Archive | June, 2013

Old World, New World – The “Secret Weapon” of Blind Tasting

25 Jun

This post by The Bubbly Professor is a great description of the concept of Old World versus New World. I ramble on about it but this breaks it down and simplifies it, I think. Good read and there will be a test.

The Bubbly Professor

Whew!!  Preparing this CWE Preview is really taking over my life…but it has led to some interesting blog posts as well (or so I’d like to believe…)

Today while starting to write my study tips and design my presentation about the Varietal/Appellation Identification portion (aka the “Blind Tasting,” which is actually a semi-blind tasting) of the CWE Exam, I began to consolidate all of my notes about what constitutes the “Old World” style as opposed to the “New World” style.

While it almost pains me to make sure generalities about wine (really, what in what other field could we get away with spouting such obvious prejudice?), I thought I’d share my notes with you, in the hopes that either you can benefit from it – or, if you totally disagree – could enjoy letting me know why I’m wrong! Here goes:

Old World, New World – The “Secret Weapon” of…

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Transportation – The Theme

24 Jun

streetcarA fellow blogger, The Drunken Cyclist, threw down a challenge by way of a theme for the rest of the wine bloggers out there. We are to write a post (1100 words or less) based on a theme. This month, the theme is ‘transportation’. There have been some great imaginative and well-penned posts already by bloggers I follow. You can see the others by clicking through on the links below. 

First, let me say that I feel a bit like Ralphie and his theme in The Christmas Story. It’s harder than I thought it would be. It has been awhile since I had the restrictions of theme. I usually just sip wine and type. So here goes with my theme. It’s about transporting wine cross-border.

Theme: Transportation by Duffswines

A few years ago, Arlene and I traveled to San Francisco to ________________and _____________­­­­­­fill in the blanks with what every tourist to San Francisco does. At the end of our shortened week, a friend, Susanne, from Toronto joined us. We picked her and our rental convertible up at the airport. We were promised a Mustang and received a Seebring – a bit of a comedown, with apologies to Chrysler fans. Undaunted by that, I still had visions of driving top-down along the Silverado Trail, cases of Flora Springs, Montelena and Caymus crammed in the trunk, feeling all the part of major cool. I mean I had purchased a pair of Ray Bans for the occasion. Qualification: prescription progressive Ray Bans (read: old man Ray Bans) – but Ray Bans nonetheless.

But first, the three of us drove to Napa where our friend’s husband and our friend too, Marty (consulting in Modesto at the time), met up. That makes a foursome for Napa and Sonoma. Being a somewhat intense travel planner, I already had an annotated map of both Sonoma and Napa with wineries identified and prioritized for our weekend. Wineries rated on a 60 point scale and colour coordinated with page references in my copy of John Bonne’s The New California Wine. OK, I kid, but wineries were prioritized on the basis of street cred, what we’d already had and loved, what we hadn’t but wanted to try, and shamefully those spectacular pictorals in Wine Spectator (which I still subscribed to back then – I’ve since stopped reading about unaffordable wines and stopped smoking stinky cigars). ‘Somewhat intense’ travel planner, you say?

pineridgeWell, it rained or was cool the entire time; frustrating a ride in a convertible. I did put the top down in the car port but that somehow doesn’t count. We did, however, fit in a whole bunch of wineries. I won’t bore you with all the winery names and wines (my fav, Pine Ridge at right). Suffice it to say that we didn’t spit a drop and returned weary and with a great buzz to our villa (not really a villa but not sure what else to call it) every night. Then, way too soon as is always the case, it was the night before we trundled off to SFO for our flight home and, therefore, time to pack.

Marty simply packed up his bottles of wine to take to his apartment in Modesto for transport 2 at a time back to Toronto on his weekends home. The important thing to note in the sentence above is “two at a time”. In our excitement to purchase the great wines we were tasting, we had purchased a few more than two each – the allowable amount for return into Canada. I’m lying – we purchased a lot more than two each! We could wrap some of them up in dirty clothing and cram into the suitcase. I’d done that before on a trip back from the Languedoc – we call it Bill’s Broken Back Meets The Angry Baggage Handler story. But, that still left a few bottles. We couldn’t transport all our finds to their eventual resting place. Sob. What to do?

