Crush Online – A Fine Wine Auction

Presented by

Fine Wine Online Auction
Monday November 30 – Sunday December 6, 2020
A benefit for the Belfry Theatre

The curated Collectors Auction lots features a great selection of fine wine generously donated from the private collections of individuals and local restaurants. Whether you are an experienced oenophile or simply a lover of good wine, you will find a wonderful range of spectacular wines. Our Local Auction lots offers wine BC gift baskets and packages, dining, travel, and other unique experiences in every price bracket.

Sneak Peak of the 2020 Online Auction

Osoyoos Larose Grand Vin, 2002-2007 (B.C.) Donated by Ernest Sargent; Value: $365

The “Grand Vin” of Osoyoos Larose is grand indeed, representing the combination of Bordeaux winemaking finesse with gorgeous Okanagan fruit (this six-bottle vertical array covers the early period when Bordeaux-trained winemaker Pascal Madevon was in charge of the winery). Osoyoos Larose is one of the Okanagan’s flagship wineries, and their eminently collectable Grand Vin is cherished for its richness and complexity. This auction lot features a vertical array from 2002 to 2007, and these well-aged beauties all reveal 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 a few more years . . . if you can wait that long!

Comte de Lauvia Armagnac: 1934 (France)
Donated by: Paddy Stewart; Value for one bottle:  $1320

Many 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.”

Five Chardonnays by CheckMate Artisanal Winery, 2015 (B.C.); Donated by Turnham Woodland Barristers & Solicitors Value: $455

CheckMate Artisanal Winery is the remarkable brainchild of proprietor Anthony von Mandl, patriarch of one of the Okanagan’s pioneering winery families. Focused on producing ultra-premium wines that range from $85 to $125 per bottle, this Oliver-based winery is particularly notable for its elegant, Burgundian-style Chardonnays, of which it produces seven different bottlings. This auction lot features five from the 2015 vintage in a lovely presentation box. In keeping with the name CheckMate, all the wines are chess references: Capture, Queen’s Taken, Queen’s Advantage, Knight’s Challenge, and Attack. We were able to get tasting notes on two of these exceptional wines, courtesy of sommelier Matt Steeves. Of Capture, which earned 94 points, he wrote: “ . . . chilled pineapple mousse with whipped cream, stone fruit, baked almond croissants, baking spices, and fresh vanilla bean. The palate highlights the creamy texture, with fleshy stone fruit, spice, and mouthwatering minerality on the long finish.” Matt gave 96 points to Attack, with praise to match: “A textbook example of textured, mineral-focused Chardonnay with an abundance of orchard fruit and spice, all presented in an elegant style with exquisite balance.” Adds B.C. wine guru John Schreiner: “These are world-class wines that deliver what consumers should expect from wines in that price range.”

Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 (California); Donated by Anonymous; Value: $232

Founded nearly a half-century ago, Caymus Vineyards is bedrock Napa royalty. They produce two Cabernet Sauvignons, and this auction features their iconic Special Selection bottling, which is known for its luxuriant complexity, supple density, and rich and opulent texture. Very much the flagship product of Caymus, it is the only wine to twice be named Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year. The 2013 vintage was certainly popular with the critics. As James Suckling noted: “The full-throttle character is here as expected with lots of ripe fruit and toasted oak.” Wilfred Wong of characterized it as “ultra-rich and satisfying” before complimenting it for being “layered and saturated . . . the finish smooth and lasting.” Vivino was another big fan: “Dark dense red with black fruit and currant aromas adding a gentle touch of spice. On the palate, layered flavours of plum, blackberry and sweet raspberry together with cacao, sugar cane and supple leather.” And Wine Spectator bestowed 95 points and these flattering words: “Zeroes in on a rich, hedonistic core of wild berry, blackberry, plum and currant, with a graceful, elegant mouthfeel and supple, caressing tannins leading to a long, powerful and refined aftertaste that keeps reverberating.”

