The Demystified Vine

Taking the mystery out of wine exploration!

Primitivo – have you heard of it? You likely have, as its synonym is Zinfandel! Since I’m doing a wine profile, I won’t get into the history of that particular aspect at this time, however, I do want to introduce you to a wine that I think you’ll enjoy.

Luccarelli PrimitivoIf you’re the kind of wine lover who enjoys hearty Shiraz from Australia or brooding Cab Sav from California, then you should really give the Luccarelli Primitivo a try because it carries that jammy, dark fruit character that you would just adore.

This particular wine was opened at wine club this past Saturday evening, and our focus was southern Italy. Primitivo is a grape that hails from the wine region of Pulgia, which you can find at the “heel” of Italy’s boot. According to Tony Aspler in his book entitled the Wine Lover’s Companion, “Northern winemakers used to order deeply coloured, high-alcohol Puglia wines to beef up their blends, both white and red. However, modern winemaking techniques have produced local wines of more finesse and style” [p. 194]. The inference here is that even the traditionalists of the north have been seeking out the wines of this region to assist in their own winemaking practices. What it also says is that the south is a reliable source of tasty grapes!

By character, Primitivo is well known for its focus on black, ripe fruit, dried fruit, and spicy characters. So, let’s get to the nitty-gritties, shall we?

Tasted on 11 November 2017, this vintage of the Campo Marina showed a developing character with a prominent vanilla and plum character in addition to black cherry cola, cocoa, and blueberry pie notes. The palate was medium dry (the residual sugar was detectable), medium acidity, and very soft tannin. Black fruits, baking spices, and red licorice were the dominating notes on the palate.

ABV: 14%
Grape: Primitivo
Production: unknown
Price: ~$30.00 with taxes CAD

Have you tried this wine? Leave a comment below!


The Demsytified Vine


Adega on 45th Estate Winery, whose motto is “A nossa casa é a tua casa” meaning “Our house is your house”, has been around for a number of years now, and I have to say that I have started to enjoy their wines more in the last few years. They are located in Osoyoos, BC and are making both white and red wines. A range of wines are made at the winery including Viognier, Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Malbec.


Malbec is doing its best down in Argentina, but I have to say that I loved the Adega on 45th Malbec enough to do a wine profile on it. Malbec wines tend to have a dark, brooding character about them, and this wine is no exception. The biggest characteristic that is known of Malbec is that it offers notes of ripe, black fruits and spiciness. Malbec wines are often full bodied and have potential to knock your socks off. No weak hearts here, please!

This particular vintage is showing very well right now. I adored its perfumed nose which spoke of black fruit, vanilla spice, and tar. It had a really nice peppery kick on the palate mid-tongue, and was balanced out with the cassis influence on the fruit side of the spectrum. Good acidity, medium bodied, and medium tannins. I’d leave it in bottle for at least a few more years, although it is drinking really well right now.

ABV: 14.7%
Grape: 100% Malbec
Production: # of cases unknown
Winery Price: $24.00/750ml CAD

Have you had this wine? Leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

The Demsytified Vine

The leaves are starting to change colour. Greens are turning to oranges, reds, and yellows, and we all know that this means the cooler breezes and chilly nights are on the way. And if we are going to be honest with each other, snow has already fallen on the mountain passes between the bustling city of Vancouver and the more remote towns of the interior.

But not a mere four to five hours away from Vantopia, viticulturalists and viniculturalists are hard at work alongside their picking crews trying to put the new vintage wines together for bottle and aging.

Furthermore, as fall approaches, winelovers everywhere are making that switch from crisp white wines to deeper, more warming reds.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Culmina Family Estate Winery

Personally, I’m still hanging on to the last rays of sunshine, and am still sipping Rieslings and rosé, but that’s just me.

As fall digs deeper into the ground, I want to let you know about some of the reds that you can find which might not only solidify your understanding of what British Columbia wines are, but also about a time and place in the Golden Mile Bench – British Columbia’s first sub-geographical indication (sub-GI).


