Let’s talk about Albariño, a new favorite of ours. Three very different examples from three very different parts of the world!

Further to the video I posted a couple days ago which you can watch here if you have not yet seen it, here are my reviews of the three wines from the video, as well as one bonus review of a wine we enjoyed a little while ago.

My favorite one was actually none of the three from the video; it was this one.

Now, the three from the video:

That’s it for today! Up next, part 1 of my series on Rosé, focusing on but not exclusively wine from BC. Lots of other good stuff upcoming too. Stay tuned!

YAY for Chardonnay! A great weekend of Chard, including the best BC Chardonnay I have ever tasted!

For the ABC crowd out there……stop. Just stop. This isn’t 1995, and Chardonnay is generally not the big-huge butter bomb from California that started the ABC movement. You can still find those if you look, but it is so, so, so much more. There are beautiful expressions of this grape coming in all shapes and sizes, from all parts of the world. It’s inconceivable to me that there could be anyone who enjoys wine that cannot find a Chardonnay they love.

This past weekend, much good wine was enjoyed, but I am focusing this post on three Chardonnays in particular. OK, the first one isn’t a single-varietal Chardonnay, but it’s a Chard-heavy blend so that counts, dammit!

Next up, a reliable producer from South Africa, who never gets it wrong.

And, the pièce de résistance of this little blog entry, a spectacular Chardonnay from the Okanagan.

Next up: The rosé blog entry is underway (I will likely pair that with a video), and a video and blog entry regarding some very different styles of Albariño is also coming up. Stay tuned!

Cheap and Cheerful! Three bottles for under $30 each (including BC taxes). Were they good?

Last night I posted a new YouTube video that you can watch here if you have not already. Here are my full reviews of these wines.

Next up! Part 1 of my “BC Rosé” reviews, a video about Albariño, and lots of other random reviews of stuff we’ve been drinking over the past few weeks. Stay tuned!

An exciting 5-year vertical of Kitsch Wines Maria’s Block Riesling!

Last week, I posted a video where I tasted all 5 vintages of Maria’s Block Riesling from Kitsch Wines in Kelowna. If you missed it, here is a link to that video.

Below are the full reviews of these wines. In the video I ranked them “2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2019” but that’s not right, the 2015 was better than the ’16 for me.

Here they are!

That’s it for today! Coming up soon, the first installment in my usually-three-part series on BC Rose, as well as a lot of other good stuff. Stay tuned!

Who takes Oscar home in the weirdest year of movies in history??

I miss going to a movie theatre. There is no question about it. Having said that, it’s been pretty nice to be able to see almost every nomination-worthy movie from the comfort of my own home. And over the past year, these movies have been very therapeutic.

Here are the nominees for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards in all the major categories. Any nomination in BLUE indicates that I have not seen it. I present my predictions on who will win, along with who SHOULD win. Here we go!

Best picture

  • “Mank”
  • “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • “The Father”
  • “Nomadland”
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  • “Minari”
  • “Sound of Metal”
  • “Promising Young Woman”

Who will win: Nomadland has absolutely dominated the awards season and as much as I’d love to call for the upset here, I think it wins this one too. It’s very worthy.

Who should win: Minari. Nomadland was brilliant, my #2 movie of the year. But Minari was as close to perfection as a movie gets.

Best director

  • Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
  • Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
  • Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”
  • David Fincher, “Mank”
  • Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”

Who will win: Zhao has cleaned up, winning every prize available to her. No reason to overthink this, she’ll take this one too.

Who should win: Zhao. Directing a bunch of amateurs, with a script that featured a bunch of ad libbing, and creating this masterpiece? Give her a trophy.

Best actor in a leading role

  • Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
  • Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
  • Gary Oldman, “Mank”
  • Steven Yeun, “Minari”

Who will win: If it’s not Boseman, this would be the upset of the night.

Who should win: Hopkins’ transcendent performance as a dementia patient hit every note. It was a perfect performance. But Boseman was perfect too, and since we can’t cut the award in half, I’ll be one of the ones tearing up when Boseman’s wife accepts the award on his behalf.

Best actress in a leading role

  • Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • Andra Day, “United States vs. Billie Holiday”
  • Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
  • Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
  • Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

Who will win: Davis, in the closest of votes. This is really a tossup, as Mulligan and McDormand were equally brilliant, and Day won the Golden Globe.

Who should win: Davis. The exclusion of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” from the Best Picture nominees was a travesty, but if it wins both major acting awards, that’s a pretty good consolation prize.

