PC Wine Fall Collection Faceoff

22 10 2015

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

Grocery store wines are making strides.  Supermarket labels are no longer (or at least not all) resigned to Two Buck Chuck ignominy, and a select few are starting to pair their expected wallet-friendly price tags with actual quality inside the bottle, making them legitimate value plays in a competitive buying environment.  The Kirkland label from Costco comes immediately to mind, a negociant-style operation that sources wines from prestigious regions across the globe (even Champagne!  And it’s not bad!) and makes them accessible at a fraction of the cost of other bottles from the area.  Now Loblaws is making its own foray into the value wine world with a curated lineup of stylishly branded PC Wines, currently only available at an Alberta Superstore liquor store near you.  Take that, rest of Canada.

A step up from the No Name wine labels.

A step up from the No Name wine labels.


The PC Wines approach differs from similar supermarket offerings in a couple of ways.  First, the wine collections will be seasonally rotated, so the five bottles in the fall collection will be replaced with a whole new set of wines in a few months.  Second, the pricing is uniform:  all of the bottles cost exactly $20, but that price drops to $15 in each case if you buy 3 or more.  The fall collection was hand-selected by Aaron Bick, founder of local vino e-commerce site wineonline.ca, and features offerings from four different producers in California, Italy and Spain.  Although each bottle bears a PC Wines label, it still recognizes its original producer on the front, which is a nice touch.  There’s even some back-vintage stuff in the mix!

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Wine Review: 2009 Venus La Universal Dido

16 01 2013

[This bottle was provided as a sample for review purposes.]

This must be tasted to be believed.  Just give yourself a couple days.

This must be tasted to be believed. Just give yourself a couple days.


Almost a calendar month from my last real post, things have finally returned to some semblance of normalcy in my household and all family cold and flu issues are mostly a thing of the past, leaving me free to kick back with a (highly intriguing) glass of wine and blog to my heart’s content. Luckily for me, PnP’s revival from the ashes of neglect comes in the form of a review of a bottle that I could write about for days, a wine that you can buy here for less than $30 and which has been constantly opening and evolving since I opened it over a day ago. I’ve tasted it over many hours and still can’t entirely figure out how to put it into words, but here goes.

Venus La Universal is one of many vinous projects currently being undertaken by Sara Perez, who is considered by many to be the most important female winemaker in Spain. Her roots in wine are familial: when she was young her parents moved the family from Barcelona to the nearby (and now-renowned) area of Priorat, located due west of the city in northeast Spain. Her mother and father became the founders of Priorat’s School of Oenology and early contributors to the wine boom that now envelops the region. Perez’s wines are all driven by a sense of place and a deep connection to the vineyards from which they are derived. I don’t usually include quotes in my review, but this one got to me: in a 2005 interview with Luis Cepeda, Perez maintained that “[t]here has to be absolute complicity between land and winery.” The land that ultimately resulted in this wine is a 4 hectare piece of farmland found in the southern end of the oddly donut-shaped region of Montsant, which forms a complete ring encircling the bullseye of Priorat (and thus can offer wine drinkers Priorat-level taste experiences for value prices). It’s a harsh landscape featuring nutrient-poor granitic soils, high altitudes, hot days and cold nights, terraced vineyards that must be harvested by hand, and vines that have to struggle to survive. Unlike most agricultural crops, however, with grapevines this constant battle to thrive leads to deeper, stronger roots and higher-quality, more flavourful fruit, making areas such as this prized for their ability to coax the most character out of their grapes.

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