A “brunch and wine pairings” video, and lots of random reviews!

ICYMI, here is my latest YouTube video where I try some out-of-the-box wine pairings with some common brunch offerings. Did they work? You’ll have to watch to find out!

Lots more interesting stuff to report on, starting with a BC wine using a grape that I am fairly sure nobody else here grows.

Tinhorn Creek recently released some library wines, and I picked up a couple. We had the Merlot last month and it was certainly drinkable. Holding out hope that the ’05 Syrah, still in our wine fridges, will be even better.

And, the last one from that infamous Burnt Timber shipment. One of the two that I received that were drinkable (and I did get a refund on all the others), if not spectacular.

Now, I know I had previously said that February was going to be “France month”, but we haven’t really consumed much French wine. Here we are into mid-March and I only have a couple bottles from France to report on; I’ll compile those into a separate report, along with a video or two, once we finally officially transition to “France month”. Maybe April.

Instead of transitioning over to France, we kept going with Italy, and here are a couple more we enjoyed from there:

And, a few other random bottles from other parts of this huge wine world:

That’s it for today! Some more updates to come, and another video coming up in the next couple of days. Also, going to start on a 5-year vertical of Maria’s Block Riesling from Kitsch Wines that I received last week. Stay tuned!

Italy month continues; and lots of non-Italy content, too!

Here is a link to my latest YouTube video, where I taste and report on two eclectic varietals from Italy (and, yes, the guest cat makes an appearance):

Huge Wine-R Volume 12

Below are the reviews of these two wines, plus a handful of others from Italy (and elsewhere) that we’ve enjoyed (or not) this month!

Here are a couple other Italian wines we’ve enjoyed recently.

There were two Italian wines I am not reviewing. The first one, a Trebbiano, was obviously oxidized (and there was a tiny bit of cork damage when opening it). I’ve already received credit for that from the store.

The second one was a bit more nuanced. It was really quite unpleasant, but not noticeably spoiled like the Trebbiano. This particular one was a white from Sicily, from a well-known producer (Planeta). The grape was Carricante, not a grape I had ever tasted, so I had to go to reviews to see if we had a bad bottle or if this was just an odd wine. What I found were tasting notes that didn’t match what we were experiencing at all, leading me to believe that this bottle was on the path to oxidation, it just hadn’t totally arrived yet. I haven’t contacted the store about this one yet, but I might still do that and try to get a credit.

That’s it for Italy, but here are a few BC wines, all from Okanagan Wine Club packs, including one that is proving to be pretty controversial:

One more, an odd one from Spain. This region, and this grape, are known for making quality sweet wines. This one is anything but sweet.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for more reviews! As the calendar turns to February, our focus moves from Italy to France! I better go buy a beret…….

As “Italy month” rolls on, I am noticing we are drinking a lot of wine that’s not from Italy!

For those of you who come here from the Okanagan Wine Club VIP Facebook group, there has been a lot of talk about the first wine I am going to review. Lots of mixed reviews, and a couple of people have asked for my opinion on it, so here goes.

As some in the group mentioned, this opens up really slowly. It’s not ready, even at 9 years of age, right out of the bottle. The “sweet spot” for me was about 4-4.5 hours in a decanter (and after aeration). Some suggested it was better the next day, but I did not find that.

We also tried the 2018 Riesling from this producer, and did not like it at ALL. It wasn’t spoiled, but it went down the sink. I’m not going to give it a score, because I don’t generally rate anything that would get under 80 points, and that certainly would.

Now, to some other (better) stuff we have been drinking so far this year!

Interesting story on the below wine; we tasted it at the Vancouver International Wine Festival back in February, and when I went to buy it, I noticed that the winemaker was signing bottles. I had him sign one personalized to me. It wasn’t until I got home I noticed that we grabbed the wrong bottle! We had tasted and enjoyed the Pinot Noir, but had bought the Chardonnay. So, we didn’t actually taste this until this week. It was worth the wait.

Now, let’s see what we’ve actually been drinking from Italy!

My wife blind tasted me on this last Friday. Imagine being so vicious and mean to blind taste someone on a wine you know they have never tasted, featuring a blend of four grapes, two of which you have never even heard of (not unusual with Italian grapes). I did think it was Viognier, but I knew it was from Italy and didn’t think it was likely this was a straight-Viognier, so I called a Vermentino. I got the year right, so given the fact that I had a zero percent chance to actually get the wine right, I think I did OK here. I’m sure the next wine she blinds me on will be, oh I dunno, Albariño from Uruguay or something as obscure.

Those of you who have been following along through our adventures in blind tasting on YouTube will probably remember that I mentioned a couple of times that I had purchased 6 random bottles of wine specifically for blind tasting. Five of them were very classic varietals, and more than fair. One of them was not. This is that one.

We were planning on doing a blind tasting video last week but at the last minute my wife was not feeling up to it. I had already decanted this wine, so I drank it throughout the day. It was lovely; and no real harm done, since this is the wine she would have had zero chance to get right anyway.

We have only tasted this grape once, previously. And although almost all the Aglianico (pronounced Olli-On-Ico) comes from Italy, the one we has tasted was actually from Washington State (link to that review is here, if you care for a refresher). The one below is six years older than the one we tasted previously, and I wouldn’t say they were much alike, other than the fact that they were both excellent.

That’s it for today! I’ll keep up with whatever we are drinking (which should include the Cristal sometime this weekend as my wife’s “birthday week” begins today), and another YouTube video is imminent. Stay tuned!

Culmina Riesling, 4 year vertical. How is it holding up?

Below are the reviews of the 2 vintages I had never tasted. For the entire four years, here is my YouTube video where I taste through them all! Very exciting!

That’s all for today! Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss any videos!

We are right in the middle of “Italy month” so we are planning on having some exciting new content later this week. Stay tuned!

