Tagged with 'red wine'

Piedmont Personalities: Small Batches of Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera

Hi everyone!

Very excited to share these wines with you, I’ve been collecting them for a while, now, in small quantities. Over the past year, I’ve been turned on to some teeny-tiny Piemontese producers, just as some of the small-to-medium houses have released some of their best wines in a decade (indeed, I’ve already written about some of them, including my potential W.O.T.Y. Albino Rocca Barbaresco Ovello). I’ll have one major “Back-Up-The-Truck” Barbera arriving in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I’d like to tell you about some of the smaller lots of Piedmont I’ve accrued of late:

Cappellano. Although the Cappellano story goes back 5 generations, it was Teobaldo Cappellano, Italian by heritage but born and raised in the horn of Africa, who put the family back on the map when he arrived in Barolo after his father’s untimely death in 1955. Although the Cappellanos had been famous/notorious for making Barolo Chinato in the late 19th century (Chinato is when crazy people add quinine bark and herbs to Barolo, placing it somewhere between “Aperitif” and “Potion”), the wartime years saw the family sell off their grapes to bulk producers, and adopt the “if it grows, spray it” mass-agricultural ethics of the more industrialized countries.

What Teobaldo did makes sense in a 21st century fine wine context, but it seemed like mad abandon to contemporary 1960s common-sense viticulture: he reduced the family’s vineyards to only 4 hectares (madness! How will you eat?), sold off the French Barrique barrels in favour of large, neutral Botti (are you crazy? The Americans won’t buy it!), ended the use of pesticides and herbicides in the vineyards and stopped adding sulphites in the winery (but chemicals are fine! –  cough). Perhaps the most notable act that Teobaldo did towards cementing his crazy-hermit-cave-kingdom reputation was to ban all wine journalists from his property unless they agreed to never assign a numerical score to his wines. Teobaldo passed away in 2009, but his son Augusto carries all these traditions on to this day.

Cappellano still makes only 800 cases of wine per year, and it’s incredibly hard to get, to my knowledge only Quebec and B.C. get any in Canada, and the U.S. is largely ignored – the majority of their production is sold locally and in France and Germany. Augusto carries on his dad’s traditions of long macerations and fermentations with no added yeasts (no added anything, unless you count bottles and corks), and I’m proud and honoured to offer their wines:

Cappellano Barolo “Otin Fiorin” Pie Rupestris 2013. From the Gabutti cru in Serralunga d’Alba, in fact the labels used to say “Gabutti” on them but Teobaldo removed the name in protest of the cru’s expansion (and instead included the name of the land’s previous owner, Otin Fiorin). This is surprisingly drinkable and generous considering the Pre-WW1 methods, the fruit is present and vibrant in a way that resembles Grand Cru red Burgundy – crystalline precision of fruit and concentration that (at least right now) outshines the considerable tannins. Let’s not confuse “traditional” for “funk”, just because Augusto makes his wines the way The Lorax would doesn’t mean there’s any barnyard going on – there’s a purity of fruit and earth that is direct and piercing. 2 6-packs available, $107.99 +tax

Cappellano Barbera d’Alba Gabutti 2012. Planted in the non-southwest-facing parts of the Pie Rupestris vineyard (the parts where Nebbiolo isn’t planted), this firecracker of a Barbera is a study in balance: the softer fruits and medium body are electrified by the streak of glorious acidity, but they also keep the acidity from taking the paint off your house. Floral and spice elements invade the red-fruit-driven nose, and the body vibrates with energy – see for yourself when we pour it in the River District Vintage Room at 3pm this Saturday. 2 cases available, $57.49 +tax

Elio Filippino. The 50th anniversary of the Filippino family’s winery this year was enough to propel the charming but hermetic Elio to travel the world – I met him in the springtime here at the store. Elio contains 0% English so he travels with a translator, an impeccably dressed older Italian lady who seemed forlorn that she couldn’t smoke anywhere. Also following the ethic of not submitting for numerical scores, Elio largely makes wine from only two hills near Nieve, Serra Capelli and San Cristoforo, and practices a vineyard management style so brutal it’s lucky for him that grapes can’t have lawyers. Concentration and longevity are his goals, and his Barbarescos are statuesque and powerful, especially:

Elio Filippino Barbaresco Serre Capelli Riserva 2013. Hide your kids. Reminds me of the Elio Grasso Runcot Barolo, in that it’s unapologetically aged for 2 years in new French Barriques and it drinks like it just wrestled a bear and won. The nose is gorgeous, floral and generous, and drinks at the upper limits of what body you can wrest from Nebbiolo – a loooooong finish with fireworks. Shades of minerality persist and the acidity checks the weight, this is, in fact, in balance, but the glory days for this rock star start in 2025. Stellar vintage from a stellar vineyard, what more can one ask? First time ever in B.C. 2 wooden 6-packs available, $74.49 +tax

