Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spierhead Riesling 2010

Spierhead Riesling 2010
Kelowna, $22

This wine is from a new winery—Spierhead—in east Kelowna and if this is any indication of things to come, I expect greatness. Many new ventures take the easy drinking route in the first few vintages, fearful of alienating any potential customers. But owner Bill Knutson and consulting winemaker Tom DiBello have taken a different tack with this highly evolved Alsatian-style Riesling. It’s very light in texture and colour and eschews some of the grape’s usual sweetness —which can verge on cloying in inferior bottlings—for a very tart, minerally bite. Its long finish recalls baked green apples. An impressive first vintage.


Broadbent Rainwater Madeira

Broadbent Rainwater Madeira
Portugal, $20

I never drink Madeira. By the time I came of age, the drink had been on the decline for a generation or two, the victim of changing tastes more than anything else. The result is that you can now buy an excellent bottle—like this offering from the esteemed firm Broadbent that’s full of dried figs, dates and mixed nuts flavours—for less than a bottle of BC Sauvignon Blanc. That’s crazy and you’re crazy if you don’t pick up a bottle and bring it to your next dinner party.

2010 Kettle Valley Pinot Gris

2010 Kettle Valley Pinot Gris
BC, $27 (BC), $32 (AB)

I recently had friends over to try three expensive Italian white wines. One of them brought a bottle of 2010 Kettle Valley Pinot Gris as a host gift, and it ended up sitting in the ice with the star attractions. You can probably guess what happened. In no time, the KV was gone and the other wines were chilly with neglect. It’s not really an underdog story because the KV isn’t an “Under $20” steal (it’s $24 at the winery, $27 in Vancouver and around $32 in Alberta) but it is a wine that intrigues people. It has a rosé colour (a byproduct of some extra time with the pink pinot gris skins) but it’s not called a rosé. It has a fair bit of ripeness and more depth than the average rosé, but more fruit than most pinot gris—all of which makes it a unique treat that’s well worth the money.

Contact Kettle Valley Winery for details

Zinck Pinot Gris 2008

Zinck Pinot Gris 2008
France, $19

Alsace is sorely under represented in our liquor stores, which is a shame because, of all the major French wine regions, it combines versatility and value the best. Thankfully, new bottles are slowly arriving—like this competitively priced pinot gris from Zinck. It offers all of the region’s signature pinot gris touches—honey, vanilla, apples—but finishes with a clean acid bite that makes it a great complement to Indian food.

BS Rosé 2010

BS Rosé 2010
BC, $20 (BC), $25.95 (AB)

While the name may at first appear to be a dangerous exercise in truthful advertising, on closer inspection, it turns out “BS” refers to the initials of world-class, ex-Road 13 winemaker Michael Bartier and international wine guru David Scholefield. With such a pedigree, there are a lot of expectations on this new venture. Luckily, their opening salvo, a Rosé, doesn’t disappoint. Made of 100% gamay, it has the strawberry notes everyone seems to covet in BC Rosé but the dry style is reminiscent of Spanish or Southern French Rosés—making it more compelling than most and a perfect foil to pan-seared steelhead.

Available in Vancouver at select private stores such as Marquis Wine Cellars, Everything Wine North Vancouver and Firefly Wines and Ales; as well as online at Available very shortly in Alberta, email for details.

Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007

Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007
France, $60
We’re singing the praises of the Mourvèdre, a grape that’s been making a name for itself under a variety of monikers (Monastrell in Spain, Mataro in Australia). But as great-and affordable-as it is as a solo performer, it arguably reaches its highest expression as a team player in France’s Rhone region. This bottling is rare in that it is has a very high (30%) percentage of Mourvèdre for a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It creates a blockbuster of a wine with layer after layer of coffee, spice and black fruit flavours. It’s still a pretty tight little number so if you’re going to drink now it could use at least an hour of decanting. Or secret it away for 12 years and see it emerge beautifully intact, yet mellowed. I know-buy two and try it both ways.

Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2008

Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2008
BC, $17.99
Time and time again I hear consumers say that while they’re fans of Okanagan wines, they’re not fans of the perpetual $25+ price tag that so many come with-especially when solid offerings from Chile and Argentina often arrive in the West with seriously lower price points. This is why you should immediately go source a bottle of Tinhorn Creek’s 2008 Cabernet Franc. It’s arguably the region’s finest expression of this tricky grape and at $17.99 it’s the undisputed best deal in Okanagan wines. Winemaker Sandra Oldfield has conjured a bite of peppery cherries with notes of oak and vanilla and enough tannins to stand up to grilled lamb or even a smoky chili.