Spit Happens #42 – Some Wines are Worth the Hype

In the world of wine writing and criticism it’s easy to succumb to the breathless hype and public relations that crosses my path on a daily basis. Chateau Cash-Flo received a 98 point score in publication Blah Blah! Our debut release of our Gamay got a 97 in the Daily Sediment Newsletter !!!!  Over and over I receive newsletters and tweets about the newest and greatest wines. At some point you become numb to it all. How can all these wines be so great and why should I buy them when they have no track record or reputation for excellence ? The answer is that I don’t. I wait for the opportunity to taste them at the winery or with friends in a much more critical manner.

My friends all know that dessert wines occupy a special place in my wine world. My very close friends know that I throw around nickles like they are manhole covers… It’s rare for me to spend the big money on a single bottle but sometimes I just gotta do it. A very meaningful milestone happened in my life in the past few weeks and this was the time to roll the dice on a big dog wine. A friend of mine has a fantastic collection of great wines and among that collection he has a pretty serious amount of the greatest dessert wine in the world, Chateau d’Yquem. He was willing to part with a 750ml bottle of the 2000 vintage after I explained what my plans were.

Chateau d’Yquem has a storied history going back a very long way. It was first planted in 1711. See link to Wikipedia here . You will be hard pressed ( pardon the pun ) to find a winery with such a long and storied history. The property is quite susceptible to Botrytis ( the type of fungus that causes the grapes to transpire and concentrate the sugars in a lower volume of liquid ) Typically the pickers will go through the vineyard 6 times and only pick the ripest grapes for this wine. A huge investment in time and labor results in a mind boggling extraction but with a delicacy that defies belief. This is my wine of the year and in the top 50 wines of my life . Super aromatic with notes of smoky lapsang souchong tea and a rich apricot and sweet caramel mid palate. We drank it over 4 days and every single sip was an emotional roller coaster. The history and commitment to quality was evident the entire time. Definitely a special experience but it will help you understand why wine is such a special product .

BC Liquor Stores has a selection of vintages .

Thanks for your time.

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

Cheers
David Lancelot

 

Spit Happens #41 – Burgundy

Ok it’s time for a confession. Burgundy is probably the least represented wine region in my collection. I made a conscious decision years ago to not fall in love with Red Burgundy. Mainly because I couldn’t afford the best examples. I figured I could afford 90 % of the great Syrah and Riesling wines in the world and almost none of the greatest Burgundies made. Small production and existing client bases mean that the wines are rarely available on the open market and if they are the prices would be eye watering. Over the years the world of wine has become more and more competitive for great Burgundy so I didn’t feel like I was missing out as the quality price ratio wasn’t making sense. While I still have a fondness for Syrah and Riesling ( sweet wines too) I’m willing to see what’s out there and stretch my brain, so to speak.

Last week I had an opportunity to taste some excellent red and white burgundy in Kelowna. Van Doren Chan from That’s Life Gourmet made the arduous trip from Vancouver to Cask and Barrel Liquor Store in West Kelowna. Van Doren ( as she is known) is an enthusiastic wine knowledgeable representative that is passionate about spreading the word of wine . Van Doren gave a short overview of each producer and was well equipped to answer questions about soil type and terroir from a nerdy group of wine lovers, wine makers and others like me. She brought a nice sampling of wines from Marchand Grillot, Domaine Alraud,Arnoux Lachaux ( formerly Domaine Robert Arnoux), Domaine Vigot, Roblet Monnot , Domaine Ramonet and Domaine Comte Armand. What a treat, purity and sense of place were present in all the wines. These wines are made in very small quantities and rarely seen outside of the lower Mainland.

Bourgogne and its five wine-producing regions
La Bourgogne et ses cinq regions viticoles

The tasting was part of a series called the “Warehouse Sessions” organized by Shanyn Ward of Cask and Barrel Liquor Store. She has extensive wine experience in retail, restaurant settings and is a rising star in the BC wine scene. She is also a judge for the BC VQA program and a writer for local papers , https://www.kelownacapnews.com/tag/wineology/ . I get tired just looking at her schedule but never get tired of talking to her about wine. If you are a wine lover and in the Central Okanagan you must stop and check out the store at 1135 Stevens Rd #109, West Kelowna, BC V1Z 2S8 open 9am-11pm daily . Contact Shanyn at shanynward@gmail.com for info on the current availability of the That’s Life Gourmet wines and upcoming events like the Warehouse Sessions .

Thanks for your time.

f you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .

Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
David Lancelot

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