Beni di Batasiolo. The Dogliani brothers started Batasiolo in the 1950s, and have specialized in bringing wines from the Barolo DOCG to us at reasonable prices – in fact they’ve been in our market so long, it’s likely that the first Barolo you ever tried was by them. We’ve managed to find some back vintages that have both feet in the zone, drinking-wise:

Batasiolo Barolo Vigneto Boscareto 2006. The notoriously tight Boscareto cru in the Serralunga d’Alba commune generally takes several years in bottle to lose its baby teeth, but the nice folks at Batasiolo have done that for us. This Boscareto is firmly in Act One, there are tertiary notes of leather surrounding the primary bright red fruits and spicy beef broth, with cigar box, dried flowers and happiness. The body and finish are still bulletproof. 92 points Wine Spectator, 2 6-packs available, $75.49 +tax

Batasiolo Barolo Riserva 2007. All hail the Lord Mayor of Gulp Town. This gathering of various Barolo crus is drinking like an elephant hug right now – the grip is perfect and the nose is amazeballs. Dried fruits, dried lavender and Cherry Coke beneath some dusty topsoil and burnt orange. Enough tannin to remind you that it is, indeed, Nebbiolo, but nothing is poking out past the supple body. Fully in the zone, not sure why it’s this cheap. 95 points Decanter Asia, 2 cases available, $54.99 +tax

I’ll be back tomorrow with a Back Up The Truck California Cab!!

Happy Drinking!


Postscript: Rome doesn’t get a lot of rain, so the nice Italian folks that built Rome’s Airport forgot to tell their roof what to do with it. My right foot found a puddle on the floor of an airport walkway (we Vancouverites have 26 words for puddles – it didn’t occur to me to avoid this one) and it kept sliding, my left foot stayed in place but twisted in a way that feet don’t. The resulting sprain didn’t keep me away from the store when I got home, but it should have cuz I think I made it worse by walking on it.

To point: I won’t be in the store much in the coming days (I’m here today only briefly), but I’ll still be writing emails – I have too much great wine to tell you about and frankly I get bored just sitting at home with my stupid foot in the air. My overworked but understanding team here at Everything Wine River District will be helping me out by getting your orders ready – if you want some of these (or other) wines please reply by email (not phone) so I can instruct them on what to put together. Thanks, and Ow.

Post-Postscript: Decanter Asia is an adjudication put on by Decanter Magazine in Hong Kong, considered to be the top wine competition in Asia (and judged by the top Asian wine experts), but distinct from regular Decanter points, which are awarded in London.

Back Up The Truck! 95WS Tuscan Stunner for $41!

Hi Everyone!

I’m back home after a whirlwind tour of Italy with my mother and brother; we went to Montalcino, San Gimignano, Panzano in Chianti, Florence and Rome, eating and drinking the whole way. It was resplendent in many shades of awesome. I’ll have some tales to tell down the road, but today I’m writing about an amazing wine from a Tuscan village I didn’t quite make it to on this trip: Montepulciano.

I have to stop referring to specific small Tuscan villages as “walled, hilltop towns” as if that’s a distinguishing characteristic. They all are.  After spending a week in the Tuscan countryside, I can testify that I never spent any time in a valley, either driving or visiting, because the towns and roads are all in the hills. If you told me that Tuscan vampires came out at night but only in the valleys, I’d believe you because everything is built to avoid those vampires.

That said, Montepulciano is a walled hilltop town, surrounded by vineyards that grow a particular clone of Sangiovese called Prugnolo Gentile (there is a Southern Italian grape that’s actually called “Montepulciano” but it’s confusingly never grown in Montepulciano – I had a dream where I brought the grape to the town and created a wormhole). In contrast to Brunello’s Sangiovese Grosso and Chianti’s Sangiovese Piccolo, Prugnolo Gentile (meaning “plummy and soft”, kinda) is richer and generally less acidic, and the building block for one of Italy’s great wines: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Nobiles often nose like Chianti Classicos but drink like Brunellos, large and long-lived, but their lesser lore makes them far more affordable for wine drinkers, especially compared to Brunellos.

Although Carpineto has been quietly producing wines from all over Tuscany for over 50 years, it’s their Vino Nobiles that have always captured my attention – structured like linebackers but still graceful and gorgeous, and the stars aligned for this amazing 2013 Riserva. Simply put, it’s the best points-to-price ratio I’ve seen in years. If this wine doesn’t place highly on the WS Top 100 this year…  I’ll be wrong.

