Comments on my notes

(63 comments on 48 notes)

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Red
2014 Township 7 Black Dog Okanagan Valley VQA Red Blend
A very decent and balanced red blend based, I think, on cabernet, but the community price shown here is surprising. Tasted more like $25 than almost $40.
  • Canoehead commented:

    6/6/19, 7:50 AM - It’s probably $40 Canadian on the Cellartracker site. Many Canadian users of CT don’t convert their price paid into USD. Which is about $32 US. Lots of oak exposure on this one. Try the 2015 if you can. Very good effort.

Red
2014 John Anthony Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
4/19/2019 - jfaulk Likes this wine:
91 points
This is a great QPR cab I found recently at $52. Double decanted and poured...Upfront you catch a whiff of cherry and tobacco. Taste of luscious cassis & berry followed by mellow oak. Slightly acidic & tangy. The structure is there. A unique and well made Cabernet. Great weekend or dinner find!
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/20/19, 6:08 PM - Your TN seems very positive on the wine but you rate it “flawed”. Is there something we’re missing in your assessment?

Red
2013 Road 13 Fifth Element Okanagan Valley VQA Red Blend
3/9/2019 - darrenv Likes this wine:
92 points
Beautiful. Big dose of plummy merlot. Fruity, but notes of tobacco, cedar, leather. I'm not sure about hanging onto this too long. It's drinking very well right now. Like a Nota Bene in the bargain bin.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/11/19, 11:49 AM - I agree that this is definitely in its peak form and should be consumed sooner than later. Two more bottles in my world!

Red
2014 Burrowing Owl Meritage Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
black fruit and leather and some nutmeg.
we aired with an electronic aerator. so drank right away. seemed to need a bit more air and as the hour progressed we saw a nice change and maturity.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/8/19, 4:33 PM - Spot on tasting note. Definitely needs a couple of hours in the decanter or a couple of years more in the cellar!

Red
2015 Noble Ridge Meritage Reserve Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
3/3/2019 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
PNP, dark ruby in the glass. Aromatic spice and fruit. Definitely a little vanilla and tannic bite on the palate but the depth of dark red fruit and touch of herbaceousness are dominant. Really a delight. Med+ finish with a tad alcoholic heat but good concentration and complexity. Well done for CAD40.
  • Canoehead commented:

    3/5/19, 9:25 AM - Nota Bene, albeit the 2016, was in the same blind tasting in Nov. it did not impress or even suggest potential. This NR Rsv Meritage is the real deal and you have one in your six-pack!

Red
2014 Poggio al Tesoro Bolgheri Superiore il seggio Red Bordeaux Blend
2/14/2019 - Grape_ape wrote:
couldn't keep my hands off these.. wish I bought more
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/14/19, 5:20 PM - Can you share more specifics? We're about to crack our first six-pack and want to know estimated decant time - one to two hours, maybe? Did you pair yours with anything ideal?

  • Canoehead commented:

    2/27/19, 10:45 AM - Thank you. Very helpful follow up. Will definitely decant for a couple of hours and report on the outcome.

Red
2014 Black Hills Estate Syrah Okanagan Valley VQA
2/20/2019 - RARevino wrote:
okanagan cherry, very nicely developed body with a hint of tobacco, rich soil, good balanced tannins from front to back
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/21/19, 10:43 AM - I echo your tasting note. The '14 BH Syrah is a delight.

Red
2014 Denner Sacred Burro Paso Robles Willow Creek District Carignan
2/18/2019 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
95 points
This is wine. This is very good wine. It’s not trying to be something from elsewhere. It’s not trying to be defined by its vinification. It’s not Oak and it’s not Jam. It represents where it comes from. What it’s made of rather than how it’s made. It’s components are in balance. It has fruit, tannins, acid, and alcohol and all seamlessly integrated. A delight to drink, savour and pair with simple fare. Tonight lamb stew from scratch. This is very good wine. Sacred? Maybe Ethereal. Burro? More like vigilant and persistent. This is wine.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/18/19, 12:03 PM - Bought at the winery in Paso Robles during our 2017 road trip. Stellar stuff. We also purchased their Mother of Exiles Bordeaux blend and will wait another year or two before opening that monster. I'll open it for one of our future tastings.

Red
2012 Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique Okanagan Valley VQA
2/17/2019 - ajbergren wrote:
92 points
Rich ruby red with very high optical density and medium specular reflectivity. Aromas mixed dark and red fruits with a wet gravel infused floral lift. Some forest floor and savory notes under the fruit, with a strong sea-side iodine aroma with spicy black pepper lingering underneath. Really mouthwatering nose, lots of appeal. The palate is medium to full bodied with medium plus acidity and some tannic bite on the back end. The texture ends up being a porous-grained but even nature, with good density and concentration, but some rustic notes in the details. Flavours of mixed berries on the attack, with some forest meadow and a savory kick of spice. The midpalate brings in more, with stone and some oak flavours contributing on top of the fruit. The flavours are intense and there is decent complexity. Less primary thought, showing the fruit as an even contributor to the spices and other notes. The finish is medium in length, with a dry character and light flavours of raw meat and charred leather.

