Tagged with 'Jordan Carrier Everything Wine'

Summer Saga I - Bella Toscana

Over the next several weeks I’ll be releasing collections of incredible wines: exciting new discoveries, historical icons, and buzzy exclusives – sometimes all rolled into one! These offers will be comprehensive and well-populated, and as such will read a tad longer, but since life often slows down a bit in summer, a bit of wine reading may be welcome (especially if you’re drinking alongside, clink!). I’ll be offering wines from all over the world at several price points, so there will definitely be something that you want on these pages, read to the end and don’t miss an episode!!

Indeed, this summer will long be remembered for its sheer epic-ness of wine emails. Future troubadours shall sing its story to wide-eyed, disbelieving wine drinkers for decades to come: Lo, ‘tis the Summer Saga of 2019. We begin in Tuscany.

Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno 2016, Toscana IGT. The now-legendary Supertuscan vintage of 2015 is experiencing a shorter time in the sun than expected, now that the shadow of the as-or-more-legendary 2016 vintage is creeping towards its lawn chair. Trading in its sharpened fangs for a little more girth, Sette Ponti’s flagship Bordeaux blend may be fatter and richer in 2016, but it still needs to hibernate for a bit until it no longer wants to eat you. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, with dark currents, lavender and licorice on the nose and a platoon of angry Tuscan boars on the palate. Stunning after 5 more years, James Suckling calls Oreno the “Ch. Latour of Tuscany” (it placed #5 on his Italian Top 100 last year), and this is the best version I’ve seen since 2010. 99 points James Suckling, 94 points Vinous, 94 points Robert Parker, 4 wooden 6-packs available, $99.99 +tax

Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve 2015, Colli Toscana Centrale IGT. The nice folks in Chianti had to invent the Colli Toscana Centrale designation for wines like this because the term Overperforming Chianti made everyone else look bad. Accordingly, Flaccianello is farmed in the famed Conca d’Oro (“Golden Shell”) near Panzano in Chianti Classico, but the yield they take from the vineyard is so low, it runs afoul of Chianti’s rules. Low yield means higher concentration, and Flaccianello is a much thicker sauce than its geographical contemporaries despite being made from Sangiovese just like everyone down the street. Dark cherries rule the fortress with licorice spears and vanilla shields, the mid-palate is abnormally round and the finish is elegant and persistent. If the Manetti family keeps topping themselves like this year after year, everyone’s gonna run out of points. 98 points Robert Parker, 97 points James Suckling, 96 points Wine Spectator, 96 points Decanter, 12 bottles available, $150.98 +tax

Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2015, Toscana IGT. Where to begin with Bibi Graetz? The artist-turned-winemaker still paints his own labels, and in contrast to all those wine-is-made-in-the-vineyard producers, Bibi is more than content to have is brash, unconventional wines reflect his considerable personality (the term “Testa-Matta” – literally “Crazy-Head”, means “Strong Personality”). This 100% Sangiovese, accordingly, drinks like street art – the loudness and brightness that command your attention overshadow the subtle sensibilities that must be looked for to be found. The body is huge, so you may not notice the beautiful, elegant landing on the finish. The dark fruit is intense on the nose, so you may overlook the soft toasted spices that surround it. Bibi staggered his harvest (8 times!!!) to layer his tannins and acids perfectly – indeed, beneath the Steve Vai guitar solo lurks a nearly flawless structure. Picasso had to learn to draw correctly so he could draw wrong. Perhaps the illusion in Crazy-Head is that it’s not so crazy after all. 99 points James Suckling, 2 wooden 6-packs available, $189.98 +tax

Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo 2015, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG. To call this statuesque Chianti “Fontodi’s traditional answer to its contemporary Flaccianello” overlooks the fact that – despite operating within the DOCG classification - Vigna del Sorbo spends 24 months in new French oak and is a Chianti so modern it’s practically an app. The Sangiovese grapes from the organic Sorbo vineyard (again in the Conca d’Oro) built this castle, an impressive structure with a large mid-palate and a nose of dark cherries baking in the sun on a hot stone. Rosewater and cloves close off the finish – this is a Gran Selezione that you only have to bury for 2 years, not 10. #60 – Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2018, 97 points James Suckling, 96+ points Robert Parker, 95 points Wine Spectator, 12 bottles available, $106.98 +tax

