Thanks Redux – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

25 Nov

 

OK, I’m hooked on “Live at Daryl’s House”. It could be a problem. And who the hell is Diane Birch – she rocks.

Spent US Thanksgiving Day (or, as we call it ‘Yanks-giving’) at Joe Kool’s watching the Lions win and doing my part for the craft beer industry. It’s kind of like cheating – getting 2 TG’s – the second minus the turkey. Allowable substitutes – chicken wings and pizza. Advice to my friends south of the border – grab a secondary TG and celebrate with us in October – catch the Aaaaargos and Ticats going at it. Osca-wee-wee. If you don’t know, don’t ask.

This week there are some very special wines at the upper end of the spectrum – ’13 Sassicaia ($212.95), ’13 Luce ($114.95), ’12 Elderton Command Shiraz ($89.95 – I opened an ’02 this past summer and, despite the 13 years, I still had to wrestle it into the glass – it was that proud and brawny – a beaut), ’14 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay ($111.95). Alas, my pocketbook (does anyone use a ‘pocketbook’ anymore?) was stretched getting a couple bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau this week. Yes, that was me standing on the boulevard with a sign and the squeegee.

rotllantorraBack in Realsville, there are some good value wines. Let’s start at a place that I really, really love – Priorat. Despite my love for the reds of Priorat, there are two things that get in the way of me pounding them regularly – cost and the need for them to age (requiring patience on my part. Those that know me realize that I have none). So, we are in luck when a wine from there shows up ready to drink and at a reasonable price point – 2011 Rotllan Torra #267989 $19.95. I’ve recommended the ’10 of this cuvée before with much enthusiasm. I even received feedback from the son of a friend that it was one of the better wines he’d served to friends. The review of the ’10 is here. I was lucky enough to taste this ’11 vintage just prior to penning this. It is powerful with minerality and dustiness. A bit more structured than the ’10 – a longer life maybe? A fine wine requiring some substantial food. “Brings back memories,” he says, choking back a sob.

balbasStaying in Spain, the 2005 Balbas Reserva #085183 $22.95 is back in stock. The mother ship must have bought a million cases of this. I picked up a couple of bottles not more than a month ago on discount for $18 – what up with that? This is at least the third time through as a “New Arrival”. This makes you feel so good inside – good inside (un homage to Carole King). It is full value at under $25.

bjnewBeaujolais Nouveau was released last week and I tasted a few. The one that I like the best is the 2016 Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau #932780 $15.95. It is exactly what this stuff is supposed to be – fresh, fun, fruity. There’s a joke just hanging there but it may not be appropriate to think it, let alone type it. My first nouveau was called Screech and Porch Climber Nouveau and crafted lovingly by my father from Marechal Foch grapes and aged in the family basement for…..oh…. at least a week. Oh, it was fresh. Fresh and sulfury. My father dreaded the possibility of contamination (not wanting to kill his friends) so he infused each vintage with enough sulphur to kill bacteria residing in the neighbouring county. The good news? I haven’t had the flu in forty-five years. Plus, he made so much of it that my friends and I could quaff (read: guzzle) a few bottles without him knowing. Where was I? Oh yeah, talking about Georges DeeBee. Pick up a bottle or two of this for the holidays. It’s perfect before noon – light, fresh, moderate alcohol. The funky label tells you what kind of wine is inside the bottle.

koyleAnother red that would be a great wine to stock for the holidays is the 2013 Koyle Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon #256073 $19.95. This is light version of cab sav. Which is why I like it. Very good for standing, sipping, engaging in intellectually stimulating discussion (Trump, what else?) at a holiday dinner party. It has the typical cassis aromas and flavours so you’ll know it’s cab sav and fine on it’s own.

crabOn the white side, there’s a returnee – 2015 D’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier/Marsanne #662775 $17.95. This is a Rhone blend. Here’s what I’d think you ought to do. Buy this and mix it up with the usual white suspects like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay. I will bet heavily that company will notice this wine – round mouthful and then a nice crisp finish that comes as a bit of a surprise. Lovely with simple seafood. Break out of the rut.

My splurges this weekend are going to be the 2013 Montes Purple Angel a Carmenere bomb that just gets better and better with a little time down below. And, I’m getting the 2012 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin from the Okanagan – a great example of how rockin’ they are in ‘The Other Valley’.

Cheers.

Bill

The Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualità Grandi Marchi – Toronto, October 18th #SundaySips

13 Nov

grandi-marchi

On October 18th, I attended the Grandi Marchi at the Royal Ontario Museum. I was going to break this into two posts to avoid readers nodding off but…..

What is the Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualita Grandi Marchi? I had the same question. From the event pamphlet: “The Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualita Grandi Marchi is the result of determination and enthusiasm of some of Italy’s most important producers to promote premium quality Italian wines to the world……..One of the Institute’s major goals is to provide leadership and direction in the development of quality Italian wine in world markets.” It’s kind of the Italian equivalent to the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux, it seems. And I suppose that, since the mother ship is the largest purchaser of wines and spirits, an appearance in Toronto was in order.

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Just a quick word about the venue. If you’ve been, I don’t need to say much. But, if you haven’t, think of a grand hall with marble statuary, a spectacular crystal treatment on Bloor, columns (Corinthian?), and old shit scattered about inside. Why don’t I just show you a picture of our host.

fuggy

Now, the wines. Most Italian DOC’s and DOCG’s were represented. I’m only going to talk about the highlights and/or wines generally available in wider distribution. They are in no particular order but the more cryptic my notes get, the later in the evening they probably were. Sorry, but I did swallow much of it and it’s awkward holding your glass, juggling the tasting notes book, making notes, dropping your pen, picking it up, spilling your wine, stumbling into a well dressed woman – you get the picture.

