Patrick, Alexios and The Red Daily Slosh

17 Mar

Love this song and the timing seemed right. Happy St. Patrick’s 2015! Caution: there are some naughty words.

Being part of a wine blogging community is great. You gather in the ether with like minded souls, you kibbitz back and forth on what you’re drinking, you get great comments on your web site, you learn a lot about wines that you haven’t really had that often, and you unfortunately fall off the wagon. What? Let me explain. Yesterday afternoon, I had decided to forego my usual glass or two (read: bottle) of wine with prep realgrand dinner. It’s kind of a masochistic deal where I tell myself that I drink too much, too often and I need a break and then I proceed to try to talk myself out of that position with mixed results. Yesterday as I prepared our dinner, Anatoli of Talk-A-Vino sent out a tweet to some of us that showed a label shot of 2004 Cvne Viña Real Gran Reserva with the tweet, “This is what I call ‘a damn good wine”. Well, if you’ve read these pages a bit, you’ll realize that Spanish wine has become my Achilles Heel. It’s so damn tasty (a professional wine blogger’s term – do not use it at home). I thought, “I have a few bottles of the 2009 Viña Real Reserva downstairs. Umm. No, resist Bill. Stay the abstinence course” Then, in response to Anatoli’s tweet, Stefano of Flora’s Table tweeted, “Nice, I’m on a Basilicata trip: Re Manfredi, Anglianico d V ‘07”. With a label shot. And it is a very cool, inviting label – “Hey, why not drink a little Aglianico?”, it said. I love Aglianico too! What is a mere man to do? Well, you guessed it – open a bottle of anything as quickly as possible. Rather than taking the time to wander downstairs for the Viña Real, I pulled a wine from the rack upstairs – and with shaking hands and sweaty brow pried the cork out of a 2009 LAN Gran Reserva. How was it? Well, I should have decanted for hours to allow it to open; which wasn’t going to happen. Slosh, sniff, slurp, swish, swallow. Maybe tonight the remaining glass – yes, there was a little left – will be a bit more robust and present. The moral of the story? If you want to dry out a bit, stay off social media.

The March 21st release features ‘Cali Icons’. But, I have a bit of a problem and not just the abstinence thing. I’m overweight in California wine. Being overweight for me doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a ton of them. It means that I will never drink the the ones I have – they never diminish. There’s never an Open That Bottle Night that will get me to pop the cork on these wines. That’s not just the California wines, it’s all the really good ones. What I see happening? In a few years, I will be in the HWID (Home for Wine-Induced Dementia) – along with Anatoli and Stefano it seems – my cellar at my bedside still not able to Open That Bottle. It’s weird. All this to say that I’m not getting any of the offered Cali Icons until I open something else Cali. And, you need company for that. Anyone want to join me?

remofarinaWhat’s the biggest growing trend in wine? Prosecco? Well, yes but what else? New World Rhone blends? OK, but what else? Ripassos? Right On! You cannot go to a restaurant in my town (#ldnont) that serves anything vaguely Italian in origin without a few Ripassos on the wine list. They are everywhere. And we know what happens with this race to make a certain style or varietal of wine. There are way too many pretenders and sloppily made wines. Think oaky Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Cava. Because of that, I seldom order or buy Ripasso unless I’m familiar with the label which does limit my experience. One that I do guzzle with gusto is the 2013 Remo Farina Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore #999946 $16.95. This wine is ready to guzzle right now. You might think light, fresh, red fruit but you’d only be partly right. There’s the red fruit but the additional process (re-passing) has lent a heavier character to this wine, not particularly fresh – ready for more substantial foods than straight up Valpolicella. Balanced. No pizza for this wine unless there’s sausage and mushrooms on it. Good value. Recommended.