A Grand Tour of Europe  [3 x 1.5 L] Donated by Vessel Liquor; Value: $350

Three magnums from three of Europe’s greatest wine countries . . . let’s start the tour! It’s always fun to begin with champagne, and here’s a posh pour indeed: 1.5 L of H. Billiot Fils, which hails from the Grand Cru site of Ambonnay in France’s Montagne de Reims region. On offer is a non-vintage bottling, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, that has earned lots of critical praise. The scribes at CellarTracker rated it from 92-94, with comments ranging from “. . . obvious richness and power, it’s drinking really well and very enjoyable” to “excellent nutty-yeasty chalky minerality, nice lemon pith balance with fine bead.” And Anthony Gismondi was a fan: “This creamy, ample wine opens with apricot biscuit, dough and toasted cereals, with red fruits . . . a generous wine best enjoyed with sizable scallops.” And now were off to Galicia in northwestern Spain, where the Rias Baixas wine region produces some of that country’s finest whites. The Terras Gauda O Rosal 2017, which is 70% Albarino complemented by Caino Blanco and Loureira, offers great aromatics and complexity as well as a long finish. James Suckling rated this at 91 points (“A powerful Rias Baixas, with ripe-pear character that has enough acidity to hold this bold wine right on track. Long, crisp, lemony finish.”). The Wine Spectator went 90, and said this: “Crisp and lively. Bright citrusy acidity drives green apple, quince and lime flavours in this fresh white, while a briny note adds interest.” And Vivino was equally enthralled: “The aromas are in your face yet elegant with lots of citrus including orange and peel with herbal notes such as mint and bay. The palate is a lovely balance of fruit, acidity, mineral and sweetness that gives this wine a certain richness.” And we finish our tasty mini-tour in southern Italy’s Puglia region with the 2009 vintage of the Il Falcone Reserva, a yummy blend of Nero di Troia and Montepulciano. Natalie MacLean rated this robust beauty at 91 points, writing: “Savoury, smoky and brooding with fleshy black fruit aromas and flavours. Ultra-delicious and smooth in texture.” And a writer for gave it a 93, praising the bouquet’s brambly wild side and the silky texture before adding, “This may be the best vintage of Il Falcone Riserva that I have come across.” The Falcone would be fantastic with lamb or other hearty meat dishes. And these three wines represent a safe – and delightful – way to experience Europe during COVID.

Hester Creek Trio (B.C.) [1.5 L, and 2 750ml]; Donated by Hester Creek Winery; Value: $150

Established over 50 years ago, Hester Creek is one of the true pioneers of the Okanagan’s Golden Mile Bench. Their most notable bottling is their Bordeaux blend, auspiciously named The Judge. (B.C. wine maven John Schreiner, a long-time fan, included it in his recent book Icon, designed to highlight B.C.’s most cellar-worthy wines.) The 2015 vintage did very well with the critics, and we’re delighted to be auctioning a magnum bottle. Natalie MacLean rated it a 95, calling it a blockbuster, then added: “This is stunning Bordeaux elegance, BC power. Pair it with a rare steak or lamb.” Anthony Gismondi gave it 91 points, and praised it thus: “The wine is fully ripe and the texture long, soft and persistent.” Also included in this auction is the 2019 Trebbiano, which got a 91 rating from one of Natalie MacLean’s writers (“dry and delicate on the palate with flavours of honeyed-pear, fresh apricot, grapefruit, lavender, subtle fine herbs, finishing long and zesty”). And the trio concludes with the 2016 Block 2 Merlot, which WineAlign’s Sharon McLean awarded 90 points and this praise: “Rich and round with the classic soft, velvet texture of Merlot . . . baked plums, black fruit, dark chocolate and herbs on the palate.”

A Tasty Napa Trio; Caymus and Prisoner donated by David & Caroline Barry; Duckhorn donated by Whitney Laughlin; Value: $260

Every cellar needs some lush California reds in the racks, and here are three 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 International Wine Review bestowing 94 points while 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 rated the 2016 as a 91, stating that it was “perfect for New World wine lovers.” And one of the scribes from CellarTracker agreed, adding that he appreciated the “interesting and unusual mix of grapes and . . . lots of rich, dark cherry fruit on the palate. A very Californian crowd pleaser.” The 2013 Duckhorn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon delighted Wine & Spirits, which rated it a 95 and loved it for being “vibrant and mouthwatering.” Wilfred Wong calls this one of his go-to wines, adding that it was “so rich, yet elegant and long-lasting on the palate.”