Really nice, enjoyable wine here. Not completely knit together, I suspect this will improve in the cellar, but still quite delicious at this time. A great experience with depth and character driving the wine. Made in a very old-world style, this is like Northern Rhone in Canada! Well balanced and showing classic varietal characteristics, this is great Syrah!
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/17/19, 5:28 PM - I agree with KJ, this is a terrific TN. This is a fantastic wine and has great potential for another 5-7 years. Great structure and complexity. One of our fave BC Syrahs.

  • Canoehead commented:

    2/18/19, 12:17 AM - KJ - I recommend Van Westen on Naramata Bench & Orofino in Similkameen. Both portfolios, red & white are stellar for quality & price. I’m waiting to see whether Peller leaves Black Hills autonomous or not.

Red
2015 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
2/10/2019 - Francois Le Mouel Likes this wine:
92 points
Atypical for a Nota Bene, more aromatic than other vintages with geranium notes that I don't usually get (not sure how much I like that). Soft tannins, balanced and fresh. Enjoy now or cellar for 8-10+ years.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/11/19, 4:29 PM - Have any of you tried the Black Hills Pinot Noir? We haven't yet but curious. Just got back from the Anderson Valley in Northern California. Witching Stick & Lichen Estate are two wonderful producers of USD40-50 Pinots. I haven't figured out the hype surrounding Martin's Lane ever since it won some International Pinot competition a few years back... And yes, the '15 Nota Bene is going to have a number of years ahead of it. The 2011 has been terrific lately and that was a challenging year..

  • Canoehead commented:

    2/11/19, 7:25 PM - Y, the ML 2011 Pinot Noir won a bizarre award at the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards competition in London for Best Pinot under £15 but the wine was never available directly to the public - only MH club members and select restaurants. Even members complained that the wine was never offered below CA$30 after discounts & pre-tax.

  • Canoehead commented:

    2/11/19, 7:29 PM - There are always new exciting reds in the province. We just opened one of our 2013 Blind Creek Consensus for wine friends in Silicon Valley and they were blown away by its quality and then I told them the price in USD - <35 and they wanted to know where they could buy it. Sorry, kids, all sold out but we have four more in the cellar. The 2015 shows similar potential.

  • Canoehead commented:

    2/11/19, 10:53 PM - Darren, just doing my part as a proud BC wine enthusiast and sharing the good drop with anyone I can.

Red
2015 Black Hills Estate Syrah Okanagan Valley VQA
1/22/2019 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Same initial off-putting nose that darrenv cites in his TN. Took a little while for the fruit, meat & pepper to surface. Still a youngun’ with good potential. Perfect with brisket and beans.
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/24/19, 9:13 PM - Sadly, I haven’t had any of the amphora wines from LS. We should put the Syrah in the next tasting of that variety.

Red
2015 Descendientes de José Palacios Bierzo Pétalos Mencía
1/6/2019 - sshayfin wrote:
88 points
appearance: med ruby
nose: med + intense aromas of: blackberry, black currant, ripe redberries, ripe red cherry, lavander, chocolate, coffee, smoke, tobacco, tar, earth, leather, nutmeg, eucalyptus.
developing
palate:
dry
med + acidity
high alcohol
med + tannins
med + body
med finish
med + intense flavors of blackberry, black currant, cedar, eucalyptus, tobbaco, tar, flint, meaty.
quality: outstanding
readiness for drinking: can drink now, but has potential for further aging
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/6/19, 11:11 AM - Very good TN detail however your Quality assessment of "outstanding" and your rating of 88 seems to be a bit of a disconnect. All due respect, but what elements were lacking for this wine not to achieve a mid-90s rating if the quality is outstanding?

Red
2014 Mission Hill Oculus Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
Very impressive as well (drank it with Le Vieux Pin Cabernet Franc 2015). The Oculus tasted more like a very high quality Napa Valley Cab than an Okanagan wine. Super young, vigorous, rich and deep...with a sweet oaky finish. The acidity is doing a great job at keeping the wine fresh and not heavy. A great treat that will age very well over the next 15 years.
  • Canoehead commented:

    1/2/19, 4:38 PM - Bonne Année, Francois! two terrific tasting notes to kick off the new year. I'm not surprised at your takeaways and rating of the '14 Oculus. We tasted (& judged) it blind at the Annual BC Iconic Reds Competition held this past November in Vancouver alongside 19 other premium BC reds. When the labels were revealed to coincide with the bottles poured - the Oculus ended up being my No. 2 wine of the evening after a very impressive CedarCreek 2014 The Last Word. Other impressive wines from that evening were the Blind Creek Collective 2015 Consensus and the Road 13 2016 Fifth Element. You should really try to make out this way in mid-November for the next Icon Red Competition. Its a blast!