problem solvingHmm. Well, we decided that the best way to deal with this was to drink up the excess wine that last evening. Now, I’ve been known to drink a lot of wine (OK, stop the guffawing, please). But this was a task that appeared to exceed even my prodigious appetite. Despite the impossibility of the challenge, we all dug in, pulled corks, poured into hotel room tumblers and borrowed-from-front-desk wine glasses and proceeded to get under the Canada Customs limit. We didn’t want to do it but we were forced into it; Arlene with chardonnay that she deemed disposable, the rest of us with cabernet sauvignons that were a bit young and a lovely pinot that I wish we had back. But, we were up for the challenge and by the wee hours we had met our objective, albeit with some pretty sorry singing, purple teeth, frequent “OK, that’s enough. No more……..ummm, well, maybe a half”, great laughs, and, well, I don’t remember much else. But, it might have been the highlight of the trip.

The next morning we left for SFO and eventually cleared customs the following day. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful really. But, I do remember what wines we saved for transport home and why – and I loved them when I opened them knowing that they were the ones deemed to be special. But I have to tell you that they didn’t surpass those sacrificed at the altar of not-so-free-trade the night before we left Napa. Those were even more special. Which goes to show you that all that careful decanting, swishing, sipping and spitting (oh yeah, and forgive me if I didn’t keep notes) isn’t any better than popping, glugging, and chuckling if you do it with great friends. Even if you have to burn through a lot of irreplaceable wine. I’ve never regretted not having those bottles of wine for a certain occasion or that label in my cellar, once. Well except for the pinot. I really would have liked that with something other than pretzels and trail mix.

And, what does the TTC streetcar at the top of this post have to do with my story, you ask? Nothing really. I just think that they look cool and I thought it might entice my Toronto readers to continue to the bottom of the page pitifully looking for a connection to their own lives. It’s a literary trick.

The other posts are:

The Armchair Sommelier

The Drunken Cyclist


The Winegetter

The Quiz Returns – The White Daily Slosh

23 Jun


stoneleigh latitudeA few years ago my niece (you know, the one who fell in love and ran away to Germany) asked me if I’d heard of a Sauvignon Blanc that she loved called Stoneleigh. I had seen it in the mother ship’s stores, tried it but hadn’t really thought about it. But from then on, Sauvignon Blanc became our wine for discussion purposes. When she would drop over, I’d try and wow her with some Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It was good for me because I didn’t drink that much of the stuff before then – I grew to appreciate its power, clear fingerprint, and lovely flavours of gooseberries, grassiness, and citrus. So, what did I see on the shelves this week but Stoneleigh’s premium SB, 2012 Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc #324228 $21.95. Now, this borders on my top price for a “Daily Slosh™” but I think we need to stretch out the expenditure comfort range once in a while. This is a beautiful SB. One of our best wine writers, Vic Harradine at says that “it was tough to spit.” And, that says it all. This is crisp without an edge and loaded with fruit, a speck of citurs, and noticeably absent of grassiness – which isn’t a bad thing here. It’s spectacular and if you love Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, stretch a little and pick one of these up for a special occasion. In my arcane and totally indecipherable scoring system, I give it 47.5 points and 3 fish. It’s that good!

rosewoodsemA few months ago I wrote about a trip to Rosewood Estates Winery. Go ahead you can take some time to reflect on that masterfully crafted piece – why you felt as if you were actually there, didn’t you? This winery makes some great wines, also mead, and has a beautiful site where you can gaze out over the vineyards from a cool gazebo. This week, they’ve brought us a single varietal wine, a Sémillon, from a grape that’s most often found as the dominant grape in a blend, primarily from Bordeaux – either dry or sweet as in a Sauternes. But, it’s starting to find itself on its own in the New World (Washington State comes to mind), as in this 2011 Rosewood Sémillon #177758 $17.95. This has some requisite acidity – makes your mouth water – and zip of flavour that includes some spice. It’s dry (mouthfeel), yes, but with an off-dry flavour profile – does that make any sense? Perfect with some fish, I’d think.

sebastianichardonnayThe buttery chardonnay crowd will love the 2010 Sebastiani Chardonnay #030791 $19.95. This is a wine like the above whose flavours belie the dryness of the wine itself. It’s rich and round, creamy and creamy. Did I say it was creamy? But it’s not heavy, sweet or syrupy. You could have this as a stand around wine but I’d say better yet with a real meal – glorious French roast chicken with rosemary and garlic. If you’re an unoaked chardonnay fan see below.

flatrockunpluggedThe solid economic decision when oaked chardonnay falls out of favour and you have half your acreage devoted to the grape is to make unoaked chardonnay. And, we have lots of that now hitting shelves. This week, there’s a great example from Flat Rock – 2012 Flat Rock Unplugged Chardonnay #068015 $16.95. This brings you the fruit without its clothes of oak, butter, and toast. Plain unadulterated, naked crispy Granny Smith apples. The words ‘naked’ and ‘granny’ might best never be used together anywhere else.

