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Ken's Picks


Kaesler Stonehorse GSM 2015 14.5% abv  Barossa Valley, Australia

Tasting Notes: The recipe for the 2015 vintage: Grenache 59%, Shiraz 35%, Mourvedre 6%. Depending on the vagaries of climate year to year, the percentages will fluctuate. Kasler Vineyards have been around for a while; the grapes for this excellent value wine come from vines at least 40 years old. Eye: deep brick red, orange/auburn tones. Nose: plums, pomegranate reduction, violets, red bell pepper. Palate: nice entry, full body with blackberry, blueberry, black currants, brambly notes. Medium grained integrated tannins. Very approachable right now (as befits a wine almost 7 years old). Drink now, will probably be good for another two years in good cellaring conditions. Pair with red meats, hard cheeses, burgers, pasta with red sauces.

Price: $21.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Estate Bottled Old Vines Monastrell 2017 15% abv.  D.O. Alicante, Spain

Tasting Notes: Bodegas Volver was founded in 2004. The philosophy of the bodega is based on recovering old indigenous vineyards which, either through low production or lack of generational succession, had been lost. The Monastrell vines used for this wine were planted between 1935 - 1970. Eye: deep garnet/black coffee with heavy dark magenta rim. Nose: loam, plums, black licorice, black currant. Palate: medium full body with plum, baked fig, blackberry. Fine integrated tannins. Good length on a finish that carries an espresso note. Drink now - 2024. Pair grilled meats, hard cheese, Panini.

Price: $22.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


AOG Zenata Domaine Ouled Thaleb Signature Chenin Blanc 11.5% abv  Morocco

Tasting Notes: I tried this wine blind a couple weeks back, and was asked "what country?". I knew this was a loaded question. I guessed Northern Portugal, so at least I kind of got the latitude. Morocco has a long history of wine making, punctuated by various occupancies (Roman, Muslim, French). Domaine Ouled Thaleb is named after the tribe that owns the vineyards’ land and works at the winery. Ouled Thaleb led the renewal of the Moroccan wine industry in the 1990’s. With its high mountains (Atlas) and maritime influence, Morocco is a great area for growing grapes. As they say, location (up), location (near a cool ocean) location (shielded from the Sahara by the mountains). 100% Chenin Blanc. Eye: light gold, lime tints, clear rim. Aroma: lemon verbena, washed stones, pear, green snap pea. Palate: clean, bright, with citrus, jicama, green apple, good balance of acid and fruit, medium length finish. A very attractive summer sipper. Pair with fish, soft cheeses, light poultry dishes, vegetarian casseroles.

Price: $$23.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Small Gully Mr. Black's Little Book Shiraz 2017 15% abv.  Barossa Valley, Australia

Tasting Notes: The trademark of Small Gully wines is intensity of fruit and big, bold flavors. This 100% Shiraz is a blend of fruit from vines over 60 years old in Zippy’s Block in the Barossa Valley and Robert’s Vineyard in the Adelaide Plains. Eye: black cherry, ruby red rim. Aroma: rich and heady, with black currant, kirsch, black licorice, and vanilla tones. Palate: great depth, with blackberry compote, currants, mulberry, tar, medium grippy tannins, and good acidity in balance. A delicious glug. Drink now - 2023. Pair with steaks, burgers, hard cheeses. A perfect warm weather, outdoor BBQ party wine!

Price: $18.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2018 VQA 14.5% abv.  Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Qwam Qwmnt (kw-em kw-empt) translates to ‘achieving excellence’. This estate wine is produced in very limited quantities and is definitely worthy of this distinctive title. It is sourced primarily from the finest grapes grown on the 40 year old Nk'Mip (Inkameep) Vineyards. Color: opaque, dense, black cherry, deep magenta rim. Nose: heady aromas of mulberry, black cherry, black licorice, garrigue, black coffee. Palate: strapping and lithe at the same time, with black cherry, blackberry,black pepper, bitter chocolate, graphite, fennel, integrated fine grain tannins. A fantastic Syrah! Celebrate National Indigenous Month with a bottle of this Syrah, and some grilled bison, roast venison, or some roasted vegetables (this wine is vegan friendly)!!

Price: $36.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


La Famille Perrin La Vielle Ferme Rouge 13% abv.  Ventoux, France

Tasting Notes: A perennial value for well over 40 years, La Vielle Ferme has a proven record of delivering excellent quality. It's been one of my 'go to' wines over the decades. Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah. Eye: ruby red with vibrant pink rim. Nose: forest floor, black cherries, currants, vanilla, dried sage. Palate: chokecherry reduction, damson plum, black cherries confirmed, garrige, currants, medium grippy tannins, medium long finish. Very good structure. Pair with grilled meats, hard cheeses, charcuterie. Drink now - 2025. By the way, we also carry this wine in the convenient 3 litre box! Perfect for a picnic with the extended family!

Price: $14.99 750 ml., 49.99 3 litre box (2018 vintage)

 

Ken's Picks


Chandon Brut Rosé N/V Methode Traditionelle 12% abv.  Yountville, California

Tasting Notes: Pauline Lhote grew up Champagne, France, and she knew she wanted to make bubbly from a young age. Before coming to Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley in 2006, she worked at Moet & Chandon and Nicolas Feuillatte, and has a special talent for crafting gorgeous sparkling rosés. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.Eye: pink salmon, transparent rim. Nose: classic notes of bread dough, pear, apples, raspberry. Palate: Crisp, fresh, with a plump mousse. Raspberries, pomegranate, good acidity, tight bead and delicate pearl. Affordable elegance! Pair with just about anything you fancy.