    à votre santé,

    John

  • Canoehead commented:

    1/2/19, 6:19 PM - I agree, Darren. The competition was blind to price and label but I would definitely buy higher end Italians such as Oreno or WA state big red blends. The Last Word from CC and the Blind Creek Consensus are rock stars.

  • Canoehead commented:

    1/6/19, 10:33 AM - Francois et Darren,
    Apologies fellow wine friends, we have house guests this weekend and I was offline & out-of-my-mind! So here are a collective number of responses & comments:
    BC Iconic Red Competition is open to the public but maxxes out at 108 people who are willing to pony up $89/pp (with a $20 purchase credit towards any of the wines in the competition - case discounts of 5% are also offered). It is held usually in the second week of November at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver and is sponsored by Sutton Place Wine Merchants. It is a double blind tasting, only Simon Wosk, the organizer knows which wines are in which "numbered" bottles. There is an appy break in the middle and a little bubbly on offer to refresh the palate. It is both professionally rigourous and a communal blast to taste, albeit quite young, some of BC's best premium reds. I get an email notification from Simon in early October and will definitely give both of you a heads up because tickets sell out fast!

  • Canoehead commented:

    1/6/19, 10:47 AM - CedarCreek 2014 The Last Word
    Francois, I stand by my recommendation on this wine. It is has big bones and terrific depth and very promising ageing potential. Opening a bottle now will require a solid 2+ hour decant with some big aggressive swirls for aeration (do not put thru an aerator - show this wine some respect). The magnums will last 12-15 years easy but you'll be tempted to open with good friends over rare standing rib roast and all the trimmings, including Yorkshire Pudding (just had this whole spread last weekend - with two vintages of the Blind Creek Consensus - But I digress!). Feel confident that The Last Word was a solid buy.

  • Canoehead commented:

    1/6/19, 10:50 AM - Totally support the Go Fund Francois campaign. Anything to get him back out here to help make a dent in the cellar. I will see if I can get my hands on some of the LVP Cab Franc....

Red
2015 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT Sangiovese
12/13/2018 - maxima wrote:
95 points
Bu ce midi en succ dans le back store avec les conseillers et
3 autres clients 4 vins de l’arrivage Italiens.
Antinori Guado al Tasso 2015, Marchesi Antinori Tignanello 2015,
Flaccianello della Pieve Fontodi Colli Toscana 2015 et
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri 2015.
Les 4 vins étaient en carafe depuis le matin donc un bon 3 heures.
4 très beaux vins, ça c’est certain,
Tous ont eu une légère préférence pour le Tignanelllo sauf moi,
le Flaccianelli ma soufflé. Guado al Tasso 3ième et ensuite Sassicaia trop ouvert et amère en ce moment.
Quel beau vin complet et complexe.
Beaucoup de fruits mais une belle structure et des tannins fins et bien enrobés. C'est long et c'est bon.
Finale tout en douceur sur des relents de minéraux.
Excellent. Mon préféré donc 3 pour la cave!
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/13/18, 3:18 PM - Maxima, what a terrific side-by-side tasting of some young, muscular supertuscans! I like how the Sassicaia, WS's Top Wine in 2018, is in the bottom rung for this round. I will warn you that Flaccianellos are notorious for showing off early and then "shutting down" for a few years until they come back around. Our 2008's are just waking up from their cellar nap... Next time definitely include Sette Ponti's Oreno in the tasting mix!

Red
2015 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert Syrah
11/6/2018 - maxima wrote:
93 points
Bu en succ.
Un vin immense, un aubaine à ce prix!
Un autre example de la grandeur de 2015 en Rhone Nord...6 bouteilles en cave et je me retiens!
Le vin était en carafe depuis le matin, donc un bon 4 heures.
Un nez dense et pure sur les cerises et les mures avec
de la sauge et de la fumée avec un brin d'olive et de viande.
En bouche, de la soie et fort complexe.
Des mures, du bacon, du lard et un peu de tapenade sur un fond florale.
Aucune lourdeur, une belle impression de fraicheur et de minéraux.
Les tannins sont fins t la finale hyper
longue et veloutée, rien n'accroche.
Un vin qui démontre une belle tension et un bel équilibre.
Superbe en ce moment et jusqu'ou il ira...on pourra le suivre!
PS: You heard it here first...AGAIN!
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/6/18, 10:10 AM - Maxima, excellente note de dégustation. certainement du bacon, du saindoux et de la tapenade
    I can’t wait to open our first bottle this holiday season - a long decant, I trust.

Red
2013 Church & State Wines Quintessential Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
12/1/2018 - darrenv Likes this wine:
90 points
Nice nose, fragrant, I could tell there was more Petit Verdot. Decent mouthfeel, lots of dark fruit and even after an hour still tannic. I think in three more years this will be great.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/4/18, 11:29 AM - we definitely have to have a Quintessential vertical. I have singles of 07, 08 & 09

Red
2015 Township 7 Reserve 7 Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
11/26/2018 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Decanted 30 mins ahead of a tasting party. Good complexity to the nose - dark red fruits and some spice. Medium+ body. Tannins still a tad grippy but wonderful with charcuterie and cheese board. VG value.
  • Canoehead commented:

    11/27/18, 9:59 AM - One of our friends is a member and I split an order with her earlier this year. The Reserve 7 was so well received we’re gonna put it in the premium six-pack once I get the other allocations.

