Archive | August, 2015

Summer’s End? The Rainbow Daily Slosh

21 Aug

gbroseI was on a bit of a promotion tour for rosés a while back and penned this post. Oh, it wasn’t a real tour, it just felt like all I was drinking was pink liquid sunshine. As I wound down the fascination (Confession: I really haven’t actually wound it down as witnessed by my Famille Perrin Tavel last night), I picked up a bottle from one of my favourite producers in the south of France – Gérard Bertrand. And, what do I see in this week’s release? La meme chose. The 2014 Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé #373985 $18.95 somehow allows you to smell the dusty, scrubby landscape of the Languedoc along with some strawberries right from the sniff – Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah. It’s a solid rosé. I’m not saying it isn’t fun but I’d suggest that you eat something with this to fully appreciate it. Something fresh and chewy. And, it doesn’t need the hot afternoon sun to strut its stuff. It has the heft of a Tavel. I’m buying a couple for the winter. Very cool bottle with a glass closure for good measure.

laclapeOK, before you say it, I do have a man crush on Gerard B. There is a series from the Languedoc that I like a lot – The Grand Terroir Series. Produced by Gérard Bertrand, the former French rugby star. This week, the 2011 Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir la Clape Syrah/Carignan/Mourvèdre #370262 $18.95 arrives. This is pure Languedoc for me. Full-bodied, rich and somewhat savage. Or should I say, sauvage? Spicy with some herbal things happening on the finish. Great red meat wine. I’d save a bunch for the winter stew season. A good value wine.

reichsratI spent a lovely evening with Oliver, The Wine Getter, last week and he popped and poured a few German Rieslings from the Mosel. When I returned home, I wanted to pick up some of the same. What did I find but a wine that is hitting the shelves this week? 2012 Reichsrat Von Buhl Armand Riesling Kabinett #060905 $18.95 It’s not from the Mosel but from Pfalz. What I’d read about Pfalz was limited but it implied that many of their wines had less minerality and more punch than some other German regions. Couldn’t tell you if that’s true generally but this wine seemed to fit that description. Acidity rather muted but a long finish of citrus fruit, suggestions of a warm region. I’m not sure that this would cellar for long but right now it’s a medium sweet introduction to Pfalz for me. Liked it a lot with emapanadas. What? Of course German empanadas.

balbasAs well as rosés, I’ve been pounding……er……sipping Spanish wines. I’m heading to Spain in September for 2 and half weeks and tried to fit in Ribera del Duero. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned – it’s better to do less well than to do it all poorly. So, next time for RdD. One of my favourite wines from there is the Balbas Reserva #085183 $20.95. This week it’s the 2005 but I’ve loved almost every vintage since ’01. If you love expressive, leathery, sandalwoody Tempranillo, you’ll love this wine. It’s already showing its stuff but could cellar for another decade. Just think about sharing that 2005 vintage in 2025. Sitting at the foot of my bed in the old folks home, my teeth in a bedside glass, paired with pureed pork, instant mashed, and canned fruit cocktail. Yum.

I like Sancerre.
Blogger Aside: You ever notice how wines from Europe seldom tell you what kind of grapes are in them. When in North America, the name of the varietal is almost always on the label front and centre. I like the cryptic quality of those Euro labels as do many oenophiles. It’s neat to have a label that you need WSET Level 3 to understand. It separates the ‘real’ wine drinkers from the wannabes. Kidding. Actually, the reason I like it is that it’s more specific. The DO, DOCG, and AOC in the case of French wines, prescribe fairly strict rules about what grapes can be used where and even many of the agricultural and cellar techniques allowed.

attitudeWhere was I going? Oh yeah, I quite like Sancerre. Outside of white Burgundy, it strikes me as the most sophisticated white wine. Now, don’t everyone send in their choice for the most sophisticated white wine. Save it for your own blog. Sancerre is from the Loire Valley and is made with Sauvignon Blanc – although not mentioned on the label. And, the ‘go to’ Sancerre for me is Jolivet’s – readily available and reasonably priced. This week, there’s one of his less typical Sauvignon Blancs – the 2014 Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc #971887 $19.95 is not strictly a Sancerre although from the Loire. And, I’m not sure that you could mistake it for one. It’s brasher with a Jimmy Durante nose – large and expressive. As youthful as this is, you might think that those smells aren’t evident in the mouth. You’d be wrong. They are all over your mouth – gooseberries, grapefruit. This is not for you if you prefer the more subdued Sancerre approach. Do I like it? Love it! Take this to a party where New Zealand whites are a fave and I bet people pause with this in the glass; not quite sure what it is. Could it be Kiwi? Probably not – a soupçon de je ne c’est pas? Try this and let me know what you think.

ornelloI mentioned above my trip to Ann Arbor and The Winegetter. I brought them a couple of reds. I later discovered that Oliver’s weakness in reds is Sangiovese. I had brought him much heavier wines. Great heavier wines – but still not the same style at all. If I had paid attention to his writings a bit more, I would have brought him something akin to the 2010 Rocco di Frassinello Ornello #412601 $37.95. This is a sweet red – as in suweeeet!. It’s a bit riper than many traditional Sangiovese wines, I find out it is made with Sangioveto (40%), Cab Sav (20%), Merlot (20%), and Syrah (20%). OK, before you run to whatever reference source you use in your little wine world, Sangioveto is obfiscation-speak for Sangiovese. I know this because it says so on the internet. A truly lovely smooth, lipsmacking red. All elements tied together until the finish when the acidity that I, for one, love provides a little extra kick. I’m positive that Oliver would love it too.

Cheers!

