Spier, a traditional take on Chenin Blanc & Pinotage

Spier Wine Farm is one of WineCollective‘s all-time favourite producers. Not only do they support their local community and arts, they practice sustainable and organic viticulture and make dynamite wine! We jump at the opportunity to spend time with the great people of Spier. On their most recent visit we were treated to a vertical tasting of 21 Gables Chenin Blanc and Pinotage with Cellar Master, Frans K. Smit


What you don’t already know about Spier

1. They are committed to sustainable viticulture. 95% of the waste produced by the winery is recycled or re-purposed, including 100% of their wastewater.

2. An on-site biodynamic vegetable garden uses organic waste from pasture and vineyards as fertilizer. Produce is harvested and served in the estate’s farm-to-table restaurant, Eight.

3. Working closely with their coopers, Spier has developed innovative barrels that blend different oak, experimenting with barrels built with French staves and American heads.

4. Cellar Master Frans, calls the 21 Gables Pinotage his ‘go-to’ wine. It is the perfect partner for South African dinners cooked commonly on an open fire.


Our notes on the 2010 – 2013 21 Gables Chenin Blanc.

All vintages were very expressive and evolved over the course of an hour. We recommend enjoying your Chenin Blanc slowly.

2010 showed the most bold aromas right out of the gate. Perfumed blossoms, bright citrus and lees. Marmalade on buttered fresh baked toast!

2011 was the odd-ball of the lineup, a little more closed on the nose with more savoury notes than citrus and tropical fruits. Pine nuts, raisin and mineral. It was a more difficult year for Chenin and produced a greater proportion of raisins.

2012 and 2013 were both fresh, lively and showed surprising acidity for the warmer vintage. The newer vintages will appeal to almost everyone, a great intro into the varietal if you are hesitant or not too familiar with South African wines.

Kleine Zalze Vineyards lowres_0

Stellenbosch, South Africa vineyards. 

Our notes on the 2009 – 2012 21 Gables Pinotage.

The vintage variation and progression of age of these wines make them super fun to try in a vertical! The 2009 was most bold and varried in aromas and flavour profile. A strong vintage, it produced ripe black currant, roasted cocao nibs, a bit of tobacco and 5 spice.

2010 saw an increase of new wood, up to 65%. The cooler vintage produced good acidity and a fresher fruit profile.

Where the 2011 Chenin was least impressive, the 2011 Pinotage was my favourite. Another cooler vintage, the earthy components balanced well with the freshly picked black berries.

2012 is still coming into it’s own, I found the fruit slightly closed behind the oak, but I assume with some more time in the glass this would have opened more. A bit more spice and herbacious-ness, white pepper and grilled herbs like bay leaves.

Spring 2016 will be full of Spier excitement at WineCollective. Stay tuned for new features and an opportunity to meet with the Spier team!

Experience Destination Tours

Summer is now in full swing and it is time to get out and enjoy what beautiful British Columbia has to offer with numerous excursions to the Okanagan Valley via Destination Tours.


Destination Tours’ passion and expertise lies in creating unique, exciting tours and vacation getaways in our own Canadian backyard. Okanagan Wine Tours are a great way to experience the fine wineries in the Okanagan, some of which have been previously featured in your WineCollective packages.

As a WineCollective member, Destination Tours would like to offer $25 off per person off any of their tour packages by using the promo code “WineCollective”.

Destination Tours holds six different wine tours within the Okanagan region from our Kelowna to Summerland and Naramata as well as Whistler Getaways. In addition, with each unique tour, Destination Tours will find a variety of accommodations for you, minutes away from wine hot spots.

Each tour includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations
  • Visits to 4-5 different winery’s with over 25 tastings!
  • Included lunch at participating wineries.
  • Professional driver with wine and region knowledge and all rides in the AC touring vehicle.

To take advantage of this exclusive offer, visit to pick your tour and add in the promo code “WineCollective”. If you require any assistance, you can reach Destination Tours’ office at 1-877-507-5596.

Vineland Estates

In honour of Canada Day, we wanted to highlight some brilliant Canadian wineries and winemakers that are exceeding in helping to expand the Canadian wine market. Last week, we met with Brian Schmidt, vino veteran and winemaker of Vineland Estates for 25 years.


Brian (right) and his son Conor, during their visit to Calgary. 

“I have been around vines and wine my entire life,” Brian told us.