Red
2012 Thirty Bench Cabernet Sauvignon Small Lot Thirty Bench Vineyard Beamsville Bench VQA
11/23/2018 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Last bottle and the best yet. This is really coming into its own; so well-balanced and good complexity. Tasted alongside a 2013 Allegrini Amarone and this was preferred by the whole group. Good depth of fruit that is starting to move into tertiary with some dried dark red fruits and fig. Fine tannins. Really delightful. Definitely in its window now.
  • Canoehead commented:

    11/27/18, 9:57 AM - I couldn’t be more serious. The Allegrini was a bit atypical. It did not have either the unctuous weight or the classic depth of raisins and balsamic that Amarone tends to be. Also the 30 Bench was spot on!

Red
2005 Torbreck RunRig Barossa Valley Shiraz Blend, Syrah
11/10/2018 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
98 points
Standout of a Syrah blind tasting evening. Drinking beautifully right now. Massive nose of dried and stewed dark red fruits along with cedar, pepper and licorice. Lots of depth and complexity on the palate. Briliant med+ body. Fine tannins and surprising freshness for a 14 yr old wine. No jammy or flabbiness here. Closing in on perfect and a fraction of the price vs. Grange or Hill of Grace.
  • Canoehead commented:

    11/12/18, 10:53 AM - You're correct, we had the 2004. It appears I entered my two bottles under 2005 because they have been wrapped ever since purchase at the cellar door in Barossa. We had also purchased two bottles of the 2005 Descendant at the time (unwrapped). Then when I joined CT and entered my inventory I must have thought the Runrigs were 2005 as well. I've now corrected that in CT.

Red
2012 Van Westen Vineyards V Okanagan Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
6/4/2018 - jwmarkvoort Likes this wine:
92 points
Wonderful smooth PN.
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/23/18, 4:20 PM - The Van Westen V is a Bordeaux-style red blend (Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Malbec & Petit Verdot). Maybe you're referring to the "VD" Pinot Noir that Rob collaborated with Tom DiBello on?

Red
2015 Patterson Cellars BDX Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
10/20/2018 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Ready to please meritage. Dark red fruits, spice and vanilla on both nose and palate. Ripe fine tannins, alcohol and acidity all in balance. Just never enters the complexity zone. But a perfect weeknight red. Good value.
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/23/18, 4:00 PM - Hey D - was that the event at Vessel? Did he have any favourite wines of late?

Red
2013 Cecchi Chianti Classico Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
9/10/2018 - Canoehead Does not like this wine:
87 points
I would expect more from a CC Riserva from a pretty good vintage. Old world style, muted dried fruit on the nose and the palate. Brick red with traces of a orange rim. Acid is dropping out ahead of the tannin and the fruit. Did wake up a bit with food - parm-regg, olives, marinara pasta. Otherwise, quite underwhelming. May be braising with the last bottle.
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/3/18, 2:19 PM - Maybe I've taken a break in writing about wine but definitely not stopping the consumption of the juice! Have just returned from France trip and there was plenty to sample at really affordable prices - grocery shelf Crozes Hermitage (2016) for just 9 euros and it was terrific! I'll get back on the TN horse very soon! I really want to hear about the Francois tasting...

Red
2015 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina Red Rhone Blend
11/3/2017 - shadow wrote:
97 points
Nose is a rich decadent vapor that teases my taste buds in anticipation.
First sip, like a briney stew of meat seared over an coal fire.
Second sip, still black and brisk, the tannin holds a touch of acid in check while saliva washes my palate free.
Watery like a thin Burg, intense like a single malt.
This is not panty remover, this is sit by the fire and listen to some Pink F with the lights down low to allow the music and wine fight it out.
  • Canoehead commented:

    9/28/18, 8:27 AM - VG TN! Just got our first case and will dig out the PF this coming winter. A votre sante!

Red
2003 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend
Slightly more interesting than my last bottle. You can tell it comes from a very hot vintage, the acidity level is rather low. All in all this is an excellent Bordeaux, but perhaps not very typical of Pessac-Leognan. Drink or hold, but not sure this will improve more.
  • Canoehead commented:

    7/8/18, 1:19 PM - Coincidentally, last night we had a 2003 Bordeaux as well. We opened (BYO'd to local Keg that has a serious sommelier on staff!) a 2003 Ducru Beaucaillou and while we found the wine a true delight now it is definitely at its peak and the acidity was low to begin with and with all the tertiary fruit we felt it may begin to disintegrate in a few years. It was a damn hot year... hopefully you're staying cool in stifling Quebec!

