e Bortoli Emeri Pink Moscato $16.99 8% alc AUS

Fruity and delicious, I want to drink this all summer long. Small, creamy, bubbles for easy drinking and loads of strawberry fruit. Grapefruit and melon notes, ensure you can still feel like an adult when drinking this decidedly pretty wine.  At only 8% alcohol, it's a great aperitif, or afternoon sipper.  Serve with canapes, or tea sandwiches in the garden.




Antano, Rioja, Crianza 2007, Garcia Carrion Vinos de Familia - $12.99 (BCLD)
Wow, you don't see a Rioja this inexpensive very often in BC.  A tempranillo, grancha, granciano and mazuelo blend, it tastes as characteristically "Rioja" as its more expensive breatheren.   From a long established wine making family, with vineyards and wineries in several well known Spanish wine regions, I'm crossing my fingers I'll see more of this kind of value on the shelf. The structure of this wine and its balanced fruit flavours will hold up to most dinner time fare, such as pasta and casserole dishes, grilled and roasted meats.

Salenta Primitivo Tormaresca Torcicoda 14.5% alc $25.99
The complexity of Italian regional wine organisation has always been a little off-putting. Afraid I might be missing something, I've taken it on as a challenge. Puglia is making very happy. This Primitivo (the ancestor of California Zinfandel) is well balanced and long in the mouth. Plummy fruit and a little bit of spice. A good winter Sunday family dinner wine.

Verdicchio de Matelica Belisario vigneti del cerro 13% alc $18
A great white pairing wine.  A good alternative to higher priced white wines from Burgundy with a lot of the same food matches. Medium body, presenting features of both almond and pear. Good structure and balanced acidity makes this a easy pick for complex seafood dishes and cheeses.

Pascual Toso Malbec Rose 2008 12.6% alc $13.99

A rose with exceptional pairing potential - serve with those questionable red or white food items. With big mouth feel, balanced acidity and plummy fruit, you'll wonder what you just put in your mouth because it doesn't feel like your standard bbq rose. I'd like to see this with seared sable fish or scallops, or cheese heavy vegetarian dishe and Indian style curries or Middle Eastern dishes.
Cedar Creek Ehrenfelser 2008 $17.90 11.5%alc
Just released - I think I've found my garden party wine for the summer! A little bit sweet, but with crisp acidity, this is an easy crowd pleaser for summer drinking and entertaining. Packed with grapefruit and peach, there are also nasturtium flowers in the background. Serve as an aperitif or with full flavoured summer salads, or lighter Asian fare. We paired it with grilled Sockeye salmon, saffron aioli and panzanella salad with fresh arugula from the garden.

Saxenburg Guinea Fowl 2007
32% Viognier  68% Chenin Blanc $18.99, 13 % alc. South Africa
Crisp and clean the chenin blanc lends fruit, while the Viognier gives body and structure, making this a great dinner white. On this occasion, we're serving it with a bbq pork tenderloin, a first of the season rhubarb chutney and baby shell pasta, pea shoot and paramsan cheese salad. The vineyard boasts 28 year old chenin blanc vines, which certainly could be the source of this wines sophisticated composition. Good value and lots of pairing potential.

Meditrina $23.99 13.5% alc Oregon (bottled by Sokol Blosser)

While I dislike the goofy narrative style description on the bottle label,  I really enjoyed the wine. A blend of 48% Syrah 27% Pinot Noir and 25% Zinfandel it seemed like a fun combination. Not overly complex, it's a BBQ wine for those days when you're looking for something a little more sophisticated than the Spanish cheapies I normally recommend. On this occasion I paired it with a Jerk rubbed prime rib roast, smoked on the BBQ, served with mojo, fresh mango, corn fritters and coconut curried chickpeas - I was very happy about the whole thing.