Price: $33.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Duca Di Saragnano Nero Di Troia IGT 2019 13.5% abv  Puglia, Italy

Tasting Notes: Nero Di Troia (Uva Di Troia) is an ancient, little known grape variety grown in Puglia (heel of Italy’s boot) and almost nowhere else. Traditionally a blending grape used to give a bit of oomph to wines made from grapes such as Montepulciano and Sangiovese, it is now more and more being vinified on its own. Eye: deep ruby red with violet magenta rim. Nose: red plums, Amarilla cherries, raspberries, notes of dry sage, wintergreen. Palate: medium full body, with good depth. Plums, dried dates, cherries confirmed, dark chocolate on the back. Fine tannins, medium length finish. Pair with pork, roast fowl, ham and pineapple pizza (I don't care what you say: it works!), hard cheeses, caccio e pepe. Drink now or within the next 2 years. A great value!!

Price: $$19.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Rombauer Zinfandel 15.9% abv  Napa Valley, California

Tasting Notes: Rombauer Vineyards was founded in 1982 by Koerner and Joan Rombauer. If the name sounds familiar it should: Great Aunt Irma wrote The Joy Of Cooking. This Zinfandel is sourced mainly from their El Dorado parcel, along with others. Eye: semi-opaque scarlet, with magenta pink rim. Nose: black currant jelly, blueberries, black cherry, vanilla, hint of tarragon. Palate: full, with ripe plums, dates, cherry cordial, dark chocolate. Tannins soft and integrated Discreetly powerful, it's as close to Port as you can get without it being Port. Pairs with ribs, teriyaki steaks, hard cheeses, and is an excellent match with dark chocolate ( the good stuff: 60-85% cacao). If you want a treat this Valentine's Day, grill the steaks and enjoy the wine but save the last glass for the dark chocolate. Perfect!

Price: $57.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Balthazar Ress Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus Riesling Kabinett 2017 7.5% abv  Rheingau, Germany

Tasting Notes: The Rheingau is one of Germany's most important regions. At 50°N latitude it is right at the northern edge of Europe's 'wine belt'. Hattenheim is the town, Schutzenhaus is the vineyard (equivalent to a French Premier Cru). The south-southwest sloping vineyard is around 150 meters in altitude, and fortunately protected (in German, "schützen") from cold easterly winds. Eye: straw, lime hints, clear rim. Nose: white peach, lemon verbena, classic Rheingau 'steel'. Palate: round, full, peaches, apricots, slate, beeswax, hints of almond, and a good brace of acidity under all the deliciousness. Great character. Pair with roast fowl, pork, veal, pungent cheeses, or go out of the box and pair with tacos, enchiladas, empanadas, Thai dishes, and Indian curries Drink now, or up to 2027.

Price: $29.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Summerhil Pyramid Winery Organic Pinot Gris VQA 2019 12.5% abv  Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: This lovely wine is fermented using the naturally occurring yeasts found on the skins. It bridges New World and Old World styles effortlessly. Eye: transparent, gold with wheat kernel tones. Nose: grassy, floral, peach, light virgin olive oil, pear reduction. Palate: round, with a beautiful oily richness, notes of roasted apples sprinkled with cardamom, pears confirmed. Slightly off dry. Drink now or cellar for another 2 - 3 years.This wine would make a great complement to your Christmas turkey, or ham, or pudding. Hell, you could even pair it with your Christmas roast beast! Here's hoping you and loved ones are all safe and well. Merry Christmas!

Price: $21.49 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Vina Falernia Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2017 14% abv  Valle De Elqui, Chile

Tasting Notes: At present, Vina Falernia is Chile's northernmost wine estate. With its semi-arid climate and soils composed of gravel from the Andes, it is an excellent location to craft wines. Eye: bronze/red/orange, with roast coffee-ish tones. Nose: plums, loam, cinnamon, tobacco, beet root, black cherry. Palate: Medium full body with rich plum/prune, slight truffle, vanilla paste, chokecherry preserve. Definitely Old World style. Pair with stews, roasted fowl/game birds, veal, lamb. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

Price: $20.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Blanco Family Winery Mairena Malbec 2016 14.2% abv.  Mendoza, Argentina

Tasting Notes: This 100% Malbec is sourced from high trellis vines located over 3,000 feet above sea level, and the resulting wine is concentrated and layered. Eye; deep sanguine, brick rim. Nose: plums, fig, dried sage, ground coffee, black pepper, vanilla. Palate: supple and full, with blackberry jam, currants, dried fig. Soft tannins. Medium lingering finish. A great value for the money! Drink now- 2022. Pairs with lamb, grilled meats, casseroles.

Price: $14.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Masi Frescaripa Bardolino Classico DOC 2018 12% abv  Lake Garda Region, Veneto, Italy

Tasting Notes: Veneto, though not the largest wine growing region in Italy, makes more wine than some of the bigger regions. Bardolino is a staple, along with Valpolicella, Amarone, and Prosecco. It is a blend of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella, although Rondinella is being replaced with Corvinone. Eye: Medium opque, dark cherry with bronze tint. Nose: Vanilla, cherry cordial, fig, date, cinnamon. Palate: Good depth, soft integrated tannins, cranberry reduction, dark chocolate, plums, kirsch. Medium length smooth finish. This happy wine will pair with pasta, pizza, charcuterie, panini sandwiches, hard cheeses. Drink now; if you buy a bunch save a few up to 2023 or so.

