Crush Live Auction 2018

Live Auction Sneak Peek:

Comte de Lauvia Armagnac: 1934 (France)
Donated by Anonymous; Value: $1,303

Four years ago Crush debuted a vintage Armagnac from one of the great houses of France – and here’s yet another chance to acquire this otherwise unobtainable rarity. Armagnac hails from the region of the same name in Gascony in southwest France; it’s a single-distilled spirit that often spends greater time in oak barrels than its more famous cousin, Cognac. As a result, Armagnac can often have greater finesse and roundness than its more famous rival. Comte de Lauvia produces some of the world’s greatest Armagnacs, and has won innumerable awards at international tasting competitions. Their 1934 bottling is an extremely rare and valuable single-barrel vintage. Comte de Lauvia distills its brandy at a uniquely low strength to preserve more of its rustic character, resulting in a spirit of exceptional smoothness with intense flavours of prune, fig, wood, and forest fruits. To the eye this Armagnac has a deep coffee colour. The pleasing nose offers cloves and maple sugar, with hints of vanilla. On the palate, it is joyous; with an amazing rancio character, overlaid with honey, walnut, prune and coffee. This Armagnac is an unforgettable experience and has been called “Christmas in a bottle.”

 

Produttori del Barbaresco: Asili, Montefico, Montestefano, Ovello, Pora, Rabajà: 2013 (Italy)                                                                                                                                                 Donated by Ernest Sargent; Value for six bottles: $500 

Now here’s something truly exceptional: a “horizontal” 2013 sextet of related wines from Italy’s fabled Produttori del Barbaresco, a unique collective that produces impressive, deeply flavoured wines from the Nebbiolo grape. A century ago Barbaresco was just another anonymous village in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Today it produces iconic wines that rate with those of Barolo and Brunello. Produttori del Barbaresco sells several distinct Riserva bottlings, all of them prized by oenophiles attracted to terroir-expressive wines. The 2013 Asili got ratings from 95 to 97, with comments such as “Absolutely stunning in every way” and “rich and silky . . . impeccably balanced.” As for the Montefico, Wine Enthusiast bestowed 97 points with this rave: “Boasting an extraordinary pedigree, this fantastic wine opens with hallmark scents of wild berry, new leather, chopped herb, tilled soil and a whiff of violet.” The Montestefano was right behind with 96 points (“New leather, camphor, forest berry, dried rose and culinary spice are some of the aromas you’ll find on this exceptional red”). The Ovello was beloved of everyone from Vinous (96 points) to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (95 points). Praise, more purple than the wine itself, included: “Vivid, sculpted and impossibly beautiful, the Ovello is simply magnificent.” The Pora was also hailed by Wine Enthusiast, with this mouth-watering description: “The smooth, full-bodied palate shows juicy Morello cherry, pomegranate, licorice and clove balanced by vibrant acidity.” And finally, the Rabajà also merited a 97 (“enviable finesse . . . showing crushed black cherry, juicy raspberry, orange zest, clove, and licorice”). Individually, these are all impressive, desirable wines; collectively, this is a devastatingly attractive auction lot! 

 

 

Belle Glos “Dairyman” Pinot Noir: 2013 (California)
Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: 2014 (California)
Caymus donated by Anonymous; Belle Glos donated by Ross Woodland;
Value for both 1.5 litre bottles: $384

Now here’s a unique double bill: two premium California magnums with a family connection. The father owns iconic Napa winery Caymus, while his Sonoma-based son is the man behind Belle Glos, which specializes in Pinot Noir. Long appreciated for its silky textures and layers of dark fruit, the Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon is always a welcome dinner guest. The 2014 earned 94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which praised its staying power, lushness, intensity, and purity. The Wine Spectator, another big fan, said this: “Supple and fruit forward, with easygoing plum, black cherry, and blueberry flavours.” The Belle Glos 2013 “Dairyman” Pinot Noir gets similarly lavish praise, starting with 91 points from Wine Spectator (“exhibits a rich array of flavour and personality . . . spicy, toasty anise and black licorice notes”). Natalie MacLean bestowed 91 points and this ravishing description: “Full-on chocolate, mocha and espresso aromas on the nose and fleshy sweet dark cherry flavour.” And Vivino chimed in with “Rich and unctuous . . . spicy and gorgeous.” It’s double-your-pleasure time with this pair!

