Posts Tagged ‘California’

Vancouver Island Wine Blog Part 2 – The Old Guard is in Good Shape!

August 13, 2019

This is part two of the wine blog based on my recent visit to Vancouver Island wine country. And it focuses on three of the “old guard” – those wineries that have been there for a while. Some of them are my favourites and still making great wine!

Continuing to lead the pack is Averill Creek, just outside of Duncan near Mt. Prevost. Their wines were the first ones I ever tasted from Vancouver Island that were truly great – in fact, the 2006 Pinot Noir and 2007 Pinot Gris completely changed my mind about Vancouver Island wine!

Andy Johnson and his team continue to go from strength to strength, and I was pleased to see that they give people the chance to experience that in the tasting room. In addition to the “regular” tasting they offer a reserve tasting (for a slightly higher fee) and it is well worth the expense.

There were four wines, and all showed why Averill Creek continues to be the leader on Vancouver Island. First off, their 2010 Brut Reserve Sparkling Wine would give many Champagnes a run for their money. Still young at nine years old, it has just a tinge of yellow to it, and is filled with that classic toasty/yeasty/crisp flavour profile! Next up, their 2015 Reserve Pinot Gris. They oak this wine – something which can be controversial to some – but I loved it. It was light gold, with just the right amount of vanilla and butter to go with the citrus fruit. The final dry wine was the 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir. Just a baby, it was super tight, with tannin covering the cherry fruit, but you could sense the potential beneath it. I would give it at least 3 – 5 years before drinking. Last but not least was a Tawny Port style wine made from blackberries…and it was a dead ringer for Port!

Averill Creek is a Pinot Noir specialist, and while I didn’t taste their “regular” wine on the trip, I can highly recommend it (I have already bought four bottles). It is a great cross between Burgundy and California, with earthy, dark cherry fruit that is super ripe (but not candied). Year in, year out, it matches up with the best Pinots in BC.

The second of the old guard that is doing fine – thank you very much! – is Vigneti Zanatta, which is located west of Duncan. For years this winery has specialized in sparkling wines, sometimes from non-traditional grapes, and sold at very reasonable prices…and that continues to be the case.

I tasted three, all technically non-vintage, and can heartily recommend them all. The Brut Tradizionale is made in the Champagne style from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It is crisp, clean, dry and relatively full-bodied with a touch of green apples – kind of like Spanish Cava crossed with Champagne. It would be great for any occasion.

Next, the Allegria Rose Brut is really something to look at – one of the darkest sparkling Roses I have ever seen! It is made from 100% Pinot Noir, and explodes with berry flavours. Again, bone dry…this one would be great really cold on a hot day.

Finally, my favourite of the trio is the Glenora Fantasia Brut. This used to be vintage designated…not sure why it isn’t any more…but I was told it is from the 2013 vintage…so almost 6 years old! This is definitely a Champagne style wine, loaded with aged flavours of yeasty and toasty bread. Made from the obscure Cayuga grape and aged on its lees for two years…wow!

Zanatta also makes still white and red wines, which are nice, but a surprise was one called Castel Nero, made from a clone of Cinsault and some grape I can’t remember. It would easily fit in at a Provence tasting…no oak, peppery dried berries and earth…I had a full glass at lunch, I loved it so much!

Speaking of lunch, if you are going to be a Zanatta around lunch, book a table – in advance – at their little restaurant. It has a beautiful patio, almost all the wines are available by the glass and the food is amazing (and well priced).

Final of the old guard I visited – the “newest old one” for me – is Rocky Creek. I had a great chat with the Assistant Winemaker (daughter of the owner/winemaker), who also took me through what continues to be a very solid lineup of white and red wines, as well as a sparkler. My favourites? The 2017 Pinot Gris has won all kinds of awards and is almost sold out. It is a fruity, dry, medium bodied beauty for drinking while it is fresh. For the reds, I will stick with the Pinot Noir – the wine that attracted me to Rocky Creek in the first place! It continues to be made in a California style, with lots of ripe cherries and just the right amount of vanilla, spice and cedar. It drinks well right now, but will keep for a few years if you want (although why wait?).

That’s it for the old guard I visited…stay tuned next week for the new kids on the block!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

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Pacific Northwest Wine Tasting Surprises!

May 9, 2019

Just finished #dish2009 tasting by the BC Hospitality Foundation and – once again – lots of surprises!

