Archive | May, 2013

Groovy Baby It’s Chardonnay Day – The White Daily Slosh

23 May

groovyI couldn’t resist this White Daily Slosh. I have never tried it, have never seen it, but I’m madly in love with the name. When I was a child there was a nursery rhyme called Solomon Grundy. Say it with me – Solomon Grundy born on Monday, Christened on Tuesday, etc., etc. through to Solomon’s unfortunate demise on Saturday. Not sure of the origin, meaning or purpose of this somewhat depressing rhyme. We are born only to be buried on Sunday? Life’s a bitch and then you’re dead? Let us know if you are eccentric enough to know the meaning of this tale. Anyway, I was returned to those childhood memories when I saw the 2012 Salomon Groovy Grüner Veltliner #669606 $13.95. I mean how much fun can you have with that name? “Would you like another glass of Groovy, sir?” “Oooh, beeehave.” I can’t speak to this exact wine, vintage et al but will provide you with a little background on Grüner Veltliner via another blog – Restaurant Uprising. Suffice it to say that Grüner Veltliner is not a mid-fielder for Bayern Munich but a hip white grape (apparently, the nickname for Grüner Veltliner is ‘Groovy’). The reviews I’ve found for this particular wine make it sound perfect to serve with a light meal and Simon and Garfunkel. Be Groovy! Are those Ray-Bans on the salmon?

domainelecomteThe 2011 Domaine Lecomte Quincy #172528 $18.95 ain’t Sancerre but it’s close both geographically and experience-wise. It’s crisp, food-friendly and spicy, It’s not your New World Sauvignon Blanc but more restrained. This doesn’t mean it isn’t full of fruit flavours (apples, citrus) and couldn’t satisfy your need for a white to accompany dinner. It could carry seafood as suggested in the review or even something more full-bodied. I even think it could do battle with something spicy. If you love Sancerre, pick this up as a substitute and see what you think.

silenisbOh, remember that New World Sauvignon Blanc that I just mentioned? Yup, there’s a good one on the shelves this weekend too. The 2012 Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc #662882 $17.95 has all the Kiwi fruit that we’ve become accustomed to but maybe not big gooseberries. That’s not actual kiwi fruit, as in fuzzy little brown things, but Kiwi as in New Zealand. So, some tropical scents and tastes and a kind of greenness too. It isn’t shy but neither is it over-the-top. I think it strikes a great balance – perfect for gossiping and noshing.

cannonballSo, what is Thursday, May 23rd? Yes, we all know – the birthdays of Drew Carey and Rosemary Clooney (yes, I had to Google it just like you just tried to do). But what else? Why It is Chardonnay Day – a day when all people of the world celebrate the great white grape. When chardonnay farmers, vintners and drinkers alike put down their instruments of toil and industry and pour themselves a glass of oakey or unoaked, twist cap or corked (not corked as in smelling bad – but sealed with a cork) chardonnay. It’s a pretty big day around our house. Streamers, Reidel chard glasses, corksicles, goody bags, music performed live by k.d. lang, the biggest chardonnay hound in all Canada and a big friend of Duffswines! Yes, we celebrate it. But what to drink? Meursault? No, I’m waiting for the centennial of Chardonnay Day for that stuff. Mer Soliel? No, too heavy for just pounding back and dancing like no one is watching. What about 2010 Cannonball Chardonnay #311563 $20.95? When in doubt, Cannonball! This is a mid-sized chardonnay. Oh, it’s oakey – so oak-a-philes need to get a few. But, not in the spirit of hiding all the good stuff. There’s lots of true fruit from the chardonnay grape – apples, maybe a bit of pineapple too. It’s a perfect way to celebrate Chardonnay Day which by the time you read this will be over. So, timing doesn’t have to be everything. The label is great on this one as well.

