Tag Archives: Bibi Graetz Casamatta

Sale – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

31 Mar

The mothership has a lot of wines. Hell, they introduce about 120 new ones every other weekend. And, when you have that many wines, you need to put a few on sale to open up some shelf space. I bought a case of sale wine this week. Best buys were Bibi Graetz’ Casamatta Rosso #330712 $12.25 (sorry, I cleared out Masonville) and two appasimento faves 2014 The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy #149237 $17.95 and 2013 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre #632971 $20.95 – I believe the Palazzo is only on sale in certain stores (Masonville had it on sale).

I just love the Allegrini wine – a baby Amarone for half the price. I really don’t need it to be on sale to lust after it. And, The Conspiracy is a great introduction to how this winery approaches the method to enrich flavours without being overly raisiny or hot with alcohol – this wine at only 13%. Both great efforts.

The Casammatta is a nice, simple sipping red for pizza or Eggos with whipped cream. If you want to peruse the wines on sale you can find them here. Note that it’s “while supplies last’ and many may be gone or not available at your local. Scroll down the list as there are some great values there that I didn’t mention and you might find your favourite on sale.

Baseball season is upon us. Basketball playoffs and the opening of baseball season are about the two greatest times in sport. Oh yeah, and The Masters is next weekend. This time of year also marks the beginning of fantasy baseball season. Now, point of clarification, fantasy baseball is not where Victoria Secret models beat out grounders or turn a nifty double play around the horn. Although….it could be a fantasy for some. Back on earth, I had my fantasy baseball draft last weekend. And, as is the practice, I brought a tasty wine to accompany my cunning assembly of the eventual winning team. Can you spell Repeat? I picked it as the last of my stash of this wine knowing that this weekend (April 1), it was going to be back on the shelves. The 2006 Ardal Reserva #167700 $21.95 is a wine that I bought a bunch of when it last visited town. This wine is drinking perfectly right now (why my half a case disappeared so quickly) and continuing for another three or four years. It’s mature – balanced, smooth – judicious use of oak leads to a cedar sniff but not enough to blot out the scrubbiness or the dark fruit on the shortening swallow. And sticking with the theme, there’s a hint of leather on the nose. Tannins well integrated and it still possesses enough acid to avoid flabbiness. I think it’s one of the better values in aged Ribera del Duero wines that I’ve seen in a while. Similar in style to the 2005 Balbas Reserva that I always pimp. Get a bunch!

Chile brings value. In fact, I recommended a Casillero del Diablo wine to my niece as a host gift that became the hosts new BFF. You don’t have to sell the farm to get tasty treats from this country. This week, 2014 Primus The Blend #712463 $19.95 arrives. Truth be told, it’s been herre for a while already. I opened a bottle last week and have to disagree with James Suckling. I didn’t find the wine ready to “Drink now.” It seemed pretty serious and reserved. I agree that it is chewy which reminded me in mouthfeel a bit of Barossa Shiraz but this is a blend of Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon with some wee bits of Petit Verdot and Merlot. After I left it alone for an hour or two, which in my case requires some serious restraint, it opened up and had a meaty, medium bodied, dustiness to it. I think that it may proceed to a better place in time or just decant now for a couple hours. Great food wine.

At our house, there’s my wine and then there’s that of The Director. Despite the trends of the day (ABC, etc.), she is firmly ensconced in the ATC club Anything That’s Chardonnay. And, when we venture to the lake, it’s a couple of La Cremas or Mer Soleils that accompany us each time. This week, the 2014 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay #962886 $29.95 returns. What can I say? It’s a prototypical Sonoma Chardonnay with oak present but not overwhelming, apples, and a little citrus. Creamy finish. If this is your style, grab one or two. It is “Director Approved” and extremely food friendly.

We have a friend who is always popping a cork on sparkling wine as soon as you cross the threshold. Yes you guessed it, I go to her house every morning now. I think that I’ve got her off the Prosecco and on to the Crémant de Anything. But, my favourite is the ‘de Bourgogne’ made from the aforementioned Chardonnay. The Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne #991562 $19.95 is full value. Dry, crisp and lively. A great ‘first’ sip – not to be confused with a food wine. If not this exact wine, you should be able to find a Crémant de Bourgogne by either Louis Bouillot or Cave de Lugny in brut or brut rosé – both superior examples of the style and worth every penny – hey, we don’t have pennies anymore, yahoo – worth every nickel.