Born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, Brian was exposed to winemaking early on. His parents opened the well-known Sumac Ridge in 1979 and as a third generation winemaker, learning through doing was the route in play for Schmidt and his career. Having never studied viticulture or oenology, Brian’s experience and daily lessons moulded his natural talent as a winemaker.

Though he tested the waters, literally, as a commercial scuba diver, Brian soon learned that a life in the wine world was better suited. Travelling to the Loire Valley, Brian found the second love of his life (after his wife), Cabernet Franc, and according to him “Loire is mecca” when it comes to the grape. As the variety is known for its success is Canadian regions, working with Cab Franc became extremely useful when Schmidt later moved to Niagara to join his brother, Alan, at Vineland.


During his travels however, Brian learned beyond grape and winemaking knowledge with his European experiences.

“In the old world, wine is part of the culture and it is just there,” Brian says. “It is not something magical, or something to be afraid of. It has been very normalized.”

He compares this notion to the Canadian market where he believes, “we have done a very good job in complicating wine.”

With Brian’s role as a winemaker his goal is to “dismiss the complexities.” He believes that with humility and a sense of community, wine lovers can enjoy bottles without extend knowledge or a “nose in the air” attitude. Something that we at WineCollective also firmly believe! And so, when it comes to Vineland, Brian says he encourages his staff to share the great experiences of wine, in the vineyard and in the glass, without over emphasizing the technical and terrifying terms for those who walk through their tasting room.

When Brian first arrived at Vineland, nearly three decades ago, production was 5,000 cases. While they have once reached 62,000, Brian says today, the winery is most comfortable at 50,000 cases annually.


So what sets Vineland apart?

According to Brian: “Soil sets apart any winery. It is the defining feature and it is the role of the winemaker to harvest the energy of that place.”

Brian believes he has all of the experience necessary to capture the Niagara estate and “Bench Signature” of citrus fruit and plumping acidity. He produces Vineland wines to showcase the fruit characteristics brought forth naturally by the variety and vineyards, more so than oak qualities created in the winery. Stainless steel is used frequently at Vineland in order to preserve the fruit aromas and flavours and only neutral oak is used for specific red wines.

In order to keep the vines worth showcasing, Brian says they need to be specially tended to each year, “like a radio, the vineyard needs to be fine tuned to hit the sweet spot.” This includes replanting and switching out vines that have diminished over cold winters like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which has difficulties thriving in Canada, with varieties like Cab Franc, Riesling and Chardonnay. Even more, Brian works to reduce the use of herbicides each year.

Brian is assisted by Vineland viticulturist Roman Prydatkewycz, who tends to the wineries three vineyards, St. Urban Vineyard: 42 acres, Bo-Teel Vineyard: 60 acres and Greenland Beamsville: 16 acres.


In the winery, Brian has recently made technological updates that he says will not only improve production times, but also, overall quality. A new Optical Sorter allows for ripe grapes to be separated from underripe berries using an UV light to sort by colour. The first test of the machine’s ability will come in two months with the 2014 Cabernet Franc – the first wine produced at Vineland with grapes sorted mechanically. We hope to bring this vintage to WineCollective members in the near future, as well as other exclusive wines produced with this high-tech machine.

Of course our meeting with Brian also included tasting through the Vineland Estates lineup!

Chardonnay 2013

Brian was a fan of un-oaked Chard, way before the trend hit the wine world for summer 2014. Still with a silky creamy mouthfeel, that you would expect from a Chardonnay, but with bright, focused and crisp tree fruit flavours.

Semi-dry Riesling 2012

As Vineland’s most popular wine, grapes are also sourced from outside of estate vineyards to keep up with demand. Acidity is vibrant with honey aromas and green apple on the palate. First produced in 1983, Brian says this is “one of the best value wines in Canada.”


Cab Franc, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon 2011

A previous WineCollective feature and still available in store for just $17! Good balance between purity of fruit and rustic edge. Structured and balanced, rounded with strong character. Brian notes: “The oak is more of a shawl over the wine than a winter coat. I was looking for elegance and finesse.”

Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot Reserve 2012

Produced from only 1 vintage of 3 where Cabernet Sauvignon flourished at Vineland. Dark cherry with light nuances of earth. Textured with weight and density after 15 months of neutral oak aging. Later aged for nine months in bottle.