The wines:

Carpene Malvolti

carpeneCarpene Malvolti 1868 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Brut #727438 $18.95 this is a wine that I’ve recommended before and it was a great start to the evening. Extremely dry, toasty notes. Great value and a Prosecco to celebrate not berate. Available starting February 4, 2017

Carpene Malvolti Spumante Brut Rose #474460 $19.95 Liked this wine. Quite dry as well. Hint of red fruits – strawberries. Perfect holiday season bubbly. Available starting December 10, 2016. I’m going to get a few for the holidays.

Donnafugata

sedara2014 Donnafugata Sedara #900274 $16.95 A blend with Nero d’Avola and native varieties. Very dry, as in, “Please drink me with food”. Despite the fact that I had no food, I liked this medium-bodied red. Great value, particularly on a night like this. Available starting December 10, 2016. I’ll try to remember to recommend for you before that release.

2014 Donnafugata Ben Ryé #568063 $42.00 (375 ml) This is a wine from the DOC Passito di Pantelleria. Where is that, you ask? It’s a small historically strategically important island between Sicily and Tunisia. My archaeologist son has dug there and tells me that it’s particularly beautiful. The wine is a dessert wine – nutty, dried fruits, apricots. I’m not a big dessert wine fan but this was nice – just wish I’d waited until I was actually through with the others. Only available at the event.

Gaja

2013 Gaja Barberesco #92080 $279.00 Here’s the thing: The Director was with me and she only drinks white wines due to a red wine headache issue. She sniffs the ones that I rave about and usually says, “Cannot see what you’re raving about. Smells awful.” The strategy that night when we went to a table that only had red wines was for her to ask for a sample of a red too, we’d step aside and I’d get to sample both. At Gaja, I suggested she get the Barberesco while I sampled the one below. She swirled the Barberesco, sniffed and said (I kid you not), “This smells very nice.” Ventured a sip and said, “If I didn’t get headaches, I think that I’d like to drink this.” Sure. The $279 wine, she likes! This wine was as promised. Powerful elegance if that”s possible. Perhaps the nicest wine of the night. Just wish I could pull the trigger on a wine this pricey.

2013 Gaja Ca’Marcanda Camarcanda #174342 $184.00 This is a wine from DOC Bolgheri in Tuscany. Like many people, I know Gaja as Langhe, Barolo, and Barberesco primarily. So, I was particularly interested in trying this wine and seeing if he brought the same attention to terroir to this effort. Bingo. This is a Super Tuscan – so Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other international grapes rather than Sangiovese. Cassis overflowing on the swirl but hiding a bit on the sip and swish. Very present tannins and a nice acid kick on the finish. A food wine that requires a decent time in the basement. Only available at event.

Lungarotti

lungarotti2I chatted up a guy at this table that had already tasted the Lungaotti offerings. I asked him what he thought of the four offerings. He said, “I’m going to wait until you taste, then we’ll talk.” I tasted and well we were in agreement on the best wine for us and it wasn’t what most others were expecting and assuming. A cool moment to be sympatico with another geek in front of thousands. Well, in front of The Director and this guy’s eye candy, at least.

2009 Lungarotti Rubesco Monticchio Riserva #51771 $51.00 This is a DOCG Torgiano Rosso Reserve wine and if that doesn’t get your heart racing, let me say that it is beautifully crafted. In the swish and swallow – spices, liquorice, and chocolate. Is that even possible? Man, I love this wine! And it still has loads of stuffing to get you through the next 10 years. Who am I kidding, this won’t last that long at my place. Only available at event.

1997 Lungarotti Rubesco Torgiano Riserva #473975 $51.00 As I stood at this table, people stepped up and were jonesing to try the oldest wine there – the 1997. Age is as seductive in wine as it is in male wine bloggers. The older we get, the more attractive we become. I can’t explain it – weird but true. Anyway, everyone wanted the 1997 – it had to be great, right? Many even seemed to nod and spit appreciatively. They were wrong. Oh, it is mature, spicy, but seemed to be getting to dried fruit a bit too much for me. It was very good but the 2009……… Only available at event.

Marchesi Antinori

antinoriI have several Antinori wines in my basement (Tignanello, Badia a Passignano among others). I like this family winery. But, this was a bit of a disappointment from a service perspective. The rep was buddying up with a crowd of guys off to the side (you wine geeks know what I mean – the guys that buy a shitload and know not what they buy aside from the badge). But I could be wrong. Well, that’s silly to say – I’m never wrong. Regardless, that didn’t detract from the wines.

2013 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano #473694 $25.00 This is another special wine I tasted. And, it’s not just because it was later in the night. I still had loads of palate agility and sensitivity left. Well, loads is overstating it a bit. This Sangiovese with a bit of Merlot had cherries – not the red sour type that seem to come with sangiovese but the black sweetish ones. Toasty notes. My notes say, “Cherries, cherries, cherries – and coffee.” This is a great value Tuscan. Only available at event.

2014 Prunotto Mompertone Monferrato Rosso #388587 $18.95 Quick review – burn some burgers or other red meats and pop a cork on this. Barbera and some other stuff. Available starting February 4, 2017.

Mastroberardino

This was the table that I was most interested in. We get a ton of wine from other Italian regions but Campania is underrepresented. I don’t get much opportunity to taste this stuff. Plus, I had a boatload of it two years ago when I was in Camopania. FYI, a ‘boatload’ is just a ‘tich’ less than a ‘shitload’. Never mind what a ‘tich’ is.

greco2014 Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo #568105 $19.95 This is a grape that even California doesn’t try to monetize. It must be difficult to manage and the payoff would require a massive marketing campaign – “greco de what?” This is a perfect summer white wine. Perfect is strong praise and this particular wine carries that label proudly. Light, yet flavourful. Crisp, yet cool and refreshing. Bring on the seafood! Love it! Available at LCBO locations now.