  • Canoehead commented:

    7/8/18, 4:40 PM - Do you know your Sep dates yet for Victoria? We have a trip tentatively booked for NYC in the middle of the month so hopefully we don’t miss you.

  • Canoehead commented:

    7/8/18, 6:10 PM - Very good. We should be back by the 19th. Would love to host you and Darren for a tasting evening one of those nights. Let us know when your dates are firmed up.

  • Canoehead commented:

    9/12/18, 5:56 PM - Francois, I’m really sad that I will miss the opportunity to share wines with you and DV. I will be dropping off a bottle for you to pop&pour in my absence. I’ll be there in spirit and definitely want to meet next time you’re on the Island or I’m in Old Hochelaga! A votre sante et a bientot! - John

Red
2015 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
9/2/2018 - Canoehead wrote:
89 points
This Zin-dominant field blend has been our go-to Zin for years. However, the price point has become disconnected from what use to be good QPR in the bottle. No question this is a well-made blend that has good balance between the elegant fruit, acidity, alcohol and tannins (thanks to Petite Sirah?). In most years, the Lytton red has had cellaring potential. The winery is partially responsible for the price increase these past few years but sadly in B.C. our liquor board has continued to raise the price. The 2015 retails for just over 80CAD after-tax which is about 61USD. That’s almost twice the average price in US! It’s time we research alternatives to the Lytton. Any suggestions?
  • Canoehead commented:

    9/5/18, 11:36 PM - It’s not whether the currency is weak. I’ve normalized the currency difference. The fact is that the duties and the taxes are prohibitively higher in this province which starts to make Ridge, and Turley for that matter (2015 versions of Juveniles and Old Vine are approx 45USD up here) over-priced for what’s in the bottle.

Red
2013 Cecchi Chianti Classico Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
Ripe nose - with intriguing meaty aromas.

Round & richly textured, with intense blue & blackberry flavors.

Fresh notes of licorice & eucalyptus with a long finish.
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/22/18, 10:59 PM - KJ, why only 86 when your TN seems relatively positive? Is it because it’s too new world for a typically old world Chianti producer?

Red
2015 Black Hills Estate Syrah Okanagan Valley VQA
7/28/2018 - darrenv Likes this wine:
91 points
Gave it an hour, something on the nose was a bit weird, but it blew off after a while. Nice and fruity, nice peppery finish. Decent syrah that might get better with a year or two, but good to drink now. $48 with tax makes me think more of some $28 BC syrah (Orofino Scout Vineyard)...
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/3/18, 9:43 AM - Agreed, D. This '15 Syrah will be lovely in a couple of years. In the meantime source and drink as much Orofino Syrah for 2/3 the price!

  • Canoehead commented:

    8/4/18, 10:22 AM - The Strath had the ‘15 Daydreamer Syrah. Maybe they’ll bring in the ‘16 vintage.

Red
2013 Marchesi Mazzei Chianti Classico Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend, Sangiovese
Italian Tasting (San Diego Wine Co.): 92% Sangiovese, 8% Malvasia Nera and Colorino (vines 12-30 yrs old) from 50 different estate parcels with Alberese & Galestro (limestone) soils @ 722 - 1,804 ft above sea level; Fermented @ 26-28° C for 15-18 days, then aged 20 mos in small FR oak barrels (225 & 500 lt / 60% new); Bottled June 2016, released March 2017.

N: LM body; LOVELY frt met by a puckerish astringency that NEVER loses touch with the initial frt as it slowly, SEAMLESSLY morphs into a very LONG, BALANCED finish with a tangy/swtness & OCCASIONAL notes of bitterness to the very, VERY fine tannins. Needs/DESERVES through '19, then EASILY making its 10th & _ more. SUPERBLY done! 13.7% ABV; My EXC. 95 pts, Platinum, & Best Red Chianti @ '17 Decanter World Wine Awards, 95 pts WS, 94 WA, 92 Suckling, 91 ea Falstaff Magazine, WE, Vinous, & ErGentili, and 90 Luca Gardini! [This vendor's $39.99 is (uncharacteristically) in the bottom half of some fairly wide-ranging wine-searcher listings.]
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/3/18, 9:26 AM - Very helpful review SRH. We've been waiting for this vintage to be released in the BC market and the price up here will be close to USD50. As for the wide price range on WineSearcher, I suspect some retailers are entering the entry-level Chianti Classico under the Gran Selezione title and even loading the image from that mass-produced bottle.

Red
2006 Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon Okanagan Valley VQA
7/28/2018 - RARevino wrote:
very nice wine. at its peak. JP told me so.
  • Canoehead commented:

    8/3/18, 9:17 AM - This is definitely in its drinking window. This is from a production period where BOV over-delivered on price. RR was generous enough to offer me a glass. Thank you!