The Wolftrapp, $14.99 13.8% South Africa

South African wines seem to be plummeting in price these days and this is one of several wines that are now bargains. A blend of shiraz, cinsault, mourvedre, viognier it has nice full body, a lot of fruit a little smoke. Great middle of the week dinner wine.

Quail's Gate Pinot Blanc Chasselas, 12.5% alc, $15.99
I'm not really a big Pinot Blanc fan, but this one has inspired me to branch out. Having put down three or four bottles of the Quail's Gate Pinot Blanc, it's easily my pick of the moment. Full and fruity, with pleasant floral tones and balanced acidity at $15.99 it's reasonably priced among sometimes dear Okanagan wines. Its true claim to fame, is that after several other bottles of wine, I brought this bottle out (because we'd drank everything else). Despite the intoxication of my guests they all stopped to muse over this product. This Pinot Blanc defies event the most polluted palate.

Church & State Church Mouse Chardonnay, 750ml 14.35% alc. $16.90 (BCLD)
Finally public liquor stores are starting to sell Island wines. It's a small market and the land is expensive, so don't expect any bargains, but the quality of these products is getting very good.
At $16.90 Church Mouse is one of the cheaper options available, but easily competes in the price range. This chardonnay is solid product, not awe-inspiring, but a well executed classic. Oaky, with vanilla and summer fruit, it's got some character without being fussy. You couldn't do any better buying a similar product from a better established wine regions.  

    Castillo de Monseran, Carinena Garnacha, 12.5% alc. 750 ml. $9.95 (BCLD) Highly recommended
If it seemed like I was on a cheap Spanish wine kick before, my recent trip to Spain further reinforced it. Light red fruit, balanced acidity and the peppery'ness I love about grenache - it's an absolute steal for $9.95. I'm liking this wine with some braised beef short ribs and cornmeal dumplings on a rainy winter night.   

    Lindeman's Cawarra Shiraz Cabernet, 13.5% alc, 750 ml, $9.95 (BCLD)
I spend a lot of time criticising cheap Australian wine and I'm feeling a little guilty. While not my fave, they're not entirely without merit - if nothing else, cheap Australian wines are approachable and consistent, both great qualities in a wine. So when a couple of friends were getting excited about this particular wine, I decided to give it a try.
Cawarra is Lindeman's lowest end line of wines, but it is reflective of this mega-producers general commitment to quality. The residual sugars seem somewhat lower than other similar products, which is usually my core complaint with this style of wine. The full berry flavour will be a hit with guests and for the price I would definitely recommend it as a party wine.
(confession: Despite all my grumbles, every few months, I  get an uncontrollable craving for Australian shiraz and ham and pineapple pizza with banana peppers, mmmmm, crappy deliciousness - now you all know my dirty secret)  

    Wychwood Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale 500 ml, 5.2 % alc $3.25 (BCLDB)
Touted as the official beer of Halloween, Hobgoblin seemed like the straight forward choice for this weeks selection (Try finding a Halloweeny wine?).
Not nearly as scary as it sounds, Hobgoblin is full bodied, while still being approachable to regular lager drinkers. Fairly light, with a lot of bubbles and average alcohol, I probably wouldn't call it 'strong,' but it is pleasant with nut and toffee notes and only moderate bitterness.  

    French Rabbit Family Reserve White (France) $19.95, 1L, 13% alc.
You can't help but notice the gaudy packaging and the tetra pack, but to be perfectly honest I think they've got something when it comes to meeting the needs of the al fresco wine drinker -
•    it's light to carry
•    environmentally friendly
•    easy to open
•    unbreakable
•    bigger than a regular bottle
•    easy to find when the sun goes down.
I tried both the cheaper Chardonnay and the Reserve White, a blend. The Chardonnay ($12.95) was passable, but I wasn't that keen. The reserve on the other hand was perfectly drinkable - fruity, with some floral overtones, good structure and balance.
Also available, but not tasted - Family Reserve Red ($19.95) and Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.95). The winemaker also makes a Pinot Noir and Merlot, but they're not available locally.