2009 Mastroberardino Radici Riserva Taurasi #683615 $56.00 I really like Taurasi. I’m not sure what it is that does it for me but it just seems to best represent the volcanic soils, mountains and beauty of Campania. It can be rough – Anglianico is like that, but I like it rough – wink, wink, nudge, nudge. However, this particular wine was a long, long way from ready to drink. I’m thinking 5 to 10. Liked the hint of dark fruits that it showed but wanted a little less obfuscation before it made the grade. Only available at event.

2011 Matroberardino Radici Taurasi #340562 $53.00 Now, here is the weird thing. This 2011 is good right friggin’ now while the more mature cuvée is many years off. I know the older one is a riserva but it shouldn’t make that much difference. This is an Aglianico bomb! Big, dark, earthy, anisey. Muscular, full-bodied and bringing little heat as it’s only 13.5% ABV. Now, we’re talking.  I want this wine in my cellar. Only available at event.

Tasca d’Almerita

Have I told you that a bucket list wine trip is Sicily? Well, it is. Cannot wait.

maria2014 Tasca d’Almerita Guarnaccio Perricone #473934 $21.00 This is a Sicilian beauty like Maria Grazia Cucinotta (at left). Only you get to actually keep this in your basement. That didn’t come out right but hopefully you get it. I wondered why they called it ‘Perricone’ until the penny dropped and I realized that the variety of grape is ‘Perricone”. This is full on. Loads of spunk from the alcohol (15% ABV) and dark, dark fruits. I loved this wine and felt at this price point – it’s great value. Super spicy and ready for some marinated grilled portobellos or red meat. Only available at event.

Umani Ronchi

This table was a pleasant surprise! So, what does a white wine only drinker do at these events? Particularly when the bulk of the ‘cool’ wines are red? Well, they mill around at the tables that promote white wines – like Umani Ronchi. And, The Director did just that. This table was great in all areas. The rep was educational to a deep, deep (did I say it was deep?) level and the wines were just what the doctor or Director ordered.

umani-ronchi2015 Casal di Serra Verdicchio Dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore #268169 $18.00 This wine was the hit of the night. Given that we were tasting Pio Cesare Barolos, Gaja Barberescos, Sassicaia, Chiarlo Barolos, it’s a stretch to say that an $18 wine won the night. But, I am nothing if not attentive to the needs and wants of my wife. This particular wine was floral on the nose, round enough for a Chardonnay hound and ethereally light. I gave it three check marks on my scoring scheme of check marks and ‘blahs’. Pears and citrus are my main notes on this. Lovely sipping wine for white wine aficionados. Only available at the event.

So that’s it. What did I buy, you ask? Well, I had to have me (apologies to grammar teachers everywhere) the Umani Ronchi Verdicchio, the Mastroberardino Taurasi 2011, the Perricone, the Antinori La Braccesca, and the 2009 Lungarotti. I mean they took Visa and I have 21 days to clear the account, right?

In summary, if you get a chance to partake in this event in your hamlet, don’t hesitate. There are some wines that don’t show well in this type of event, as usual, and there will be human wine nuisances at many tables. But, plow through and enjoy the wines of the best wine country in the world, IMHO.

Cheers.

Bill

#RememberThem – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

10 Nov

poppy

I want to mention tomorrow’s (November 11th) day of remembrance. Many people take this day to remember special selfless people important in their lives who served their country. My hero is Capt. F.R. Dufton of the Royal Canadian Engineers, 1st Army Survey Corps. Very, very proud of my dad – mentioned in dispatches BTW. #RememberThem The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Take a moment of silence wherever you are. I know I will.

The wine, Bill, the wine. This week’s release features ‘star’ wines. That means (and you might have to turn up your sound because I’m going to whisper), “Expensive wines.” But there are mid-priced and wines that better fit my usual recommendations as well.

Like many an evening, let’s start with bubbly. I often recommend Cremant de Bourgogne as a not quite substitute for Champagne. Last week we had friends over and started with a bottle of the Louis Bouillot Perle d’Or Cremant #51565 $24.95. As we cleaned up the next morning, The Director asked me what we had and said that although she doesn’t usually have more than a single glass of bubbly, she lapierreloved the Perle – as evidenced by the empty bottle. So, I bought a few more to store for the holidays and should have maybe waited until this Saturday to pick up the Bailly LaPierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne #991562 $19.95 to get a little variety. This one is more citrusy than the Perle but the bubbles are tight carrying some acidity on the finish – tart but lovely. A great way to start any evening.

bisquerttSince I don’t get the invite to the LCBO tastings pre-release and unlike my blogpals to the south I don’t get samples sent to me by importers (we are nothing if not Victorian on such matters – not complaining – glad to live here at this moment in time – blog for another day), I have to bang on cellar doors, buy a bunch of wine on spec so to speak and hope that some day they will show up on the shelves so that I can talk about them. The 2014 Bisquertt La Joya Gran Reserve Sryah #325407 $17.95 is one of those last wines. I had this some time ago and my notes say, “Compares very favourably with the Montes Alpha Syrah – in style, punch (can’t remember what the hell I meant by that), and softness.” That’s high praise from me as I love Montes Alpha Syrah in most vintages. This Chilean Bisquertt wine is round and smooth. Lots of things to talk about – meaty, dark fruits, and just enough structure – not flabby. Great value and Syrah is a long, hard chase for value! But, then again, I love Côte Rotie, Hermitage, and Saint Joseph. Have I ever told you the Côte Rotie story when I …………..Never mind.

