Archive | July, 2014

Apologies and The Red Daily Slosh

30 Jul

Why this song today? It was playing as I typed? A little Cancon? Celebrate the late great Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Pops Staples? Or, maybe just to hear one of the all time great songs with Mavis Staples joining in? All of the above, baby!

perrinrrFirst, apologies are in order. To those in the LCBO’s grasp, it appears that the French rosés that I recommended last time out were in short supply. Sorry, mea culpa, excuuuuuuuse me. If you were jonesing for the Tavel, there is a great substitute made by Perrin et Fils – 2013 Perrin et Fils Côtes du Rhone Réserve Rosé #719062 $15.95. And, you’ll note that it’s cheaper than the Carteresses and Apogé. Secondly, to everyone – I mistakenly used the wrong accent on the ‘e’ in ros(e) throughout my last post (and, potentially throughout my whole website?). I used l’accent grave quand l’accent aigu c’est correct. I try hard not to make mistakes and sometimes I fail due to fatfingering or just not seeing the obvious to others. It’s hard proofing your own stuff. This time my 5 years of French failed me. Rather than ‘search and replace’ every mistakenly used l’accent grave, I am going to leave it alone and simply bear the scars of continuing critical emails and comments. On to some Red Daily Slosh. This Saturday’s release features California, Greece, the Loire, and Alsace. So, it would be vinous gymnastics to speak to all these regions. Especially when I’d have had to have tried them all. Suffice it to say that you should take a wander through the aisles and see what might interest you, if I haven’t mentioned your sweet spot.

sanatalicia

Where can you find great value in red wines? Chile, that’s where. There are the Concha y Toro’s Casillero del Diablo and the Cono Sur labels in the general listing aisles and almost every release a few smaller order wines that provide great QPR. This week, there’s an interesting camenère – 2011 Santa Alicia Gran Reserva de Los Andes #093831 $15.95. Carmenère is the sixth Bordeaux grape but isn’t farmed there anymore. These days it appears, for all intents and purposes, to be Chile’s exclusive grape. As The Church Lady would say, “Hey, Chile. Aren’t we sssspecial?” I quite enjoy carmenère and over the years I’ve recommended a bunch of these but never this particular one as it came at you pretty hard – a bit confused. Maybe if I followed vintage descriptions and ratings, I would have realized that the 2011 was going to be a ‘prettier’ wine. Kind of made me smack my lips and that means, for me, that it was good with food. It’s a great change up from cabernet-based blends, if you are a score chaser it scored 91 at the Wine & Spirits (my fav wine mag), and the price is right.

monteslspn

Another Chilean wine that over delivers is the Montes line. Just about all their wines are reflective of the region and wine making traditioins of the country. Their entry-level pinot noir – 2011 Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir #037937 $14.95 – is a great low-priced pinot. Although the term ‘limited selection’ is probably an over reach. OK, I went to their website – I was curious. They made 35,000 cases! Even though Montes is very big, I don’t equate 35,000 cases with the term ‘limited’. I will ramble on the confusing labeling of wine at a later time. Despite the mislabeling, this is a great inexpensive pinot noir. Juicy and balanced with great red fruits and not cluttered with the sweetness that plagues a lot of the cheaper pinots (this one has 3.49g/l residual sugar). I’d think a good wine to take to a “stand around arguing” party. Boutari Naoussa

When I say, “Greece”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Red wine from Naoussa? That’s right, me too. Weird how that works. The quintessential QPR Greek red in most vintages is Boutari Naoussa. The 2009 is no exception. The 2009 Boutari Naoussa #023218 $13.95 reminds me of a northern Italian red – just gives me that impression. Light in your mouth, balanced everything and, although the write up I saw said oak influences, I didn’t find them. It’s pretty pure and Old World good. Have with some pork souvlaki, marinated feta, and olives. Or, if you don’t like olives (I know people who don’t, gasp), maybe something else Greek – grilled octopus? But, if you must and you wish a rounder, more modern wine keep reading.