The wines were from Washington State, Oregon and California, and there was a pretty broad representation – over two dozen wineries and close to 100 wines. I decided to focus on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and ‘big’ reds, as I only had about 90 minutes.

The Chardonnays were mostly what I call the ‘Cali’ style – fermented/aged in oak, with at least some degree of malolactic fermentation. That resulted in nice golden colours, lots of lovely buttery/vanilla citrus fruit. Only one completely unoaked wine, but a few a mix of stainless steel and oak. My favourites were from Deloach (2016 Russian River Valley), Ponzi (2015 Reserve), Ferrari-Carano (2016 Sonoma) and Walt Wines (2016 Sonoma Coast).

Pinot Noirs were next and they were my first surprise – and a good one! Sometimes North American Pinot can go off the rails in two ways – too much ripe fruit, making it taste like candy, or too much of trying to be Burgundy (which means not enough fruit and more wood/herbs).

But almost all of these wines were in the middle – lots of ripe fruit but very sophisticated indeed! And there were some truly stunning – if expensive – wines! Oregon Producer Ponzi had their ‘15 Reserve and it was dark but full of ripe, dark cherries and ripe tannins. My tweet said ‘a world class wine’, and it was! Only slightly behind was the ‘16 Russian River Valley by Paul Hobbes and the 2016 Sonoma Coast from Walt Wines – both were beautiful, rich, young wines with lots of life ahead of them. Finally, the 2017 Russian River Valley from Deloach was also very nice. A general observation was the wines from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma were the best, confirming its Pinot rep!

On to the ‘big’ reds from California, and my other surprise – and not a good one!

I tasted about a dozen Cabs, Cab blends and Zin/Syrah/Petit Syrahs and found – tannin. Super tannin, so much my cheeks were sucked in! And I couldn’t find the fruit!

What a disappointment! Similar to many wineries in BC, these seemed to going for Bordeaux style instead of taking advantage of the regional strength – ripe fruit! I will never forget my first Cali Cab wines in the mid ‘80s – they were stunning for their ripe black currant fruit. Even the Reserves were ripe and could be drunk young.

But not these ones! Maybe they will become smooth and elegant, but they will never be fruity. Too bad!

SB

www.sbwinesite.com

2019 Vancouver International Wine Festival

February 21, 2019

That time again…the Vancouver International Wine Festival!

So much to do, so many wines to taste…160 wineries from 16 countries pouring 1450 wines…and California is the feature wine region.

With so many options, here are some suggestions on wineries – and wines – to check out.

California

Being the “feature” region usually means having the most wineries/wines, and this year is no different! While there are some new names to check out, I would go with some of the long term stars of the region. Wagner Family of Wine, for example…don’t know for sure, but will Caymus be there? If so, their Cabernet Sauvignons are legendary! And how about Ridge Vineyards? Zinfandel put them on the map…look for both the Lytton Springs and Geyserville blends, two of my favourite wines. Last but not least, Beringer…another Cabernet Sauvignon legend, although don’t ignore their Merlots and Reserve Chardonnay!

Canada

Wines from across Canada are once again at the festival, but stick with BC for the best! Burrowing Owl’s Syrah is consistently among the best in the province, for example. Church and State makes another great Syrah, as well as solid Pinot Noirs and Bordeaux blends. Finally, Nk Mip Vineyards, a First Nations winery from Oliver, makes outstanding Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay in the Qwam Qwmt series.

Australia

Not a big selection this year to choose from, but check out Vasse Felix/Yalumba. The Yalumba Signature is a super-ripe Bordeaux-blend that can last for decades.

France

Even fewer French wines this year, unfortunately, but nice to see Chateau Pesquie from the Cotes du Ventoux. They make outstanding reds, including the Quintessence.

Italy

Last but not least, Italy…and more than a few choices this year! Want Chianti? Check out the wines of Antinori, one of my favourite producers. Brunello di Montalcino? How about Altesino, a great producer. And if you love Barolo, it is hard to beat the wines of Marchesi di Barolo.

So there you go…if you just taste the wines from the wineries above, that will give you at least 20 – 25…which is a great start!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

 

 

So much to do, so many wines to taste…160 wineries from 16 countries pouring 1450 wines…and California is the feature wine region.

 

With so many options, here are some suggestions on wineries – and wines – to check out.

