Be Careful – The Red Daily Slosh

1 Apr

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I’ve been following March Madness on the tube and have seen quite a few commercials concerning pharmaceuticals – mostly dealing with erectile dysfunction. I hadn’t made a connection between basketball and that particular malady. All I can think of is that it must have something to do with the constant dribbling.

It’s interesting watching the different approaches to what’s allowed on these commercials. Up here, you see men skipping down the street in the morning with a Viagra logo floating over their heads but no mention of erectile dysfunction or what, in fact, Viagra has done for them. They just feel friggin’ fantastic, wink, wink. Or alternatively, they tell you what problem you might have (40% of men in the world have ED), suggest that you talk to your physician but give no product name just a website to find out more www.getitup.com . Arriving there, you guessed it – Viagra.

South of the border, it seems they can say everything about erectile dysfunction and the drug as long as they tell you that your personal health situation precludes you safely taking it. “If you’ve ever had the feeling that someone doesn’t like you, you’ve misplaced your house keys, or you’ve had a stiff neck, consult your physician before taking Viagra. If you experience erections lasting longer than the God of your choice intended, stand down, sip some wine, and modify your Power of Attorney. Do not take a selfie.”

So, I’ve decided to provide my own caution for my recommendations. It will be included at the bottom of this post.

Let’s get started.

allegriniThe April 4th release features wines from Veneto. So, let’s start with a ubiquitous wine from that region – 2011 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre #672931 $24.95. I guess what I mean by ubiquitous is that I seem to see this wine all over the place. Other bloggers talk about it, restaurants carry it, I turn the corner at the Masonville LCBO and there’s a stack of it with a shelf talker by Natalie MacLean (92, if that means anything to you). Well, it’s either pretty solid or it’s an exceptional feat of marketing. The former is true. This is a consistent performer. Rich (there’s a bit of raisinated grapes added post first fermentation) and layered. One time you pick up the dried fruit and the next you swallow a gob of fresh black cherries. It’s pretty cool. Great wine with cheap Italian fare – spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs, sausage pizza. Friday night before the blue pill?

donatoniAnother but less expensive wine utilizing dried grapes is the 2011 Donatoni Massena Appassimento #332403 $16.95. Some of you shy away from Old World and, in particular Italian, wines because you sense a sharpness, thinness and/or just too much acidity. I could argue that you are just wrong but what’s the use? Instead, you need to try these appassimento wines.  In fact, anything that uses dried grapes or spent must to deepen wines – as in Ripasso, Amarone. This wine is great value – brings dark red fruit aromas and flavours with all sorts of spiciness and depth. Finishes long and satisfying. I like this wine all by itself. But, then again, I like a lot of wines by themselves. This would be great sitting-by-the-last-fire-of-the-cold-season wine. Spending quality time discussing Bill C-51 and the potential fate of Omar Khadr. Who am I kidding? How about recapping the day and snuggling? Remember: Snuggle Responsibly.

In this market, we are barraged at the mother ship with far too many selections of cheap New World Cabernet Sauvignon. Most LCBO’s dedicate about ten feet of shelf space in the US section and at least that much in other New World aisles columbiuacrest combined for these wines. You know the ones I mean – stylized foot imprints, skinny girls or little dresses , and fuzzy animals on the label. Heavy, off-dry, woodified crap – a technical assessment. So, it would be easy to write off cheap, New World Cabernet. Well that would be wrong. Every vintage it seems that there’s a great cab or three from Washington that goes against that theory (think H3). This week, the 2012 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon #240093 $17.95 arrives in stores. This is from the Chateau Ste. Michelle powerhouse. I’m a little guy….guy but these Michellians do a pretty good job of churning out mass produced wines with appeal at reasonable prices. This one is sophisticated for the price point. A luxurious mouthfeel but with enough tannin and a tangy finish to provide a few edges, particularly on the finish – plenty dry enough. It’s straightforward and simple in a good way. I’d want to have this as a sip and nibbler primarily – friends drop in, hostess gift, Easter dinner at my place (hint, hint).

frontariaWho says that I never recommend a wine under $18? I’ve nailed it twice already this week. Here’s a trifecta and going real low. Where have I heard that phrase, “Going Low”? #insidejoke The 2009 Quinta do Portal Frontaria #324533 $13.95 was a wine I tried when Duoro was the New Wine This Week – that’s a fun weekly exercise carried on by obsessive wine geeks. This was a huge surprise. I was gobsmacked. Taken aback. Dumbfounded. This is an Old World wine with New World ambitions – round, smoothed out, settled by time in bottle. Dark fruit. Nice heft, full-bodied for $13.95. To quote Jeff, The Drunken Cyclist, “Whoa.” Please pick it up – good wine, great price. Whoa.

Wines that I want to try:

2012 Carmen Grand Reserva Carmenère #439166 $17.95 – like the one below, I’m going on past performance here. Carmen’s Carmenère is usually good good. Deep, smoky and sturdy – backbone of tannin just intentional enough – long finish. Hopefully this vintage doesn’t disappoint on that promise. Shout out to the Joukowsky Institute Carmenère Club.

2013 DeBortoli Gulf Station Pinot Noir #015511 $19.95 – I love Yarra Valley Pinot and I’ve had DeBortoli’s different Pinots many times – love their take. Usually fresh, red fruity and just enough tang – dignified, if that makes sense. Stand and chatter Pinot. I want to give this one a try.

drinkresponsiblyCaution: If after consuming wine, you experience any of the following, step away from the wine immediately: believing that The Maple Leafs don’t need a total rebuild; mistaking Zero Mostel for a non-alcoholic Piedmontese wine; calling the red wine you’re drinking – ‘cabaret’ sauvignon; or, and pay attention to this one – thinking that a fourth bottle makes sense.

4 Responses to “Be Careful – The Red Daily Slosh”

  1. Stefano April 1, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    I’m glad you had an opportunity to taste Palazzo della Torre and you liked it. I totally share your views and I have always found that it consistently delivers. Lots of bang for the buck in this “baby Amarone”.

    • Duff's Wines April 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      I knew that. I had read about it somewhere and purchased on recommendation. Very impressive wine for the price.

  2. talkavino April 1, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    Bill, I was laughing hysterically: “do not take a selfie”… great writing! Nice wine line up. Douro reds are generally quite spectacular…

  3. Michael May 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    The Massena is as wonderful as you suggested. Very syrupy, lots of berry in it, and just the right amount of cedar adding a note of astringency to cut it.

    The Mothership has a “patio special” I thought I should mention. Tommasi Graticcio Appassionato that is significantly lighter but really flavourful. This is so easy-drinking it almost drinks itself. (I had to restrain the bottle itself last night before it became a black-hole in the space time continuum.) And at $15.95, beats the hell out of MD 20-20 (which is what you’d be drinking if you were “Fly”).

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