Everything Wine blog

Think inside the box: the benefits of boxed wines!

The idea of drinking wine from a box may bring up memories of your college years and it’s true, early boxed wine may have been predominantly appealing for its affordable reputation but it has come a long way in terms of quality and selection! Now, boxed wine is popular with enthusiasts and newbies alike!

Many of us view boxed wine as being of lesser quality compared to their glass bottled counterparts but in reality, both boxed wine and bottled wine have the potential to be high quality. A great example of high quality offerings are from Bota Box, a company that produces boxed wines exclusively, many of which have been recognized by the highly acclaimed magazine, Wine Enthusiast.

Early versions of boxed wines lacked the technology to keep rich flavours more often found in a bottle but now, a bib, a food grade polyethylene plastic (which holds the wine within the box) has no influence on the taste of the wine and is also the safest, most non-toxic plastic available.

This bib is airtight which means that an opened boxed wine can last up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator versus a bottle of wine which only has a shelf life of a few days. In addition to keeping the wine fresh for longer, these bibs and the boxes they come in are easier on the environment as they cost less energy to produce, can be recycled easier than glass, and cost less to ship. And we haven’t even talked about the value yet!

An average box of wine will give you the equivalent of 4 bottles and can be sold at a low price because expensive materials like glass and cork aren’t needed! Not to mention they definitely earn high scores in the convenience department! A large format box of wine is lighter than 4 bottles, is an ideal choice for camping, taking to beaches, or enjoying on a boating trip. Remove the wine from the outer box and store in a cooler for the ultimate in portability!

Have we convinced you yet?

For arguments sake, let’s look at typical negative attributes to boxed wine. One trait is that they don’t have the ageing potential as some bottled wines do; most red wines in a box can only be kept for up to 1 year unopened. While we definitely appreciate a beautiful fine wine that can be cellared for upwards of ten years, the majority of wine that we buy is meant to be enjoyed within a few days of purchase—no need to wait! Another point to be made is that there is far less of a selection of boxed wine than bottled wine; however, more and more high quality boxed wines are being produced every year and Everything Wine is determined to carry as many of them as possible so the choices are becoming greater!

So now it’s up to you – would you bring home a boxed wine from your next shopping trip? If you are looking for a place to start, we put together a list of ones we highly recommend:

Black Box Pinot Grigio 3L

Clean, light and straightforward, this medium- bodied wine has mild melon and apple flavours and a rather soft texture.

Apothic Red Blend 3L

Layers of dark fruit are complemented by hints of vanilla.

Hester Creek Cabernet Merlot 3L

Loaded with plum, currant and spicy notes.

Domaine de Chaberton White Blend 4L

A crisp dry wine with aromas of zesty citrus, and an intense palate of lemon, green apple and gooseberry.

Summer Saga III: CAB ATTACK!

I hope you've been enjoying Jul-vember! I for one am more than happy with the cooler summer for a couple reasons 1) I work in a fridge, pretty much, and can never quite acclimate to hot weather, and 2) Scottish people don't tan so much as rust.

I’ve been collecting a number of awesome Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines over the last few months, I present them to you here. We’ll go in a different order today and start with the US first, beginning with the unofficial cult wine of 2020:

CALIFORNIA

Leviathan 2018, Napa/Sonoma. What do you get when the former winemaker of Screaming Eagle assembles some of California’s best hillside fruit? Beats me ‘cause I can never keep it on the shelf. Leviathan, a Cab-based blend (Merlot and Syrah ride shotgun) from higher-altitude sites in Lake Country, Sonoma and Napa, has already been a runaway hit with California drinkers, it’s a deeply hued powder keg of dark berries beneath a floral veil of violets and vanilla bean; given the structure I’d say you can easily cellar this but no one has ever done that – it calls to you across the house like your kid’s Hallowe’en candy and you will invariably surrender. Winemaker Andy Erickson strikes the perfect balance between power and grace, most people who buy a bottle come back for a case. This spanky-new 2018 hasn’t been rated yet but the last vintage I had was rated 94 Parker. You’re going to start seeing this at all your wine-friends’ houses so you may as well bring it first to make it look like your idea. 3 Cases available, $67.98 +tax

Hoopes 2014, Napa. Lindsay Hoopes never intended to take over the family winery from her dad Spencer, she was busy working Homicide in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, but a family illness brought her back to the farm and she never left. I wouldn’t leave either, her family owns the oldest pre-phylloxera vineyard in Oakville, and the other contributing vineyards in Yountville combine to make Hoopes some of the best value for Valley Floor Cab in Napa. This 2014 – reduced about $30 from its previous price – wears its drought conditions on its sleeve, showing intense red fruits surrounded by chocolate and cigar box with a full body and spicy finish. Generous and rich (like Bruce Wayne), Hoopes always leaves you feeling better so you can probably write it off as therapy. 2 6-packs available, $98.98 +tax

