I hope that your 2019 is off to a fantastic start so far! My condolences to all those who practice Dry-nuary, in the spirit of solidarity I’ve been doing my own dry month: whilst on my way to drink amazing wines I use umbrellas and parkas and I don’t roll down my car windows during a rainfall. Dry as dust. Nailed it.
Over the last few weeks, a number of wines that were supposed to arrive in November finally showed up in the store, I’ll be thematically grouping them and informing you over the next while, let’s call it Christmas in January/February/…March? Not sure how long it’ll take but there are tons of yums to bear witness to, and we begin with some long-awaited 2015 stunners from Washington State. To the juice:
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Columbia Valley. One vintage removed from the internet-breaking 2014, we find our hero in fighting form, drawing fruit from Champoux, Wallula and Palengat vineyards (Quilceda has never really been terroir-driven, it’s more of an elite cull, like Grange). Inarguably Washington’s most famous wine, matching the Columbia Valley’s rigid frame with inexplicable Mediterranean notes and blush-inducing decadence. Wines this tall and thick from Napa cost twice as much. 99 points Jeb Dunnuck*, 96 points Robert Parker, 6 bottles available, $337.49 +tax
Avennia Sestina 2015, Columbia Valley. An instant classic. This wine took 3 months to get here after it landed and based on the number of times I was asked for it in December, it won’t last long. Chris Peterson, former winemaker at hallowed De Lille, has ignited spontaneous mania over his potentially timeless Syrahs and Cab Blends. This Margaux-ish Sestina is 70% Cab, with Merlot and Franc as wingmen, showing graphite and chocolate over jet-black fruit. Brooding and inscrutable currently, will hit the sweet spot in about 3 years. Stone and floral notes around the fringe. Avennia is one to watch – it’s pretty much sold out everywhere in the US and available for the first time in BC – if the buzz sustains it could be the new Cayuse, stay tuned. (95-97) points Jeb Dunnuck, 96 points Robert Parker, 12 bottles available, $104.49 +tax
K Vintners “The Beautiful” Syrah 2015, Walla Walla Valley. Charles Smith isn’t fooling anyone by hiding behind the name “K Vintners”, one look at the bottle and one whiff of the wine and we know who the father is. Concentration is his currency, and he spends it large on this meaty Syrah (with 3% Viognier, presumably as a chaperone) from the Powerline vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. A savoury, contrarian nose of sausage and olives, the blackberry core doesn’t really reveal itself until the palate, but then it doesn’t go away, ever. Drinkable but rather hair-blowing right now, the future is brighter, I’d say. 98 points Robert Parker, 97 points Jeb Dunnuck, 4 6-packs available, $93.99 +tax
K Vintners “The Cattle King” Syrah 2015, Snipes Mountain. One could well bury this 2015 Cattle King deep into the earth, so that future alien anthropologists realize how awesome Washington Syrah is/was (and also so they start digging all over the place looking for more. Ha! Silly aliens…). Pretty much perfecting the Iron Fist / Velvet Glove trope, the intensely persuasive fruit-laced nose (no kidding, it’s gorgeous) gives zero warning of the falling anvil that awaits those who dare to drink it. While I can wholeheartedly recommend this for cellaring it is not a Jedi yet, so if you decide to drink it now….. well, Yoda told you there’d be lasers. 100 points Jeb Dunnuck, 95 points Robert Parker, 6 bottles available, $106.49 +tax
The Two Kings Of Spain, Thursday, January 31st, River District Classroom, 6:30pm, seats $35
A historical and analytic look at the two hearts of Tempranillo: Rioja and Ribera del Duero, with snacks. We will consume:
Faustino Rioja Gran Reserva 1994 $82.99
Senorio de Cuzcurrita Rioja 2011 $48.99
Sierra Cantabria El Puntido Rioja 2003 $78.99
Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2015 $43.49
Vega Sicilia Valbuena Ribera del Duero 2006 $269.99
Aalto Ribera del Duero 2013 $82.49
First Growth Bordeaux 2009 Horizontal Tasing, Thursday February 7th, Morgan Crossing Classroom (South Surrey), 6:30pm, seats $375.00
Important to emphasize that I’m not holding this tasting, but I am attending it and you should too. Ten years out from the legendary one/two punch of the 2009/2010 Bordeaux vintages, this is an audacious, comprehensive look at ALL FIVE OF THE FIRST GROWTHS from 2009 (Mouton, Margaux, Lafite, Latour and Haut Brion). My colleague Si Man Lee will host this night – seriously guys, you will not find this kind of tasting anywhere else – in our South Surrey store. Call him at 604-542-2480, I believe there are a few seats left.
Until next time, Happy Drinking!!