Demystified Vine taking tasting notes for the 2014 Merlot by Culmina Family Estate Winery

I have written about Culmina Family Estate winery on my blog before. You can read more about their winery here and here. Today, however, I’m going to talk about their red wines, as we have many cozy nights to look forward to either in front of the fire with a book in our hands or snuggling up to our loved one on the couch. Oh, and, well, there are also a number of holiday parties that will start to fill our calendars in short order. So, make sure you’re making good choices with what you bring to sip and savour, winelover!

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Dearest Cab Sauv fans, this developing wine is keeping it real with notes of Lapin Cherry, hints of very ripe raspberry, dark chocolate, Ribena, and leather. It is a dry, red wine with high acidity and fair tannin structure. (Think chewy tannin.) It is lusher than Merlot, and worked very well with Kalamata olives and Cambozola. A perfect holiday gift for a colleague.
$39.00/750ml btl

Photo © Demystified Vine

2014 Cabernet Franc by Culmina Family Estate Winery

2014 Cabernet Franc

Woooo! Cab Franc lovers, you are in for a treat! This medium intensity wine was filled with cherry cola candy, dark chocolate, prune, mixed peppercorn, cherry, and fruit leather notes. It was a spice bomb, and true to its spicy character, was quite complementary to the toasted notes from the oaking program. The perfect cheese pairing for this beaut was Irish Porter Cheddar. Savour this one for yourself. <wink>
$38.00/750ml btl

2014 Merlot

This Merlot reminded me of Blaye — a region in Bordeaux which works with this style/intensity of the grape. It was on the lighter side of the spectrum for body, but still intrigued me with its blueberry, sweet vanilla, mocha, and hint of nutmeg. Plum and dark cherry notes were also available to me. The palate is quite oak driven, with some good tannin structure, and loads of blackberry fruit. The Merlot paired excellently with Raincoast crisps and Cambozola as well, and if you’re a fan of Merlot and cheese, this is a good opportunity for you.
$35.00/750ml btl

For more information, please check out their website. A kind thank you to Culmina for providing me with the samples to try some of these expressive wines.


The Demsytified Vine


Hello wine lovers!

Here’s the ‘quick and dirty’ on a recent wine I tried – the 2016 Wild Goose Vineyards “Mystic River Vineyard” Gewurztraminer – that I was definitely “wowed” with.

If you can get your hands on a bottle of this award-winning wine, do so. It recently received Okanagan Wine Festival’s “Wine of the Year 2017”. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of off-dry white wines, this is worth a shot. Try it with some spicy Pad Thai or a Daal curry. You won’t be disappointed nor able to tell it is off-dry, to be honest.


What you’ll experience is a well-balanced white wine in both acidity and sugar levels. It doesn’t seem as sweet because the acidity is high enough. This particular “Gew” is very old-world styled, and is complex to boot. Furthermore, now that I think about it, what you’ll have with this wine is an experience.

Made from 100% estate grapes from the Mystic River Vineyard, the bouquet and palate notes are ‘fruitful’; you’ll likely find some kind of combination of stone and citrus fruits, in addition to ripe tropical fruit characteristics.

What I found? Fuzzy peach, lychee, nectarine, lemon, juicy mango, honey, white pepper, hints of apricot, a smidgen of fresh grape, and some stoniness.

ABV: 13.6%
Grape: 100% Gewurztraminer
Production: 200 cases
Winery price: $20 a bottle.


The Demystified Vine

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Rosés are truly making a splash in many glasses these days. The latest rosé movement started picking up its heels in the last half of a decade, and I am not seeing this trend slowing down anytime soon.

A Bit About Rosé

In a nutshell, this particular style of wine is made when red grapes are harvested, pressed for their juice, and then sometimes left for varying periods of time to extract some colour from the skins of the grapes.

According to The Commonsense Book of Wine by Leon D. Adams, rosé is a “drink anytime” kind of wine; it is versatile wine in that it can be served anytime, it is flexible for various occasions, and useful to have on hand if you just want a glass of wine!