Honig 2016, Napa. Michael Honig calls me every December to thank me for carrying his wines. I don’t mention that because it makes the wine taste any better (it’s certainly not why I continue to carry it, I’m not that needy), but it does give you a sense of how literally down to earth his family’s approach to winemaking is. The Honig estate in Rutherford is a kind of Eden, they keep bees, birds and pest-sniffing dogs and build habitat for owls and hawks, in addition to pioneering a new, carbon-capturing way of farming that, if widely implemented, could be the climate equivalent of taking millions of cars off the road (I won’t get into it here, for further details on Carbon Farming follow the link at the bottom or allow me to corner you at a party). Sourced from Rutherford and St. Helena, this 2016 Cab exudes fresh blackberry and candied raspberry with Ceylon tea and toasted coriander seeds. Drinking lusciously now but could hold a decade, great Napa value. 4 6-packs available, $76.98 +tax

Austin Hope 2018, Paso Robles. No ratings in yet for the latest vintage of Paso Robles’ rising star, but if past is prologue it should earn raves. The decidedly modern and maximalist approach to Cabernet Sauvignon that Mr. Hope takes (that he learned from apprenticing at Caymus) easily blows the doors off of an Escalade; the layers of ripe blackberry, nutmeg and cherry cola keep their fat intensity from front to back, leaving a lasting footprint with hints of mint and licorice. Not all hand grenades are harmful. Not yet rated, 4 6-packs available, $69.99 +tax

Caymus 2018, Napa. Brand new vintage! Since I’ve run out of new words to describe this perennial benchmark Napa Cab, I’m going to perform an interpretive dance with the help of my friend Yves providing descriptive narration:
“Ok, Jordan is on the ground hugging his knees, now he’s rising slowly, up, up, up… is he?… he’s being born! Now his arm is rising, he’s holding something invisible, what’s in his hands? Is that… I think it’s a wine glass? It Is! He’s taking a sip – oh, now he’s sad – oh, because the glass is empty, of course. He’s curling down, back towards the floor in deflation, how sad! Oh – he hears something, he’s lifting his glass – someone is pouring him Caymus, I believe? He’s taking a sip – oh look the lights have turned purple, cool! Oh, a loud thunder clap! He lurches backwards, like he’s been blown back – oh, he’s happy! He’s so happy! Now he’s spinning around – wow the music is fast now – now he’s jumping, no real pattern, he’s just bouncing everywhere… OMG look at all the puppies! Someone has let a bunch of puppies on stage and they’re rushing towards Jordan, so cute! Now he’s playing with the puppies and drinking Caymus, so happy, and the lights are going down, I think it’s over? I’m thirsty…”
2 cases available, $106.99 +tax

AUSTRALIA

Yarra Yering Red Wine No.1 2015, Yarra Valley. What a wondrous brew, this blend of two-thirds Cab with Merlot and Malbec from 50-year-old vines in the mysterious (to us) Yarra Valley. Winemaker (of the Year 2017) Sarah Crowe came to Yarra from the Hunter Valley, taking over this legendary house that almost single-handedly revived a wine region that hadn’t made wine since the 1920s. Several shades cooler than Barossa or McLaren Vale, the region makes Cabernet Sauvignon in a noticeably more herbaceous style – savoury herbs rather than mint – and this “Red Wine No.1” drinks like the improbable love child of Medoc and Sonoma, albeit with brighter fruit (it is Australia, after all). Mulberry and cherry vibes interlock with cassis and tobacco, dried herbs and vanilla; nice and round with present but balanced acidity and a loooong finish with eucalypt and blueberry. This is a real treat, guys. 99 points James Halliday, 18 bottles available, $91.98 +tax

FRANCE

Segla 2010, Margaux. The Second Wine to Bordeaux Second Growth Rauzan-Segla is classic Margaux, in that the lavender-hued nose of cloves and blueberry gives one the impression that the wine is softer than it is, before correcting that presumption with understated structure and power. Rauzan-Segla was cleaved off of a huge Russian-owned estate in the 1600s before getting classified in 1855, and is generally considered to be just under Palmer and Chateau Margaux in quality for that village. Now owned by Chanel, this 2010 Segla was blended by a winemaking team formerly of (First Growth) Chateau Latour before they retired in 2014. Two thirds Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Cab Franc. 17/20 Jancis Robinson, 12 bottles available, $87.98 +tax