castiglioniI have recommended a lot of Italian wines. Italian wines are wines of place – they express their culture perhaps better than any other region’s wines. And, among all those recommended, one certain Italian label appears more than any other for it’s great QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) – Marchesi de’Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castigligoni #145920 $21.95. This week it’s the 2011. Now, I realize that $21.95 isn’t what many might spend for an everyday wine. I say, “Really? Let’s fix that.” What you do is you justify the purchase by telling yourself that it was recommended by a brilliant wine guy and that you’ll drink it on a weekend – say, a Friday night after a brutal week. And then you find an excuse to open it on a weekday. Say…………you decide that you’ll pop it open to accompany The Voice Battle Rounds on a Tuesday. Yes, that works. I mean, who will Adam choose? Slurp. That’s how it starts. Commit to the inevitable upselling and buy this. Drink it whenever you want. Why this wine? This is a perfect representation of mid-range Toscana – cherries, backbone and a long surprisingly luxurious finish. Have with any meat with rosemary, Italian fare like Caprese salad with great Balsamic, Neapolitan pizza – yum – or just by itself. Full-bodied and presenting us with the possibility that we might like Tuscany reds the best. Now, what to tell our exes – Rioja, the Southern Rhone, Niagara, Washington State, Piedmont,………….Highly, highly recommended.

boutariGreek wine – what do those two words conjure up? Sitting on the edge of the cauldera in Santorini with a cool glass of Assyrtiko. Been there. Unbelievable, pinch me. But, it also conjures up a very bad glass of red wine, doesn’t it? I’ve been to Greece a couple times and had sworn off their red wine. Ask me about the barrel red and the re-purposed plastic water bottles on Tinos. There was a reason it was a Euro a bottle? But, swearing off a whole country of wine is like never drinking Ontario wines because you once had a glass of Cold Duck. It’s a bad idea to generalize that much. It’s all about point of reference. Plus, life is boring if all you try is stuff that’s the same and safe. So, I jumped back in a few years ago and since opening my eyes to Greek reds, I’ve enjoyed a bunch of them. You should too. And, the safest label for me is Boutari (FYI, Boutari has been named a ‘Winery of The Year’ 17 times by Wine and Spirits Magazine – only three wineries with more nods). This week, the 2008 Boutari Grande Reserve (Naoussa) #140111 $17.95 arrives. If you’ve never had a wine that’s musty, you ‘must’ try this. On my cheat sheets I don’t have the descriptor ‘truffle’ so I just wrote it in the margin. It has a distinct truffle aroma and that follows in the mouth. Wet earth. Love that. Not a fruity wine. In fact, I don’t have a single fruit in my notes. Sturdy in the mouth and on the finish. Almost the mouthfeel of a CdP. Highly Recommended. March 17th just so happens to be Saint Alexios Day in Greece (I’m not kidding, I looked it up on the internet). So, Irish stew, Guinness and a chaser of Ouzo on the rocks with a splash of water. Well, maybe two ouzos – it is a holiday, you know. I’ll tweet Anatoli with a cool picture of the Ouzo – poor bugger, he’ll have to have one too. That’s how it works.

5 Responses to “Patrick, Alexios and The Red Daily Slosh”

  1. Krystle van Hoof March 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    As I sat down to read this, I had just finished a debate with myself about drinking on a Tuesday evening (the general consensus being that it was not a responsible thing for me to do.) No more than a paragraph in and I’ve got a glass of rioja in front of me…where did that come from?!

    • Duff's Wines March 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

      Well done. You have made me feel a little less like a problem drinker. Hope you’re well. Still In Bamako?

      • Krystle van Hoof March 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

        Or maybe we both have a problem. 🙂
        Yep – still in Bamako for now then to Montreal…in a matter of weeks or months (not sure which yet!)

  2. Stefano March 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    Glad to have contributed to taking your mind off of that silly proposition not to drink a glass or three on a Tuesday night, Bill! 😉 Italians (and French) have been drinking wine daily for centuries without (evident) problems, so it must not be that bad of a habit after all, if you ask me! 😉 While of course CVNE is in its own class, I am generally okay with a LAN Gran Reserva: I mean it is not a show stopper, but it is quite good and very drinkable for its price point, in my view.
    Thank you for the kind mention 🙂

  3. Please Bring Me My Wine March 18, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    Get you and the Greek wine!!! Good work!

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