Red Wine Reviews


Barefoot Shiraz – 13% alc/vol [California]

A big jammy fruit cup up in front mixed with some black pepper and star anise.  Some sharp heat on the tongue of this wine.  Earthy flavours – wood planks, spearmint and prunes.  This wine has a dry finish with simple smooth tannins.  84/100 $9.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (April 20,2011)

Bear Flad Red Wine Blend #1 – 13.0% alc/vol [California]

A nice full nose, that gives me the sense of lots of zinfandel in the blend.  Fresh strawberry and blackberry jam scents with a bit of spice, kind of clovey and black pepper.  A nice wine to drink, a bit of heat, but a strong oaked strawberry taste.  88/100  $12.99 (BC Liquor Stores) (June 6, 2010)


Full Press Vineyards Merlot – 12.5% alc/vol

A nice nose with a pleasant aroma of earthy green pepper, savoury herb and raspberry jam notes.  The flavours are gentle and enjoyable – a subtle sweetness upfront with blueberry and pomegranate fruit, with an oaky black pepper finish that shows off the mild tannins.  87/100  [BC Liquor Stores] (May 12, 2011)

Full Press Vineyards Shiraz – 13% alc/vol

Burnt wood, fresh green pepper with plums and prunes on the nose.  A pleasant fruit kick next to a rich velvety body.  A nice full wine with medium tannins and flavours of blueberry juice, black pepper and pomegranate.  An interesting wine that is actually a blend of Canadian and International grapes.  92/100 $11.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (December 6, 2010)

Painted Turtle Cabernet Sauvignon – 12.5% alc/vol [BC]

Sweet raspberry puree jumps out of the nose alongside a nice field breeze and something that reminds me of strawberry Kool-Aid.  Some dry candy flavours that don’t show as sweet, but more woody.  Simple flavours with a bit of dryness.  Perfect anytime wine and uber-affordable.  85/100 $9.49 [BC Liquor Stores] (February 13th, 2011)

Painted Turtle Merlot – 12.5% alc/vol [British Columbia]

A simple nose with only one layer – dusty fruit the palate is more favourable with a very light body, low tannins and clean flavours of light earth and oak.  85/100 $9.49 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 24, 2011)

Sawmill Creek Barrel Select Merlot – 12.5% alc/vol [Canada]

Young oak and blueberry jam on the nose and some extra sweetness that smells like candy.  Rich with ripe fruit and jam flavours and a light body with a little dryness.  Very affordable, very nice to drink.  90/100 $8.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (January 21st, 2011)

Sawmill Creek Dry Red – 12.0% alc/vol [Canada]

A mild nose with mixed fruit and spice.  A light body with the flavours of tart under-ripe fruit, a bit of dryness to match nicely with rare meats or pasta sauces.  A reliable value wine.  72/100 (August 7, 2010)  $7.99 (BC Liquor Stores)


Sonora Desert Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon – 12.5% alc/vol

A hot berry nose with a bit of menthol and black pepper.  A nice, easy drinking style with a bit of dryness.  Some nice oaked raspberry and rhubarb sweetness.  A great value wine made up of a blend of domestic and international wines.  89/100 $9.49 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 29th, 2011)

2009 Vintages 

Black Swan Shiraz 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [South Eastern Australia]

A bit of earthiness and some smokey cherries on the nose.  The nice warm feeling of a shiraz on the palate with fruit forward flavour and some easy spice.  I had this with homemade hamburgers made with a good amount of Worcestershire sauce – it worked out pretty well.  This wine needs a dish with some flavour and punch to compete.  79/100 (June 24, 2010)  $9.99 (BC Liquor Stores)


Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 13% alc/vol [Chile]

Blueberry juice and smokey wood chips round out the bouquet of this wine.  Pleasant flavours of pomegranate and green pepper.  There is some tangy acidity and mild tannins.  Very good with cheeses and hearty pasta sauces.  87/100 $10.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (April 21, 2011)

Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [California]