 

Osoyoos Larose: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 (Okanagan)
Donated by Tracey Mellor from estate of Elaine Curling; Value for 4 bottles: $250

Osoyoos Larose is one of the Okanagan’s flagship wineries, and their Bordeaux blend “grand vin” is eminently collectable, a wine cherished for its richness and complexity. Although there is a new winemaker at the helm these days, Bordeaux-raised Pascal Madevon spent 12 fastidious and inspired years at Larose. This auction lot of four features a vertical array from 2002 to 2005, and these well-aged beauties all feature the master’s touch. This is a true Bordeaux blend, containing mostly Merlot alongside Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Tim Appelt of WineDiscovery was lucky enough to attend a vertical tasting spanning nearly a decade of Madevon-vinted wines and here are a few representative comments: “The nose is rich, intense and fruit-forward [suggestive of] black currants, cherries, blackberries, plums, along with violets and baking spice. Mouth-filling fruit, chocolate and coffee bean flavours.” And of the 2005, one of Appelt’s top picks, he added: “There is real elegance here, a wine that will interest those who aren’t looking for raw power.” Although drinking beautifully now, these wines will cellar for several more years . . . if you can wait that long!

 

Black Hills Nota Bene: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 (Okanagan)
Donated by Tracey Mellor; Value for 5 bottles: $400

Hailing from the esteemed Black Sage Bench near Oliver, Black Hills Winery made a near-immediate impact with its iconic Nota Bene (“Take Note”). A Bordeaux-style blend that leads with Cabernet Sauvignon and includes Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the eminently collectable Nota Bene is a bold and opulent wine that has often earned comparisons to a Pomerol. Influential wine critic Anthony Gismondi attended a huge vertical tasting of Nota Bene, and his comments will interest anyone thinking of bidding on this delicious slice of Okanagan wine history. Gismondi’s ratings ranged from 87 to 89 points and he was clearly impressed. He wrote: “… a tarry, Barolo-like nose with smoky olive tobacco notes.” (2003); “It’s a cooler year and those tarry Barolo notes are everywhere. Perfect for roast lamb.” (2006); and “This is a beefier version of the 2006 with black cherry fruit and cassis.” (2007). The winemaking style and Black Hills has evolved over the years and it is likely that these wines want to be consumed soon rather than cellared – hardly a hardship!

 

Gould Campbell Bicentenary Vintage Port: 1997 (Portugal)
Dow’s Vintage Port: 1994 (Portugal)
Gould Campbell Bicentenary Vintage Port donated by Tracey Mellor from estate of Elaine Curling
Dow’s Vintage Port donated by Shellie & Mike Gudgeon, Il Terrazzo;
Value for 2 bottles: $383

Nearly everyone cherishes a good sip of vintage Port, and here’s an impressive pair that’s up for grabs. The Gould 1997 should appeal to hedonists: it earned 90 points from Wine Spectator, while fine-wine merchants Lay & Wheeler raved about its “impressive harmony, velvety tannins, and lovely mouthfeel from beginning to long finish.” CellarTracker allotted 90-91 points and some alluring comments: “The nose has raspberries, white chocolate, milk chocolate, and raisins. Vibrant fruit, sweet and a long prickly finish. Pass the Stilton, please.” Dow is certainly one of the greatest Port houses, celebrated for wines of lushness, depth, and structure, and their 1994 is impressive indeed. It earned a 97 from Wine Spectator, which wrote:  “Black, with intense aromas of raspberries, raisins, flowers and stems. Full-bodied and medium sweet, with a long, rich finish.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate also went 97, adding: “The palate is seriously big and voluptuous with medium to high acidity. Very long finish.” And an impressed CellarTracker summed up nicely: “A great and classic vintage Port.” Pass the Stilton, indeed!

