Tagged with 'Wine Tasting'

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!!

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!

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!
1 2 3 >