A nice bright nose of fresh scents with an earthy backbone coupled with red licorice and pine needles.  Good fruit flavours with dark cherries, mild tannins and a light drinking style.  Great with cheeses and chocolate cake.  90/100 $14.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (April 29, 2011)

Farnese Sangiovese 2009 – 12.5% alc/vol [Italy]

A warm earthy scent followed by barbequed meats and strawberry.  Initially this wine starts off a little sweet but quickly switches to a dry palate cleanser with mild tannins.  The flavour profile is rather flat with a single note of toasted wood chips.  83/100 (April 26, 2011)

Fuzion Shiraz / Malbec 2009 – 13% alc/vol [Mendoza, Argentina]

A nice ruby colour on this wine.  Black cherry, spice and cool menthol pour out of this wine.  Woody flavours with a bit of sweet earth.  A great match for lamb in a cherry glaze or bbq back ribs.  A wonderful value wine that is a real crowd pleaser.  92/100 $8.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (January 27th, 2011)

Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [Central Valley, Chile]

Some ripe black fruits with a background of black pepper spice in the bouquet of this wine.  A very simple palate with easy tannins, a thin body and pretty flavours of mixed berry jam and a mixture of summer savoury with cranberries.  Perfect crowd pleaser for a family style dinner or date night with a movie.  86/100  $9.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (February 3rd, 2011)

Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot Rubicon 2009 – 12.5% alc/vol [Italy]

Some heat, mild fruits and anise on the nose.  A dry earthy flavour with untamed oak (not necessarily a compliment).  An alternative for a real deal seeker fed up with super fruit and sweetness.  87/100 $9.49 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 27th, 2011)

Gray Fox Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 12.5% alc/vol [U.S.A.]

A very simple nose with fresh picked peppers alongside ripe berries.  Very easy drinking with some charred oak and nice round jam flavours.  A little bit of dryness on the finish.  Perfect for a day at sea, catching crabs and feeding eagles.  89/100 $8.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (January 31st, 2011)

J.P. Chenet Merlot-Cabernet 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [France]

A beautifully inviting ruby colour pours out of the bottle.  A nose of old barn wood, apples and some field fruits.  A good balance of earth and fruit flavours with a dusty green pepper finish.  89/100 $12.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 30th, 2011)

Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [Mendoza, Argentina]

Red berry fruits with some green herbaceous qualities.  Very easy drinking with a bit of tannin and agreeable berry flavours.  80/100 $8.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (January 29th, 2011)

Montgras Soleus Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 12.5% alc/vol [Chile]

An organic wine with a big berry nose upfront with a bit of black pepper spice.  A dry palate with very oaky flavours.  No berries on the mouth, just earth and smoke.  84/100 $13.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (February 10th, 2011)

Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [South Africa]

Stewed fruit with a bit of black pepper and fresh green peppers.  A bit of tannin and dryness on this wine with some smokey flavours and berry seeds.  Easy drinking style that would pair nicely with a simple Italian meal.  86/100 $9.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (February 7th, 2011)

Sebeka Cabernet Pinotage 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [Western Cape, South Africa]

A round, pleasant nose that fills with black pepper, sweet raspberry and cranberry.  The flavours are not too complex, a nice dryness that shows alongside the tastes of fresh field berries and peppery oak.  92/100 $12.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (June 16th, 2011)

Two Oceans Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [Western Cape, South Africa]

Muted anise, spice garden and strawberry rhubarb pie.  A bit of cherry fruit, dry earth and spice on the tounge.  Reasonably nice considering the price.  84/100 $9.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (April 2nd, 2011)

Yellowtail Shiraz 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [Australia]

Eucalyptus and a big nose of fresh deli sandwiches – very tasty smells altogether.  Nice dry flavours with a backbone of fruit that doesn’t overpower with too much sweetness.  A nice vintage and example of the brand.  88/100 $12.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (April 3rd, 2011)

Clean scents of blackberry and strawberry. A very gentle and easy drinking wine with fruit forward flavours of currant jam and juicy cherries.  Lovely to drink all on its own.  81/100 (August 10, 2010)  $12.99 (BC Liquor Stores)


