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TASTING NOTES: A grab-bag of weekend wines
This week, possibly my favourite kind of column. A handful of recently-tried wines I’ve been itching to share that have nothing in common with one another except the fact that I can’t stop thinking about ‘em. Go out on a limb and give one or two a whirl this weekend!
Kuheiji 2011 Junmai Daiginjo – Human | Nagoya, Japan | $69.99 | ThatsLifeGourmet.com/Restaurants
I’m really not a sake guy. It’s the result of a limited comprehension of the stuff combined with my frustration of the lack of acidity to my western wine palate. I recently tried this one though, and everything changed. The producer has more of a shared “western” wine philosophy and steers his sakes in that direction; vintage-specific, lively acidity and abundant, fresh flavours. This is a pricey bottle that’s a rarity around town, so you’ll have to contact their importer to nab one, or grab yourself a glass at places like Blue Water Café or Kingyo. A slew of grapefruit will jump out at you, with Gewürztraminer-esque lychee in the mid-palate and then some fresh licorice-y anise on the finish. A game-changer for me.
JoieFarm 2011 ‘En Famille’ Reserve Chardonnay | Okanagan Valley, BC | $29.90 | Private Stores/Winery Direct
When I recently tasted this wine with proprietor Michael Dinn, I shed any aspect of a poker face in favour of blurting out, “This is the best Chardonnay JoieFarm has ever made!” Weeks later, I stand by those words. Tropical off the bat, with papaya and mango erupting everywhere, followed by lemongrass, honey crisp apple, starfruit and so much more. The French oak is perfectly integrated, there’s incredible length, and just as those layers keep building, there’s a fresh, flinty finish that buoys it all wonderfully. I know I’m gushing, but I truly believe they’ve knocked it out of the park with this one.
Stoneboat Piano Brut | Okanagan Valley, BC | $24.90 | Private Stores/Winery Direct
A wine that’s just as pretty as its package. Oliver’s Martiniuk family has come out with another winner in this fizzy blend of Pinot Blanc and Müller Thurgau, an aromatic Swiss cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale. The result is a celebratory, everyday sparkler that combines the first bite of a Granny Smith apple with a drenching of lemonade and fresh lime. Next time you have friends over, pop this bottle first.
Domaine de la Pépière 2011 Muscadet Sur Lie | Loire Valley, France | $27-ish | Private Wine Stores
Muscadet wines are always citrusy, full of minerality and crisp; this guy definitely following suit. The kicker with this one is once the fermentation has taken place, the spent residual yeast that sits at the bottom of the tank is left there for months (rather than being filtered out), elements of which delicately seep back through the wine. The result is a ribbon of richness from start to finish, tying together lemon, lime leaf, oyster shell and more mineral notes. Seafood, seafood, seafood.
La Posta 2011 ‘Cocina’ Tinto | Mendoza, Argentina | $17.99 | BC Liquor Stores
My palate always perks up when an Argentinian red wine strays from the ultra-common composition of 100 per cent Malbec. This hearty number blends in some Syrah and Bonarda as well, resulting in a few more layers of texture, complexity and flavor. Perfumed Italian plums waft from the glass, then continue through your first sips along with a chocolate-vanilla swirl and fresh blackberries sailing through. The acidity here is good and lofty, with some dusty tannins keeping everything in place. A good bite of extra-dark chocolate on the finish will keep you coming back for more.
As always, if you’re having trouble tracking something down, find me via KurtisKolt.com or Tweet me @KurtisKolt