Malbecs Face Off – Red Daily Slosh

23 May

plandeddieuIf you’ve been playing along at home, you know that I love the reds from the southern Rhone. I love the reds from the northern Rhone too but budgets are budgets and I share a Visa account with Arlene. This week, there’s another great value from the southern Rhone – 2010 La Gravillas Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhone-Villages #264648 $14.95.  This is a typical Côtes du Rhone. They say ‘meaty’, I say full-bodied and providing a bit of smoke and muscle. This is the perfect backyard grilling wine. If you burn it, they will come. I have been recommending another product from this producer to great acclaim. But, frankly it is a little more expensive and not anymore satisfying than this. If you are a Côtes fan and who isn’t, buy a bunch of these and save for that special occasion – sorting your sock drawer, balancing the cheque book (does anyone out there have a cheque book anymore?), or completing the build of the shed at the cottage (Note to Self: Include personal insights to develop relationships with readers).

lyonnatLast week, a friend shared his last 1999 Château Leoville-Barton with me. It was nothing short of orgasmic (his words). So if I love Bordeaux so much why do I seldom recommend a Bordeaux as Daily Slosh? Why? They are usually too expensive to qualify as ‘daily’ unless you’re an investment banker or baseball player. I also don’t try many reasonably-priced Bordeaux because I fear that I’ll find out that I can get my Bordeaux buzz for $19.95, when I’ve ploughed my children’s inheritance, pitiful as it is, into futures? Well, I took a leap of faith and tasted a Bordeaux priced at $19.95 and it altered my opinion and will impact my approach going forward – more Bordeaux in the Daily Slosh! Maybe it is the age, given it’s a 2006 (a vintage that holds a lot of value compared to the vintage preceding it), but I was pleasantly surprised and excited – the 2006 Château Lyonnat #243774 $19.95 – a well balanced red with softness that makes it a Bordeaux ready to drink now with grilled meats, lamb stews, even barbecue burgers – which is a grilled meat! This is primarily Merlot (according to their web site) and shows you what France does with Merlot that others can’t quite duplicate. If you want to know what the Bordeaux fuss is about, skip the futures and pick this up. It ain’t Chateau Leoville-Barton but…. If you experience a Bordeaux find, please share it with us.

terrazasIt’s been months since we did a Malbec-off. So, drum roll please. In this corner, a favourite at this house wearing an understated label, 2010 Terrazas de Los Andes Reserva #029280 $17.95. This is nothing if not consistently hot and stylish. By that I mean the wine has some alcohol front and centre and isn’t shameless like many other malbecs – you know the ones – all flabby and dripping in their vanilla, boasting fruit with little structure or food friendliness. This has a vein of acid and tannins that gives it an Old(er) World feel for me. I like it a lot. Traditional Argentinean meaty fare would be great with this.

chakanaIn the other corner, in the black label with a hieroglyphic-styled depiction of God-knows-what is the 2011 Chakana Estate Selection Malbec #219261 #19.95. Where the opponent stands tall and hits with fruit and power, the Chakana bobs and weaves about the ring – lighter on it’s feet. That doesn’t mean that the Chakana is without definition or punch (yes the metaphor continues). It’s just bringing more finesse, maturity and subtlety to the ring. This could be a stand around wine; your company saying, “Where did you get this?” “You are brilliant.”

Daily Slosh Reflections – I’ve been re-introduced to some of my past recommendations lately. Taken a second swig, as it were. I want to mention my second take on the 2011 Domaine des Marrans Fleurie #324897 $19.95. I spoke about this great example of a cru Beaujolais a few weeks back. It’s bursting with fruit and still bringing more other stuff (complexity, the herbs of the region, I guess) to your experience. Perfect backyard wine. Love it still. And, if you click on the link, I believe you’ll find that there’s still some out there, Grant.marrans

