Pinot Noir, Poseidon Vineyard, Primo’s Hill, Los Carneros, Napa Valley, California, 2014, 14.3% abv. US$49

On a trip to California while on the hunt for Napa and Sonoma wines, we found this bottle of Primo’s Hill Pinot Noir from Poseidon Vineyard at @BirdRockFineWine.

Only 125 cases were made of this from fruit grown on two acres of pebbly slopes facing east and north in the Los Carneros AVA.

Take a minute to look at a picture of their main vineyards here.  You can see Poseidon is literally located at sea level where the Carneros Creek and Napa River meet the northern tip of San Pablo Bay.  This cool fact is memorialized on their bottle and the end of each cork.

The vineyards were planted by Nicholas Molnar, an Hungarian immigrant to California in 1973 when planting vines in Carneros was really not the thing to do.  Thankfully, he didn’t care and planted them anyway.  Today his partners and sons continue his work.

This region has since become renowned for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir precisely because the nights and early mornings are cooled by breezes coming off the bay and through the Petaluma Gap.  And interestingly, this is one of the few vineyards in the world that can be accessed by boat directly from the sea – hence the name Poseidon.

On the eyes, this wine is translucent ruby with aromas of baked cherry, cedar bark strips, lavender and sandalwood.

The palate is elegant and dry with flavours of more juicy red fruit – red plum, pomegranate and cherry – cola, sage, crunchy tarragon, and a little leather glove to slide into from the Hungarian oak barrels used.  They’ve owned the Kádár cooperage in Hungary for 20 years and the barrels are brought directly from there.

With its lovely long finish and rounded palate, to its beautifully resolved tannins, this is seriously delicious wine.  Find it in California, at the winery or at specialty wine stores like Bird Rock Fine Wine.

WSET Very Good plus

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The Bub, Haywire, Okanagan Valley VQA, BC, 12% abv, 2014, C$29

Bottle fermented and aged in the traditional method, this bubble was purchased by daughter Jess.  I seem to have trained the child well – at least in that she has good taste in wine.  It’s topped with a crown cap, so bring along your bottle opener. 

Made of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, on the eyes, it’s pale gold with a boldly, effervescent mousse.

On the nose, there’s lime, Golden apple and Granny Smith with toast.  The palate is bone dry and shows flavours of lemon curd with lime, toasted nut and faint toffee.

WSET Very Good and beautifully balanced, this is a perfect wine for all sorts of toasts, and hey, that price point doesn’t hurt either.  Bring along a bottle to that New Year’s party you’re going to this weekend – you’ll be popular (well, moreso than usual!).

Readily purchased all over BC at private and VQA stores, or direct from the Okanagan based winery.

Posted in British Columbia, Chardonnay, OTHER, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GSM, Henry’s Seven, Henschke, Barossa, South Australia, 2014, 14% abv., US$45

Here is an Aussie Shiraz (60%), with Grenache, Mataro (also known as Mourvèdre), and a splash of Viognier blended in.  It was made at Henschke in honour of Henry Evans who planted the first vineyard there in 1853.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like in the Australian outback in the 1850s, but I’m sure things have changed somewhat since then.

On the eyes, it’s a deep ruby with a superbly fragrant nose of violets with deep plum, great minerality and some sweet straw.

On the palate, it’s dry with more plum, blackberry, and black cherry, light licorice and dried grass, and distinct Chinese five spice powder.

WSET Very Good – elegant, aromatic and delicious – pair with chili, tacos, steak or anything that you want your wine to stand up to.  This beauty can more than handle it.
Purchased at Seattle’s Total Wine and More.


Posted in Australia, Grenache / Garnacha, Mouvedre, Monastrell, RED, Shiraz / Syrah | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prior de Neo, Priorat DOQ, Spain, 2006, 15% abv, C$45

From Porrera, Priorat in Catalunya and all its rocky, llicorella glory, this is a primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) wine with Merlot, Syrah and Garnacha thrown into the blend.