Red
2015 Descendientes de José Palacios Bierzo Pétalos Mencía
Other Reds (Vintage Wines Ltd., San Diego, CA): N: Fragrant flowers, berries, poss smoke

P: Med body; Nice frt met by some puckerish astringency which SLOWLY morphs into a LONG, very, VERY slightly astringent finish with hints of swtness. NEEDS into if not through '19, then drinking for 3 yrs more. My VG/VG+. 93 pts Guia Repsol, 92+ WA, 92 Suckling, 90 WS, 85 @ The Decanter World Wine Awards, & 15.5/20 El Mundo Vino. [This vendor's $18.95 puts it in the middle of the 2nd quartile of wine-searcher's LARGE listing.]
  • Canoehead commented:

    6/21/18, 11:52 AM - SRH, very helpful note. Up here in BC Canada this runs the equivalent of USD32 after taxes almost two bottles worth in San Diego! Will definitely lay it down through 2019 - its in angular chunks right now.

Red
2010 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia Red Bordeaux Blend
4/18/2018 - Bam_Man wrote:
90 points
Powerful, complex and beautiful on the nose, offering alluring scents of crushed dark fruits, Tuscan earth, violets and spice. Medium-to-full bodied, but sadly, not nearly as impressive on the palate. Its blackberry and dark currant fruit seemed to lack the depth and presence that one expects from a Sassicaia. Polished, velvety tannins and a hint of spice linger on the medium finish. Not particularly long or impressive overall. Perhaps this wine has shut down in a "dumb" phase, or maybe just an "off" bottle. Will wait several years before trying one of my remaining two bottles.
50+5+13+15+7=90
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/20/18, 3:12 PM - Very helpful TN. We plan on cracking our 6-btl OWC in 2020 to sample the first bottle. I promise to give a worthy assessment at that time and see if the "giant" is rousing by then on the palate!

Red
2010 Château Cantemerle Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend
4/1/2018 - macaujames Likes this wine:
92 points
This is infanticide. Has aromas of chocolate, blackcurrants, gravel, cassis and plums. Its medium bodied caressing and supple black fruits palate has a lovely and nicely opulent middle with highish oak support. Ends long, aromatic and refreshing. 13%. I decanted this a day before and the wine was still improving during the meal. I agree this should age very well! Can be laid down for 5-10 years plus to tame the oak.
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/13/18, 12:27 PM - Dear MacauJames, it appears you've taken one for the team. Thank you for that! Yes, the Cantemerle is good value but requires patience. We plan on opening our first bottle in 2020 but you've made me even question that decision! The 2005 is tasting wonderful now.

Red
2015 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert Syrah
3/31/2018 - Oechsle Likes this wine:
92 points
Neutral wood, crisp plum, salty mineral profile with hints of green herbals. Fruit profile on the nose is clean but scare, Terroir driven scents here. Dark red fruits. Palate shows interesting profile, Metallic, saline, iodine, crisp blood, minerality. There are earthy dark red fruits trying to come forth. Expansive in the mouth. density yes but, underpinning acidity keeps it fresh and lite. Tannins there for support. When reading 97 point ratings, Best Ever Thalabert with age windows of 15+ years I don’t get it. There’s lots here to like but, this is not a fruit driven wine and as such what will this become in 10+ years? Tart, Lean Mineral? I’ve had Saint Joseph’s at the same price point with a richer denser core of fruit. Purchased as futures and enjoyed 60-70 with roasted beef…Drink over the next 6 years. Na zdrowie
Day 2 - What fruit there was evaporated, now shows tart mouth puckering acidity and the tannins are now coming on strong. Where are my Rolaids?
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/8/18, 4:43 PM - Intriguing TN. First time I've ever come across "crisp blood" as a palate descriptor but your other assessments seem to be on the money from a trade tasting I had a couple of months back. I find the 2015 is a tad backward right now. Should settle down and integrate. I found a two-hour decant has helped on previous vintages but I haven't opened my '15s as of yet. It is unfortunate that the second day tasting lacked any fruit. I'm with you, the critics are a bit too enthusiastic and aspirational for this version and this vintage in general. Could be the power of the Jaboulet "lobby", Non? Cheers!

Red
2014 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2/15/2018 - RDHudak wrote:
92 points
C: As dark as they come. N: Loads of plum, vanilla, raspberry and grape jelly. P: Big and bold, as expected. Full bodied, but carried huge amounts of fruit, vanilla and balanced tannin and acidity. F: Long and sweet with loads of dark fruit. I've had this before in a group of varietal correct Cabernet and it was a flop if you're looking for a true Napa Cab experience. As a matter of fact, I would't have even guessed it blind as a Cab. That said, I knew that Caymus is like Metallica, not a BB King concert, so we enjoyed it for what it was.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/19/18, 4:47 PM - Excellent tasting note on a mainstream yet more-and-more a mediocre wine. Concise yet thorough and a bit of humour. Well done!