Duff’s Book Club – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

7 Aug

Well, what’s everyone been up to? Me? I’ve been off these pages for better than a month. I’ve been at the lake, doing man stuff (building things, beer, baseball on the radio), boating, swimming, sitting, drinking a shitload of wine (that’s a anthonydoerrmetric measurement for my friends south of the border), and reading a lot. Some great books. Some very disappointing ones. On that score, I’ve decided that I will never read another book with the word “Girl” in the title. And, if the book also tells its story through several different unreliable narrators, I am out of here. Did anyone read Gone Girl? It was pretty sorry, wasn’t it? Everyone is writing books that mirror Gone Girl’s tale, technique, and style. I made the mistake of getting The Girl On The Train and The Good Girl under the guise that The Director would like them. Brutal. Why everything the same again and again until no one buys it?

rawihagePlease no more ‘Young Adult’ books that involve wizards, vampires, and/or post apocalyptic young women. Everything the same again. Uncle. I give up!

I did read some great books. The best of which were: Rawi Hage’s DeNiro’s Game, Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, and a Carl Hiassen one that I probably read before – love him. I’m off to Spain next month so if you have some good reads to share, let me hear them.

This is a wine blog. So, on to the wine!

I thought that I’d just make this a mélange, a cornucopia, a bit of a mashup really of reds and whites.

Let’s start with Argentina. I was speaking with the son of a friend of mine and he said that every time he sees Susana Balbo’s Malbec, he buys it and then benmarcocswhen he takes it to an event, the host (if she/he even opens it- which is the peril of taking something that’s actually good to an event, isn’t it?), they remark that it’s great and posit that it cost a lot more than it actually did. The power of good winemaking is what that is. Well, this week, there’s another from Dominio del Plate (Susana’s home perch) 2013 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon #232637 $18.95. This is pure Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis, structure, grip – a food wine. Hands up – how many people think California when they think Cabernet Sauvignon? Bordeaux? Chile? Australia (stay tuned)? Argentina? Now, if there is one person with their hand up, I’ll buy a new MacBook. I’m not sure if anyone thinks of Argentinean cab sav as ‘classical’. This may change your mind and it’s only $18.95! You may say that I’ve been a little too effusive about Susana in the past and you’d be right. Regardless of the past love, my eyes are open, this is good juice.

roscsStaying on the cab sav bandwagon, let’s travel to the Margaret River region of Australia. In Western Australia, they make the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia possibly with the exception of Coonawarra in some vintages IMHO. It’s warm, dusty, and crafty there. The 2012 Robert Oatley Cabernet Sauvignon #323741 $19.95 is one of those solid yet elegant reds. It doesn’t hit you over the head with tannins and acidity but everything nonetheless is yummy – subtley good. Restrained. I’d say this could be a sipper – as in, just pop and pour during the argument phase of the evening which happens at my place pre-dinner, post dinner or actually during dinner. Actually save the dinner for a bigger more flamboyant red. This carries redder fruits than other New World cabs.

eastonI always love a good zin and this week there’s a consistent one that costs a bit more but I’m good for it – the 2012 Easton Zinfandel (Amador County) #328377 $27.95. I first had this label at a zin tasting and it blew me away. A zin tasting is like a Bordeaux pre-release tasting. By the time I taste 10-15 wines, my palate is shot, if I was being honest. Oh, I still swish and spit and ooh and aah but it’s a farce really. My notes become more and more cryptic and vacuous (like my comments here?). Well, this wine in it’s 2010 vintage broke through the sock mouth and showed leather notes, red fruit, and an earthiness that I don’t always associate with Zinfandel. This vintage is similar. Not heavy, good grip, and a burst of red fruit. After you swallow, you get a nice finish with a smokiness or leatheriness. A very sophisticated Zinfandel at this price. I’d love to understand if it’s the winemaker or the vineyard or both that brings this experience. Maybe a trip to California for research?

closOn the white side, there’s a nice Muscadet. I do love Muscadet. This one, 2010 Clos les Montys Vieilles Vignes Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie #297911 $13.95 is a typical one. Salty, crisp, and full of pears. Love pears too. This is the perfect accompaniment to shellfish simply prepared and eaten al fresco under the stars. OK, you could have it in the living room too. I had a comment a long time ago. The troll wondered why I slagged Pinot Grigio but loved Muscadet. Well, 1. it’s my blog and I’m OK with you thinking I’m contradictory, and 2. They are not remotely the same wine! Go ahead PG lovers, pick this up and have with the aforementioned shellfish or fresh field tomatoes and tell me that reminds you of PG.

yEvery year I mention the 2014 Yalumba The Y Series Viognier #624502 $16.95. I had this vintage at a restaurant while I waited for a colleague. Yes, that’s right, I started drinking before he got there. I know I have a problem. This wine just bursts from the glass – peaches and cream. Such an invitation to gulp! But, don’t. You’ll miss the bright acidity and lovely mouthfeel. It’s smooth and spicy at the same time.

contradeSplurge alert – in winegeekdom, there’s a club called the Wine Century Club. The goal of the club is to drink wines made with 100 different grapes. I started to fill in the forms with every different grape I sampled. But, like every other endeavour I undertake, I ran out of steam. But, if I was still doing the note taking, the 2012 Contrade di Taurasi Grecomusc’ #418715 $32.95 would have to be included. This wine is made from the Roviello grape. I associate Taurasi with red wines. I hadn’t heard of the white Taurasi made with Roviello. This was a glass in a restaurant again so I’m going with memories only here. Anyway, this white wine is all citrus and spice and incredibly strong. Not strong as in medicine but strong as in it’s intensity. It has a big backbone of acidity and I bet needs a few years or some time in the glass and warmth to express itself. Very interesting and worthy of a pick up in your Wine Century Club pursuit.

Cheers.

 

 

 

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