Price: $16.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap 2018 Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier 14% abv  W.O. Franschoek, Western Cape, South Africa

Tasting Notes: The Wolftrap is a perennially consistent best buy. This Rhone style varietal blend changes percentages vintage to vintage: in 2018 the breakdown is 82% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre, 2% Viognier. Never pretentious, it simply delivers standout quality every time. Eye: dark scarlet, semi-opaque with magenta pink rim. Nose: floral, black cherry, vanilla, Dr. Pepper. Palate: Youthful, fresh, ripe, lifted, with raspberry jam, plum, blackberry, red licorice. Good body, medium firm tannins, medium length finish. Now - 2023. Pairs with grilled, roasted meats, hard cheeses, casseroles. A great every day, any occasion quaffer.

Price: $15.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Spier Wine Farm 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2016 W.O. Tygerberg, Stellenbosch 14.5% abv   Coastal Region South Africa

Tasting Notes: Chenin Blanc is a versatile white-wine grape variety that has been cultivated in France for nearly 1300 years. However, it has found a new home in the vineyards of South Africa. This country has surpassed France to become the largest grower and producer of Chenin, and it remains the most-planted variety there. This barrel fermented Chenin Blanc is created from vineyards that are over 40-years-old. Eye: lemon lime gold. Nose: honeysuckle, pear, gala apple, lemon olive oil, mango. Palate: very balanced, full bodied, complex, with pear, preserved lemon, tart apple sauce, beeswax, whisper of oak, shredded coconut, pineapple. delicious right now but will continue to develop until about 2024 and maybe longer in good cellar conditions. Pair with grilled fish, chicken, duck, pork, soft creamy cheeses, salads. Vegan Friendly, Fair Trade Accredited. A steal at $32, multiple award winner.

Price: $ 31.99 750ml

 

Ken's Picks


Susana Balbo Crios Malbec 2018 14% abv.  Valle De Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Tasting Notes: Throughout her career, acclaimed winemaker Susana Balbo has had the opportunity of working internationally. She was the first Argentinean woman hired as a consultant to wineries worldwide: Spain, Chile, Italy, Brazil, Australia, and California. Crios ('offsring') is her cutting edge line of products. Eye: vermillion, purple, garnet edge. Nose: big ripe fruit, with black cherry and black currant up front. Palate: full, with black currant, vanilla, cocoa powder. Medium grippy tannins show youthful muscles. Good pedigree. pairs with red meats on the grill ( Argentina, pampas, beef, si si), aged hard cheeses. Drink now - 4 or 5 years after vintage date.

Price: $18.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Chai Du Grand Vaudasniere Vouvray Demi-Sec 2017 12% abv.  Loire Valley, France

Tasting Notes: Vouvray: even if you know little about wine you are likely to recognize this name. It is the proprietary name given to the many different styles of wine made in this region from the Chenin Blanc grape. Demi-Sec indicates an off dry style: not fully sweet like a dessert wine, but not bone dry. Eye: 15 karat gold, lime tints. Nose: dried peach, apple cider, washed stones, chalk, with time opens to clover and creamed honey. Palate: Smooth, round, full, dried apricot, peach, canned pears in syrup, good depth, medium length finish. Firm acid holds the fruit together. Drink now, although this wine will age for a period of time. Pairing: extremely versatile. It can handle spicy foods like enchiladas, and will also match roasted pork, fowl (Easter ham, Easter Turkey). It will pair with your macarons or biscotti for dessert, and will complement you showcase cheese board.

Price: $23.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Quail's Gate Fortified Vintage Foch 2015 17.5% abv  Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Marechal Foch is a hybrid varietal that does very well in continental climates. It is one of only a handful of wine grapes in which the flesh (as well as the skins) is deep red. The wine cannot be called 'Port' because it is not made in Portugal. Eye: molasses, dark coffee rim. Nose: rum raisin ice cream, black cherry jam, figs. Palate: viscous and unctuous, but not cloying, dried currants, dark raisins, plum reduction, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract. Pairs well with Valentine's Day dark chocolate, dried fruits (figs, dried cherries), blue cheese, cigars, contemplation in your favorite leather chair. Drink now, but will age for another 2-3 years and perhaps longer.

Price: $26.99 375 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Primus Carmenere 2017 Apalta, Colchagua Valley 14% abv.  Chile

Tasting Notes: Carmenere, the grape that was once a staple in French Bordeaux vineyards, has found a new home in Chile, where the climate and geography provide almost ideal conditions for this late ripening sun lover. Eye: semi-opaque, black plum, crimson rim. Nose: cocoa, plum, dried dates, black cherry, black licorice, kirsch. Palate: plums confirmed, dark chocolate, black currants, vanilla, chewy tannins, but not unbalanced. This wine belies the price: lots of stuffing here. Drink now. Probably ageworthy for another 2 - 3 years in good conditions. Pair grilled meats, hard cheeses, sturdy pasta dishes with red sauce, burgers in the summer.