 

Château Mouton Rothschild: 1988 (France)
Donated by Deep Cove Chalet; Value for two bottles:  $1414

One of the truly legendary names from the most prestigious wine-making region on the planet, ever-opulent Château Mouton Rothschild is a superlative example of what Bordeaux is all about. The 1988 vintage, although a lesser offering by Rothschild standards, garnered 92 points from Wine Spectator, which declared that it gave “great pleasure.” The redoubtable Robert Parker also gave it 92, writing in his 2003 Bordeaux Book: “. . . attractive aromas of Asian spices, dried herbs, minerals, coffee, black currants and sweet oak.” He also praised it for being full-bodied, muscular, and admirably ripe. Three of the scribes at CellarTracker tasted it this year and gave it 94 points, complimenting it for the “textbook nose of cedar” and its “full flavour of mellow heavy cherries and licorice.” And James Suckling called it “rich and fruity, with loads of currant, tobacco, smoke and new wood on the nose and palate.” In short, these two bottles of 1988 are clearly an exciting find at an auction. These can cellar until 2030 – but why wait?

 

Château Mouton Rothschild: 1988 (France)
Donated by Deep Cove Chalet; Value for one bottle:  $707

See above lot for description.

 

Clynelish “Caledonia” Single Malt: 1972 (Scotland)
Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value for 700 ml bottle: $275

Last year was the first time that Crush ventured down the whisky trail, and once again we have a dynamic duo of rare, vintage single malts to tempt the scotch lovers in the audience. The 1972 Clynelish “Caledonia” was distilled in 1972 and bottled 29 years later. The fabled Clynelish distillery is located in the northern highlands on the east coast of Sutherland, an hour north of Inverness. They have always been appreciated for the slightly smoky, sea-spicy flair of their whisky and this “single cask” bottling is a fine example. Wine Enthusiast rated it from 85-89 points, with these tasting notes: “. . . additional time releases scents of palm oil, lanolin, egg white, slight brine and fresh almonds. Better in the mouth than on the nose, the palate entry is deeply grainy/malty, sweet and oily; by mid-palate sensuous tastes of dark chocolate, sugar cookies, brown sugar oak and honey delight. Finished medium-long, moderately sweet and succulent.” This would look lovely indeed in anyone’s liquor cabinet.

 

Glencadam “Connoisseurs Choice” Single Malt: 1974 (Scotland)
Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value for 700 ml bottle: $394

Now here’s an exciting rarity! Glencadam is one of the less famous distilleries in the Highlands but experts know that it produces a great malt. This particular auction lot, distilled in 1974, was bottled in 1995 by esteemed producers Gordon and MacPhail. It was part of their Connoisseurs Choice series, which offered premium examples from the several scotch-making regions of Scotland. Finished in bourbon casks, this whisky was nicely praised by Master of Malt: “Sweet and earthy on the nose, some faint peat with apricots and nectarines; the palate is spicy with cedar wood, dry grass and a fragrant note; the finish is smooth and long with spiced chocolate notes.” With classic Scots understatement they summed up thus: “A tasty dram.” The scribes at WhiskyNotes were impressed with the malty sweetness of the nose, comprising elements of honey, apples melons and marzipan, with some smoke in the background. The mouth was “reasonably intense, showing bittersweet oranges, sweet malt, and hints of mint . . . light pepper and clove and liquorice.” Slàinte!

 

Château de Beaucastel: 2009 (France)
Donated by Everything Wine; Value: $135.99

Châteauneuf du Pape is one of France’s most richly flavoured wines, and a particularly celebrated example is Château de Beaucastel, which hails from the southern part of the Rhone Valley. This venerable Château produces wines that are reliably silky, plush and full-bodied, and they seem to have done a particularly good job with the 2009. The 96 points it garnered from Wine Spectator came with this almost overwrought description: “One of the more endowed 2009s, this is packed with dark smoldering cocoa, mesquite, tobacco and roasted fig notes, all inlaid with pure cassis and plum preserves fruit flavours.” Wine Advocate went 94, with similarly lavish praise: “. . . a silky, open-knit seductiveness, a dense plum/purple color and a beautiful perfume of smoky Provençal herbs intermixed with grilled steak juices, garrique, kirsch and blue as well as black fruits. The wine is full-bodied, unctuously textured, and silky smooth.” James Suckling similarly went 94, on a wine he called “stunning . . . from a very ripe vintage.” Also chiming in with a rating of 94 was CellarTracker (“incredible mouthfeel and silky integrated tannins. This wine is just a real pleasure to drink”). Better get out your cheque books . . . .