I used to provide quizzes with my newsletter but have stopped since going to a ‘real’ blog. Some have lamented the quizzes’s (spellcheck correction, please) demise and I see that many other bloggers use quizzes for fun. So, in keeping with practices of long ago, that is quizzes that have nothing to do with wine and most frequently deal with music, I challenge you to provide the song that these lyrics come from. We’ll start easy this time. If you Google, the NSA will know and you won’t win the prize There’s a prize?

“Is it right to be treated so bad, when you give it everything you had”

Oh No, It’s Beau – Again – The Red Daily Slosh

21 Jun

descombesAlways with the Beaujolais? Duh, yeah. I love these wines this time of year. And, this one is refreshing, red fruit (strawberries and maybe plum which technically isn’t a red fruit but you’ll forgive me – deep breath) on parade, with some serious fun things to discover on the swallow. That didn’t sound right. I meant that there was some neat complexity delivered after you swallowed this wine – earthy stuff, dark stuff. It’s from George Duboeuf. I may be simply speaking to myself when I say the 2011 Jean Ernest Descombes Morgon #946186 $17.95 is perhaps the ‘must buy’ of this post. I can’t think of a better wine for sitting out back, or if you have no out back, sitting around a table sipping, noshing, and discussing world events – G7 plus 1, Mike Duffy’s expense scandal, the NSA spying on us all (italics indicating whispering), and of course acknowledging that this is the best $17.95 we ever spent or, if you’re me, the best $35.90 we ever spent.

fermedumontSometimes it just feels right to have a serious wine. There can be a number of reasons, including that you just feel like it. Meanin’ no disrespect (in honour of James Gandolfini), matching wine agonies are best left to people with nothing better to do. Like me. You, on the other hand, just want serious flavour and power regardless of the meal. You might reach for a Bordeaux, a California Cabernet, a Brunello, or a 2011 La Ferme du Mont Le Ponnat Côtes du Rhone-Villages #171371 $17.00. The key factor in that last decision is cost. This ‘serious’ effort from a ‘serious’ producer will not set you back a les autres and you can splurge and drink two – which seems acceptable for summer solstice with friends, doesn’t it? This is a grenache-based blend and, if you’ve loved my recommendations on Spanish garnacha and other Côtes du Rhône, you’ll love this. Plus, you probably bought and loved the 2010, another Duffswines reco. Great BBQ wine!

gravillassabletWhile we have our Côtes on, why not get another. I recommended a red from this producer a few weeks ago – enjoyed one the other night and see that I still have a couple left. This time it’s 2011 Le Gravillas Sablet Côtes du Rhône-Villages #078790 $15.95. This is a steal at this price – loads of dark fruits, some spiciness, and some kind of herbal note that I can’t nail – one review I read says tobacco but less chewy than that. Once again, fire up the cue and grill some bison burgers stuffed with gorgonzola and garden fresh herbs with seasoned zucchini florets and Morrocan spice-infused quinoa. OK, just kidding. I had you going for a second though, didn’t I? Regularly garnished, homemade BBQ burgers, grilled portobello mushrooms and chip wagon fries will fit this wine to a ‘T’.

I was recently asked to recommend Niagara wines as a host(ess) gift for someone traveling to NYC. She was spending more than qualifies for a Daily Slosh but it got me thinking of what Niagara wines I always gravitate to. And, since it’s Canada Day next week, take off, eh, and break open one of my earlier Canadian recommendations or pick one of these, in no particular order (sans labels, hoser):

2011 Flat Rock Pinot Noir $19.95 – enough astringency and red fruit to say, “Hey, I’m a pinot, glad to meet you. Enjoy my food friendly personality.”

2010 Malivoire Guilty Men Cab/Merlot $19.95 – Too bad Malivoire stopped selling their Guilty Men Red @ $12.95! It was delish. But, we have to move on and this is a good tonic. By itself, with summer food or heavier fare – it’s versatile and needs a friend.

2011 Megalomaniac Homegrown Red $14.95 – from those clever people at John Howard Cellars of Distinction. And, Arlene tells me they have to be clever because John Howard graduated from Kings College her alma mater. Regardless, this is a great just standing around wine or with the usual suspects at grill time.

