Archive | December, 2012

Best of the Daily Slosh 2012: Sparkling and Rosé

31 Dec
The final of my year-end review, I haven’t been thirsty much in 2012! Here I take a look at the best of bubbly time.  Don’t forget to check out my reds and whites Best of the Daily Slosh.
  1. NV Nino Franco Rustico Valdobbiadenne Prosecco – If you drink bubbly much, you probably drink prosecco from time to time, or all the time. And, if you drink prosecco, you probably have had Nino Franco – it has a cool cross-hatch symbol on the bottle. Here is a nice Nino Franco – NV Nino Franco Rustico Valdobbiadenne Prosecco (#277574 $1795). This is more substantial in flavour and mouth feel than the regular Nino Franco. Great with seafood as they suggest. It’s actually quite neat to drink sparkly with a meal and this one would be a great candidate. Brunch?
  1. NV Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne – I’ve made consistent recommendations on this wine and several very similar ones. The NV Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne (#048793 $18.95). What could be better than a rosé sparkler for $18.95 ? Well, don’t get started because there’s that small red convertible, a paid off mortgage, a less boring job, and a negative CAT scan. All that aside, this is really nice with sufficient weight to share with some light seafood or shellfish. Always time for bubbly!
  1. 2010 Famille Perrin Tavel Rosé – The other rosé is from a stalwart producer in the Rhone – the 2010 Famille Perrin Tavel Rosé (#680801 $19.95). This is a more complex, drier, more full-bodied wine than the Carte Noir. Chill it with seafood or even grilled meats. If you like red wine and haven’t tried rosé for a while, this is the one to start with. And, if you haven’t come across les fils Perrin, stay tuned.
  1. 2011 Carte Noir Les Maitres Vignerons Saint-Tropez – Enjoy the south of France with a glass of rosé and pick up a bottle of 2011 Carte Noir Les Maitres Vignerons Saint-Tropez (#319384 $14.95). I recommended this last year too. The bottle is pretty neat and gives the impression of the wine – fun. I believe that Brigitte Bardot lived in Saint-Tropez when she was, well, really hot. Maybe as un hommage to Brigitte, you could chill a bottle of this and serve with roast endangered species, carpaccio di baby seal?

Best of the Daily Slosh 2012: White

31 Dec
If you missed my Best of 2012 for Reds, click here.  Otherwise, here is the best of for whites. Enjoy!
  1. 2010 Michel Delhommeau Cuvée Harmonie Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine – Every so often I recommend a muscadet and by feedback, I’ve not always hit a home run. However, I think that the 2010 Michel Delhommeau Cuvée Harmonie Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine (#164624 $12.95) will please. Briny, crisp, the perfect match for simply prepared seafood on a patio while skipping work (including BB off).
  1. 2011 Wither Hills Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc – I’ve recommended many New Zealand sauvignon blancs. They seldom disappoint. The 2011 Wither Hills Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc (#919514 $17.95) is one of the better priced ones and just as satisfying as the more hefty ones. Yes, I love these fresh, vibrant and robust wines. A kind of combination of Anita Ekberg, Mamie Van Doren…….Dagmar….but not confidential. Did I mention the music/wine continuum?
  1. 2011 Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling – Every year when this wine comes out, I suggest that you run to the store and pick up a bunch. And, I know of many who have and rejoiced. Now, 2011 was a variable year in Niagara and only good, patient winemaker’s will have excelled. This is one of those winemakers2011 Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling (#578635 $19.95). It’s not surreal but I’m breton that you’ll love it. It’s as good as riesling gets in Niagara for this price.
  1. 2011 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling – A repeat recommendation is in order – 2011 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling (#262469 $19.95). A lovely riesling that goes with just about anything other than burnt meat, a good pre-dinner sipper, stand arounder, before bed medicinal dose, and/or pre-breakfast hair of the dog.
  1. 2009 Simi Chardonnay – At the wine tasting this week, someone asked about creamy chardonnays. This week, there’s a pretty good example – 2009 Simi Chardonnay #673806 $19.95. Not an over the top buttery chard but one that is mid-weight with nice fruit and creaminess just the same. I get this each year for the “one that must be obeyed”.

Best of the Daily Slosh 2012: Red

31 Dec

At this time of year, we reflect on the past twelve months, make promises about the next twelve, and get hammered a bit more than we’d care to admit. In that spirit (the reflecting part) I’d like to offer up Duff’s Best of 2012.

