This was a crazy year due to COVID, which limited my usual number of wine tastings, but when I checked through the wines, I realized that of the wines I did taste, many almost made my 5-star category. These wines I rated as 4.5-5 stars. They are fantastic to drink now and would be OK to cellar for a short time.
As there are so many wines, I categorized the wines so that it is easier for you to navigate to the wines that interest you the most; BC wines followed by Southern Hemisphere and then Europe. Enjoy!
White and Sparkling
The Crowsnest Vineyards Riesling 2018 – is a bright medium intensity lemon colour. It has a lighter intensity nose with a mix of youth and developing aromas of lemon, petrol and white flowers upfront with a touch of peach jam and honey at the end. With decanting I picked up some vanilla and baked apple pie aromas as well. The wine is off-dry with a light acidic prickle. A light mouthfeel. You get lots of ripe and dried apricots and honey, with a lesser amount of pears, and a touch of blossom and lychee. With decanting you also get ripe peach flavours along with some minerality and marmalade. This wine has a long finish finishing with sweet ripe apricots and honey and some drying tannins, so I am guessing that there was maybe some time with the must in contact with skins? Either way, a very delicious wine that can age well for the next 2-4 years.
Rating: – A solid quality Riesling with lovely aromas of lemon, petrol and white flowers. A touch of sweetness with a light body and tasty ripe apricots, peach, pears and honey flavours.
Summerhill’s Cipes Ariel 2000 – sparkling wine is made from all organic grapes; 60% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay, and 2% Pinot Meunier. This wine really shows that it has been aged with a medium-plus ripe pear skin colour. It has a nice fuller intensity nose showing toast, roasted pears, a hint of ginger and with a little swirling some butterscotch. The wine is dry with medium-plus body and acidity. Big depth feel in your mouth. Round and thick. Toasty, pears, apples, and roasted apple flavours along with a touch of minerality and some butterscotch on the finish. There is also a bit of a sherry tone to the wine, which adds to its complexity. You get light creamy bubbles that dance on your tongue. They dissipate quite quickly after being poured. After 17.5 years sur lie you may have thought that this sparkling wine would have very little fruit flavour and more tertiary flavours like hay, lanolin or mushrooms, but you would be wrong. This is a big sparkling wine with lots of depth of fruit flavours. You may want to try this wine with pan-seared scallops topped with toasted nuts of your choice as a main course or with a slice of hazelnut torte for dessert.
SpearHead Winery White Pinot Noir 2019 – This is the third year that SpearHead has released this wine. The grapes are whole-bunch pressed with minimal skin contact so that you get a white wine from red-skinned grapes. The cold settled juice is fermented in small stainless steel tanks. This wine has a bright medium intensity lemon colour with a slight green tint. It has a pronounced youthful nose showing a mix of lime, stone fruits and white flowers, and a touch of oranges. This wine is dry with higher acidity, fuller body and pronounced flavour intensity. Although it has higher acidity this wine is very round and has a nice silky mouthfeel. Lots of ripe stone fruits, tart citrus and oranges with some apple toward the finish. Also some stoniness but not too prominent.
Within a short 5 minutes of time in the glass, the flavours were quickly evolving into tropical fruits. The stony minerality is joined with salty minerality. Acidity provides the structure to this wine. It has a longer lingering stone fruit and citrus finish with a touch of pepperiness and tannins. Buy this wine; it’s delicious. BC fresh fruit in a glass. No decanting needed.
Rating: – A delicious, delicate wine with stone fruits, citrus and white flowers on the nose and a mix of stone fruit and tropical fruit flavours, along with some minerality.
Church & State Marsanne 2017 (BC $34.49) – a deeper, bright golden colour in the glass. This wine has an explosion of aromas; tropical fruit, in particular pineapple, vanilla, oak, some butteriness and pears. With decanting you still get those big aromas and you can add butterscotch and some incense. It is a big wine round with a thicker mouthfeel. Buttery and silky smooth. Lots of pineapple vanilla and oak, but then you also pick up pears and peaches. These flavours go all the way to the end. Wow. I’m thinking of pairing this wine with lobster with drawn butter! With decanting the flavours still hold, but you get a slightly lighter body and no peach flavour; add butterscotch. Whether you drink the wine upon first opening or have some the next day you are getting an excellent wine to enjoy.