 

California

 

Being the “feature” region usually means having the most wineries/wines, and this year is no different! While there are some new names to check out, I would go with some of the long term stars of the region. Wagner Family of Wine, for example…don’t know for sure, but will Caymus be there? If so, their Cabernet Sauvignons are legendary! And how about Ridge Vineyards? Zinfandel put them on the map…and look for both the Lytton Springs and Geyserville blends, two of my favourite wines. Last but not least, Beringer…another Cabernet Sauvignon legend, although don’t ignore their Merlots and Reserve Chardonnay!

 

Canada

 

Wines from across Canada are once again at the festival, but stick with BC for the best! Burrowing Owl’s Syrah is consistently among the best in the province, for example. Church and State makes another great Syrah, as well as solid Pinot Noirs and Bordeaux blends. Finally, Nk Mip Vineyards, a First Nations winery from Oliver, makes outstanding Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay in the Qwam Qwmt series.

 

Australia

 

Not a big selection this year to choose from, but echek out Vasse Felix/Yalumba. The Yalumba Signature is a super-ripe Bordeaux-blend that can last for decades.

 

France

 

Even fewer French wines this year, unfortunately, but nice to see Chateau Pesquie from the Cotes du Ventoux. They make outstanding reds, including the Quintessence.

 

Italy

 

Last but not least, Italy…and more than a few choices this year! Want Tuscany? Check out the wines of Antinori, one of my favourite producers. Brunello di Montalcino? How about Altesino? And if you love Barolo, it is hard to beat the wines of Marchesi di Barolo.

 

So there you go…if you just taste the wines from the wineries above, that will give you at least 20 – 25…which is a great start!

 

SB

 

www.sbwinesite.com

OAK – WHEN, WHY AND WHY NOT?

August 3, 2017

Is there a more controversial topic in wine – at least for wine dweebs like me – than oak?

 

I have written about it a number of times, and it is tough to try and stay balanced. Most people know what they like when it comes to oak, and they tend to really like it…or really hate it. But this week’s experience with a couple of wines made me think of another potential angle to this controversy.

 

First, though, let’s back up a bit. What is oak used for anyway?

 

Well, at the most basic it is what many wines are aged in. That as been the case for hundreds if not thousands of years. A whole area of France  – Limousin – built up an industry producing wood for wine barrels. And others followed in other countries

Why? Well, oak barrels can impart some very specific, and popular, flavours, textures and colours to wines as they age. Wood flavours to begin with – cedar – as well as herbs. But also vanilla, butter, butterscotch and even caramel notes from the wood, depending on how new the oak barrels are and how long the wine is kept in them. Colour too – golden yellow in white wines can be a sign of oak aging. And texture, especially in reds – the oak can help soften the harsh tannins that sometimes dominate in “big” red wines.

 

So what’s the problem, then? Its the fact that some people believe certain wines should taste a certain way based on history, style, personal preference. Red Bordeaux, for example, is supposed to have cedar, herbs and led pencil overtones. California Chardonnay has a reputation for vanilla, butter and even caramel flavours.

 

And that is what got me thinking when I had two different BC wines from the same producer this week. Both were recommended by a reviewer that I respected, so I thought I would give them a try.

 

The first was a Syarh/Mourvedre blend. Now, Syrah from France typically does not show very much oak influence at all (regardless of whether it is aged in oak or not), particularly in the Northern Rhone. Either does Mourvedre, a blending grape from the Southern Rhone often mixed with Syrah and Grenache in Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and other wines.

 

So it was with surprise, and disappointment, that I opened the wine and, upon smelling it, picked up the vanilla notes right away! That followed in the mouth – smooth, vanilla covered cherries. It was lovely to drink – my wine loved it – but it didn’t taste at all like what I thought Syrah/Mourvedre should taste like!

 

Fast forward to tonight, same winery, but a wine that was 100% Syrah. Open it up and – boom! All pepper, black cherries, earth – a Northern Rhone clone! I loved it!

 

So that got me thinking…with oak, like a lot of things in life, it is about expectations and familiarity. I know what I like in different wine styles – give me a butter California Chardonnay any day, a Spanish Rioja with vanilla covered cherries, or a Cali Cab with vanilla and cassis. But Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache…nope…I want the style from France that I like, because that’s what I like!

 

The lesson here? I’m still note sure…but it has something to do with expectations, and managing them!