As I scan the release publication, I notice that there are a ton of great value Chilean and Argentinean wines – Susana Balbo Malbec, Perez Cruz Limited Edition Cab Sav, Laura Catena’s La Posta Pizzella Malbec, Kaiken Ultra Malbec. You can’t go wrong with any of those and most likely the in-store consultant will be aware of these and point you in that direction.

badiaBut….drum roll……since they are pimping pricier wines, I have to tell you about the 2010 Antinori Badia a Passignano Gran Selezione Chianti Classico #384552 $44.95. Ramble: I just re-arranged my wine cellar to accommodate a beautiful set of oak shelves graciously provided to me by a friend through his daughter and son-in-law – shout out to J & P. As I rearranged, I discovered that I was overweight in Tuscany, Bordeaux, and Spain. Now, that’s a high class problem to solve. So, why would I want to stock up on this particular wine? I mean, it’s Tuscan. It will contribute to a situation that offends my suspected OCD balance needs. Why? Because my tasting notes say that it’s and I quote here, “Good shit!!!”  I mean:  “sniff – good shit; swish – good shit; swallow and finish – really, really good shit”. Now, that description may not qualify me for WSET Level 4 status but I think you get the picture. This wine is one of my favourite cuvées, year-in, year-out. It might be the best mid-priced wine that I buy on the basis of consistent excellence. In this vintage, everything is ready, in balance, and just so expressive. T – E – double R- F – I – C! You know what this means? I will have to buy even more American, Canadian, and South American wines to balance things out. Damn! But you know what? They are releasing the 2012 Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir, the Hidden Bench Terroir Caché Meritage, and the 2013 Foxen Block 43 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir this weekend too. I hate it when that happens.

zisolaI had the benefit of tasting through a bunch of wines from Sicily last month. They reminded me of two things: 1) I really want to go to Sicily; 2) Both white and red wines from Sicily are very rewarding. This week, there’s the 2013 Mazzei Zisola #303925 $18.95. This is a biggish, powerful wine. Loads of fruit – figs, raisins too. I think that you might want to let it sit open for a few hours or just give it to me and I’ll put it in my new rack (remember the new rack?) and I’ll keep it for you.

henryWe go through a lot of Chardonnay at our house. Chardonnay may not be the ‘style’ anymore, people might sneer and look askance but, what the hell, we like it – a lot – Burgundy, Central Coast, Lodi, PEC, Niagara………..One of the local Chardonnays we like is the Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay #268342 $19.95. This week it’s the 2014. This is a classic Chardonnay in that it has everything but not too much of anything – a streak of acidity, tree fruit and some creaminess and citrus on the finish. Powerful. Like it a lot.

That’s all this week. Just a reminder for those that I might see over the holidays. You are surely wondering what to bring to the house when you visit or perhaps a presssie for Yours Truly. I really like the Badia a Passignano. What I mean by that is I really, really like it. It seems a pretty appropriate gift to me. And that gift may encourage me to open something ‘better’ when you visit – just sayin’.

Cheers

Bill

Punkins and Porcupines – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

27 Oct

Heading to the Grand Theatre tonight to see a play/concert about Joni Mitchell. She is such a creative force. A poet, musician, painter, prairie girl, dulcimer player.

Halloween is coming up and it brings back memories of being dragged along by my boys from house to house. At one time, I would get a wee drink at each house in our neighbourhood. Verrrrry scary! The best memories are my oldest dressed as a porcupine – costume made from a paper bag, make-up whiskers, and straws. He knocked on our neighbours, recent immigrants, who clearly hadn’t gotten the memo about Halloween and didn’t know quite what to do with a kid dressed in a paper bag saying, “Trick or Treat” and not wanting to leave until he got his candy. They must have thought – WTF or the Urdu equivalent! Or, my youngest on his first walking Halloween, cautiously approaching the third or fourth door of the night, ringing the bell, almost apologetically murmuring “Trick or Treat”, receiving his treat, and then turning and running back to the street shouting, “Dad, THEY gave me candy too!” Where does that innocence go.

fermedumontSniffle, sniffle. Enough nostalgia. The wines released this month are a bit Bordeaux heavy and I haven’t had any of them so can’t comment. I’ll pick up a couple and see if I can choke down a bottle or two before my next release post. The other focus is blends and on that score, I’ve had the 2014 La Ferme du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhone #251645 $17.95. This is not to be confused with the red from this producer that I recommended last time here. This is their everyday wine. But, it doesn’t cheat in size or interest. Great value CdR that goes down easy and is perfect for a Friday night pizza or graze. On the graze, we have sworn off grazing on Friday nights – which is kinda like pledging to go to the gym – futile. Used to be our tradition – hummus, olives, Syrian flatbread, kibbi, grape tomatoes, loads of wine, and crappy Friday night TV fare.

chimeresStaying in the South of France, the 2014 Château Saint-Roch Chimères Côtes du Roussillon-Villages #119354 $19.95 is full-value as a GSM (60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre). Not all oaked up so the purity of the fruit, particularly the Grenache comes through. Moderate alcohol at 14% ABV. Loads of mature fruit, some garrigue, and even a bit of spice make this a great fall wine. Fresh. We had two vacations in the Languedoc- Roussillon and this wine represents that region magnificently. A sip takes me back to Rocquebrun (below).