    Bajoz Cano 2004, Toro - Spain, 750ml, 13.5% alc, $12.37 -Highly recommended
Another cheapy winner from Spain. I can't tell you how much I love finding drinkable wine under $15. Toro, in the central Zamora province (has nothing to do with the Concha y Toro wine empire), is apparently the up and coming Spanish wine region. This unoaked Tempranillo and Granache blend is not only value priced, but it has a little character too. Fruity, with soft tannins, it's not without a little edge that can stand to strong flavoured cheeses and cured meats. If you need a break from low-end, jammy new world reds, check out Bajoz.  

Mumm's Napa Cuvee M $22.76, 750ml 12.5 %alc
A Chardonnary and Pinot Noir blend, it's not a rosé, but has a pink hue. Sweeter than you might expect and with discernable peach and apricot flavours, it screams out champagne cocktail.
    McAuslan, St Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale, 5%, $10.86 (6x341ml)
Seemingly a cross between a wheat ale and a fruit cider, the St Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale is a tasty summer refresher. The macho men among you, will undoubtedly find it a bit light and fruity, but for the most part it's a crowd pleaser.

     Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois 2004 750 ml $14.99 11/4 % alc
I like auxerrois, but it tends to be a little flat on its own, so I was delighted to see this blend. The pinot provides the necessary acidity and gives the auxerrois a little kick in the bum. A nicely balanced wine, with a bit of peach on the palate. It's not a spectacular wine, but it's a little bit unusual without being alienating. Priced fairly, it's a good summer drinker. For me, this wine is asking for a really good quality, homemade chicken salad sandwich on the patio.
    Cabernet, Shiraz, Monastrell (Mourvedre) - Mad Dogs and Englishmen 2004 (Spain - Jumella) 750 ml, 13.5% alc. $14.99 (BCLDB)
The Mad Dog and Englishman brand name has been splashed all over wine magazines lately. When I saw the Godello/Chardonnay blend at the liquor store I bought it based on the hype - I wasn't really impressed. After a few weeks, I decided to give the red version of the brand a try. This, I liked!
Fruity, but notably peppery, with soft tannins and a little sugar. The orange hues, reassures that you're not getting a jammy wine - instead look for plum and black fruit flavours. The Monastrell grape can be a little rough in some Spanish wines, but is blended effectively here with the Cab and Shiraz - a well balanced wine. This wine is a good alternative when you're looking for body and value, but are tired of bootylicious Australian Shiraz and company. Pair with red meat or stinky cheese.

    Il Moscato Frizzante - Mionetto (Italy) 750ml,  7% alc, $17.99 (BCLQ)
When I was at the recent Victoria Festival of Wine, my brother, his wife Krista and myself approached the rep for this wine - as Krista and I sipped our taste, making happy 'mmm' noises, the rep turned to my brother and said, 'the ladies always love it.' It was a little creepy, in a funny way. He was right, this wine is certainly a high-end 'panty remover.'  A lot like Asti Spumanti, it's fairly sweet, with a touch of fruit and small bubbles. The alcohol is low, which makes for a good aperitif (so you and your guests don't get too drunk before dinner). The bottle is cool, with a crown style cap, thereby also making it a good choice for bringing to dinner parties.
(note: if you don't enjoy the sweetness of moscato, they also make a drier prosecco version in the same bottle.)

    Yecla Monastrell, Bodegas Castano (Spain) 2003 750ml,   14% alc $9.99 BCLQ - Highly recommended
Value, value, value - this wine jumped up to $12.99 for awhile, but is back down to $9.99. At either price it's a steal. With medium body, this wine has mass food pairing appeal - from a hearty bowl of soup or stew to a simple plate of meat and cheese. If you're sick and tired of all the fruity wine found in this price range, breath a sigh of relief - while there is a hint of berry flavour, the earthy tones are far more pronounced.

