Archive for the '4.0 stars' Category

2008 Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc

08252009OK, so let’s keep the BC wines posts going for at least one more wine. This is one that came completely out of left field for me. When we visited Quails’ Gate Winery on the weekend and Peter, our very friendly tasting room host offered a taste of this wine, I was thinking, “Yeah, yeah… a BC Chenin Blanc. This’ll suck.” One sip and I was thinking, “Holy crap, this is tasty stuff.”

It’s got a nose that offers up a heap of crisp pear, grapefruit and a slate-like mineral edge. A big sip gives a load of the pear, melon, grapefruit and a long finish. Wow. There is a bit of blending going on here – there’s 92% Chenin Blanc and 8% Sauvignon Blanc in there to add a bit of fresh crispness. It’s a great bottle of wine to sip with a summer salad, fish, shellfish, poultry or even as an aperitif.

It was funny. The secret’s out. When we got back to Candace’s parent’s place her Dad, Robert, wanted me to try a white he liked… he poured me a glass of this wine. Like it? I totally agree. I really like it.

As they proudly point out on their site, “Quails’ Gate 2007 Chenin Blanc was the exclusive British Columbia wine served to US President Barack Obama during his luncheon with Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday in Ottawa.” It accompanied menu selections including Pacific coast yellowfin tuna and maple and miso cured Nunavut wild Arctic char. Mmmm… sounds like a great pairing.

If you’re lucky enough to find this wine in your local shop, grab a few bottles and take it home to enjoy. You’ll be glad you did.

$18.99 at the winery.

4 stars


2005 Mueller Syrah, Russian River Valley, “Block Eleven”

I picked this up at the Bottle Barn when we were down for the Wine Bloggers’ Conference and paired it with a nice steak and grilled veggies.  I have to say it got better and better as the evening went on – beautiful balance, velvety and elegant floral notes came on.  This a great bottle that I would love to find again.

$20.99 at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

4 stars

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2007 Wild Goose Gewurztraminer

07082009My first thought when I think of this wine – What a wine for the money! $18 for a classic, crisp and balanced Gewurztraminer? Yes, please. This tasty drop makes regular appearances in my fridge and sets the standard by which all other BC-made Alsatian varietals are judged.I love to pair it with a nice Thai curry.

In the glass, the nose is a sexy mix of  lychee nut, white pepper and rose petals. This is where things get really interesting – when you take a sip. This is a holy crap tasty wine – the sweet-sour lychee with ripe peach, apricot, and a citrus and honeyed-mineral edge.

If you can find it, try it. If not, the 2008 should be kicking around at your local private wine shop (here in BC). I’ll be making a point to try that soon.

$18 at the winery.

4 stars

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2008 Babich Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

07082009aThis wine is summer refreshment in a glass. It’s full of zingy grapefruit citrus and tropical fruit tastiness. It has an intense crispness that is very food-friendly… or if you just want a patio sipper, it does the trick there as well – all for the very reasonable $16.99 price tag (here in Canada). I’ve been a fan of this wine for years and have to admit that I find its cousin, the more concentrated Black Label Reserve a bloody tasty treat.

The regular Marlborough version is a treat in its own way. It has a nose that’s full of grapefruit and some pear. A juicy sip shows all that grapefruit, passion fruit and pear with an herbal edge to the mineral-laced finish. This is a wine that drinks like pop – especially on the warm days/night of Summer… and for the very reasonable price tag, how can we resist?

An A+ for value on a very tasty bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

$16.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

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Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe Tangerine Wheat Beer

06282009I moved (again) last month and am now living close to one of Vancouver’s better beer shops, Viti Wine & Lager Store. I consider this a very good thing because every summer, I tend to back off the wine a bit and crave some beer. Thankfully, Viti’s supply is keeping things interesting for me.

With the warmer weather, I’ve had my usual craving for good Summer beers – wheat ales. I love their refreshing lemony goodness. So, when I saw this one, I had to grab it and bring it home to quaff on the patio.

Wow… one whiff of this beer brought back my childhood. I was a BIG Orange Crush fan when I was a kid  – and that’s exactly what this beer smells like, with a slightly wheat-y edge. It’s boozy (5.0% ABV) Orange Crush and is a cloudy amber colour when poured into a glass. A gulp gives up the usual wheat beer citrus edge, but then bursts with tangerine-enhanced Orange Crush tastiness. It finishes slightly sweet (VERY slightly) and is refreshing as hell.

