Tag Archives: chardonnay

Reviewed: Catena Alta Chardonnay (2007)

23 Apr

Catena Alta is the benchmark for premium Argentine Chardonnay

Bodega Catena Zapata
Catena Alta Chardonnay 2007

Mendoza, Argentina
14% alcohol/volume
$44.99 at Everything Wine (not available at BCLS)

Sourced from Adrianna vineyard at 5,000′ (the highest in all of Mendoza) and a small portion from Domingo at 3,700′, Catena Zapata’s Alta Chardonnay is the benchmark for premium Chardonnay from Argentina.  100% barrel fermented, with 50% new French, and aged sur lie for 12 months.

This wine is remarkable from start to finish, beginning with an aromatic  and complex nose of pear and apricot, almond and lemon cream.  Subtle hints of white flowers and warm, smoky notes follow.  The palate is full and concentrated, with citrus, honey, vanilla, nutmeg and toast. The wine has a wonderful viscosity, mouth coating and pleasantly creamy, but with an exciting streak of minerally acidity that leaves me wanting more.

This wine is everything I love in Chardonnay and is near-perfect now.  Still, it shows much potential, and will reward careful ageing until 2014 at least.  At $45 CAD it’s not for everyday quaffing, but compares very favourably with other Chardonnay wines around the $50 mark, from any region.

see also: Catena Rules Argentine Chardonnay from Stephen Tanzer’s Winophilia.


Paul Hobbs: Argentine Pioneer

18 Sep
vineyards of vina cobos, mendoza

Vineyards of Viña Cobos, Mendoza

As a winemaker, Paul Hobbs is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards and for his innovation and pioneering spirit in working with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to prospector to truffle-hunting dog. Hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he went on to become winemaker for Opus One and Simi wineries.

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Recently, Paul is known for his namesake winery in Napa Valley, which has received high accolades (including multiple 100-point scores from Robert Parker) for its Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. What is less well known is that Hobbs is a pioneer in fine wine production in Argentina, having started there in 1988 with Decanter Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 2009, Nicolas Catena. Señor Catena gives Hobbs much credit for the success of Catena-Zapata’s Chardonnay program. He has since extended his consulting efforts both in Argentina and Chile, consulting with various producers, including La Pampa winery Bodega Del Desierto. But the pinnacle of Hobbs’ work is Mendoza winery Viña Cobos, which began in 1998 and moved into its own winery facility in 2007.

Viña Cobos has expanded its lineup to include the Felino range of varietal wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2007 vintage saw the entire Felino range score 90 points or better by Winedesierto Advocate reviewer Jay Miller.

Bodega del Desierto is the first winery in the Argentine province of La Pampa, a new viticultural region on the western border of the desert route to Patagonia, 700km south of Mendoza. The premium 25/5 varietal range posses Hobbs’ signature rich concentration and drinkability and have been included in”Smart Buy!” and “Top Value” lists by Wine Spectator magazine.

felino cabernetViña Cobos Felino Chardonnay 2008
Classic Argentine Chard, with pronounced oak, but well-balanced by tropical fruit and decent acidity.  90 points, Wine Advocate (August, 2009) $21.99, Everything Wine

Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Good concentration for the price, with solid cassis fruit, dark berry and sweet vanilla.  91 points, Wine Advocate (December, 2008) $21.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5  Chardonnay 2007Bodegas_del_Desierto_25-5_Chardonnay
Top-notch Chardonnay by Mr. Hobbs, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, great fruit concentration and enough acidity for food pairing. $27.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Another good example of the fruit-forward Paul Hobbs style.  Concentrated blackberry and sweet cassis fruit.  Good tannic structure and oak influence. $27.99, Everything Wine



Reviewed: Foxtrot Chardonnay (2008)

24 Aug

Foxtrot Vineyards' label - art by Michael Halbert

Foxtrot Vineyards' label - art by Michael Halbert

Foxtrot Vineyards’ first-ever Chardonnay is from the 2008 vintage.  Grapes are sourced from two Naramata vineyards, one 35 years old (85%) and the other 5 years old (15%).  The nose is ripe and intense, with lots of apple and pear on the nose and distinct smoky, meaty notes, plus mineral, yeast and iodine. The rich palate has nice viscosity, subtle vanilla-oak and plenty of lemony acidity.  Among the very best BC Chardonnays I’ve tasted and possibly the most Burgundian of all. Superb first effort. 93 points

In three vintages, Swedish-born Torsten Allander and winemaking-son Gustav have established themselves as ultra-premium Pinot Noir specialists from Foxtrot’s tiny 3.5-acre Naramata vineyard.

Foxtrot Vineyards Chardonnay 2008 $54.99 Everything Wine
Foxtrot Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006 $60.99 Everything Wine

Wine and Food Pairing: Sushi

9 Jun

from: http://www.everythingwine.ca/blog

Three words best describe summer dining: light, fresh, and delicious. For me, nothing satisfies these criteria better than a casual lunch on the patio of my favourite local sushi joint. After a quick glance at the menu, I’ve decided on an assortment of nigiri sushi and cucumber rolls. But the question remains: what to wash it down with?

read more of my first blog post for EW!