These choices and entries were pulled from my regular newsletters and your feedback, initial calculations were made on the back of an envelope (yes, I still use real mail), logarithms were developed to create unbiased selections, and then I chose the ones that I wanted to. Well, I listened to you too.

2012 Best of Daily Slosh Red  

  1. 2006 Sasso Al Poggio When I recommend Toscana reds, you love them and I feel the love when you do. This week, there’s a special one that was named #60 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2011. The 2006 Sasso Al Poggio (#134809 $18.95) is a “stunner”. Well, that may be hyperbole (and awfully UK) but you get the point – it’s damn fine. Now, who would like this wine? I’d say that if you like your wine a little dirty (not psychotic and sad Britney Spears-dirty but Sarah Silverman-dirty – good dirty, if that makes sense. If not, forget the ramble), not heavy (Britney redux) and with loads of personality – then, this is for you. Seriously, it is a full-bodied wine with loads going on and all in the right balance. The winery web site says to serve with matured cheeses and game.
  1. 2007 Beronia Reserva – Spain has brought us special things – Paella, Flamenco, Coca Cola, Chess, Penélope Cruz and wine! We can discuss the other things over a glass of Sherry but on the wine front, maybe there’s nothing more Spanish than Rioja. The 2007 Beronia Reserva (#050203 $18.95) is a great example of Rioja Reserva – smooth, balanced, and quirky good. Love Muga? Love LAN? You’ll love this! And, it’s cheaper.
  1. 2009 Brancaia Tre – I was in Providence, Rhode Island last week visiting our son and just couldn’t leave him with lousy wine. What caring father would do that?  So, I wandered to the local and picked up a bottle of 2009 Brancaia Tre for him. And, what do I see this week in our LCBO release but Brancaia Tre, a Super Tuscan. It just keeps getting spookier. FYI, a Super Tuscan isn’t a mild-mannered Florentine news reporter. One, two, three……It’s a consumer term for a Tuscan wine made outside of the traditional DOC or DOCG rules. Typically, it uses cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and/or merlot to a greater extent than normally allowed in Chianti, Brunello, Rosso di Montalcino, or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and usually is labeled as an IGT (Indacazione Geografica Tipica) and, sometimes, Toscana. This one – 2009 Brancaia Tre (#164715 $22.95) has a good dose of cabernet sauvignon and merlot along with sangiovese and is understated and delicate. I love this stuff! This was offered a few months ago and vanished within minutes. Did I say that I love this stuff? Take your time with it, savour it, and think about the warm Tuscan sun that produced this beauty.
  1. 2010 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec – While we’re discussing malbec, you need to pick up a bottle of 2010 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec (#079798 $19.95). This is a full-bodied malbec that has integrated oak and lots of fruit to enjoy. Susana Balbo makes some wine under her name, like this one, but also consults with many malbec growers and vintners in Argentina. She’s one very busy Argentinean. But don’t cry for her……………cause O Susana don’t cry for me.
  1. 2006 Hecht and Bannier (H&B) Côtes du Roussillon-Villages – A great wine from the south of France made by a superior winery is the 2006 Hecht and Bannier (H&B) Côtes du Roussillon-Villages (#142802). The St.-Chinian by H&B was also spectacular. These guys continue to turn out fabulous wines, typical of this region. E. Robert Parker’s wine critic in Roussillon says of this wine, “…….you don’t have to believe in the efficacy of geological underpinnings to recognize the dazzling complexity and uncanny balance on display here.” Phew! I have had sleepless nights worrying that my lack of belief in the efficacy of geological underpinnings was getting in the way of me recognizing dazzling complexity and uncanny balance. Anyone else with me?
  1. 2008 The Watcher Shiraz – For the Aussie lovers, there’s a wonderful shiraz that’s been recommended here before. The 2008 The Watcher Shiraz (#219196 $19.95). Chewy? You bet. Made by Fetish Winery. So, this wine goes well with hand cuffs, feather ticklers, lace, and small rodents (kidding on the rodents, of course!). It’s also recognized as #51 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010. Pick up a bottle and see if they were right.


Wine Cheer and Tidings: for the Wine Lovers on Your List

13 Dec

This time of year, we struggle to get ideas for those that we love, like, work with and like, work with and don’t like (but have to buy for), and relatives. Suppose they like wine a lot. Here’s some suggestions and remember play it safe don’t drink (too much) and decorate!