Rocquebrun

michelgassierI hate to present too many wines with the same vibe or from the same region but I have to mention the 2013 Château de Nages Vieilles Vines Costières de Nîmes #040964 $19.95. Quick test: What ubiquitous product was invented and first used in Nîmes? I’ll award the first correct answer (no Google allowed) with a first edition copy of my new novel, hitting bookshelves everywhere in 2034. This wine is seemingly an annual pick on these pages. Michel Gassier seldom disappoints and this is no exception. Another GSM with a hint of Carignan which contributes to a structured, solid wine. This is oaked a bit – dark, biggish, anise, herbs. Another great value – stew wine.

flatrockWas in Niagara last week – will post on my visits soon. I didn’t visit Flat Rock but will next time. This Saturday, there’s their 2013 Flat Rock Chardonnay #286278 $18.95. This is a consistent Chard with just a hint of oak – in the bit of creaminess on the finish. Mostly, it’s the typical GS apples and a bit of tropicality. Very nice and a crowd pleaser – even for the trend following ABC crowd. On that topic, we were at the Grand Marchi tasting this month and a representative of one of the wineries went on and on about how people who drink white don’t know about anything other than Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Word of advice to reps: keep your opinions to yourself. You sound kind of whinny and snobbish when you opine on ‘proper’ wine basics to people that just want to taste the shit that you’re peddling.

moncontourIt’s time to start to stock up for holiday season. We Canuckleheads are past our Thanksgiving but our friends below are just getting ready – election, shrug, Thanksgiving. So, you’ll need a crisp lip-smacking bubbler to greet your guests. I had this two years ago but it is a Non-Vintage bubbly that should stay consistent flavour profile-wise. The Château Moncontour Tête de Cuvée Brut Vouvray #207936 $17.95 should fit the bill for nibbles and bubbly. Medium-bodied, fruitful, great acidity, bubbles taut and tangy. Many cheaper bubblies suffer from sameness – you can’t tell one from the other. This is made from Chenn Banc and it definitely stands out as different. I like these Vouvray Bruts a lot. Interesting fact (according to LCBO write-up): This is from “one of the oldest estates in Loire’s Touraine region. The French author Honoré de Balzac tried to purchase the estate in 1846 but was unable to do so, although it didn’t keep him from mentioning the estate in his novel A Woman of Thirty.” Very cool.

Cheers – enjoy your treats

Bill

Tasting Room Talk – The Red Daily Slosh

13 Oct

The Third Debate?

In the event that a tape, which may or may not be out there, becomes public, I’d like to make the following statement.

Let me say that I’m not proud of what’s on the tape. It happened when I was much younger and represents tasting room talk. Tasting room talk that’s all. I apologize to anyone that I’ve offended and my intention is not to objectify wine. I have wine bottles in my basement, my friends have wine bottles, my wife has wine bottles, some of my best friends are wine bottles and I wouldn’t want anyone to talk or think about them in that way. I’m truly sorry.

It just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it?

seghesioThis weekend the LCBO is releasing some heavy hitters from Piedmont and some California stalwarts. Have only had one of the lot – the 2014 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel #942151 $29.95. This is one of my favourite Zins and this vintage doesn’t disappoint. Spicy, rich, anise goodness. And, although it’s a typical Zin with higher alcohol levels (14.8% ABV), it doesn’t carry any heat. Beautiful Zin.

baldiosAlways some Iberian wine to talk about. Popped the cork on a bottle of the 2009 Baldios Crianza #366393 $19.95. Still holding strong. Despite being only a Crianza, this is full value. Age has imparted richness, knitted it together to bring you a balanced palate – smoky, cherries, and vanilla. Love it!

Staying in Spain, the 2013 Torres Altos Ibericos Crianza #381046 $16.95 is a nice sip. Not as round or full as the one above, it’s great sipping wine with snacks. It too is smoky and brimming with Tempranillo fruit. This is what I’d call straight up Rioja – no mystery. It just delivers.

leponnantWhen I’m not loitering in Spain, I like to drink wines from the Southern Rhone and Provence. They reflect their neighbourhood better than most. And, I love the hood. The 2014 Le Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages #171371 $19.95 is one of the better CdR-Villages that I’ve ever had. If you like your CdR’s big, brawny and brimming with dark berries, this is for you. This is very full-bodied and fruity – some scrubby/herby elements. Great effort and good value.

gravityTaking my seasonal journey to the Niagara Peninsula in the next few weeks and, as always, I will drop in to Flat Rock Cellars to see what’s up. Their 2013 Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir #001560 $30.25 is arriving this weekend. Flat Rock, Tawse, Westcott, Queylus and many others down there, make exquisite Pinot. This one is special in it’s consistency year after year. Floral up front, red fruits on the gurgle and earth on the finish. Just a lovely, lovely wine. Wish that I’d had some for the turkey last weekend. Perfect match.

aspresQuick shout out. This month’s Wine Enthusiast featured the 2014 Gerard Betrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres GSM. Gave it a score of 91 “Dense, generous ………and robustly fruited”. I recommended the 2013 and it is still available – so that’s 2013 Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres #413245 $18.95. My review here.

I’m off to the Grand Marchi at the Royal Ontario Museum next Tuesday. Sipping and regrettably spitting some of the better Italian wines from many of the boot’s best producers (Antinori, Gaja, Mastroberardino, Chiarlo, Donnafugata, San Guido, Alois Lageder………), chat up the winemakers. Can’t wait. I’ll report on the experience in the future.

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Cheers.

Bill

Schmeet Spot Rant – The Red Daily Slosh

29 Sep

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 beaterprices 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?

crognoloFirst 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’.

castello-di-amaThe 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.

dramatis-personaeOK, 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.

tre-saggiI 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.

chocolate-factoryAnd, 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.

Cheers

Bill

The Way It Is – The Red Daily Slosh

15 Sep

Love this song. Years ago, I tried unsuccessfully to get tickets locally to Bruce and Bonnie Raitt. Two people that I really want to see before my hearing goes.

