Crush Live Auction

Crush – A Fine Wine Affair
Sunday, October 20, 2019, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A benefit for the Belfry Theatre
at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort

Sneak Preview of the 2019 Live Auction

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

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, this bottle of 1988 is clearly an exciting find at an auction. This can cellar until 2030 – but why wait?

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut: 1988 (France)

Donated by Anonymous; Value: $675

One of the profound delights of the wine world is a high-quality Champagne aged to perfection, and the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne surely qualifies. This beauty is made from 100% Chardonnay that is sourced exclusively from Grand Cru villages. Antonio Galloni of Vinous gave 97 points to this vintage, and observed that Comtes de Champagne “has built a track record of excellence equaled by very few Champagnes.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate also bestowed a 97, along with this effervescent praise: “I am blown away by the 1988 Comtes de Champagne. Still incredibly fresh, the 1988 Comtes flows with intense mineral notes that frame a vibrant core of Chardonnay fruit. The colour, aromatics and flavors are all remarkably youthful, while the crystalline purity of the finish suggests the 1988 will drink well for another two decades, if not longer. This is a rock star wine!” The folks at Vivino were equally impressed, calling it a “perfect example of aged, high-quality Champagne” while delighting in its “insanely long finish” and flavour notes of apricot, lemon, starfruit, orange peel, cinnamon and spices. Wow!

Tignanello: 2013, 2014, 2015 (Italy)

Donated by Ame De Paoli (2013) and Anonymous (2014-’15); Value: $440

Now here’s a fabulous vertical trio! The very first of Italy’s “Super Tuscans,” Tignanello was created in 1971 by the fabled Antinori family, one of Tuscany’s most historic winemaking dynasties. After defying the viticulture rules of Chianti and using the “foreign” varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Tignanello was demoted to mere table wine status – then handily proved its worth by winning major international awards. But despite its legendary reputation, this iconic wine is under-priced compared to many other premium brands such as Sassicaia, and is well worth pursuing. The 2013 wowed the critics, with James Suckling leading the cheering section with 97 points (“this is amazing on the nose . . . the mouthfeel is magic”). Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate went 96 (“this is a harmonious and beautifully integrated wine that reveals black fruit and baking spice”). The 2014 proved to be similarly fine, garnering ratings of 93 to 95. Noted Wine Enthusiast: “It’s loaded with finesse, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, cassis, star anise and white pepper with remarkable precision.” And Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate had very high praise, calling the wine “beautiful and balanced with sweet tannins and a supporting oak texture . . . it shows a tasty, almost savory form of elegance.” And the 2015 vintage received even higher ratings and comments verging on rapturous. In short, don’t overlook these three Italian beauties!

Château Pomeaux: 2000 (France)

Donated by Ross Woodland; Value: $150

If you think that people – and wineries – should be judged by the company they keep, note that Château Pomeaux is a mere mile from Château Pétrus and a quarter-mile from Château Cheval Blanc! Located on the southeastern slope of the Pomerol plateau, this is a notable Bordeaux estate that produces rich and robust wines from exclusively Merlot vines. According to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, this vintage is particularly enticing: “The owner’s push to increase the quality at this estate is admirably revealed in the character-filled 2000. Dense ruby/purple, with a sweet, sensual nose of black fruits intermixed with hints of wood, cedar, and spice, this medium-bodied offering exhibits ripe tannin in its lush, plump finish. It should drink well for 10-12 years.” The Wine Spectator found it to be “a seductive and refined red, with loads of crushed berries, flowers, olives and spices. Full-bodied, with very silky tannins and beautiful harmony.” And according to Le Guide Hachette des Vins, “The bouquet explodes with a sensation of aromas: violets, blackcurrants, vanilla, tobacco, and toasted wood …. In the mouth, this powerful but elegant wine is well-balanced, with full round tannins.”