From Vineland, and other Canadian producers, Brian suspects that Canadians are looking for “value, and a sense of pride” in Canadian wine. Through the competitive and complicated market, Brian feels that Niagara is the face for Canadian wine. While B.C. wines are delicious and flourishing, exportations laws leave the region to be less known on a global scale than it’s eastern partner. Though Brian doesn’t have plans of once again making wine in the Okanagan, he hopes to test the odds someday in Nova Scotia, “they are at the genesis and the start of an amazing wine industry there and nothing is scripted for them.”

We are very excited to bring new Vineland wines to WineCollective members in upcoming packages during fall 2015. For your first look and taste, visit the store for the 2011 Cabernet Merlot! Up until and including Canada Day, July 1st, WineCollective members can use the coupon code CDNWINE on any Canadian wine in store for $5 off their order. Coupon expires July 2.

Spoiler Alert: August wine feature leaked

Many WineCollective members love the excitement of opening their package every month and discovering what new wines they have to try. The anticipation has been compared to being a kid on Christmas morning. This is why we are giving you a warning; if you do not want to know which wine could be in your August WineCollective package, stop reading!

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Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect as John Buchanan from Mount Riley was just in town. Mount Riley has been in Canada for the last decade and has some solid presence at a handful of restaurants and boutiques. The consistency in quality and affordability has made Mount Riley a go-to New Zealand producer.


We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mount Riley Pinot Gris, which has been secured for members’ August editions. Mount Riley has been on our radar for awhile now and we thought that the crisp and textured Pinot Gris would be perfect for your summer enjoyment.


Meeting with John at Murrieta’s in Calgary, we learned a little more about himself, the wines and his family. John spoke briefly about each wine to the crowd of about 50 diners, while they sipped and enjoyed the five-course dinner. Although the food and wine, of course, were great, it was hard not to notice how engaged John was with everyone in the room. It was great to see a producer so genuinely interested in ensuring everyone was having a great evening. John made a point to visit with every table.


The wines showcased from Mount Riley: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Pinot Gris, 2013 Pinot Noir and 2013 Syrah. By far, the most successful pairing of the night was the curry-dressed salad with prawn and goat cheese, partnered with the Sauvignon Blanc.


The Pinot Gris, John explained, is beginning to replace the once most popular choice of Chardonnay. Murrieta’s pairing of halibut wrapped proscuitto, could pair equally as well with the Pinot Gris as a cool-climate Chardonnay.


The Pinot Noir was lean, but complex mix between fresh fruits and rustic charm. The show-stopper was the Syrah, which had everyone asking for a second glass. The 50+ people in attendance were the first in Canada to ever try the Mount Riley Syrah. There will be a limited amount available later this year, stay tuned for your chance to try it.


If you are impatient and will have a hard time waiting until August to try Mount Riley, stop by Highfield by WineCollective and curb your appetite with the Sauvignon Blanc.

WineCollective’s Deerfield exclusive, the ‘One’!

We have no one else that we need to thank more than our loyal and passionate WineCollective members. It is because of the support of many that we are able to bring you wines like the WineCollective – Deerfield ‘One’.

Over the past six years, we’ve shipped tens of thousands of packages and hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine. This month, we are proud to announce the first wine in a series of uniquely curated WineCollective wines. The WineCollective ‘One’ is a special collaboration with Deerfield Ranch Winery. We tested samples from the winery and selected, what we thought, is the best of the best!


We have been fans of Deerfield from the beginning. We first featured Deerfield in WineCollective, way back in 2009! The 2003 Meritage was one of the first wines to be showcased in our Indulgence package. Later, in October 2010, we also featured the 2003 Ladi’s Vineyard Syrah. This is now our third Deerfield wine and we are thrilled to be sharing it with you!


Deerfield is located in the center of Sonoma Valley within the larger region of Sonoma County. Sonoma Valley is on the western side of the Mayacamas Mountains, which separates the AVA from Napa Valley to the east. Sonoma Valley stretches from the south eastern edge of Sonoma County, north to Santa Rosa. Further north of Santa Rosa is the northern AVA’s of Sonoma County’s Russian River and Alexander Valley.


Deerfield‘s vineyards are also home to the Kenwood Marsh. In 2000, an additional 47 acres were purchased to expand the the Deerfield winery and vineyards. 14 acres of the new property are the remains of the Kenwood Marsh, a wetlands ecosystem. The Rex’s are passionate about conservation and work diligently to help maintain and support this valuable piece of Sonoma landscape. The picture above, a portrait by Fred Parker, is a view from the Deerfield winery. This print, along with others are sold with portions of the proceeds dedicatated to the efforts of sustaining the Kenwood Marsh.


Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to meet both Robert and PJ Rex. They frequent the Calgary market, as they have received great support of their wines across Alberta. We have also made a stop to the winery in Sonoma. Robert graciously tasted through the recent vintages and blends, helping Matthew to select the perfect wine for WineCollective.

The WineCollective-Deerfield ‘One’ is featured in many of our April packages. We have extremely limited supply of the ‘One’ and once it is sold-out it is gone! Be sure to visit the WineCollective members-only store to purchase more, or visit Highfield by WineCollective in Calgary. And stay tuned for the WineCollective ‘Two’!

Fine Fiano

The WineCollective team loves to focus on introducing new varieties and regions to our members across Canada. We love when someone who is stuck in a Cab Sauv craze, or Sauvignon Blanc addiction turns a new cheek and discovers a new wine to take place as their favourite after years of going after the same wine, or wine style.


In March packages we featured an excellent Fiano, produced by Masseria Surani – one of many Tomassi Family Estate projects. This is only the third Fiano wine featured on WineCollective over the last six years, and with such an excellent example, we wanted to bring to you some much needed wine education.

Fiano is a high quality white variety produced mainly in southern Italy, and specifically, Campania. Historically the grape was used to make sweet or sparkling wines because of its natural sweetness, but today Fiano is used to make varietal wines. At times the wine is blended with smaller amounts of Chardonnay or Trebbiano.


In the 13th century, Fiano was widely planted in the Campania region, however following the phylloxera crisis of the 19th century, the grape was nearly forgotten. It was not until the 1980’s when local producers rediscovered and reintroduced the grape to consumers. Fiano is widely recognized as Fiano di Avellino because of its wide production in Campania on the volcanic hillsides of Avellino, just east of Naples. Other synonyms include Apiana, Foiano and Minutola.

Aroma and flavour characteristics

  • Spice
  • Florals
  • Honey
  • Hazelnut
  • Tropical fruits

The grape’s traditional name Vitis aping “the vine beloved of bees” is no surprise as bees are typically quite attracted to Fiano vineyards because of the sweet honey profile. It is also quite common for the vines to be planted among Hazel trees, lifting the nutty flavour of the wine.

Experts agree that Fiano is not the easiest of wines to create. The grapes are tiny and thick skinned leaving little juice and therefore a higher yield is required to produce a significant amount of wine. In addition the wine requires harvest to take place two to three weeks prior to the average variety. A well made Fiano should be weighty, often created by stirring in lees for added texture, and two to three years of aging can really leave behind an impressive bottle.


The 2013 Surani Arthemis Fiano is produced in Puglia, Italy. A very fresh and sweet example, we noted honeydew melon and tangerines followed by spiced florals and minerality. It also holds quite a weighty texture and a silky mouthfeel. Our food pairing recommendation was quite scarce as we think this Fiano makes an excellent companion to a patio on a sunny day. It is easy to see why the grape was produced in sweater styles back in its former glory.

Fiano production does not stop in Italy. With its increasing popularity, wines are beginning to appear in Australia’s McLaren Vale and La Rioja, Argentina. We look forward to tasting new examples and differences in Fiano from across the globe.

We would love to hear what you think about the Surani Arthemis Fiano, or even the Pirro Le Vigne Rare Varone Fiano, which was featured not too long ago in October packages. Sign onto where you can rate and comment on the wines. Don’t be shy!

Woman of wine, Heidi Barrett

Heidi Barrett can easily be recognized as the most successful female winemaker in the world. As the daughter of California wine pioneer, Richard Peterson, and with 35 years of professional experience herself, Heidi has managed to create numerous 100-point wines. Robert Parker has even dubbed her the “First Lady of Wine.”


Barrett is primarily known for her contribution to Screaming Eagle, where she started winemaking in 1992. The ’92 vintage as well as the ’97 both scored 100 points. Even more, the ’92 vintage set a world record for the highest price ever paid on a single bottle of wine at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction. It sold for an incredible $500,000, and a vertical offering of the cult wine went for $650,000 at the auction in 2001.

