Oyama Sausages.

I can’t say that I loved the wine, but it was solid. It had nice citrus and mineral on both the nose and in a sip, with a finish that really showed the mineral and lemon side of the wine. The wine had a medium-bodied feel in the mouth. Both that and its acidity make it a great little food wine.

I just felt like writing a quick post (I’ve been bad at that lately), so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Did I like the wine? Yes. Would I buy it again? Probably not. It was a bit plain for my tastes. Nothing about it made it stand out, as solid as it was. There are just better Sauvignon Blanc-based wines out there for the money.

$24 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

3 1/2 stars

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