 

SB

 

www.sbwinesite.com

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH…FOR A BC WINE?

April 5, 2017

A slightly different approach to my yearly rant against the rising prices of BC wine…this time, I want to talk about “how much is too much” for a bottle of BC wine.

As usual, I want to emphasize that I have no problem with a wine’s price if it sells. I may not be able to afford it – see California Cult wines, most Barolos, Hermitages, etc – and I may not like its style (see Bordeaux), but if the market will bear the price – then go for it!

But I remain curious about the logic around the prices of some of the recently released BC wines. One winery, in particular, has its new “artisanal” wines priced at…wait for it…$90, $115 and $125! And they were being promoted by a local BC wine writer.

Sorry, but that just doesn’t compute with me.

First off, it is a brand new winery, with no track record…who in their right mind would spend that kind of money when there is no history of what the wine will taste like?

Second, assuming that the wines are meant to age…there is also no track record of that either! What if in 3, 5, 8 or more years, you open them up and your “investment” tastes like a glass of toothpicks!

Third, if you really want to spend that kind of money on wine (and, to be clear, I don’t), a quick check of the BCLB website shows you have a lot more reputable options. How about the 2014 Saint Joseph le Clos by Chapoutier for $119 (97 points by Parker)? Or the 2010 Barbaresco Sori Paitin for $105 (also 97 points by Parker)? Even the 2014 regular Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon at $115 (and 94 points). All of these wines have years (if not decades) of pedigree, so if you like the style, there is virtually no risk.

Fourth, who exactly is going to buy these wines? Not your average wine drinker, of course…and not even wine dweebs like me. Not restauranteurs, as they have to mark them up 2 – 3 times. So is it tourists, wanting to take something back with them? But how many of them will spend that much money on a BC bottle of wine?

Finally – and I realize this is the toughest, most subjective argument – how can these wines be good enough to charge that kind of price? Personally, I won’t spend that kind of money on any wine, let alone a BC wine (except in a restaurant, of course, where the cost has been at least doubled). And that’s because I just don’t think wine is worth that much money.

Okay, enough ranting by me for this year! But one last dig…I bet if you go looking for those wines a few months from now, they will still be available…and there will be lots of them!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

VANCOUVER WINE FESTIVAL PRIMER #1: CABERNET SAUVIGNON AND PINOT NOIR

February 1, 2017

Okay, been a while, but I am back…and with the Vancouver International Wine Festival just a couple of weeks away, how about a primer on two of the most popular grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir – and what you can expect from their wines.

While the grapes are very different in terms of where they are grown and their flavour profiles, they are somewhat similar in terms of the two primary styles of wine.

The more traditional style for both grape varieties is what is usually called old world. For Cabernet Sauvignon, that tends to mean from Bordeaux (where it is usually the main player in a blend of grapes) and Burgundy (where Pinot Noir stands alone, except for the Beaujolais region). Both are from France.

What are the characteristics of that style? Well, in my experience and taste, the emphasis is more on wood – usually oak and cedar – and herbs. Tannins, too, tend to dominate, particularly when the wines are young. As they subside, the result can be smooth, but the amount of fruit that is still there? Except for the great wines – which are way too expensive for me – it is usually long gone.

You can probably tell, these are not my style of wines. I have had a small number of mind boggling older Burgundies and Bordeaux, but that is more than offset by the number of woody, herbal and dried out Bordeaux and Burgundy wines (young and old). Having said that, they are the most popular red wines in the world!

But there is another style of wine which I really like…some call it new world, but it has one key word to describe it – fruit!

Luscious black currants and cassis for Cabernet Sauvignons, and cherries (black and red) for Pinot Noir. Lovely vanilla and spice can overlay but not dominate this fruit.

You probably already know where the best of these kinds of wines come from! The USA – California, Oregon (for Pinot Noirs) and Washington (for Cabernet Sauvignons). But also from Australia and my home province of British Columbia (especially for Pinot Noir).

And don’t think that “fruity” means they can’t age. Some of the Cali Cabs can easily go for 15 – 20 years without losing their fruit.

Ironically, the best ones can also be almost as expensive as their French cousins (as anyone who has heard of so-called “cult wines” like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estates).