Top 10 Wines of 2020

Don’t need too much information, the title pretty much says it all. Any wine we drank in 2020 qualifies.

It was a pretty good year, as most years are. Cannot believe the delicious 95+ point Sassicaia barely snuck into the Top 10!

At #9, the first of a few from one of our favorite producers in California. Honestly these guys are so good, we are stunned when we have one of their wines that DOESN’T blow us away.

At #8, here they are again, with as good a Zinfandel as you will ever have.

#7. Starting to sense a pattern.

#6. Finally we found a wine that could compete with Hartford! The most amazing rosé!

#5. These guys again?

#4. What an absolute stunner from Argentina.

At #3, the wine I dubbed “Best in Show” at the 2020 Vancouver International Wine Festival. This is in my cellar for a few years.

#2. You didn’t think my list of great wines would not include an icewine, did you??

And, #1. The wine my wife said should have received a perfect 100 point score. I didn’t go quite that far, but she’s certainly not off base. It’s been 6 months since we drank this and it’s still not finished. Amazing.

So that’s officially it for 2020! From a wine standpoint, it wasn’t a bad year at all. From EVERY OTHER STANDPOINT…….don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, 2020.

Up next! I’ll be reviewing everything we are drinking this year (especially from our “Italy month” that is currently underway), and working on some more exciting things for my YouTube channel. Stay tuned!!

Good riddance, 2020……

Oh, what a year.

But it’s over now, of course, and if nothing else, 2021 should (eventually) bring us closer to normalcy. Actually in the world we live in today, I’m not totally sure that ‘normalcy’ is a thing anymore. I guess we’ll find out.

Anyway, here are the rest of the wines that we enjoyed in 2020. I had posted a picture of our New Year’s Eve wines, a Riesling from Martin’s Lane and a 2012 Cristal. Well, the Riesling was lovely, but my wife wasn’t feeling well before we cracked open the Cristal so that will have to wait. Not long, I don’t imagine; her birthday is in a couple of weeks and there is always the Super Bowl shortly after that. We will find a good reason to drink it soon 🙂

I was tempted just to open it anyway and drink it myself, but I thought it might be more important to actually stay married.

To the wine!

That’s it for tonight, but we are not QUITE done with 2020 yet. Next up, the Top 10 wines of 2020! Stay tuned!

“Italy month” begins in Piedmont, a very familiar wine region, with a very familiar grape….but maybe not to Italian wine fans!

Here is the link to the video where I discuss a certain wine from Italy that we weren’t that familiar with, and you probably won’t be either!

Below, a full review of the wine we opened and enjoyed.

Next up! Finishing off the 2020 wine and following that with the “Best of 2020”! Stay tuned!

Reviews of a bunch of stuff as we wind down 2020!

If you are reading this, you have survived 2020. That normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but in these times, that is no small feat. Congrats to us all.

Getting caught up on a bunch of stuff we have enjoyed (or notsomuch) this year, as I plan to get completely caught up on anything we tasted in 2020 before turning the page to next year.

Here we go!

We’ll start with BC wine.

And to the rest of the wine world we go!

Up next: One more update of 2020 wines, including what we drink tonight (SPOILER ALERT: It will be great), and then my annual Top 10 Wines of the Year list.

On the YouTube video front, for those of you who enjoyed my 3-year vertical of Culmina Gruner Veltliner, you can expect a 4-year vertical of Culmina’s Decora Riesling in the near future.

Stay tuned!

Happy New Year’s to all!

Adventures in Blind Tasting, Episode 3!

Yesterday, my wife and I sat down for another effort at a fully blind tasting. Here is the video. I would say we both did much better than last time although not perfect.

The wines included in the video, below.

As a bonus, to finish off the evening while we enjoyed a little SOMM TV, I pulled out another white for the wife to blind taste. This came from our wine fridges, not specifically from the 6 bottles that I bought for her to taste, but she still had no idea that we had this wine. I purchased this just about 2 weeks ago when I went to the BC Liquor Store specifically to stock up on “everyday drinking whites” which we were sadly lacking on. I put them directly into the wine fridges and she didn’t see what I bought.

She nailed the grape immediately (and to be fair, it’s not the toughest grape to identify), and after just a few minutes more, she came to the conclusion that it was from Alsace, from 2017, and “it’s that one with the red label”. She couldn’t remember the exact name of the producer.

I would say she did OK.

After seeing that she was exactly right, and I mean EXACTLY RIGHT, all she could say was “WHY WASN’T THAT ONE ON CAMERA?!?!?!?”. LOL.

One day, in the not-too-distant future, I hope to be as good at this blind tasting stuff as my wife is 🙂

Up next: Still lots of great stuff to catch up on. Stay tuned!

The Heartbreak Grape

“…its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.”

-Miles, “Sideways”

Pretty tough to argue with that….especially if you are drinking the right Pinot Noir!

Pinot Noir was our “gateway drug” to the world of red wine. It took us a while to get really comfortable with Cabernet and Merlot (and don’t get me started on Malbec!!), but we could always find a good Pinot Noir, even very early in our journey into wine.

I talk a little bit about the Heartbreak Grape in my new YouTube video. Please check it out if you haven’t already!

Here are reviews of the two Pinots that I featured in the video:

As I mentioned in the video, I probably overrated this one slightly. I think 85-86 would have been more appropriate. Also, the region is incorrect, it’s not Burgundy, it’s a Vin de France.
This didn’t improve much over the 2+ hours that it was open. It is still tasty, but I might wait on opening any more of these for another year or so.

And, some reviews of a bunch of other Pinots we have enjoyed in the recent past, including an older vintage of the one above!

That’s it for today! Coming up next, a lot more non-Pinot-Noir wine to catch up on. Stay tuned!