Drink.  Learn.  Laugh.  Repeat.

Welcome Back!Sign in here:

Not Registered?Become one of our thirsty clan 321,207 strong:

Register Today!
Deborah Podurgiel

Deborah Podurgiel Certified Sommelier

Noble One Botrytis

De Bortoli Wines - Yarra Valley Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2013

Riverina, New South Wale, Australia
2925 days ago

Deborah scored this wine: 97/100

De Bortoli, Noble One from the Riverina area in New South Wales is dessert in a wine glass. I am always amazed about how the Botrytis Cineria fungus can have such a wonderful effect on the Semillon grape and The Noble One exhibits this in its light golden, bright colour, unctuous complexity of apricot, honey, honeycomb, citrus, marmalade, smoke, flint and vanilla on the palate. It rests on the palate and fills the mouth with perfect sweetness which becomes tidal with mouth-watering acidity. This was a perfect end to the Australia's First Families of Wine (AFFW) seminar!

River Stone Estate Winery Malbec Rosé 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada
1663 days ago

Deborah scored this wine: 97/100

Unfortunately, the 2017 vintage of River Stone's Estate Winery Malbec Rosé is sold out at the winery. But this one is worth a beg, borrow or steal from a friend who might have one or two in their cellar. This is simply a fantastic, dry rosé, weighty and mouth filling on the palate with tight-rope balanced fruit to acidity. On the nose there is crushed raspberries, fresh rhubarb, fragrant rose petals and savoury herbs with more of the same on the palate, finishing zesty with a clean minerality. The Malbec wine grapes for this vintage were hand-harvested and destemmed with 60% of the grapes left whole, uncrushed and then cold soaked from 24 to 48 hours. The clarified wine juice was fermented in cool temperature-controlled stainless-steel tank and aged on its lees for three months. Chill and enjoy on its own, but it does have great acidity for food. I paired it with a charcuterie and cheese board of venison carpaccio and a variety of creamy, mature cheeses. This vintage was awarded Gold at the 2018 All Canadian Wine Awards.

5th Element

Road 13 Vineyards 5th Element 2013

Similkameen Valley, South Okanagan, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada
1656 days ago

Deborah scored this wine: 97/100

Wow factor 9! From the first line on the back of the label of this very fine wine, “Earth, wind, water, fire and wine: the five elements required to sustain a happy life.” If I had more of this wine, I would have a very happy life indeed. Road 13 Vineyard’s 5th Element 2013 is very impressive, right from the first sniff out of the glass. A deep and rich red wine blend of 45% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 13% Cab Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, there are roasted herbs, liquid dark cherry, black and red currant, purple plum jam on the nose. Then, it opens up into burnt orange peel, black tea and dried, fragrant, spicy tobacco leaf. Dry, polished, elegant, rich and full on the palate with more rich dark cherry – almost Amarone-like, black tea, tobacco leaf and soft savoury spice on the palate finishing with blood orange zest. Tannins are rounded, elegant and there is good acidity in this wine for food. Most of the wine grapes for the 2013 Fifth Element were sourced from Blind Creek Vineyard in the Similkameen valley with the balance from the Road 13 Castle Vineyard in the Okanagan Valley. The wine was matured in a combination of new and older French oak barrels. Assemblage of the blend was in August 2015. Drink now or hold for three to five years. Pair with a roast leg of lamb or prime rib. We paired it with a venison filet mignon. This vintage was awarded Gold in the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada, and the 2018 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition.

Vanessa Vineyard Merlot 2014

Similkameen Valley BC V.Q.A., Canada
2097 days ago

Deborah scored this wine: 96/100

The 2014 Merlot from Vanessa Vineyards is an inaugural vintage for the winery. I can only say I hope they make more and lots of this style of Merlot in the future. I have visions of sugar plum fairies with the first sniff of pronounced plum, blueberry, mulberry and vanilla. The 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc wine blend is dry and of medium weight on the palate and is rich and smooth, in fact, plushy with ripe dark plum, dark raisins, nutmeg, blue florals, lingering with dark chocolate and soft caramel on the finish from well-integrated oak aging. The wine was fermented and barrel-aged for 26 months in new and one-year old medium-toast American and French oak barrels. Tannins are rounded and completely velvet. Alcohol is warming at 14.9%, but not sharp or intense. The winery claims that 2014 was an exceptional growing season that delivered a fabulous vintage for this wine. I wish them more of the same as this inaugural vintage is exceptional. Buy this one by the case or six-pack. (570 cases produced).

French Family Release

Little Engine Wines French Family Release Chardonnay 2020

Naramata Bench, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada
701 days ago

Deborah scored this wine: 96/100

Okay, I’m in love again. I am absolutely smitten with Litte Engine Winery’s 2020 French Family Release. Even the nose is enticing with its soft spritz of honeysuckle, white florals, golden apple, pear, ginger, white pepper and lemon curd each flavour so defined, refined and delicious. On the palate this amazing dry, unoaked Chardonnay is medium-plus-bodied with laser balance fruit to acidity; plushy with dried white florals, fresh ripe orchard fruit, creamy lemon pudding, stony mineral flavours viscous, rounded, and vibrant with a forever finish (more than a minute). This is an amazing, complex, elegant, and once-in-a-lifetime Chardonnay. Tasted July 2021. Little Engine’s winemaker, Scott Robinson, confirms that this is one of a kind Chard. “The 2020 harvest produced some of the most flavour intense wines that I have witnessed in my time winemaking in the Okanagan. This French Family Chard is comprised of grapes from three clones of Chardonnay from three estate vineyards here on the Naramata Bench. I pick based on flavour ripeness and this past harvest we had optimal flavours at a lower sugar level and perfect acidity. I skin contact destemmed grapes before pressing in order to extract more aroma and flavour compounds. I use multiple yeasts to bring out these flavours and ferment long and cool to retain them.” There is a touch of residual sugar on the 2020 French Family Release Chardonnay giving a nice weight on the palate says Scott, “This will give you the perception of palate weight upfront, but it finishes crisp and dry.”

Deborah Podurgiel

Wine BloggerVisit Deborah's Website




Winner World's Best Drink Writer
WFour-Time Winner James Beard Foundation
Five-Time Winner Association of Food Journalists
Six-Time Winner Bert Greene Award
Best Wine Literature Book Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Online Writer of the Year Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Award