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A repeat recommendation that’s back – 2011 Talamonti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo #204016 $15.95. This is a surprisingly styled MdA. It’s international in style. Not one rustic edge. It’s gentle, round, bigger at first than after a sip or two – warm but not through alcohol – buy one and hope that they’ve got more when you run back. Because you will. Now, I’m going to step a bit outside the ‘daily’ price point on two very fine wines.

Spain is my weak spot. Well, along with Rhone, Tuscany, Niagara, Washington. Let’s just say, I’m awfully weak. But, Spain breeds such personality into their wines. Not sure why that happens but I bet I could read up on it. This week, one of my all time favourite petaloswines in this price range hits our shelves – 2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos #675207 $26.95. In past years, I’ve raved about this wine here. But, this vintage surpasses all others IMHO. It’s just got its act together. Committed to your enjoyment with a big woosh up out of the bowl – big nose – fruit that I can’t definitely land on and mushrooms and anise.  I’m not really worried about what fruit I detect. Because if after I’ve had a swish, sniff, gurgle and swallow, I say quietly, “This s**t is great!”, I know all I need to. The wine is not nearly as heavy in the mouth as in the glass – not quite full-bodied and it’s as smooth as Joan Rivers’ visage. OK, that doesn’t really make me want to have this wine either. So, let’s just say it’s really smooth.

akaruarua

And now for something completely different. Different than the Montes, anyway. This week’s Kiwi pick up for Bill (I picked up the Staedt Landt last week) is the 2012 Akarua Rua Pinot Noir #295592 $24.95. I like the acidity that Central Otago seems to carry. This wine has that but in balance with some wood influences (vanilla?) and tree fruit. FYI, if I wanted to be a real wine writer, I would have used the term ‘stone fruits’. Both terms really don’t mean much to most people. So, I’ll back up – the fruit is most like cherries to me – but, darker – like black cherries. This is a superb food wine but if you drink alone like I do, just have it by itself. I know that I’m always upselling you guys but this is a wine that you can feel comfortable splurging a bit on. Talk to you later this week.

Pink is the New Black – New Red? – New White?

25 Jul

The background music was chosen due to my return from vacation after weeks of research for the blog. Feel free to sing along. Because, I think that’s a big part of the attraction of this song. So, you’ll have to excuse me I’m not at my best…….

“And, what did you do on your vacation, Bill?” Well, glad you asked. I drank a lot of wine, read a bunch of books, pretended to fix things, swam almost every day, and enjoyed the company of family and friends. Now, everything is relative and there may be a select few out there that would scoff at my characterization of my wine volume as “a lot”. But, I’m guessing most would be more likely to suggest I turn over the boat key before noon on most days. Although, I do it all for you – my 14 followers.

I thought that I’d talk about the rosè I enjoyed over the past three weeks. Loads of people out there don’t drink rosè. They say, “I only drink red,” “rosè is for women only, yea?”, or “I lived on Mateus in college, so puleeze don’t foist any on me now” (expanding my vocab – hence the word “foist”). Now, I’d agree with them if they said that they don’t like white zinfandel, peach blush, strawberry samba. But, to channel and paraphrase Long John Baldry, “Don’t try to lay no boogie woogie on the king of rosè!”

On to the wines. I’ve included the usual links so that you can see what’s out there but some of these are in limited quantities – so good luck.

I’ve spoken of Tavel wines many times over the past few years. I love ‘em! A small village in the Southern Rhone lends its name to each and every one of them. They are the pink wine for red wine lovers. They have a gutsy quality that might surprise those that characterize rosè as light. Drink them cold and young. They are made as a blend of red and sometimes even white grapes – the leading red usually being Grenache. And, we like Grenache a lot don’t we? I mean Côtes du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape have Grenache as their leading actor.

apoge2013 Domaine des Carbinieres Lunar Apogè Tavel Rosè #375626 $19.95 is a perfect example of the more rugged pinks that come from this appellation. Served icy cold, it makes you wish for some solid spicy food with a hint of garlic – an arugula salad was what I had – it was verrrry nice. It’s a bigger wine than the other pinks I’m speaking of today. So, stop the “I only drink red” BS and pop a cork on this biodynamic (Demeter certified) wine.

