Back From The Abyss – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

18 Mar


It’s me – Duff. Remember me? After two months of silence, I’m back to bloggin’. There are several reasons for my absence. All are deeply personal and can’t truly be shared on something as trivial as a wine blog. However, other bloggers will identify with the challenge of balancing life with writing, making sure that you are ‘there’ for friends and family as well as readers, the pressure to taste interesting wines all the time instead of just chugging cheap caselots, and the constant demands of fame and fortune.  Now, if you’ve been playing along at home over the past three years, you know that’s got nothing to do with why I haven’t posted in a while.

Truth be told, I’m stubbornly lazy. I don’t know about you but once I cast my lot with Monsieur Sloth, I’m all in. And the winter just depresses me – so why not just sit around, veg, contemplate my mortality, and watch my Prime Minister doing something cool every day? Is it just me or is he everywhere – the most selfied man in the world? That’s all nice, but I am still waiting on the steak.

This Saturday’s release is titled, ‘Viva Italia!’. Most of the affordable Italian offerings seem pretty run of the mill or I haven’t tasted them. But I guess that I have to recommend at least one Italian wine.

carpeneI hate to use absolutes but Prosecco is the most over-rated sparkling bev, IMHO. I mean it’s everywhere and usually underwhelming. I guess if you are in a cafe in Italy and you want a little something before you dig into the ‘real’ wine, you might order a flute of bubbly – not worrying about its quality. But, with sparkling (as in not Champagne), I kind of gravitate to Cremant de Limoux, de Bourgogne, even Cava (story for another time), and local stuff. However, The Director and I shared a glass of Prosecco with friends a few years ago, and said, “Whoa!” The Carpene Malvolti 1868 Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore #727438 $19.95 is drier than most Proseccos. And not to flog the bad Proseccos horse too much, this one carries lots of actual flavour – peachy, stony. Pop this one with confidence.

susanabalbocsWho do I recommend the most? Susana Balbo, that’s who. Whether it’s her own label or Benmarco, I like her New World take on reds and Torrontes, in particular. This Saturday, her eponymous Cabernet Sauvignon returns to the shelves (if it ever left). The 2013 Susana Balbo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon #260919 $19.95 is all Cab Sav – dark fruit, cassis. I think it’s the best vintage ever of this bottling and I’ve got pretty much every vintage in my notes.  This is Serena Williams in a tux – classy and formal on the outside, powerful and beautiful underneath. This food friendly wine is full bodied with lots of stuffing, gentle tannins. Great value. Buy a case!

caliterraStaying in South America, the 2013 Caliterra Tributo Single Vineyard Carmenère #056630 $16.95 has all sorts of nervous energy. It’s powerful without the weight that this grape sometimes gives us. Struggling archaeology grad students love this stuff! Great value – great food wine. Smoky good.




Last one – the 2006 Monasterio de Las Viñas Reserva #166579 $14.95 is a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, and Carinena. The Garnacha comes through on the sniff for sure. Reminds me a bit of a Monsant without the higher alcohol (this one is 13% ABV). I’m sure there are a zillion cases of this made each year but that shouldn’t dissuade you from trying this well-aged, fun,

monasterio rand ready to drink red. This co-operative’s gran reserve (2005) is available in some mother ship locations and represents fantastic value too ($16.95). You can search for it here. Both these wines can be dinner wines and at these prices you don’t normally get something as balanced and food friendly.

One last pitch – I’ve been buying a lot of Bibi Graetz Casamatta #330712 $14.95 lately. Originally, I was thinking it would be a perfect cottage red – fruity, lightish, fresh. The problem? I got a case, I started drinking it every once in awhile, I bought another half dozen, and now I’m stuck with only 6 bottles left for the summer. And, I’m not too optimistic that there will be any left once the cottage road is open. If you like Tuscan reds that aren’t all funked up and leathery, pick up a bunch of these for the patio or deck.

P.S. On top of my laziness, I’m in a rut. I’ve been drinking French, Italian, Ontario, and Spanish wines a lot this past few months and I’ve noticed that I’m not drinking any California wines anymore. Well, aside from The Director’s Chardonnays. Why is this? I used to quaff those buggers like they were going out of style – Napa Cabs, Russian River Pinots, Rhone Rangers, Lodi Zins – loved them all. But, nothing lately. The only excuse I can muster is that my palate has changed? We all know that’s bullshit and since when is all California wine crafted to a single red-stained palate? So, help me out here fellow bloggers and readers. Help me edge away from the ledge of Euro-centric wineism. Shoot me some food friendly, exciting, not too big Cali wine recos to ease me slowly back. Thanks.




4 Responses to “Back From The Abyss – The Rainbow Daily Slosh”

  1. okiewinegirl2015 March 18, 2016 at 9:57 am #

    Morning! Here are two we’ve uncorked recently:

    Hey Mambo 2013 Sultry Red California
    bottled by The Other Guys, Napa.
    Inexpensive, easy-going. Fruit, baking spice, cocoa

    or Cycles Gladiator 2012 Merlot California

    Now I’m awake and ready to go wine shop for the weekend! Welcome back to California! It’s always lovely in the springtime.


    • Duff's Wines March 18, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks for the recess. Wills look them up. I think the Gladiator is available here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle Williams March 18, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Glad to have you back Bill. You have been missed. Hope all is okay with you. It is definitely hard to juggle writing and life! You have enjoyed some good wines. I love a good Prosecco Superiore from Valdobbiane, especially at that price point! Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thewineraconteur March 20, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    Bill, no one said that Blogging was easy, but finding the wine is easy. Welcome back from your sabbatical.

    Liked by 1 person

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