Price: $19.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Quails' Gate Gewurztraminer VQA 2018 13.5% abv  Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Gewurztraminer roughly translates to 'spicy traminer'; it's a famously aromatic variety, and Quails' Gate has crafted a text book example with the 2018 expression. Eye: pale gold, green hints. Nose: a fruit salad of lychee, white peach, gala apple, and rose petal. Palate: honeysuckle, pear, orange-ginger marmalade, Turkish delight. Enough acidity to hold the fruit accountable. The wine is an excellent foil for Christmas turkey; it can accommodate both white and dark meat, and will handle the tricky sides including cranberry sauce! Drink now. Oh and for those who need to know it's vegan friendly. If you want to know more about vegan friendly wines, read my article on our website. Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!

Price: $23.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Bender Pinot Noir 2017 13.5% abv  Pfalz, Germany

Tasting Notes: Pinot Noir from Germany...say whaaa? And yet here we have a great expression from Andreas Bender, whose reputation is based on meticulous attention to details and a dedication to modern sustainable viticulture and old world vinification. Eye: deep amber, red plum, dark tea. Nose: plums, cinnamon, loam, rose petal, orange rind. Palate: medium body with light grained tannin, red plum, strawberry compote, hints of clove and currant. Fragrant, balanced, with a satisfying depth. If you like Old World Pinot Noir but might not like Old World prices, give this wine a go! Drink now - 2021

Price: $22.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented Torrontes 2016 13% abv.  Valle De Uco, Argentina

Tasting Notes: Torrontes has quickly risen to become Argentina's signature white wine grape. Susana Balbo, famous for her expressive wines, has crafted a version with some serious breeding; unlike most Torrontes, this one has been barrel fermented. She takes it a notch up: classic aromas, then bam! Mineral, edgy palate. Eye: very pale lemon lime, clear edge. Nose: heady: lychee, lemon verbena, gardenia, vanilla. Palate: lithe, firm, roasted plantain, traces of toasted brioche, lime rind. A distinctive wine of good structure. Drink now - 5 years after vintage date. Pair with seafood, poached fowl, soft cheeses.

Price: $27.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Zenato Veneto Rosso Parziale Appasimento 2015 IGT 15.5% abv.  Italy

Tasting Notes: The Zenato family makes a range of wines to accommodate a variety of palates and price points. Based in traditional Valpolicella territory ( Veneto), they are known for quality right across their portfolio. The Veneto Rosso is made from grapes that have been partially dried, then fermented Amarone style. The result is a wonderful wine ready to drink but tasting like it's been sitting around for a while. Eye: dark scarlet, magenta rim, burnt sienna tones. Nose: black currant, blackberry, red licorice, black cherries, vanilla. Palate: medium body, cherry reduction, dates, plum skin, dark chocolate, medium fine tannins. An excellent expression!! A perfect pizza/pasta wine; would not be lost against a rich lasagna. Drink now, but if you want to cellar it, buy a case (You get a 10 % case lot discount hint hint) Keep them for about another 2 - 4 years after vintage date. Impress your friends!

Price: $18.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Black Hills Estate Alibi VQA 2016 12.2 % abv.  Okanagan Valley B.C.

Tasting Notes: This classic Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon is a good example of the effect of short term ageing. It is now almost three years old, and the two varietals have knit together nicely. The 2016 recipe: 75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon. This recipe changes year to year, depending on climate conditions. Eye: medium straw, bright green tints, lime edge. Nose: pear, gala apple, cut lawn, grapefruit. Palate: crisp, with washed stone, jicama, green bean, lime cordial, a good brace of juicy acidity to hold it up. Drink now. Pair with goat's cheese based appetizers, chicken salads, a good friend on a summer patio!!

Price: $27.51 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Cantina Di Negrar Garganega IGT Verona 12% abv  Italy

Tasting Notes: Garganega (Gar-ga-nay-ga) is the queen of white Veronese grape varieties, and is most well known for being the principle grape varietal in the famous Soave (So-ah-vay). Also, it is one of Italy’s most widely planted varieties, and it is one of the oldest. The northern Italian élite have been praising Soave wines (and thus Garganega) since at least the 6th Century. Eye: pale straw, green tints. Nose: Pear, grapefruit pith, golden delicious apple, steamed green bean, chalk. Palate: refreshing and clean, with apple flesh, washed stone, lemon curd, cantaloupe, parsley leaf. Medium short finish. A very tasty wine, good as an aperitif with vegetable crudités, poached fish, chicken salad. Drink now.

Price: $14.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Tommasi Family Estates Masseria Surani Heracles Primitivo 2015 13.5 % abv  Puglia, Italy

Tasting Notes: Primitivo (aka Zinfandel thanks to DNA analysis which confirmed it is the same varietal) has a a storied history, dating way back to its roots in Croatia. The name roughly translates to "early one", referring to its early ripening. Its modern day home is Italy, especially Puglia, although it is famous across the ocean in California where under the Zinfandel moniker it acquired the title of the American 'National Grape'. Eye: medium opaque, deep sanguine, brick rim. Nose: black cherry, black licorice, tobacco leaf, sage, white pepper. Palate: soft entry, espresso, black plum skin, dark chocolate, roasted walnut. Soft tannins, good balance, long finish. Pair with pasta and rich tomato sauces, hard cheeses, lasagna. Drink now - 2021, 2022

Price: $23.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Gerard Bertrand Corbieres 2014 Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre 14% abv.  Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Tasting Notes: Corbieres is an important sub-region of Languedoc-Roussillon in the Southwest corner of France. Its forte is herb/spice scented red wines made from the predominant trio of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. This one, made by reknowned winemaker Gerard Bertrand, is a textbook example. Eye: medium roast coffee, amber tones, black cherry core. Nose: Thyme, red plum, caramelized onion, red peppercorn. Very 'savory'. Palate: extremely smooth, textured, and balanced. Pomegranate reduction, blueberry skin, notes of grilled pork patty. Excellent knitting!! A really good food friendly wine, which will match many cuisines from cheesy casseroles to grilled beef or game. And the price is hard to beat. Drink now, can be cellared 2 - 3 years in good conditions (7 - 8 years after vintage date).