“I advise you to buy an all-purpose wine, and to let the rest come naturally. Such an all-purpose beverage is the pink table wine called Rosé (pronounced Ro-ZAY). […] Rosé is the one wine you can bring out of your refrigerator and serve at any time for any use without a brow-wrinkling thought as to whether you have made an acceptable choice. Chill, open, and pour; it is that simple” (p.65).

Now, with Adams’s sharp clarity on how rosé can function, I think it is important to know that rosés fall on the spectrum of extremely light in flavour and body to tremendously deep in colour, flavour, and body. It all depends on what you like. However, don’t shy away from one or the other; you might be missing out on your next beloved wine!

I have to say that it was a delight to try the different styles of rosé that Culmina is producing. They cover a lot of ground between the Saignée and the R&D blend, which is awesome for the general consumer. In short, I love the versatility that Culmina is offering wine consumers between these two wines.


I spoke to Sara Triggs, Sales and Marketing Manager of Culmina Family Estate Winery and daughter of Don Triggs, a pioneer in the British Columbia wine industry, to find out more about Culmina’s particular 2016 rosés.

Differences in Style

TDV: The 2016 Saignée and 2016 R&D Rosé Blend are two very different roses. First, tell me a bit about the 2016 Saignée.

ST: The difference involves essentially that of winemaking. Our Saignée of course is made in the saignée method, which involves bleeding juice from our red wine fermenters at harvest. As much as possible, we try to bring all of our fruit from each one of our 44 micro-blocks separately, reds included. When making our Saignée, the juice bled off of each fermenter is then also handled separately. When it’s time to blend the finished rosé wine, we undergo the same blending process that we do for our reds wines, such that even though the reds undergo the saignée process, is no guarantee that the saignée’d juice will end up in our Saignée rosé.

TDV: And how about the 2016 R&D Rosé Blend?

ST: Our R&D Rosé Blend on the other hand, has been made in the ‘direct press’ method from blocks of fruit specifically designated for the rosé. Because of the production method, it is a bit lighter and a bit more lively in terms of acidity. Like all of the wines in our ‘R&D by Culmina’ Series, it has been made from 100% estate grown fruit, but moreover, is meant for enjoyment across all contexts, with or without food, with company, at home, on the patio, or with dinner, etc. It’s a bit more casual than Saignée, and ever-so-slightly more sweet. Because we are a Bordeaux red house, it has been made similarly from a blend of Bordeaux red varietals.


TDV: How do you determine what your rosé blends will be?

ST: The varietal breakdown varies from vintage to vintage just like our reds, as it is not determined by a predetermined ‘formula’, but solely on what is best that year. Stylistically, because of the way that the wine is made (i.e. with fruit harvested at full maturity), our Saignée always tends to be textural, creamy, and a bit unctuous; it also tends to balance savoury flavours with bright fruit characters, even across vintages despite the varietal breakdown.

The Wines – My Reviews and Notes

2016 R&D Rosé Blend                    $19.00 winery price

Plentiful notes of strawberry, rhubarb, raspberry and pink grapefruit flesh. Medium boded. Very nice acidity. Long finish. Peppery tones come out on the palate. Fantastic rosé, midway between Provençal and something as medium bodied as 8th Generation. Curious about this rosé with BBQ chicken or pan-fried dumplings. Crisp and refreshing. Bright. Would put money on it being a rosé that “non-rosé lovers” might like. Made from Merlot, Malbec and the two Cabernets. Also available at BC Liquor Stores.

2016 Saignée                                     $24.00 winery price

Poetic rosé with delicate mineral-driven notes. Strawberry perfumed and bright. Clean and balanced acidity. Delectable. Well-rounded fruit on both bouquet and palate. A cultivated sophistication. Notes of cranberry are uncovered mid-palate and lead to a refreshingly pure finish. Adored this with seasoned salmon and a herbed-yogurt dressing with a mixed greens salad. Additional pairing: a porch and a summer sunset. [grin] Made from 73% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 13% Malbec. 100% Golden Mile Bench.

For more information on Culmina Family Estate Winery, read about their “Pursuit of Excellence” here. You can also check out their winery page here.

The Demystified Vine

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