“I like the challenge of working with so many different wines. My philosophy is to make the best wines possible with emphasis on the unique characteristics of each individual vineyard. I try to maximize the potential of each vintage in a very balanced, elegant style of winemaking.” – Heidi Barrett

Prior to gaining her reputation in perfectly balanced, elegant, and age-worthy Cabernets, Heidi graduated from UC Davis in 1980 with a BSc in Fermentation Science. We would imagine she passed this program with flying colours after growing up on vineyards and under her father’s wing. Heidi Barrett was born to make wine, and so it is no surprise that she is known as a “winemaking star.”

In 1983, at the age of 25, and right after graduation, Heidi became winemaker at Buehler Vineyards, where she took production from 6,000 to 20,000 cases.


Apart from Screaming Eagle and Buehler, Heidi has worked at Revana, Kenzo Estate and Lamborn to name a few. She is also currently working with husband of 26 years and winemaker Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena (Judgment of Paris) for a new project, La Sirena.

“I think it is important to have a wide variety of experience to draw from. You can’t just step in and be the winemaker unless you have a lot of experience in the cellar. I wanted to make sure that when I finally had the title of winemaker, I had earned it.” – Heidi Barrett

Vintage after vintage, Heidi continues to establish herself as the First Lady of Wine. And so, it is with great pleasure that Tannic will be featuring select wines from Heidi’s projects.

The first, which will be featured tomorrow on Tannic, is the 2011 Au Sommet. The Cabernet Sauvignon based wine is sourced on Atlas Peak in the Western Vaca Mountain of Napa Valley.


“This inky blue/purple-colored 2011 Cabernet is chewy, spicy, lush and filled with blackberry, graphite and floral notes. Composed on 97.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2.5% Petit Verdot, it reveals a pleasant underlying earthy/terroir component, but the fruit dominates and this full-bodied wine is rich, textured and impressively endowed. Possessing the best of both worlds — the finesse, terroir and earthiness of France, and the sumptuous fruit, texture and lusciousness of Napa — it will keep for at least two decades. A noteworthy success in this difficult vintage.”

– Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, October 2013

Following the Au Sommet, over the next two weeks, Tannic will be featuring Heidi’s 2011 Pharoah Moans Grenache and the 2011 Amuse Bouche. We strongly suggest for Tannic members to try one if not all of these fantastic vintages.

Tannic members can also use the coupon code LADYOFWINE over the next several weeks for $10 off their Heidi Barrett order.

For any questions about Heidi Barrett wines, or how WineCollective members can access them, contact us today! With extremely limited supply, we suggest you act fast!

Exclusive feature from Schug Carneros Estate

WineCollective partnered with esteemed Sonoma producer Schug Carneros Estate, to bring our members an exciting offering. We are proud to showcase the WineCollective Cuvee Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Schug. These wines are exclusive to WineCollective members online, and available only at Highfield by WineCollective in Calgary.


2013 Schug WineCollective Cuvee

Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $29


2012 Schug Cuvee WineCollective


Sonoma Coast, California

Retail: $27

Schug Carneros Estate

Owners Walter and Gertrud’s appreciation of wine came early in life, as both their fathers managed estates in Germany. The couple moved to California, where Walter worked for several large producers, such as Joseph Phelps. While living in St Helena, Napa and working as the winemaker at Phelps, Walter had the opportunity to produce produce under his own label. Starting with Pinot Noir, Walter began building the Schug brand.


The vineyards just south of Schug Carneros Estate.

Through it’s growth, Schug has remained a family ran business. All of Walter and Gertrud’s children are involved in the winery’s success. Axel Schug, one of Walter and Gertrud Schug’s three children, is responsible for the estate’s sales and marketing ventures. Axel hosted WineCollective late last summer, where we were able to learn more about the winery’s history and future.

Schug Carneros Estate is located in its founding location within the Carneros appellation. When the demand for Schug wines outgrew their production in Napa, Schug grew its acreage 1989 with 50 acres in Sonoma. Home to our exclusive cuvees, the Sonoma Coast enjoys a cool maritime climate, perfect for ripening crisp Pinot and Chardonnays! Of the sprawling 500,000 acres designated within Sonoma Coast, only 2% of the land is planted to vineyard. The majority (75%) of the vines are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Schug 3

View of the vineyards looking out from Schug Carneros Estate.

The Wines

After meeting with Axel Schug at the winery, we were confident that we had found a great producer to showcase an exclusive wine for WineCollective. Axel Schug toured us through the estate and poured the winery’s current releases. We were blown away by the quality, consistency and dedication of the Schug team, crafting exceptional and accessible wines.

