Tag Archives: Barahonda

Pais It Forward – The Red Daily Slosh

19 Nov

As I type this post, I glance out the window to a yard covered in snow (and getting deeper) and rock to Talking Heads, volume at 11. We all remember that über cool 80’s group, right? I discovered that they’re same as they ever were. To quote Chris Farley, that means they’re, “Haaaawesome”.

These recommendations are for the class of November 22nd.

A release called “Uncork The Finest” naturally focuses on the finest (read: expensive) wines and makes it difficult to provide ‘daily’ slosh recommendations. But, I’ve given it a college try and found 4 beauts. And, if you want to splurge in the run up to the holidays, there are also some classic, iconic labels such as Chateau de Beaucastel, Sassicaia, and Silver Oak. Suggestion? Save some money by going on one less treasure hunt at Costco. You’ll save enough for a case!

Disclaimer: It seems that every time I review the wines available against my experience and notes, I bump into a Grenache (Garnacha) dominated wine that I’ve liked a lot. Not sure what the attraction is. Grenache is generally a little less tannic? But, I quite like a streak of tannin. I’ve been to the Languedoc-Roussillon, Southern Rhone and Provence – all areas that grow a lot of Grenache and I like to recreate that vibe? I don’t really get it. Maybe it’s just a phase that I’m going through. Wait, I know. They’re really good!

nostre paisThis week there is a three-peat wine. I liked it in 2010, liked it more in 2011, love it in 2012. The 2012 Nostre Païs Costières de Nîmes #295410 $21.95 from Michel Gassier is a wine of elegance and regional representation – a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Syrah. It’s medium-to-full-bodied, scents of leaves, lavender – chock full of herbs, dark fruit in the mouth. This is bolder than the last two vintages – more complete and definitely more substantial – longer finish. I enjoyed the last two versions with simple fare like pizza and those ones were perfect for that. I think this vintage needs a bit more class. I’d think a stew with winter vegetables might work. This would cellar for a few years (3 – 5). The 2013 vintage was a bit of a challenge for Grenache in the south. Can’t wait to see what 2013’s Nostre Pais brings. FYI, there’s another Michel Gassier offering this week – 2012 Château de Nages JT Costières de Nîmes #7368767 $24.95. I can’t comment on this vintage but it is highly recommended in several reviews I read. I guess that qualifies as a comment after all?

barahondaLately, there have been more Monastrell wines out of Spain showing up than in the past. What is Monastrell? Monastrell is just Mourvedre carrying a Spanish passport. Generally, unless it’s blended with some of its friends and called Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it’s well-priced. This week, the 2011 Barahonda Sin Madera Monastrell #366823 $15.95 arrives. This wine comes from Yecla DO (Denomenación de Origen) a region that we don’t see that often – but Yecla’s making a move up the charts. Yecla is in the south of Spain just under Valencia, near the Mediterranean – it’s hot and the wines show it. This wine is all fruit – darker and red. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, there isn’t a hit of anything that might be associated with time in wood. It’s easy drinking with some good spicy elements on the finish. Moderately high 15% ABV – so some heat on the nose and mouth. Smooth party wine and a great introduction to Mourvedre’s Spanish alter ego.

Interesting factoid: The Mourvedre grape was named via a contest held in the village of Uzes from where the grape was thought to originate. The contest asked residents to suggest a name easy to correctly pronounce by francophones but impossible for anglophones. Mission accomplished.

fincaecinalA couple weeks ago, I opened a Ribera del Deuro Reserva (2005 San Cristobal) that I’d forgotten in my mess down below that masquerades as a ‘cellar’. It was the best wine that I’d had in months. Sweet cedary scents, fruit still showy and perfectly balanced. I regret to say that I have very few RdD left. So, what to do? Well, let’s buy a few and let ‘em grow up in the basement. Although it may not cellar for as long, the 2010 Finca el Encinal Crianza #355081 $17.95 provides me with that opportunity. These wines are predominantly Tempranillo or Tinto Fino as they call it in Ribera del Deuro. This one has a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. Crianza wines can be a real find for Spanish red lovers. Usually immediately drinkable, easy-going, priced well, and lip-smacking yummy. This wine is a huge cut above anything explained that simply. It is smooth, full-bodied, complex, wanting to please above its designation. Love it. This has a real presence. Let it gasp a bit before you slurp. Very impressive.

ironyPreviously recommended and re-released – 2011 Irony Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon #025106 $19.95. My previous review here.

Also, the 2010 Chianti Classico’s are generally very good. There are a few already on shelves and two in this release (Rocca Delle Macie and San Felice il Grigio) – both riservas.

Images courtesy of:

http://www.vintages.com

http://www.bodegasvalparaiso.com

 

Portugal and The Red Daily Slosh

27 Mar

OK, the somewhat whispering voice is laughable but the story and pictures are spectacular. No?

I follow a bunch of people on Twitter and this week there was a thread about wine and, in particular, Portuguese wine. I have always loved Portuguese wine. But, I have to admit, I haven’t had much over the last few years. Oh, I have a glass of Port if my friend Rod offers (which he doesn’t nearly enough) but I mean unfortified Portuguese wine. Not sure why I’ve jumped off the Portuguese bandwagon. Actually, I came out of my first formal tasting with a case of wine from Alentejo. So, it’s time to put my money where my typing finger is. That doesn’t sound quite right but I think you get it.

So, I wandered to my local monopoly store and shopped for some value priced Portuguese wines. The good news? There were lots. The bad news? There were lots. I’ll talk about these over the next month or so.

montefinoFirst up is a wonderful wine – 2005 Montefino Reserva #165519 $17.95. This is a wine made from a blend of Trincadeiro, Alicante Bouscet, Aragones and Touriga Nacional. Don’t be too blown away by names that may be unfamiliar – just jump in. After all Aragones is just Tempranillo (and, we all love it) and Touriga Nacional coming in small berries with intense flavours and darkness makes great reds as well as being the preeminent grape in Port. This wine comes from Alentejo, a large wine making area that is also home to cork trees that sacrifice their skin so that we can enjoy popping a cork rather than unscrewing a top. Now, this wine has enough sediment in it to scare some off. Don’t be, just decant for that purpose alone. The wine doesn’t need a decant to settle or anything but you don’t want to choke on whatever has broken down and been accumulating over the last 8 years. How do I know? Let’s leave that for another time. The wine is medium to full bodied but has a hard to describe lightness to it that was my first impression (after the sediment, that is) that’s a great attribute – fresh and easy drinkin’. It’s well balanced and those that find some of my recommendations too ‘heavy’ won’t find this one that way. The label says, “This fresh and aromatic wine, consumed in moderation, exists to bring pleasure to those that drink it.” Well said. I felt warm all over and inclined to be not so – moderate, that is. It’s a potential case lot for sure but there are limited quantities out there. I’d suggest that you click on the inventory number to see what’s in your neighbourhood. And a shout out to Vera! Stay tuned.

These next ones are for the March 29th release.

barahondaAnother Iberian value this time from Spain is the 2011 Barahonda Sin Madera Monastrell #366823 $15.95. I first had this wine as an on-line order sight un……..drunk. I loved it. It’s gone. Time to reload. It’s made from Monastrell. Monastrell is really just Mourvedre that’s escaped across the border from France. Or maybe vice versa? This is a wine that doesn’t see wood – so stainless steel all the way – bringing you the fruit first but I like the fact that there’s a hardness, a spine, to it – minerality and tannins. It’s pretty intense, flavour-wise and I experience it as full-bodied. Like the one above – it’s warming and, I think, a perfect wine for friends and Iberian food – like, say, carne de porco à alentejana (never had it but scooped it right out of Wikipedia). But seriously, we have a diner in London called Rei Dos Leitoes that, frankly, has the best barbecued chicken and pork in the area. Pick up a dinner from there (chicken, pork, BBQ, piri piri) and crack a couple of bottles of this wine with friends. Perfect.

wakefieldI had lunch with some friends yesterday and one commented that he appreciated cabernet sauvignon when he was supposed to be working on his graduate school stuff. Thanks for that, Jeff, I don’t feel so unprincipled now. A good value cabernet that takes us away from those magnetic California shelves is the 2012 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon #744235 $17.95. This is a pretty big wine in my mind. It’s got some heat from the alcohol (although only 14%). Is it just me or is there higher and higher alcohol content? I don’t like that the wines we see now are all over 12.5% as a matter of course and some of the bruisers are 14.5% to 15.5%! What’s wrong with getting just mildly buzzed? What? Anyway, this has some heat but it isn’t to the extent that it interferes with the big dose of flavours – dark fruit, mocha, maybe even some herby stuff – wait, definitely herby stuff. Not heavily oaked or tricked up. This is not a party wine. I repeat – eat with this. Something burnt and chewy – leave the fat on and the tannins will break it down and rinse it up. I like this for the cab lovers out there. Even ones that drink while doing grad school projects.

And because you all love boogie down music. I couldn’t help myself.

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