Archive for the '3.5 stars' Category

2006 Wild Goose Pinot Blanc, Mystic River Vineyard

One of the grand frustrations I find of late in BC is that many of the local wines are reaching to astronomical levels in pricing. I realize that “charge what the traffic will bear” is an old business adage, however the quality-value ratio must be upheld in the competitive world of wine.

Fortunately a winery like Wild Goose, making some of the best white wines in the province, let alone Canada, has not followed the over-pricing trend. I have always enjoyed their tasty wines along with their personable, family approach to their customers.

This Pinot Blanc is exactly what I love about their wines – crisp, with prominent fruit and a nice acidity to finish. The nose on this is honeydew melon with a bit of kiwi hiding in there. A few swishes produce some nice tart pear and more melon with nice tart green apple acidity on the finish – just plain tasty on a warm summer’s eve.

This is a great bottle of local white, something you can say about pretty much anything produced by Wild Goose.

$17.99 at the winery (and some VQA stores) here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

1 comment

Zonin Prosecco Brut NV

Hot weather means crisp whites, rosés, and of course sparklers. This past weekend, the debate was between some of the tasty Znovin Classic, or this Prosecco. Of course logic prevailed and we started with the Zonin and moved to the Znovin.

I love Prosecco, and this one is at the low end of the price scale, so I figured it was worth a go. It has the classic light, fine bubbles along with nice lemon and mineral in the first few sniffs, then some nice pear and apple as we sipped away. It finished up with some light flowers and more tart lemon.

This is a nice bottle of Prosecco, and I’ll be certainly having a few different ones over the next few weeks.

$13.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars


2004 Viña Echeverría Carmenère Central Valley Reserva

Carmenère is an interesting grape. It started out as primarily a blending grape in France, but kinda’ fell out of favour… until the folks in Chile recently started putting it into a starring role. Folks down there like Errazuriz and these folks really do it justice.

And what’s this wine like? Well, it’s a jammy mix of ripe juicy plums and dark berries as well as some coffee and tobacco, which finishes with a slightly earthy edge – that pretty much sums up both the nose and the flavours.

What I’d really like to note is how this wine explodes in the mouth with its ripe fruit and coffee flavours Wow. It’s like sitting on a patio with a waft of cigar smoke while enjoying a mouthful of black cherry and blackberry juice followed by a sip of espresso. Yum.

Kirk at Kitsilano Wine Cellars pointed me toward this wine. Thanks Kirk!

Great stuff for the money.

$23 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars


Bodegas y Viñedos Pascual Toso S.A., Sparkling N/V

03212008.jpgSean mentioned this as one of the pleasant surprises of the Vancouver International Fest. It was clear that sparkling wines are emerging from South America in a big way, as almost every other exhibitor seemed to have some type of bubbly.

To the Toso – pale straw in the glass, it has nice lemon on the nose with some hints of ginger and toast. This good start led to nice creamy bubbles with some green apple and floral hints on the finish. The rep at the festival said it was 100% Chardonnay, however I read that in some incarnations this has some Chenin Blanc in it. Either way, it’s darn tasty. What stood out most (besides the stunning $13.99 tag) was how beautifully smooth and easy sippin’ it was.

Definitely a standout in the auditions for the patio wines of this summer, all we have to do is hope that the LDB brings it in as regular listing.

$13.99 as a specialty listing at the Festival’s wine store.

3 1/2 stars

(the price basically takes it to 4)

No comments

2005 La Spinetta Il Nero di Casanova

01222007.jpgThe first thing I’ll say about this wine is that it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I had loved their Langhe Nebbiolo a little while back (Rachel recently had the 2005 and said it was just as good) and they currently have a number of higher-end Piemontese wines in the stores here in Vancouver. I just expected more than this one offered up.

La Spinetta is a very good Italian winery based in both the Piedmont and Tuscan regions. They started making wines back in the 70’s and now produce 19 different wines from their three wineries.

This wine is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino (an indigenous Tuscan grape that adds colour) that is a beautiful inky red in the glass. Its nose is a dose of black cherry with an earthy edge. A sip gave up nice dark fruit, but without the “oomph” I had been hoping for… it was kind of simple. Not that that’s a bad thing, but for $35 I was expecting this to be on a level with its Langhe brother. The finish was of medium length with a nice mineral/earthy edge.

All in all, this certainly wasn’t a bad wine. It wasn’t a standout either.

$33.59 at LDB stores here in Vancouver.