Yellowtail Shiraz-Cabernet 2009 – 13.5% alc/vol [Australia]

Some notes of berry jam with some earthy green peppers.  A nice mouth of raspberry jam with a bit of dryness and spice.  A nice burger wine that can compete with bold flavours.  82/100 (August 10, 2010)  $12.99 (BC Liquor Stores)


2008 Vintages

Anakena Carmenere 2008 – 13% alc/vol [Rapel Valley, Chile]

An earthiness dominates the nose of this wine, followed by some leafy greens and rhubarb.  The flavours seem a little under ripe but have a very balanced acidity.  This wine opens up more after some decanting; young strawberry and raspberry notes with a bit of green pepper in the finish.  A thin body with mild tannins.  Aging will lead to more pronounced oak and earth flavours.  78/100  (October 1, 2010)  $12.97  BC Liquor Stores


Arrowleaf Pinot Noir 2008 – 12.0% alc/vol [VQA Okanagan Valley]

Earthy fruits surrounded with dusty tree aromas, smokey oak and a bit of pepper. Tangy tastes on the palate are in sharp contrast to the nose of the wine.  Under-ripe fruit with a very light body and mild, mild tannins.  72/100 $37 [Crest waterfront restaurant] (September 14, 2010) 

Perfumey aromas of field strawberries and young cherries.  There is a touch of spice on the nose that adds some heat.  There are young fruit flavours showing sweetness, mostly tart raspberry and salmonberry tastes.  A light body, low tannin wine; a nice pairing for salmon or prawns.  84/100 $37 [Crest waterfront restaurant] (December 5, 2010) 


Banrock Station Merlot 2008 [Australia]

A sweet fruity nose with cherry liquorice and strawberry seeds.  Very easy drinking with low tannins and muted flavours of earth jam and black pepper.  86/100 $9.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (February 27th, 2011)

Bitch 2008 – 15.5% alc/vol [South Australia]

This wine speaks to me on so many different levels... a warm spicy nose that hits the senses rather harsh because of the high amount of alcohol.  The fruit notes are bold and smell as though they have be mulled with spices over a low heat.  Very jammy warm fruit forward flavours can be expected.  77/100 (July 10th, 2010) $25.50 Cow Bay Spirits


Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Chile]

The smells of cherries and smoke with a bit of something that reminds me of strawberries dipped in chocolate.  A very nice flavour on this wine with a drying effect stemming from the medium amount of tannins.  Fruit forward tastes with a bit of blueberry and currant.  86/100  (September 2, 2010)  $12.99  BC Liquor Stores


De Bortoli Petite Sirah 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Australia]

A rich purple hue makes for an inviting colour.  Black cherry fruit and black berry jam on the nose.  Easy drinking with low tannins and a medium fruity finish.  82/100 $11.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 4th, 2011)

De Bortoli Vat 8 Shiraz 2008 – 14% alc/vol [Australia]

A nice bouquet of eucalyptus, cool menthol and black licorice.  A mouth of young plum and a sting of chile infused jam.  Lovely drinking.  A high alcohol wine that leaves lovely legs on the glass.  85/100  $13.49 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 2nd, 2011)

Finca Flichman Malbec Oak Aged 2008 – 13% alc/vol [Mendoza, Argentina]

Ripe fruits on the nose and some perfumey notes that elevate the cherry and raspberry.  The oak is more pronounced on the palate, a bit of jam, a hint of smoke, and a nice warm hug from each sip of this wine.  $10.99 (BC Liquor Stores) 85/100 (May 2, 2010)


Finca Los Primos Malbec 2008 – 14% alc/vol [Argentina]

A hint of smoke can be found underneath a hot jammy nose of blackberries.  The dry puckering fruit reminds me of cool climate reds.  A drink now wine that would pair well with a game entree.  Light bodied with a tart short aftertaste, best served in large bowled glasses to get the most concentrated nose.  $9.99 (BC Liquor Stores) 61/100 (Mar. 8, 2010)


Francis Coppola Diamond Pinot Noir 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Monterey County, California]

