Do you have a favourite imported wine? Perhaps one from Italy, Australia or France. Have you ever wondered how it got from there to here? And why that wine and not another? After all, no wine store could ever carry every wine, no matter how big it was.
Say a wine producer in Germany wants to sell their wines in BC. They might travel here and attend trade tastings with the hope that a local agency will like their product and see a niche for it in terms of variety, style, quality or price. If they are successful that agency adds it to their portfolio and then markets it to the LDB, private stores and appropriate bars and restaurants. If all goes well, it is the beginning of a long and happy relationship.
Select Wines is one such agency and I was fortunate enough to be invited to a portfolio tasting. They offer wines from: Argentina, Australia, Chile, England, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.
Here are some brief notes on the wines I sampled. Prices listed are approximate and will vary from location to location.
Cuvage – Rosé Brut $33
100% Nebbiolo. Very pale salmon / orange colour. Crisp and refreshing with aromas of lees, toast and brioche.
Gusbourne Blanc de Blanc $80
Word has it that that Queen Elizabeth enjoys this British bubbly. It has all one would expect from a well-made Champagne – layered with toast, lees, fruit and brioche.
Billecart Salmon – Brut $68
Big nose – dark toast and brioche, medium-plus finish.
Very good / excellent.
Billecart Salmon – Brut Rosé $113
Delicate nose and palate with an inviting colour.
Charton et Trebuchet Pouilly Fuisse $37
Inviting delicate nose with a medium-plus finish.
Charton et Trebuchet Meursault $83
Wow! Delightful layered well integrated nose and palate followed by a long lingering finish. Excellent.
Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2015 $43
A big inviting nose filled with ripe fruit which carries on to the palate and finish.
Laroche Chablis 1ER Les Vaudevey 2015 $36
Well integrated nose with a long finish.
Hugel Pinot Blanc 2015 $24
Delicate nose, well balanced, medium-plus finish. Pair with salmon.
Good / Very Good
Hugel Gentil 2015 $19
Good value. Bright ripe stone fruit nose, well-balanced, the flavours follow the nose, medium-long finish.
Ogier Lirac Lou Camine 2016 $22
Good value. Bright garnet / purple colour. Appealing nose and palate.
Ogier Clos de L’Oratoire Chateauneuf du Pape 2015 $51
Nice fruit, but too young to consume now. Needs cellaring.
Domaine Paul Autard – Chateauneuf du Pape 2015 $55
Drinkable now but will benefit greatly from further aging.
Famille Bougrier – Vouvray V Chenin Blanc 2017 $21
Off dry, citrus and melon, good body, medium finish. Nice patio wine.
Chateau de Sancerre – Sancerre Rouge 2014 $35
100 % Pinot Noir. Cherries, earth and forest floor on the nose. Lean on the palate. Medium-plus finish. This was a very interesting wine and I went back a second time as I found it intriguing.
Brancaia Chianti Classico 2008 $118 (1.5 litre)
Wonderful rich dried fruit nose. Still firm tannins. Medium-long finish. Very good now, but better with further aging.
Very good / excellent.
Brancaia Il Blu 2009 $85
This is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 45% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Big nose – layered and complex with dried fruit, figs and a medium-long finish.
Vini Nicolis Valpolicella Classico 2013 $18
As the name says – everything you’d expect from Valpolicella Classico. Bright fruit.
Glaetzer – Bishop Shiraz 2015 $44
Big, dark and inky from beginning to end.
Very good / Excellent.
Tyrrell’s HVD Semillon 2010 $36
Lemon, smoke and toast. Flavours echo the nose. A medium-long finish. Delightful at only 10.5% ABV.
Tyrrell’s Vat 9 Shiraz 2013 $62
Intense nose, well balanced with lots of bright fruit. Only 13% ABV.
Cline Cellars – Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 $22
This was a pleasant surprise. Classic California styled Chardonnay without anything being over the top. Well integrated oak and tropical fruit on the nose and palate. Medium-long finish. Great value wine.
Irony Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 $27
Inviting nose of ripe juicy berries that is reflected on the palate.
Good / Very good
Chalk Hill Estate Red 2011 $95
Layered with fruit, slightly hot finish. Cellar for another 3 to 8 years.
Ramos Pinto Lagrima White Port $22
Excellent value. This is the best white Port I have tasted. Golden amber colour with lovely balsamic notes. Try it.
Ramos Pinto 10-Year-Old Tawny Port Ervamoira $35
Nuts, honey, caramel, good mouth feel.
Ramos Pinto 20-Year-Old Tawny Port Ervamoira $64
Heavenly. Well integrated, unctuous with a long lingering finish.
Ramos Pinto 30-Year-Old Tawny Port Ervamoira $114
More reductive style. You have to expect to pay more for a wine of this age, but for my money, I think the 20-year-old offers the best bang for the buck.
(All photos – Sam Hauck)