The 2012 Chardonnay is a perfectly versatile Chard, with flavours of peaches, dried apricots, zingy white grapefruits and a hint of vanilla. The body is bold enough to entertain heavy pastas and roasted chicken, with just enough acidity and a long juicy finish.

The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from 5 vineyards within the Sonoma Coast AVA, including Ricci, Stage Gulch, and Schug Estate vineyards. The Pinot balances rustic notes, ripe berries and savoury herbs and minerality. The elegance will impress Pinot-lovers, while containing enough bold character to also impress the apprehensive.


Vineyards to the north of Schug Carneros Estate.

The WineCollective Cuvees are an exclusive opportunity to own a wine from Schug Estate that has been carefully selected by the WineCollective team, directly at the winery. We are proud to be able to offer our members the opportunity to enjoy this Pinot Noir Chardonnay from a premium producer at an exceptional value. We are excited to feature both these wines to WineCollective members at a price substantially below market, one of the benefits of our sourcing wine direct. These wines will be available to members through the online members-only store, Tannic, and at Highfield by WineCollective until they sell-out. We would like to thank the team at Schug for helping to create a memorable wine experience!

Revana, a perfect gift for the holidays.

On a recent trip to Napa this fall, we were fortunate enough to be hosted at Revana Family Vineyard. Our guide led us through a tasting of current release Revana Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Revana’s sister wines, Alexana from Oregon. If ever touring Napa, we highly recommend booking a visit at Revana. The winery is just off Highway 29, and only a couple minutes from down-town St Helena.


Revana is owned by cardiologist, Dr. Madaiah Revana, who purchased the property in 1997. With the assurance of vineyard manager, Jim Barbour, Revana’s first vintage was produced in 2001. The 2007 vintage was awarded 97 points by WineSpectator and ranked number four on the Top 100 Wines of 2010. After a decade, the estate has grown into one of the most well-known Cabernet producers in Napa. There is high demand for each newly released vintage, with the approximate 1,200 cases selling out year after year.


The Revana Cabernet Sauvignon is made with 100% estate fruit, all harvest from the 9 acres that surround the winery.  The vineyard is planted with several clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. We have previously received a small allocation of the 2010 Revana, which sold out on Tannic almost instantly. Today, we have a unique opportunity to showcase the 2009 and the 2011 vintages in small supply on Tannic.

If you were lucky enough to get a bottle or two of the 2010 vintage, this is a rare and special opportunity to build a an instant vertical! There are a few key differences between each of the vintages, mainly the change in winemakers from 2009 to 2011. Heidi Barrett was previously head winemaker, with 2009 being her last vintage with full leadership of Revana. The 2010 is a bit of a mix between Heidi Barrett’s legacy and Thomas Brown’s vision. While 2011 is distinctively in the Thomas’ style.


2009 tasting notes from the producer: “A supple blend of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2009 vintage is opulent and well-balanced. Dark and dense in color with aromas of lavender, cassis and earthy wild berry, this wine displays great depth. It boasts stunning concentration on the palate with dark cherry, cacao, coffee bean and a hint of caramel. Finishing with full-bodied tannins, this wine exhibits an undeniable finesse.”


2010 tasting notes from the producer: “The 2010 is a gorgeous vintage; an incredible balance of richness, density and elegance and a welcome start to Thomas Rivers Brown’s tenure. The nose is infused with aromas of dark cherries, chocolate, sage and a touch of toasted brioche that captures the elegance of the year. The lush palate wraps around deep, generous fruit flavors balanced by notes of baking spice and herbs. Plush tannins frame a concentrated core of cherry and plum. The round, seamless finish reveals stunning depth. Showing well now, this sophisticated wine will continue to age gracefully for many years to come.”


2011 tasting notes from the producer: “Deep garnet in the glass, the 2011 Revana Cabernet has a lively, bright nose with hints of blackberry, floral cherry, and pipe tobacco. On the palate the wine has an incredible brightness, bursting forth with cherry, dried cranberries and well-integrated oak. Traces of rose petal and tea leaves compliment the velvety tannins. Plush and juicy, the 2011 is well-balanced and begs to be enjoyed now.”

Visit Tannic today for your Revana wine package!

2011 Pingus is now available on Tannic


Pingus. If you are not familiar with the name, a quick search will bring a plethora of articles and reviews of the sought after wine. If you are familiar, there is no explanation needed! Dominio de Pingus was founded in the 1990’s, when the region of Ribera del Duero was beginning to make waves. The previously un-famed area peaked wine enthusiast’s interests with it’s modern style of Spanish wine. Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck jumped on the opportunity to work with the old, gnarly vines of Ribera del Duero.