Price: $21.00 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Famille Bougrier Vouvray Douce AOC 11.5% abv  Loire Valley, France

Tasting Notes: The Loire Valley is a home to many varieties of wine grape, but one of the most typical is Chenin Blanc, which makes up this wine. Vouvray comes in two styles: dry, or slightly sweet (douce). This one is lovely. Eye: light lemon tints, apple flesh. Nose: Quince, white peach, apricot, honeysuckle, mineral. Palate: Round and soft, with peaches, rose petal, apple sauce, Turkish Delight; washed gravel, minerality, and medium acidity pull it all together. Very nice indeed!

Price: $20.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Dirty laundry Vineyards Hush Blush 2018 VQA 13% abv.  Summerland, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Just in time for Valentine's Day, this rosé is a blend of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon and will hit the right note of romance. For those that don't know, the winery is located on the site of a former laundry, which was actually the front for a brothel located on the second floor. Eye: salmon, oeil de Perdrix. Nose: Strawberry, rhubarb, rose petal, gala apple. Palate: clean and crisp, just a touch off dry, dried cranberries, raspberry coulis, quince, washed stone, medium length finish. A little naughty, and a whole lot nice. Drink now.

Price: $27.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Hacienda Lopez De Haro Reserva 2013 Rioja 13.5% abv  Spain

Tasting Notes: This graceful Reserva is the perfect panacea to the post-Christmas "I don't have much money in the bank account" blues. A blend of Tempranillo and Graciano, it is sourced from old vineyards with very low production settled on poor soils of Ebro’s terraces (these are all very good things!!) in the area of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (La Rioja). Eye: medium garnet with sienna brick rim. Nose: ripe, full, with black cherry, black licorice, dark coffee notes, and a truffle edge. Palate: Good tannin integration and nice balance. Plums, fig paste, dried dates, plump mid palate and a dry close. Drink now.Pair with a variety of foods: try it with a hearty risotto that has some chorizo in it!!

Price: $18.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Torres Cos Perpetual Priorat D.O.C. 2014 15% abv.  Spain

Tasting Notes: Priorat is a small, dynamic wine region in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain, whose intense, full-bodied red wines have shot to fame in the past few decades. Priorat wine is made from old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena. The 2014 is a classic amongst classics! Eye: dense, deep violet/black, ox blood. Nose: an explosion of violets, jasmine, sandalwood, nutmeg, plums, black currants, black licorice, black cherries. Palate: big and ripe already, with currants, plums, espresso, vanilla, cassis, truffle. Tannins firm and present, but great integration. This wine is the Torres Family 'vin du guard' and will stand prolonged time in good cellaring. Think Christmas gifts for that someone special, but buy one or two for yourself. At the price, it's a steal. Critically acclaimed, world class value. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

Price: $60.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Vignobles Dubard Juste Ciel Chateau Laulerie 2015 Semillon 13% abv  Bergerac, France

Tasting Notes: Sémillon is one of the wine world's unsung heroes. Although the gold-skinned grape is more known for producing France's most famous and revered sweet wines, Sauternes, it is capable of producing excellent dry wines as well. Eye: medium burnished gold, apple juice, straw rim. Nose: layered with apple butter, preserved lemon, snap pea, quince, washed gravel, dragonfruit, and honey notes. Palate: full, round, notes of roasted green beans, jicama, golden delicious apple, extra virgin olive oil. Clean, smooth, and tasty! Drink now: best at 50 -55 F ( 5 - 8 C). Could probably mature for another couple of years. Pair with poached chicken in cream sauce, seared fish, steamed green veggies.

Price: $21.49 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Angove Family Crest Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre 2014 14.5% abv.  Mclaren Vale, Australia

Tasting Notes: The McLaren Vale is a versatile wine region: a wide array of grape varieties can be grown successfully.Shiraz leads the way, and with Grenache and Mourvedre, the trio makes a tasty GSM. Eye: Ox blood, purple/scarlet, brick edge, semi-transparent. Nose: Sage, leather, dried cherry, nutmeg, black olive, red plum. Palate: medium body, soft entry, fine tannins, dried cherry confirmed, black licorice, medium roast coffee notes, tomato paste. The wine is entering its prime and should maintain for another couple of years. Very ready to drink now! pair burgers, grilled sausage, ribs.

Price: $27.99

 

Ken's Picks


Girard 2014 Chardonnay Russian River Valley 13.9 % abv.  Sonoma County, California

Tasting Notes: The Russian River Valley is one of California's coolest and foggiest AVAs and its cool growing season and long, slow ripening period promotes complexity and balance in the wines, especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Eye: light gold, green tints, Nose: a deep layered nose with brioche, gala apple, pear, coconut oil, toasted oak and a whiff of aged white cheddar. Palate: Full, round, generous: challah French toast, white peach, pear confirmed, pineapple, medium long finish. Balanced and supple. Drink now - 2021.

