Archive for the '$46 – 50' Category

1993 Zilliken Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Saarburger Rausch

I’ve been on a Riesling kick lately, so when I stumbled on this at Kitsilano Wine Cellars last week, I had to try it. I mean c’mon… it’s a 15 year old wine and I don’t get many chances here in Vancouver to try a Riesling with more than a few years on it.

I opened it up and took a big sniff. The wine didn’t disappoint. What I got up front was a nose full of diesel-like petrol. There wasn’t much fruit in there – some lemon zest. An eager sip gave more of that petrol edge, along with crisp citrus fruit, green apple and a finish that was like licking honey off a rock.

The wine was vibrant and lively. It drank much more like a 2007 than a 1993. There was no browning going on or a mellowing of its acidity. It was crisp and clean with fresh fruit. I loved it.

If you love Riesling, this is well worth picking up to sip at home.

$50 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2004 Ridge Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains, California

I picked this wine up a while ago and had been holding it for the right meal to crack it open. After an 80km road bike ride today that included about 4,000 feet of climbing I felt pretty justified in grabbing a Canada Prime New York steak and firing up the grill.

Wow, I have to say that this matched up pretty bloody well. The Wine Dictator gave it a modest 84 points, but I’d rate it  bit above that. Not tonnes, but this wine came alive with a grilled piece of meat.

It’s a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc and comes in at a very balanced 13% booze.

I really tasted the Merlot in this blend, especially with the meat. The wine took on a slightly aged flavour, with black tea and dark berry/cherry fruit. The nose was all about the black tea, black cherry and tobacco, with a bit of bell pepper. A juicy sip gave up a nice mix of blackberry and black cherry juice along with an edge of that tannic black tea and licorice. Tasty.

It’s a very well-blanced bottle of wine, which would drink well on its own… and paired bloody well with the steak. Yum.

Amazing? No. Very good? Yes. If you, like me, are a fan of Ridge wines, you’ll think this is pretty damned good.

$49.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

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

2001 Damilano Barolo

To put it simply, I love Nebbiolo. Because Rachel’s living/teaching in Italy’s Piedmont region, it’s been a bit of a focus for me lately… and when it’s done well, it’s really pretty magical stuff. It sneaks up on your taste buds – shocking them with flavours many don’t expect in red wine, especially if you’re a New World, fruit-bomb fan.

Once you allow yourself to open up to it, you can’t help but to love the stuff. The one drawback is that you can’t usually get your hands on a good one for less than $60-70 (CDN), which makes this wine a deal.

It comes from one of my finds (at least for me) from the Vancouver Festival. It’s an excellent example of what a good Barolo can bring to the table – it’s a complex mix of brandied cherry, plums, leather, tar, and spice along with a violet-floral thing going on. The flavours are pretty much what the nose hinted at… the cherry, plum, tar and spice lead into a lo-o-o-ong finish that lasts until the next sip.

A food match? It begs for some grilled or roasted meat.

This is a great bottle of wine for the money. Most Barolos that carry this kind of weight and taste cost a bunch more. The Wine Dictator gave this a healthy 92-point rating… and I pretty much agree. It’s fantastic stuff.

$49.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars


2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, 40th Vintage

03082008.gifOK, anyone who has read this site knows that I’m a fan of Ridge Vineyards, so I won’t get into that. It’s actually been a good couple of months for me as far as Ridge goes… Back in January at ZAP, I met Paul Draper, their CEO and head winemaker… and last week at the 2008 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, I met the President of Ridge Vineyards, Donn Reisen (a heck of a nice guy, by the way).

So, onto the wine… well, I picked it up tonight, brought it home and put it where it needed to be – in a nice Riedel Zinfandel glass on its way to my mouth. It’s a blend of 77% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, and 6% Petite Sirah with a nice dark and vibrant red colour. The nose is a big bunch of dark berry fruit with an edge of briar and rhubarb. A sip gives up an explosion of that fruit… all the dark berry and raspberry juiciness finishes with a dash of pepper and licorice spice.

The thing with Geyserville is that unlike most Zinfandels, it can sit in your cellar for a decade or more and still come out tasting great… though I prefer it with the youthful punch it carries for its first 5 years. 🙂

Thumbs up on this one, folks.

