Tagged with 'Jordan Carrier Everything Wine'

NAPA NEXPLOSION: Unicorns and Stallions

Hi Everyone!

So many Cabs have snuck up on me in the Vintage Room that I have to tell you about all of them at once, apologies. We begin:

Colgin IX Estate Proprietary Red 2015, Napa. One of the most polite cult wines in Napa, Colgin has risen to the top of the heap without ever raising its voice or breaking a sweat. With her husband Joe, Ann Colgin has, over 25 years, made bottomless Cab-based wines (and great Syrahs) of quiet power and regal elegance. This 2015 IX Estate (named after the vineyard parcel) is two thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one third Magic. Meaty blackberry with shorn pencils baking on a new road – it’s a little pro-tannin right now, the window opens in about 5 years and it closes… man, I don’t know, when the robots take over, I guess. 4 3-packs entered the province, I got one of them. 100 points Robert Parker, 100 points Jeb Dunnuck, 1 wooden 3-pack available, $873.99 +tax

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 One-Liters, Napa. Holiday-sized Caymus in a brand new vintage, just in time. I haven’t tried it (just arrived) and there aren’t any major reviews yet, but here is my prediction: Delicious, round, thick Cab in a bottle size that will make you feel slightly smaller. 3 9-packs available, $120.99 +tax

Bond Quella 2014, Napa. The Quella vineyard sits in the hills, as all Bond vineyards do, with southwest exposure and steep angles. While it’s a tad bougie to call your vineyards “Grand Crus” (1. That’s not how it works and 2. Wow, and they’re all YOUR vineyards? What luck!), their output is simply undeniable. Bill Harlan’s terroir-driven cult winery has become one of the hardest unicorns to capture – I can’t tell you what I had to do to get this 3-pack, but the Centaur I defeated can’t tell anyone anything now. An infinite number of berries baked into an infinite chocolate cake. Intense minerality, drinking now despite the considerable tannins – the fruit is that intense. 97 points James Suckling, 96 points Robert Parker, 96 points Vinous, 1 wooden 3-pack available, $949.99 +tax

Raymond Generations Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa. Great bang-for-buck in this top-line Napa Cab, I mean it’s a big buck, but an even bigger bang. The Raymond family dates back in Napa to 1933 and the winery was founded in 1970, but it has seen a bit of a renaissance since its acquisition by French Winery Collector Jean-Charles Boisset, owner of Bouchard, Monmessin and Louis Bernard, among many others. The change injected energy and innovation into the quiet family winery, expanding their range and depth, and it seems to have also injected a not-insignificant dose of hallucinogens – visiting the winery is like stepping into Moulin Rouge on Mars. In full disclosure I don’t love everything they do, but I WAY love this. The Generations Cab – a tribute to the 5 generations of the Raymond family, puts the Class in Classic: winemaker Stephanie Putnam – formerly of Far Niente – has made a tribute to the Napa styles of old. This wine lets Cab be Cab – it’s full bodied, naturally, but still contains all the rough edges of a ripe Medoc and is bone dry, not round. Gorgeously angular. This is the style that made those French judges in the ‘70s think they were drinking good Bordeaux. 97 points Robert Parker, 2 cases available, $139.99 +tax

Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa. Another “classic” style from the grounds of the former Silverado Equestrian Center (hence the name) in the Oak Knoll district. Herbed cherries and cassis precede a lovely, graceful body that’s full but not fat, towards a bright but balanced finish, gulpable but far from facile. Far more graceful and complex than most contemporaries in its price point. About that: I often rant about my inability to find a good $50 Napa Cab…. Thanks Santa!! On sale until Christmas, 92 points Wine Enthusiast, 6 cases available, Reg price $54.99, Sale price $49.99 +tax

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2015, Napa. Another Napa legend that is having something of a moment in 2015, Insignia drinks like a coiled snake, currently, but will get itself elected President Of Your Cellar, in time. Berries and stones and pencils and flowers are all holding magnifying glasses, concentrating their beams on your face, the power on the nose can almost be seen. Wears its new oak like Cruella DeVille wears Dalmatians: proudly and impervious to opinions – the fruit is that intense. Tight right now but will blossom into a balanced, beautiful hand grenade. One of the greats. (97-100) points Robert Parker, 1 wooden 6-packs available, $409.99 +tax

Dominus 2014, Napa. What can I tell you about Dominus, the Petrus of Napa, that I’ve not yet uttered? The Mouiex family’s Napa venture is now safely baked into that region’s story, although the valley’s general style has, writ large, veered away from this austere, Bordeaux-ish Cellar Star. Dominus’ soul mate is Opus One (more on that below), they are two wines that eschew ripeness in favour of forever. That said, this 2014 will open its doors rather sooner than most other issues, in keeping with the sheer drinkability of the vintage. Not for the impatient soul but man, these guys know how to build a wine. Blackberry, cigar and baking spice on the nose. 97 points Robert Parker, 2 wooden 6-packs available, $399.99 +tax