What does this mean for the VIWF? Well, in looking at the list of wineries, I would recommend trying the following wineries in each of the styles:
• Old World Cabernet – Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, Dourthe, Borie Manoux (France), Mission Hill, Osoyoos Larose, Jackson Triggs (B.C.)
• New World Cabernet – Kendall Jackson, Robert Mondavi (California), Columbia Crest (Washington), La Frenz (B.C.)
• New World Pinot Noir – Etude (California), Whitehaven (New Zealand), La Frenz, Howling Bluff, Averill Creek, NkMip (B.C.)

Enjoy!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

THANKSGIVING WINES

October 5, 2016

We are heading into our Thanksgiving Day long weekend up here in Canada, and every year I get questions about what wine to have with the big celebration dinner.

So here are some ideas!

First off, it always depends on what you are having to eat, particularly if the food – or significant components of the meal – is going to be sweet. That sugar can play havoc with both red and white wines, so it is important to plan accordingly.

If you are having a sweeter meal – ham with a sugar glaze, sweet yams or mashed potatoes, lots of cranberry sauce – then I would recommend two kinds of wines.

For whites, go with a Riesling. They are naturally on the sweet side (even the dry ones), so can stand up to just about any level of sweetness in your food. Also, they come in a wide range of price categories! You can get really nice ones from BC, Washington State and California for under $20, for example. Europe is the home to great Rieslings, of course – from France, in the Alsace region, and Germany – so you can also go there if you want a potentially great wine. One caveat, though – some of the best of those wines can get quite sweet, so if you or your guests don’t like sweet wines, that could be a problem.

For reds, that is tougher. Any kind of oak in the wine will not mix well with the sweetness in the food, potentially ruining the taste of both the wine and the food.

My “go to” red wine for sweeter or hotter foods is Zinfandel. It is chock full of sweet (ripe) fruit itself, doesn’t have oak or jamminess to it, and the alcohol level can help combat the sweetness in the food. California is the place, of course, to find it, and you can find options from $10 to $50++++.

It is easier to pair wines with more savoury dishes – turkey/lamb/chicken/beef with herbs, meat stuffing, that kind of thing.

My favourite red wine choice for these kind of meals is actually Grenache-based wines! Cotes du Rhone, Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras – all of these wines, even when young, have great herbal (called garrigue) component to them that pairs really well with herbal, meaty food. And they don’t have to be expensive! Basic Cotes du Rhone – solid wines – can be had for under $15.

As for whites, you do need to watch the oak. If you – or your guests – like it, then go for the big Chardonnay or Semillon/Sauvignon-based wines. They will be rich enough to stand up to the herbal meaty flavours. If oaked wines don’t work, you can try Pinot Gris or even Chenin Blanc – the best ones are full-bodied enough to handle the food without the oak.

That should give you enough to make Thanksgiving Dinner – here or in the US – enjoyable. But one last piece of advice.

If you really love wine and/or a certain type of wine, then have it! There are too few excuses to treat yourself, and not matter what the food is, you can still enjoy a fabulous bottle of wine.

Life is too short…so go for it!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

Syrah/Shiraz…France, Australia, North America…what’s the difference?

September 14, 2016

As usual, I have been drinking a lot of Syrah lately, and continue to be amazed at how different the style of the wine can be depending on where it is made/what winemakers want to do with it.

Most people are probably familiar with the Syrah/Shiraz differences…same grape, but made in a different way. Syrah is typically full of peppery black cherries, touch of earth, a bit lean (but not unripe) and no oak at all. Shiraz, on the other hand, is often a fruit bomb – blackberry jam, so ripe it almost appears sweet, and the oak appears as vanilla.

Syrah is most famous in France (northern Rhone, to be specific, where it makes such famous wines as Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas and Cote Rotie). And Shiraz, of course, is almost synonymous with Australia.

But both styles are also made elsewhere, and can be dead ringers for those made in these homelands. Washington State, for example, makes some great Rhone style Syrahs, and I am very proud to say that BC does as well! Cassini Cellars, Moraine, Quinta Ferreira, Moon Curser…all are very nice. And the best is by Nichol Vineyards, which at 8 yrs old is almost indistinguishable from a Crozes Hermitage.

Interestingly, when made elsewhere, Syrah can taste almost totally different!

One of my favourites is California, where many producers balance the Northern Rhone style with additional ripeness (but not the jamminess of Shiraz). Ojai is a good example. But this style also appears elsewhere, including in my home province, where Orofino makes a stunningly ripe wine!