carteressesThe other Tavel I enjoyed was the 2013 Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosè #739474 $18.95. This was my fav. It was a tich (is that how titch is spelled?) lighter than the one above. It also seemed to be more dark in the friuit department (field berries?) with a citrus thing on the finish. Chill this baby and sit by the lake. No lake? Sit by the river. No river? Sit by the inflatable toddler pool. On the patio under the umbrella? You get it – get outside with this wine. If you’ve had a glass of pink while on vacation in some Mediterranean clime and thought to yourself, “This is the perfect wine for here.” Well, news flash – this wine will take you back.

mariusWe’re staying in the south of France with the Chapoutier entry into pink – Chapoutier Marius Vin de Pays d’Oc #367383 $13.95. Dry, light in colour and in weight. This is a sipper. Cautionary tale: this wine is alcohol and you just can’t pour one glass after another without irrationally arguing about something that you actually, in retrospect and the light of day, care very little about – just sayin’. Crisp, cold with a touch of shrubby stuff. What to serve this with, if you didn’t take my advice to have it by itself? Go to www.mariusbymichelchapoutier.com . Now the site is en francais but if you’ve grown up with flacons de mais on your cereal box, you can easily translate (and there’s always Google’s “translate this page?”) The suggested pairing that interests me the most is the pêches rôties aux amandes.

flatrockroseNow, what would a rosè review be without sampling some of the best of Niagara. The 2013 Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir Rosè #39974 $16.95 carries a little more sweetness than the French pinks above. I don’t mean that you don’t have a little pucker but it’s fruit forward (pardon me that wine blog cliché). The wine does scream, “I’m made from pinot noir!” through it’s tea stained tannins and strawberriness. I’d suggest this for those that prefer a wine less astringent but it does satisfy a little red wine lover in me. Flat Rock attends to environmental stewardship – this product is created in an old world attention to simplicity and getting the hell out of the way. Great stuff! Very quaffable. But, as Ron Popeil would say, wait there’s more.

While you’re enjoying a rosè made from pinot noir, why not pick up the 2013 Megalomaniac Pink Slip Pinot Noir Rosè #85126 $17.95 to compare? I mean, you are going to drink at least two bottles, aren’t you? No? Are you trying to make me feel that I have a problem? Well, I picked it up and had a Niagara Rosè off. This one is a tich (there’s that word again) sweeter still but not sugary more like an off-dry Riesling might seem. It is maybe the one of all these that brings fruit right to the top of the glass before you sip. No tasting lessons required to pick up the cherry and berry aromas and flavours. So, that about does it. Wait, there’s more.

Another Niagara staple is the Malivoire Lady Bug Rosè #559088 $15.95 (on sale right now for $14.95). I don’t need to say much about this, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile. I always recommend it as a ‘go to’ rosè for those of us lucky enough to have the mother ship keep it in stock at all times.

Recap: and there will be a test. The French pinks are drier, more crisp. The Niagara pinks have a fuller fruit expression and carry a little sweetness.

And, I’ve been remiss in not acknowledging the passing of my “gateway to blues” guitarist, Johnny Winter. God bless him.

 

 

Confessions of a wine (buying) addict; 10 signs you may have a problem

12 Jul

I think that you’d enjoy this take on a disease that afflicts people that I know. But not me. I have made a resolution to shed the cellar. Live in the moment. Wait…..dud you say they have a case lot price for Barolo?

The Wine Wankers

CellarThey say the first step is acknowledging you have a problem. If you are not sure whether you have one, read on, for our 10 signs that you may have a wine buying problem.  Our extensive research (mostly practical) indicates that if you score 5 or more out of 10, you are in trouble 🙂

We must admit that we get almost the same thrill from finding a wine treasure/bargain as we do drinking it; then there is the problem of how many to get. At least 3. One now, one at peak age and one to see how long it will last. Maybe 6, oh it’s the same freight for 12. So 12.

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