    Gnarly Head Zinfandel (Lodi, Calif) 14.5% alc, 750ml $19.95 (BCLQ)
It's not so much that I like paying the premium price for US wine, but sometimes I get a craving for zinfandel and pizza. Gnarly Head is fun to buy because it has a cool name and distinctive labelling, but it's also a full bodied vieille vigne (or at least the US version) wine, with all the jammy blackberry and soft tannins you want in a zin, with a peppery finish that works with your pizza.   

    Ephemere, Unibroue (PQ), 750ml 5.5 alc $4.95 (BCLQ)  
I'm not usually big on fruit beers, but I like everything this brewery makes, so I gave it a try. A blanche style beer, brewed from wheat and infused with apple, I was surprised by the balance of fruit and malt flavour. With reasonable alcohol and a light finish, it's a good summer sipper, but since it comes in a 750ml, you might want to share it with a friend. A fun beer to pair with food, this beer screams out BBQ PORK CHOP!!

Cedar Creek Estate (BC), Greata Ranch Rose, 2004, 750 ml, 13% alc. $12.99 (BCLQ) - Highly recommended
You better move fast, because this limited release rose is a must have for the summer bbq season. If you're not a fan of rose, this could be the wine to change your mind, unlike the classic California white zinfandel, this wine is a blend of Gawert, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot. The outcome of this blend is a fairly powerful and very aromatic wine.  With  moderate sweetness (01), it's gotta whole lotta berry fruit - predominantly raspberry and strawberry. A great backyard sipping wine, you could also pair with grilled fish or prawns.

    Tall Poppy Petit Verdot, Australia, 750 ml, 14% alc, $15.49(BCLQ)
I love the petit verdot grape. Known as a blender mostly in Bordeaux style wines, it usually only makes up a small component of a blend. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful grape on its own, with lots of body, spice and fruit, but with soft tannins and without the jamminess of shiraz. It tends to be an expensive grape to grow, by means of its temperament, but also with respect to its agricultural yield. For that reason the $15.49 Tall Poppy caught my eye. While not the most elegant petit verdot I've ever tried, for the price you can't beat it. If you're an aspiring wine nerd, getting to know this grape will make blind tasting blended wine a lot easier.   


 Tugwell Creek Farm Meadery Wassail Blush - Sack Mead $21.16 200ml 11% alc.                  
Review by Patty

With St Patrick's day on the brain, Christabel and I were brainstorming ideas about fun and festive ways to celebrate. The biggest drinking day of the year, an interesting booze review was the obvious choice. Instead of the usual beer or whiskey, howabout something different, howabout mead we thought? Conveniently enough, there is a meadery in Sooke.
What is mead? Well as it was explained to us at Tugwell Farm it is basically watered down honey, that is fermented and sometimes infused with fruit.
Available at a variety of private, local liquor stores, it's a lot more fun to go to the farm and take the opportunity to sample a few different kinds of mead.
The mead that we most enjoyed was the Wassail Blush($21.61 for 200ml). Sweet and effervescent it caught our fancies on the first sip. It was slightly pink, being infused with marion and logan berries that are grown on the farm. The honey flavours really come through, but not so as to overpower  the berry and floral notes.      
The other mead that we found to our liking was the Harvest Melomel. ($18.82 for 750 ml) It was the driest selection available, which caught us by surprise . Also being infused with Merion berries but not as strongly. It was acidic enough that we could see it being used in place of a dry Riesling      
March 13, 06

    Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, Cooper's Cove (NZ), 750ml, 13% alc, $15.95
I'm not usually a big fan of sauvignon blanc, but with a name like this one, I had to give it a try. Really nothing like cat's pee at all. Well, it's there, but I've had much more 'organic' tasting wines. Unlike the cat's pee, the gooseberry is pronounced and the wine is dry and fairly acidic, with the slightest bit of effervescence. A good sipping wine or to accompany light meals like salads -- or I'm thinking a fish terrine. Also, apparently it supports the SPCA - although I have to imagine it's the New Zealand SPCA.
March 2, 2006
    Franciscan Vineyards, California Burgundy, 4L, $32.99 11.5% alc.
I've been drinking box wines for years - call me a lush if you like, I can take your abuse.
If you want to have a glass a wine, but not a whole bottle, the box is the best way to have a glass without oxidising a bottle of wine you don't want to finish. Buy your bottles, but keep a box on hand for a quick nip.
This particular box is an overwhelming value and (usually) lasts a while. It's pretty fruity, but has enough dryness to make it completely palatable with your plate of spaghetti or take-away pizza.
More box reviews to come in the near future.
Swallow your shame and suckle the nipple....
March 1, 2006

    Hungerford Hill Fishcage, Shiraz/Viognier, $16.95 750ml 14 % alc
Well clearly I'm a sucker for labelling, I will not deny that. That said I've been interested in the recent Australian trend to blend Shiraz and Viognier. Having previously tried the same combination produced by Yalumba - I declare I prefer this one (for about the same price).
Australian Shiraz production in general, especially at this price range, is act in the art of consistency. For a lot of us the result is extremely reliable, but sort of boring wines. The small amount of viognier in this wine is enough to lift some of the heavy fruit we've all come to expect from $10-$20 Australian reds. With just enough of a the viognier's characteristically floral aromas, this is a fairly heavy red wine that would stand up to a meaty dinner or just as easily with cheese and crackers - an easy drinker, with a bit of character.  
tasted February 20, 2006
    Bodegas Castano, Monastrell, $12.95 750 ml - Highly recommended
Just plain ol' good value - this Spanish wine has great inky colour, overtones of berry fruit and enough earthy aromas to distinguish itself from the new world wines that dominate this price range.  The perfect choice for a picnic of Spanish-style antipasti and cheese.
   Altos Las Hormigas, Bonarda Colonia Las Liebres $12.95 13 % alc. - Highly recommended
Initially I was attracted by the well designed label, then the price, so when I got it home, I was delighted to find a good wine.
This Argentinean Malbec, is a nice rich wine with great inky colour, lots of body and firm tannins. Lots of fruit on the nose and chocolate and spices on the palate.
Sometimes a fear with lower priced South American wines, I've drunk a case of this wine, without hitting a dud bottle. I think this is a super value wine and a crowd pleaser with a little more complexity than the usual in this price range.
Feb 3, 2006
Vigneti Zanatta Damasco - Highly recommended

With the effervescence that I usually associate with Eastern European wines, the Cowichan Valley, Zanatta Damasco fills the gap when you don't want to serve a sparkling wine, but you want a bit of a festive kick. Refreshing and crisp, with lots of apple and pear, this wine works on its own and more notably with items where you want the wine to cut the level of fat in the food, such as braised pork belly or any gratinee.
January 26, 2006
 Granville Island Lions Winter Ale 5.5% alc. 341 ml $10.41 BCLQ for 6
The most notable winter ale of the season with an overwhelming vanilla and butterscotch flavour, super low acidity and virtually no edge or bitterness. This beer is smooth, maybe even too smooth for some people. That said, this ale is more of a dessert than it is a refreshing drink. Also of note, unlike many winter ales the alcohol isn't super-high, so you can have two with getting a buzz.
This is the kind of beer you could put in your baby's bottle (of course, that would be wrong, but you could).
January 22, 2006
    Cherry Point Vineyard, Cowichan Blackberry Port 18% alc. 375ml $19.90 (from the Vineyard, variable in town)
Not terribly reminiscent of what I traditionally think of as port, this fruit wine is super-yummy. An indulgence for sure, it makes a great gift (I just received a bottle for Christmas). It has an intense blackberry flavour and a lot of sweetness, so beware if that isn't your preference. I personally like it straight up or mixed with white wine to make a Cowhican Valley Kir. It's also great for cooking - and not just sweets; I've used it in salad dressing and as a reduction for meat.
January 2, 2005
    Fat Cat Brewery India Pale Ale, 375 ml, 6 % alc.
This nut brown India Pale Ale, isn't necessarily what you'd expect. It's pretty bitter and there's a fair bit of complexity on the palate. If you're a fan of IPA, you may or may not like this version, but it's worth a try from a tasting perspective.  
   Elysium California Black Muscat, Quady Winery 2004, 375 ml, 15% alc. $15.99 (BCLQ)
I'm a fan of dessert wines and the other night as I sipped away at an average sauterne, one of my dinner mates ordered this wine. I instantly became totally disatisfied with a perfectly lovely sauterne. Black muscat is somewhat unusual grape and this wine is just that - a little unusual - sweet, with notable lightness. As the label accuratly notes, this wine has an easy to identify rose and litchi nose and palate.   
Reviewed Nov 28, 2005