I have also found that when Syrah is made in Italy, Chile and South Africa, it often takes on much more earthiness, and herbalness (if oak is used to age the wine). These wines aren’t my style, but some people swear by them, particularly because the latter examples can be great bargains.

In general, I find that oak — at least overt oak — doesn’t add to my enjoyment of Syrah, adding too much of the Bordeaux style herbs and woodiness.

But that is just me! The important thing is to know the different styles of Syrah, find out what you like, and then follow your style…it may appear in a whole bunch of places you never thought of!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

CABERNET SAUVIGNON – THE REAL “HEARTBREAK GRAPE”

January 7, 2016

Happy New Year, everyone!

To kick off the year, I am going to do as series of blogs on the major grape varietals/the wines they make. And to start, the so-called “king of grapes” – Cabernet Sauvignon. Although, for me, you could also call it the “heartbreak grape” (with all due respect to Pinot Noir).

Most people know about “Cabs”…they are probably the first red wines they tried! Initially made famous because of their role in the great Bordeaux wines of France, they became arguably even more popular in the last 30 years because of how they are made in California.

And there-in – at least for me – lies the paradox (and the heartbreak).

I, too, started off on Bordeaux when I “got into wine”. With no other reference points, I though all red wine was supposed to be like the way Cab was made into wine in Bordeaux – cedary, woody, with only hints of fruit (mostly cherries). I enjoyed it…or so I thought!

And then came California! I will never forget the night…I had started to read the Wine Spectator, which favoured California wines, and they were hot on Robert Mondavi’s winery. I had my first real job out of university, so a little money, and bought the 1985 and 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons (for about $23)…and was blown away!

Super pure and ripe blackcurrants exploded on my taste buds, delicately covered by vanilla. Big, rich, not tannic at all…wow! I couldn’t believe it!

From then on, I searched out for those wines, including on a subsequent trip to Napa and Sonoma with my bride to be. It was amazing to find so many wineries making what I would come to call the California style of Cabernet Sauvignon (and Merlot and Pinot Noir, as well, for that matter).

From there, it became hard to go back to Bordeaux, although by then my new cellar was fairly full of it. I kept trying the wines as they aged, but found very few with any semblance of that purity of fruit. By contrast, as I go older, I found that many of the California wines still kept a lot of their fruit even as they aged!

For over thirty years I have been searching for those wines in all kinds of places – Chile, Spain, Australia, Washington State and – more recently – here in BC, but don’t find them as often as I would like. If anything, Australia is the best place for that style now.

Which is where the heartbreak comes in…along with the price I have to pay to find really good ones in California these days.

But sometimes –particularly if there is something to celebrate – it is worth it! Last year, in recognition of my Junior Girls 27 – 6 record, I bought a couple of bottles of the Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley Anniversary bottling (2010, I believe). Highly rated (95+) and over $65 up here…but amazingly ripe! And it reminded me of the first great Mondavi wines I tasted so many years ago.

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

CALIFORNIA WINES MAKING A “VALUE” COME BACK IN BC?

October 29, 2015

Quick question for you – what do the ’13 Dancing Bull Zinfandel, ’12 Smoking Loon Syrah and ’12 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon have in common?

Yes, they are all from California…and all solid wines. But more importantly, they are all under $20 in BC liquor stores, with the first two being less than $15! And I would bet that for our friends in the US, you can find them for around $10 in Costco or other grocery stores.

My question is…how do they make this kind of quality, at this price, for the BC market?

When I first started getting into wine back in the ‘80s, I drank a lot of California wines. And there were some amazing bargains back then.

But then the Canadian dollar tanked, and for a long time many – most? – California wines just became too expensive. Even four or five years ago when our dollar was at par with the US dollar, the prices just didn’t seem to come down very much, whether it was for the inexpensive wines or the premium ones.

But now, that seems to be changing…even though our dollar is once again falling!

So what gives?

I know the wines I mentioned above – and probably many others – are made in great quantities, which helps keep the per bottle cost down. But still…with our bizarre tax regime, the only way a California wine can sell for $15 is if it “landed” here at under $10, which I assume would be the price in the US (if not less given the exchange range).

Factor in the average price of BC wines now hovering close to $20 – for far lower quality – and it presents an interesting quandary.

And one I don’t have an answer to!

If you know, please pass on the reason. In the meantime, I guess I will be buying ore California wine to drink during the week!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com