Price: $36.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Verum Malvasia Blanco 2016 12.5% abv.  Ciudad Real, Spain

Tasting Notes: Malvasia is actually the name given to an ancient family of grape varieties capable of making wine in any feasible color or style. Well travelled, it has good adaptability to various environments. Eye: medium gold, straw. Nose: intensely aromatic with floral (lavender, gardenia) notes, apricot, lychee, cold cream, Turkish delight. Palate: white peach, jicama, steamed green beans, washed stones, medium - low acid. This is a great thirst quencher on a hot day, and is at its best well chilled. It would pair nicely with a creamy risotto, poached fish, or salads. Drink now.

Price: $20.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Zuidam Distillers Korenwijn 5 Year Gelagerede (Lagered/Aged) 38% abv.  Baarle-Nassau, Netherlands

Tasting Notes: Korenwijn (grain wine) is an older style of genever dating from the 18th century; it's usually aged in oak casks. The recipe for this Korenwijn: 1/3 corn, 1/3 rye and 1/3 malted barley. Botanicals: Juniper, Licorice, Aniseed. Cask type: 200 litre New American Oak. Nose: Sweet honey, pine needle, vanilla, wax, Red River cereal. Palate: Smooth and soft. Notes of toffee, cream of wheat with liquid honey. Try it as a stand alone 'sipper'!

Price: $88.99 1,000 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Château de l'Oiselinière de la Ramée Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2015  Pays Nantes, Loire Valley, France

Tasting Notes: Sèvre et Maine is the most significant region producing Muscadet wine in the Pays Nantes. Sur Lie indicates that the vinified wine has rested for a time on the spent yeast cells and other solids that are by products of fermentation, which sink to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. This gives extra depth and richness. Eye: very pale straw with lime tinges. Nose: pears, white peach, washed stones, snap pea, flint. Palate: light and brisk, with lemon verbena, honeydew melon, green apple, tart and juicy acid in good balance with the fruit. Very clean and fresh. Drink now. Would do nicely with some seared scallops, or escargots in garlic butter. Gets the taste buds going!!

Price: $23.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Casa Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas 14% abv.  Douro Valley, Portugal

Tasting Notes: "Duas Quntas" translates to "Two Farms'. Quinta de Ervamoira is hot, dry, and low altitude. Quinta dos Bons Ares is cooler, windier, and high altitude. The result: a big, complex, structured red wine. Grapes varieties: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. Eye: inky magenta, indigo violet. Nose: black plum, black licorice, vanilla, black olive, hint of truffle oil. Palate: full, round, ripe black currant, pencil lead, espresso, bitter chocolate, truffle confirmed, medium full tannins, good grip. Medium long finish. This wine needs a bit of airing out before consumption, or give it 6 - 8 years cellaring after vintage date. Delicious!!

Price: $22.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Andeluna Cellars Andeluna 1300 Malbec 2016, 13% abv.  Val de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Tasting Notes: The Uco Valley is home to several of Argentina's top producers. The valley is noted for vineyard altitude: 1300 metres (4,300 ft) above sea level for this particular expression. Eye: cranberry, deep violet, magenta rim. Nose: kirsch, vanilla, red bell pepper, sweet tobacco. Palate: plums, black cherry reduction, black licorice, full, round mouth feel, medium grain tannins, medium length finish. Good value! Some depth and short term ageing potential; drink now, or hold up to four years after vintage date. Think burgers, ribs.

Price: $21.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2016 13% abv.  Marlborough, New Zealand

Tasting Notes: Babich Black Label Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was first produced in 2005 and for a time was exclusive to restaurants and bars. A small portion of juice was fermented in old oak barriques to contribute to the weight and complexity of the wine. Eye: light straw, lemongrass, light green tints. Nose: green apple, gooseberry, papaya, white peach. Palate: Clean, soft, washed gravel, gooseberry, lime rind, dried pineapple, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit. Juicy and invigorating. A very good Sauvignon Blanc with a nice balance. Drink now, but with a proviso: this wine will develop over two or three years in good cellaring conditions, and morph intentionally to the pineapple and kiwi fruit notes. very interesting....

Price: $22.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2015 14% abv.  Barossa, Australia

Tasting Notes: Grenache is a grape varietal that does extremely well in Barossa's warm, dry climate. The vines are trained free standing, close to the ground; those used in this wine are between 35 - 80 years old. Color: Cranberry, burnt Sienna, magenta rim. Nose: Violets, bramble, black cherry, red currant, sandalwood. Palate: Soft, smooth entry, fine grain tannin, cranberry reduction, red currant, dried plum, clove notes. very much a 'drink now', but has the added advantage of medium term cellaring potential (3 - 5 years after vintage date). Great with Panini sandwiches, roast vegetables, roast chicken. Suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Price: $23.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Rabl Langenlois Grüner Veltliner D.A.C. 2016 12.5% abv  Kamptal Region Austria

Tasting Notes: Kamptal, named for the river Kamp that traverses it, is a wine growing region centered in the town of Langenlois. The DAC ( Districtus Austria Controllatus) is the official appellation for Kamptal Grüner Veltliner, and was established in 2008. The varietal has gained popularity and for a time was the darling of the wine community: restaurants carried (and still carry) Gru-v, a common contraction of the proper name. Eye: straw gold, lemon grass tints. Nose: Bosque pear, honeysuckle, golden delicious apple, snap pea. Palate: Clean and brisk. Washed stone, pear skin, dragon fruit, kiwi, cantaloupe. Smooth entry, nice balance between juicy fruit and tangy acidity. Medium finish. A solid effort, food friendly. Try with turkey salad, other salads, poached chicken, light pork dishes, grilled fish, soft cheeses.