Behold this handsome beast: richly layered and tightly strung with black fruits and slow, deliberate deployment, some mineral notes. Drinks like twice the price, lovely mix of masculine and feminine on the nose with violet and cedar, the tannins are firm but don’t poke out past the ample body. Aged a year longer than the DOCG requires, drinking now but could go a decade standing on its head. Whatever you buy of this, you’ll wish you bought more (I do). If there’s any left by Saturday we’ll pour it at 3pm in the River District Vintage Room.

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2013. 95 points Wine Spectator, 15 6-packs available, $40.49 +tax

Start your engines, and Happy Drinking!

Wines for Turkey, Tofurkey and Pumpkin Pie!

Whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving this year, we think we can all agree that the anticipation for delicious food (followed by a fantastic food coma) is running high. It's about this time when we start to strategically plan out where to put each festive dish, so you can have as much food on that plate as possible, knowing you'll be feeling as stuffed as that turkey you just ate.  You know not to fill up on salad... you've got the rest of the year to eat those leafy greens.

With so many different flavours from earthy Brussel sprouts to creamy garlic mash potatoes to that sweet, cinnamony pumpkin pie, it's hard to choose that perfect bottle of wine to pair with your meal. But fear not, pumpkin-spiced enthusiast, here is our Thanksgiving pairing guide to make sure those flavours are amplified by the wine you're sipping and the food you're eating.

Turkey & Chardonnay:
First off, let's start with the true star of every Thanksgiving dinner, turkey or tofurkey! We recommend pairing the bird (or the tofu bird) with a lightly oaked Chardonnay! A Chardonnay that has been lightly oaked will be bright, acidic and juicy with just a hint of richness to compliment a rich and buttery turkey.
Recommendation: R Collection Chardonnay!

Roasted Root Vegetables & Pinot Noir
Nothing says fall like a colourful plate of buttery roasted root vegetables. If these find their way onto your Thanksgiving plate, we recommend pairing it with a juicy red with balanced acidity and notes of sweet spices that will complement the strong vegetable flavours.
Recommendation: Meiomi Pinot Noir

Stuffing & Merlot: 
Something guaranteed to take up nearly half your plate? Stuffing - the food that seems too good to only eat once a year. We'd recommend a wine with soft tannins that won't over-power the medley of flavours found in stuffing. Try this Thanksgiving favourite with Merlot!
Recommendation: Curious Incident Merlot

Smoked Ham & Tempranillo
A big smoky ham deserves a big, bold and full-bodied red wine! We'd recommend a Tempranillo. Since a smoked ham is juicier, less sweet and less salty and offers more texture, a wine with sweet spices and berry flavours would compliment the dish quite nicely!
Recommendation: Alceo Tempranillo 2015

Pumpkin Pie & Prosecco
We need to take back what we said about Turkey being the star of Thanksgiving, we all know it's really pumpkin pie. This year, pair the sweet treat with a glass of fruity Prosecco. The chilled effervescence in the bottle of bubbly will elevate and lift the pie's spiced filling and denseness of the crust.
Recommendation: Cecilia Beretta Prosecco

Want to know where to find these wines? Check them out on our sale page here. Or, stop by any of our locations on Saturday, October 6th to taste these fantastic Thanksgiving-worthy wines!

Everything Wine Expert Suggestions with Nick Blewett!

Our Vintage Room Expert picks continue with our Victoria Vintage Room Expert, Nick Blewett! Read the full transcript of the video below, or check out the video on our YouTube channel!

You can find Nick's pick here. 


Hello everyone!

I'm Nick, Vintage Room Expert from Everything Wine in Victoria. I'd like to talk to you today about a 91-point wine from Secret Indulgence in St. Helena, California! It's a 2015 American Vintage red blend. It contains 65% Zinfandel and 35% Petite Syrah, most of which is sourced from Sonoma County, but some as well from Livermore in the central coast.

The body is big and dark and bold with dark flavours black cherry, blackberry, as well as some spices and mineral notes. Both Jeb Dunnuck as well as Robert Parker's Wine Advocate have scored this bottle 91 points! I would pair this with smoky BBQ ribs or a nice rib-eye steak!

Wines to Fall For

As we begin to anticipate the season change to fall, there are two types of people: those who continue to shiver in their shorts as they walk on the fallen leaves and those who greet the Autumn season with big scarves, and pumpkin-spiced everything. No matter if you're in Fall-denial or Fall-acceptance, one thing we can all agree on is a new season calls for new wines! Here is our guide to the best varietals to sip on this fall season.

