A little Cape Breton music. Travel there and you might get to sit in on a ceilidh.
I just came back from Cape Breton Island and, if you haven’t heard, there was a cheeky campaign to lure Americans there should Donald Trump win. Check it all out here. Absolutely beautiful place. But, then again, I was there in September not February. Best people ever.
I’m told by many that my recommendations are a bit higher cost-wise than their particular ‘sweet spot’. I agree that the prices on duffswines have crept up over the years. But, a financial sweet spot? You should adjust. For example, think back to the first car you bought that had power windows or air conditioning. OK, I know that I’m old and dating myself but I do remember crank windows and family trips in cars that you would now be charged for leaving your dog in. So, we all get used to air conditioning in our car. You might have had a sweet spot for car prices but you’ve adjusted to incorporate the cost of options and must-haves such as A/C. Car buyers understand that you usually expect to get what you pay for. No one would say to you, “I think my $4,000 favourite used car is as perfectly nice, dependable, and comfortable a car as you can get. And, I wouldn’t know the difference between driving it and your Lexus.” But wine drinkers are always doing that. I hear that people think that their $4 home made wine is just as good as, say, the wines that I’m recommending below. Well, I can’t argue with what is clearly wrong. “It isn’t as good to anyone but you,” I feel like screaming. “And, BTW, you’re wrong! You can tell the difference!” I could go on but I’m suggesting that you think of the wine first and the price second – that’s all. Well not quite. Think of the wine first and the price second and also keep an open mind to the experience – that’s all. Well, one more thing, actually. Do those two things and then send me an email about how right I am. That I’ve opened your mind to the $25 and up wines. Yes, I’m being a wine snob. Or, maybe I’m just trying to justify the prices of my recommendations this week. I’m OK with that too.
The mother ship is pimping Tuscan and Rioja wines this weekend. In the case of the Tuscan stuff, that means you might end up spending a lot of money and having to explain the credit card balance to your significant other by suggesting that you were buying for her, ergo, she shouldn’t check the cellar or risk ruining the surprise. Who would use such a transparent tactic?
First a Tuscan wine that represents a bit more than a Daily Slosh – 2013 Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo #727636 $29.95, This is perhaps the best priced Super Tuscan ever. And, you pronounce that EH-fer. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. Drinking right now with well integrated tannins, still fresh and lip smacking. Wood there but barely noticeable. In perfect balance. I think that you could cellar this for a few years more. I’d love this with a tomato sauce pasta – maybe some cheesy, tomatoey veggie lasagne. If you’re into scores – James Suckling gives this a 95! My Good Shit meter gives it a ‘Really, Really’.
The 2010 Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Gran Selezione Chianti Classico was Wine Spectator’s #6 wine of 2014 or ’15. I jumped at the chance to buy a few when the LCBO had it at somewhere around $30. Now, they have the 2011. If you check the assessment of the 2010 vintage versus the 2011, you might think that there’s a fall off (96 to 93). But, seriously, does your palate know the difference when they are both great? Mine doesn’t. I mean I can tell the difference between vintages when they’re uncharacteristically wet, cold or just plain shitty. But, when they’re generally excellent, a point one way or the other is a waste of consideration IMHO. This week, the 2011 Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Gran Selezione Chianti Classico #418897 $48.95 is in store. I know, I know. It’s s stretch to spend $50 on my recommendation. But, have I ever steered you wrong? Wait. Have I ever steered you wrong with the exception of the case of Chateau Corké that you bought? Let this sit for a couple years and then see what your sweet spot financial limit has to do with great wine.
OK, we’ll bring it down, as Tina Turner once said. I stumbled on a ‘sale’ wine at the Wonderland North store – shout out to Ken B. – the other day. Could it be? What the hell. I bought a couple. The 2010 Dramatis Personae #450650 $15.20 ($18.95 regular price) smells and tastes a lot like a Rioja. Sandalwood, cedar scents and solid red fruit, leathery stuff on the medium finish. I sniffed it and had to check the label to make sure I was smelling something from Argentina and not made with Tempranillo. It’s a Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda blend. Remarkably light in the mouth but still carrying loads of personality and power. I think it’s probably a year away from being spent but I think that I might drink a case of everyday wine between now and October 2017. Just sayin’ I’m a hard worker.
I love a wine with a name that I can fool around with. And, I’ve fooled with this wine in other vintages a few times. The 2013 Talamonti Tre Saggi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo #204016 $15.95 is a repeat offender here. It is tres droopy, oui? This is great for sipping outside during the last weeks of al fresco weather. Doesn’t need food but, if you wish, something fingery would be great – mildly spicy peel and eat shrimp, decent mid-tang cheeses, and/or bread and oil. This has the effects of oak – toast, roundness, vanilla. It’s not what I would call ‘typical’ MdA in that it’s a bit less rustic than I’m used to. I love rustic but I really like this too.
And, just because I need to feed my habit, I’m going to pick up a few of the 2014 Zonte’s Footsteps Chocolate Factory Shiraz #396481 $17.95. If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll remember that I’ve recommended several of the offerings from Zonte’s Footsteps. In the other cuvees, their style is more on the lighter, fresher and less on the heavy, chewy. So is this.
And, just to review – chuck the ‘sweet financial spot’ approach and buy in to the ‘good wine first’ approach to selecting your slosh.