Sangiovese, Pian Dell’Orino, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italia, 2009, 14.5% abv.

Risotto was on the dinner menu and I decided it needed an Italian red.  Did I ever hit the goldmine.

This wine came to me out of pure luck; I purchased a case of random, sight unseen bottles from an American importer and this one happened to be in the box.  So, I can’t even take credit for having been super smart and ordered it.

The winery is certified organic and Demeter biodynamic – and run by a European couple who met in Tuscany and decided to return to purchase land and make wine there.

Caroline Pobitzer and Jan Hendrik Erbach don’t filter their wines, use only indigenous yeasts, only grow Sangiovese Grosso and the maximum yield per vine is only one bottle.  And talk about knowing where you’re buying – their 6 ha is located right beside the famous Biondi Santi property.

On the eyes, the wine is translucent ruby with aromas of raspberry, tobacco and mocha.

On the palate, it’s dry with juicy acidity, perfectly strained tannins and flavours of red cherry, violet, cola and tobacco leaf.

So layered and rich, this wine grows and develops as it opens in the glass.  Nothing bitter or empty about it – it’s a luscious, round and full wine.

WSET Very good plus


Posted in Italy, OTHER, RED, Sangiovese Grosso (Biondi-Santi) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pinot Gris, Hillside Winery, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley VQA, BC, 2016, 13.7% abv, C$18++

On the eyes, this is a beautiful onion skin tone of pale, translucent orange with aromas of light stone fruit, mandarin citrus and crushed rocks.

The palate is ever-so-slightly off dry with nice acidity and echoes the aromas with flavours of nectarine and ripe apricot, Granny Smith apple, white blossom and a touch of dried herb.

WSET Good plus – held on the skins for four hours to get this beautiful colour before draining and pressing.  What a great little summer wine – refreshing and delicious.


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Le Soula, VdP des Côtes Catalanes, France, 2009, 14% abv, C$45+

Every now and then, I’m reminded how small producer, attention-to-detail, hands-on and earth-friendly farming and wine-making practices all conspire to produce some of the seriously fabulous wines of the world.

From the minute @msawall_ opened this up, I wondered where it had been all my life.

For those of us who adore a little wood on our Sauvignon Blanc, and the occasional field blend, this drink comes straight from famed Roussillon winemaker, Gérard Gauby’s Prugnanes property in the Agly Valley at the foothills of the Pyrénées just west of Perpignan. It’s the kind of wine you should sit with and just breathe in for the first half an hour or so.

Most of it is Sauvignon Blanc (54%), but there’s also 27% Macabeo, 10% Grenache Blanc, 6% Chardonnay, a 3% blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Gris, and 3% Malvoisie de Roussillon – all from biodynamically and organically managed bush vines.

The grapes were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed.  Fermentation took place with indigenous yeast prior to sitting 18 months on the lees and in oak (39% new, 10% one use, 47% older and 4% tank) – all of which accounts for the rich mouth feel and beautiful body.  The wine wasn’t fined and only went through light filtration.

The nose is tremendous and shows overripe pear, dried apricot, ripe peach, honey, minerals, a toasty butteryness and lots of dried herbs.  The palate is dry with juicy acidity and lots of dried stone fruit – pear, peach and apricots – honeysuckle, the crunch of dried tarragon and sage, and distinct wax.

And get a load of this – it’s a 2009 – they’ve done the aging!  It’s rare to find a winery that hangs on to its wines, ages them and then releases them that isn’t Spanish.  It’s expensive for them to do it.  Bonus for us.

WSET Very Good plus – 8 years old, complex with some development, amazing length, body and acidity that leaves you wanting that next sip.   Order this at private wine stores or via the BCLDB.

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Rethink Pink, Rosé, Joie Farm, Okanagan Valley VQA, BC, 2015, 12.5% abv.

Here’s an uncomplicated Rosé made with Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes by Heidi Noble for your back porch. 

The colour of pretty, pink salmon, this wine has aromas of watermelon and cherry.  On the palate it’s mostly dry with a little tannin and flavours of cranberry, more red cherry, lime juice, and dry moss.

Take a breath and a sip – don’t think too deeply on this  WSET Good wine.

Joie Farm wines are available at Marquis Wine Cellars in Vancouver, BC.

Posted in British Columbia, Gamay, Pinot Noir, RED, ROSE | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pinot Noir, Ken Wright Cellars, Savoya Vineyard, Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Oregon, 12.5% abv, 2013, US$85

In August 2016, we visited Ken Wright Cellars’ tasting room in Carlton, Oregon for the second time.  We stayed at their Carlton Lofts which is very beautiful, but pricey.  It’s worth noting that Ken Wright doesn’t discount anyone for tastings – so be prepared to pay the full amount no matter if you’re a blogger, an industry representative, a somm or a drinker.

It’s interesting that during this second tasting, I came away with a bottle from the same Savoya Vineyard as I’d purchased in 2013 (I got the 2008 version in 2013).

On the eyes, this 2013 is completely translucent garnet with aromas of cherry, mushroom, earth.  The palate is dry with feathery tannins and flavours of more cherry, glove, mushroom and loam.

WSET Very Good  – elegant, subtle, clean.

Their wines are lovely, but as I mentioned before, I do wish they’d figure out a new cork for their works of art.  The plastic is ugly and difficult to remove – an odd choice for such an expensive bottle. If they’re truly concerned about oxygen ingress, they could choose a stelvin cap or even a glass stopper.


Posted in Oregon, Pinot Noir, RED | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Albariño, Bagoa do Mino, Lagrima, Rias Baixas DO, Spain, 13% abv., US$25

Ninety percent of the wines made in Rias Baixas are white and most are produced from the pale green Albariño grape, although 12 different grapes are allowed.  Rias Baixas is located on the far northwest Atlantic coast of Spain just north of Portugal.  

The wines from here generally offer good value for money, are well made and taste delicious.

On the eyes, this Albariño is pale gold with deep legs and aromas of lemon zest and white flowers.

The palate is muted but dry with good acidity and flavours of lemon grass, white peach, white pepper and brine.

WSET Good plus – juicy, great with hors d’oeuvres, seafood salad or oysters.  If you can’t find this one at the wine store, try any Albariño – it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed.  Search this site for other versions under ‘what would you like to drink?’  At Marquis Wines in Vancouver, the Bodega Garzon is a great option.

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La Grande Cuvée Rose, Domaine Lafage, Côtes du Roussillon AOP, France, 13% abv, C$35++

Made from 70% Grenache Gris, Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre grapes harvested by hand from 65 and 80 year old vines, this is a visual beauty of the palest salmon.  Jean-Marc Lafage makes this at his estate near Perpignan, France.  

The grapes were lightly pressed and fermented with indigenous yeast, but the pale colour comes from the free run juice. Most was aged in tank, but some was actually aged in oak which helps explain the great body.  

Aromas show light strawberry with green shoots and honeysuckle.  The palate is dry with great acidity and a supple, buttery mouthfeel.  Flavours show salmon berry and strawberry juice with jasmine and honey.

WSET Very Good – usually rosés are bitter and have little body.  This one is not usual though – and offers a beautifully rounded body with not a hint of bitterness.  It’s expensive for the BC market, but well worth it and comes with a glass stopper.

Posted in France, Grenache / Garnacha, Grenache Gris, Mouvedre, Monastrell, ROSE | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments