Archive | October, 2016

Punkins and Porcupines – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

27 Oct

Heading to the Grand Theatre tonight to see a play/concert about Joni Mitchell. She is such a creative force. A poet, musician, painter, prairie girl, dulcimer player.

Halloween is coming up and it brings back memories of being dragged along by my boys from house to house. At one time, I would get a wee drink at each house in our neighbourhood. Verrrrry scary! The best memories are my oldest dressed as a porcupine – costume made from a paper bag, make-up whiskers, and straws. He knocked on our neighbours, recent immigrants, who clearly hadn’t gotten the memo about Halloween and didn’t know quite what to do with a kid dressed in a paper bag saying, “Trick or Treat” and not wanting to leave until he got his candy. They must have thought – WTF or the Urdu equivalent! Or, my youngest on his first walking Halloween, cautiously approaching the third or fourth door of the night, ringing the bell, almost apologetically murmuring “Trick or Treat”, receiving his treat, and then turning and running back to the street shouting, “Dad, THEY gave me candy too!” Where does that innocence go.

fermedumontSniffle, sniffle. Enough nostalgia. The wines released this month are a bit Bordeaux heavy and I haven’t had any of them so can’t comment. I’ll pick up a couple and see if I can choke down a bottle or two before my next release post. The other focus is blends and on that score, I’ve had the 2014 La Ferme du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhone #251645 $17.95. This is not to be confused with the red from this producer that I recommended last time here. This is their everyday wine. But, it doesn’t cheat in size or interest. Great value CdR that goes down easy and is perfect for a Friday night pizza or graze. On the graze, we have sworn off grazing on Friday nights – which is kinda like pledging to go to the gym – futile. Used to be our tradition – hummus, olives, Syrian flatbread, kibbi, grape tomatoes, loads of wine, and crappy Friday night TV fare.

chimeresStaying in the South of France, the 2014 Château Saint-Roch Chimères Côtes du Roussillon-Villages #119354 $19.95 is full-value as a GSM (60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre). Not all oaked up so the purity of the fruit, particularly the Grenache comes through. Moderate alcohol at 14% ABV. Loads of mature fruit, some garrigue, and even a bit of spice make this a great fall wine. Fresh. We had two vacations in the Languedoc- Roussillon and this wine represents that region magnificently. A sip takes me back to Rocquebrun (below).

Rocquebrun

michelgassierI hate to present too many wines with the same vibe or from the same region but I have to mention the 2013 Château de Nages Vieilles Vines Costières de Nîmes #040964 $19.95. Quick test: What ubiquitous product was invented and first used in Nîmes? I’ll award the first correct answer (no Google allowed) with a first edition copy of my new novel, hitting bookshelves everywhere in 2034. This wine is seemingly an annual pick on these pages. Michel Gassier seldom disappoints and this is no exception. Another GSM with a hint of Carignan which contributes to a structured, solid wine. This is oaked a bit – dark, biggish, anise, herbs. Another great value – stew wine.

flatrockWas in Niagara last week – will post on my visits soon. I didn’t visit Flat Rock but will next time. This Saturday, there’s their 2013 Flat Rock Chardonnay #286278 $18.95. This is a consistent Chard with just a hint of oak – in the bit of creaminess on the finish. Mostly, it’s the typical GS apples and a bit of tropicality. Very nice and a crowd pleaser – even for the trend following ABC crowd. On that topic, we were at the Grand Marchi tasting this month and a representative of one of the wineries went on and on about how people who drink white don’t know about anything other than Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Word of advice to reps: keep your opinions to yourself. You sound kind of whinny and snobbish when you opine on ‘proper’ wine basics to people that just want to taste the shit that you’re peddling.