Opus One 2010, Napa. Given the international frenzy surrounding this original collab between Mouton-Rothschild and Robert Mondavi that evolved into its own sentient being, I maybe should have opened this email with “I have Opus One 2010”? Still drawing from the best valley floor vineyards in Napa (a good portion of To Kalon goes in here), Opus One is titanic in many ways beyond its own legend: aromatic potpourri blends with herbs and black fruits – the nose is more generous that Dominus but the frame is just as bulletproof. This vintage is already a classic and yes, I have the original wooden box (although I did open it). 97 points Vinous, 96 points Robert Parker, 1 wooden 6-pack available, $849.49 +tax

Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa. The same vintage I’ve offered previously, but when Peter came for our Collectors Tasting we were sold out, and everyone was sad. Be not sad, for it has returned. 2 wooden 6-packs available, $199.99 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!

98-Point Wines for Under $100

Let’s raise a glass to ninety-eight,
For wine, that score is pretty great!
It’s two points from immaculate!
(does that not make sense? well, too late)

I doubt that you could ever hate
A wine with points of ninety-eight!
With Christmas coming, let’s go straight
to two wines you’ll want by the crate:

TeHo Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina. A gloriously Old World Malbec from the New World, this drinks like a Cahors stirred with a lightsaber. Meaning “Blood of the Earth” in the local indigenous tongue, TeHo is sourced from a non-grafted Uco Valley vineyard called Tomal, planted in 1955, and the 90% Malbec is co-fermented with 10% of… well, everything: Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and, if the beautifully mineral finish is any indication, a bunch of rocks. Pulls off the rare trick of intense concentration without the accompanying baby fat; red cherries, violets and spice surround the nose, the medium-full body and mineral finish are lifted by a beautiful acidity that’s more Médoc than Mendoza. Stretches the boundaries of what “Mendoza” means, Malbec-lovers and Francophiles alike can find a lot to trip out on, here, this is fabulous and layered. Exclusive to this store. Currently gorgeous but has the structural fortitude to cellar like a Jedi, and can do many push-ups:
98 points Tim Atkins
Red Wine of the Year (2017) Tim Atkins
Top 20 Wines of 2017, Decanter
Top 100 Wines of 2017, Wine and Spirits
5 6-packs available, $75.99 +tax

Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 2 2012, Yarra Valley, Australia. Last year’s Australian Winemaker of the Year Sarah Crowe returns with another whizz-bang Shiraz from the cool(er) climate of Yarra Valley, near Melbourne. Hard to describe Yarra wines except by discounting what they aren’t: they don’t have the confected fruit compote of McLaren Vale, they don’t have the black pepper of Barossa, nor are they as light footed as Norther Rhône Syrahs or rigidly structured like Margaret River wines. What they do have is a friendly, comfort-food exterior that can somewhat belie enormous reservoirs of thermo-nuclear inner strength.  Often called an “iron fist in a velvet glove”, Dry Red No 2 is teeming with white pepper, red Nibs and baking chocolate, the body is plenty full but can still do pull-ups, the finish – and it’s famous for this – peers into the portal to forever. Outstanding vintage for a wine notorious for its vintage variation. 98 points James Halliday, 4 6-packs available, $92.49 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!

Back Up The Truck! The 95WE Riserva Barbera That Saved Christmas!

Hi Everyone!

I am, as you are all aware, never ever prone to hyperbole, strange allegory or even sarcasm, but I do believe I’ve found the Wine That Saved Christmas.

Deep in the hills of Piedmont, Barbera has always played Robin to Nebbiolo’s Batman, relegated to the slopes deemed unworthy of its nobler half-brother. Indeed, there’s Barbera planted all over the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco, but a wine made from that grape in those villages can never be called by those village names for the same reason Jon Snow could never be a Stark. In many iterations Barbera owns that sidecar, when grown as an afterthought it can be jammy and juicy, shallow and weak, not something you’d age or talk about, except for…

The hills of Nizza Monferrato in Asti (a UNESCO site) are the upside-down kingdom where Barbera rules the world and makes bold, legendary wines. Here, Barbera gets the best vineyards, like Tenuta Aluffi in the south that lays on deep sand and gives concentrated fruit in minuscule quantities. In the middle of that estate sits the world’s best Cru for Barbera, producing wines that match or surpass the arc, intensity and frame of many Barolos: La Court.