On the eyes, this beauty is a translucent ruby, with developed aromas of raisin, prune, rock and salted black licorice.

The palate is dry with completely resolved and plush tannins, great salinity, dried fruit, blue prune, anise and dried herb.  A lovely, long finish compliments the developed palate.

Pair it with hearty winter dishes like stew or chili.

WSET Very Good – Absolutely delicious and 11 years old at opening.  If you’re holding, drink immediately.
You can purchase this at Liquor Plus outlets across BC.  Recently it has been on sale as it’s near the end of its drinking window.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon / Blends, Grenache / Garnacha, Merlot, OTHER, RED, Shiraz / Syrah, Spain | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Champagne, Brut, Nicolas Maillart, Premier Cru, Millésime, Champagne AC, France, 2007, 12.5% abv.

Coco Chanel probably said it best when she remarked, “I only drink champagne on two occasions.  When I am in love and when I am not.”

Champagne just makes everything better.  Always.  Some people have said to me that they just don’t like the stuff.  But I think that if one hasn’t experienced good quality champagne, one would think all the stuff tastes the same.  And that would certainly negatively affect one’s opinion about champagne in general.

Well, this is most definitely good quality, vintage champagne made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Disgorged in October 2012, we opened it at 10 years old in 2017.

On this eyes, this treat is a golden tone with finely beaded and long-lasting mousse. The nose shows toast with citrus, yellow apple and hazelnut, while the palate is dry with high, juicy acidity and flavours of toasted french bread, almond, golden lemon meringue pie, and late autumn, grainy, yellow apple.

Deeply complex and more than a little developed, this is WSET Very Good plus.  I think Coco would have loved it.

You can buy Nicholas Maillart grower champagnes at Marquis Wines.

Posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, France, Pinot Noir, RED, WHITE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fino, En Rama, Bodegas Tradición, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DO, Spain, 15% abv, €25

When we walked out of Bodegas Tradición, we looked at each other and exclaimed simultaneously, “Never in my lifetime did I imagine I would pay C$40 for a bottle of Fino!”

This, however, is not your average Fino.

While a typical bottle is usually crisp and refreshing, briny and yeasty, and perhaps offers a little citrus punch to get you through a round of olives, fresh bread and light tapa, this version is a serious masterpiece.

Aged for an average of 12 years – the outer limits for Fino ageing – the ultra dry Tradición Fino En Rama has golden lemon colour and an earthy elegance.

While the average Fino has a light and yeasty profile, this one has the heft and complexity of straw, nuts and apple cider with great texture.

And it was bottled En Rama, meaning unfiltered with no additives.  Bodegas Tradición prides itself on this aspect of their wine making – in the traditional manner, with everything done by hand.

The modern day Bodegas Tradición was founded in 1998, but the original heart of their VORS (Very Old Rare Sherry) solera extends to the 1650s.  The current owners also collect art and there is a beautiful gallery to enjoy prior to the tour.

WSET Very Good Plus



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Pinot Noir, Scott Paul, Azana, Chehalem Mountains AVA, Oregon, 2013, 12.9% abv., US$60

We visited the tasting room for this graceful Pinot Noir in tiny Carlton, Oregon in August 2016.

The Chehalem Mountains AVA where the grapes for this wine are grown is located entirely within the larger Willamette Valley AVA, just south of Portland.

Carlton is a charming village and is highly recommended if you’re looking for a long weekend escape with seriously excellent dining and drinking choices – all located on a two block stretch of the main drag.

We took a bottle of this home and enjoyed it with west coast salmon, wild rice and heirloom tomatoes with basil.

On the eyes, it’s a translucent garnet.  The nose shows tart pomegranate, strawberry, red cherry and moss with vanilla bean, and the palate is dry with mouth-watering acidity, strained tannins and flavours of more green strawberry with cherry, fern, light anise and fennel.

WSET Very Good – deliciously elegant – enough to make me want to return to get more and visit Carlton for a third time…

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