 Sumac Ridge Stellar's Jay Brut 2001, $24.99 750ml
Stellar's Jay is pretty high profile sparkling if you've been perusing local wine list's lately. Fundamentally, a solid wine produced in the classic method and including some pinot noir, adding a notable colour to the blend.  Unlike some of my other recent sparkling wine recommendations, this wine has a much spicier and fuller taste and is a little too nice to be just a party wine. While still lovely on its own, this wine deserves a food pairing - I'm thinking tempura oysters.
Reviewed November 21, 2005
    Philips' Instigator Dopplebock, 8.5 % alc. 500 ml $4.25
If you like Vancouver Island Breweries Herminator, you may very well enjoy this Philips' dopplebock, which unlike Herminator is available all year round. A mahogany colour, with a mineraly and hoppy nose, hints of bitter chocolate and a good kick of alcohol, this beer has is well balanced and easy to drink.
Reviewed November 21, 2005
Herminator, Ice Bock Vancouver Island Brewery
Ok, beer connoisseurs, it's that time of year! Yes, Vancouver Island Brewery has released its seasonal stock of Herminator, ice bock. This smooth, dark and nutty beer, with an extra alcohol kick (9.5%), never lasts long, so best get it before it's gone.
tasted November 7, 2005
 Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut, $12.95 (BCLQ)
If you're looking for a wine for a party or celebration, but don't feel like paying a premium for fancy sparkling or Champagnes. The Hungaria (from Hungary) champagne method, sparkling is great value. Crisp, refreshing and simple. It is a good choice for both sparkling cocktails and drinking on it's own.
Tasted November 7, 2005
 Twin Fin, 2003, Cabernet Sauvignon $14.99 (BCLQ)
We were shopping for something to open while Patty's parents were visiting from Nanaimo. Drinkers, but not wine connoisseurs, I wanted something familiar, but with a bit of style. I was initially attracted by the colourful label and upon inspection chuckled to find the descriptor on the back specified that his was a good wine to drink with the in-laws - perfect! It didn't disappoint and demonstrated itself to be a very accessible wine with medium body, soft tannins and hints of cherry.
tasted November 7, 2005

La Vielle Ferme, LaSira, 2002, $12.99 (BCLQ) - Highly recommended
I drink this wine by the case, literally. It is one of the best value wines available, and for that matter is widely available. From the unpretentious and often times poo poo'ed region known as Costiere de Nimes, this mainly syrah blend doesn't disappoint. The winery, La Vielle Fermes (the old farm), is more generally known for traditional style winemaking and marketing. This wine however, stands apart with flashier marketing and rich, dare I say new world style wine (I can feel little French daggers stabbing me in the back as I write). With its screw top and a dab of spice, this is my pick for everyday drinking.   
tasted November 3, 2005

