Posts by: mikethehobbyist

We are generally big fans of the crisp tropical flavours of a good Verdelho (not to be confused with Verdejo – which we are also big fans of), so we were interested in tasting this offering from Margaret River’s Miles from Nowhere.  While we generally tend (when we can find them) toward Spanish Verdellos from Gallicia, we have had a number of tasty versions out of Australia over the years and so had reasonably high expectations for this wine.

Fresh nose that is reminiscent of wet pavement, with a sweet floral note and a hint of citrus.  So basically, this wine smells like spring.  The palate displays the typical tropical fruit -especially pineapple, lime, honeysuckle and grassy notes that we expect from Verdehlo.  Not overly complex, but bold, well balanced and refreshing – just the kind of wine you want to have on hand as warmer weather starts making its annual comeback.

We had this with a curried cauliflower soup and fried Pacific Snapper sandwiches, which was a great pairing for the bold flavours and big aromatics of this wine.

8.2/10.0     $21.99

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This wine is a blend of Viognier, Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Gris so you know the aromatics are going to be huge – a big nose of peach, tangerine, myer lemon, rose petal, lychee and a hint of honey immediately impresses. On the palate this wine is bone dry with a crisp, refreshing acidity; great balance. Flavours of stone fruit, citrus and green apple with a clean streak of minerals leave you with a long fresh aftertaste. You’ll taste this one for a long time after it’s gone.

We had this with panko crusted cod fillets – wich was delicious – but we immediately thought the big aromatics on this would play well with something with a bit of heat.  Thai or earthy Mexican dishes would be an ideal match.

8.8/10.0 $24.00

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Nichol Vineyards has long been one of our favourite Okanagan wineries (we are generally quite partial to the old Naramata Bench wineries – Nichol, Kettle Valley, La Frenz, Lake Breeze, Elephant Island, Poplar Grove and Hillside), but we generally think of them for their pioneering Syrah and Cab Franc.  However, their whites should not be over looked as they produce one of our favourite Pinot Gris (leaving them on the skins like Kettle Valley to extract some of the beautiful salmon colouring) and this very tasty (and very dry) Gewurtz.

For a varietal that is usually known for its aromatics, this wine displays a surprisingly delicate floral nose: rose petals, lychee lime with the slight hint of wet pavement.  On the palate this is very far to the dry side of the spectrum of Gewurztraminer with crisp acidity.  The palate has notes of lychee, pink grapefruit, white peach, lime zest, hint of spice and a minerally note.  This wine has a long finish that carries on that minerally note with a grapefruit pith for what seems like forever.

This will pair well with Asian flavours- think five spice rubbed pork tenderloin or hoisin glazed chicken.  The spice holds up to the strong flavours and the crisp acidity a citrus notes beautifully cuts through fats and slaty flavours alike.

8.6/10.0       $20


Montreal’s Yamanataka have a sound that reminds us of somewhere in between Asobi Seksu and Sleigh Bells – which is a great combo – and the video for Hoshi Neko off their debut album Sonic Titan has a whimsical mixed- media quality that we enjoy.  It reminds of the doodles you made in the margins of your class notes come to life.

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Rich smokey notes of tar, plum and vanilla make this wine instantly enticing – just what we want in a good Montepulciano.  The plum notes follow through on the palate, with notes of blueberry, tea and a hint of cinnamon.  Nice balance and structure here, with grippy tanins that soften as it opens.  Nothing mind blowing here, but make no mistake this is a solid wine that delivers everything you want to see in a Montepulciano at this price point.  The deep purple colour of this wine only helps to draw you in more.

We had this with a spicy bruschetta and burrata – tasty.  You’ll be happy with this as your pizza and pasta wine, but it would also be great with a grilled steak served with a squeeze of fresh lemon, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil – it cries out for the flavours of Italy.

8.1/10.0      $29.99


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Portland’s Yacht can be a little hit and miss for us, but Shangri-La is a definite hit and the video reminds us of all the things we love about the wacky West Coast.

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Aromas of apricot, citrus and wild flower honey with a hint of cinnamon give this a very different profile than most Vinho Verdes on the nose.  On the palate this is dry and crisp, providing a great contrast to the sweet and spicy nose, but without the mouth puckering acidity of some Vinho Verdes.  Flavours of dried apricot, orange zest and lemon lead to a clean mineral and citrus finish.  One complaint on this wine is that it lacks the usual effervescence that is typical to Vinho Verde.  Not the end of the world as this is still a tasty and unique wine, but we’re normally big fans of the refreshing citrus fizz of Vinho Verde.  This is a richer, more full bodied Vinho Verde than most – definitely not your typical cheap Portuguese fizz.

Try this paired with grilled white fish -the fattiness of halibut, sole or lingcod would be ideal the ideal foil for the crisp citrus flavours, but this wine also has the weight to stand up to them.

Unique and thrilling stuff – try this with The Weeknd’s latest mix tape Echoes of Silence.

7.9/10      14.99

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For anyone that went to the Watch the Throne Tour this Fall, this video is the perfect momento.  Like being there all over again… well if you play this on repeat 8 – 10 times.  Also a few clips that take you back to Paris.  Good 2011 revisit for a few of us.  Enjoy!

Our fondness for Spanish wines has been fairly well documented, so it is not surprising that this well-priced old vine Grarnacha from just outside of Zaragoza caught our attention.

Very concentrated deep ruby colour on this wine. Not a lot going on on the nose on this wine. Aromas of sweet dark fruit dominate with a herbal / floral note and hint of black pepper and spice. Flavours of raspberry, strawberry and under-ripe blackberry give way to a black pepper, carmel and vanilla notes. Good acidity and soft tannins, but a little out of balance. Overall a pleasant and interesting wine, but definitely not a blockbuster.

We had this with a delicious ghormeh sabzi (a Persian dish with lamb and herbs) – which was a great pairing. Lamb is a natural pairing for Grenache, and this wine is no exception.

7.5/10.0 $17.99

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Wow. This is some pretty fantastic stuff. We had very high hopes for this Riesling from Coal River Valley, Tasmania given that (1) we have been extremely impressed by most Tazy wines we have tried (especially the delicious Pinot Noirs) and (2) dry and off-dry Rieslings are among our absolute favourite whites. We were hoping the the combination of these factors – and Tazy’s general success with cool climate varietals – would yield something pretty special and Pressing Matters somehow managed to not only meet but wildly exceed our high expectations.

It make sense that Pressing Matters would know how to handle Riesling as they produce exclusively Rieslings and Pinot Noirs, including four different styles of Riesling – bone dry (R0), dry (R9), medium-sweet (R69) and sweet (R139) (the numbers in the name of each wine correspond to the residual sugar levels in each).

On the nose this immediately hits you with that classic sweet petrol note, but also has a delicate, almost floral, freshness and hints of pear. Great balance with the wonderfully oily mouth feel that good Rieslings have. On the palate, the few years of bottle age have allowed this to develop some very nice complexities. Flavours of crisp green apple, lime and pink grapefruit are predominate, with a hint of apricot and a nice streak of minerality that runs through it. The finish on this just keeps on going with hints of that green apple and orange zest.

We had this with a delicious creamy cauliflower and blue cheese soup and cornbread, but its crisp acidity would cut through any rich dishes very nicely – creamy pasta sauces, seafood risottos and Indian dishes all come to mind.

9.5/10.0 AUS$29

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