 

Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir: 2014 (California)
Donated by Everything Wine; Value: $125.99

The term “sea smoke” refers to fog and its poetry inspired a famed Pinot Noir producer in California’s oft-foggy Santa Rita Hills to name his property Sea Smoke Vineyards. They use organic and biodynamic practices in their viticulture, and have three sought-after Pinots in their portfolio (as well as a Chardonnay and a Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine). Their 2014 Southing Pinot Noir, characteristically deft and luscious but not overbearing, got 92 points from Wine Enthusiast. The tasting notes were particularly enticing: “Crisp boysenberry and black raspberry aromas meet with thyme, oregano and a touch of caramelization. Dark cranberry fruit shows on the palate, lifted by anise, pepper, and an array of herbs.”  CellarTracker went 93, then gushed: “Wow . . . beautiful body in the mouth and a savoury finish. Lovely!” And Vivino had some insightful praise: “Fruitier than its European counterparts, yet very elegant and complex. Aromas of ripe red cherries, black pepper, mineral on the palate; cool climate acidity, fine tannins, lingering finish.” In a word, Yum! Try it with veal or venison.

 

Sassicaia: 1990 (Italy)
Donated by Dan Parker; Value: $591

One of the first of the “Super Tuscans,” Sassicaia made a huge splash when it arrived on Italy’s domestic wine scene in the early 1970s. Just like Tignanello, its equally celebrated fellow rebel, Sassicaia defied Italy’s strict winemaking rules and bypassed traditional local varietals, choosing instead to blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It quickly won an international audience after being championed by elite magazines such as Decanter and has long been one of Italy’s most collectable wines. This classic vintage should be an attractive candidate for any collector, with several reviewers giving it 93 points. Here’s what Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate said: “The 1990 is a thrilling expression that opens to succulent darkness and deep layers of ripe fruit opulence. Dried blackberry, plum and black currant keep the fruit profile high.” Over at the Wine Spectator, the praise was flying: “This is prototypical Sassicaia for its great complexity. Offers mineral, lead pencil, tar, cassis, and black olive notes, solid backbone and firm, elegant finish.” And the terse but impressed CellarTracker wrote: “Elegant and well-balanced.”

 

Château Léoville Poyferré: 2005 (France)
Donated by Anonymous; Value: $181

Château Léoville Poyferré is a small but elite winery in the Saint-Julien appellation of Bordeaux that produces a powerful and delicious Second Growth. The 2005 has done very well with the critics, starting with Wine & Spirits, which gave it a 95 and some exciting praise: “. . . massive, with dark extract and exotic spice, a sophisticated wine that ends on sweetness, bitter chocolate and dark berry fruit.” Wine Enthusiast went 94 while praising the wine’s “huge concentration, impressive power and great richness.” Not to be outdone, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate bestowed 93 points and these glowing comments: “A gorgeously opulent wine. The most seductive, approachable and charming of the three Léovilles [referring to three different vintages of the same wine], it exhibits a dense purple color as well as a sweet bouquet of mocha, black chocolate, crème de cassis, licorice, and toasty oak. Full-bodied with gorgeous, upfront fruit.” The palates at CellarTracker ranged between 94 to 96 points, and the Wine Spectator loved its “beautiful, caressing aftertaste.” Although this beauty is drinking now, it can likely cellar for another 15-20 years.