moncontourIt’s time to start to stock up for holiday season. We Canuckleheads are past our Thanksgiving but our friends below are just getting ready – election, shrug, Thanksgiving. So, you’ll need a crisp lip-smacking bubbler to greet your guests. I had this two years ago but it is a Non-Vintage bubbly that should stay consistent flavour profile-wise. The Château Moncontour Tête de Cuvée Brut Vouvray #207936 $17.95 should fit the bill for nibbles and bubbly. Medium-bodied, fruitful, great acidity, bubbles taut and tangy. Many cheaper bubblies suffer from sameness – you can’t tell one from the other. This is made from Chenn Banc and it definitely stands out as different. I like these Vouvray Bruts a lot. Interesting fact (according to LCBO write-up): This is from “one of the oldest estates in Loire’s Touraine region. The French author Honoré de Balzac tried to purchase the estate in 1846 but was unable to do so, although it didn’t keep him from mentioning the estate in his novel A Woman of Thirty.” Very cool.

Cheers – enjoy your treats

Bill

Tasting Room Talk – The Red Daily Slosh

13 Oct

The Third Debate?

In the event that a tape, which may or may not be out there, becomes public, I’d like to make the following statement.

Let me say that I’m not proud of what’s on the tape. It happened when I was much younger and represents tasting room talk. Tasting room talk that’s all. I apologize to anyone that I’ve offended and my intention is not to objectify wine. I have wine bottles in my basement, my friends have wine bottles, my wife has wine bottles, some of my best friends are wine bottles and I wouldn’t want anyone to talk or think about them in that way. I’m truly sorry.

It just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it?

seghesioThis weekend the LCBO is releasing some heavy hitters from Piedmont and some California stalwarts. Have only had one of the lot – the 2014 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel #942151 $29.95. This is one of my favourite Zins and this vintage doesn’t disappoint. Spicy, rich, anise goodness. And, although it’s a typical Zin with higher alcohol levels (14.8% ABV), it doesn’t carry any heat. Beautiful Zin.

baldiosAlways some Iberian wine to talk about. Popped the cork on a bottle of the 2009 Baldios Crianza #366393 $19.95. Still holding strong. Despite being only a Crianza, this is full value. Age has imparted richness, knitted it together to bring you a balanced palate – smoky, cherries, and vanilla. Love it!

Staying in Spain, the 2013 Torres Altos Ibericos Crianza #381046 $16.95 is a nice sip. Not as round or full as the one above, it’s great sipping wine with snacks. It too is smoky and brimming with Tempranillo fruit. This is what I’d call straight up Rioja – no mystery. It just delivers.

leponnantWhen I’m not loitering in Spain, I like to drink wines from the Southern Rhone and Provence. They reflect their neighbourhood better than most. And, I love the hood. The 2014 Le Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages #171371 $19.95 is one of the better CdR-Villages that I’ve ever had. If you like your CdR’s big, brawny and brimming with dark berries, this is for you. This is very full-bodied and fruity – some scrubby/herby elements. Great effort and good value.

gravityTaking my seasonal journey to the Niagara Peninsula in the next few weeks and, as always, I will drop in to Flat Rock Cellars to see what’s up. Their 2013 Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir #001560 $30.25 is arriving this weekend. Flat Rock, Tawse, Westcott, Queylus and many others down there, make exquisite Pinot. This one is special in it’s consistency year after year. Floral up front, red fruits on the gurgle and earth on the finish. Just a lovely, lovely wine. Wish that I’d had some for the turkey last weekend. Perfect match.

aspresQuick shout out. This month’s Wine Enthusiast featured the 2014 Gerard Betrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres GSM. Gave it a score of 91 “Dense, generous ………and robustly fruited”. I recommended the 2013 and it is still available – so that’s 2013 Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres #413245 $18.95. My review here.

I’m off to the Grand Marchi at the Royal Ontario Museum next Tuesday. Sipping and regrettably spitting some of the better Italian wines from many of the boot’s best producers (Antinori, Gaja, Mastroberardino, Chiarlo, Donnafugata, San Guido, Alois Lageder………), chat up the winemakers. Can’t wait. I’ll report on the experience in the future.

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Cheers.

Bill

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