Price: $$22.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


The Prisoner Red Blend 2014 15.2% abv  Napa Valley

Tasting Notes: David Swift Phinney is the creator of this wine which became an instant cult classic. It's inspired by the "mixed blacks" first made by the Italian immigrants who settled in the Napa Valley. Although the label has changed hands, David still remains behind the scene. Zinfandel base, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, and Charbono supporting. Nose: big, with vanilla, marionberry, black cherry, and plum. Palate: concentrated, dark fruit pie, stewed blueberry and black cherry, hints of cocoa, tannins present and firming up the massive fruit. This is a luscious wine that would be a great Christmas gift; better yet, buy two: one for you, one for that lucky someone.

Price: $$67.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Guarda Rios Signature Vinho Tinto 2015 I.G. Vinho Regional Alentejano  Portugal

Tasting Notes: For centuries, Alentejano`s main link to the wine world was in the production of cork. Thanks to ambitious privately owned estates, however, by 2010 the region commanded a large share of the domestic wine market and an expanding export share. The wines are charming and fruit forward, and this is no exception. A blend of Syrah, Touriga Nacionale, Aragones, and Alivcante Bouchet. Eye: medium dense ox-blood, magenta rim, black coffee notes. Nose: herbal: sage, thyme, plum skin, red licorice, black cherry. Palate: nice balance. Good mouthfeel, medium grain tannins, plum, currant, chokecherry, compote, pomegranate. Drink now. Had it with a deli meat pizza and it fit right in! 13.5% abv.

Price: $$18.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Tardencuba Verdejo 2016  Rueda, Spain

Tasting Notes: Characterful and fashionable, Verdejo is Rueda's pride and joy. Its distinctive blue-green bloom presumably inspired its name. Eye: pale straw, gold/green tinges. Nose: Layered: peach, apricot, snap pea, washed gravel, golden delicious apple. Palate: Grilled pineapple, quince, lemon curd, grapefruit pith. Clean, medium full body, good balance between acid and fruit. Juicy, medium lengthy finish. By all accounts, can be aged, but is delicious right now. 13% abv.

Price: $$20.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Fairview Goats Do Roam White Blend 2015  Coastal Region, South Africa

Tasting Notes: Fairview is one of the most innovative wine farms in South Africa, making consistently good to excellent wines. The 2015 expression, a word play on Cotes Du Rhone, is comprised of Viognier 61%, Roussane 20%, and Grenache Blanc 19%. Eye: Golden Delicious apple skin, marigold/lime. Nose: A melange of white peach, apricot, honeydew melon, snap pea, washed stone. Palate; clean, good balance of acid and fruit, medium full body, Pink Lady apple, quince, melon. juicy and very approachable. This wine delivers good complexity for a fair (and Fair Trade!) price. Drink now, cellar up to 3-5 years after vintage date. Check it out!!

Price: $$15.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Col Solaire Winery Shining Hill 2011 Red Mountain Red Wine 14.5% abv.  Washington State, U.S.A.

Tasting Notes: Col Solare is a partnership between Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington State's Chateau Ste. Michelle. Shining Hill is the English translation of “col solare”. Red Mountain, one of the Columbia Valley's most celebrated sub-appellations, is an ideal spot for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. It is named for the red-hued native grass that grows on its slopes. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot. Eye: Opaque Indigo/purple. Nose: layered with plum, black cherry, menthol, espresso, graphite, vanilla, espresso. Palate: sinewy, muscular, and extracted, with medium full tannins, plum skin, black currant, blackberry, bitter chocolate. Good length to the finish. Drink now, better to wait: 7 - 12 years after vintage date.

Price: $$58.99

 

Ken's Picks


Sokol Blosser 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir  Oregon, U.S.A.

Tasting Notes: The Dundee Hills lie on the Western edge of the broad Willamette Valley, and are noted for their ruddy colored clay-like Jory loam soils. Typically, wines made here are soft, smooth, and readily drinkable, yet retain cellaring potential.This 2012 expression is a beauty. Appearance: semi-opaque, cranberry, pomegranate. Nose: violet, raspberry coulis, red plum, blueberry. Palate: supple and graceful, soft entry with medium acidity and smooth tannins reaching mid-palate. Notes of strawberry reduction, prune, red currant, loam, truffle. The palate promises further concentration of these elements with cellaring. Drink now, or defer gratification for up to 8 - 10 years after vintage date. Pair with seared tuna, beef bourgignon, pork tenderloin.

Price: $$42.99

 

Ken's Picks


Grey Owl Meadery Bochet Honey Wine 2016  Alder Flats, Alberta

Tasting Notes: Mead is a venerable brew made from honey; its history stretches back thousands of years. Alberta is Canada's largest producer of honey, and the most productive honey province. Alberta’s commercial beekeepers produce an average of 144 pounds of honey per hive each year – twice the world average. So it's a no brainer to be in the mead making business. This Bochet (beau-shay) is a 'burnt honey' mead. Color: deep bronze/golden. Nose: hints of caramel, buerre brulee. Palate: smooth, lovely, with depth. Hints of rancio, roasted apricot, toasted almond. It's similar to an Olorosso, but with some sweetness. Pair with butternut squash soup, cheese platters, Spanish style tapas. Drink now.

