Monthly Archives: July 2013

Jose Maria Da Fonseca Periquita 2010


Portugal, $10

I’m pretty skeptical these days about aging estimates that come with wine reviews–mine included, I suppose. In 1970, you could taste the most recent release of Latour and based on past vintages and the tannic structure of the wine, put out a reasonable estimate as to when the wine would hit its peak. But my experience of tasting the 2009 and 2010 vintages(both great) of Bordeaux leave me completely puzzled as to how the wines will age, given that many of them are drinking so well right out of the gate. And by so well, I don’t mean they taste like classic Bordeaux. Many of them taste like new world wine–the very best new world wine–and have alcohol levels that likewise have more in common with Napa than 1970’s Bordeaux. So who knows how they’ll age?

The entire crapshoot of aging hit home last week when I happened upon a bottle of 2005 Periquita that had been overlooked in Vancouver Magazine’s wine room. The label has long been synonymous with bargain wine and so years after years it was passed over for more expensive, frankly classier wines until I came along. And thank God I did because if I’ve had a bigger treat with a under $10 wine in the last decade I don’t remember it. The wine’s signature earthy/gravelly bite had faded, leaving some nice, still vibrant fruit and a smooth medium length finish. So while we try and figure this aging business, do me a favour–plunk down $10 on the most recent vintage of Periquita and hide it away somewhere for a few years. What’s the worst that could happen?

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El Petite Bonhomme Blanco 2012

Jeffalin Aligote

Spain, $15

Will someone please tell what it means when someone call a bottle perfect “patio wine”? Is the idea that, as you’re in the warm outdoors, it’s thirst–quenching? I hate to break it to you, but wine is a terrible thirst quencher. More often I think it means you’ll be having a grand old time relaxing in the open air, so it matters much less what’s in your glass–a classic backhanded compliment.

This week’s wine, notwithstanding that it’s a fresh white, is a perfect basement suite wine, meaning that it so pleasing that I don’t have to be in some place nice in order to enjoy it. It’s a new offering from Montreal Sommelier Nathalie Bonhomme, whose red version has been around for a few years and is always solid. This wine is a Verdejo from Rueda–a classic Spanish combo and one I wish they’d have put on the front label. But once it’s in the glass it’s great fun–vibrant, slightly peachy and floral but not cloying. And at $15, it’s good enough to drink anywhere you damn well please.

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Jeffalin Aligoté 2008

Jeffalin Aligote

France, $19

Classic white Burgundy–by which I mean Corton–Charlamagne‚ Meursault‚ Montrachet–is not my first choice for a summer wine. It’s too rich for the ice bucket and it costs too much to let me relax on a patio when it’s around. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the region entirely when the weather gets balmy. There’s Chablis, which at premier cru level and below is a great summer wine, although the price is still rarified. There’s the Sauvignon Blanc–based St. Bris, but it’s tough to find. And then there’s Aligoté, the white–headed stepchild of Burgundy. The Aligoté grape is like Chardonnay’s little brother: it’s lighter, it usually has more acid and it not meant for aging–all of which make it perfect for summer. This Jaffelin is widely available–it likely the only Aligoté you’ll be able to track down. Don’t expect the easy, approachable tropical fruits of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc–from start to finish this wine is resolutely old world with restrained palate of citrus and green melon and a solid core of acidity. It’s lively and unique and, at under $20, a great opportunity to explore the uniqueness of Burgundy without cashing in your kids’ RESPs..

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Terravista Fandango 2011

Terravista Fandango 2011

BC, $25
If I’m being painfully honest here, this week’s wine is exactly the type of wine that I’d normally breeze by—it’s a $25 Okanagan white with a “playful”label and a “fun” name. But there are a few reasons
I didn’t.

Firstly, my pal Kurtis Kolt said it was good. Secondly the varietals used—Albarino and Verdejo—are two of my faves from Spain and not only are they rarely grown in BC as far as I know, they’re rarely blended together—not just here, but anywhere in the world. Google “Albarino Verdejo blend“ and this wine is the only one that comes up. Thirdly, the wine comes from Senka and Bob Tenant, the duo who founded Black Hills winery back in the day and made Note Bene into what was once upon a time the West’s first cult wine. And I am much the richer for having tried it.

The wine addresses the number one complaint many have about albarino—it’s bracing acidity—by pairing it with the softer more fruit driven verdejo and the result is a wine that still retains a balance that skews towards food but can also stand alone as aperitif. A welcome break from the Okanagan’s endless march of Pinot Gris.

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