I’ve bought this a couple of times now… and will again over Summer when it’s available. For those of you with a fruit beer phobia – stay away. For fans of tasty wheat beers – grab it if you can find it. Tasty stuff.

$6.80 for 1 Pint 6 fl. oz. at Viti.

4 stars

1 comment

2006 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

06222009This was a wine I picked up thinking I would try it, make my notes and move on. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to get blown away… and well… I wasn’t. Having said that though – did I like this wine? Hell yeah. It’s just that it was selling up here in booze-pinched BC for ~$90. I grabbed this bottle during an agent’s mark-down sale, which took it down to ~$60. Why? Because I love the Pinot and had had my eye on trying something from the Merry Edwards folks for a while.

So, what’s it like? Well, a big sniff gives up black cherry, raspberry, orange peel and mineral. A juicy sip pretty much shows the same. It’s a refined bunch of the cherry and berry that shows a bit of heat on the finish (it has 14.2% booze) and finishes as smoothly as silk.

It all pretty much adds up to a tasty bottle of wine that still makes me feel pretty gouged – even with the $30 mark-down. I’d love this wine in the $40 range. It was bloody tasty. For the money, I expect more.

~$60 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars


2007 Domaine du Bosc Rosé, Vin de Pays d’Oc

06212009aLike wine? Enjoy Summer? Drink Rosé… and by that, I don’t mean go out and buy that gross sweet White Zinfandel crap. Buy the stuff the locals drink all Summer in France, Spain and parts of Italy – the gorgeous Rosés.

One of the best areas for rosé production in France is the Languedoc area in the South of France… and who doesn’t want to sit in a café there sipping something like this?

This wine, which is a blend of 70% Cinsault and 30% Syrah, has a beautiful light salmon colour to it (I’m sure it would pair incredibly well with some of our local fish as well). The nose shows light strawberry and lemon and a big sip gives up a crisp bit of the light berry along with red raspberry and a squish of lemon and bit of herb (maybe some lavender or rosemary). It’s so tasty and refreshing for when the warmer weather hits.

~$23 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars


Driftwood Brewing “White Bark” Wheat Ale

06212009I realize that there is an intersection at the corner of wine and beer that I really content to sit on. I think inside many a wine geek is an equal part beer geek. Shea, who writes superb beer reviews at his Justgrains blog has been encouraging us for a while to write a beer review. So here we go.

Brewed by Driftwood Brewing in Victoria, it had great packaging and the description as a ”traditional Belgian-style wheat ale is brewed with the addition of freshly ground coriander and Curacao orange peel. Hops are outshone by the wonderful floral aromas that dominate the nose of this dry and quaffable beer”. The sunshine draws me to the Wheat Beers and this one was new to me. I had their saison recently at the Alibi Room and enjoyed it.

A very pale straw color, the first few sniffs bring a load of nice citrus. Orange blossom and grapefruit dominate with some nice hints of the hops. A few delicious sips showed more nice floral and citrus character with a nice earthy hint from the coriander. The finish of this beer was nice and creamy, almost like lemon/orange sorbet. Plain and simple, this is an excellent choice for Summer.

I picked this up at the Brewery Creek store on Main Street in Vancouver. Their selection of beers is fantastic! I was however disappointed to see the Central City Brewing beers drastically over priced. $15.05 for a six of the IPA (10.95 at the brewery) and over $13 for the Red Racer Wheat (Currently $7.95 at brewery). Hopefully this doesn’t discourage people from drinking good local brews.

$5.95 for a 650ml

4 stars


2005 Moillard Mercurey Clos l’Eveque 1er Cru

When I first gave this wine a swirl, I thought some of my neighbors on the farms were spreading some fine grade manure. This is definitely a shining example of the “barnyard” character often attributed to Pinot Noir… and once you get past that, this is a neat bottle.

I swirled a bit more, and mixed in are some tobacco and meaty overtones. Anything this unusual deserves a few good slurps. Raspberry, red currant and some orange zest quickly took over for the funk and revealed an enjoyable glass of Bourgogne. The finish brings some nice earthy black tea and some tasty raspberry and floral notes.

Despite a rather odd beginning, this is a really elegant and tasty glass. It runs a full spectrum of the classic Pinot attributes and was equally unique the next day. At $21 in the current LDB clear out, it’s a really great deal.

$21 (regularly $34.99) at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

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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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