Ku, kukukukukukuku!

Put on the David Wilcox, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen…….what too old for you?…..Then, put on the kd Lang, Sarah McLaughlin, Nelly Furtado…..what? Still too old?….Let me think…..ah Drake! And, if you’ve never, check out this guy from Manitoba, I believe, ReignWolf. Love him.

And, yes, it’s soon to be the 4th of July for my friends in the U.S. of A. So, be patriotic and honour (Oops, I mean honor) Robert Mondavi’s would-have-been hundredth birthday the other day with their solid Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon $17.95 .Yes, American friends, I said $17.95! We tax the hell out of alcohol up here! But, we do have universal healthcare to take care of our alcohol related issues.

Previously Unexplored Wineries – Kacaba Vineyards and Winery

14 Jun

nov7 093 (2)I say Ka-ka-ba, they say Ka-sa-ba. Before I visited the Kacaba Vineyards and Winery, I was ready for the story of the discovery, on the current vineyard site, of a native North American winery, as “kakaba” in the Oneida language means winemaker. Small challenge to that story is that ‘Kakaba’ wasn’t a famed Oneida winemaker – nor does it mean anything in Oneida parlance. What I did discover was the name of the founder of Kacaba Vineyards, Michael Kacaba. Apparently, the land was saved from a subdivision that: 1) would have surely increased the assessment base in Vineland; but, 2) would have destroyed this lovely small lot winery. So, if you are a Vineland resident and rue the taxes you pay, it’s Michael Kacaba’s fault. But, if you’re a wine lover celebrate the fact that there aren’t any backsplits ruining this vineyard. I’m going with number 2.

Kacaba sits west of Vineland just off King Street (County Road 81). It’s got tons of signage on the road but still might be missed as the winery itself is tucked up over a hill so not visible from the road. I arrived on a big sky, sunny day just before the long weekend – cool but sunny. My last two visits to wineries had the distinct disadvantage of poor weather. I mean potholes, mud, and cold. This was a big upgrade. Memo to Duffswines Management – visit wineries in the summer and fall. You approach the winery building over a simple bridge (a Bailey bridge?) and it has creaks and groans which is kind of endearing. The vineyard that lies adjacent to the winery building is mounded and it all seems like a little tucked away niche in the surrounding area. Not exactly La Tâche but still you feel somewhat surrounded, closed in, which I was told contributes to a bit of an ecosystem for the vines. I didn’t actually whistle, sing, or skip as I extricated myself from my vehicle (closed circuit cameras and youtube being what they are) but felt pretty upbeat and ready to swirl, sip, and spit (well, maybe no spitting).

The winery (picture above – courtesy of the winery) is a nifty little red and white building that’s sparkling and presents as simple and inviting. And, inviting it was – I was welcomed by Holly and Sasha. I’ve said it before but will risk saying it again, “the winery staff in Niagara are engaging and informed. Ready to talk your ear off about their wines or just let you quietly go about your business.” This is a real tribute to the industry’s growth and sophistication, and, in this case, to Holly and Sasha themselves.

So, what to taste? I tried a bunch on staff’s suggestion but want to focus on just three for this post. Given it might as well be summer already, the first is the 2011 Rebecca Rosé @$14.95. This has a sweeter profile than the Tavels and Provence wines that I have been pushing. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more residual sugar but it’s heavier, rounder somehow. Now, that said, I loved it! It was like drinking a tart strawberry and rhubarb pie – the earthiness and fruit of the strawberries and the tartness on the finish of rhubarb. I brought a few back home for days on the dock – maybe late in the day particularly with food.

Moving on and stopping at their 2011 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay @22.95. In my home, chardonnay rules the white wine roost and oaky, buttery ones have ultimate status. If I even think of splurging on a wine pour moi (see Cab Franc below), I better include some consideration of one of these chardonnays for Arlene. Along those lines, this wine did not disappoint. It had all the requisite creaminess but still had some backbone – enough acid and fruit to carry this wine. I might even suggest that it could age a bit. And, that means more than one!