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 7}

3 Apr
condesa de leganza crianza tempranillo 2004: great richness and concetration for <$20

condesa de leganza crianza tempranillo. great wine. change back from your twenty.

download issue 7.pdf

Issue seven of vino valore takes a trip to the Old World. Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal are all producing some incredible wines at budget-friendly prices. Even France is getting in on value-for-dollar action. This issue compiles a few wines that offer complexity, concentration and uniqueness – and most give you change back from your twenty. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 7.pdf

please note, issue seven is extra long!  print on legal sheet.

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 6}

20 Mar
The 2008 releases from JoieFarm are out now, but won't last long!

The 2008 releases from JoieFarm are out now, but won't last long!

download issue 6.pdf

Issue six of vino valore is all-BC. I was lucky enough to taste a selection of the 2008 offerings from JoieFarm recently, and I’ve summed up that tasting for you. I’ve also included a few BC Best Buys from recent tastings. Spring is here: time for some fresh local wines. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 6.pdf

please note, issue six is extra long!  print on legal sheet.

White Burgundy Tasting (Part Two)

18 Mar


March 15, 2009
White Burgundy
Part Two

I’m a total newb when it comes to Burgundy, so this tasting was very intriguing. I saw it as an excellent opportunity to enlighten myself to the world’s most terroir-conscious appellation. It didn’t disappoint; never have I tasted such an impressive lineup of wines, white or red. I’ve been won over!

* * * * *


Lucien Le Moine
Meursault 1er Cru
14% alc/vol

The biggest nose of the group (and biggest pricetag) belonged to the renegade producer Lucien Le Moine: hugely intense, with smoke, jerky, mesquite, carbon, luncheon meat, ripe apple and pear, wild grasses, mineral, butter and honey. A similar experience on the full-bodied palate, but I just could not get over that monster of a nose! Hard to believe this House was established just 10 years ago. 94 points


Clos de Mouches 1er Cru
13% alc/vol

The subltest and most elegant of the group, the Clos de Mouches showed toast, smoke, mineral/flint, citrus and floral notes on the nose. The palate was rich but bright, with green apple and gooseberry. A lovely viscosity was balanced nicely by brilliant acidity. 95 points

Vincent Girardin
Corton Charlemagne G
rand Cru
13.5% alc/vol

The second Grand Cru of the night turned out to be my favourite wine. The nose is beautiful, with ripe pear, smoky mineral, cotton candy and anise.  The rich palate showed incredible depth and detail, with hints of sugared lime, toast and butter. 96 points

White Burgundy Tasting (Part One)

17 Mar


March 15, 2009
White Burgundy
Part One

I’m a total newb when it comes to Burgundy, so this tasting was very intriguing. I saw it as an excellent opportunity to enlighten myself to the world’s most terroir-conscious appellation. It didn’t disappoint; never have I tasted such an impressive lineup of wines, white or red. I’ve been won over!


* * * * *

La Chablisienne
Grand Cru Chablis
‘Les Preuses’
13.5% alc/vol

Chablis, famous for crisp, steely wines, is situated as close to Champagne as it is to Beaune. I’m such a Burgundy-neophyte, I was unaware that the region also produces rich, barrel-matured wines like La Chablisienne’s Grand Cru ‘Le Preuses’. The nose is rich and intense, with lemon zest, toast, ripe pear, honey and strawberry (no shit!) ice cream. The medium-bodied palate is bright and crisp, with tropical melon, lemon and cream leading to a long, crisp finish of citrus and spice. 94 points


Domaine Marc Morey
Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru
‘Les Vergets’
13.5% alc/vol

Chassagne-Montrachet and neighbouring Puligny-Montrachet are straddled by perhaps the greatest (and most expensive) white wine region in the world: the Grand Cru vineyard of Montrachet. This Premier Cru Chassagne-Montrachet offering from Marc Morey is rich and toasty, with spicy, smoky-mesquite aromas, plus walnut, granny smith apple and mineral notes. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with canned pear, butter and beautiful acidity. 92 points

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 4}

20 Feb

in this issue: Domaine Gauby Cotes du Rousillon Rouges 2006 - 90 points

download issue 4.pdf

Issue four is the biggest vino valore yet, with seven great wines reviewed and a report from the first IVSA tasting of the new year. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 4.pdf

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 3}

6 Feb

luna-cropIt’s the dead of winter and the middle of a global recession, so I’ve reviewed a handful of great-value wines made from grapes that might be new to you. Spice things up this February (without maxing the plastic) with a tasty Mencía or Cortese. And while you’re at it, pick up a little something for the sweetheart – Valentine’s Day is next week! I can help: issue three of vino valore is here!

download issue 3.pdf

* * * * *

in this issue, discover little-known grape varieties like:

Pedro Jimenez



…and more!

download issue 3.pdf

more reviews and exclusive articles here

email joe: vinovalore@gmail.com