Monthly Archives: May 2012

Haywire Rosé 2010

Haywire Rosé 2010
BC, $19

To bastardize Animal Farm, “All rosés are equal, but some are more equal than others”. Which is to say that in the Okanagan we’re blessed with an extremely high caliber of rosés and they’re the best-priced genre to boot. But that doesn’t mean a few don’t bear down and sprint ahead of the pack once in a while. Case in point is the 2010 from Haywire. For starters, it’s 100% gamay noir, not the cast off unripe cabernet and merlot some folks use. It results in a vibrant, lively wine that balances its ample cherry, cranberry and raspberry notes with a solid dose of acidity which keeps the result from being cloying.

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Le Vieux Pin Pinot Noir 2007

Le Vieux Pin Pinot Noir 2007
Okanagan, $45.00

Last night, a friend came over for a casual barbecue and significantly lifted the sophistication of dinner by bringing a bottle of Le Vieux Pin’s 2007 Pinot Noir. We cooled it just slightly, then sat outside enjoying its muscular dark fruit and cola flavours that had no problem standing up to a slow-roasted pork shoulder. But it was a bittersweet moment as the winery has decided the 2008 vintage will be their last. They’ve indicated that they believe Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet franc are the future of their corner of the Okanagan (the cynic in me notes that the pinot had such low yields—1.4 tonnes/acre compared to 2.75 for their current merlot—that they couldn’t make economic sense continuing with the heartbreak grape). There’s still some 2007 available from the winery, and as for the swan song 2008 vintage (which I haven’t tasted)—I’d consider snagging it if only because soon it won’t be an option.

Township 7 Syrah 2009

Township 7 Syrah 2009
B.C., $25

Cassoulet was born to go with a hearty Rhone red, and BC’s Township 7 does one of the best interpretations of a French Cote-Rotie with their Syrah. The secret is to co-ferment it with a small amount (8%) of the white grape viognier, which gives lovely aromatics on the nose and lightens the palate just a tad to soften the leathery and cooked meat notes from the Syrah. It’s a wine that’s both elegant and muscular (and under $30—bonus.)

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2010

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2010
B.C., $29.99

Tantalus has been making some great wines the last few years. Their pinot noir gets better each vintage, but it’s their Riesling—easily one of the Okanagan’s best—that’s a perfect match for chinois prawns (gewurztraminer is the most classic match but I don’t think there is a gewürztraminer in the Okanagan as good as this wine).

Antica Chardonnay 2009

Antica Chardonnay 2009
California, $39.99

It’s tough to say which attracts people’s ire more these days—Stanley Cup rioters or California Chardonnay. The wine cognoscenti love to take a $20 bottle of oaky California Chard and then damn it for not having the finesse of an $80 Puligny-Motrachet. And while our southern neighbours do occasionally go overboard on oak and buttery flavours, when they show restraint the result can be a magical wine at a far lower price point than white Burgundy offers. Case in point: this $40 wine from Antica, the famed Antinori family’s winery in Napa’s Atlas Peak region. It sees only 30% new oak and has creamy warmth without being cloying. A colleague said it reminded him of soft lemon curd—a description that highlights its blend of bracing acid and softness.

Almansa Laya 2009

Almansa Laya 2009
Spain, $14

Southern Spain has become a go-to spot as of late for muscular reds that are easy on the wallet. The hot plains produce big, ripe wines but both the Monastrell (Mouvedre) and Garnacha (Grenache) can take the heat, and if they’re tamed by a bit of oak aging, they can be brought under control. This bottling from Almansa is big and spicy and just a bit hot in the mouth but it is easy to drink on it’s own and has nice espresso and licorice notes.

 

Chapoutier Banyuls 2007

Chapoutier Banyuls 2007
France, $30

Chapoutier’s stellar list of wines is among the best in France with the prestige bottlings fetching prices well into the hundreds. So why is it their excellent desert wine from the Pyrenees such bargain? It’s because the market for desert wines is as soft as vicuna. But in tragedy lies opportunity – for you to buy and drink this wonderful grenache that’s not too sweet but has a great raisin, spice and plum profile.