R. López de Heredia Rioja Viña Tondonia Reserva: 2005 (Spain)

Donated by Ross Woodland; Value: $165

Considered an aristocratic take on old-style Rioja, the 2005 Viña Tondonia Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, with 5% each of Graciano and Mazuelo. Their wine is fermented in original oak vats that are over 140 years old, then matured in oak barrels for at least six years. A versatile food wine, it offers elegance moreso than intensity or power. Leading the critical pack was Decanter, calling this vintage “traditional Rioja at its age-worthy best” while bestowing a rating of 96. Wine expert James Suckling gave out 94 points, calling it “full and very silky and refined . . . a beautiful traditional wine to get to know.” Coming in at 93, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate noted: “This 2005 is nothing short of exceptional. It’s clean and complex, with more freshness. The wine is very spicy and with a palate that feels very balanced, livelier than in the past. It has a long finish where the flavors are clean. Easy to drink and very pleasurable.” This is a 1.5 litre magnum, so get ready for a memorable dinner party!

The Ultimate Whisky Tasting for 8

Donated by: Iain Hooey; Value: $1700

Join Iain Hooey, co-founder of The Victoria Whisky Festival, for an extraordinary evening devoted to the many pleasures of single malt scotch. Iain will come to your home and lead you and seven lucky friends through a tasting of eight different – and extremely rare – whiskies from his private collection. None of these spirits was ever sold in B.C., and some were never even made available to the public. From among the eight unique and/or single cask scotches you will enjoy a rare 30-year-old Old Fettercairn single-barrel limited edition, a Laphroaig never sold in Canada, and an Isle of Arran malt that Jim Murray, renowned author of the Whisky Bible, rated 94 points. Of particular interest is the Port Ellen 1975, a 22-year-old of surpassing appeal to connoisseurs. All glassware, tasting mats, and tasting wheels are provided as part of this rarefied whisky experience, one guaranteed to educate and delight even the most veteran sippers of single malts!

Note: This package includes tastings but not eventual custody of the bottles.

Château Leoville Barton: 1990 (France)
Donated by: Anonymous; Value for two bottles:  $500

Intriguingly, Château Leoville Barton has no château – it makes its wines at the adjoining sister property, Château Langoa Barton. But that hasn’t stopped this “second growth” St.-Julien property from producing one of the go-to wines of Bordeaux – especially for those who prize masculine and traditional wines that age heroically. The 1990 bottling is considered one of the great vintages, and it certainly won over wine maven Jancis Robinson: “Very, very rich and velvety. Meaty and seductive . . . very sweet and drinking beautifully now.” The WineSearcher scribes rated it between 91 and 94, with comments ranging from “sweet, evolved flavours with herbs and layers of cedar” to “lovely wine to enjoy now.” CellarTracker was even more impressed, with ratings in the mid-90s and assessments such as “lovely elegance” and “this is a fully mature and delicious old claret providing wonderful drinking now.” This auction lot is for two of these beauties, so that’s quite the dinner party to look forward to. Is that a garlicky roast lamb I smell?

Barnard Griffin Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: 2009 (Washington State) Donated by: Whitney Laughlin; Value: $60

By combining a leap of faith with a small truckload of borrowed fruit and a rented cellar – and lots of winemaking savvy acquired in Napa – Rob Griffin and wife Deborah Barnard were able to establish Washington State’s Barnard Griffin Winery in 1983. Over the decades they’ve gone from boutique to big time, and won a shelf-load of awards along the way. Their 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a very highly acclaimed vintage, with Wine Enthusiast rating it at 92 points, with these comments: “Drinking quite nicely at the moment, this is a generous, dense wine with a full complement of dark fruits, cacao, smoke and hints of black tea. From the opening aromatics on through a seamless weave of fruit and barrel flavors, this is irresistibly delicious.” CellarTracker gave it 90 points, and lots of praise: “Barnard Griffin is one of my favorite wineries. Even for them, this cab is exceptional . . . with amazing notes of chocolate, and berries, and smoke.” And two of the scribes at Vivino loved the “super deep finish” and the “deep and expressive red fruit balanced with just the right amount of wood and cocoa.” In short, goes down a treat!