Nino and Brigitte Bardot – Bubbly and Pink

21 May

Topic – Brinkmanship and the LCBO Averted Strike

Talk Amongst Yourselves

minofrancoActually, we could better spend our time considering the upcoming summer and what we’ll need to suffer through hot days, sun-baked skin, and many people dropping in to plunder our stock. What better way to enjoy summer than sipping on a simple, middle-of-the-road sparkling wine? To me that means chilly prosecco.  Nothing too full-bodied or complex – simple (said that already), flavourful and bubbling with energy. This week, NV Nino Franco Brut Valdobbiedene Prosecco Superiore #349662 $19.95  arrives. This is a super consistent and dependable prosecco. How do we say that? Is it Pro…sec-co emphasis on the first syllable and soft ‘e’ or pro-seec-co with emphais on the middle syllable but a hard ‘e’ or, and this is the last one that I’ve heard, a run on until the emphasis on the last syllable. Let me know how you pronounce it, sans cheating with Google or I pronounce it fabulous for hot days and sushi and hope I don’t sound too un-Italian. Well, hell, I’m not Italian and will always sound like a Canadian, eh. No apologies. So, while you’re ooout and abooout, pick a few of these up.

Last time out, I talked about rosé and it’s match to particular situations. Well, we are in luck and since you didn’t run out and buy a bunch from the last post (Lisa excluded), get ready, set, go – this week there’s another Tavel that rivals the one that I recommended last time (Domaine Maby, which I’m having as we type) – 2011 Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé #739474 $16.95 carteressesis a bit fuller and cheaper than the Maby from last week (more stuffing in the Carteresses, I feel). Remember, Tavel is the reddest of pinks and this one brings loads of red fruit flavour and punch. This is a regular of these pages most vintages and I hope you grab a bottle or two. This would work as a dinner wine with fish – grilled as is the norm in the summer, salads, or lightly seasoned chicken barbecue.

cartenoireLast vintage (2011), I went on about this wine in connection with my fascination with Brigitte Bardot. Was there ever a more iconic blonde bombshell than Brigitte (picture below). Last year, I said, and I quote, “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?” We have the 2012 vintage this week. I have not had this vintage but given the weather/climate in 2012 in Provence and the reviews I’ve read, I’m thinking the Maitres Vignerons couldn’t have screwed this up.  So, get out the pad and scratch this down or highlight this on your smartphone. Pick up the 2012 Carte Noire Rosé Les Mâitres Vignerons Saint-Tropez #319384 $15.95. They call for pork and chicken skewers in the review but I’m thinking that could be a bit too heavy depending on the seasoning. Stay with something light and salty, like fish kabobs, shrimp appetizers, or calamari.


Sunday Read: Re: Wine Tasting is Bullshit

20 May

Great discussion in the links provided. Thanks.

the winegetter

The other day, I came across the blog post I am linking to at the end of this article. I had not seen the post that triggered this response, but it made me read the initial post as well. You can find the initial post here, in which a Robert T. Gonzalez explains why, in his opinion, wine tasting is BS. I guess the title ensured that the hits on his blog increased a lot…hell, I even helped him if you clicked the link.

Here is Gonzalez’ premise (roughly and subjectively summarized): Wine tasting produces different results according to the taster, tasters are stupid, and wine critics know that tasting is BS.

I read Gonzalez’ article and just thought: Yeah, pretty much everyone knows these issues. But that is not what it is about. Tasting is not about reaching scientific results. And we all know what we do has…

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3 Rosés For The Dock – Oops 4 Rosés

10 May

Sunset July 2_4

What says summer better than rosé? It’s not summer yet but you might as well get stocked up.

tawseroseWhen I saw this wine in its 2012 iteration, I jumped. Actually I ‘jumped’ at the chance to grab a bunch. At our cottage in Muskoka (I’ve put a very enticing sunset picture taken from our dock – God’s Country we call it), we like warm weather sippers. This wine – 2012 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé #172643 $15.95 is a great hot weather rosé. Sit by the water, discuss agricultural chemical run-off, the disappearance of those big bass that you caught as a child and have a couple bottles of this. This wine is strawberries (strawberry jamish?) with a hint of acidity and maybe lemon after its gone down. Have this with appetizers worthy of the sunset or earlier on the dock, under the sun with friends and argument.


