Thursday, July 14, 2016

Laughing Stock would like to ship its wines

Photo: Laughing Stock's Cynthia and David Enns

In a note with the winery’s current releases, Laughing Stock Vineyards owners David and Cynthia Enns lament: “Now, if only we can get the laws to reflect the interests of Canadian consumers [who want] to order BC wine across the country.”

One suspects that wineries are finding ways around this issue. Laughing Stock, after all, had a brief offering of free shipping to celebrate Canada Day.

It has been four years since a private member’s bill was passed in the House of Commons, allowing the free shipping of wine across provincial boundaries.

Of course, Ottawa has no jurisdiction over liquor marketing in Canada. The federal government, under pressure from the temperance forces, wiped its hands of the issue more than a century ago by turning over the responsibility to provinces and their liquor monopolies.

There has been some recent and ongoing litigation to break down the borders. So far, Ontario and several other provinces still insist that wines shipped into the province must pass through the tax-grabbing hands of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

So if an Ontario consumer wants to order directly from an out-of-province winery, he or she is still in violation of the law; and the shipping winery is taking a risk. Yet the Three Amigos toasted free trade and other matters with some BC wine, irony of ironies.

I suspect that Laughing Stock’s BC consumers are of two minds about the issue. They would love to have other Canadians enjoy the wines … except that there is not that much to go around. We could easily drink it all in BC.

If you are reading this from a cottage in Muskoka, here is what you may be missing:

Laughing Stock Pinot Gris 2015 ($19.99 for 470 cases). The wine begins with a light straw colour; there was no skin contact. Half the wine was fermented in neutral French oak, 30% in stainless steel and 20% on concrete eggs. The wine begins with aromas of mandarin orange and stone fruit which are reflected on the palate. The texture is rich and creamy, with a bit of warmth on the finish from the 14.5% alcohol. This is a wine for food, not for casual sipping. 90.

Laughing Stock Viognier 2015 ($22.99 for 469 cases). This was fermented 40% in stainless steel, 40% in neutral oak and 20% in concrete eggs. The wine begins with mandarin orange aromas and goes on to flavours of ripe apricot. The texture and the flavours are rich and concentrated, offsetting the 14.9% alcohol. Good Viognier is always going to be this ripe and rich. 91.

Laughing Stock Blind Trust Red 2014 ($26.99 for 1,530 cases). The blend is 42% Malbec, 24% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged 16 months in oak. Dark in colour, it begins with dramatic aromas of spice, plums, and even licorice. On the palate, it delivers flavours of plum, black cherry, blackberry and chocolate. The long ripe tannins give the wine a generous and lingering finish. 92.

Laughing Stock Syrah 2014 ($33.99 for 770 cases). This dark, fruit-driven wine was fermented 70% in stainless steel, 20% in a French oak tank and 10% in French oak puncheons. There is 3% Viognier in the blend. The wine was aged 16 months in French oak (45% new). The wine begins with glorious aromas of plum, black cherry and vanilla. These are echoed on the rich palate along with savoury hints of sage, black pepper and dark chocolate. 92.


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