Books, subscriptions and cool websites
A book that looks at the vine in a way that wine geeks need apply is How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto ( $16.92) by Eric Asimov, New York Times chief wine critic. Ontario wine writer, Natalie MacLean has been busy with her latest book, Unquenchable (, $14.40), a worthy sequel to her best seller Red, White, and Drunk All Over.

No to both of these worthy suggestions, then I’d suggest a wine web site subscription. Building a cellar? ($99 per annum). Just starting to get more than a little crazy about wine? She is not only busy with books, but is a relaxed and fun approach, even if a bit heavy on the ads ($24.95 per annum). Looking for the Canadian perspective? (it’s free! But they don’t have to know).

Have a traditionalist on the list? Consider opting for a magazine subscription. Wine Spectator is expensive at $80.00 a year,  but it is quality and maybe your beneficiary is worth it! I am a big fan of Wine and Spirits, ($39.95 per annum), it is very educational even if in a cursory way. I also love the Wine Enthusiast, ($29.95 per annum) for its recommendations, and travel and dining features.

Wine Cellar Maintenance 

What about the person who has a large wine collection, but no organization or tracking? An online subscription to CellarTracker is beautiful and a fun time.  It helps you build a database of your cellar including drinking windows, reviews and other tracker’s tasting notes.   For $36 per year for up to 499 bottles, it’s good value and a lot of fun. Did I already mention that?

Wine Glasses and Paraphernalia
Wine glasses are always cool and a wine lover likes to think that the glass is über important. Riedel has the best name recognition in wine glasses. They have grape specific glasses – so, glasses for pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, etc. They also have generic red and white glasses. They say, “I didn’t buy you a set, just two because you know how damn expensive these are.” Available at most good kitchen and dinnerware stores. Priced anywhere from $25 to $55 a glass plus.  Similarly priced glasses from Eisch are breathable and aerate the wine as it sits in the glass. I’m not kidding, it works and is cool. Also varietal specific, or generic. Both are available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Got all of that covered? Then, I’d recommend some wine geek paraphernalia. I would argue the best corkscrews are from Laguiole ($24.95 to $180+) at Rosehill Wine Cellars and many kitchen gadget stores. A less expensive but very good sommelier’s cork screw is offered by Trudeau. Do not, I repeat, do not get one of those rabbit ear things, they break. Got a Laguiole or Trudeau? Get a Vacu Vin to preserve leftover wine in the bottle. I know, I know, there shouldn’t be any left. But, let’s just make believe that you drink less than a full bottle at a sitting.

Best Holiday Cheer
What about something to drink? It goes without saying that you can’t go wrong with a good bottle of the vino. Wine is always a hit.

Upper price range: Bordeaux from (’08, ’09), Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Napa Cabernet, Red Burgundy.  Best bets: Pian Della Vigne #651141 $59.95, Ascheri Pisapola Barolo #739920 $42.95, Freemark Abbey #904532 $39.95, Roche de Bellene Vieilles Vignes Gevrey-Chambertin #240424 $44.95.

Mid price range – Spanish Rioja, Niagara Pinot Noir, Italian Ripasso Valpolicella, Tuscan, Côtes du Rhone. Best bets: Muga Reserva #177345 $23.95), Flat Rock Pinot Noir #1545 $19.95, Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore #910430 $22.95,  Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico #606541 $19.95, Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Villages #321539 $18.95.

Lower price range: Argentinean Malbec, Niagara Red, Rhone again, Chilean Red.  Best bets: Trapiche Broquel Malbec #234385 $14.95, Creekside Shiraz #66654 $15.95, La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux #2636640 $11.90, anything from Casillero del Diablo @ $12.95.

Upper price range: White Burgundy, California Chardonnay. Best bets: Domaine Latour-Giraud Cuvee Maxime Charles Meusault #299784 $44.95, Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay #1537 $65.95.

Mid price range: German Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Ontario Chardonnay. Best bets: Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling Dry #295923 $19.95, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc #35386 $16.95 on sale!,  Malivoire Chardonnay #573147 $19.95.

Lower price range:  Italian Pinot Grigio, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, Niagara Riesling. Best bets: Bollini Pinot Grigio Trevento #951319 $16.95,  Casillero del Diablo #578641 $9.95, Cave Spring Riesling Dry #233635 $14.95.

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