Price: $25.99

 

Ken's Picks


Los Haroldos Estate 2014 Blend  Mendoza, Argentina

Tasting Notes: A blend hearkening back to mid-late 19th Century Bordeaux, when Malbec was more an ingredient in the recipes. 60% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petite Verdot. Eye: deep violet/black, with burnished magenta rim. A 'glass-coater'. Nose: good depth with blueberry reduction, black cherry, vanilla, mint leaf. Palate: Cherry confirms nose, bramble, mocha, plush, full body, soft tannins, nice balance. Drink now; cellar potential possibly 5 years from vintage date. Pair with hamburgers, ribs, lamb chops, cheddar cheese, mild gouda. You could even try squeezing some 60-70% dark chocolate in there.

Price: $$19.99

 

Ken's Picks


Viña Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere 2014 D.O. Apalta Valley, Colchagua  Chile

Tasting Notes: Carmenere was very important in the Medoc and Graves before the twin scourges of oidium and phylloxera in the late 19th century. It found a new home in Chile and has become a signature varietal. This wine is opaque, almost black, with a vibrant magenta rim. Nose: black licorice, date, plum, tobacco, hint of eucalyptus. Palate: full body, medium firm and fine grained tannins, plum echoes the nose, currants, mocha. long silky finish. Drink now, suitable for short to mid term cellaring. Think baby back ribs, marinated rib eye steaks. BBQ season is a`comin...

Price: $$18.99

 

Ken's Picks


Gray Monk Siegerrebe 2015 VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.  Canada

Tasting Notes: Siegerrebe (zee-guh-RAY-buh) (your'e welcome) is a cross between Savagnin Rose and Madeleine Angevine and has been known to achieve robust, to say the least, levels of sugar when fully ripe. (Sieger, in German, = 'champion'.) This, potentially, can lead to almost dessert wine sweetness, but in the hands of Gray Monk, the grapes are subdued. Eye: soft, light gold, with straw bale notes. Nose: lychee, honeysuckle, apricot, white peach, washed stones. Palate: clean, mineral, McIntosh Apple, peach, orange marmalade. Low acid. Medium short finish. Drink now. Drink chilled. Great with moderately spicy dishes; think enchiladas, burritos, mild curries. Also excellent with fruit salad, or light mousses, aged cheeses. Buy a few and be ready for the patio!!

Price: $$22.99

 

Ken's Picks


Carpineto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Riserva 2011 D.O.C.G.  Italy

Tasting Notes: Elegant. Color: deep sanguine, brick magenta on rim. Nose expresses layers: dark chocolate, black licorice, blackberry, tomato paste, sandalwood, kirsch. Palate: round and full, with fine grain integrated tannins, notes of black currant, cranberry reduction, dried dates, black olive brine, and a pleasant chokecherry compote note on the medium length smooth finish. Drinks very well now; will continue to gain for 2 - 3 years (and possibly more) in good cellar conditions. Pairs with a range: braised beef, pasta and marinara sauce, roast lamb or pork, hard cheeses. This wine is food friendly!

Price: $$38.99

 

Ken's Picks


Bodega Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2014  Spain

Tasting Notes: Fruit forward with ripe plum, dried Morello cherry and dried cranberry leading the way; supple fine grain tannins mid palate give a firm but smooth structure. Plush mouth feel.This wine is drinking nicely at the moment but does portent short to medium cellaring. Could pair with charcuterie, roast lamb or pork, hard cheeses

Price: $$27.49

 

Ken's Picks


Campo Alegre Toro 2009  Spain

Tasting Notes: This Tempranillo has robust black-fruit aromas of berry and cassis that come with a mild animal note and leathery scents. This is jammy and big in terms of mouthfeel, while flavours of raisin, berry and chocolate finish meaty and loamy.

Price: $29.99

 

Ken's Picks


Robert Foley 2012 The Griffin  California

Tasting Notes: Five grape blend. 47% Merlot, 35% Petite Sirah, 9% Charbono, 8% Cab Sauv, 1% Petit Verdot. One of Napa’s finest winemaker’s, Bob Foley makes deep, fruity, “heady” wines. The Griffin boasts straight-forward blueberry, black raspberry, black cherry liqueur flavors along with black licorice, black tea and black pepper sensations. It’s rich, juicy, full-flavored and smooth.

Price: $49.99

 

Ken's Picks


Carpineto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Riserva 2011 D.O.C.G.  Italy

Tasting Notes: Elegant. Color deep sanguine with brick magenta on the rim. Nose expresses layers: dark chocolate, black licorice, blackberry, tomato paste, sandalwood, kirsch. The palate is full, round, with integrated fine tannins, juicy black currant, cranberry reduction, dried dates, black olive brine, and a pleasant chokecherry compote note on the smooth, medium length finish. Drinks exceptionally well now; will continue to improve in good cellaring conditions for 2 - 3 years, and perhaps longer. Pair with many foods; pasta with marinara sauce, veal scaloppini, roast lamb, hard cheeses. This wine is food friendly!

Price: $$38.99

 

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