$49.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

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

Wine – 2005 Ridge California Lytton Springs

11032007.jpgI’ve always considered Ridge to kinda’ be my “desert island winery” – if I could take wine from only one winery, it just might be them. I’ve always had a soft spot for their wines. The Geyserville, Lytton Springs, Sonoma Station, Santa Cruz Cabernet… on and on. They’re just plain tasty and very well made wines.

I’ve had this one a few times before… tonight I sat down with my friend Michael and happily sipped away. It’s a blend of 77% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah and 6% Carignane that adds up to a lip-smacking and full-bodied wine with 14.4% booze.

In the glass, it’s medium dark, purple-edged red. A big sniff shows a bright edge to a big bunch of dark berries and a bit of earth and briar. The flavours grow when they hit your tongue with a firm, but silky bunch of tannins. All the dark berry is there with a dash of espresso, cherry and even a bit of brandy that leads out to pretty long finish. It’s not your typical sweet red Zin… it’s got a more refined edge to it, so if you’re looking for a loosy-juicy slutty Zinfandel go elsewhere.

Ridge makes some of the only Zins I’ve tasted that could actually use a little bit of age and this is one of them. I visited their winery in Sonoma and tasted the 1983 Geyserville and it was bloody tasty. Right now, this wine is young and a bit bright… maybe it needs to sit down for 6 months to a year to come back better than ever.

I’m not absolutely in love with it, but it is definitely a very good wine. Thanks Mike!

$49.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

Wine – 2005 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley / Russian River Selection

Its the end of another week and I had a craving for a Pinot Noir… and I had this sitting in my little collection, so I popped it open.

It’s definitely a New World Pinot. It’s got a nose that grabs your nostrils and pulls you into a vat of earthy cinnamon spice and cherry cola. In the mouth, it has a lush and sexy texture. It’s warm (14.1% booze) bunch of that cherry cola, dark berry, cinnamon and earth. Its finish is silky, sexy and goes on until the next sip… even if that takes a while.

It may not be perfect, but what it comes down to is that it tasted fantastic to me tonight. I loved it.

$47.95 in LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2005 Orin Swift Cellars “The Prisoner”

06042007.jpgIt’s been a little while since I had this bottle… and the thing is, I liked it enough that I can almost taste it when I think about it. The 2005 is a bit more of a wine than the 2004 I had back in December. Wine Spectator recently gave it a huge 93-point rating.

It’s firmly ensconced in the “New World” wine camp. It’s huge and luscious with a tonne of coffee/toffee-laced ripe raspberry and blackberry fruit, finishing with a spicy chocolate edge. It’s well-structured and balanced… it really is great stuff.

If I likened the 2004 to “a hearty fire, a warm blanket paired with a warm and sexy companion“, this wine would be the outcome of snuggling under that blanket. Sexy stuff.

The blend is 48% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 10% Petite Sirah and 2% Charbono and it all adds up to a lot of flavour. It’s positively Zinfandel-istic. Yum.

$49.99 in LDB stores here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2004 C.G. Di Arie “Southern Exposure” Zinfandel

05282007.jpgWell, my resistance came to an end as I opened this, my last bottle from our trip to ZAP in January. I figured that as the weather got warmer and the penchant for whites and roses built, it was time to move away from the big ballsy reds with a bang; and a bang it was!

This wine is two things, first a reminder of how incredible the ZAP festival was, and second, an affirmation of why I love Zinfandel.

The nose is full of coffee, dark chocolate and black plum, with layers of flavour – hints of spice including pepper and a bit of cinnamon making appearances. This wine belies the Zinfandel as simply a monster syrupy fruit monster (despite a brawny 14.7% booze that is fantastically balanced until the end of the bottle :P). It is subtle and refined, moving to lovely dark plum, some briar and again, more coffee in the mouth. The finish is long and textured, with more spice, ripe dark fruit and firm, but balanced tannins.

This is a keeper, but not for too long . It is just too tasty to resist and already has me salivating for ZAP 2008. (Hopefully including a road trip to visit these folks and few others as well).

$34 USD at BevMo

4 1/2 stars

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