2007 Stoneboat Pinot Noir

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

2007 Stoneboat Pinot NoirLast night I opened a bottle of 2007 Stoneboat Pinot Noir.  Stoneboat has been one of my favourite wineries to visit in the south Okanagan Valley.  And their wines are consistently some of my favourites.

One of the things that always catches my eye is their distinct labels and bottle shape.  The picture here doesn’t show the shape of the bottle very well, but it’s definitely unique.  The diameter gets larger as you move up the bottle, and just above the label it cuts back in to form the neck.

According to their website (click HERE), a stoneboat is a sled used to remove heavy stones and was “originally used to clear our home vineyard of its abundant river rocks.”  They chose the name because “a stoneboat is representative of qualities that we value: hard work, tradition and perseverance.”

I find their wines to be very smooth but with lot’s of flavour.  They always have a distinct oak flavour that is unique to their wines.  A couple of years ago, the wine that really caught my attention was their pinotage.  And this past year as well.

This pinot noir didn’t disappoint either.  I highly recommend either of these wines if you ever have the chance to pick one up.

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CellarTracker Redesigned (Grape Stories)

April 17, 2010 3 comments

Just saw that Cellartracker has a new re-designed site up.  Although the new site is still in beta, it is much more user friendly and intuitive than the old version.  The new version looks like it’s going to go by the name Grape Stories.  Click HERE to check out the new site.  Very cool looking.

I’ve been a big fan of Cellartracker for over a year now.  Eric LeVine, the founder, provides an incredibly useful database tool for writing reviews, reading reviews, and keeping an inventory of your wine.  Their product beats any software alternative, at least as far as I’m concerned.  And it operates on a donation basis (while you can use it for free, donations are recommended).

If you haven’t already, head on over an check it out.

How I Write about Wine

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I was thinking this past weekend about how I’ve been writing about wine.  I think I got away from my real intention, which was to write about my experiences with the wines I drink and not just write about the wine itself.  I’m not an expert on wine, just an occasional hobbyist.

So, I have removed the ratings and reviews I had for all of the wines.  In the future, I’m going to try to indicate more along the lines of ‘love it’, ‘like it’, and ‘not for me’ and talk a bit more about my experience with the wine.

I have a couple of reasons for this, but mainly I don’t want to discredit a good or great wine because I had a poor experience with it.  Another reason is that I have a different experience with a particular wine each time I drink it.  Especially being that I’m no professional, things like what I have for dinner play a significant role in how the wine tastes to me.

Leave a comment if you have any suggestions.

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2008 Therapy Vineyards Merlot

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

At my local curling club (Tunnel Town Curling Club in Tsawwassen, BC)2008 Therapy Vineyards Merlot there’s been a poster for Therapy Vineyards for the most part of the year.  I’m guessing someone affiliated with the winery happens to curl out there.  Before I noticed the sign, I was completely unfamiliar with Therapy.  However, some of the club members have commented that it is actually great wine.

So I’ve kept my eyes open for a while, but had trouble locating their wine.  A few weeks ago I visited Taylorwood Wines on Mainland Street in Vancouver.  I stumbled into Taylorwood Wines when I was downtown for the Olympics one time and was completely impressed by their selection; especially because it’s all BC wines.  And they have a knack for focusing on the great BC wines that are difficult to find.  Sure enough, they had three different reds from Therapy Vineyards (merlot, shiraz, and Freud’s Ego).  I opted for the merlot because I’ve been craving a wine with some punch.

I actually love the bottle design.  Nice to see something completely unique.  In particular, the back label gives some insight into that you should expect.  Although not exactly a unique practice, playing along with the image on the front, they coined the back “what do you see in this wine”.  I found the move quite clever.

2008 Therapy Vineyards Merlot - Back LabelSo I cracked this bottle this past weekend and really enjoyed it.  I didn’t quite finish it so I put the twist-cap back on to save it overnight.  The following night I pulled the cap off and found the bottom completely thick with sediment.  Not sure if I just missed this the first night or if it turned overnight.

In any case, this wine was great the first night.  I’ll have to try another bottle shortly to get the full experience.  Highly recommended.

2007 Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot Noir

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

2007 Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot NoirI bought this bottle last year at the winery when I visited in May.  Seems to be a bit of a trend, I know.  In any case, I have not had a lot of experience with Gehringer Brothers wines.  But I was impressed with this one when I visited their winery last year.  I have found some of their wines to be a little bit soft for my taste.  However, this one was different.

I found the wine very enjoyable and easy to drink.  When I’m excited to try a wine I haven’t had before, I tend to save it until after dinner so that nothing gets in the way.  For some wines, this isn’t they greatest idea (as the flavours sometimes need some accompaniment); however, this wine was great on its own.  Next time I’m up there,  I’ll be sure to pick up a couple more bottles of their Private Reserve line.

2008 Desert Hills Gamay

February 24, 2010 1 comment

2008 Desert Hills GamayOne of my favourite wineries on the Black Sage Bench is Desert Hills.  I’m not sure why exactly I like it, but I do.  I try to stop in every time I am in the area.  One of my favourite wines is their Gamay.

I think I partly like that the winery is a small, family run operation.  I also like that they make consistently excellent wines.  And the family is incredibly friendly.  It’s easy to visit for a tasting and end up in a conversation.  The first time I was there, around four or five years ago, a gentleman came in to taste some wine (which he had never tasted before).  He was on a trip through the valley to pick out wine for his son’s wedding.  He ended up buying a number of cases of their Gamay on the spot.  I guess from that point on, I always paid close attention to the wines I was tasting, even if they were lesser known wines.

Now Desert Hills has developed quite a reputation for themselves and recently won the SILVER Indy Int’l , Bronze Ok Wine Festival & Int’l for their 2008 Gamay (click HERE for their notes).

In any case, I shared this bottle with my wife tonight.  My wife does not drink many reds at all, but this one she likes.  Overall, this is an excellent wine.  I love this wine because it doesn’t need to be paired with anything.  Even as Desert Hills states on their website, this is a great sipping wine.  I agree.

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2006 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Meritage

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

2006 Jackson Triggs MeritageI was in Osoyoos a few weeks ago visiting some family, and wanted to visit at least one of the wineries while I was there.  Given that it is February, most were closed.  So, I picked one of the very few wineries in the Oliver-Osoyoos area that I had not already been to: Jackson Triggs.  When you first drive up, the winery looks like a warehouse (the facility houses the Vincor offices and distribution center for western Canada).  However, once you get up the driveway, it is actually quite a nice facility.  The lady who served us was incredibly friendly and quite knowledgeable.

In the past, I have avoided the big wineries for the reason that I can always find their wines back in the lower mainland.  In other words, I usually focus on the small wineries and the wines that I won’t be able to find anywhere else.  But this trip was worth the effort.  I enjoyed every wine I tasted and bought two bottles, including the 2006 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Meritage.

I opened the bottle this past Saturday and shared it with some friends.  As expected, I greatly enjoyed the wine.  It was not as strong as I expected, but a very smooth wine.  Overall, excellent.