Church & State Wines Sparkling Pinot Gris 2017 (BC $25.29) – This sparkling wine is a lighter lemon colour in the glass. It has a medium intensity nose with toast and apples aromas primarily.It is off-dry with medium plus acidity and flavour intensity. I really enjoyed the small, very creamy bubbles in this wine. Tasty stone fruit, in particular peaches, as well as grapefruit flavour. It has a medium length finishing with light tart and ripe stone fruit flavours and some pith. Very nice. Goes well with an assorted vegetable appetizer plate.
Rating: – This wine has excellent small creamy bubbles. A light intensity nose showing apples and toast. It is off dry with stone fruit and some grapefruit flavours.
Robin Ridge Chardonnay 2018 (BC $20.25) – Has a bright medium intensity lemon colour. A lighter nose, but has nice pears and butterscotch aromas with lesser amounts of citrus and honey. With decanting you get mainly tropical fruit aromas, with lesser butterscotch, citrus and pear. This wine is dry, round and silky smooth! Lower acidity which helps give it a thicker mouthfeel. Medium intensity flavours of pears, butterscotch, tropical fruit and honey. Medium plus length finishing with tropical fruit, butterscotch and some pepperiness. A very nice wine. With decanting the flavours stay the same except that you get some bitter tannins coming in, which could either be from oak or maybe grape bunch stems. I prefer the wine first opened to avoid the bitter tannins surfacing. See update below.
Rating: – An elegant wine with inviting aromas of ripe pears, citrus, honey and butterscotch. The wine has a very silky smooth, round mouthfeel, with flavours of pears, tropical fruits and butterscotch. Some pepperiness on the finish. Open and enjoy. No decanting needed.
Harper’s Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block Riesling 2019 (BC $19.29) – This wine has a medium intensity blend of straw and lemon colours. It has a lighter intensity nose, but has deep honeysuckle aroma along with lesser orange and lemon. With decanting you get lots of stone fruit aromas to complement the existing aromas. This wine is off-dry, medium plus body and flavour intensity. Round with soft, controlled fruit flavours. There is a light acidic prickle at the start but it fades quickly and then you get a smooth mouth feel. Ripe pears, citrus with pith, light peach and toast/flint on the palate. This wine has a medium plus length, with honey, butterscotch lemon, and pith. Steeliness on the finish. There is a BIG change with this wine on the palate after decanting. It opens up so much. Lots of tart fruit flavours, more honey, and a thicker mouth feel. Add stone fruits and crisp apple to the initial fruit flavours. This wine can age easily 4-5 years. Works well with smoked cheese.
Rating: – Deep honeysuckle with touches of orange and citrus on the nose upon opening. It’s smooth with light acidity. A mix of ripe stone fruits and citrus and a touch of honey.
Winemaker’s CUT Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (BC $26) – this wine is fermented with wild and organic yeast, and 10% spends time in Slovakian Oak. It has a light pear skin colour. It has a medium minus intensity nose showing a mix of apples, white flowers, citrus/lime, and ripe peach. With some swirling the citrus lime gets stronger and a few more minutes of swirling you get some green bean aroma. There was a big change to the aromatics the next day. I had lots of green fruit, lime and pine needles, along with hints of each and honey. The wine is slightly off-dry, with higher acidity that leaves a prickle on your tongue. It is round and has a thicker mouthfeel, but the acidity is there to give it backbone. Apples, peaches, apricots and floral flavours. There is also some minerality to the wine. With decanting the apple flavour was subdued and the wine had a more steely feel to it. It has a medium plus length finishing with jalapeno pepper, followed by citrus, pith, ripe peach, and apple at the very end. An elegant wine.
Rating: – A very elegant Sauvignon Blanc. No over the topic aromatics or flavours you get from some New World versions. This has very balanced stone fruit flavours with nice acidity.