As always upon returning from a week at the cottage, I pledge to drink less wine. “I will drink less wine! I……….umm…well….will drink a little less wine. Here’s hoping’ that I drink a little less wine.” Shit, who am I kidding? It’s just so damn good. Have to say that I like the buzz too. I’m not lyin’.

ardalSo, what to stockpile for the upcoming fall season. Nothing says ‘Fall’ like Iberian wine. So, I’m rushing back to the mother ship to pick up a mess of the 2006 Ardal Reserva #167700 $21.95. This was a host gift from friends visiting (thanks Rod and Nancy) and we quaffed it far too fast. It just said, “You want me, don’t you? Go ahead take me. Take me now! My generously full body is all yours.” Ok, I’m living alone during the week so I’m a bit distracted. But this wine is that kinda seductive. This is Tempranillo with 20% Cab Sav. The 20% provides a backbone that’s missing in a lot of Ribera del Duero reds of this age. If you’re an anti-woodite, steer clear. This has a bunch of sandalwood/cedar both on the nose and in your mouth, some vanilla with good grip on the finish. It has lots left – 5 years at least. A 10 year-old RdD of this stature is worth a lot more than the price tag. We had it with gourmet hamburgers (brie and blue cheese topping). Perfect.

mouraAnother host gift was the 2013 Aguia Moura em Vinhas Velhas Reserva #354738 $16.95. This is a Duoro red. Discovering red cherries and coffee at the finish. Full bodied with very present tannins throughout and a clear bite of acidity. Made from Touriga Franca and Tinto Roriz predominantly and aged 12 months in French oak. Great food wine and a value for sure. Not that many left locally but, if practice is any indication, keep an eye out for this same wine in a future release. If I see it, I’ll let you know.

gamayStarting to line up a few trips down to Niagara for the fall. One of my faves is Malivoire. Maybe it’s because I’m familiar with their stuff or maybe just because it’s a fun spot and their juice is good. They make a couple Gamays – a Small Lot one and their regular Gamay. This week, the regular Gamay – 2014 Malivoire Gamay #591313 $17.95 is available. This qualifies as ‘fun’ wine. That doesn’t mean inconsequential or non-memorable. But, just not serious as in, “Man, that’s a serious wine.” It’s Gamay as in “refreshing, mid-weight, medium-bodied, yummy.” Did I say it was fun? Juicy, lip smacking (is that just juicy a different way?). This is a late summer wine with something lightly charred – like lamb kabobs. Or, ignoring my pledge above, just by itself while watching those frustrating Blue Jays. Despite the fact that baseball is my favourite sport to watch, I’m pining for the NBA to startup. Go Raps! Come to think of it, this wine would go well with a Raps victory over the Cavs. But then again, it won’t cellar forever.

keinteStaying in Ontario, the 2013 Keinte-he Voyageur Pinot Noir #373407 $19.00 is a serious – notice a theme here? – wine. I’d say it’s a few years away from releasing some of the red fruit and easing up on the obfuscating acid and tannin. A very French or maybe Oregon-style Pinot. What I find interesting is that this wine is from Niagara grapes. You’re more likely to find this take from PEC, where this winery is located, than Niagara. If you prefer Rodney Strong’s entry level or Meomi-style Pinots, forget about this. This is power without the round and cloy (yes, a value statement). When we were there last year, I was taken with the winery. They focused on a few varieties and didn’t stray from a house style that, frankly, isn’t mainstream, Maybe that’s a function of lower inventory. They don’t have to please everyone. They had a splendid Gamay as well that’s available in a few stores. Slightly chill that one.

maneroYou’ll see below a pricier Tuscan blend but I’m not sure that you’ll find one much better under $30 than the 2013 Tenute del Cerro Manero #461855 $17.95. I almost always recommend Brancaia Tre as a perfect example of what Tuscan winemakers can do with a little freedom and imagination. But, I might have to change that to this cuvee. This is too tasty. Too tasty. And that’s two tasty’s? Softer than the Tre and much meatier, herby. It has a French nose – lavender and garrigue. Goes down smoothly with cherries on the finish. I love it and was hoping to see it again. If I don’t blow my budget on some other wines that I have my eye on, I’m going all in on this. You can never have too much gulpable Toscana.

Splurge a bit:

modus2012 Ruffino Modus #912956 $29.95 – This is smooth as………well, something that is really, really smooth – I don’t have the proper simile handy. A très tasty Tuscan blend in the spirit of much higher priced wines. Great right this minute. Impress a friend with this Super, Super Tuscan. Red fruits with a hint of the cassis of the Cab Sav in the blend. Perfect balance, medium finish. Elegant stuff. You will wish that you had a second bottle. In my case, a third bottle. Because I have to say that my pledge is failing.

Blind pick ups:

2013 Falesco Tellus Cabernet Sauvignon #454504 $15.95 – Hard to believe the price on this wine. In other vintages, it was a solid near flawless wine. No reason to suspect that this vintage is any different. Plus, it’s from Umbria. Go ahead and ask me why that’s significant.

Cheers

Bill

Late But Timely? – The Red Daily Slosh

5 Sep

Just a little soul with one of the greatest of all time, Smokey Robinson. Shout out to Sara H.