Domaine de Chevalier Grand Cru: 2011 (France)

Donated by: Anonymous; Value: $100

Dating from the 18th century, Domaine de Chevalier is a noted Bordeaux property from the Pessac-Léognan appellation and is considered to be extremely good value. The deeply coloured 2011 vintage is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot and is hailed for its richness, harmony, and overall finesse. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate blessed it with a 94, and gobs of praise: “A spectacular effort . . . dense ruby/purple color as well as a big, sweet bouquet of subtle charcoal, graphite, black currants and black cherries. Rich and full-bodied with a multilayered mouthfeel and a long, complex, stunning finish.” The scribes at Vivino also gave it a 94, and had these comments: “Lovely complex bouquet, blackberries. Elegant with integrated oak.” Decanter went 93, adding: “There is some wonderful texture to the fruit . . . with great balance.” James Suckling gave it 92 points, noting that it was “a rich wine for the vintage with mineral, raspberry and lemongrass character.” This beauty is ready to be uncorked but can cellar for a decade or more.

Tinhorn Creek Merlot: 1995-2000 (Okanagan)

Donated by Elizabeth Peddie; Value for seven bottles: $280

Founded in 1993 by two couples, Tinhorn Creek began as a few acres of vines supplemented by a pair of wine-filled barrels sloshing around in the basement. It was tucked into the hillside near to a former gold mining creek, and some residual luck at finding gold passed on to the new owners: their 1998 Merlot won “red wine of the year” at the inaugural Canadian Wine Awards in 2001. That prestigious vintage is right in the middle of a unique six-bottle vertical of Tinhorn Creek Merlot, running from 1995-2000 (with a bonus bottle of the 2000 included for good measure).  Not surprisingly, reviewers’ comments on these wines are scarce. But Anthony Gismondi rated these particular Merlots from 86 to 90 points, and had this comment for the 2000: “Cherry jam and spicy vanilla with a touch of minty coconut (or warm day on the beach) on the nose. Round and supple on entry with good intensity of flavours.”  Most famously associated with co-founder Sandra Oldfield, Tinhorn Creek continues to reign atop Oliver’s famed “Golden Mile.” This is a rare chance to experience the early glories of one of B.C.’s most acclaimed wineries.

Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi Barolo: 1998 (Italy)

Donated by Anonymous; Value: $100

We’ve got a bit of an Italian theme with this year’s Crush, and we’re fortunate to include the Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi Barolo, one of the great wines of Italy’s Piedmont region. Barolo is a powerful, dry red wine made entirely from Nebbiolo, a grape that only thrives in Piedmont. Tannic and long-lived, the aromatic and often majestic Barolo has been called “the king of wines and the wine of kings.” Marchesi di Barolo is a historic producer in the Barolo appellation, and their esteemed “Cannubi” bottling comes from a long, sloping hill of the same name in the heart of the Barolo area. The 1998 vintage impressed the critics, with CellarTracker rating it a 93 (“incredibly svelte nose, violets, black currants, very intense. Well-delineated fruits in the mouth – tar, violets, rose petal – absolutely singing at this juncture, and clearly with years left on this superb wine”). Vivino, too, was captured: “Dynamite Barolo. Fruit-filled nose, face-punch of flavour and that classic Barolo bricky colour. Absolutely outstanding.”

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru: N/V (France); Weingut Max Ferd. Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling: 2017 (Germany; Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais: 2017 (France)

Donated by Vessel Liquor Store; Value for 3 magnums: $410

Magnum force, indeed! Here’s an impressive “power trio” of 1.5-litre bottles that are ready to party. Let’s start things off with some bubbly courtesy of Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, whose non-vintage Blanc de Blancs hails from the Premier Cru village of Cuis. The CellarTracker ratings averaged 90, while Vivino went 91, along with these flattering words: “A stellar, no-holds-barred BdB that flaunted its outgoing personality from the get-go. Very rounded in the mouth yet fresh, vibrant and lively.” Next up is some delicious Riesling in the form of the Weingut Max Ferd. Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese. A mouthful in more ways than one, this is considered a classic Riesling from the Mosel region. The folks at Vivino gave it 91 points and gushed about its delights: “Ripe honey and elegant pineapple on the nose. On the palate the taste of intense mineral notes with a lean structure and an off-dry finish on high acidity. Such a classic regional flavour.” And let’s finish with a Beaujolais by Lapierre Morgon. Although the Gamay-derived wines of Beaujolais are mostly regarded as lighter-bodied and merely quaffable, the family-run Morgon domaine produces serious wines that are among the most famous in all Beaujolais. James Suckling gave the 2017 vintage 95 points, noting that “The palate carries a lithe, juicy and very energetic array of super expressive fruit and a hint of savoury complexity.” Added WineAlign: “Impeccable!”

