Anthony Gismondi: The latest BC wine country buzz.
It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for wine consumers.
We have been asked to support local wine and learn to shop for wine online in case lots of six or 12 after a century of buying single bottles in government liquor stores. For the most part, wine lovers have responded positively.
Unfortunately, your reward for all this has been a dramatic rise in pricing that has put most wine worth drinking well out of the everyday category. There are dozens of stories explaining the demise of wine daily versus other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Still, none address the elephant in the room — that wine prices are far too high to allow the bulk of the population to enjoy drinking a glass or two on anything more than special occasions — much more on this in 2023.
Another topic we expect to be more prominent in 2023 is wine labels sporting ingredient lists.
In a recent survey of American wine drinkers, many think wines are filled with added sugar. The good news is that listing the ingredients could be useful for even the most reluctant producers to set the story straight.
The EU will require ingredient labeling for wine starting next December, and the US government has announced it is preparing to study the issue and perhaps issue similar rules. It sounds like turmoil in the wine business is here to stay for a while.
BC wine of the week
Cipes Blanc de Blanc 2012, East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
$37.99 I 91/100
We love the sharp focus and the stony, salty, citrus, and mineral notes. Electric on the palate, this sparkler is built to age with a foundation of rich acidity that defines the north Okanagan as the true Canadian cool-climate region. Already a decade in the bottle, you can feel the creamy textures and toasted lees note that permeate its refined mousse, yet it has an electricity that sets it apart from most of its peers. The fruit is all estate and certified organic. Freshly shucked oysters are the ticket with this real wine. Happy New Years.
Wine for the cellar
Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, United States
$114.99 I 93/100
The best description of this wine is Montebello without the Montebello price. OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but the attention to detail at Ridge allows this wine to soar close to its big brother Montebello. The differences are minute. The estate Cab has a slightly higher level of a Cabernet Sauvignon from old Monte Bello Vineyard blocks that winemaker John Olney (and the now-retired Paul Draper) see as more accessible earlier. The blend is 88/11/1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Verdot. We love the dry mineral, meaty, peppery notes that preview its black and blue fruit reminiscent of cassis streaked with leather. A benchmark, if ever there was for top-quality California Cabernet Sauvignon that reflects its coastal mountain terroir.
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