Croix de Beaucaillou 2010, Saint-Julien. The Second Wine to Bordeaux Second Growth Ducru-Beaucaillou stands apart from other Second Wines (although the term itself is nebulous and not quantifiable) in that it comes from its own vineyard with its own kick-ass black and gold label (designed by Mick Jagger’s daughter Jade), and is very much styled to be a Grand Vin in its own right, with a more pronounced oak treatment than many contemporaries. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% Merlot from a hotter site further away from the water, this 2010 Croix is round and rich with plum, cassis and pencil shavings – standard sniffs, yes, but still outstanding – and is firmly in the Zone Of Awesome™ although another decade is more than doable. 17/20 Jancis Robinson, 94 points James Suckling, 6 bottles available, $163.98 +tax

NON-STOP CLASSIC HITS

What follows is a brief listing of some wines that fit this theme and have previously been written about, but featured again for the benefit of those who’ve recently joined my Collectors List and may have missed ‘em the first time. If anyone requires more info I’m happy to send over the original blurb to you.

Chateau Léoville Las Cases 2009, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux. 99 points Robert Parker, 99 points James Suckling, 98 points Wine Spectator, 3 bottles available, $608.79

Blind Creek Collective “Consensus” 2014, Similkameen Valley, BC. 12 bottles available, $59.98

Quilceda Creek 2015, Columbia Valley, Washington State. 99 points Jeb Dunnuck, 5 bottles available, $336.98

Cardinale 2012, Napa Valley, California. 98 points Robert Parker, 3 bottles available, $404.98

Kathryn Hall, Napa Valley, each bottle $256.98
2012 97 points Robert Parker, 2 bottles available.
2013 96 points Robert Parker, 4 bottles available
2014 97 points Jeb Dunnuck, 6 bottles available.
2015 99 points Jeb Dunnuck, 3 bottles available

The link to the carbon-farming article:

https://slate.com/technology/2020/06/napa-wine-carbon-farming-greenwashing-climate-change.html 

 

Until next time, Happy Drinking!

Burrowing Owl – one of BC’s most prized wineries

Among the many reasons we are lucky to find ourselves living in British Columbia is the fact that we are located between 42 and 50 degrees latitude—why, you ask, would this positioning be so important? It turns out that many of the world’s finest wine grapes are grown in the sunny, dry hills of these mid-northern regions. Like Bordeaux or Tuscany, BC’s own Okanagan Valley is earning its position amongst the greats. Of the nearly 200 wineries dotted along Highway 97 between Lake Country to the North and Osoyoos to the South, lies one of our province’s most highly sought wines; Burrowing Owl.

Located between Oliver and Osoyoos on a south facing, sandy plateau just north of Osoyoos Lake, Burrowing Owl is situated in one of the most highly rated grape growing regions in the country. Since its first vintage in 1997, which concentrated on 4 grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, Burrowing Owl’s vineyards now grow 16 varieties—many of which have won international awards:

  • In 2018, the 2015 Syrah earned Gold at the Syrah du Monde International Competition in France
  • the 2014 Merlot took home Gold at the Wine Align National Awards of Canada in 2018
  • the 2014 Meritage placed Best of Class at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition

and the list goes on…

In addition to producing world class wines, Burrowing Owl is committed to protecting its surrounding environment. They donate 100% of the $5 tasting fee in the tasting room to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, use solar panels to heat all the water used on the property, spray their grapes with environmentally friendly fertilizer, safely relocate any wildlife that visits the vineyards, and engage in many other environmentally focused initiatives.

Today, the winery combines state of the art technology with classic techniques to produce premium wines that the world and locals alike can’t get enough of.

Are you looking to get your hands on some of the province’s most accoladed wines? Find them here but don’t wait too long, Burrowing Owl wines tend to sell out quickly!

Food and wine pairing: is it personal or science?

Finding the perfect food pairing is an art of itself—do you meticulously match your meals with a specific wine or do you prefer to let chance decide your food and drink combo? Maybe you’ve happened upon a tuna poke and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc pairing that blew your mind, or a French fry and Champagne ensemble that really knocked your socks off. However you happen upon them, these perfect pairings can really elevate an entire meal not to mention impress your dinner guests!

So are there really techniques to help decide what to match up together or is it just up to personal preference? Well, it might be a little bit of both… Everyone has their own unique palate so something that you find exceptional might not be the case for someone else. For most people, most food and wine pairings will be just fine (even red wine and fish can be paired successfully when paired carefully…we’re thinking Pinot Noir and salmon!) but there are actually some key indicators to help you understand why some work better together than others. Just remember, the intensity of the flavours in a dish play a major role in pairing because you don’t want to overwhelm the flavours of the wine.