 

Antonin Guyon Beaune Clos de la Chaume Gaufriot: 2010 (France)
Donated by Anonymous; Value: $80

Located high on the famous slopes of Burgundy’s Beaune region, the Clos de la Chaume Gaufriot produces wines known for finesse and elegance and a delicate fragrance. The fruit can be intense, yet with a silky texture on the palate. Wine Spectator bestowed 93 points on the 2010 vintage, and made these comments: “A pretty red, boasting cherry, strawberry, currant, floral and spice flavours. A mineral element emerges on the finish, and this shows fine balance and finesse. Best from 2015 through 2030.” Vivino, also very impressed, went 91 and printed these tasting notes: “Raspberry, strawberry, little cedar, spice and terroir, floral, medium body, high acidity, medium tannic, some strawberry and little oak on the palate, medium finish, still young, maybe another 3-5 years.” A second Vivino reviewer was more poetical: “This fellow shines like cherry juice and smells of freshly made, still warm summer jams. It’s delicate in the mouth and shows elegance, a silky structure, and juicy red fruits.”

 

Cossart Gordon “Solera Bual” Madeira: 1845 (Portugal)
Donated by Anonymous; Value: $1,220

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Portugal and is the source for one of the world’s greatest – and longest lived – dessert wines. A fortified wine not unlike Port, Madeira is made from Bual grapes, which ripen to high sugar levels and produce rich, raisiny wines. Cossart Gordon is a singularly esteemed shipper of vintage Madeiras and their 1845 “Solera Bual” is a notable rarity. It received 92 points from Wine Spectator and 93 from CellarTracker (“Exciting and lingering aromas and flavours of dates and caramel . . . long and exotic” and “Deep and intense colour; warm and fragrant Bual nose, nuts and vanilla, medium-sweet, beautifully rounded and layered”). Another reviewer noted: “Complex, rich and aggressive, with tangy balancing acidity.” And here are some thoughtful comments from K&L Wine Merchants: “This wine is a sip of history, and shows insane amounts of depth and complexity with each taste. Molasses, caramel, toffee and a velvety mouthfeel, all held together with a citrus-y acidity . . . a wine of contemplation.”

 

Bolla Amarone della Valpolicella Classico: 1998 (Italy)
Donated by Ame De Paoli; Value: $121

Italian winemaking is a rich, varied tapestry of different categories and styles, and few of their wines offer the hedonistic delights of Amarone, the triumph of the Veneto’s Valpolicella region. Made from Corvina (and a few other varietals such as Rondinella and Molinara), the Amarone process sees harvested grapes dried upon straw mats for several months prior to vinification, thus concentrating the flavours and imbuing these prized wines with lushness and intensity. Characteristically ripe and raisiny, classic Amarones are full-bodied beauties that have little trouble surpassing a 15% alcohol content. Award-winning Bolla winery, established in 1883, produces a classic Amarone. B.C.’s Anthony Gismondi bestowed 89 points on the 1998 and described it thus: “Spicy, black pepper, cherry jam, raisiny aromas . . . dry, elegant, round structure with dried cherry, smoky prune, bitter chocolate flavours.” The writers at Vivino were also impressed with this one, with remarks ranging from “Oh what a beauty!” to taking joy in its “aromas of raisin, black cherry, tobacco and baking spices.”

 

Château Le Boscq Cru Bourgeois: 2005 (France)
Château de la Cour d’Argent, Bordeaux Supérieur: 2005 (France)
Château Baret: 2005 (France)
Donated by Ame De Paoli and Ian & Gloria Back; Value for three bottles: $169

Many wine fans like a French accent wafting out of their glass, and this trio from Bordeaux offers great flavour at a good value. Château Le Boscq is located in the esteemed district of Saint-Estephe. The writers at CellarTracker had varied opinions on the 2005 vintage, but many ratings were in the 90-point range. Comments ranged from “nice red fruit and sweet tobacco nose . . . great, fruity, tannic and well-balanced palate . . . excellent Cru Bourgeois from an excellent vintage” to “good value mid-range claret.” Château de la Cour d’Argent produces an estimable Bordeaux Supérieur, which is crafted almost exclusively from Merlot. The 2005 vintage was rated by CellarTracker mostly in the mid-80s, while Wine Spectator awarded 88 points. Here are some representative – and relatively recent – comments: “Still holding its own . . . some cherry/plum and nice finish”; “A little light but very nice. Cherry”; and “Full-bodied, with soft tannins and a medium, caressing finish.” Adds Vivino: “. . . a great wine for matching with steak and BBQ.” And hailing from the Pessac-Leognan area of Graves we come to Château Baret, which got ratings in the high 80s from CellarTracker. Comments included: “complex layers of black fruit, earth, tobacco and spice notes”; “thoroughly enjoyable Bordeaux”; and “wish I had more.” The reviewers at Vivino were also impressed (“excellent fruity wine!”; and “Complex and delicious”).

