Wine Review: Dirty Laundry, The Whites

2 11 2017

[These bottles were provided as samples for review purposes.]


One of these things is not like the other…

Now that snow has blanketed the land and any remaining warm thoughts in Calgary’s mind have been augured away by blistering Arctic winds, I can fully admit that I tasted these Dirty Laundry wines in the wrong order.  I cracked the rosé and red portions of my sample pack back when fall was still a thing (last week) and saved the sunny patio portion of the tasting until it seemed like a cruel joke; serves me right for breaking with orthodoxy and not going lightest to heaviest like the textbooks all say.  But we persevere. I’ve always found Dirty Laundry’s white lineup to be a bit more impressive and consistent than its reds, and they have a particular affinity for Gewürztraminer, the grape that everyone seems scared to focus on too heavily but which truly rewards any such special attention.  However, tonight I got to dive into two bottles that I hadn’t tried before today, starting off with my favourite grape of them all.

2015 Dirty Laundry Riesling ($25ish AB retail)

The first thing I noticed about this Riesling is that it was called just, well, “Riesling”:  no playful double-entendre moniker, no added dose of marketing pizzazz.  What gives?  If you’re going to go to the trouble of giving 75% of your wine portfolio a fancy pen name, you’re sort of committed to finish the job.  Brand anonymity notwithstanding, this was without question the most successful bottle of my Dirty Laundry double-tasting.  There was plenty of initial spritz in the glass on first pour (it is not uncommon to see Rieslings dosed with a bit of CO2 during bottling to guard against oxidation), giving life and movement to the wine’s pale lemon colour.  Welcome smells of lime zest, green apple, Velcro and lacrosse balls criss-crossed my nasal passages, a lively classically Riesling aromatic mix of sharp fruit, rubber and minerals.


The wine then launched into attack mode on the palate, pouncing on the tongue with vigour and clamping down with an acid-based assault, piercing lemon zest and pink grapefruit at first leavened only by a gratifying breath of sweetness but then trailing off towards the end of the midpalate towards a bracing minerality, like a rushing mountain stream slashing through a rocky shoreline.  Its crescendo of rage expended, the Riesling tiptoed into a quiet, watery finish.  This is a legitimately refreshing and self-identifying bottle of Riesling, perhaps not trying as hard to make an impression absent its own separate cover art.  Nice work.

88- points


Stelvin Rating: 8/10 (Slight deduction from last time because I swear each cap is a different shade of red.  So weird.)

2016 Dirty Laundry Say Yes Pinot Gris ($25ish AB retail)

A proposal white initially seems ideally aligned with the cheeky, sensual, love-based theme of the winery…until you remember that it’s named after an Old West bordello and thus not exactly branded on fidelity.  Also, is the cupid on the label wearing a garter and heels?  What kind of proposal are we talking about here?  I see it does not describe to what the recipient is supposed to say yes, but I’m sure the winery would encourage people to use their imaginations.  It also notes that this bottle was “inspired by a true love story”, while declining to provide any further details.  If anyone knows more, tell me.


There is at least as much spritz in the glass with this Pinot Gris as with the Riesling, which is quite unusual, but the deeper, glossier straw colour and super-musky overt nose are right up Pinot Gris’ alley:  lychee, cantaloupe, pineapple and lemon meringue make up a potent olfactory fruit combination, like all the good flavours of Life Savers at once.  However, all of that exuberance and joy is slashed through somewhat with papery bitterness once you taste, when banana leaves, aloe, parchment and bitter almond start to predominate and the wine’s soft acid and traces of residual sweetness act as an unclear arbiter of which flavour set is supposed to prevail.  The contents of the bottle act as a slightly wobbly support for whatever proposal is being contemplated by it, but hopefully the gesture and the visuals will be enough to win the day anyway.

86 points




One response

23 11 2017
Marta Sommer

texted well for the wine review…


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