Gold Hill Winery Cabernet Franc 2016 (BC $34.99) – This wine has a deeper, about 60% opaque garnet colour, but is still translucent to the core. It has a medium intensity youthful nose showing ripe red berries, cassis, some smokiness and sweet spices. With decanting I also picked up cedar on the nose. It is dry, semi-round with a lighter mouthfeel on the mid palate. Medium acidity and very fine tannins combined give this wine structure. You get flavours of red fruits, plums, cassis, some smokiness and a touch of floral and herbaceousness with swirling. This wine has a rounder mouthfeel with decanting, along with more cassis and cedar flavours through the sip to the finish, and a mix of cocoa and chocolate on the mid palate. It has medium length finishing with light oak and pepperiness, red fruit flavours, and a touch of chocolate at the very end. The fine tannins firm up a bit on the finish. Excellent.
Rating: – with decanting. A Cabernet Franc with finesse. Nice ripe red berries and cassis on the nose and palate plus some cedar, cocoa and chocolate flavours as well. Semi-round, dry, with fine tannins. More black fruit flavours and rounder with decanting.
Gold Hill Merlot 2014 (BC $34.99) – a deep dull garnet colour about 90% opaque in the glass. 2014 was a very hot and long growing season in the Okanagan so that grapes could reach full maturity. It does show strong tears on the sides of the glass showing that 16.1% alc. It has a medium intensity nose showing cedar, lots of sweet baking spices and red fruits, along with lesser amounts of red cherries, vanilla and blackberries or black fruit. With decanting it stays with lots of red fruit, cedar and sweet spices; a wonderful nose. It is slightly off dry, round and very smooth with a lighter mouthfeel. Lighter acidity and tannins. Lots of sweet red fruits and sweet spices, in particular nutmeg, along with plums, vanilla and a touch of blackberries. These flavours continue with decanting, and you can add red plums. It has a medium plus length finishing with plums, sweet spices, nutmeg, black pepper, and cedar flavours. There are some drying tannins on the finish. Surprisingly this wine does not feel hot from the high alcohol level. Very enjoyable either with or without decanting. Buy this wine and enjoy over the next 2 years.
Rating: – Lots of inviting red fruits, plums and baking spices on the nose and palate. It is slightly off-dry, very smooth with light tannins and acidity.
Clos du Soleil Winery Estate Reserve Red 2013 – The Similkameen Valley where this winery is located has an east-west orientation which causes the area to be quite windy, which then produces a large diurnal temperature change that helps keep a grapes acidity while allowing the flavours to more fully develop. This windiness also keeps things dry allowing for the highest density of organic farms across Canada. Clos du Soleil Winery practices both organic and biodynamic farming principles. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The grapes undergo a wild ferment followed by oak barrel maturation. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This wine has a deep dull garnet colour. Intense black fruits along with pencil leads and hints of capsicum on the nose. It has a medium-plus to full body, is dry with a full mouthfeel. Dark ripe fruit and sweet spices to start, followed by red cherries, cedar, vanilla, and pepperiness on the finish. Soft tannins overall from start to finish. –
Rust Wine Co Syrah 2017, Golden Mile Bench, South Rock Vineyard (BC $37) – 98% dull garnet colour. this wine has a medium intensity nose showing floral, mace, cassis, ripe black fruits, plums, and a touch of smokiness. On the second and third days the aromas were lighter than the first day. On the second day there was no smokiness apparent on the nose. The third day was quite interesting as I picked up dill and bacon along with the other mentioned aromas. The wine is slightly off dry, medium acidity and firmer tannic structure, with medium-plus body and flavour intensity. It has a round, plush mouthfeel with pepperiness that gets stronger toward the finish. You get raspberries, floral, plum and ripe black and red fruit flavours, but they are not as bright as the flavours from the Similkameen vineyard. There are also touches of vanilla and oak on the palate. With decanting on the second and third days the acidity and tannins are lessened as well as the fruit flavours, and the mouthfeel is not as plush. Red fruits seem more prominent than black fruit flavours. You do you some mace spice flavour on the second day onward, and a touch of chocolate. The wine has a medium plus length finishing with bright / tart red and black fruit and some sweet fruit flavours, pepperiness, and nutmeg spice. Some oaky dryness on the finish. With decanting you can add some vanilla flavour on the finish and mace spice. This wine has more intense aromas and flavours upon first opening the wine, and less as you decant it. I’d recommend drinking this wine as soon as you open it.
The soil type of gravelly clay could give me a bold, muscular wine with minerality. I would say that this wine does have the most tannic structure of the three wines and does have bold, ripe black and red fruit flavours upon first opening. I did not notice any minerality.