Château de Beaucastel, 2015-2017 (France) Donated by Cook St. Liquor (2015, 2017) & Anonymous (2016); Value: $340

Châteauneuf du Pape is one of France’s most richly flavoured wines, and a particularly celebrated producer 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 this vertical trio has much to offer Beaucastel’s ardent fans. The 2015 vintage sure impressed the critics, with almost everyone posting 95- to 97-point ratings. James Suckling said it was an “impressive, powerful wine.” Wine Spectator proclaimed it “a stunner from the get-go, with waves of thoroughly seductive boysenberry, plum, blueberry and raspberry reduction forming the core.” And Jeb Dunnuck called it “A beauty that offers more depth and richness than just about every other wine in the vintage.” Now let’s jump to 2016, when Beaucastel really outdid itself. James Suckling went 99 points, and gushed: “This is a stunning Beaucastel. A classic! This has impeccable balance, super-silky tannins and an extraordinarily long finish.” Not to be out-blurbed, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate raved: “It’s full-bodied, creamy, lush and rich, with layers of raspberry fruit, garrigue and spice that unfold across a seamless palate.” And Vinous was clearly delighted by the “sweet black raspberry, cherry compote, licorice and lavender pastille flavours that display superb depth.” And moving onwards to the 2017 vintage, Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Decanter and Wine Spectator all gave it 95 points. Herewith a medley of their delighted praise: “Another sunny, beautifully Provençal effort that has a huge nose of garrigue, leather, truffle and peppery spice.” “Multidimensional, layered and long, this is another terrific vintage for Beaucastel’s main cuvée.” “A full-bodied but mightily fresh and lively palate. A very tannic year has produced a seriously structured Beaucastel for the long term.” “Solidly built, vibrant and energetic from start to finish, this carries copious fruit easily through the lengthy finish. Best from 2020 through 2040.” For Beaucastel lovers, this is indubitably a must-have trio!

Tour de France “six pack”; Donated by Ernest Sargent; Value: $730

Every Crush there seems to be one remarkable “party pack” of French wines, and this year’s sextet is particularly notable. The fun starts with the 2015 Tissot-Maire Crémant du Jura Millésimé, a charming sparkler that is predominantly Chardonnay and exactingly made in the traditional method. Also interesting is the 2014 Jérôme Quiot Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc Les Combes d’Arnevel, which received 91 points from CellarTracker (“Beautiful with stone fruit, minerality, beeswax and honey”). We make a very smooth transition to red wine with the 2009 Jean Foillard Morgon “Côté du Py” Cru Beaujolais. Jean Foillard is very much a traditionalist and his Morgons are structured and complex and notable for their lushness – superb examples of what you can do with the Gamay grape. Now here’s a real beauty! 2005 Domaine Barroche “Pure” Châteauneuf du Pape received 100 points and astonishing praise from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Possessing about as much kirsch liqueur, blackberry, licorice, bouquet garni and spice as you could pack into a wine, this flamboyant, voluptuous and sexy beauty . . . has awesome purity and a blockbuster finish.” And now let’s head to Bordeaux, starting with the 2004 Château Pontet-Canet from the Pauillac region. This intense and powerful wine received ratings from 91 to 93 points. Wine Spectator praised its “beautiful aromas of crushed berries and currants” while reveling in its refinement and balance.  Jeb Dunnuck called it, “Very classic, balanced, medium to full-bodied [with] textbook notes of blackcurrants, cedar wood, dried tobacco, and a hint of graphite.” An equally impressive Bordeaux, this one from Pessac-Léognan, the 2016 Domaine de Chevalier earned scores in the high to mid 90s. James Suckling admired its “very sleek and powerful array of ripe dark fruit” while Jeb Dunnuck praised it for being “full-bodied, deep, concentrated yet incredibly elegant and seamless on the palate.” And Wine Spectator called it “fresh and racy.” This last one needs to cellar. As for the rest: Party on!