MabyEvery year I have the same problem. I don’t want to recommend this Tavel – I don’t want to be so darn predictable. The 2012 Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel Rosé #701318 $16.95 is a traditional Tavel. What is that, you say? It’s a fuller bodied rosé and one of the best things that comes out of the southern Rhone. I read a short article on-line at that suggests Tavel is the reddest pink you’ll ever drink. The geology provides the wine with ‘more grip’. Not sure I fully understand that but this wine is indeed approaching full-bodied-ness. The 2012 is as advertised. It’s got loads of pop, dry as a bone, and hints at a sense of the land or some other herbal kind of thing that just sets it apart and says, “Hey, I’m southern French, monsieur”. Have food with this – maybe where you’d normally grab a pinot noir, as suggested in the article.


levequeAgain, I return to an old friend but the newest vintage – 2012 Château La Tour de L’Évèque Rosé #319312 $18.95 is a less substantial wine, as in body, than that from Tavel. But, sometimes we like the lean type – if not there wouldn’t be any roles for Lara Flynn Boyle, would there? If you haven’t had rosé from Provence with fresh tomatoes and herbs while on a sailboat anchored in the azure Mediterranean under an afternoon sky, too bad. It may be the one experience that I have up on you. These wines are iconic and this particular bottle, although not the cool shape that it used to be, is a great representation of Provence wines. Where the Tawse has a strong red fruit presence, this one is a bit darker fruit-wise with floral stuff to entice you. Seldom say this about a wine but it is beautiful, if that makes sense. Consume responsibly.

mugaroseLast night, before this went to post (if that’s the proper phrasing), I received an email from my friend, Krystle. She informed me that her and Damien’s favourite rosé was hitting shelves in Ontario this weekend. So, despite the fact that I haven’t had this one, I thought it a good idea to pass on her recommendation. 2012 Muga Rosé #603795 $12.95 is described by the mothership as a wine that “will definitely make some friends at the dinner table.” And, don’t we all need friends? “Beyond being perfectly dry, fruity, and tasty, you can’t argue with $12.95 a bottle,” according to Krystle. No, you cannot.  So, give this a try and thank the fact that I have friends if you love it like they do. Muga makes some interesting Rioja reds that are readily available as well.

A Beau For The Patti-eau – Red Daily Slosh

8 May

DomainedechampA friend mentioned to me that he liked the grape, gamay. He wasn’t sure where he’d find it unless it screamed GAMAY on the label, as in New World (Ontario) gamay. I told him about Beaujolais where they use gamay to make ready-to-drink, low tannin, fruity reds with loads of flavour and personality. Then there’s Beaujolais with ‘cru’ status. ‘Cru’ usually means to me old-style Beaujolais with a more expressive flavour – ‘cru’ villages include Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent, Morgon, Julienas, Chenas, Chiroubles, Regnie, Brouilly, and Cote de Brouilly. One of these villages will be in the name. Perhaps my favourite ‘cru’ (No, not RunDMC) is Moulin-a-Vent because it can age a bit longer, has a bit more spunk than some of the others. Morgon is also good for that IMHO. This week, 2010 Mommessin Domaine de Champ de Cour Moulin-a-Vent #430876 $17.95 arrives. It’s had a couple years in bottle to find itself, understand its mission and is prepared to deliver. It comes complete with cherries, a great hit of acid, and a food-worthiness that tells me that I need an arugula salad with seared tuna (and Madelyn Peyroux playing on the iPod). Wait: I just found out the other day that tuna is frequently unsustainably farmed/caught (not sure what the proper term is) – so substitute prawns. A review from Wine Enthusiast says this wine has a pinot noir-ness but I didn’t get that. I know these wines over time can develop that, so I stand to stand corrected (the reviewer is the professional), let me know if you detect that character. I mentioned the patio last time out in connection with white wines. Well red wine drinkers get to sit on the patio too. This wine might be the choice.

