Archive for the 'Unusual grapes' Category

2005 Celler del Roure Les Alcusses, Valencia

01152009This was one of those bottles that I picked up for 2 reasons – I love Spanish wine and I liked the label. Yep, even wine geeks buy a wine because of the label occasionally. 🙂

When I opened it and let it grab some air I knew I was in for something surprisingly tasty. The nose gives off a beautiful mix of ripe black cherry, berry and earth. A juicy sip was all about the ripe (yes, I used that word again, but it really applies here) cherry and berry along with a really nice earthy edge to the medium-long finish. I really liked it. It fills the mouth with its rich flavours.

It’s a blend of Tempranillo, Mourvédre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mando, which is a varietal indigenous to the Valencia area. What it all adds up to is a wine I’ll definitely buy again. Go look for it.

$24.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

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

Farmstead Wines – Martin Arndorfer Riesling, Azienda Agricola San Biagio Verduno Pelaverga & Domaine Gauby Rivesaltes Caricia

A few weeks ago, I was driving and checking my Twitter account on my iPhone, when I noticed that Anthony Nicalo of Farmstead Wines (if you do the Twitter, you can follow him @farmstead) had posted a tweet about tasting some Farmstead Wines that were left-over from a Sommelier tasting.

As a side note: if you’re a Twitter geek and haven’t noticed the Twitter widget over in my right-hand sidebar, you can follow me at @scaldron.

I was at a light, so I promptly replied… and ended up talking with Anthony who had the bottles delivered to me downtown by one of his reps.

I was pleased to see it was an eclectic mix – an Austrian Riesling from Martin Arndorfer, a Verduno Pelaverga from Italy’s Azienda Agricola San Biagio and a sultry Rivesaltes Caricia from France’s Domain Gauby. I was impressed with each wine and loved the fact that they all came from small producers that fit Farmstead Wines’ hand-made philosophy.

So on to the wines:

  • 2006 Martin Arndorfer Riesling, Strasser Weinberge – We had this with some spicy food and it was excellent. The nose was a beautiful mix of light citrus and mineral. The flavours were a very balanced mix of light citrus zest and a long mineral and lime finish. Gorgeous stuff and a great food wine.4 1/2 stars
  • 2006 Azienda Agricola San Biagio Verduno Pelaverga – This was one of my favourite towns (Verduno) during my recent visit to Italy’s Piedmont region… It was gorgeous and surrounded by hills of vines. This wine took me back to that region. It has a beautiful nose that yells, “Langhe”… beautiful rose petal, cherry, along with a bit of tar and leather lead to a bit of a thin mouth-feel though… the finish made up for that with all that the nose hinted at. It’s a tasty bottle of wine.4 stars
  • 2006 Domaine Gauby Rivesaltes Caricia – Here we have a wine that is like a spicy and balanced young port… fresh dark berries and black cherry along with some cracked pepper on the finish. A beautiful finish that features the sweet berry fruit and firm tannins that lasts minutes. This is, plainly put, a SEXY wine. Yum.4 1/2 stars

It’s great to see someone making the effort to bring in small-production, farm-produced wines. These are folks who really care about what they do and it shows. This is the liquid equivalent of the Slow Food movement. Keep up the good work here in Vancouver, Anthony.

No comments

2007 Damilano Langhe Arneis

Well now… I think I under-rated this a bit when I tried it at the winery back in April, though I was spot-on when I said it would be a good wine with fish. I cracked one open tonight with some grilled halibut and a quinoa/mint/tomato salad and it was a perfect match. That’s dinner and the wine in the photo. I know… I had the label turned to the side. Bite me.

Anyhoo, back to the wine. It really is meant for food like the fish I had tonight. It’s crisp, with lemon and grapefruit on the nose and in its flavours and finishes with a nice mineral edge to go along with its food-friendly acidity. Tasty, tasty stuff.

If you’ve never had an Arneis, I’d really suggest that you go grab one, fire up the grill and grab some of that tasty halibut that is fresh in the stores right now.  You won’t regret it.

$19.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

2004 Antech Brut Blanquette de Limoux Grande Réserve

Y’all should know by now that I’m a fan of anything tasty and bubbly. Thanks to the folks at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, I’ve gotten hooked on the Znovin Classic. Recently Matt introduced me to this wine.

