Prince and the Red Daily Slosh

1 Mar

LibertySchoolSyrahLast week, I found myself dazzled and bewildered (not uncommon for me) in the middle of an aisle at Total Wine in Naples, Florida. The place is overwhelming with, well, wine –  5,000 labels! I wanted to get a good-to-great California syrah to bring home because we seldom get them up here in Canada. After an hour and a half, I landed on a suitable one. Why tell this story? Well, there’s a syrah on the shelves this week from California that’s a good bet for casual dining – 2010 Liberty School Syrah (#942383 $18.95). You’ve all seen and probably tried the Liberty School brand. Its fun, easy to drink too much of (what wine isn’t?), and reasonably priced. Their aforementioned (used that word everyday for 28 years and never since before today, baby) house style is reflected in this syrah as well while bringing typical spice and black fruit. I think that you’ll like it for sipping but better with food – like a steak as suggested. Brainwave! Try this and an Australian shiraz, perhaps the 2009 Rolf Binder Ma I? Have This Evening Shiraz/Mataro (#295899 $19.95) of about the same price to see how different approaches to the same grape and different regional influences reap different results. But, you’ll see that there will remain some consistent flavour stuff, as in spice and black fruits. Plus, that’s two bottles instead of one and that’s always better.

Cave de RasteauI heard a while back from readers that they’d had a lovely Rasteau with lamb. This week there is a very well-priced Rasteau on the shelves – 2010 Cave de Rasteau La Domelière Rasteau (#222927 $15.95). OK, “what the heck is a Rasteau?” you ask. A hoarse Homer Simpson? No. A swollen hallux? No. Time’s up – it’s a village in the Southern Rhone. Wines that qualify, carry the village name as a way of distinguishing it from another village, say, Gingondas. Lesson over. Wine geekiness aside, it’s a more specific term for Cotes-du-Rhone-like wines. You love Cotes-du-Rhone. I know you do. This is full of berry fruit with loads of regional herbal flavours. I believe the proper wine term is ‘yummy’.

BonterraPinot noir has become the grape of choice for many. Much of this has to do with the California scene creating what I’d say is atypical pinot noir – somewhat sweet, dense wines. I’m hoping that this will result in a backlash and California pinot noir will undergo the re-think that chardonnay has had in the last few years – subtling up and being more reflective of the Burgundian style. While we wait, why not grab a Cali PN like 2010 Bonterra Pinot Noir (#317685 $19.95), a pinot that doesn’t have the sweetness or heaviness of the culprits aforementioned (again!). Plus, it’s organically farmed by the Fetzer folks – drink as much as you like – it’s good for you. Great strawberries and medium body but don’t be fooled there’s substance to this wine. Love to hear what you think of it.

I always suggest a comparison tasting when possible and this time, I think that you should also pick up the 2008 Kacaba Wismer Vineyard Pinot Noir (#058586 $22.95) to see what approach you prefer. This is a much more robust wine. It’s not chewy-robust but has interest and power. Vic Harradine from says that the wine has a “good sense of purpose”. That is just such a great way to describe this wine. Brilliant. It’s sense of purpose is your pleasure. I’m not sure the description outdoes my ‘yummy’ aforementioned but….

Years ago, it was the norm for wines from southern Italy to be a bit coarse and ‘rustic’ (which is a nice way of saying coarse, again) – swathed in a wicker basket redolent of eau de barnyard and plus de pucker? It had something to do with the limited number of wines that we imported from there but also with the attendance to a broader market appeal that these winemakers exercised – none. Southern Italy’s journey up the quality scale mirrors the evolution of several countries’ wine trade – Argentina being the first one that jumps to my addled mind. For the past decade, these same wines have evolved into wines that fit our palate a lot more. The 2008 Aldiano Montepulciano d’Abruzzi Riserva (#051706 $17.95) is a smooth ready-to-drink Italian country wine – no harsh tannins, good acidity, and some funk – not George Clinton funk – more like Prince funk.

One Response to “Prince and the Red Daily Slosh”


  1. Previously Unexplored Wineries – Kacaba Vineyards and Winery | Duff's Wines - June 14, 2013

    […] Several months ago I posted on a Kacaba pinot noir. and, the reds at Kacaba seem to be attracting much loftier attention as evidenced by their many awards, including, drum roll please………….a gold just this year, from Decanter – the 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc. Well, I’m not talking about that vintage except to say that I thought it was really closed and inaccessible for an amateur like me – in the years ahead, I’m trusting that the medal was well earned – just too soon for me to tell what things might become. I did try the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc @$44.95 as well. This wine is no slouch in the accolades department winning at Cuvee in 2011. Now, the 2007 wine is accessible – still maybe benefiting some time in bottle, glass or decanter to get maximum enjoyment; but, I’m loving it now. Cabernet Franc does well in Niagara for a reason I’ll leave for another post (read: I have no idea why) and may be the best Bordeaux varietal to go solo from here. The 2007 had a ton of spiciness and dirty fruit that might put some people off but not me. I’m going to put this down below until at least 2015 to see what develops. […]


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