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CULMINA R&D RED BLEND 2014
BCVQA Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley #596700 $23.99
In a dark green Bordeaux bottle, this Meritage blend, dominated by Merlot
and seconded by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, comes from one
of the most exciting new Golden Mile wineries. Behind it is Canadian wine
legend Donald Triggs (of Jackson Triggs), who when that wine conglomerate
sold had to get back in the business and so bought and completely renovated
and rebranded an old winery. Unlike some wineries with the endless
busloads emptying into the tasting room, they make tastings an experience
rather than a cattle call. I recommend a visit. Aged in a mix of old and new
oak, this wine fills both the nose and palate with black fruit, bitter chocolate
and notes of vanilla and graphite. The aromas are black cherry, dark plum
and black currant, mixed with chocolate and vanilla and a bit of cedar and
pencil shavings (a good thing). The flavours are the same dark fruit, mixed
with hints of bell pepper and a warm finish with bitter cocoa mixed with
cloves and nutmeg. It finishes long. It could age for another few years to
mellow its somewhat tannic finish, but meantime is a good food wine
paired with a steak or roast, or a rich tomato-based pasta or ratatouille dish.
MARISCO THE NED PINOT NOIR 2015
Marlborough, NZ #617530 $20.99
Pinot Noir equals red Burgundy and this Kiwi version is correctly bottled.
With grapes sourced from the Southern Valleys of Marlborough and nine
months of aging in French oak, this soft but flavourful Pinot has a nose of
dried herbs (my wife said marijuana—certainly a topical and pervasive
aroma component wherever you go these days), red cherry, red currant and
notes of vanilla. On the palate was the same fruit (but not “pot”), with some
toasty, smoky oak. The finish is smooth and lifted with subtle tannins.
Given that “herbal” note, it is made for an herb-crusted lamb or gamey poultry
and meat like duck and venison with roasted green vegetables—I am
thinking asparagus with garlic, olive oil and sea salt.
CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ TERRASSES 2014
A.C. Ventoux Protégée #708750 $19.99
In the chunky Rhône version of the Burgundy bottle, this Grenache-Syrah
blend from Ventoux in the Rhône has a spicy entry on the nose and palate.
Wine Spectator gives it 92 points. The aromas blend white pepper and aromatic
desert brush with sour cherry, plum and red currant with some saddle
leather and anise/licorice notes. The flavours are much the same,
dominated more by the cherry and currant and with a lifted if tart and pep-