Rating: – without decanting. You get a bigger, bolder Syrah with lots of black fruits, but also floral and pepperiness. A firmer tannic structure.
Church & State Wines Coyote Bowl Series Syrah 2016 (BC $60.94) – wow this wine comes in at 15.5% alc. I’m expecting a big wine and that’s what I got. This wine is opaque ruby to the rim in colour. It has a medium minus intensity nose, very beautifully aromatic. Vanilla, purple fruit, light sweet spices, cedar, baby powder and plums on the nose. I did not notice any changes on the nose with decanting, which is OK as it smells great. This wine is off-dry with a bigger body and flavour intensity. It is round, soft and silky plush on the palate. It offers ripe sweet purple fruits, vanilla, ripe black plums and vanilla. There are also touches of minerality, sweet spices, perfume and cedar. Medium strength, fine grained tannins, that don’t stand out. No changes on the palate with decanting. This wine has a longer length finishing with light pepperiness, cedar, vanilla and purple fruit. More acidity than tannins on the finish. Definitely a New World style wine with plush mouthfeel and very fruit forward. No hard edges to this wine; a smooth operator. Only 500 cases of this wine were made.
Rating: – A big New World style red wine with lots of ripe purple fruits, cedar and sweet spices on the nose and palate. It is off-dry, very round, with a soft and plush mouthfeel.
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery SUMMIT 2017 (BC $59.99) – This is a deeply coloured garnet wine, almost opaque at the core and about 80% opaque at the rim. It has medium-plus intensity aromas of deep ripe black fruits, blackberries, black cherries, ripe raspberries, sweet spices and cedar, light vanilla and oak. These aromas come in waves of different fruits, spices and oak. Very nice. With decanting there is a lot of ripe cassis flavours and a touch of chocolate. There is less cedar aroma. This wine is dry, with lower acidity and a silky mouthfeel. Soft fine light tannins. You get very ripe and round black fruits, black cherries, black plums, sweet species, vanilla and oak on the palate. Again a nice mix of sweet ripe fruits blending with the vanilla, oak and spices. With decanting the wine has a lighter mouthfeel and the tannins are a bit more prominent. The pepperiness in the wine also now starts at the mid-palate. This wine has a long length finishing with sweet black fruit, a hint of coffee, cedar and black pepper. Also the tannins briefly show up on the finish to dry your mouth. An excellent wine! Either decanted or undecanted, both taste very good to me.
Rating: – A top tier red blend from Mt. Boucherie. Lots of ripe black fruits on the nose and palate along with sweet spices. Medium bodied and very smooth.
Mt. Boucherie Syrah 2018 (BC $27.99) – Opaque ruby to the rim! This wine has a very interesting nose; light intensity aromas the meld black fruit, meat, chocolate, nutmeg and ripe raspberries. With decanting the aromas become even lighter. I prefer the first opened wine aromas. This wine is off-dry with lower acidity and tannins. It is very smooth. Round but not mouth filling. There is wonderful minerality that floats atop the black fruit flavours on your palate. You also get some black cherries, and touches of floral, vanilla and oak. With decanting I also picked up some cocoa and the tannins became a bit chalky toward the finish. It has a medium-plus length finishing with light pepperiness, a touch of sweet red fruit and sweet spices, and a fine tannic finish. A seductive Syrah. I recommend not decanting this wine in order to keep the nice aromatics.
Dirty Laundry Bordello 2017 (BC $42.99) – a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc sourced from vineyards in the Osoyoos & the Similkameen Valleys. The very best barrels from the vintage were picked to create this blend. This wine is about 98% opaque ruby with a touch of garnet in colour. It has a light nose with aromas of dark fruit with some smokiness and vanilla. Some may say that this is a cigar box aroma. I also picked up raspberries, nutmeg and with swirling some capsicum. This wine is dry but very soft, smooth silky and plush feeling in your mouth. Very seductive. Light acidity and very fine tannins. Ripe black fruit, cedar, oak, vanilla and cloves, with light perfume and red fruit in the mix. The wine finishes with sweet ripe black fruit floral, cedar, some pepperiness and very fine light tannins. A silky wine full of ripe BC black fruits to enjoy. Decanting did not make any major changes in aromas or flavours, so open and enjoy this wine.