3 1/2 stars


2006 Cline Cellars Ancient Vines Zinfandel

01202007.jpgHmmm…. I’ve been a pretty big fan of this wine in the past, but I’ve gotta say I was a bit disappointed. Maybe my palate has changed (I’m sure it has), or they went with riper grapes and a more up-front style when they made this wine (I’m pretty sure that’s the case as well)… either way, it was a bit loosey-juicy for my tastes.

A big sniff of the wine gave jammy blackberry/raspberry juice with a smoky edge. A slurp showed lots of that jammy dark fruit, verging on sweetness… with a finish that lacked tannic structure and had a BBQ sauce kinda thing going on. It was all about the spicy and smoky berry juice.

Really, for $26 (CDN), it gives up what it should – lots of slutty Zin fruit without too much complexity. Yeah, for the price, it’s not bad. On their site, Cline calls it “Rambunctious, bright and zippy!” That does pretty much sum it up.

$26.75 here in BC at LDB stores.

3 1/2 stars

1 comment

2005 Tahbilk Marsanne, Central Victoria

tahbilk_marsanne-05.jpgI picked this one up on the recommendation of the wine manager of my local liquor store last week. It was interesting to see a Marsanne from Australia. Seeing what its Rhone friend Viognier has done in Australia, I thought “why not?”

The wine was pale straw in the glass, and had some nice floral and honey in the nose. Once we got to tasting, the wine got quite interesting – lots of apricot, some orange rind and crisp acidity. It was almost like some the muscats I’ve tried, but without the residual sweetness. The finish had a bit of lemon with some white pepper and a little more honey.

I like this wine. It’s different and in this case, that’s a good thing. We had it with a bit of brie and chutney, which worked nicely.

Grab a bottle and check this one out.

$17.83 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2006 Shenandoah Vineyards Special Reserve Zinfandel, Amador County

12302007.jpgOK, so it’s that value wine time of year… time to go looking for wines in the under-$25 category that fill the vino need. I made a trek to the main LDB store here in Vancouver last night, on the lookout for value, and this was one of my purchases.

The first thing I noticed when I opened it was… it was young. It smelled unripe and kinda chemically fruity. So, I decided to let it sit for a while and finally had another sniff. What I smelled still wasn’t too exciting, but at least it gave up some of that Zinfandel fruit – dark berries, briar and a bit of dark chocolate, with that unripe edge still hanging around. I guess I do have to remember to that it’s a sub-$20 bottle of wine.

How does it taste? Well, actually pretty good. There’s a bunch of berry juice, with a nice bit of that chocolate still going on. It definitely leans toward the slutty wine side of the fence, but it’s a tasty drop. There’s also the fact that the grapes are organically grown to add to the plus side. 🙂

Not amazing, but for under $20 it is good stuff.

$19.90 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2003 Zingaro Mendicino Benchlands Zinfandel

12262007.jpgGiven the holiday season and the fact the ZAP is merely a month away, I decided that a nice Zin was a good way to start my holidays while helping me look ahead to January. I picked this one up at Kitsilano Wine Cellars last week.

It turns out that this wine is made by what was formerly Parducci Wines. As Sean has previously stated, we were well acquainted with the Gewürztraminer of days gone by from this winery – full circle to say the least.

Put plainly and simply, this is a different, great-value Zinfandel. Not the typical juicy, slutty fruit-bomb; this one goes the distance on spice. It’s a blend of 90% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah and 5% Syrah. In the glass it’s a nice brick red (given a 2003 vintage) rather than the usual thick purple Zin. The nose is full of cloves and distinct black liquorice, followed up with some plum and black peppercorn in the first of many sips. The finish still has some nice firm tannins with more clove, some briar and a bit of cinnamon to top it off.

I like this wine a lot – it’s departure from the purple monster, and reminds me of the range of the good ‘ol Zinfandel grape. I’m looking forward to ZAP even more now.

$19.99 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2003 Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Crianza

12012007.jpgSo, earlier this week I came home after a long day and tossed a butterfly pork chop on the grill and paired it with this wine that I had been given as a sample. Mmmm-hmmm, I’ve gotta say that it’s a match that worked.

This wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. As usual, I’ll start with the pour. In the glass, it’s a medium-light red with a nose that gives up cherries and some nice spice. Its flavours are pretty much what the nose put out there along with a some berries making their way into the mix.

This isn’t a wine that will blow you away, but it’s a food-friendly every-day house wine. It’s a worker bee of the wine world.

$20 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

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