Red
2008 Long Shadows Wineries Merlot Pedestal Columbia Valley
2/9/2018 - darrenv Likes this wine:
92 points
I would not have guessed this was ten years old.
It needs a 2-3 hour decant. Opened at a restaurant and needed to open up and was fine and improving, but give it at least two hours.
Blueberry, menthol, cassis on the nose (which made me confused as to whether this was really merlot!).
Still has grainy tannins and I think could go another five years easily.
Nice wine, thoroughly enjoyed it, but after sitting on it for six years and remembering the price, I don't think I'll go replace it with any effort.
  • Canoehead commented:

    2/19/18, 4:39 PM - DarrenV, a spot on TN. Better value for the money out there at half the price! Good dinner, thanks!

Red
2008 LaStella Merlot Maestoso Okanagan Valley VQA
12/30/2017 - Francois Le Mouel Likes this wine:
94 points
From a Magnum (1 of 67) Still in great shape and probably at its peak. This vintage of Maestoso always deliver the wow factor I’m looking for in a wine…I keep smelling my glass to get more of the fabulous complex aromas (stewed strawberries, spices…). You get the same intensity/type of flavours on the palate, with a long finish. Always one of my favorite wines.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/31/17, 1:15 PM - Francois, by saying the magnum format was "probably at its peak", would you suggest we open our last 750ml of '08 Maestoso sooner than later? Always looking for a "peaking" excuse to pop the cork. Also, was there a lot of sediment in the magnum? We'll definitely decant to pour the wine off the sediment.

Red
2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese
12/23/2017 - Canoehead wrote:
89 points
This bottle didn't wow anyone, including moi! Not what we were expecting. Pale ruby colour. It looked like a Pinot Noir with some age. There was already a slight tawny rim to the wine and the aroma was moving from secondaries into tertiaries. Savoury cherry and dried herbs. There is some persistent alcohol and the acidity was struggling to stay in balance. I would have sworn that this was a Barolo not a Brunello. We'll try another bottle in a few months and decant for an hour. Probably serve with a duck dish.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/28/17, 1:13 PM - I take all your points around giving this wine more time but at the core of my comments is this Brunello is atypical for what we've come to enjoy from Montalcino. There should be a depth of colour here not a paleness. The alcohol is providing most of the body. Its almost as if the oak program stripped any fruit complexity. I was given two bottles as a gift so we'll try the second in maybe a year or so. For this price point I'd personally chase down Gran Seleziones.

Red
2011 LaStella Merlot Maestoso Okanagan Valley VQA
12/18/2017 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Truly the only thing holding this wine back is its price. Its a $50 wine in a $100 bottle. Opened two bottles at a blind tasting of premium Merlots and this wine took a back seat to a $30 Van Westen Voluptuous. All the elements are here - enticing aromatics of blue and black fruit secondaries, good balance of acidity and fine-grain tannins, a medium-plus finish. Just not at the QPR I want for $100...
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/19/17, 11:22 AM - Bonjour Francois! It was a 2009 VW Voluptuous - two bottles opened of each in the blind Merlot tasting and the Van Westen surpassed the '11 Maestoso. Obviously different expressions of Merlot (and the former has 1/3 Cab Franc in the mix) and very different vintages. But one can't ignore the massive price differential. Next time we'll plan to have a Meritage blind tasting when you come out to Victoria - you can put a couple of bottles of Nota Bene in the mix and we'll see how it goes.

  • Canoehead commented:

    12/26/17, 10:50 AM - Francois, all due respect to my friend, Darren, but please feel free to bring a bottle or two when you come out to Victoria this year. Would love to try the Addendum up against other meritage offerings. We'll prepare some simply roasted spring lamb with new vegetables, etc. Have a happy and prosperous new year ... à votre santé!

Red
2010 Castelgiocondo (Marchesi de' Frescobaldi) Lamaione Toscana IGT Merlot
12/10/2017 - darrenv Likes this wine:
93 points
No formal note.
This was one of six merlots at a blind tasting. It was very nice, gorgeous nose. The mouthfeel was so smooth. This was like a big fluffy pillow. I guessed it was Napa. I think if I had $100 burning a hole in my pocket, I'd go for a Guado Al Tasso instead for a multi-dimensional experience.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/18/17, 2:44 PM - Darren, I agree. Guado Al Tasso for "value" at that price level. There is a lone 2009 GaT sitting up on a shelf in Spinnakers Vic West tempting me to scoop it up... I just wonder about storage quality....

  • Canoehead commented:

    12/19/17, 11:25 AM - Darren, I'll scoop up the other bottle of the '09 GaT and we'll include it with yours in a Meritage blind tasting. Francois can bring his favourite vintage of BH NB and put it in the mix as well.