Rating: – A very silky seductive red Bordeaux Blend. Wonderful dark fruit with cedar/cigar box aromas and flavours. A very silky and plush mouthfeel. Spoil yourself and your friends and family.
Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Noir 2017 (BC $37.99) – medium translucent garnet to the core. Nice sweet red fruit, raspberries, floral, sweet spices and cedar on the nose. The aromas were maybe more rich and ripe the next day, plus I picked up candied red cherry aromas. It is medium bodied, semi-round with fine grained light tannins. Medium acidity. Quite floral, along with red fruits, raspberries, red cherries, and sweet spices on the palate. Some candied red fruits and a touch of vanilla. Everything nicely balanced; Fruit, acidity and tannins. Tannins do get a bit drying at the end but still very light. This Pinot Noir can age 4-5 years. A very elegant wine. When you ask what style of Pinot Noir I like, this is what I like. –
Osoyoos LaRose Le Grand Vin 2016 (BC $47.99) – a blend of 62.5% Merlot, 7.7% Cabernet Franc, 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11.8% Petit Verdot, and 5.5% Malbec. The grapes were hand-sorted, destemmed and crushed at the winery. Fermentation occurred in custom-made cone-shaped tanks. Each lot was tasted daily to adapt the skin contact time to the vintage and wine feature. Short pump-overs were done regularly each day to extract only fine tannins. The wine was then aged for 12 months in a 60/40 split of new and one-year-old French oak barrels.
This wine has a deep dull garnet colour. It is about 85% opaque with uniform opacity from rim to the core. It has a medium intensity deep aromas of ripe plums, Old World oak / cedar, nutmeg and black pepper. As you swirl the wine for 5-10 minutes you can add blackberries, chocolate, raspberries and cinnamon aromas as well. With a longer decant this wine becomes much more aromatic. Lots of plums, cassis, sweet spices and hints of capsicum and cocoa. This wine is dry, very smooth with a medium-plus body but light mouthfeel. It starts off feeling semi-round but as you swirl the wine for a few minutes the wine gets rounder and bigger. It is almost like tasting 2 different wines. The wine continues to be big and round with longer decanting. It has flavours of plums, cassis, and ripe black fruits to start, but again with some swirling, you get the addition of chocolate, ripe raspberries, toast and some smokiness. Extended decanting gives you stronger fruit flavours and continues to be very smooth on the palate. The tannins start off quite light and build toward the finish. Again upon first opening, the finish is not overly tannic or grippy, but after 5-10 minutes the tannins get much stronger. Cassis, sweet and tart black fruit and peppery flavours on the finish, then after 10 minutes of swirling you also get some chocolate and floral flavours. Overall I would say that the tannins are fine and elegant. Giving this wine even a few minutes to decant is a great idea as it will make the wine bigger, rounder, and the fruit flavours and aromas stronger.
Rating: – A big, yet elegant wine, full of plum, cassis and sweet spices. Enjoy it best with a short decant so that it can give you its best expression.
Bodega Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2016 (Argentina) – The Adrianna Vineyard was planted in 1992, at 5000 ft elevation asl, covers 5ha, is filled primarily with river stones, and some nearby clay and limestone. The vines are also planted on their own rootstock which some people say provides the truest flavours and aromas This wine has an inky opaque ruby colour. It has deep, ripe black fruit aromas along with clove and some meatiness. The wine has medium-plus body, dry, round and a silky mouthfeel. It has ripe purple fruit flavours along with floral, black pepper, oak, vanilla, and some minerality. Fine ripe tannins. Medium length. –
Catena Alta Malbec 2016 (Argentina) – This wine has a deep dull ruby colour in the glass. A nice nose, showing cloves, purple fruit and sweet spices. This wine is fuller-bodied, dry with fine chalky tannins and some minerality. Fresh purple and black fruits together with some violet floral and sweet spices. –
Catena Malbec 2017 (Argentina) – This wine has a mix of garnet and ruby colours; it is translucent in the glass. Nice aromas of nutmeg and purple fruits. Medium-plus body, dry, semi-round, with light acidity and medium intensity tannins. Smoke and raspberries on the palate. Bright fruit flavours from the acidity in the wine. An elegant wine. –
Luis Segundo Correas Valle Las Acequias Malbec Oak 2015 (Argentina) (BC $23.99) – Quite a deep garnet colour with a ruby tint. It is about 70% opaque in the glass. It has a medium intensity nose with a mix of red and black fruits, ripe cherries and sweet spices. With a bit of swirling you also get raspberries and light oak aromas. The raspberry aroma gets stronger with decanting, plus you get some raspberry syrup. This wine is dry, smooth and round with very fine light intensity tannins. Bigger mouth feel and flavours. You get red and black fruit, raspberries, and pepper with floral, oak and vanilla in the mid palate. I also picked up a touch of nutmeg and liquorice flavours as well. With decanting the wine tastes a bit off-dry, more red fruit than black fruit, and a hint of minerality on the mid palate. It has a medium plus length finishing with sweet ripe black cherries, black pepper, floral, and fine light tannins; not drying. A delightful wine to enjoy with aged cheeses by the fireplace.