Some frequent flyers on this site, gave me a heads up that the 2011 Iturria Tinto #481408 $20.95 was good juice. I picked up a couple bottles and tasted it the other night. It is a sophisticated wine, well settled into its drinking window. Significant time in oak shows it in the nose but has softened over time in bottle – good balance – peppery – Garnacha fruit peeking through. Tempranillo and a small dose of Garnacha from Toro where value is good. Shout out to Joanne and Oliver.

Remember: You can check the availability of each wine by clicking on the link (stock number and price), dropping down the city menu, choosing your city and clicking on Find Stores.

Late But Timely? – The Red Daily Slosh

5 Sep

Just a little soul with one of the greatest of all time, Smokey Robinson. Shout out to Sara H.

I’ve been distracted and busy the past couple weeks. So, not very timely with these recommendations for the September 3rd release as it’s already the 5th. Rather than entertain you with a tale or two, let’s jump right to it.

montgoIf it’s Iberian value you love. And who doesn’t? You might want to buy a case of the 2012 Montgó Monastrell #452136 $13.95. Yes, that’s less than $14! Monastrell is Spanish for Mourvedre. So, if you love wines from Bandol or just Cotes du Rhone style GSM wines, this will meet your palate. It’s dry, spicy and full of fruit in the mouth more than swirling in your glass. BBQ wine for those last hot summer days.

gebratMy friend, Andrew, asked me if I’d tried 2014 Clos Gebrat CG+ #360511 $19.95 from my favourite wine region – Priorat. I hadn’t. So, I ran out yesterday and gulped down a bottle last night. Oh, I swirled it in the glass, made notes on the colour, sniffed, inhaled, and then……. I gulped it down. This wine is made by the co-op in Gratallops. When we were in Gratallops visiting Sao del Coster and Devinnsi wineries, we learned that the co-op had the community crusher. They piled it into the back of their truck and drove to the doorway of the local garage wineries to rent out the machine. Just parked it in the street. We visited wineries in Gratallops that probably couldn’t even accommodate the size of the crusher in their space. This wine is typical Priorat – big, high in alcohol (15% ABV), and dark Garnacha present and accounted for. Cariñena lurking in the background. Thanks, Andrew.

graetzTuscan sun? This week there’s a cheap NV Tuscan wine – Bibi Graetz Casamatta Rosso #330712 $15.95 that is a light, balanced red that you can serve as a sipper (at least, I drink it alone – that’s the wine by itself and me by myself – sadly alone. But, I don’t have a drinking problem unless you count the empties). But you can serve with something light Italian – margarita pizza?  Great value. The label, as are all Graetz’, is very cool.

I had a discussion with someone the other night about Pinot Noir. They preferred California Pinot over Burgundy. I think there are a lot of people out there that would agree. I’m thinking it might have to do with Burgundy’s need to age a bit before you scarf it down. Or, the California fruit over the lean earthiness of most Burgundy. Whereas many California Pinot is made to drink younger. Somewhere in between, in my experience, is New Zealand. Particularly Central Otago – lean, powerful, but still a bit of sexiness and accessible fruit. This week, there are two Kiwi Pinots that I purchase in most vintages:

rua2015 Avarua Rua Pinot Noir #295592 $27.95 is one of the Central Otago Pinots that I think is proper to very good value at this price. It is typical as described above but also has some herbal stuff. I’ve had this vintage and it’s a beaut but could use some more time to develop or a bit of a breather. Nothing better than to know that there is a good Pinot Noir nestled down below and waiting for a good screw……Corkscrew, that is.

2013 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Pinot Noir #361246 $31.95 is from the North island. This is more typical of Pinot with cherries, some earthiness, and a nice lip smacking finish. I have not had this vintage so can’t recommend the proper time to swill. Highly recommended just the same.

Untasted but of interest:

2010 Viña Real Reserva #094896 $21.95 I think I’ve had this vintage but can’t find any record of it. This is typically a very good example of a Rioja Reserva at this price point. Cellaring capacity but good now too. And, you will really impress your guests with a bottle or two of this and some meaty lamb or pork.

2013 Borgo Scopeto Borgonero #421396 $19.95 Had this in the 2009 and 2010 vintage then we lost contact. I blame myself really as I misplaced her email, FaceBook, Twitter, Snapchat, ……..addresses. But, now we stumble into each other. In those earlier vintages this was a big Toscana, full bodied with great bones. As I re-read my notes, I’m thinking that I quaffed those earlier vintages way too soon. So, let’s see if I can control my urges and leave one or two of these down below for a few years. But, I will have to drink one this week.

That’s it. Sorry for the delay. Have a great week – we are heading to the lake for some work, sun, food, and drink.




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.




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