Tagged with 'Wine Facts'

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!!

 

New Year, New Wines!

December can be correlated with one word: overload. Holiday party overload, shopping overload and in-laws overload. In December you attend one too many holiday parties, overuse the term “so how have things been with you”, decide that chocolate and Christmas cookies don’t have calories for the whimsical 31 days, and most likely reach for the same bold red and bubbly prosecco on each special occasion.  January, on the other hand, is correlated with a much different word: new. New year, new you, new beginnings - we’ve all heard it and probably said one of these phrases at least once by now. If you are someone looking to dive into the world in new in 2019, why not start with wine! Instead of reaching for that same Pinot Grigio or Cab Sauv, why not try a new varietal that you may have never even heard of? We understand, trying new things can be scary, especially when it comes to changing your beloved house red or white, so to make this easier, we've created a list of new varietals that have similar flavour profiles to the wines you love.

If you like Cab Sauv, try:

  • Carmenere

  • Petit Verdot

  • Touriga Nacional


If you like Pinot Noir, try:

  • Gamay

  • Corvina

  • Mencia


If you like Chardonnay, try:

  • Viognier

  • Marsanne

  • Chenin Blanc


If you like Sauvignon Blanc, try:

  • Albarino

  • Muscadet

  • Semillon


Have a different varietal you love and are looking for a new alternative? let us know in the comments below, and we'll give you an expert recommendation!

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!
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