I’ve been distracted and busy the past couple weeks. So, not very timely with these recommendations for the September 3rd release as it’s already the 5th. Rather than entertain you with a tale or two, let’s jump right to it.

montgoIf it’s Iberian value you love. And who doesn’t? You might want to buy a case of the 2012 Montgó Monastrell #452136 $13.95. Yes, that’s less than $14! Monastrell is Spanish for Mourvedre. So, if you love wines from Bandol or just Cotes du Rhone style GSM wines, this will meet your palate. It’s dry, spicy and full of fruit in the mouth more than swirling in your glass. BBQ wine for those last hot summer days.

gebratMy friend, Andrew, asked me if I’d tried 2014 Clos Gebrat CG+ #360511 $19.95 from my favourite wine region – Priorat. I hadn’t. So, I ran out yesterday and gulped down a bottle last night. Oh, I swirled it in the glass, made notes on the colour, sniffed, inhaled, and then……. I gulped it down. This wine is made by the co-op in Gratallops. When we were in Gratallops visiting Sao del Coster and Devinnsi wineries, we learned that the co-op had the community crusher. They piled it into the back of their truck and drove to the doorway of the local garage wineries to rent out the machine. Just parked it in the street. We visited wineries in Gratallops that probably couldn’t even accommodate the size of the crusher in their space. This wine is typical Priorat – big, high in alcohol (15% ABV), and dark Garnacha present and accounted for. Cariñena lurking in the background. Thanks, Andrew.

graetzTuscan sun? This week there’s a cheap NV Tuscan wine – Bibi Graetz Casamatta Rosso #330712 $15.95 that is a light, balanced red that you can serve as a sipper (at least, I drink it alone – that’s the wine by itself and me by myself – sadly alone. But, I don’t have a drinking problem unless you count the empties). But you can serve with something light Italian – margarita pizza?  Great value. The label, as are all Graetz’, is very cool.

I had a discussion with someone the other night about Pinot Noir. They preferred California Pinot over Burgundy. I think there are a lot of people out there that would agree. I’m thinking it might have to do with Burgundy’s need to age a bit before you scarf it down. Or, the California fruit over the lean earthiness of most Burgundy. Whereas many California Pinot is made to drink younger. Somewhere in between, in my experience, is New Zealand. Particularly Central Otago – lean, powerful, but still a bit of sexiness and accessible fruit. This week, there are two Kiwi Pinots that I purchase in most vintages:

rua2015 Avarua Rua Pinot Noir #295592 $27.95 is one of the Central Otago Pinots that I think is proper to very good value at this price. It is typical as described above but also has some herbal stuff. I’ve had this vintage and it’s a beaut but could use some more time to develop or a bit of a breather. Nothing better than to know that there is a good Pinot Noir nestled down below and waiting for a good screw……Corkscrew, that is.

2013 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Pinot Noir #361246 $31.95 is from the North island. This is more typical of Pinot with cherries, some earthiness, and a nice lip smacking finish. I have not had this vintage so can’t recommend the proper time to swill. Highly recommended just the same.

Untasted but of interest:

2010 Viña Real Reserva #094896 $21.95 I think I’ve had this vintage but can’t find any record of it. This is typically a very good example of a Rioja Reserva at this price point. Cellaring capacity but good now too. And, you will really impress your guests with a bottle or two of this and some meaty lamb or pork.

2013 Borgo Scopeto Borgonero #421396 $19.95 Had this in the 2009 and 2010 vintage then we lost contact. I blame myself really as I misplaced her email, FaceBook, Twitter, Snapchat, ……..addresses. But, now we stumble into each other. In those earlier vintages this was a big Toscana, full bodied with great bones. As I re-read my notes, I’m thinking that I quaffed those earlier vintages way too soon. So, let’s see if I can control my urges and leave one or two of these down below for a few years. But, I will have to drink one this week.

That’s it. Sorry for the delay. Have a great week – we are heading to the lake for some work, sun, food, and drink.

Cheers

Bill

 

#WBC16 – Serious Business? #SundaySips

21 Aug

The 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC16) was held last week. It’s a big deal where wine bloggers get to meet their virtual wine buddies in the flesh, drink wine together and talk wine and the art of the blog. This year it was held in Lodi. So, tastings, tours, etc. were of that region. Did I mention you drink wine together?

This shouldn’t be construed as indicating that wine bloggers have their shit together. Bloggers are a bit troubled and conflicted.

Let me explain. Most people practicing the genre (always wanted to use that word), started by enjoying wine, being interested in learning more about wine, educating themselves and/or taking some formal structured learning, perhaps getting into the trade, and then being encouraged by delusional loved ones and friends (in my case, imaginary) to write a blog.

UmBut, here’s the challenge that we face. Wine bloggers are needy. We mistakenly think that we want to be taken seriously. We really do want a lot of ‘follows’, daily stats, even if we deny it. We might write for ourselves (so, we say) but it’s nice to know that we’re not whistling in the wilderness, isn’t it? Did anyone out there follow my suggestion to buy some 2010 Chateau Obscure? Damn, didn’t think so. We want our opinion heard and weighed. And, yes, followed – at least once in awhile. But, there’s the rub. We want all that but we don’t want to be viewed as ‘them’. You know who I’m talking about.

I took an informal poll and discovered that there are 1 billion wine drinkers on the planet (survey results have a 95% confidence level plus or minus half a billion people). And wine isn’t any more important to most of them than having an aquarium, sorting their sock drawer, and/or Bob Ross’ Still Life with Apple.. Oh, we wine geeks would like to think that most people, if given the chance to experience a vintage DRC or Ch. Haut-Brion, would come over to the dark side and ‘get into wine big time’. They’d be like, “Yes, I love, love, luuuuuve, the finish on that d’Yquem.” They’d argue the benefits of Stelvin closures. I am not shitting you – there is a debate about closures. They’d be more like us. Validate our obsession. But, aah, I’m thinking that they really wouldn’t. They really, really don’t care that much.