Château d’Yquem: 1999 (France)

Donated by Anonymous; Value for 375 ml bottle: $250

Without question the most fabled sweet wine in the world is the Sauternes that comes from Château d’Yquem in Bordeaux. Made from a blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc and produced on a site that is particularly prone to the delicious desiccation caused by “noble rot,” the d’Yquem combination of complexity, concentration and sweetness has long-since confirmed their status as the benchmark by which all other dessert wines are judged. They produce only 500 bottles per acre, and that intense and luscious wine can often last for 100 years or more. The 1999 vintage was rated a 94 by Wine Spectator (“Superbly focused and beautiful on the nose, with sugared lemons, tropical fruit and maple syrup character. Full-bodied and thick, yet very fine, it was extremely sweet and long.”) Reviews at CellarTracker ranged from 91-95 (“Immediately showed its stunningly beautiful charms. Enchanting notes of crème brûlée, candied quince slices, apricots, orange peel and acacia honey. Delicious, sweet and enticing with a nice acidity to match it all . . . simply mesmerizing.”) And Vivino, too, was quite ecstatic (“When you take a sip it’s heaven. Pure heaven! And it’s to die for with Stilton. What a night!”) This is a half-bottle (375 ml) so bid heartily, shameless hedonists!

North Port-Brechin Single Malt: 1970 (Scotland)  

Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value: $650

Crush first auctioned single malt scotch in 2017, and this year we have some really spectacular bottles to beguile the true malt maniac. Of notable interest is a rare North Port-Brechin single malt that hails from the eastern coast of Scotland (the distillery was built, illegally, in 1820, and shuttered in 1983). The whisky in question was distilled in 1970 and bottled 20 years later by Gordon & MacPhail as part of their much-esteemed Connoisseurs Choice range. Tasting notes are hard to come by, but one review I found liked the nose of fresh red apple, toffee, sea salt, fennel and lemon citrus, and savoured the handsome palate of leather, apple, grape skins, lemon citrus, allspice and tobacco, with almonds, soft vanilla cream and cocoa on the finish. The final comments are worth noting: “A really nice delicate dram . . . some nice complexity that punches a bit above its proof and pairs a great mix of fruity, nutty, oaky and sweet notes together very well.”

Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve Single Malt: 1970s (Scotland)

Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value: $725

Royal Lochnagar is a small Scottish distillery, but one with a unique connection to the British monarchy. Sited in the highlands, about one mile from fabled Balmoral Castle, Lochnagar often played host to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The monarch, impressed by their whisky, allowed them to add “Royal” to their name (the first distillery to be so honoured). One of Royal Lochnagar’s most cherished bottlings is the Selected Reserve, which commemorates those historic visits. The Selected Reserve was phased out just over a decade ago, so this auction item, which was bottled in the 1990s, is precious indeed. The SR is described as nutty, fruity, creamy in the mouth and very rich – its flavours of dried fruits remind most sippers of Christmas cake. And here are three customer comments pulled off the Whisky Exchange. “Beautifully smooth, tingles the tongue . . . the best whisky I have ever had the pleasure to drink.”  “This is the ultimate in scotches. Just the right amount of oakiness, followed by caramel and leather. Absolutely superb.” And my favourite: “It’s a good thing I’m not wealthy because I’d have it for breakfast.”

