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Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah 2008$33 | private wine stores or direct from vineyardIt’s a good idea to get on Laughing Stock’s mailing list as this Naramata winery makes small lots in huge demand. The wines are always big but classically proportioned, so it’s adopted the Côte Rôtie practice of adding a little white Viognier (eight percent) to lift, lighten, and restrain the power of the Syrah. Bright purple red, very perfumed on the nose with lots of black pepper followed by plums, black cherry, and blackberry fruit with spice and tobacco, it’s beautiful with grilled lamb. Screwcapped to keep the flavour—and with a little price break from the HST too.La Chablisienne Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Léchet 2004$38.99 | specialty listingChablis is the far North of Burgundy, making steely mineral whites when young that age into deeper, rounded complex wines. The BC LDB currently stocks a surprisingly good range from $25-$100, all of which offer excellent value. One of the most widely available is the La Pierrelée, whose very name (the pierres are the stones that litter the vineyard) hints at its typical flinty rock-licking stoniness. The 2008 is loaded with citrus, not quite austere but with some richness in the mid-palate and a good long finish. A classic match with B.C. oysters or just about any shellfish.J-L Chave Saint Joseph Offerus 2007$39 | specialty listingJean-Louis Chave makes a mighty Hermitage, the famed wine of the Northern Rhone. Just across the river is Saint Joseph, from whose steep, stony slopes he sources the fruit for Offerus, a wonderful Syrah (which sells for less than a quarter of his top wine). The 2007, an exceptional vintage, is all beautiful raspberry and blackcurrant fruit with a smoky, hot stone nose and layers of smoldering aromatic herbs, lavender, black olives, licorice, and chocolate. Drink now with a big piece of red meat—roast beef, perhaps—or tuck it away for three or four years. An extraordinary wine at an amazing price.
Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2006$40.99 | specialty listingKalimna is one of the famous Barossa vineyards, though the fruit for this classic Aussie Shiraz actually comes from several South Australian sites. No fruit bomb, it still has lots of juice, a dark crimson-purple colour, and a huge herbal flower garden bouquet—think beds of lavender. If complexity justifies price, Bin 28 has it aplenty. Lovely blackberry and plum fruit layered with licorice, coffee, and chocolate makes for a dense, sweet, savoury richness that’s ready to drink now but good for years to come.
Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2007$45 | specialty listingThe winemaker is French, the vineyard techniques are French, the cellar equipment is French, but Le Grand Vin is a B.C. wine through and through. It’s the site that does the trick, according to Pascal Madevon, letting him pull great fruit off vines that were only planted in 1999. This joint venture between Vincor and France’s Groupe Taillan (of Gruaud-Larose fame) delivers a superb Bordeaux-style blend composed of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. The 2007 is a huge wine, inky purple, greatly concentrated, lovely raspberry and plum fruit, and tons of leather, tobacco, and licorice. This wine should be good for another 20 years.