Rating: – Medium intensity red and black fruits and sweet spices on the nose. Smooth and round with a mix of red and black fruit flavours upfront then a blend of raspberries, vanilla, pepper and floral to finish. A delightful wine to enjoy with aged cheeses.
Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraz 2017 (Australia) – this wine is part of Yalumba’s Samuel’s Collection wines. Samuel’s Collection honours Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith who planted the Yalumba vineyard in 1849. It honours his spirit of embracing provenance and giving back to the land. This wine is 99% opaque garnet in colour. It has a pretty nose with floral, red fruit and cinnamon aromas. It has a medium body, dry to slightly off-dry, round, with a light mouthfeel. Soft ripe red and black fruits, floral, and some chocolate flavours. You also get some tarriness with air. Light pepperiness on the finish. –
White and Sparkling Wines
Hugel & Fils Grossi Laue Riesling 2013 (France) – Alsace is the driest region in France at this latitude and has the highest diurnal temperature differences that can affect the grapes, in a good way. Grossi Laue represents a single vineyard (and a particular soil) and is Alsace’s equivalent to Grand Cru. It is a rich golden colour. It has a medium intensity nose showing deep ripe honeyed tropical fruits and petrol. It has a medium-plus body and acidity, showing tropical fruit, marmalade, honey, floral, and petrol flavours. A wonderful wine. –
Monte Delle Vigne Callas 2015 (Italy) – made with the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica grape. Malvasia di Candia Aromatica “…originated in Ancient Greece. It is a wine with a straw-yellow colour, a characteristic and intense aroma, a dry or semi-dry or sweet taste; it is well-orchestrated and fresh, still or lively..” (flavourofitaly.com). If you like Gewurztraminer this would be an easy wine to enjoy. It has a light straw colour. Herbal, lemon, honey, and jalapeno pepper nose, along with some petrol. These aromas continue to the palate, but you as well get a peach flavour. This wine is semi-round with higher acidity. I also picked up some bruised crab apple flavours on the mid-palate. Very flavourful. –
Cantine Nicosia Grillo Sicilia DOC 2018 (Italy) (BC $19.99) – This wine has a very intense deep, bright lemon colour in the glass. Medium intensity developing aromas with deep tropical fruit, dried lemons, pineapple, and a touch of honey, oak and lanolin. You get the same intense nose with decanting. This wine is dry, semi-round with a thicker mouth feel and an acidic prickle/edge. Medium plus intensity flavours of pineapple and pears, some oak, and then pepperiness from the mid palate and finish. Lots of body and texture to this wine. Decanting may lighten the mouthfeel and the pepperiness to this big wine. It has a medium plus length finishing with ripe pineapple, pears, oak and pepperiness. With decanting you can add tea leaves flavours to the finish. I did try this wine with Brie and Monterey Jack cheeses and it went quite well together.
Rating: – Deep ripe tropical fruits on the nose and palate. Big, semi-round with an acidic edge. Ripe pineapple and pear flavours with a touch of oak and pepperiness on the finish. Lots of body and texture!