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.

nov7 111 (2)“Why do we go to wineries, Bill?” Well, we go to wineries for the experience of seeing where our wines are from, talking to people involved in making them/dedicated to the task of crafting wine, and hearing the story of the place. Kacaba is a great experience on all those levels. Staff enthuisiastic and knowledgeable about their stuff. The tasting room is small but bright and you’d get the feeling that you’re not one of the hordes. I got that feeling because, well, I was the only one there, nary a single horde in sight! I’ll go out on a limb and say that they don’t have tour buses. They have a semi-covered patio (picture at left) where you can buy by the glass and enjoy with artisanal cheese trays. Sitting out among the vines, sipping the wines and nibbling cheeses procured from Upper Canada Cheese down the road. How cool is that? And, being up over the hill isolates the experience from any road noise or dust. I’m going to make a point of stopping in there again and suggest that, if you’re doing the Vineland area, you do the same. You might even see the legendary ghost of the eponymous Oneida winemaker.

Susana Strikes Again – The White Daily Slosh

7 Jun

balbowineryI’ve mentioned Susana Balbo before in these posts. She is the winemaker for Dominio del Plata in Argentina among other wineries.  My mentions are most often in connection with her reds, in particular her Susana Balbo Signature Malbec. Now comes a great summer wine crafted by Susana, the “Queen of Torrontes”, the “Evita of Wine”. The 2012 Crios Torrontés #1834 $13.95 is a big flowery white that will shine in the heat of July and August. It can match with light meals but I like this style of wine by itself with conversation and nibbles rather than a meal. And, it’s $13.95, not a big expense for a new experience or reacquainting yourself with an old friend. This would be a great summer sipper around the crokinole board, crokinole being the national board game of Argentina, you know. Interesting and completely fabricated fact: In the 1530’s, Crokinole was invented and named after the Spanish explorer, Pedro de Mendoza, whose affectionate nickname was Crokinolé for the distracting habit he had of flicking his finger against his ear lobe. Does anyone out there still play crokinole?

campagnolaNow we’ve all been to functions where a white wine is served and you can remember saying to someone at your table, “I think the wine is OK. What do you think?” And they reply, “Yea, it’s OK.” There’s a good chance that that white wine was Soave or Pinot Grigio. They serve an important purpose. But sometimes in our world, they come off as simply. “OK”. Both wines would have you raving about them while sitting in a bustling Venetian café. Goes to show you what ambiance and situation do to the experience of wine. So, let’s try and recapture that Venetian ‘wow’ with a Soave. The 2011 Guiseppi Campagnola Le Bine Foscarino Soave Classico #134551 $13.95 keeps the price point of many other Soaves but brings a lot more to the glass – more flavour and aroma-wise. A profile a bit more like a sauvignon blanc sans the attitude. Serve cold. This is a lot more than just “OK”.

kjchardDid you try the Cannonball Chardonnay I recommended last time out? It was the poster child for oaked California chard – nicely balancing creaminess with enough acid and fruit. This week, there’s another somewhat predictable (which doesn’t mean ‘blah’) chardonnay from mega-producer Kendall-Jackson. The 2011 Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay #369686 $19.95 is a bit more restrained than the Cannonball. But, still you get the buttery notes and plenty of apple and a nice snap at the end. This would be a great summer supper wine – chicken in some kind of sauce, grilled lobster tails, or maybe even grilled shrimp in a not-too-spicy treatment. Buy it for your chardonnay lover.

vouvrayWay back when, I used to drink a syrupy sweet Chenin Blanc blend from California or so the label said. And it was in a bottle not a box! It was a ‘go to’ wine for company. Not sure what I saw in it but we all have those experiences in our wine backgrounds – a wine that upon reflection we find brutally unpleasant. Nodding with the Blue Nun, Black Tower memories, aren’t you? Check out the Blue Nun ad. Well, I’ve come to appreciate Chenin Blanc but in a different style – that of Vouvray. Vouvray can be anywhere from bone dry to fairly sweet. The 2012 Donatien Bahuaud Les Grand Mortiers Vouvray #140889 $15.95 is off-dry but for me carries the acidity and crispness of a drier style wine. It’s typical in minerality and intense aroma.  This is a great food wine.