One Faith Grand Vin & Certitude (B.C.) [750ml & 3-litre] Donated by Scott Cummings and One Faith Vineyards; Value: $365

Still flying a bit below the radar, One Faith is a laser-focused and vaultingly ambitious winery located in Oliver’s Black Sage Bench. The winery was started by Hong Kong émigré Bill Lui a decade ago, with hopes of creating the Okanagan equivalent of a “first growth” to rival the great wines of Bordeaux. This auction lot includes a bottle of their Grand Vin (B.C.’s most expensive wine) and a 3-litre bottle of Certitude, the winery’s “second wine.” The early vintages – including these from 2013 – were overseen by revered Napa winery consultant Anne Vawter, who favoured a bold, full-flavoured and elegant style. There were only 250 cases made of the Grand Vin, a classic Bordeaux blend that was aged in brand new French oak for three years. Celebrated wine writer John Schreiner gave it 95 points, with these notes: “Aromas of black cherry and vanilla bound from the glass as a prelude to the medley of sweet fruit on the palate: flavours of blueberry, black cherry and black currant. The long ripe tannins polish the wine’s long, elegant finish.” Added Vivino: “The colour is a beautiful ruby, dark. Cassis drives the nose along with other ripe red fruit. Complex flavours of ripe plum, clove and coffee make up the palate.” Certitude, also a Bordeaux blend, similarly received lots of praise, especially from CellarTracker: “Clean nose of black fruit, vanilla and floral. Blackberry, violet, dark chocolate on palate. Great wine. Very big but lots going on.” These are rare and special wines . . . so get out your wallet!

Burrowing Owl Syrah, 2017 (B.C.) [3-litre + 750ml] 3-litre donated by Burrowing Owl Vineyards; 750ml donated by Cook St. Liquor; Value: $410

One of the Okanagan’s most celebrated wineries, Burrowing Owl has always been known for its big, bold, fruit-driven reds and their Syrah is no exception. Canadian wine maven Natalie MacLean bestowed a rating of 92 on the 2017 vintage and had this to say: “Burrowing Owl’s Syrah is rich, smooth and intense with dark cherry, blueberry, cake spice and smoky vanilla flavours on the palate. Beautifully balanced with structured tannins.” The scribes at Vivino were similarly impressed, calling this vintage “absolutely exceptional . . . a completely wonderful Syrah.” Described as “meaty” by several critics, this wine has also been widely hailed as a crowd-pleaser for its silky smoothness, full-bodied texture, and luxuriantly long finish. Although you could drink this tomorrow, it would be an age-worthy addition to any cellar and would be a joy to uncork five years from now. This auction lot consists of a 3-litre double magnum plus an additional 750ml bottle (so you can “test drive” the Syrah before committing to the big bottle). Decidedly food friendly, it will pair beautifully with everything from braised lamb shanks to peppercorn-crusted ahi tuna just off the grill. Talk about a dinner party to remember!

Château Meyney (four bottles), 1990 (France) Donated by Anonymous; Value: $330

One of the classic “cru bourgeois” estates from the St. Estephe region of Bordeaux, Château Meyney dates back to about 1660 when monks planted the first vines. Meyney’s “modern” era began a century ago, and the estate is held in high regard by wine guru Hugh Johnson (who was certainly impressed with the 1990 vintage). One of the writers at Vivino had this to say: “Mmmmm. Saturating, complex palate that takes you for a deep ride. Mature plum/rhubarb fruit. Excellent acidity. Long finish of mint leaf and smoke . . . beautifully representative.” Robert Parker called this “a fine effort from a perennial overachiever” and particularly liked its “fine nose of black fruits, herbs, and oak, ripe, generous, tannin-dominated flavours, [and] good concentration.” Wine Spectator gave it 89 points and had this to say: “A bit rustic, but impressive. Dark garnet colour. Lots of currant, prune and cherry on the nose. Full-bodied, with tobacco, cherry and tar character and big velvety tannins.” Recent tastings by the scribes at CellarTracker resulted in ratings of 91 and 93 and this praise: “Still in perfect condition, with sweet, juicy fruit . . . and very nice tertiary notes.” And also: “This remains an extraordinary cru bourgeois! Perfectly mature with totally integrated tannins.”

Dallas Dhu; Donated by Peter Malcolm; Value $650

Derived from the Gaelic words “black water valley”, Dallas Dhu is yet another distillery that closed due to the “whisky loch” where far too much product was produced and drove profits into the ground. The last bourbon cask was filled in March 1983. The stocks of this great whisky are becoming even more rare as the distillery is now a whisky museum.  You can expect notes of fruit – maybe pineapple or kiwi, floral potpourri on the nose.  The taste will have some spice along with brittle toffee notes and will finish clean and dry. This 1978 bottling is a keeper and considered an old-school whisky. 