Castell’In Villa 2009/2010, Chianti Classico Riserva. Nothing modern about this operation, headed by the indefatigable Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa in the hot, hot Castelnuovo Berardenga at the very southern tip of Chianti Classico. Indigenous fermentations in huge, open-top Botti and spending several years in bottle before coming to market – I can imagine them arguing amongst themselves about whether it was “cheating” to use new-fangled technology like pointed sticks. Whilst one could reasonably expect that such an old school method would produce Dirt Chowder, the wine itself is a gosh-darn revelation – gorgeously ripe fruit, bursting with energy and body and minerals – here be hidden treasure. Although the flavours aren’t similar, this wine reminds me of Chateauneuf’s Domaine Pegau in ethic and spirit: the earthen, traditional notes are more than balanced by an overabundance of fruit and happiness. Put this wine on your radar, it is a planet. I have a case each of 2009 (93 Vinous) and 2010 (94 Vinous) and that’s it, folks. Pounce now or forever wish you pounced. $75.98 +tax

Argiano Solengo 2015, Toscana IGT. I blind tasted this as Tignanello because a) it’s more focused and linear than a Cab/Petit Verdot blend usually is, and b) I am not good. Solengo is proof that you can staff your way to victory, the modest Brunello house hired Sebastiano Rosa (Lafite, Sassicaia) as G.M. and Dr. Giacomo Tachis (Sassicaia, Tignanello, Solaia) as Oenologist. Grown in the warmer southern third of the Montalcino region (I can attest to a 3C increase compared to the north side of the mountain), Solengo shoots for Bordeaux by way of Saint-Julien – picked earlier for peak brightness, it wants to make friends with future you, not you. Cassis and dried blackberries jump happily up your nose, followed by a sensation that the sun is shining up at your chin. Incredible energy, here, around a medium-to-full bodied mid-palate, and the finish is smoky, mineral and a tad hot. Fine tannins and a sneaking sense that you’re looking at a great store through the windows but the store’s not quite open yet. 97 points James Suckling, 95 points Robert Parker, 2 6-packs available, $107.98 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!!


Deckbusters - Highly Rated Patio Wines For Under $60

As the mercury edges upwards our meals edge outwards, and before we know it we’re cooking and eating everything out on the deck. Dude, it’s crazy out there. Never mind the squeals of the kids from adjacent yards or the yips of jealous dogs, the average patio is a chowder of sniffs and smells. Lawn cuttings, sunscreen, chlorine from the pool, even your own BBQ is smoking more than a stop/slow-sign holder on a roadwork site.

You need great wines to go with dinner, but subtly nuanced study pieces need not apply. Only bold, intensely focused red wines can cut through the nose-quiche of scents on your deck, and it just so happens that I have a few in mind...

Scala Dei Cartoixa 2015, Priorat, Spain. The Baseball Bat from Priorat. The Burning Flame from Eastern Spain. The Blast-a-Zone-a near Barcelona. No matter what it rhymes with, Priorat is HUGE, and this deck-capsizing blend of Garnacha, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on stark sunburnt slopes is no exception. Named after and grown next to the Escaladei monastery from the 12th century (Escaladei = Ladder To God), this juice from the historic Cartoixa vineyard is dark as night but tastes like evening sun. Violets and licorice precede the fruitsplosion of dark berries and plums, a buttery, lush mouthfeel and a long spicy finish that qualifies as an aftershock. Enough concentration to cellar this for a decade, but we won’t. 97 points Decanter, 3 6-packs available, $59.99 +tax

Zuccardi Concreto Malbec 2017, Uco Valley, Argentina. Jumping in with both feet to the growing Mendoza movement of capturing high-altitude Malbec with the lens of Italy rather than California, the Zuccardi family aims for elegance (and nails it - see the points) with Concreto, using whole-cluster fermentation and concrete aging (hence the name). Stony red fruits are the star of this electric race car, with dried herbs and flowers underwriting the track, and blackberries and cassis waiting at the finish line. Zippier than most zippers. We may have found the Song of the Summer. 96 points James Suckling, 94 points Robert Parker, #10, Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2018, 6 6-packs available, $46.98 +tax

Orofino Petit Verdot 2014, Similkameen Valley, B.C. Previously mentioned on these pages, but I sold out and now I got more so this is a victory lap of sorts. I am soooo not supposed to have this, seeing as the Weber family only makes 3 barrels, but I got the new guy when I called in and he didn’t know I couldn’t have it so I took everything they had. Simply one of my very favourite BC reds, a beast of a wine with just enough fruit-weight to match the leathery tannins, with blackberry, tar and lavender surrounding the mouth of the cave. A true statement of how Similkameen stands apart from Okanagan, and totally worth that new guy getting fired. 3 cases available, $45.98 +tax