Best actor in a supporting role

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami…”
  • Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
  • LaKeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Who will win: Kaluuya has won everything this awards season. It’s possible he may split some votes with his screen mate Stanfield, who was equally as good. And maybe the fact that Kaluuya’s performance doesn’t belong in a supporting category (neither does Stanfield’s, to be honest) will hurt him and we will see a huge upset? But I am sticking with Kaluuya.

Who should win: Cohen’s portrayal of Abby Hoffman was so spot-on, and so vital to the success of the film, he’s my choice. But every one of these performances was fantastic.

Best actress in a supporting role

  • Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
  • Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
  • Olivia Colman, “The Father”
  • Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
  • Youn Yuh-Jung, “Minari”

Who will win: If there were any doubt a few weeks ago, when Yuh-Jung accepted the BAFTA award and called the Brits “snobby” (which she undoubtedly didn’t mean as an insult), that would have cemented it.

Who should win: I love Amanda Seyfried in an almost-inappropriate way, and she deserves to be recognized for her brilliant work here; but her lack of screen time and the tour-de-force performance by Yuh-Jung in the best movie of the year is my pick. Side note: Barring a major upset, Glenn Close is going to tie Peter O’Toole with the most Oscar acting nominations without a win. She will be 0-for-8.

Best original screenplay

  • Will Berson and Shaka King, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  • Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
  • Darius Marder and Abraham Marder, “Sound of Metal”
  • Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

Who will win: Everyone, and I mean everyone, is predicting Emerald Fennell wins here. If there is an upset, it will be Sorkin, they say. Nobody has given Chung a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning this. They are all wrong.

Who should win: Chung, and it’s not really that close.

Best adapted screenplay

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
  • Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, “The Father”
  • Kemp Powers, “One Night in Miami…”
  • Ramin Bahrani, “The White Tiger”
  • Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Who will win: Hampton and Zeller get rewarded for a beautiful screenplay that at once confuses and invigorates the audience. Zhao gets her award in the directing category, and the screenplay isn’t the key to her film.

Who should win: Hampton and Zeller.

Best cinematography

  • “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • “Mank”
  • “News of the World”
  • “Nomadland”
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Who will win: Nomadland by a mile.

Who should win: Ditto.

Best film editing

  • “The Father”
  • “Nomadland”
  • “Promising Young Woman”
  • “Sound of Metal”
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Who will win: Sound of Metal

Who should win: Sound of Metal

Best animated feature film

  • Onward”
  • “Over the Moon”
  • “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
  • “Soul”
  • “Wolfwalkers”

Who will win: Soul

Who should win: Soul. Wolfwalkers was cute, but not in the same league.

Best animated short film

  • “Burrow”
  • “Genius Loci”
  • “If Anything Happens I Love You”
  • “Opera”
  • “Yes-People”

Who will win: If Anything Happens I Love You

Who should win: If Anything Happens I Love You. It’s beautiful, it’s tragic, it’s heartbreaking…sure, it goes over the top to manipulate your emotions, but that’s not always a bad thing. This is available on NETFLIX, seek it out. You won’t be sorry.

Best live-action short film

  • “Feeling Through”
  • “The Letter Room”
  • “The Present”
  • “Two Distant Strangers”
  • “White Eye”

Who will win: Two Distant Strangers

Who should win: See my comments about the animated short, and double them here. All of these short films were worthy, but this one will kick you in the nuts repeatedly and it’s something everyone should see. It perfectly encapsulates the world we currently live in.

Best production design

  • “The Father”
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • “Mank”
  • “News of the World”
  • “Tenet”

Who will win: I’ll have to go with Mank here. It’s an excellent film, it had the most nominations, I can’t imagine it goes home with absolutely nothing, does it?

Who should win: Mank.

Best costume design

  • “Emma”
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • “Mank”
  • “Mulan”
  • “Pinocchio”

Who will win: As much as the Academy loves big frocks in period pieces like Emma, the dazzling costumes in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will prevail.

Who should win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best documentary feature

  • “Collective”
  • “Crip Camp”
  • “The Mole Agent”
  • “My Octopus Teacher”
  • “Time”

Who will win: This is a tough call between Collective (which is only the 2nd film in history to be nominated here and also in the Best International Film category) and My Octopus Teacher, which has rightfully become a Netflix favorite. Collective is an important watch; My Octopus Teacher is a feel-good delight of nature. I will lean towards the feel-good here and go with the Octopus.

Who should win: Collective

Best documentary short subject

  • “Collette”
  • “A Concerto is a Conversation”
  • “Do Not Split”
  • “Hunger Ward”
  • “A Love Song for Latasha”

Who will win:

Tough one for sure. Difficult to go against the Academy’s affinity for Holocaust stories, so Collette.

