Archive for the '$16 – 20' Category

2006 Masi Campofiorin Ripasso

10012009Due to the outrageous liquor taxes in our fair province of British Columbia, this wine falls solidly into the value category. Yep, $20 for a decent bottle of wine is considered a value here in British Columbia. Don’t even get me started. Well, I will get started, but that’s another post.

OK, back to the wine. I’ve had it many times in previous vintages and thought it might pair fairly well with the home-made pizzas I was putting together tonight. The last vintage I tasted (2003) was a bit of a disappointment, but this one makes up for it. It’s a solid bottle for the money. The 2006 vintage has been declared by Masi as a 5-star vintage, the first since 1997 and only one of seven since 1964.

For the Veneto region, this is a pretty common blend  – it’s comprised of 60% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Molinara, and 5% Rossignola. Up front, when you take a sniff, there’s a bunch of ripe cherry and herbs. A sip shows dark cherries with a bit of a stewed edge, along with dusty earth and an herbal edge to its lingering and pleasantly tannic finish.

Yep, I’ll buy this again sometime soon. It makes a great sipper for when company drops by or for during the week.

$18.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

3 1/2 stars


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


2007 Marqués de Vitoria ECCO Tempranillo, Rioja

I was sent this as an agent’s sample, so when we headed out to Graham’s last Saturday, I thought I’d take it along and get his opinion on it as well.

$15.95 at LDB stores here in BC.

2.5 stars

3 stars

No comments

Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVII

Last Saturday night Candace and I headed out to Graham’s for a BBQ dinner and to taste a few wines… and film a few reviews. First up is Sean Thackrey’ delicious Pleiades XVII. It’s a blend of Syrah, Sangiovese, Mourvèdre, Barbera, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Viognier, among others.

Pretty amazing stuff.

$19.99 at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

4 1/2 stars


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

No comments

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

No comments

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

No comments

2005 Cosentino Cigar-Zin Zinfandel, Lake County

03142009As I’ve mentioned, I do enjoy seeking out some of the value finds at my local stores, and with the whole economy challenge it seems there are few more sell-offs happening of late. With the monthly vino budget being targeted for the Playhouse Wine Festival store, this one was a “must have.”

You know we love the Zin, and this is a tasty treat for the price. A swirl and sniff brings lots of vanilla with a little bit of briar and almost a bit of cinnamon. Basically the nose is really quite dessert-like. A couple of sips give some tart cherries and ripe red plum with some floral hints as well. The finish has some nice acidity with a bitter dark chocolate edge. A Zin with a bit of bite! (In a good way).

I like it. Not the fruit bomb-type, it has this misdirection in the middle that is kind of fun – it comes off on the nose as being sweet and jammy but has some serious backbone and a bit of an edge. Tasty, and at $10 off, even better!

$19.99 marked down at the local LDB store.

4 stars


2005 Heidler Grüner Veltliner

03052009Now, the terms Grüner and tasty are for some people and oxymoron, but I find myself seeking them out from time to time. Jay McInerney refers to them in his books and when I read them a while back, I began to search them out. (These books, Bacchus & Me and A Hedonist in the Cellar are really enjoyable reads by the way).

This one has got to one of my faves. It has loads of mineral on the nose with some grassy bit and the root-y vegetal aromas that continue with the first couple of sips. On the palate it has really interesting citrus and mineral with almost green leaf into a flinty finish. I paired this with some roasted garlic and goat cheese and the caramelized sweetness of the garlic provided a really nice pairing.

If you’ve never tried a Grüner before, this one is a really good choice if you feel like venturing out and taking a chance. (I guess after the last couple – I’m on the unusual grape hunt right now).

$19.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 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


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