Shaw + Smith Shiraz 2015, Adelaide Hills, Australia. Cousins Martin Shaw and (Master of Wine) Michael Hill Smith specialize in two things: making exquisite wines from cool(ish) Australian climes, and using the initials M.S.. This Shiraz from the high(ish)-altitude Balhannah vineyard in Adelaide Hills shows their grasp of balance perfectly, the invariably intense fruit concentration is commensurate to the elegant acid that defines the finish. Drinking Shaw + Smith is having one’s cake whilst eating it: you get to enjoy the generous blast radius of a fruit bomb without experiencing the impulse to spread it on toast. Blackberries and cherries with mint and rocks, freaking delicious. 97 points James Haliday, 96 points James Suckling, 3 6-packs available, $56.98 +tax

If stocks hold, I’ll be pouring the Priorat and the Malbec this Saturday in the River District Vintage Room at 3pm. If not, I’ll be pouring the new Apothic blend: Apothic Crunchy (no).
Until next time, Happy Drinking!

Vintage Port 2016 and more

Hi Everyone!

 

With Santa’s Dandruff still sprinkled all across this chilly land, it’s time to discuss the new bonkers vintage of the wine world’s best internal Firestarter: Port. When sipped slowly, great Port warms the heart and curls smiles further upwards. When consumed with abandon, Port’s proven magical powers include:

 

1) Not caring if it’s cold out

2) Not caring that you don’t have a jacket on

3) Ability to create better words

 

Now, these newly-released Ports from the instantly-classic 2016 vintage certainly aren’t for chugging, in fact they’re not really ready for sipping yet. These are the seeds of future awesomes, brilliantly dense fortified wines to anchor your cellar (or fridge); 2016 is the best declared Port vintage since 2011, and perhaps since 1994, but only time will tell. To the juice:

 

2016 VINTAGE PORTS:

 

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2016. The flagship of the Guimaraens fleet. If David’s wines were the Justice League, Taylor Fladgate would undoubtedly be Superman. Boasting a body that could repel bullets, the muscle and power contained underneath the black-fruited licorice defies science, although it’ll be about a decade before we on earth can understand its language. Plus it can see through walls and it knows if you're lying. 100 points James Suckling, 98 points Wine Spectator, #23 Top 100 of 2018 (Wine Spectator), 98 points Wine Enthusiast. 6 full-size bottles available at $145.99 +tax, 12 half-size (375ml) bottles available at $77.99 +tax

 

Dow’s Vintage Port 2016. Always the picture of elegance, this is Dow’s first declared vintage since winning Wine Of The Year (Wine Spectator) for their 2011 Vintage Port. Soft floral notes surround the expected dark fruits, and the slight minerality peeks out just before the welcome acidic lift on the finish. That brightness ties a bow on everything and holds the key to Dow’s longevity, the house style is a shade drier than most. 98 points Wine Spectator, 98 points Decanter, 5 bottles available, $120.99 +tax

 

Warre’s Vintage Port 2016. Every player has their card to play, and for Warre’s, the oldest British Port house, that card is Touriga Franca, the indigenous Portuguese grape variety that takes centre stage in this rustic field blend. Violets, chocolate and bramble lead to endless silken layers in the mouth and a juicy finish of anise and roses. 98 points Wine Spectator, #14 Top 100 of 2018 (Wine Spectator), 98 points Decanter, 5 bottles available, $108.99 +tax

 

OTHER PORTS:

 

Taylor Fladgate Single Harvest Tawny 1968. In arcane Portuguese terms, this is a Colheita (Col-hee-YIGH-tah), meaning that it’s a Tawny Port (different from the ruby Vintage Ports) from a single vintage, which is rare, as most Tawny Ports consist of many vintages blended together to an average age (10, 20, 30 etc.). This 1968 drinks like a sext, with caramel figs amongst the almonds and butterscotch. Give it a chill in the fridge for a half hour for maximum yesness. 98 points Wine Spectator, 3 bottles (each in its own wooden box) available, $279.99 +tax

 

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1994. This pillar of modern architecture has been described on these pages before, but I thought some of you may want an example of what the 2016 will be like in its window of glory. Still youthful, still racy, the tannins are well integrated and the fruit is finally starting to come into focus. Tastes like genius. 100 points Wine Spectator, 6 bottles available, $359.99 +tax

 

Stay safe, stay warm, and Happy Drinking!!

Greetings from Esoteria

Hi Everyone!

I rarely make resolutions, but this year I have decided to get weirder. Not personally (not possible), but in the selections of wines that I present to you. Although I’ve always strived to find classic wines with great ratings, I must admit to being a tad restless – there is a wide, electric-kaleidoscope of wines out there that I haven’t been featuring, simply because the region or producer is too small or too strange to submit for reviews or points.