Michele Chiarlo’s 2015 La Court Barbera Riserva is fireworks in a bottle, Barbera’s natural zing is tempered by fruit weight and the silky layers that years in spicy Slovenian casks can bring. Black cherries, violets and dark chocolate on the nose, a full, dense body in the mouth but the finish is weightless, electric and persistent. This can go a decade standing on its head but is in glorious balance now, an assertion you can confirm when we open it on Saturday at 3pm in the River District Vintage Room.

How does this wine “Save Christmas”? Two reasons: First, I was exaggerating. Second, La Court has the perfect mix of attributes to roll with the culinary punches that the Holiday season can throw. It’s bold and full without being heavy or lugubrious, it can duet with appies, steaks, chestnuts, cheeses, fondues and even those little quiches that have no legitimate reason to exist. It has the structure to handle proteins but not enough to drink all fuzzy without them. It has the acidity to match most foods but not so much that food is necessary: it pairs with itself nicely. It has a great rating (for those guests who clandestinely Vivino your wine while you’re preoccupied – you know who they are) without the price tag to match. Having La Court on hand is like dating a party planner: you are ready for anything.

I shoulda bought more of it.

Michele Chiarlo "La Court" Nizza Riserva DOCG 2015. 95 points Wine Enthusiast, 10 6-packs available, $64.99 +tax

Back in a couple days with brand new, exclusive Oregon Pinots!! Until then,

Happy Drinking!!

Perfectly Pinot Part Two: Oregon Originals - Never Before In BC!

Hi Everyone!

Every time I go to Oregon I get real happy then I get real mad. Happy because I try so many outstanding Pinots and I really enjoy smiling. Mad because I have no access to a lot of these wines, as retailers can’t import into BC and no import agencies would bother with such small productions. We’ve slowly been changing that, working with smaller importers (and my South Surrey colleague Si Man Lee), and now I’m proud to offer some of the best wines that we tried down there, albeit in super small quantities. These wines are brand new to BC. Here’s the first batch:

Lingua Franca “Tongue ‘N Cheek” Pinot Noir 2015, Eola-Amity Hills. The buzz was already deafening – as can be expected when a Supergroup comprised of legendary Master Sommelier Larry Stone, Burgundy titan Dominique Lafon and David Honig starts a winery – and then their wine was prominently featured in the upcoming Somm 3 movie. Yikes. Working with vineyard manager Mimi Casteel – one of the most inspirational people I met down there – in one of Oregon’s oldest vineyards, Lingua Franca have positioned themselves as the new Winery Of Note in the Willamette – I've been calling them the next Beaux Freres. Boasting floral red and dark black fruit with a mules kick of smoke and spice, the body is big and round, the finish has just enough lift to remind you that – big as it is – it’s still Oregon. Gorgeous and smooth. 94 points Wine Spectator, 94 points Decanter, 2 6-packs available, $101.99 +tax

Domaine Serene “R” Pinot Noir Rosé, Dundee Hills. You didn’t know you needed a $60 dual-vintaged Pinot Rosé, but in all fairness you didn’t know you needed an iPad until it showed up. Same here. Using the moody, complex Bandol Rosés as their North Star, Ken and Grace Evenstad have thrown out the rule book and made a racy pink beast out of some 2016 Pinot with a splash of 2015 Chardonnay. Bold in front, creamy in the middle and crispy on the finish, smells like a strawberry-rhubarb miracle, see for yourself when we pour it this Saturday at 3pm in the River District Vintage Room. Not at all attempting the pastel popularity of Provence or the saccharine indulgences of a California Blush, “R” is the inscrutably cool kid in the back listening to The Cure that you’re afraid to say hi to. You should say hi, though, because this’ll go amazing with turkey, ham, pork, duck or really any holiday dinner unless your dinners consist entirely of cake. Exclusive to Everything Wine. 2 cases available, $60.99 +tax

Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Pinot Noir 2014, McMinnville. I had the great pleasure of sitting for dinner with Robert Brittan, the long-time winemaker at Napa’s Stag’s Leap Winery who left 14 years ago to make wine in Oregon. We talked for hours about the politics behind Oregon’s AVAs (hey, I don’t judge what you do for fun) and he educated me on the McMinnville AVA, which we rarely see in BC. The McMinnville juice is so intense that it’s rarely blended with other AVAs in Willamette Pinot Noirs, it takes over the entire profile even in small percentages. The 2014 Pinot from this windy vineyard in the Coast Range foothills lives up to the area’s notoriety, it is a deep, brooding, herbal Pinot with Asian spice and black cherry – great fruit symmetry – and an austere tannin structure (like black tea) akin to a red Sancerre. Too serious for these silly years, I’d like to drink this after the next Winter Olympics. 94 points James Suckling, 1 case available, $89.49 +tax

