We lovingly decant wines from the West Coast to Western Samoa and beyond, and then give you a highly opinionated, pocket-sized review.
Black Sage Vineyard's Pipe 2010
“We have chosen the name 'Pipe' to reflect the time-honoured tradition of Port producers and the quality of this fine wine. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Partway through fermentation, the process is stopped by adding high-alcohol grain spirits, bringing the alcohol up to 19-20% and leaving behind residual sugar."
Suggested perfect pairings
Assuming you don't have a box of Gran Habano No. 5 or Regius Double Corona cigars kicking around, dark chocolate or Higos en miel are a good match at dessert time. At happy hour—or any excuse for happy hour at any time of the day—consider cheeses that pack an unrepentant punch. Those include blue if you're feeling extra bold and a little wistul for Paris. If you're in the mood for a midnight snack a slice of Stilton and a Pipe 2010 nightcap will almost guarantee you a re-creation of the "Just Dropped In" sequence from The Big Lebowski. (According to the British Cheese Board, 75 percent of men and 85 percent of women have "odd and vivid" dreams after eating 20 grams or more of Stilton right before before sleeping.)
Maybe Christmas being just around the corner has everything to do with it, but it's hard not to look at Pipe 2010 as one would a present: assuming you've never bought it before, you can't be sure what's inside until it's opened. The bottle shape says "port", but that's hard to wrap one's head around given the made-in-B.C. stamp. The etched-on label, meanwhile, reads "Red Wine", making one wonder if Pipe 2010 belongs in the same quadrant of your basement wine cellar as the Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin syrah and Petrus Pomerol merlot.
We're going to make an educated—and possibly incredibly stupid—guess here and suggest that the red wine billing has something to do with semantics. And in case that's a little vague, consider this from Wikipedia: "Under the European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines only products from Portugal are allowed to be labelled 'port'."
Mellow and smooth—yes, we know that sounds like a 1950s commercial for Chesterfield cigarattes—Pipe 2010 bursts with luscious black cherry and ripe blackberry. And whatever you want to call it, it's pretty great, especially if you've got a thing for tawny ports. In other words, you might be stuck at home this year, but close your eyes, take a sip, and suddenly you're in an older world, sitting on a stunning terrace in Porto overlooking the Douro River. Or, you know, the Okanagan, which isn't exactly the worst place at the best of times.