Friday, March 22, 2013

Only half as good at twice the price! Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Week" is double the cost in BC!

Why does a chardonnay from Australia priced at $6 a bottle in the United States and sold for as low as $4.05 - and praised as Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Week"  - cost $12 a bottle in British Columbia?  

And does BC Liquor Minister Rich Coleman still disagree with me on the high price of wine in BC? 

Simple question to Rich Coleman: why does Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay cost $6 on average in the United States and as low as $4.05 cost double to triple as much at $12 in British Columbia?

Does the term "greedy government" come to mind?  I thought it might.

But first - here's what the Wine Spectator - one of the world's leading wine magazine's - said about its "Wine of the Week" for March 18:

"Lindemans Chardonnay South Eastern Australia Bin 65 2011 (86 points, $6) 
Light and sleek, with pretty pear and floral flavors, lingering softly. Drink now. 100,000 cases imported. From Australia." 

Sounds delicious!  And knowing past vintages, it likely is.

But cheap it is not - not in BC by comparison.

Let me be clear - I totally support so-called "sin" taxes on liquor, tobacco and gambling paying for important social services like health care and education.

And I have no problem personally paying more than the average American in taxes, especially considering the benefits of public health care in Canada.

But DOUBLE the price in BC?  Actually TRIPLE the price compared to several Florida liquor stores! Seriously?

As regular readers know, I've written about this before and even posed the question of why BC wine drinkers pay amongst the highest prices in North America to Coleman on this edition of Voice of BC with host Vaughn Palmer on Shaw.

I'd say he dodged big time with his lame answers.

But you be the judge - is there any way an affordable $6 wine in the U.S. is justifiable for $12 in BC?  

Of course not - but if that doesn't piss you off enough, remember that the Lindemans Bin 65 will likely cost you $24 to $36 in any BC restaurant when they mark it up by 100% or more of the retail price!

I've written about that gouging too on this blog - but nothing has changed. 

So all I can do is whine some more about the outrageous price of wine in BC!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Best of the Fest - Wine Barbarian top picks from Vancouver International Wine Festival

Here are my top picks of the Vancouver International Wine Festival.... so far:

I have been at a few Vancouver International Wine Festival functions, including the first of three big evening tasting room events on Thursday night at the Festival and can highly recommend tasting these fine wines, among far too many others to taste! 

First off, wines I was able to try, then some others I really hope to taste tonight.

Be sure to try the fabulous Joseph Phelps Insignia, their flagship red blend and one of most expensive wines at  at $255 a bottle! But so,so good!

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2009
All their other wines are great too, particularly the Freestone Pinot Noir 2010.

Don't miss fabulous but small production Blackbird Vineyards Illustration - a Merlot-based [81%] killer California wine that sadly is in extremely short supply and retails - not here - at $150 a bottle! But also great are their  Paramour 2009 - Cabernet Franc-based [61%] blend at $140 and Arise 2010 at $70.  Want to go back for their Arise 2012 rose at $36.
Blackbird Vineyards Illustration 2009

One of my favourite wineries in the world is Concha y Toro - always good value and award winning wines.  Their wonderful flagship wine - Don Melchor - is a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon [sometimes with a touch of Cabernet Franc] available in BC at $86.  They also have excellent Terrunyo Carmenere 2009 at $37, and the best-priced cab and chardonnay in BC - Casa Concha at $20 each - the chardonnay is on the Wine Spectator Top 100 rated at 90 points and the cabernet consistently scores 90 year after year. 
Don Melchor 2009

Lange Twins - A pleasure to meet Randy Lange, who is producting a really great chardonnay out of Lodi, California at the reasonable price [for BC, don't ask what it costs in the US!] of $24; try also their lovely Cabernet Sauvignon, plus Zinfandel.

Les Halos de Jupiter - from Cotes du Rhone to Rasteau to Gigindas to Chateauneuf du Pape, a collection of beautiful southern French classics!  The Cotes du Rhone at $24 is just an awesome wine but all are excellent values.

Paul Hobbs - great wines from a fabulous California producer - Chardonnay, Cabernet and blends.  Don't miss the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 at $110 - fabulous, as is their 92 point Wine Spectator rated Russian River Chardonnay 2010.

O. Fournier - Another favourite - producing head-turning Malbecs from Argentina especially Alpha Crux 2008 at $50!  The B Crux bled is also great.

Silver Oak Cellars - their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is very big and very smooth too - retails at $135 unfortunately but oh so good!  Try their Alexander Valley cabernet and Napa merlot too. 

Fontodi - another great winery I've had the pleasure of visiting in Panzano, Tuscany, this is one of the consistently highly-scored producers.  Their 2008 Chianti Classico is a real value at $34 for this quality - scoring 90 points at the Wine Spectator for the second year in a row. Their bigger Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico 2009 at $70 is a collector's wine and their $60 Pinot Nero [Pinot Noir] is the best of that varietal I've ever had from Italy!

There are only about 700 more wines to taste - I'll try to add a few more if I can later today but regardless, follow me on Twitter @BillTieleman and watch tonight for some more top picks there!