  1. Beaujolais
    This is a light red wine made with Gamay noir grapes. It offers a wide range of flavours from raspberry, tart cherries, and cranberries to earthy flavours of mushroom and forest floor.  is located in the south of the famous wine region of Burgundy. What makes it so great for Fall? It is a great transition wine between seasons as it is light with great amounts of acidity and offers flavours that compliment roast turkey (or tofurkey).

  2. Oaked Chardonnay
     Don't worry white wine fans, we didn't forget about you. Although Fall tends to be associated with big, rich reds, there are also many white varietals that are Fall-friendly. One of our top picks is an oaked Chardonnay. Chardonnay is the most diverse and planted white wine grape in the world. Because of this, its flavours differ from region to region. An un-oaked Chardonnay will have brighter flavours ranging from lemon to pineapple, whereas oaked-Chardonnays tend to be richer, with notes of vanilla and spice (don't these flavours just scream fall?). Because of its full-bodied sweet texture, we'd recommend an oaked Chardonnay!

  3. Syrah
    If you’re someone looking to dive into Fall wines head first with some full-bodied gems, try a Syrah! From tart and jammy notes of blackberry, and blueberries to earthy forest aromas of herbs and smoke, Syrah wines offer a full punch of flavour from the first sip with a spicy after-taste following. Syrah is one of the key grape varieties in France's Rhône Valley and the Barossa Valley in Australia (where it is called Shiraz). Why should this be your go-to Fall wine? The flavour profile basically is Fall in a glass, mimicking aromas of fallen leaves and sweet pie. The warming aromas also go fantastically with the crisp weather outside!

  4. Grenache
    Nothing says Fall quite like the smell of sweet cinnamon, which is what you'll find in our next fantastic Fall varietal: Grenache! This varietal is plated widely in the Rhône Valley region, and can be found in many blends from the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape! It's also grown in Spain and called Garnacha! Other flavours and aromas you'll find in this wine are strawberries, black cherry, and citrus rind. Try this varietal with another Fall favourite, roasted root vegetables!

Have a go-to Fall varietal we didn't list? Let us know in the comments below what wines you enjoy sipping during the Fall season!

B.C. wineries need us to drink their wines to offset losses of wildfire season

There isn’t a corner of this province unaffected by this summer’s wildfires, but as bad as the air quality has been in Metro Vancouver, the interior of B.C. has had it far worse, and our wine growing regions (Okanagan, Similkameen) have been hit especially hard. While I haven’t heard news of any vineyards burning, the smoke has been acute enough to keep wine lovers away, and I’ve heard estimates from friends up there that business is down as much as 80% in some wineries.

It looks like we coasties will get at least a temporary reprieve from the smoke this weekend, but that’s only because maritime winds are pushing it back into the interior, and although I hear you can now see the other side of the lake from Naramata, the upcoming Labour Day weekend – usually a key wine holiday – may end up a wash this year. Remember when Alberta was going to ban BC wine and all of us were going to band together and drink up the slack? This is more dire. The BC wine industry needs our help: if we’re not gonna go drink it up there, we in Metro Van gotta drink it down here.

With that in mind, I’d like to recommend a few faves; wines to drink over the next couple of weeks while we wait for cooler (and wetter) skies to prevail.

Kettle Valley Gewurztraminer 2016, Naramata. Pretty pretty pretty, then kapow. A generous, ornate nose of lychee and honeyed flowers precede a 2-plane-seat body and a gingery finish with a whiff of glorious booze. Alsace is clearly the inspiration but this is lighter on its feet and cleaner, the hedonism is all on the front end. This wine hopes you order spring rolls. $20.49 +tax

Desert Hills Gamay 2017, Black Sage Bench. A spicy firecracker of red fruit and insolence. Wee snaps of vanilla and ash surround the nose, but the fruit is the story here and the fruit came to party. Black pepper on the finish, paired with enough acidity to balance the weight but not enough to make the cool kids sit at your table. Will barbeque the chicken for you. $29.99 +tax

Black Hills Tempranillo 2016, Black Sage Bench. It may come as a surprise to many, but the cult winery Black Hills does, in fact, make wines that aren’t Nota Bene. Tempranillo isn’t widely planted outside of Spain and almost never planted in B.C., which is a shame because this fab: a bright, ultra-present body of cherries and red apple, interwoven with a nose of roses, cinnamon and fine black pepper. A long hot finish and fine tannins – made for espelette-rubbed pork or chicken. $56.99 +tax. Be sure to stop by our South Vancouver location on Saturday, September 1st at 3pm to taste this BC gem!