Peter is no one-hit wonder. He established himself in Spain while working at Hacienda Monasterio. While in Ribera del Duero, Peter searched for the perfect vineyards to create his own wine. The 5 hectares that he discovered and rehabilitated, now produce just 500 cases of wine per year.

What makes Pingus so great? The inaugural vintage of 1995 scored 96 points from Robert Parker. It is one thing to build a reputation over the years, it is another to hit it out of the park on the first swing! Structurally, the wine balances strength with elegance with little effort. And there is the ageability, Pingus can be cellared decades!

Since 2006, Pingus has been scaling back the use of new oak. Previous vintages were typically in 50% new and 50% second use barrels. In 2008, the wine was aged 100% in used barrels for the first time. As noted by Decanter in July 2012, Peter’s scaling back of wood is not reflective of the cost of barrels: “We are trying to avoid too much wood contact. As the vineyards get better, and are better managed, there is less and less need to use oak,” notes Peter. He considers over-use of oak ‘lazy winemaking’ – it should all happen in the vineyard.

“Inky purple. An exotic, expressive bouquet displays scents of blueberry, black cherry, violet, licorice and Asian spices, with a subtle smoky nuance in the background. Offers an array of densely packed black and blue fruit and floral flavors that are enlivened by bright minerality. Shows outstanding clarity and energy on the intense, lingering finish.” – Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar: 94 points

“The 2011 Pingus has a gorgeous, pure black cherry, cassis and blueberry scented bouquet interlaced by orange blossom and apricot. The oak is beautifully assimilated into the aromatic profile. The palate is full-bodied with a decadent entry. The tannins are ripe and rounded, imparting great tension and focus. There is both dimension and grace to this formidable Pingus that should blossom once it finishes its gestation. This is an outstanding Ribera del Duero wine. Drink 2020-2035+.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate: 94-96 points

In an interview with The Drink Business, Peter admits his greatest regret, not learning to play the piano. A winemaker and a pianist may share many qualities, but we are glad that he focused on grapes over keys.

Tannic is fortunate to have received a very small allocation of Pingus. After patiently waiting for the 2011 to be released, we are excited to offer Tannic members a chance to own Pingus.

Contact Tannic today to reserve your Pingus.  1-855-8-TANNIC

Our visit to Barnett Vineyards

This fall WineCollective was able to spend some quality time at Barnett Vineyards. As part of the Touch the Terroir program hosted by Spring Mountain, we jumped right in during a busy harvest day at the winery. Barnett is a well-established brand in our market, however, we are given only a small allotment of their limited production.

Panoramic view of the vineyards from the winery.
Looking at the winery from the guest house.

Barnett Vineyards began in 1983 when Fiona and Hall first started planting vineyards in Spring Mountain. Several years later, the first vintage of 100 cases was released. Today they produce just over 6,000 cases a year. Still a small production, focused on boutique style and premium quality.

Tour of the Barnett vineyards with winemaker, David Tate.

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A busy time of year in the vineyard, there is lots of work to be done at harvest! We rolled up our sleaves and broke a sweat, scrubbing ferment bins and dumping grapes through the de-stemmer. However, it is difficult to complain when resident winery dogs are your co-workers and the office is a spectacular view of the valley!

Thanks to David Tate and the Barnett team for hosting us for the day!  Here are a few snapshots of our time at Barnett!

Petit Verdot brought in from the Yountville vineyards.
David Tate giving direction and organizing the tanks.
Someone was crazy enough to let Amber drive the forklift.
The grapes are separated from the stems and pumped into tanks.
View from the top of the tank, pump-over!


Steve Brooks and Trust Cellars

We were proud to be given the opportunity to meet with Steve Brooks from Trust Cellars, this fall. Winemaker and owner, Steve, also takes the time out of his busy schedule to travel and educate wine buyers on Walla Walla, his journey and wines. He visited Calgary with Bonvida Wines, to showcase his newly released wines.


We are featuring the 2011 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Walla Walla Syrah. If you are already a Tannic member, don’t miss out on these limited releases. If you are not a Tannic member, join today and explore our curated selection of exceptional wines.

We found this great video of Steve talking about his past and his wines. The 2 minute clip highlights some of the things that we find special about Trust Cellars.