Wine Review: Red Blends of the Eternal Ice Age

20 03 2018

By Peter Vetsch

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

Happy first day of spring.  Spare me.  Yeah, I’ve seen all of the (obviously non-local) articles and Instagram pics and Twitter updates about new rosé and bubble releases and patio beers and T-shirt weather.  Meanwhile I have snowbanks bordering each side of my driveway that are taller than each of my children and still see the minus sign side the thermometer heading to work every morning.  It’s supposed to snow again on Thursday morning and there is no god and we are in some kind of forsaken meteorological time loop that will have no end.  So forget you, frizzy pink refreshing splashes and dainty Prosecco; I’m gearing up for blustery Armageddon, armed with a pair of full reds that scoff at the entire concept of spring.  I need to find joy somewhere, after all.


Forget you, “spring”.

2014 Gerard Bertrand Corbieres (~$20)

I know from past experience that Gerard Bertrand is a value wine savant, and that his legend in the south of France is ever-growing.  I also knew that this particular bottle of Corbieres, part of his “Terroirs” regional collection of bottlings, hit the wine awards mother lode in 2016 by landing the #55 spot in the much-anticipated Wine Spectator Top 100 list — not bad for a $20 bottle from a little-known region.  What I didn’t know about Bertrand was that he was a prodigious professional rugby player before he followed in his family’s footsteps and turned to winemaking, even juggling a pro career with vigneron duties in the aftermath of his father’s death as he took over the reins of his ancestors’ business.  He has now hung up the cleats for good but brings some of his sport’s scrappiness to all of the wines that bear his name.   Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Review: Dirty Laundry, Pink & Red

26 10 2017

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


Okanagan label mastery.

Dirty Laundry is a winery best experienced in person, as it features a combination of location, history and brand awareness that is next to impossible to top.  It is perched up above the ideally named Summerland, BC, elevated over the Okanagan’s main highway, with vineyard views for miles and a patio strategically located to be drenched in scenery.  This spot was once, back in the era of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s initial construction, the home of a renowned and well-attended laundry service run by an AWOL railroad construction worker who had found a more lucrative calling; his fortune, and the popularity of his laundry business, was due in no small measure to the brothel being run discreetly on the upper floor while the clothes were cleaned below.  A couple of centuries later, the business currently occupying the land knows a good story when it sees one and has turned the tale of the dirty laundry into a branding behemoth that seeps into everything from wine names to labels to tasting room decor to the guest homes for rent on the property, the Bordello House and the Parlour House.  They commit to the identity, keep their humour on high alert and leave their prudishness at the door, and people keep coming back.

The wines themselves may be in a state of flux, caught between wanting to appeal to the widest possible audience and the crowds in for a good time and a novelty bottle-stopper and aiming for a higher level of quality, a product that captures attention in a different way.  I am rooting for them to succeed, as personality and creativity and branding effort are more than welcome in my own world of wine.  The below releases, recent rose and red offerings from Dirty Laundry and the first of a two-part review series, were an excellent chance for me to check in on the winery for the first time in a while and see where they were on their cheeky, quirky voyage. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Review: 2010 Dirty Laundry “Hush” Rosé

7 12 2011

Maybe it's season-suitable after all -- it looks like a Christmas light. That's turned on.

I don’t drink as much rosé as I should.  Even though I know that most of it isn’t the sweet and insipid stuff of stereotype, whenever I’m in wine-buying mode there always seems to be something else on the shelf that pulls me in more.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that this, Wine Review #82, is Pop & Pour’s first rosé write-up.  Yikes.  I promise to do better in the future.

While this is PnP’s inaugural rosé feature, it’s the second wine from the Dirty Laundry winery in Summerland, BC that I’ve reviewed, and (thankfully) the first I haven’t been horribly disappointed in.  For those of you who missed the tale of my September visit to Dirty Laundry and my lack of admiration for their Madam’s Vines Gewürztraminer, click here for the full scoop.  This rosé was the only other wine I grabbed from DL, and the wine in their cellar-door tasting lineup that I liked the most, so I popped and poured tonight hoping for bigger and better things.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Review: 2010 Dirty Laundry “Madam’s Vines” Gewurztraminer

16 09 2011

The folks at Dirty Laundry are marketing geniuses.

I love the sign at the bottom right that says "Scenic Outlook: That Way". "Really?! Where?"

They have their own unique story — namely, that the current site of the winery used to be home to a laundromat that illicitly doubled as a brothel during the Gold Rush era — and they stick to it with rigorous discipline in absolutely everything they do, from their wine names to their label art, winery decor to gift shop souvenirs (yes, there’s a gift shop).  All of their production and sales efforts are relentlessly to brand, and the secretly naughty tale of the brand generates a lot of interest; before my recent trip to the Okanagan, DL was one of the places I was told I absolutely had to see.  So one day we ventured out to Summerland, a half hour southwest of Kelowna, and drove up (and up, and up) a series of winding backcountry roads until we found it, high up in the hills above the town overlooking the Lake.  We were treated to a thoroughly modern tasting room, with a brand new gorgeous outdoor patio (complete with giant clothespins and lingerie gently swaying in the breeze) and an amazing view of the surrounding area.  However, amidst all the winks to its shady past and seamless self-promotion, Dirty Laundry got slack about one thing:  the wine. Read the rest of this entry »

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