Don’t worry, I haven’t moved into a yurt and renamed myself Treasure. These wines aren’t themselves bizarre, they’re just undiscovered and unusual.  I’ll still scour the province to bring you the newest exciting, must-have wines and great points-to-price ratios, but from time to time I hope you’ll allow me to show you snapshots of the Awesome World of Wine that exists far from the main roads, somewhat unsung but no less essential and no less beautiful. To the juice:

Domaine du Cellier “Cuvée Clemence” Rousette de Savoie 2016, Savoie, France. A pretty postcard from the French Alps. You’ve probably never tasted the white grape Roussette (also known as Altesse) but then you’ve likely never encountered a wine from Savoie (often Anglicized to Savoy) either, so here’s a great regional primer: https://winefolly.com/review/savoie-wine-guide/ . This Cuvée Clemence is a rich, oily masterpiece of quince, lavender and flowers, medium weight and dry with a touch of honey on the long finish. Acts like a Northern Rhone White (Marsanne/Roussanne) but with more aromatics. Gets nuttier and toastier with 5 years of down time but is super-yowzers now – I’m not waiting. Exclusive to EW River District. 3 6-packs available, $42.98 +tax

Suvla “Sir” 2011, Gallipoli, Turkey. The only thing unusual about this Syrah-based blend is where it comes from: if I didn’t tell you it was from Turkey, you’d be jumping up and down with glee for finding such a great-value French wine. Two thirds Syrah with Grenache, Merlot and Cab Franc, Sir is from family-owned vineyards on the Gallipoli peninsula, the European side of Turkey, and it drinks like a southern Rhône blend from a hot year. There are many unpronounceable rustic grapes in Turkey that make wines of varying weirdness, but Sir is not one of those. Oodles of dark berries and licorice weigh down the tongue before the spicy finish caps off with elegant acidity and astringency. Try it for yourself this Saturday at 3pm in the River District Vintage Room, I think you’ll agree: this is the nicest Rhône wine that isn’t. 3 6-packs available, $40.98 +tax

Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon 1994, Anjou, France. Founded in 1787 overlooking the middle section of the Loire River, the 8 generations of winemakers at Moulin Touchais have all followed a curious business model: they only make the dessert wine they’re most famous for in the years where the intermittent fog brings botrytis (Noble Rot, same process as Sauternes) to their Chenin Blanc vineyards – and that happens almost never. Since every late harvest is wildly different (especially when you let the indigenous yeast just do its thing), every sparse vintage of their Coteaux du Layon is varied in sweetness, and this 1994 is on the drier side – think more like an oily, ripe Auslese than an Icewine – with wildly vibrant acidity. Heather and honeysuckle drive the floral nose, clean, juicy and fresh on palate, finishes with sweet lemon curd and a touch of brioche. Gorgeous. 2 6-packs available, $50.98 +tax

Chateau d’Epire Savennieres 2016, Anjou, France. Just across the river from Coteaux du Layon is Savennieres, home to some of the richest, most concentrated dry Chenin Blanc this side of South Africa. The schist-grown Chenin (known as Pineau de Loire, locally) is lees-aged in neutral wood, and the extra junk in the trunk, alongside Chenin’s natural acidity, is a recipe for a long cellar journey – although the absence of tannins makes it quite crushable, presently. Drinking is winning and holding is winning, here, and the Bizard family has spent 6 generations getting the syncopated, drawn-out harvest just right so that you have enough acidity and enough glycerine to do both. That bumping sound you hear is your patio asking you to get some of this for summer. 3 6-packs available, $58.98 +tax

Fasoli Gino “Sande” Pinot Nero Veronese 2008, Veneto, Italy. Telling you that this is the best 10-year-old Amarone made from Pinot Noir you’ll ever drink is a) absolutely true and b) not helpful, because no one else does anything close to this. The Pinot, grown north of Verona, is harvested early, around the end of August to preserve essential acidity, then laid to dry on straw mats (like Amarone) before crush, followed by a 4-year residency in French oak. Sande is to Pinot as Hulk is to Dr. Banner, but perhaps not in the way you might think. Unlike Amarone, Sande is not opaque (Pinot isn’t that pigmented, even when in near-raisin form) and the wine isn’t sweet at all, the aromatics and mid-palate, however, burn with the rage of a dying star. Intense and focused, more elegant than hulks usually are, and also a bit of a cult item back home. 12 bottles available, $85.98 +tax

 

Until next time, Happy Drinking!!

Christmas in January: Wonders of Washington - 100 Points of Power

Hi Everyone!

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

UPCOMING CLASSES:

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!!

 
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