     Masi, Costasera Amarone Classico, 2001, half bottle $24.95 BCLQ
We don't get nearly enough half bottles in BC - so let's welcome this most divine drinking opportunity. If you've never had an Amarone then you haven't lived. Made in traditional process using  sun dried grapes, these wines are something special in what sometimes feels like a sea of commonality. That's why the half bottle is soooo great. Since they're kinda pricey wines (worth every penny in my opinion), the half bottle makes it a lot easier to justifying spending the money. Similarly, if per chance,you live with a spoil-sport who doesn't approve of your wine spending habits, you can buy it, drink it by yourself and dispose of the evidence before anyone is the wiser, muhahaha! Buy yourself a steak, fry it up, pour some heavy cream on it and sit down and enjoy this wine - being alone has never been so good.
tasted November 1, 2005

    Noble Vine, Riverland S. Australia, 2004 Chardonnay, $10.99 (Liquor Plus)
I tried this wine last night at a Liquor Plus wine and cheese. They were also featuring a 2002 Cab. / Shiraz and Shiraz. I decided that the Chardonnay was the most interesting of the three. However, all the same price, they all display significant value. These wines could easily be marked up $2-3 and still compete with other wines in their class. Only lightly oaked, this chardonnay exhibit traces of pencil shavings on the nose, and a mouthful of melon and nectarine on the palate. I'm generally a hard-sell on chardonnay, but for the price, I'd happily buy this one again. There is one clincher however, it's exclusive to Liquor Plus .
tasted October 26 and 27, 2005

    Summerhill Pyramid Winery, BC, Cipes Brut, $19.99 (BCLQ)
This organic sparkling wine, has a lot of buzz around it, including being compared to Dom Perignon. While that might be a clear overstatement it certainly is a very nice and classically inspired wine. With hints of apple and lemon, it's complemented by a mild doughy aroma. The notably tiny bubbles are also fun and match the wine's crispness. Good balance and a long finish - a sophisticated wine at a reasonable price.
tasted October 24, 2005

     Ferngrove Vineyard Estate, Frankland River, Western Australia, Shiraz 2003, $19.99 (BCLQ)
It was the twist cap the drew me to this wine. I like the idea of twist caps. At the very least they indicate to me that this a "tonight" wine, and won't have any youthful astringency. With a plummy and cotton candy nose, soft palate, medium-long finish and a mouthful of fruit, this wine is a sure fire dinner party winner. Easy and accessible, it's the kind of wine that'll satisfy both apprehensive wine drinkers with an approachable palate and wine enthusiasts as well, since there is really nothing to complain about with this carefully manufactured wine. Not to mention, everyone will enjoy discussing the twist cap.
Tasted October 23, 2005

Gray Monk, 2003 Kerner Late Harvest $14.99 (BCLQ)
Nice off-dry wine, with higher sugar produced by the late harvest, but without the full sweetness of a desert wine. Clear citrus on the palate, I declare the predominate aroma is roasting poultry and a hint of chlorine. Nice clarity, medium finish, with the slightest effervesance. The light goldy colour will certainly deepen with a couple more years in the cellar. A good choice for smoked fish I found.
tasted October 14, 2005
     Louis Bernard, Cotes-du-Luberon $12.99 (BCLQ)
Great everyday medium body, drinking red. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault; Well-balanced, a little fruity and soft tannins. The berry flavours are intense without being jammy, definite old world taste. Good value.
tasted October 13, 2005

 Banrock Station - Sparkling Shiraz $16.99 (BCLQ)
An unusual, slightly sweet, red grape sparkling wine  can be served as an aperitif, but with reasonably small bubbles and plenty of tannins it could also pair with a more complex meat dish, such as to accompany a first course of pate or foie gras. A bit overwhelming to be served with a main course, on anything but a festive occasion. Medium body, with a satisfying viscosity. Strong reddy-purple hue common to most Australian Shiraz's, but uncommon flowing out from under a champagne cork. Strong hits of plum and berry fruit on the palate and a slight citrus bouquet.
tasted October 11, 2005