 

Sumac Ridge Pinot Blanc Icewine: 2000 (British Columbia)
Yalumba Museum Muscat: NV (Australia)
Château Briatte Roudes Sauternes: 2002 (France)
Donated by Ame De Paoli; Value for three bottles: $315

Widely and affectionately referred to “stickys,” dessert wines are a delicious way to conclude a fine meal. Here’s an international trio that will delight even the fussiest hedonist. Let’s start in B.C. with the 2000 Sumac Ridge Pinot Blanc Icewine. The writers at CellarTracker praised the palate as “honeyed and quite delicious.” Other online reviews were impossible to find, but the 2001 vintage got a 91 from Anthony Gismondi, who admired its “fresh citrus, buttery, baked pear and mineral flavours.” Australia’s famed Yalumba winery dates from 1849, and their non-vintage Museum Muscat is remarkable. Fortified and oak-aged for many years, this full-throttle throat charmer is like liquefied raisins lifted by hints of chocolate, caramel, rose petal, and orange peel. It earned 92 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which noted: “. . . medium amber with a superb bouquet of honey, ginger, candied apricots, and peach. Ripe, sweet, and hedonistic, it has a very long finish.” Cue the Stilton! And let’s finish in Bordeaux, whose Sauternes are made from botrytis-affected Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The 2002 Château Briatte Roudes earned 89 points from CellarTracker (“medium intense sweet honey and apricot nose . . . a very nice little Sauterne”). Vivino was also impressed: “sweet floral notes on the palate . . . mellow finish.” Bon appétit!

 

Les Forts de Latour: 2007 (France)
Donated by Cook St. Liquor; Value: $331

Now here’s a beauty! Pauillac’s Château Latour is one of the truly legendary estates of Bordeaux – so much so that even their “second wine,” Les Forts de Latour, is a prized bottling that anyone would be lucky to have the pleasure of. Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate scored the 2007 vintage at 90 points with this comment: “The outstanding 2007 reveals a touch of graphite and black currant fruit intermixed with an unmistakable minerality. It is a generous, silky textured, medium- to full-bodied, evolved, elegant and pure offering.” James Suckling in the Wine Spectator praised it thus: “Refined, with layers of polished tannins and a subtle and delicate palate. Medium-bodied, with lovely length and finesse.” CellarTracker also averaged 90 points, with these notes: “Big bouquet. Plums, currants, blackberries, tobacco, cedar”; “on the palate, more currants, crème de cassis, and a background note of green pepper . . . on a moderately long finish.” The reviewers at Vivino were also impressed (“rich and complex fruits, savoury and long” and “It is an elegant, feminine Les Forts . . . perfectly harnessing the finest aspects of the vintage”).

 

Produttori del Barbaresco, Ovello: 2011 (Italy)
Donated by Anonymous; Value for 1.5 litres: $225

Piedmont, in northwest Italy, is the motherland of Nebbiolo, one of the world’s great grape varietals. A fairly detailed description of this unique producer of Barbaresco is featured elsewhere in this programme, so let’s just focus on the particulars of this 2011 magnum. Wine Spectator rated it a 93, commenting thus: “A peppery, spicy style, this displays cherry, eucalyptus, tar and black pepper aromas and flavours. Firmly tannic, yet with a core of concentrated sweet fruit, tobacco and tea accents on the lingering finish.” Vinous came in at 94 points, adding” “Pine, mint, chalk, bright red berries, blood orange and white pepper are some of the signatures in a brilliant, finely-cut Barbaresco that captures the best of both the vintage and this site. Superb . . . don’t miss it!” And CellarTracker rated it a 92 (“Classic, high tannin profile still untamed by age. Medium bodied and lovely all around”). This still needs to cellar and could last for many years to come.