Archive for the 'Merlot' Category

2008 Rigamarole Winery Rosé

08162009Both Graham and I received bottles of this wine as agent’s samples, so I thought we’d put our reviews together and get them on the site. I think this bottle surprised both of us… pleasantly. It was both tastier and better than we thought it would be.

It’s got a cool nose that is all about the cranberry, mandarin orange and flinty stone. The flavours are pretty interesting as well. There’s the juicy cranberry, sour cherry, some lemony citrus and a crisp, lightly mineral-edged finish. There’s a bit of a boozy edge, but it’s not out of balance.

You know I’m a rosé fan and all in all, I’d have to say that I would buy this wine. It goes really well with the warm weather we’re having in Vancouver this summer. It’s a nice little aperitif wine to sit and sip on the patio and would also pair well with various things grilled (think chicken, veggies and pork).

It’s a great deal for the money.

With the Hades-esque heat wave we’ve had of late in Vancouver, the wine consumption has been limited. The search for a few crisp whites and some nice rosés has been a common theme in recent weeks.

To be honest, I generally default to French Rosés for fear of encountering an overly sweet homage to the blasphemy that is white zin. I cracked this open the other night and must confess that was a tasty patio sip.

A blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Merlot, it has nice ruby cranberry color in the glass It has a zingy nose of some pine notes with strawberry jam and a bit of cotton candy- things I like in a Rosé. A few sips and the strawberry continued on with some cranberry and rhubarb in the middle. Generally this wine was light on the palate and had some nice soft red fruit on the finish with a bit of white pepper to top it off.

This is a tasty local rosé. The price point makes it a great choice to share with a mixed crowd (Wine geeks and non). Would I buy it? Absolutely, especially if our weather continues as it is.

$14.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

2004 Caves Aliança Bairrada Quinta das Baceladas Single Estate

012120091I happened on this wine at the Alberni LDB store in downtown Vancouver the other day. The wine is mainly a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon along with some of the Baga varietal that is native to the Bairrada region. I’m always up for trying something from Portugal, so I grabbed one.

It may be Old World in location, but there’s definitely some of that New World fruit and oak going on. I’ve had it open for a few hours.. so let’s go. The nose is a sexy mix of ripe blackberry, plum, dark chocolate and mineral. The flavours are all about the ripe berry and what struck me as sweet fig with a long dark chocolate  coated finish. Sounds tasty, huh? Yep, it is.

Apart from some bitterness in the middle, it’s just a hint away from being absolutely outstanding. It is pretty damned fine. For the moolah, I’d buy it again. Yes, I would.

$28.50 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

2007 Henry’s Drive Pillar Box Red, Padthaway

01202009So, my friend Eric phoned me earlier tonight while in his local LDB store asking what to buy. We ran through a few choices (finding none – it WAS over the phone) before he mentioned that while they didn’t have the Pillar Box Shiraz, the Red was in stock. I told him to go with it… and because I like to taste what I recommend, I went out and picked one up myself.

I opened this after dinner while watching the Canucks game against San Jose (loss, dammit)… and what can I say? I really like it. It definitely stands firmly on the “slutty” side of the fence, but also offers up enough depth of flavour that it’s an interesting quaff.

The nose shows ripe, stewed black cherry, along with black currant and berries with a bit of earth. A sip leads to an explosion of dark fruit (think black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, etc.) and a long-lasting, slightly boozy (it weighs in at 15% alcohol) finish.

Do I like it? Yep. But, you have to be in the mood for a Robert Parker-styled fruit bomb to love it. I was in the mood for that… and it’s a great value at under $20 CDN.

$19.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

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 Bodegas Y Viñedos Luna Beberide Tierras de Luna

This is, to me, one of those wines that successfully straddles the New World/Old World fence. It’s got all that New World sexy fruit and some of the Old World terrior-driven minerality to its flavours.

I picked it up last week at Kitsilano Wine Cellars on a staff recommendation (these folks love their wine) and popped it open tonight with some grilled Oyama elk sausages… and holy crap, this is my kinda’ wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Mencia that carries a healthy 14.4% booze.

I gave it some air and it opened up into a sexy nose of ripe and dark berry and cherry fruit, coffee and an earthy mineral edge. A big ‘ol sip gave me a balanced bunch of the dark fruit, sour cherry, a bit of leather and a bunch of tannins on the crisp and earthy finish.

What can I say? I loved this wine. If you can find it, take it home, give it an hour or 2 of air and enjoy.

$36 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars


2005 Russell Creek Winery Tributary

OK folks, I’ve been busy and am plum out of the witty wine analogies. I’ll just get right down to it. I visited this winery in Walla Walla early last year and have drunk a few of their wines since.

Mmmmm… this one is a juicy, deep, dark and sexy New World Cab blend (56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot). Yes, it is. I gave it roughly 2 hours in the decanter to open up. Once there, it gave layers of intense dark cherry and berry fruit to go along with some dark chocolate and oak-driven spice on the medium-long finish.

I loved this wine. It just gave me exactly what I was looking for on Saturday. In a word, it was decadent. My mouth was left wanting more – and that’s never a bad thing.

$32.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars


2005 Joe Blow Wine Cellars Red, California

11282007.jpgThe bottle says, “This wine is serious! The name is not.”… and you know what? I like the fun attitude they’re putting out there with a statement like that. This wine really is just plain tasty. It’s a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

What all that adds up to is a juicy and completely unpretentious glassful of sippin’ fun. The colour is a deep and dark red… the nose is a complex bunch of tobacco, dark fruit and licorice. A tip o’ the glass gives up a nice bunch of brambly dark berries, licorice and a long dark chocolate-edged finish.

When you see a bottle like this, you may just dismiss it as a California version of a “critter” wine… but it’s more than that. For the price, it’s fantastic. It’s actually got some complexity and depth.

I like it. This is my new house red. ‘Nuff said.

$17 in LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars

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