Teaninich; Donated by Peter Malcolm; Value $900

Teaninich (Ten in nick) is a Highland distillery. This bottling is very rare and sought after by collectors. Founded in 1817, it fell victim to the economic collapse in the U.K. in the early 1980s and closed down in 1983. It has since re-opened and the owners, Diageo, are planning a major expansion. This great whisky is from its earlier days and is reminiscent of their malt-forward flavour profile – almost leathery with hints of smoke interplaying. With an ABV of nearly 65 %/vol. tempering the whisky with room temperature water will provide another series of delights with some stone fruit entering the fray.

Il Bruciato, 2017 (Italy) [750ml & 1.5 L] Donated by Scott Cumming & Anonymous; Value for 2 bottles: $130

Sited a bit southwest of Florence, the Guado al Tasso Estate is one of the holdings of Antinori, one of the first families of Italian winemaking. It is famous for the Il Bruciato blended red, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which is much prized for its intense ruby colour and excellent concentration. The auction lot is from the 2017 vintage and consists of an appealing duo: a 750ml bottle and a magnum. James Suckling gave the 2017 a rating of 93 points and had this to say: “There’s a very fresh array here of thyme, newly picked blackcurrants, iodine, crushed stones and sea salt. The exuberant fruit is matched nicely to fine and elegant tannins.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate praised its “soft and velvety texture” before describing the “noticeable ripeness with black cherry, prune and raisin.” Natalie MacLean rated it a 91, saying “Fresh blackberry, black currant, dried wild herbs finishing flinty and briny on the palate.” And Vivino was also a fan, describing it as “well-balanced . . . bold and structured . . . elegant, layered and concentrated.” There is a bit of cellaring potential here, but it will be drinking well by 2021. Try it with beef, lamb, or veal.

Tignanello, 2015 & 2016 (Italy) Donated by Anonymous (2); Value for 2 bottles: $310

Now here’s a dynamic duo! 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 ultra-premium brands such as Sassicaia, and is well worth pursuing. The 2015 vintage received universally high ratings and comments verging on rapturous. James Suckling praised its “incredible depth” then said it was “like looking over the edge of a skyscraper.” Wine Spectator wrote: “Dense and intensely flavoured, with violet, black currant, graphite, wild herb and spice aromas and flavours, this is concentrated and solidly built, yet also harmonious, vibrant and pure.” Added Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “This vintage is immediately accessible, generous and opulent.” The 2016 vintage was even better received, with ratings from 96-99. Wine Spectator was seemingly in love: “A big, lush style, this red delivers pure aromas and flavours of black currant, cherry, violet, flint, tobacco and baking spices . . . lovely sweet, ripe finish.” And the Wine Advocate called it “a stunning beauty” before adding that it was “at the top of the list of some of the best Tignanello ever made.” Wow!

A Garzón Trio from Uruguay; Donated by Walt & Karen Madro and by Cook St. Liquor; Value for 3 bottles: $170

Recently hailed by Wine Enthusiast as “new world winery of the year,” Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón produces rich, impressive wines. Their flagship wine, Balasto, is a suavely spicy blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Marselan. James Suckling gave it 94 points, while Decanter praised its “very refined style with bounteous hints of herbs and tobacco . . . and long, salty finish.” One of the scribes at CellarTracker called this his favourite new discovery of the year and gave it 96 points (“Wonderful, almost rolling tannin structure, impeccable fruit, slight salt on the flourish. Delicious.”) The second bottle is 100% Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache that originated in France’s Languedoc region. Anthony Gismondi was clearly impressed with this 2015 reserva, commenting thus: “Rustically framed, but elegantly presented, this is an ideal wine to serve up with fire-grilled beef.” Vivino also liked it: “Bursting with blackberry, oak, chocolate and cherry, perfect with game dishes.” And completing the trio is the 2018 Cabernet Franc/Tannat blend, which impressed two writers at WineAlign, both of whom gave it 89 points and these comments: “Fleshy and concentrated with tannins that are ripe enough for immediate consumption” and “slightly reserved but complex and very well balanced.”

Wine Vignettes by Robert Moyes

Whisky Vignettes by Iain Hooey

The Belfry Theatre
All proceeds benefit Victoria’s leading professional theatre company and its beautiful heritage venue in the heart of Fernwood.

Donations of wine, as well as wine-related travel or unique local experiences for the auctions are gratefully accepted. CRA tax receipts and/or business receipts available.

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