Albarino, Vina Vedra, Val do Salnes, Rias Baixas DO, Spain, 2013, 12.5% abv, C$17++

IMG_6917Here’s another Spanish white for your sipping pleasure.

On the eyes, medium lemon with aromas of nose-tingling rocks and salinity with lemon zest.

On the palate, dry with medium plus juicy acidity and flavours of citrus – lemon, pomelo, pink grapefruit – salty, wet rocks and almond.

WSET Good plus – lovely little porch sipper, a little hollow in the middle, and not terribly complex, but tasty and excellent value for your dollar.  Goes great with jerk chicken and salad.

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Pinot Noir, Haywire, Secrest Mountain Vineyard, Okanagan Valley VQA, BC, 2015, 13.5% abv.

Another delicious wine from Haywire.  Why are they so consistently good?  Less is literally more – quality fruit, careful harvesting, and minimal intervention during the winemaking process allows the wine to speak for itself.  img_8106

Translucent ruby with aromas of black cherry, spring moss and black earth, this wine is dry with perfectly strained tannins.  Flavours include more Damson plum, Okanagan cherry, cedar frond, mushroom and freshly turned dirt with a touch of Dutch licorice.

WSET Very Good and the ladies from the book club loved it.  This graceful drink paired perfectly with Madeleine Thien’s  Do not say we have nothing.


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Pinot Noir, Ayoub Estate Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon, US, 2013, 12.8% abv.

img_8015Talk about tiny – there is no tasting room at the Ayoub Estate Vineyard located just outside of McMinnville in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, but they’re more than happy to make you an appointment to come to the kitchen to taste.img_7994

Truth be told, we probably opened this Pinot Noir a little early.  In a year or two, it will be outstanding.  That said, we weren’t disappointed.

On the eyes, it’s a translucent cherry with a remarkably expressive nose full of red cherry, pomegranate, sandalwood and a whiff of sweet tobacco.

The palate is dry with great acidity and gorgeously tamed tannins.  Flavours of cherry and more tobacco with clove and green fern stand out against the minerality and a long finish.

WSET Very Good plus, just short of outstanding which is where it will go if you can wait until about 2018 to open it.  Luminous, delicious wine.

Thanks to #FrancineParker of #Table1006 for sharing.

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Cabernet Sauvignon, Caymus Vineyards, Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, 1 litre, 2014, 14.8% abv, US$90

It doesn’t get much better or more stereotypical Napa Valley red than this!

Caymus is an entrenched Napa brand.  Big time rich, deep, and larger than life, their wines are those one thinks of when lusting after one the luscious reds Napa Valley was initially made famous by. 2014-caymus-napa-valley-750ml-sdw2

Tastes have swung the entire length of pendulum these days to include lighter more nuanced styles, but that’s not to say this wine does not have its place as one with an historical and anchor-like style.  And let’s just acknowledge it goes fabulously with steak.

This Cab is the less intense sibling to the famous Special Selection that Caymus has produced since 1972 – and which has been awarded Wine Spectator’s wine of the year title twice. Grapes were picked from 8 different sub-appellations throughout Napa and blended together to produce it.

On the eyes, it’s deep purple with a pretty violet rim and aromas of ripe Damson plum, berry, vanilla pod and a dusting of black pepper.

The palate is dry with tamed tannins and solid body with flavours of plum, blackberry and cassis, black licorice, vanilla, tobacco leaf and light, peppery spice.

Solid, it’s got 8-10 years to go but is drinking beautifully and is completely accessible now.  There’s lots of extraction and richness to this wine – which I should mention is sold in an unusual 1 litre format.

WSET Very Good
Bottle picture from the winery website.

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Cuvée Centenaire, Domaine Lafage, Côtes du Roussillon AOP, France, 2015, 13% abv. C$22++

Truth be told, I don’t want to tell you about this wine – because when I do, you’re going to run to the nearest liquor store and buy it out.  And there won’t be any left for me.

Unless I get there first.img_8113

This is the latest of the Domaine Lafage wines from Roussillon in the south of France to impress.  Does everything Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage come into contact with exceed all reasonable expectations in terms of quality and price?  So far, yes.

Lemon on the eyes, the nose is rich with ripe peach, white flowers, ginger blossom and rock dust.  Delicious.

The palate is dry with juicy acidity and more flavours of stone fruit, dried flowers and some white pepper spice.  There’s a deep richness to this wine, a great mouthfeel, that is made from 90-100 year old Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc grapes blended with 20% Roussanne.

Lafage follows organic growing practices and this wine is aged in stainless steel as well as new French oak barrels – all of which conspires to produce this gorgeous, fresh, balanced wine.  Excellent with all sorts of food – chicken, fish, salads – or just by itself.

WSET Very Good.

3-2-1 … I’ll race you!

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Pinot Noir, La Forge de Tart, Premier Cru, Morey-Saint-Denis AC, Côte-d’Or, Bourgogne, France, 2007, 13.5% abv.

img_8018Sylvain Pithiot, the winemaker at this famous house, originally arrived in Burgundy as a map maker – he’s the person who created the incredibly detailed terroir maps of the Côte d’Or.  It wasn’t until later that he decided to make wine.

But Pithiot didn’t decide to make wine just anywhere.  Since he knew the maps so well, he was able to pick very carefully.

To put this in perspective, the Clos de Tart Grand Cru wines are Monopole wines that have been in production since the Middle Ages (the 1100s!) – and there are only six Grand Cru monopolies in Burgundy – four in Vosne (La Romanée, La Romanée-Conti, La Grande Rue and La Tâche) and two in Morey-Saint-Denis (Clos de Tart and Clos des Lambrays).

It’s just a tiny bit possible you may have heard of a few of those places.  They’re kind of, well… they’re extremely famous.

This wine is the Clos du Tart’s Premier Cru version, their second label, which was registered in 2005.  Being second label, however, does not mean second fiddle.  There is nothing secondary about this wine.

A translucent ruby on the eyes, its nose is all cherry, soft fern and raspberry.  The palate is dry with medium plus acidity and strained tannins.  Flavours exude cherry and red plum with a scraping of tar and dried rose petals.

A softly elegant drink, this is WSET Very Good plus and at the very end of its drinking window (we opened it in November, 2016 at 9 years).  If you’re holding, decant to unwind and drink now (2016).

Another huge thank you to the generosity of Chef Francine and Table 1006.




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Grenache Blanc and Vermentino, Domaine Lafage, Côté Est, Côtes Catalanes IGP, France, 12.5% abv, C$18++

img_8088This delicious Grenache Blanc and Vermentino stunner is from the French part of Catalonia – grown on an organic vineyard facing est (east) toward the Mediterranean near Perpignan on the northern side of the Pyrénées. 

Got that map in your mind’s eye?  It’s a part of France on my bucket list for many wine reasons including this one.

On the eyes, it’s a medium lemon with aromas of yellow grapefruit, daffodils and fresh herbs.  Yes, daffodils.

The palate is dry with juicy acidity and flavours of pomelo zest, lemongrass, and green almond layered over rock dust.

Winemakers Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage are veritable rockstars when it comes to this refreshing, food friendly Grenache Blanc with the Italian accent.  And don’t get me started on the value for money.

WSET Good plus.

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