Classics exist for a reason, but there is nothing to say that a new classic can’t be born! So let this be your guide the next time you find yourself searching for the perfect pair but don’t be afraid to experiment, you might just find the next inseparable steak and Cabernet Sauvignon duo!

Food is…

Wine Seems…

This means…

Sweet

More drying and bitter, more acidic

Less sweet and fruity

Be careful pairing with wines with less sweetness than the food or with high tannins.

Savoury

More drying and bitter, more acidic

Less sweet and fruity

Be careful pairing with wines with high levels of tannins or oak flavours.

Salty

Less drying and bitter, less acidic

Smoother and richer

Salt can make tannic wines seem more enjoyable.

Acidic

Less bitter and acidic

Fruitier, sweeter and richer

Be careful pairing with wines with less acidity than the food.

Highly Flavoured

Overwhelmed by the food flavours

Pair with wines of similar intensity of flavours.

Fatty/Oily

Less acidic

Pair with wines with high levels of acidity.

Hot (spicy)

More drying and bitter, less sweet and less fruity

Increases spiciness

Pair with wines that are light in alcohol, are fruity and have some sweetness.

*information credited to the Wine and Spirits Education Trust

The Quaran-Vine Papers #4: Pinots of Privilege

Like many “essential” workers, I have come to know quite a bit about masks and gloves, lately. Gloves are a complex topic that we talk a lot about, here, with different pros and cons:

THINGS GLOVES MAKE EASIER
- Not touching my face (prime directive, 90% success rate)
- Picking up boxes of wine (omg so much better, I’m like Spiderman)
- Protecting against an angry cat (see below)

THINGS GLOVES MAKE HARDER
- Picking up a pen (why can’t they be bigger?)
- Taking a piece of @#*% paper out of a @#*% envelope (@#&% #$)
- Petting a cat (see above)

But our topic for today’s read is Pinot Noir, and the access I temporarily have to some wines that were reserved only for restaurants. PLEASE understand that I would trade back this access in a nanosecond if it meant that my restaurant brethren could fully return to work, but for now I can offer some amazing Pinots to you:

B.C.

Blue Mountain Block Series, Okanagan Falls. The Mavety family has spent the last few years identifying which areas of their original vineyard near OK Falls (one of the only own-rooted, ungrafted sites in the province) made the most distinct statements of Pinot Noir, and this is the maiden vintage of those terroir-driven bottlings. I have long been a fan of Blue Mountain, and I’m unsurprised to see them leading the charge towards a more Burgundian, geographic designation concept for BC (Oregon is already largely there).

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir Block 23 River Flow 2017. The prettiest Pinot from the top of the hill, light and graceful from a sandy block with almost northern exposure. Red fruited and elegant with soft tannins, lovely. 12 bottles available, $54.98 +tax

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir Block 14 Gravel Force 2017. As the name suggests, this is rocky soil with bits of clay acting as a sauce. Southwestern exposure means deeper everything: colour, body and tannin, with tangible strength and lots of layers. 12 bottles available, $54.98 +tax

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir Block 9 Wild Terrain 2017. The wild card with the most diverse aspects, steepest slopes, windiest area and sunniest part of the vineyard. This collection of extremes offers a gorgeously savoury, racy Pinot with herbs and flowers. 12 bottles available, $54.98 +tax.

 

Little Engine Pinot Noir Silver 2018, Naramata. A bunch of us “Wine Types” went up to a special tasting at the French Family’s Naramata winery a couple years ago (so gorgeous up there, sigh), where we were treated to a blind comparison of Little Engine Pinots vs. Oregonian and Californian offerings. Two things crossed my mind, 1) wow, even the cheapest tier (silver) of this house really holds up against the Yanks and 2) the contrasting choice was fairly revealing as to where Little Engine’s compass is oriented. Almost every premium BC Pinot mentions Burgundy in their marketing, either as a North Star or (more incredulously) as an analog; Little Engine is admirably happy being a West Coast Pinot, full of fruit and fun and occasional punches to the face. This 2018 is vibrant and loud with cherry and dried strawberry notes, hints of fig and herbs toward a pretty darn satisfying medium-full mouthfeel with supportive (not racy) acidity. 2 cases (of 12) available, $41.98 +tax

Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir Simes Vineyard 2015, Kelowna. Martin’s Lane has come a long way since this little offshoot of Mission Hill won its Pinot category at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Now its own winery with its own winemaker (New Zealander Shane Munn), Martin’s Lane has wisely narrowed their focus to perfecting two varieties: Riesling and Pinot Noir. Planted in 2008 and named after Mission Hill’s Wine Wiz John Simes, this vineyard near Kelowna boasts a rare northern aspect with Pinot at the top of the hill, allowing a long hang time for phenolic ripeness whilst keeping that bracing acidity that helped it beat its competitors years ago. Ripe cherries, cola and flint notes dive into a soft bath of plums and flowers. The bottle says 14% alcohol but it drinks like 12%. Quite lovely indeed. 12 bottles available, $100.98 +tax

FRANCE

Gerard Raphet Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2016, Burgundy. The perfect way to tell 10-years-from-now you that you’re special and deserving of love. The 100-year-old rows near the top of this Grand Cru near Morey-Saint-Denis make very little juice, but what is produced is deep and earthen with hues of licorice and baking spice amongst the black cherries, the tannins are still at fighting weight but should soften enough to slip into a supporting role in a few years. Raphet is the Burgundian winemaker that other Burgundian winemakers drink, I’m discovering. 3 bottles available, $306.98 +tax

Domaine Faiveley Corton-Clos-des-Cortons-Faiveley Grand Cru Monopole 2017, Burgundy. One of the precious few Grand Cru Monopoles (whole appellation owned by one house) in existence, the Faiveley family has farmed this patch since 1873, and besides being a blessed, east-facing terroir with a reputation for making Cellar Stars, it’s also one of only two Grand Cru Monopoles that bear the name of the family (the other is DRC). The 2017 vintage was one of those rare nothing-horrible-happened years that the family calls “classic” in style, spicy cherries constrained by bracing minerality that’ll develop amazingly over the coming decade but with enough fruit to drink earlier – unlike many vintages from this cru it doesn’t drink like a wolverine who stubbed his toe. Energetic but generous. 3 bottles available, $330.98 +tax

Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds 2016, Burgundy. So synonymous are the d’Angervilles with the village of Volnay that 1) you’d need to go back several centuries to find a time when they weren’t there, and 2) they’ve been farming these same vineyards so long that the grapes are now their own recognized clone of Pinot Noir, Pinot d’Angerville. The current Marquis is Guillaume d’Angerville, who took over after his father’s premature passing in 2003, and he makes the kind of Volnay that reaffirms why this is pretty much my favourite village: gorgeously textured, silken delivery with just the right balance of perfume and stank. The gamey, herbal notes are countered by opulent deep blackberry and licorice, I think we’re 5 years away from the Golden Years here but the universe wouldn’t retaliate if you gave in to your urges now. 3 bottles available, $270.98 +tax

Butterfield Corton Grand Cru 2008, Burgundy. I’ve introduced David Butterfield to you before – he’s the Canadian who trained under Jadot’s crazy druid Jacques Lardières – but I kind of hit the jackpot in both vintage and value with this amazeballs 2008 Corton, $156 would be peanuts for this Grand Cru in a new release let alone a library one (this is straight from his cellar). Taken from the tiny Pugets lieu-dit in Corton, this is an elegant, perfumed expression of the Cru with black cherries and leather taking centre stage – one need not wait for this, all engines are engaged. Doubtful that I’ll be able to get this again. 2 6-packs available, $156.98 +tax

Maison Roche de Bellene “Collection Bellenum” Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves 2002, Burgundy. I tucked this one near the end to reward diligent readers: Bellene’s Nicolas Potel recently embarked on a new project: to liberate the cellars of his colleagues (as well as his own) and sell back-vintaged Burgundy for reasonable prices (in context, naturally). This 2002 Beaune Grèves exudes red fruits and flowers over spice and forest floor, and drinks like a dream as long as your dream involves dried cherries. I don’t expect to be able to get this again either. 9 bottles available, $119.98 +tax

USA

Lindstrom Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch 2016, Russian River Valley, Sonoma. Greg and Carol Lindstrom only produce two wines, a Napa Cab and this Sonoma Pinot, both of which are made by Celia Welch – the winemaker of Screaming Eagle peers Scarecrow and Staglin (and she was 2008 Winemaker Of The Year) – which seems like hiring Spielberg to direct your Tik Tok video but she loves the fruit these vineyards produce, the collab was her idea. Only 200 cases were made of the Dutton Ranch 2016 Pinot (in the US you can only get this at the winery) and we have the only ones that came into BC because we are very clever (usually goes to restaurants). Cherry cola and cinnamon swirl around soft cedar notes and blackberry jam with plum and pomegranate. Remarkable intensity, smooth delivery. 2 6-packs available, $118.98 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!

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