So, that leaves bloggers talking to bloggers, casual wine drinkers who, remember, don’t really care, and friends who are too rude to unsubscribe.

awesomBut, how does that compare to serious wine scribes? You know the names: Parker, Molesworth? Well, most bloggers truly don’t care about having that kind of Klout score. And yet, we’d like just a little more than we currently have. What blogger wouldn’t like his/her name on a shelf talker. “Duffs Wines Recommended.” I used to think that I’d love to see that. Even better, a case of wine that I recommended in a friend’s cellar. Bloggers want people to value their experiences and opinions. Who wouldn’t?

But wait a minute my blogger friends. If we did – have that much power, that is. We would be forced to do the unthinkable. Get deadly serious about wine. I mean Sauternes versus Barsac serious. Be held accountable (I’m too old to be held accountable, BTW). We would be more obnoxious than we already are. We would spit more before noon than we drink before noon now. Speaking personally here, that’s a lot of spitting. We would be subjected to full eight hour days of tasting hundreds of wines – enjoying none of them. Plus, think about having to come up with new esoteric aroma and flavour descriptors. How else to explain Maduro tobacco and fig paste?

I’m not sure I could handle it. So, although saying this is totally unnecessary, “You don’t have to take me seriously”. I know that with a few exceptions………actually, without exception, I don’t take the bloggers I follow very seriously either. I just simply really enjoy them, thanks.

That brings us back to WBC 16. I wish I could have been there. I’d love to spend time with some of my social media and wine writing peeps. I’d like to be surprised by who they really are. I might surprise some of them with my substandard singing voice and misplaced sense of self-importance (hence, this self-indulgent ramble). And we would never be serious. Well, with the exception of the closure debate. Wouldn’t that be great?

Like a Leafs’ fan, I will just say, “Maybe next year.”

Cheers.

Bill

Hip’s Last Stand – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

18 Aug

A great version of this song. This Saturday marks the final concert of the Tragically Hip. It’s being streamed live from their home of Kingston, Ontario on CBC television, cbc.ca, CBC Music, and CBC Radio 1 & 2. I think locally they are playing it on a big screen in Victoria Park. Worth a watch with, I’m sure, hipa wet eye. And what better wine to get a bit blurry on than 2013 The Tragically Hip Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red #411595 $24.95 . This wine is made by Stoney Ridge Winery near Jordan with the help of the Hip. I’m getting a few just for keepers for down below. They may become those wines that you keep too long because you can’t bring yourself to open them. You never want to say good bye. Not really wanting to say goodbye to The Hip either.

asoresI know nothing about rugby other than the Super Seven rugby at the Olympics was fast and a little scary, actually. Those guys from Fiji are massive and wicked fast! One of France’s rugby heroes is Gérard Betrand. I understand that rugby is yuuuuge in France and this guy was one of its national stars. Now, he owns a substantial winery in Languedoc. I’m always recommending his stuff. I feel so safe in picking up a bottle of his juice – never had a bad one. His 2013 Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Aspres Grenache/Mourvédre/Syrah #413245 $18.95 is still available in most locations. It’s surprisingly light in mouthfeel. This makes it a perfect red for the summer with apps or lightish BBQ – chicken, fish. Look for his Corbieres and his rosé which hit Vintages shelves Saturday. If I remember, I’ll talk about them next time.

ghmOpened a bottle of the 2008 Hacienda Molleda GHM Garnacha #442756 $19.25 the other night and had to send out emails to friends telling them to run out and get a couple bottles. This is a red from Cariñena in Spain – an under appreciated and underrepresented wine region on these shores. You’d think with a hot climate, this wine would be over ripe and bearing some heat from the alcohol (14.5% ABV). But, nope. It’s smooth, cool, and has a great sandalwood finish that I love. If you dig Iberian reds, this is a must try. Plus, take a good look at the label. The words Garnacha in the form of a cross emblem, an arrow on the neck of the bottle, silver lettering, three simple letters representing the Latin phrase grapus holium magi. Cryptic? I believe that I could craft a novel based on a religious puzzle on a bottle of wine that leads through a complex web of intrigue featuring ancient winemakers, a little known monastic order of killer priests, a cathedral connected to ancient texts, and a simple wine blogger turned unwilling hero. Yeah, I think that might work. But who will play me? Stay tuned.

oatleyI don’t recommend a lot of Aussie wine. I think because I don’t drink as much as I used to. And, I think that I’ve lost touch with who the players are, what the flavour profile trends are, etc. and just pick up other stuff. But, when I see Robert Oatley’s name on a label, I instinctively grab it. In particular, their Signature Series is consistently great value. The 2014 Robert Oatley Signature Series Shiraz #460907 $19.95 is no exception. Although I like my Shiraz (see Zonte’s Footsteps) a little more reserved than most, this Barossa take is fine with me. The reason? It’s got loads that front the weight. It isn’t just big for big’s sake. Dark stuff, including a meaty thing, very balanced, herbal and lip smacking finish. Beautiful. The Signature Series Chardonnay is special as well.

Here we go again. I’m pimping Tawse. The 2014 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling #089029 $18.20 is a mid-weight off-dry Riesling that has enough acid to get you to forget any lingering sweetness. It’s citrus, mouth-watering and perfect for swilling on a hot late summer night under the Perseid meteor shower or, in the case of city folk, under the ubiquitous halogen glow of streetlights. Tasty.

zuccardiZuccardi makes the scorned, yet, hugely successful Fuzion. They also make other labels which make you forget Fuzion – good stuff. The Serie A is one of those. This 2014 Zuccardi Serie A Chardonnay/Viognier #262097 $16.95 is fresh with tropical fruit all the way through to a puckery finish. Not ‘bad’ puckery – as in, “Man, that pure lemon juice is puckery!” but ‘good’ puckery, as in ………..well, I don’t have a good puckery quote but maybe you get the idea. Oak if you really look for it.

Cheers.

Bill

 

 

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