Spit Happens #34 What would you Buy ?

A recent post on the Vancouver Magazine website asked a former colleague of mine, Michaela Morris, what wines would you buy for $100 ? Link here . This got the wheels turning in my head and I thought it might be worth exploring the concept. I have some preconceived notions about the concept of price in wine and how it relates to quality and uniqueness. I have long stated that the biggest quality increase occur when you go from the 15$ range in BC to the $25 – $30 range. At 15$ you are buying what I call commodity wines. These are wines made to hit a specific price point, generally sound and exhibiting a degree of varietal character. At the next price point you have effectively doubled the amount of money the winery can spend on the things that materially effect the quality of the wine, IE better viticulture techniques, lower yields , better quality oak and perhaps some extra time in the bottle before release. When you are in the $50-$100 you are getting something that is also likely to have the ability to age a fair while and has received some recognition in the press so the price in some ways reflects the wines status and availability in the marketplace. With that in mind I would probably look at 1 bottle in the $50 range and 2 in the $25. My theory being I’m always looking for something to add to my cellar and something for more immediate consumption. There are more weekdays than there are Birthdays and special occasions.

First something a bit more special.

I really like Chablis. The Daniel Dampt Chablis Fourchaume 2015 is a brilliant white with texture and lovely depth that doesn’t rely on a ton of oak to build flavor . This is farming and wine-making at its best. Link . The following is a review from Alan Meadows Burghound Newsletter
“There is good ripeness to the green fruit, oyster shell and iodine aromas that give way to rich and quite full-bodied flavors that also possess a textured mouth feel on the sappy, delicious and lingering finish that offers good if not truly special depth.”
– The Burghound, Issue 64 89 points

Next a visit to Spain where I think some of the best deals around can be found.

Ribera Del Duero- Marta & Mate Pixide 2013 is an British Columbia Liquor Board exclusive. Link For $19 this wine is a steal. 90 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate – “The 2013 Píxide was very perfumed, floral, open, clean and aromatic with very good freshness. The palate is medium to full-bodied with very fine, abundant tannins, good balance and persistence.”
I’m so impressed by this. Tons of character and very expressive. This should be on every restaurant wine list in BC. I would go out more if it was.

I have an ongoing love affair with Riesling and todays post is not going to be any different.
My third choice would be St Urbans Hof Riesling Mosel Old Vines 2016 listed by the British Columbia Liquor Board for $26.49. Link Dang this is good wine ! This is built for near term drinking. Beautiful etched acidity with enough residual sweetness to make it a brilliant match with Spicy Thai roast porketta sandwiches or some fresh asparagus that we will start seeing shortly.

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

David Lancelot






Spit Happens #33 The concept of lightstrike plus a wee joke

A woman was driving home in Northern BC, when she saw an elderly woman walking on the side of the  road. She stopped the car and asked the woman if she’d like a ride. The woman thanked her and got in the car.

After a few minutes, the woman noticed a brown bag on the back seat and asked the driver what was in the bag. The driver said, “It’s a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.”

The woman thought for a moment, then said, “Good trade.”

The topic of todays post is lightstrike . As the wine industry starts to deal with issues relating to corked bottles and temperature control in shipping/storage and retail we now have a new issue to deal with. Lightstrike is an issue related to wines that have been exposed to blue and ultraviolet light which eventually converts amino acids into unpleasant smelling compounds like dimethyl disulhpide. The fruit is initially muted in the glass and then finally becomes overwhelmed by flavors and aromas of cooked vegetables, wet cardboard ( which many times is then perceived as cork taint ) or an almost gamy animal poo smell. Sounds delicious doesn’t it.

Conventional wisdom dictated that light was the enemy of wine. Which is why stand alone cellar units often have dark glass doors. The image of the dark dank subterranean wine cellar certainly comes to mind. There is a reason port is in a super dark glass bottle. Generally amber glass filters out most of the bad stuff ( ninety percent) green glass fifty percent and clear less than ten percent. Think about all the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and rose in clear glass and it starts to become a bit more obvious where the risks are.

It’s very likely that your wine can be damaged at a retailer on in a restaurant setting if they are not on their game. Sunlight and florescent bulbs are the worst offenders. Think back to the time you put your beer in the lake on a hot sunny day. The lake was cold but the sun made the beer taste skunky and nasty. LED bulbs can also cause some issues but it’s a more limited issue. I’m thinking a wine spending weeks on the shelf of a supermarket will result in a sub optimal performance. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that all wines in a case are exposed to this risk unlike cork taint which has a lower percentage risk.

So what can you do ? In an ideal world you would buy full unopened cases and bring them home at night and place them in your dark cellar. This isn’t always the case but you can always ask a trustworthy employee how long a wine has been on display. Also don’t buy wines that have been displayed in direct sunlight. I stopped buying wine from a retailer in Seattle a number of years ago for exactly that reason, all the good stuff was in a south facing portion of the store exposed to direct sunlight.

If you wish to display your collection in your fancy new cellar pick the dark bottles or those wrapped in tissue for the most exposed portions of your cellar.

PS If you want to know the name of the Seattle retailer you can email me at davidlancelot71@gmail.com

Thanks for your time.

If 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.