★ LIQUID ASSETS
by Larry Arnold “…intense cherry, black pepper and spice flavours, a hedonistic texture and a finish that grinds on”
Whites Stormy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 06 South Africa $12.00-14.00 After tasting several dozen sauvignon blancs from around the world, I came away thinking that for the money, this zippy little gem from the cradle of civilization is all a man might want when the occasion just doesn’t seem to merit a bottle of Cloudy Bay! With a slash of zesty acidity and a mouthful of fresh citrus-peach flavours, this easy drinking white punches well above its humble price point. Golan Heights Yarden Muscat 05 Israel $26.00-28.00 If this lovely sweet Muscat is any indication of the overall quality of the plethora of Israelis wines new to the BC market, things are looking up. Intensely grapey and very sweet but not cloying, with a cut of refreshing acidity and a long rich finish that just keeps going! Kosher and proud of it. Ngatarawa Silks Sauvignon Blanc 06 New Zealand $24.00-27.00 Powerful yet refreshing, with ripe pear, gooseberry and grapefruit flavours, some weight on the palate and an ample squeeze of mouthwatering acidity to put it all in perspective. More please.
Reds Stormy Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 06 South Africa $12.00-14.00 Dense, dark and definitely new world in style. This lushly textured cab from the plains of Africa has explosive fruit flavours yet remains surprisingly well balanced. Round and smooth with bright boysenberry, black currant and mint flavours and a soft but persistent finish. Pretty good drinking for the buck. Roux Pere & Fils Saint-Aubin 1er Cru “Les Cortons” 05 $50.00-55.00 The tiny village of Saint-Aubin is located in Burgundy’s famed Cote de Beaune. Although the appellation has never been considered in the same league as some of its more illustrious neighbours, Saint-Aubin is an appellation worth seeking for the relative value of its reds and whites. Very pale in colour with lovely peach, pear and brioche aromas, refined fruit and mineral flavours, nicely balanced with a soft, creamy texture and a long supple finish. Elegant indeed. Ngatarawa Silks Syrah 06 New Zealand $24.00-27.00 Pronounced Naa-Taa-Ra-Wa, by the locals before and after every rugby game, this amply endowed Syrah came as a bit of a surprise when first sampled. Coming from cool-climate New Zealand, I just did not expect this wine to be as big as it has turned out to be. But there you go, what do I know? Lush and round with sweet plum, white pepper and spice scents, rich berry flavours and a long fleshy finish. Ngatarawa. Estampa Malbec-Petite Sirah 06 Chile $14.00-16.00 The Estampa winery and vineyards are located on prime real estate in the heart of the Colchagua Valley in central Chile. The company philosophy is based around the sanctity of the blend; they make no single varietal wines at all. Seems kind of limiting but it is their ball and so far the results have proven pretty tasty! Medium to full-bodied with intense berry, spice and espresso flavours nicely balanced with a rasp of edgy tannins.
EAT MAGAZINE MARCH | APRIL 2008
Casa Santos Lima Quinta da Espiga 05 Portugal $13.00-15.00 Sometimes a good cheap red is all you need and if complexity is not high on the agenda then look no further; this tasty little slurp from sunny Portugal delivers the goods. Medium-bodied with fresh raspberry and cherry flavours, some spicy oak notes and a blush of fine-grained tannins that on the palate. Wirra Wirra Church Block 05 Australia $25.00-28.00 This blockbuster from Mclaren Vale is a shameless blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (47%), Shiraz (35%) and Merlot (18%) but as many Aussies are wont to do, puts out more than the sum of its parts. Concentrated but firm with intense cherry, black pepper and spice flavours, a hedonistic texture and a finish that grinds on. You’ll be back. Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2001 California $19.95 There is nothing subtle about this wine. It is a full-figured, in your face, take no prisoners fruit bomb that leaves nothing to the imagination. Just the way we like it! Delicious and alluring with a certain earthy fecundity that some might find forward but is attractive nonetheless La Buxynoise Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru 05 France $35.00-40.00 Medium-bodied with ripe cherry, spice and wet earth aromas, a silky texture, ripe berry flavours and a long supple finish. This elegant little pinot could use a couple more years in the bottle to really show its stuff, but regardless, is damn fine drinking right now. When only Burgundy will do, look no further. Bertani Valpolicella Valpantena “Secco Bertani” Ripasso 04 Italy $20.00-23.00 Secco Bertani occupies an interesting point on the wine continuum. It is not a fruity little Valpolicella best quaffed in great draughts with friends and pizza, nor does it have the baronial stature of a mature Amarone, meant to be sipped and contemplated, on its own or with a wedge of good hard cheese. No my friends, this brawny ripasso wine offers the best of both styles. It is bone dry with a nose reminiscent of dried cherries, minerals and spice. Medium-bodied with noticeable acidity, ample fruit flavours and a patina of dusty tannins. Open it early and give it a couple of hours in the decanter for best results.
The Finisher Vincent Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka Holland $47.00-50.00 Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka is the only spirit on the market with added caffeine. Tastes like a double espresso hold the vodka, but, a small word of warning, after a couple of stiff ones you may not know whether you are coming or going. . Deceptively smooth, with rich coffee flavours that explode on the palate and absolutely no indication of the spirit that hides within. Consider yourself warned!
Celebrating the Food & Wine of British Columbia