Way Too Early Holiday Edition 1 – The Red Daily Slosh

7 Nov

zztopJust a few preambles:

Did anyone else see ZZ Top last night? Ultra cool and loud. Still bringing it. Click here to see my favourite song of the night.

I must have hit a nerve with my last post on the early days of wine drinking. Many people responded with their ‘go-to’ wine from the past. Many emailed, which I love but you can also just click on “Comment” below and leave your, well, comment. Alas, many of these wines are not available anymore, I fear.

mateus2Mateus – hands-down most mentioned wine. Still around and I may be alone but I don’t think it’s that bad now. Echo – “it’s that bad now”. Hell, I am alone;

Colio Bianco Seco (1L size);

Mouton Cadet Rouge – goes particularly well with Korean cuisine, I hear;

One that I added during email discussions and for full disclosure purposes was Boonesberry Farms Strawberry Hill. Yikes;

“The Melting Candle’ Chianti – I believe it was called Chianti Ruffino? Which doesn’t sound plausible. And, if you can tell me what the name of the baskets that were woven around the bottles – you win a ……………actually, you win nothing other than self-satisfaction and bragging rights. But, it is a word that we use all the time now – but in another way; and

Lonesome Charlie – seriously, there was a wine called Lonesome Charlie? I vote, to capitalize on current affairs, we release a wine called Lonesome Rob (vodka-infused chardonnay with just a pinch of crack that you can drink, smoke, or snort and deny all of it because you were in a drunken stupor) or Wallin’s Blush (wait, she’s not even ashamed enough to blush). Any other current affair-inspired suggestions?

God help us! Merchants are already trumpeting the beginning of the “Holiday Season”, whatever that means to you. I guess Halloween finished up last week or so, might as well get the marketing machine in gear and give us all an excuse to buy booze. In my case, it is wasted hype – you had me at “Operating Hours are 10 am to 10 pm”.

kaikenultracsIf you’ve wandered the Argentina aisles of your local, you’ve probably seen this brand once or twice. This week, 2010 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon #135202 $19.95 arrives (these bi-weekly events are now “arrivals” not “releases”). This is the Argentina arm of the Chilean wine company, Montes and we love Montes on these pages! Grapes are from the Lujàn de Cuyo and Valle de Uco areas. The ‘Ultra’ line appears to be their top wines with the exception of special releases from time to time. The wine above’s nose is still pretty muddled for me – dark with some woodiness but I can’t get the fruit (blackberry) that some of the reviewers find. But, the experience in the mouth is another thing altogether – I get the blackberry there – with a surprisingly Italian Super Tuscan vibe – leather? Nicely balanced, mildly tannic, would be great with a real meal – burnt red meat, veggies, spuds. Interesting things that occupy a cluttered mind – the Kaiken website has a neat diagram with a schematic, similar to that of their label, of Mount Aconcagua. Accompanying the schematic the words, “The highest mountain in the world, second to the Himalayas.” What? “est” means most, best, ultimate. Not second or penultimate to something else. If it were, we could read this on the MLSE website, “The Toronto Maple Leafs winners of the most Stanley Cups, second to the Montreal Canadiens.”

lazuliLet’s cross the Andes. There’s a wine from another winery that we speak of often. “Well, that’s not true, Bill.” OK, we don’t speak of it ‘often’ – but once in a while and favourably – Chilensis. It’s usually in connection with their Carmenère, which is available this weekend for $13.95. If that’s your sweet spot pick it up. But, if you want to kick it up a notch look to this blend. The 2010 Chilensis Lazuli #348129 $17.95 is a blend of the usual Bordeaux suspects (sans Cabernet Franc) plus 9% Syrah, and 8% Carmenère. It’s got great grip and after a breath or two, it opens to dried fruits and some woodiness. I think that if you like California Cabernet – particularly with steak, say – you’d love this wine and be saving a bunch too, yeah?

falconeAnd under the category Giving It Another Try, I’m going to recommend 2007 Rivera Il Falcone Riserva #177295 $22.95. I recommended the 2006 version of this last year and the feedback was not great – people found it ‘harsh’ and ‘almost impenetrable’. I liked it which just goes to show you that I am more sophisticated than some of my friends. This one won’t be received similarly, will it? Well, I don’t think so – had it in Puglia from whence it comes – loved it. Where the South American wines above seem to be black or dark fruit based, this one oozes red fruits. Chewy, lots of weight. Could it use some time? For sure. But, why not just decant for an hour or so, swirl like mad, and guzzle it now? Perfect wine to buy two – one for now, one for a year from now. Buy it, if you don’t like it, I will take unopened bottles at discount.

Ones that I haven’t tasted that I’m going to jump on:

saumurGo ahead, tell me who does Cabernet Franc better than Cheval Blanc and the Loire? What’s that you say? Niagara is doing Cabernet Franc well both as a single varietal and an ice wine? Yeah but, I’m saying – this week, from the Loire, there’s 2010 Reserve des Vignerons Saumur-Champigny #103879 $17.95. Pick this up if you’re looking to expand your Cabernet Franc beyond Cheval Blanc. Who am I kidding? No one who reads this buys CB. Anyway, I’m getting this one and might tell you about it in future posts.

lalunaA grape that I don’t mention much here is Barbera from Piedmont. Not sure why but probably the same reason that I don’t talk about Dolcetto much either – they play second fiddle to Nebbiolo (Barolo and Barberesco) and get lost. But, Barberas when they’re good are very good. They can sing a more rustic and lighter tune than their more famous cousins. In my Duff’sWines Super Serious Wine Drinker Paradigm®, Valpolicella Classico and Barbera both score 137.164 with two criteria met. I guess, the scale sees them as similar in feel, appropriate occasion matching, etc. Another good thing is that they are almost always available on Italian restaurants’ wine lists – so getting to know them is good practice for ordering. This week it’s  2010 La Luna E I Falò Barbera d’Asti Superiore #627901 $19.95. I think I’ll get a couple.

5 Responses to “Way Too Early Holiday Edition 1 – The Red Daily Slosh”

  1. foxress November 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    I’m reading this and I buy CB! I loved the Reserve des Vignerons, 2009. The 2010, however, was not nearly as good IMHO. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

  2. armchairsommelier November 8, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    Great reviews . . . very down to earth! I’m intrigued by the Chilensis — will see if I get my hands on a bottle here in VA. Thanks & Salud!

  3. vinoinlove November 13, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    Nice reviews! The Barbera sounds pretty good 🙂 Might have to try that one. Cheers!

    • Duff's Wines November 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks for dropping in. Love the Italian stuff.

  4. Whine And Cheers For Wine November 22, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Glad to see CHILENSIS represented here! thank you.

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