The winery has been making Blanquette, the original French bubbly for over 500 years, which predates Dom Perignon’s “discovery” of Champagne by over 150 years. The family’s vineyards are on the slopes surrounding the town of Limoux, near the Mediterranean Sea.

OK, can I just say that this wine is amazing for the money? It’s a blend of Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. What it adds up to is sip after sip of crisp honeyed pear and mineral-laced goodness. Its crisp-ness would make it a great pairing for many foods, from seafood (salmon) to Thai or as an aperitif.

It’s more complex than the Znovin… more so than the extra $6 would imply. That’s not to say that the Znovin isn’t a great value. It just speaks volumes as to what a find this wine is. It’s actually tastier than some Champagnes I’ve had recently – at less than half the price.

Wow, tasty.

$23 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars


2005 Treana White, Marsanne-Viognier

I picked this up on a whim last week at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in town after having a craving for Rhone-styled whites. I just felt like having some of those peachy-stoney-full white wines.

I had heard about this wine from a few places and it just sounded right… and who am I to argue with a wine that piques my interest? 🙂

OK, so a quick run-down: the wine comes from California’s Central Coast and is a blend of 50% Marsanne and 50% Viognier. The booze on it comes in at 14.5%, which is high, but seems balanced because of the body and acidity of this wine.

The nose is a bunch of hazelnut, honey, peach, lemon and mineral. A sip gives an incredibly full-bodied mix of peach, melon, honey with a long finish of lemon, peach juice and stone. Yum.

This is truly a sexy white wine. This is the wine equivalent of a warm and thick honey massage oil for your tongue.

$47 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Villa Teresa Frizzanti Prosecco Veneto – NV

OK, the taste of the Zonin got my brain fully into the spring warmth and the want of Prosecco. After a nice day at Eat Vancouver and Yaletown Brew Pub, it was time to return to the patio with a nice taste of Prosecco.

In the Vancouver market, the Villa Teresa seems to be the most readily available Prosecco, and it’s organic status doesn’t hurt sales, I am sure. It has a nice straw yellow color with small beckoning bubbles after you pop the cool trigger closure. The nose is a nice lemon and mineral followed with some tasty melon on the palate. This and some sunshine = bliss. Light and refreshing, there’s more citrus and a crisp finish – you could drink this any time of the day. Good stuff.

Great value too.

$15.95 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

2007 Donnafugata Anthìlia

“Donnafugata” – (kinda fun to say) apparently means “lady fugitive” having to do with a Queen of Naples who spent some exile time in Sicily. A cool story, and this is a cool wine to boot, it’s composed of 50% Ansonica and 50% Catarratto, which are native Sicilian varietals, and has summer written all over it.

The nose is full of crisp peach and a hint of lemon. Once on the patio, a few tasty sips brought really nice peach-apricot flavours with a crisp and tart finish that reminded me a of a Granny Smith apple – a perfect accompaniment to some light cheese and bread on the patio.

In a word – Sunshine.

$17.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars


2006 Orin Swift Cellars “The Prisoner”

As Sean had written, the visit to the Orin Swift office in St. Helena was a bit of a challenge to finally make it to, however this wine made the journey worthwhile.

The 2006 Prisoner has added 2% Grenache to the blend of Zinfandel(51%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Syrah (12%), Petit Sirah (6%) and Charbono (6%). While that’s interesting, it’s the end product that shines through.

Like many of the great 2006 Zins/Zin blends we had during our journey, the Prisoner has a vibrant blackberry and ripe plum on the bouquet, which opens into briar and with some dark chocolate in the mix. There is loads going on here.

Besides the bliss of finally being in wine country, a few tasty sips showed big rich plum and briar again with gorgeous coffee and cracked black pepper. The finish went on and on with earthy cassis, more dark chocolate and a hint of mint later on. We agreed, – gorgeous stuff.

Back home in Vancouver, this wine retails for $49.99. This is a kick in the pants considering it goes for $28-32 in California, however I can’t deny that even at this price point it is full value for the money.

The Prisoner is a fantastic bottle of wine – give yourself a present!

4 1/2 stars
(along with some happily stained teeth).

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

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