Dude, It’s The Red Daily Slosh

3 Jun

zinfandelvine ‘s slang definition of ‘gnarly’ is “distasteful; distressing; offensive; gross”. Clearly a winemaker wouldn’t use this word in the name of its wine as an attempt to be cool and current. “Buy our wine, it’s distasteful! And, it’s gross too.” So, why do we find 2011 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin Zinfandel #678698 $17.95 on our shelves this weekend? Perhaps, it’s the non-slang meaning of the word – which is “gnarled”. The picture above sums up the connection for this wine. Zinfandel vines are: 1) gnarlysome of the oldest vines in California; and 2) pruned in a way that features big, thick gnarled vine stalks with curly grape producing vines at the top, like a head, as it were. Now, why this same producer makes Gnarly Head Merlot, Gnarly Head Pinot Noir, and Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon sans a de facto ‘gnarly head’ for these varietals is a mystery for another time. It’s just plain distressing. Getting to this wine, this is one of those consistently yummy zinfandels that brings in the fruit and the power that we’ve become used to from California zins – perfect for the backyard, round enough for standing, swilling, and arguing but with enough stuffing for some burgers or ribs. Yes, I think ribs would be great with this wine.

alamosI’m hearing grumblings that many of my Daily Slosh recos are not all that ‘daily’, price-wise. I admit to a bit of price creep over the last couple of years. But, you have to work with what you’ve got. In the spirit of shaving a few bucks off the $20 norm that I’m accused of, let’s take a trip to Argentina; which along with Chile probably brings the best value wines available in these parts. The Catena family makes wines from $9 to a billion dollars a bottle. I think that I’ve waxed on enough about the Alta line, especially the cabernet sauvignon, so I won’t bore you. This week, there’s their 2010 Alamos Selección Malbec #322800 $16.95. (image courtesy of This wine is all that malbec can be. It’s got loads of personality so not insipid and monotone like that über cheap one that we all know and are forced to drink. It has a strong tannic thread through the sip, swish, and swallow. But, don’t think that’s a bad thing. It just prepares your mouth for the finish of dark fruits. Neal Martin of says this wine has ‘chutzpah’. It certainly does.

 And, don’t forget that I recommended a couple of other Argentinean wines a while back. I bought a bunch of the Terrazas malbec and it is a great sipping wine and still around and priced right.

 argadensWhat did I say last time out? That I’d be looking for Bordeaux that comes in at the ‘daily’ range and still delivers. This week, there’s another goodie. The 2009 Château Argadens #681843 $17.95 is a great example of price conscious Bordeaux that, like all good Bordeaux, still has the legs to stand in your basement for a while. Or, let it breathe for a few hours before serving. It represents a pretty solid red with more interest and stuffing than you might expect. Buy a couple and just let them be, let them be, let them be, oh let them be for awhile (say 2 years) and see what age does to a solidly built wine. Great with red meat or sharp cheeses.

bilahautNow, when I recommend anything in the following stable of wines, the phone rings off the hook with accolades and comments about my astute wine savvy and, oh yeah, my modesty. That wine stable – the one that is oh so good – is Bila-Haut and this week brings 2011 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon-Villages #168716 $14.95! Great winemakers make great wines at all price points. M. Chapoutier makes this beauty and it’s hitting way over its weight – which proves the point. This is full-bodied and lures the smell of the south of France right out of the glass. What does Emeril say? “Bam!” Loads of fruit, plenty of woody, briary stuff and still enough tannin and acid to strike a great balance. If you love wines from this region and I see that some of you do, you can put your hands down now, place an advance order to ensure you get this red. And, yes, the bumps on the bottle are Braille. Probably a great one-liner about why and when Bill might need the Braille but I think I’ll pass.

balbasSecond consideration from an earlier recommendationBalbas Reserva. Had a bottle the other night with friends and all at the table were gobsmacked. This Spanish beauty may be the steal of the year @$20.95. It’s just so gentle and interesting. I vote for Balbas for the Red Daily Slosh of The Year (RDSOTY) and reserve the right to change my mind later on. There’s lots left in Ontario, you just need to know where to look.

Let me know if you have a RDSOTY candidate.



Sunday Read: Kiva wine lovers group

2 Jun

Please read this interesting post by The Winegetter. If you’re so inclined, take the plunge and support this nifty initiative.

the winegetter

Browse great wines from around the world.

Disclaimer: I entered into a tentative agreement with the online wine retailer Wine Chateau under which they sponsor two of my posts per month. Wine Chateau has no influence on the topic I select for the post or its content. Opinions expressed are all mine.

This Sunday, some things are different. First of all, as I am sure you noticed, Wine Chateau has offered to sponsor two of my posts per month. I was going back and forth a bit on this one, but ultimately I liked that they were willing to give me some money for this without any influence on the content of my posts. Also, I had an idea on what to do with the money which I think could be a cool thing to do:

Some of you might know that I am an active lender on the micro…

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