A warm nose of lush earth, allspice, dark cherries and a touch of florals.  Flavours in this win are powerful; great jammy fruits upfront, with an oaky tart finish.  Light bodied with a small amount of tannin.  91/100  (September 25, 2010)  $12.90 Las Vegas Walmart


Gemtree Vineyards Bloodstone Shiraz/Viognier 2008 – 14.5% alc/vol [McLaren Vale, Australia]

A lovely nose of black pepper, turned earth and strawberries – a nice perfumey nose that also shows hints of violets.  Nice fruit forward flavours, a bit of heat, raspberries, strawberries and some peppermint flavours.  A deep rich colour with a medium body.  83/100  $18.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (October 23, 2010)


Gray Fox Vineyards Merlot 2008 – 12.5% alc/vol [California]

The smell of smokey juice berries that is clean and pleasant.  A nice palate of red fruit with a bit of residual sugar.  Easy drinking, affordable and a great value.  88/100  (October 8, 2010)  $7.99  BC Liquor Stores


KWV Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – 14% alc/vol [South Africa]

A simple nose with gentle red fruits and wood chips.  A thin body with mild tannins and a bit more focus on the earthy aspects of flavour.  A short finish – this wine would be well suited to pastas with a heavy red sauce.  85/100  (November 8, 2010)  $7.99 [BC Liquor Stores]


La Casona Monastrell Old Vines 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Argentina]

A very muted nose, probably why an old vine import wine is priced so low.  Still, this wine does offer a dry finish with medium to high tannins to pair with the right dish.  Think prime rib au jus or a sweeter style Italian tomato sauce pasta with chicken.  The fresh oak and sweet smoke that dominate this wine are very agreeable.  $9.99 (Cow Bay Spirits)   64/100 (Apr. 1, 2010)



Layer Cake Shiraz 2008 – 14/9% alc/vol [Australia]

Black cherry and strawberry, a bit of bubble gum, rich cloves and fresh turned earth.  The wine is throwing a bit of sediment and has a slightly purple hue, two things that are indicative of a young wine that could stand to lie down.  In the cellar for a few years; regardless, this wine has a fresh, fruity flavour with mild tannins and a medium finish of plum and wood chips.  76/100  $27.99 (BC Liquor Stores) (June 13, 2010)

Le Contrade Velletri 2008 – 12% alc/vol [Italy]

There is a nice field berry smell that has pleasant sweetness.  The flavours are dry with oak and earth.  A low tannin wine with a short finish.  Nice with simple Italian inspired items.  82/100  $8.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (March 26th, 2011)

Man Vintners Shiraz 2008 – 14.0% alc/vol [Coastal South Africa]

A meaty nose with cherry notes and some dusty earth.  The flavours are dominated with smoke and spice.  There is a light texture with a little bit of tannin that gives some dryness.  A cute wine with an interesting story.  77/100 (August 11, 2010)  $12.99 (BC Liquor Stores)


Mapu Cabernet Sauvignon – Carmenere 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Chile]

A refreshing, rich nose with some plum fruits, green pepper and cracked black peppercorns.  There is just something that makes you go back for more.  A really gentle taste that has some cranberry and fruit soaked pie crust flavours.  A light thin body with modest tannins.  89/100  (August 26, 2010)  $9.99  BC Liquor Stores


Marcus James Merlot 2008 – 13% alc/vol [Argentina]

Surprisingly nice with Asian foods.  Subtle berry flavours that show on the nose and the palate.  This wine lack a bit of polish that would make it difficult to drink alone.  Perfect for dinner in and racy conversations.  87/100 $8.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (February 26th, 2011)

McLaren Vale Razor’s Edge Shiraz 2008 – 14.5% alc/vol [Australia]

Off the bat there is a bit of licorice, plum and strawberry jam.  There are nice fruity flavours of raspberry and minty earth.  A heavy wine with balance and the ability to stand up against big bold flavours.  Great with steaks, roasts and game meats.  88/100  $14.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (January 3rd, 2011)


Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2008 – 13.5%alc/vol [VQA Okanagan Valley]

A simple nose with a blend of light spice and heavy red berries all stewed together.  Berry fruits on the tongue with light tannins that leave a dry, smoky aftertaste.  83/100  $24 [Curling Club]


Montalto Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – 14% alc/vol [Italy]

Ripe fruits with light notes of peppery earth.  A really gentle taste with a bit of dryness.  Nothing over the top or fancy about this wine, but it is showing good value.  84/100  (October 3, 2010)  $11.99  BC Liquor Stores


Open Merlot-Cabernet 2008 – 14.0% alc/vol [VQA Okanagan Valley]

A strong oak char with green peppers and strawberry tarts.  The flavours are nicely balanced with a bit of vanilla, stewed berries and some earthy dryness that lingers in the end.  82/100  (August 19, 2010)  $14.99 BC Liquor Stores


Palo Alto Reserva 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [D.O. Maule Valley, Chile]

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah.  A bit of a squirrely nose that has heat, red licorice, pepper and cranberry scents.  After a while there is also a noticeable menthol element that spills out of this wine.  A dry, gritty texture that really plays with your palate.  Earth and oak flavours are the most obvious – this wine has great ageing potential and may show more fruit characteristics after some time lying down.  I like this wine!  95/100  (October 1, 2010)  $14.99  BC Liquor Stores


Penfolds Koonuga Hills Shiraz / Cabernet 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Australia]

A pleasant nose with nothing too distinguishable or unique.  Fruit scents and flavours, nothing offensive or over the top.  A great sturdy wine that could pair with almost anything.  Jammy with a heavy fruit profile that makes this wine feel medium bodied.  85/100  (September 22, 2010)  $16.99  BC Liquor Stores


Quinta Do Crasto Douro 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [DOC Portugal, Douro]

A big jammy nose, with cooked blackberry and currant fruits.  Light body with smokey tints on other flavours, red berries, young oak and green peppers.  82/100  (October 22, 2010)


Red Truck 2008 California Red – 13.5% alc/vol [California]

A pungent nose that contains prunes, raisins and some nice woodsy raspberries.  The nose is a little hot smelling, a combination of some minty notes as well as high alcohol.  The flavours showcase the earthy elements nicely when paired with a flavourful beef dish.  Easy drinking and very enjoyable – a great crowd pleaser.  91/100 $14.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (May 4, 2011)


Roberts Rock Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot 2008 – 14% alc/vol [South Africa]

Bright fruit notes of sugared raspberries and cherry syrup – the warmth in my nose reminds me of cool menthol.  Nice legs and a rich colour.  Medium tannins with a short finish, dry with an earthy finish and a slightly burnt oak flavour.  $8.99 (BC Liquor Stores)  78/100 (Mar. 24, 2010)

Rosemount Shiraz Cabernet 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [South East Australia]

A rich, inviting smell of mulled wine and spices.  A touch of heat on the nose suggests a high alcohol wine that has a bit of bite.  The palate is smooth and balanced with a bit of tannin that helps to give a medium length aftertaste this wine shows more oak than fruit and has earthy flavours.  $12.49 (BC Liquor Stores)   70/100 (Apr. 19, 2010)


Sandhill Gamay Noir 2008 – 13.5% alc/vol [Okanagn Valley, VQA]

A very pretty nose of strawberry jam, freshly turned earth and a bit of bright oak.  A very nice drinking style, fruit in the beginning and a tannic dry finish at the end.  There are some tangy raspberry and spice flavours.  Pairs nicely with fresh salmon.  86/100 (July 4, 2010)  $19.99 (BC Liquor Stores)


Terra Andina Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot 2008 – 13% alc/vol [Central Valley, Chile]

A heavy fruit smell of stewed strawberries and cracked pepper.  A bit of bright green pepper is also present.  Easy drinking with soft tannins and a light body.  Deep flavours with some coffee and smoky hints.  Great pairing for grilled veggies and charred meats.  85/100  (August 23, 2010)  $9.99  BC Liquor Stores


2007 Vintages