Nicolas Jay Pinot Noir 2015, Willamette Valley. When Burgundian winemakers produce Oregon Pinots we expect them to make Burgundy, as if they brought all their dirt and climate with them in a magic bag, and we’re always so surprised when the Pinots they make are fruit-driven and clean. Perhaps that’s why this start-up winery downplays the fact that its co-founder and winemaker is none other than Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, a Côte d’Or winemaking family that dates back to the 1600s. This Willamette Pinot uses every AVA in that valley, fruit from such famous crus as Momtazi and Nysa contribute to the blend. Gosh this is pretty. Violet, raspberries, jasmine tea and crushed rocks, the one-third new oak adds some wood tannin to the finish but this Pinot is good to go, supple and delicious. 94 points James Suckling, 2 6-packs available, $105.49 +tax

Back next week with even more Oregon Pinots! Until then,

Happy Drinking!

Perfectly Pinot Part One: Not Oregon

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been doing it again. Collecting Pinots like Pokémon, a case here, two cases there – before you know it I’ve got enough for 3 emails, yikes. It’s okay, though, the Holidays are perfect for Pinot: turkey, ham, meat pies, calming yourself down after parking lot confrontations (any booze works on that last one, truthfully), Pinot Noir is December’s spirit balm, racy but peaceful, low in predictability.

Let’s start today with some tasty Pinots from around the world, in the coming weeks I’ll have some brand new, exclusive Oregonians, but first:

Montalto Estate Pinot Noir 2016, Mornington Peninsula, Australia. From the wee cooler climate jetty south of Melbourne that stakes a credible claim to being the Best Southern Hemisphere Pinot Region (Patagonia would protest). We offered (and sold out of) the electric Estate Chardonnay a few weeks ago, this Pinot is equally on fire and I have even less of it. We’ll be trying it this Saturday in our River District Vintage Room at 3pm if you’re around. Spiced strawberries and white flowers surround the unexpectedly substantial core of fruit, body and game. Like a surfboard – long and firm but no rough edges – this drinks smoothly but I’d like to see how it develops: I’ve so little experience with Mornington Pinots I honestly don’t know what it turns into – the structure will take it somewhere - but it’s hella delicious now so no worries, mate. 97 points Decanter, 3 cases available, $53.49 +tax

Domaine Daniel Rion et Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Aux Vignerondes” 2015, Burgundy, France. Daniel Rion is simply one of the best bang-for-buck Burgundian houses I can think of, and this killer Premier Cru NSG proves it. Those looking for immediate gratification should skip to the next blurb: this is the seed of a Pleasure Plant, a gift to Future You, but it drinks like a strange animal’s defense mechanism right now. Sweet cherry, mint (!) and cassis pervade the deceptively ripe nose, truly gorgeous and inviting, the palate is bold and bulletproof but super young and at least five years out from any kind of balance. After the window opens in 2024 or so this’ll be luxurious and rich – an amazing Burgundy, possibly as good as NSG gets, but until then picture 2 dozen squirrels throwing rocks at you, in a glass. 95 points Wine Spectator, 1 case available, $113.99 +tax

Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir 2015, Sonoma, California. Former Wine Of The Year (Wine Spectator) and recent Duckhorn acquisition Kosta Browne has always walked the knife’s edge between richness and restraint, a balance exemplified in this stupidly tasty Russian River Pinot: all manner of berries bump against all manner of cherries – a fruit fest to be certain, but the body and finish bring the earth and the layers and the class. A medium weight with lively acidity, the landing is fresh and mouth watering, great length. Still available only through a mailing list (for which there is a long waiting list) in the US, it doesn’t get much cultier than this. Make your American wine-drinking buddies jealous!! 94 points James Suckling, 2 6-packs available, $195.49 +tax

Louis Jadot Chorey-Les-Beaunes “Les Beaumonts” 2013, Burgundy, France. How is it that I still have 2 boxes of this? Outrageously good Burgundy value from a house not necessarily known for it – Jadot is always excellent but usually priced at the middle of the curve, not culty but not cheap either. This recently acquired single vineyard (north of Beaune) that drinks like a Premier Cru (but isn’t one) is a force to behold – round chalky tannins, soft fruit (black cherry, mostly, with some currant), I know you’re wondering: is the drinking window open? Let me put it this way, remember how there was a tunnel painted on a mountain, and the Roadrunner could go through it but the Coyote couldn’t? Yeah. 2 6-packs available, $57.49 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!

 
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