Dallas Dhu Single Malt Signatory Vintage: 1974 (Scotland)  

Donated by Peter & Helen Malcolm; Value: $950

The Dallas Dhu distillery opened in 1899 and closed in 1983 (it’s now a much-visited museum). Their whiskies are hard to track, especially this 1974 Signatory Vintage, which was aged for 20 years in sherry casks. There is a 92-point rating on whiskybase.com (but no tasting notes). Luckily, a writer from the Toronto Whisky Society got hold of a bottle of the 1974 Signatory and posted a review. He identified strawberry, pear, cotton candy, cranberry, orange, basil, and mango-pineapple on the nose (“Eventually it calms down to a fruit medley with some spice”). The tastes included butterscotch, cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberry, peach, peanut butter and anise (“Really rich and creamy, yet still fruity and spicy taste. And quite complex too”). And for the finish he listed earth, peanut, almond, floral, bubblegum, pepper, and cumin (“Nutty, fruity and spicy”). And here are his final impressions: “This is a very unique, interesting whisky . . . well put together.” This is cask strength (meaning it’s bottled directly from the barrel, at 57%). And note that this is a true rarity, being bottle #216 out of only 360. Wow!

Marchesi Antinori Solaia: 2007 (Italy)

Donated by Anonymous; Value: $400

Solaia means “sunny one” in Italian, and is the name for the 10-hectare vineyard that is the source for this signature Super Tuscan. The Marchesi Antinori family goes back seven centuries as winemakers, but made recent history in 1971 when they launched their Tignanello blend, followed by Solaia in 1978. Initially controversial because these wines had “international” aspirations and used some non-Italian varietals, their stunningly rich flavours and charismatic opulence could not be ignored. The current Solaia wines are a lush blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc; they have won many awards, and almost invariably score in the mid- to high 90s. The 2007 was a killer vintage, with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate bestowing 97 points and this rave: “Saturates the palate with a heady array of super-ripe black cherries, plums, cassis, mocha and sweet French oak. Never heavy, rather it impresses for its extraordinary finesse and balance.” James Suckling also handed out a 97, while calling it “a subtle and racy wine . . . balanced, with vibrant fruit and bright acidity and chocolate and spices.”

Marchesi Antinori Solaia: 2015 (Italy)

Donated by Anonymous; Value: $400

For some general background on this wonderful Super Tuscan, please see the earlier Solaia write-up. As for this dazzling 2015 vintage, note that it got an average of 99 points from five major critics. According to James Suckling, “The nose to this Solaia is truly phenomenal with currants, blackberries, roses and violets. So perfumed. Full-bodied and everything is in check and harmony with polished tannins that last for minutes. Purity and focus. Is it the greatest Solaia ever?” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate wrote: “The very name Solaia evokes the concept of sunshine . . . and with the 2015 vintage, Solaia is liquid sunshine not just in name but also in fact. The bouquet is immediately soft and sensual with dark fruit, spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel shows intensity and power.” And Wine Enthusiast was indeed enthusiastic: “Full-bodied and elegant, this gorgeous red offers aromas of ripe dark-skinned berry, fragrant blue flower, spice, menthol and a whiff of new leather. It’s structured and loaded with finesse, delivering cassis, ripe Marasca cherry, licorice and tobacco set against a firm backbone of smooth, velvety tannins.”

Castello di Querceto Cento Chianti Classico: 1995 (Italy)

Donated by Shellie & Mike Gudgeon, Il Terrazzo; Value for 1.5 litres: $200

Chianti is one of the oldest and most famous brand names in the wine world, and is found in the heart of Tuscany, which contains some estates that have been producing wines for close to a thousand years. Based on the Sangiovese grape, Chianti is a characterful, fruit-driven wine whose acidity and tannic backbone makes it an ideal companion with food. The Castello di Querceto is a 190-acre estate and is considered one of the leading producers of Chianti Classico (a premium Chianti sub-region). Querceto’s Cento Chianti Classico is a prized bottling: the Wine Spectator gave this 1995 vintage 87 points, and the Wine-Searcher handed out an aggregated critics score of 88.  Unfortunately there are no tasting notes available online. That said, it’s reasonable to predict firm tannins and medium-high acidity with attractive floral aromas and bright flavours of cherry and plum. This is a 1.5-litre magnum, so cook lots of pasta and invite some lucky guests over!

Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: 2016 (California); The Prisoner: 2016 (California)

Caymus donated by Anonymous; Value: $105

Prisoner donated by Anonymous; Value: $60

Every cellar needs some lush California reds in the racks, and here are two from Napa Valley that fill the bill nicely. Founded in 1972, Caymus Vineyards is a Cabernet Sauvignon specialist whose wines are celebrated for their rich, ripe fruit, velvety tannins, and depth of flavour. The 2016 vintage has certainly impressed the critics, with the 94-point International Wine Review praising it for its “wonderful opulent mouthfeel combined with flavours of crème de cassis, mocha, tar, graphite and blackberry jam.” And Wine Spectator loved the “waves of plum and boysenberry compote flavours gliding through, liberally laced with sweet singed vanilla bean and warm anise notes.” The second bottle, The Prisoner, is a celebrated red blend that vividly combines Zinfandel with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Syrah. Wilfred Wong of Wine.com rated the 2016 as a 91, stating that it was “perfect for New World wine lovers.” And CellarTracker agreed, adding that it appreciated the “interesting and unusual mix of grapes and . . . lots of rich, dark cherry fruit on the palate. A very Californian crowd pleaser.”

Deregard-Massing Champagne Blanc de Blancs: N/V (France); Domaine Vacheron Le Rose: 2017 (France) – Loire, France; Domaine Daniel Dampt et Fils Fourchaume: 2010 (France); Marcel Lapierre Morgon: 2014 (France); Château Magdelaine: 2002 (France); Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Domaine du Caillou Les Quartz: 2009 (France)

Donated by Ernest Sargent; Value for 6 bottles: $500

Now here’s an impressive mini-tour of France’s greatest wine regions, with wines that would be perfect for an elaborate dinner party featuring your favourite Gallic recipes. Let’s start in Champagne with the Grand Cru blanc de blancs from Louis Massing, which got 89 points from CellarTracker (“Really liked this one. Lemon, apple and biscuit”). In the Loire Valley, Domaine Vacheron is one of the elite properties in the Sancerre district and their Le Rose is a very respected rosé made from Pinot Noir (called “Outstanding!!” by WineBerserker). The Domaine Daniel Dampt is an impressive Premier Cru Chablis – a.k.a. white Burgundy – that delivers lots of zesty Chardonnay joy. Wrote CellarTracker of the 2010: “Tasty creamy lime, mixed with some apple . . . gorgeous.” Please look elsewhere in this catalogue for information on Marcel Lapierre Morgon, while noting that this 2014 vintage received 91 points from CellarTracker. Considered an important winery in the St. Émilion region of Bordeaux, Château Magdelaine is a stylish and elegant Grand Cru, with the 2002 vintage getting a rating of 92 from Wine Spectator. And several critics at CellarTracker loved this Clos du Cailou Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Their raves ranged from “exuberant sweetness and aromatic intensity” to “the bouquet was dark, rich, luxurious and verging on hedonism.” Sounds like a love poem!

Inniskillin Vidal Icewine: 2004 (Okanagan Valley) (375 ml); Chateau de Rayne Vigneau: 1997 (France) (750 ml); Yalumba Museum Muscat: N/V (Australia) (375 ml)

Donated by Ame De Paoli and Anonymous; Value for 3 bottles: $250

And here is a compelling trio of dessert wines warbling a siren song of sweet seduction. The Okanagan produces world class icewines, and Inniskillin has done remarkable things with Vidal, a less common varietal that offers lush viscosity and crisp, flavour-enhancing acidity. The 2004 vintage got a rating of 92 from CellarTracker (“Wonderful nose. Apricot and serious apple taste. The best descriptive word . . . lip-smacking delicious”). Bordeaux’s Sauternes region is renowned for its dessert wines and Chateau de Rayne Vigneau, a Premier Grand Cru Classé, is notable indeed. CellarTracker certainly took note of the 1997 vintage, awarding it 95 points (“OMG can you say ‘honey’? Not to mention apricot and peach marmalade. Wow, this is the real deal for Sauternes, sweet yet light as a feather”). And Australia’s famed Yalumba winery produces a remarkable non-vintage Museum Muscat. Fortified and oak-aged for many years, this full-throttle throat charmer earned 92 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Medium amber with a superb bouquet of honey, ginger, candied apricots, and peach. Ripe, sweet, and hedonistic, it has a very long finish.” Unwrap the Stilton!

Vignettes by Robert Moyes

Crush 2019 Auction Catalogue