Gérard Bertrand Domaine de L’Aigle Chardonnay 2018, (France) – This wine comes from the AOP Limoux which is higher elevation, a cool climate, and ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir according to Gérard. It has a bright lemon colour. Deep ripe aromas of peach, honey and marmalade. It has a medium-plus body, is round and soft, with medium acidity and a silky mouthfeel. It has light fresh peach and floral flavours with some marmalade on the finish. –
Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc 2018, (France) – A blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. As in the last wine, this one has a deeper intensity bright lemon colour. A light white floral, peach and honey nose. Full-bodied, round and silky with soft acidity. Pronounced flavours of stone fruits, ripe pineapple and butterscotch. Gérard suggests that this white wine will still be drinkable in 15-20 years. –
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV (France) – Toasty, brioche and apple nose which continues to the palate. Light bubble. Medium body. –
Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (France) – This Champagne has nice stone fruit aromas. Tiny creamy bubbles. It is off-dry with a medium body. Ripe stone fruit and apples along with some pepperiness. –
Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV (France) – Nice red apple nose. Light body; dry. Creamy light bubbles. Red fruits followed by red apples on the palate. –
Villa Sandi Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut NV (Italy) – Fairly aromatic nose showing stone fruits and tropical fruit aromas. Fuller body, off-dry, higher acidity, but still has a nice creamy mouthfeel. Tropical fruit flavours with a herbal edge. Quality. –
Casale del Giglio Faro Della Guardia Biancolella di Ponza Lazio IGT 2019 (Italy) – This wine has a medium plus intensity lemon colour in the glass. A lighter intensity nose, but shows rich ripe pears and peaches, along with lemon and pine needle aromas. Pineapple with some air. With decanting the aroma intensity jumps up to medium plus and you get lots of tropical fruit aromas. This wine is dry with a thicker round, viscous texture. Medium acidity. It has rich ripe pears and other stone fruits, along with tropical fruits and citrus. There is also some bitter peach pit. Light pepperiness from the mid-palate to the finish. Add apple with some air. With decanting the wine feels a little lighter in your mouth, smoother, with less pepperiness and adds some pine needle flavour. The wine finishes with a combination of stoniness and salty minerality. Honey, ripe pears and apricots and peach pit on the finish. With decanting the apricot flavour diminishes. I prefer the undecanted version as there is more variety in aroma and fruit flavours.
Rating: – A nicely balanced wine. It has a rich, ripe pear aroma along with some peach, lemon, pine needle and pineapple. It has a thicker viscous texture with ripe tropical fruit, pears and apples on the palate. No decanting needed.
Casale del Giglio Bellone IGT 2019 (Italy) – A medium plus intensity lemon plus gold colour. It has a pronounced nose, with deep roasted lemon aroma along with honey, toast, ripe apricots and bramble. Also a touch of orange with air. With decanting you can add tropical fruit flavours. This wine is dry and round with a thicker mouthfeel. Light acidic prickle on the tongue. Deep, ripe roasted lemons, ripe stone fruits, apricot skins and dried apricots, and medium pepperiness. The fruit flavours are deep and intense, compared to the bright fruit flavours that you would get from a BC Okanagan wine. You also get some honey toward the finish. With decanting the wine has a lighter mouth feel, you can add ripe tropical fruit flavour and maybe it becomes a little more peppery. You also will get honeysuckle and ripe pineapple on the finish.
Rating: – Deep roasted lemon and honey on the palate, with tropical fruit if you decant. The wine is dry, with a round thick mouthfeel. Ripe stone fruits and apricots on the palate plus tropical fruit with decanting. A quality wine.