Red
2009 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
11/29/2017 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
One hour plus decant. The wine is peaking. Brown orange rim. Would have thought there would be more structure here. Paired well with steak but on its own it was not that remarkable.
  • Canoehead commented:

    12/4/17, 12:28 PM - Bandreas, love to see Canadian reds getting down to the DC area. Have you ever been out to Okanagan Valley in BC? There are some terrific wines out here. Let me know if you ever want some winery tips if you're planning a visit. Cheers, JP

Red
2009 Fairview Cellars The Bear Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend
11/19/2017 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Decanted 1hr. Served with simple roast rack of lamb and a port-balsamic reduction. The host made this fabulous veg dish of peas, pancetta and garlic which went very well with the lamb and The Bear. The green of the peas, the fat, the MR Lamb went well with this "quiet" Bear. Black fruits tipping over to tertiary with balsamic and dried fig. Good herbaceous element. Fine tannins and a little zing of some resident acidity. Did pale however alongside a decanted Black Widow 2015 Hourglass. The latter was truly magnificent.
  • Canoehead commented:

    11/21/17, 4:28 PM - darrenv you're gonna love that Hourglass when you open it. I'm trying to get more from the winery but no response yet.

White
2014 Château La Garde Blanc Pessac-Léognan Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend
4/13/2017 - Pegasys wrote:
90 points
Delicate yet complex. What a wonderful white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, and Semillon grapes. This wine's bouquet reveals a lovely freshness of white peaches, apples, lemons, green herbs, and minerality. It also has subtle notes of dried brioche. The wine is round, with a soft mouthfeel and balanced, bright and refreshing acidity. The medium finish tastes of stone fruits.
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/14/17, 2:38 PM - spot on tasting note! I would only add that it could benefit from a little more lay down (2-3 years) and the acidity settles down to reveal the spice and creaminess that is there under the surface. Cheers!

Red
2013 Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
3/11/2017 - Wranglerdriver Likes this wine:
91 points
great after 1 hr decant.
  • Canoehead commented:

    6/15/17, 8:34 AM - I agree with you that after a 1hr decant - this wine is great for the price. Too many folks are popping n pouring and the tannins need air and the alcohol needs to settle down so the full bouquet can show up. Cheers!

Red
2012 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Blend, Zinfandel
4/25/2017 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
This is a more muscular version of Lytton Springs Zin-blend than previous vintages tasted. Fruit is rather restrained. There is some structure here with a bit of tannic grip. Acid and alcohol are fighting for supporting roles. Just never got thrilling on the nose or palate. Probably could have improved a bit longer in bottle, 3-4 yrs possibly.
This wine continues to go up in price here in BC (>$60/btl) and just isn't worth the outlay. Rather splurge on Caymus Zin FOR $15 less!
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/26/17, 4:46 PM - Our provincial taxes applied to alcoholic beverages are high in most parts of Canada. When combined with federal import duties and taxes it doesn't take much to double the price of a wine from the USA. So you've got to really like it to buy it.

Red
2013 Painted Rock Syrah Okanagan Valley VQA
4/3/2017 - darrenv Likes this wine:
91 points
Holy cow. If I were blindfolded I'd have guessed this was Aussie. I found it in the style of Bella's Garden. Intense, fruity, black cherry and plum. Peppery finish that was awesome. I hold the PR Red Icon for several years, but I'd say this syrah is more than ready.
  • Canoehead commented:

    4/12/17, 3:30 PM - DarrenV, couldn't agree more. We opened a 2013 PR Syrah for a couple of British wine enthusiasts this past weekend and they were blown away. They had no concept that we can produce such world-class Syrah in this province. Interestingly, they guessed Hermitage (a rustic one!) before I revealed the label.

Red
2012 Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous Okanagan Valley Red Bordeaux Blend
10/1/2016 - darrenv Likes this wine:
90 points
No formal note as this was a few days ago, but the night I had this I also opened a Ridge 2012 Cab Sav and I was sure the Van Westen would not be equal. Very different wines, but the Van Westen was fabulous! Right out of the bottle. There was a peppery finish like a Syrah which I loved. I have always loved Rob's wine, but knew they need some years on them. This 2012 is great right now.
  • Canoehead commented:

    11/23/16, 5:21 PM - I agree with you DarrenV. the '12 is drinking fine now and has some structure to reward later. Still not at the '09 calibre. We're big fans of Rob and his wine.

Red
2011 LaStella Cabernet Sauvignon La Sophia Okanagan Valley VQA
10/11/2016 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Way too young! Grippy tannins dominate the palate. Lots of potential here. I'm rearranging the placement in the cellar for the remaining bottles. They're getting buried into the section 5-8 years from now. Whew, this will be marvelous when Chelsea Clinton is president...;-)
  • Canoehead commented:

    10/18/16, 1:31 PM - Merci Francois! Its good to know that we can actually produce substantial, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon here in BC. Have you had any other BC Cabs or Cab blends that have this level of potential? I must say we were impressed with a Church & State '07 Quintessential earlier this year. We have one more bottle of that in the cellar.

Red
2009 Shafer Relentless Napa Valley Syrah Blend, Syrah
4/10/2015 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
95 points
A sad part of the evening indeed when the last drop was poured (obviously decanted to avoid the chunky residue). Truly decadent!
  • Canoehead commented:

    7/8/15, 4:31 PM - Thanks RustyRudy! Any other wines you've sampled recently that are in this category of overall enjoyment?

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