balbasSome time ago, so long ago I’m afraid to admit to it, I mean Sherman would need to set the Wayback Machine – that long ago, I bought a few bottles of my first Ribera del Duero red wine. I was blown away with the complexity, the food-worthiness, and the blast of Spain that came through when I swirled. Well I see that there’s one on shelves in a nicely aged version. Our mothership says that it’s half the US price and I would tend to believe them (this time only). But, this means that it is probably in scarce supply – so if you’re considering, make sure you click on the link to check where they have it and call ahead to stash a couple or make sure you arrive late Friday evening or very early Saturday before the uneducated hoards. The wine – 2001 Balbas Reserva #085183 $20.95. With wine, there are things that you just can’t get under $22. This one is the exception to the rule. You get it all. Perfect for Spanish wine lovers like CM and EL! Tobacco, cedar and loads o’ love. Apologies to my non-Ontario readers – I tried to locate a supplier for this producer in the US but my Google came up empty. Which sounds a bit Austin Powers, doesn’t it?

monasterioAnother Spanish wine that comes at a great price is the 2006 San José de Aguarón Monasterio de Las Viñas Reserva #166579 $14.95. What a neat name for those of us who don’t speak Spanish! Just trying to say it with the proper accent makes me thirsty. I will have to work at it though for my trip to Spain next year – that is the language, not the thirst quenching. This is a wine that’s ready right now, after time in wood and bottle. Smooth, reflecting the garnacha, and bringing lots of spicy characteristics. Buy a case!

CatenacsI know that you always see the Catena name in the Argentina aisle and you say, “Now is that the Catena that I had last time?“ Their labels are all so similar, it seems to me. You don’t see the Catena name, you say? No, you just think you don’t see it. This week, the 2010 Catena Cabernet Sauvignon #985002 $19.95 is back on shelves. These guys make some of the best Argentinean wines on the basis of value and pleasure. I love their Alta brand cabernet sauvignon, particularly. This one isn’t clearly New World to me but not totally Old World either. It’s Old World in the glass but maybe less so in your mouth and at the swallow. It has plenty of structure as in tannins, balanced, medium-bodied and, if you let it sit or decant, you’ll get some cool darker fruits and leathery accents. Drink with the usual cab suspects – burnt meat and/or grilled marinated portobellos (shout out to the vegetarians).

Short Ramble – Qu’est Syrah Syrah

6 May

2dorisdayFirst, apologies for that title. I’m sure it’s been used a zillion times but it just seemed to fit. May be copyrighted? And, no pic available of Doris scoffing a glass of wine unfortunately. Grapefriend will be disappointed.

The Ramble – A friend told me this week that he maybe just doesn’t love syrah. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard this about a particular grape. People actually contact me regularly (if you’ve read me a bit, you’ll know that it happens a million times a week). They tell me that my recommendation of a syrah, a pinot, a California cab, or something else didn’t quite do it for them – they just don’t like that grape no matter how many times they try it. That’s OK, you’re unique……………just like everybody else. It just demonstrates that each varietal grape brings a different vibe and flavour to the party. There’s all the technical stuff too – where its’ grown, where exactly it’s grown, the vintage conditions, in the vineyard practices, whether the winemaker knows her craft, and on and on. But people have their favs on the sole basis of the grape. All grapes are not created equal in our own minds. It’s oh so true. You all have your preferences. My job here is to disregard them. Well, kind of. I know a few readers that have a penchant for Valpolicella, California Cabernet and others – I mention when I can. I try and talk about as many different wines as I have time and a palate for but, if truth be known, I kinda mostly talk about the ones that I like – me. I like most wines, grapes, styles, and regions. But, I really like a few better than others. You’ll get my leanings over time. Other bloggers and reviewers seem to lean as well (people nodding). No apologies are forthcoming, is what I’m saying.

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