Who should win: A Concerto is a Conversation. But Collette was also fabulous.

Best sound

  • “Greyhound”
  • “Mank”
  • “News of the World”
  • “Soul”
  • “Sound of Metal”

Who will win: Sound of Metal. I mean, it has Sound right in the title.

Who should win: Sound of Metal. It’s really what the entire movie is about, and it’s very, very well done.

Best visual effects

  • “Love and Monsters”
  • “The Midnight Sky”
  • “Mulan”
  • “The One and Only Ivan”
  • “Tenet”

Who will win: By all accounts, this is Tenet’s to lose.

Who should win: Of the two I saw, The One and Only Ivan made a bunch of animals look pretty life-like.

Best makeup and hairstyling

  • “Emma”
  • “Hillbilly Elegy”
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • “Mank”
  • “Pinocchio”

Who will win: Oscar loves a period drama like Mank, but Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a shoo-in here I think. If you’ve seen Viola Davis in it, you know why.

Who should win: Ma Rainey.

Best international feature film

  • “Another Round”
  • “Better Days”
  • “Collective”
  • “The Man Who Sold His Skin”
  • “Quo Vadis, Aida”

Who will win: Another Round is the consensus, has the most recognizable star (Mads Mikkelson) and is really, really good.

Who should win: Quo Vadia, Aida is just as heartbreaking as you might imagine a movie about Serbia in 1995 might be. I actually loved every movie that I saw in this category.

Best original score

  • “Da 5 Bloods”
  • “Mank”
  • “Minari”
  • “News of the World”
  • “Soul”

Who will win: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have two chances here, having scored Soul and Mank, and I believe they will win for Soul (along with co-nominee Jon Batiste).

Who should win: Soul

Best original song

  • “Fight for You,” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • “Hear My Voice,” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  • “Husavik,” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
  • “Io Sì (Seen),” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
  • “Speak Now,” from “One Night in Miami…”

Who will win: I literally have no clue, there are no great options here. I’ll say that the Academy finally gives the award to Diane Warren (currently 0 for 12) just because there are no better options? Even though it’s in Spanish and nobody saw the film? I’ll go with that, Io Sì.

Who should win: Husavik. I mean, it actually takes place in the film, and the other four all start at the beginning of the closing credits. Plus, it’s a decent enough song, in a year without a really good one.

Well, that’s it, let’s see how I do!

GO MINARI !!!!!!

It’s World Malbec Day, so obviously I am celebrating with a Malbec from the country of…..Canada??

Hey what can I say, I happen to be out of Argentinian Malbec now. We do with what we have, amiright??

Here is a link to my latest YouTube video, where I talk about the wine reviewed below. It’s a lovely wine, and so, so, so different than I expected it to be.

Up next! Expect another couple posts in the next week or so, hoping to do some more blind tasting and have lots of good stuff to report on that we have been drinking over the past couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Some great BC Syrah, and lots of other stuff, in this blog update!

First, ICYMI, here is a link to the video I published last week, honoring the late great Steven Spurrier. As I said in the video, his contributions to the wine industry, particularly California and, by extension, the entire Pacific Northwest, cannot be overstated.

At the time I had originally reviewed the wine in the video (at the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2015), I loved it, and gave it a sparkling 95 points. The bottle I opened last week was nothing like that. Bottle variation? Maybe. Did the wine decline that much in 6 years? Tough to say. But here is an updated review of it.

Now onto the BC Syrahs that I teased in the title of this post. We’ll start with this link to another video that I posted last week. It features this one that, as of this posting, IS STILL AVAILABLE on Tinhorn’s website. The price is $60, not $80 as I speculated in the video.

As if that wasn’t enough good BC Syrah for one night, we opened up another beauty. And then another. Here’s just another good example of what a difference a year can make in the same wine!

I had originally reviewed the 2013 version here, and at the time gave it a range score of 92-94. I can tell you it has ABSOLUTELY reached the high end of that range. I waffled with giving it 95 actually, but will stick with 94. So much incredible fruit left on this one.

As for the 2014, also very good, but completely different.

All three of these Syrahs are ready to go now. Not to say they don’t have life left in them, but I cannot see any of them improving from this point.

Now, on to some other random stuff from BC we’ve enjoyed (to varying degrees!) recently:

And to finish it up, here’s a big beauty from our friends South of the border.

That’s all for today! Lots more good stuff to report on coming up, including a 5-year vertical of Kitsch Wines Maria’s Block Riesling that is ongoing. Stay tuned!

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!