Maison Louis Latour Grand Cru Château Corton Grancey 2017 (France) – Corton is a famous hill in the Cote d’Or that has both white and red Grand Cru vineyards (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The bottom of the hill is clay-based and as you go upslope you get limestone. Grancey is the name of a family that in the early 1800s blended the grapes from 5 or 6 different terroirs on the hill to produce their wine. There are over 1247 different defined vineyards with their unique terroir in Burgundy and has been applied for as a UNESCO site in 2015. This wine is a medium translucent garnet colour from rim to the core. It has a light lifted red fruit and red cherries aromas, and a touch of oak. The wine has a medium-plus body, is soft and round. Raspberries and red fruit flavours, along with some sweet spices and pepperiness. Medium-plus length. An elegant wine. –
Crus et Domaines de France Château de Lamarque 2015 (France) – This was our other Bordeaux wine for this seminar, but this one is from the Haut-Medoc, only 10km north of Margaux. It is owned by 26 generations of one family; that works out to 1050 years. The vineyards cover thirty-five hectares, across 3 parcels, planted on alluvial gravel with a subsoil of clay, sandstone, and red gravel. The vines consist of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, and the percentage that goes into their wines depends on the growing season for that year. I do not know the percentage of each grape variety that went into this blend. This wine is almost opaque garnet to the rim. It has a ripe black fruit nose, along with vanilla and cedar notes. It has a medium-plus body, is soft, silky and fruity. Ripe black fruit flavours along with light sweet spices. The tannins start on the mid-palate and pick up to make a very dry finish. –
Paul Jaboulet Aîné Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre 2017 (France) – This wine comes from a single 4ha vineyard in a higher elevation in Cornas. The wine is opaque ruby colour. It has a ripe purple fruit and meaty nose. It is fuller-bodied, dry and round but has a linear acidic profile. Floral violets, raspberries, sweet spices and some smoky flavours. Medium intensity fine-grained tannins. Nice. –
Poderi dal Nespoli Pagadebit 2017 (Italy) – made with 85% Bombino Bianco and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Bombino Bianco “…The grape is known under many synonyms throughout Italy including Debit and Pagadebit, names which came from the grape’s reputation for being a high yielding and reliable crop for vineyard owners to grow that would assure them that on each vintage they could pay off their debts….” (Bombino Bianco – Wikipedia). This wine was a favourite of everyone I spoke with. It has a light lemon-green colour. It is very aromatic showing green beans, jalapeno pepper, honey and green fruit aromas. These aromas carry to the palate. The wine medium-bodied, soft and round with medium acidity and a thicker mouthfeel. We were told that this wine would pair well with sushi and fried fish dishes. –
Korta Katarina Reuben’s Private Reserve 2008 (Croatia) – This wine is a dull opaque garnet in colour. It has deep, ripe black fruits and Old World oak aromas. It is full-bodied with medium acidity. Sweet ripe black fruit and nutmeg, followed by pepperiness. It has medium intensity fine-grained chalky tannins. A very nice older wine. –
Vignobles Alain Brumont Chateau Montus Cuvee Prestige 2002 (France) – Made with the Tannat grape this wine has a deep translucent garnet in the glass. Light toast and red fruit aromas. It has a light body, with fine, firm tannins. Cedar/Old World oak, red fruits and sweet spice flavours along with a touch of pepper. –
Domaine Boutinot Les Coteaux Schisteux Seguret Cotes du Rhone Villages 2016 (France) – Translucent medium intensity garnet. It has light raspberry and vanilla aromas. It is fuller-bodied, dry with a soft mouthfeel. Raspberry flavours. Fine tannins. An excellent wine. –
Les Halos de Jupiter Gigondas 2016 (France) – This wine has dark fruit and chocolate aromas. It has a fuller body with bright acidity and light tannins. Raspberry flavours along with some pepper. –
Casale del Giglio Mater Matuta Rosso IGT 2016 (Italy) (BC $56.99 SPEC) – This wine is opaque garnet in the glass and when swirled you can see teardrops on the sides of the glass. This wine comes in at 14% alc. It has a medium intensity nose with deep aromas of black cherries, black fruit, toasty oak and some sweet spices. The nose was unchanged with decanting. This wine is dry, and round but does not have a heavy or full feel. It has quite a light mouthfeel. It is soft with medium intensity fine grained tannins and light acidity. A mix of black berries, black cherries, black fruits, plums and sweet spices, maybe a touch of floral, along with light toasted oak on the palate. With decanting the wine has a bigger, heavier mouthfeel and the black fruit component is more expressed. It has a longer length finishing with fine drying tannins, red cherries and a bit hot at the very end. With decanting you get black fruits on the finish. A fantastic wine whether you decant it or not.
Rating: – A wine full of finesse. It has lighter intensity aromas of black fruit, toasty oak and some sweet spices. A light mouthfeel, round but not full. Dry and soft with black berries, black fruit and sweet spices on the palate.
Congratulations to all these wineries and their wines for making my highly rated list this year. For many of the BC wines, ordering from the winery would be recommended, although some you can find at Marquis Wine Cellars, Swirl Wine Store, or Everything Wine. For the European and Southern Hemisphere wines, try the BC Liquor stores and some private wine shops that carry international wines.