Tag Archives: Bordeaux

#MondayBlogs : Age? It’s Only A Number

25 Aug

radiciWhat? No music? Sorry but I wanted desperately to plug in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Riviera Paradise but couldn’t find it. And, I didn’t want to compromise.

I haven’t rambled in awhile. That’s not exactly true as I tend to ramble with every post. But, I haven’t dedicated a ramble-only post in a long time. So, to correct that oversight and to execute a bit of a brain dump, this is it. The ramble, that is.

Basically I’m an immediate gratification leaning man – waiting on stuff doesn’t suit me. Waiting on wine, in particular, makes me anxious. I want the best wine (that I can afford) at its best, right now. On the aging wine front, I’m a little uncomfortable with the term ‘predicted drinkability’. As in, “the drinking window for this sturdy Chateauneuf-du-Pape is 2014 to infinity.” Regardless of the pedigree of the suggester, I struggle to trust it. What happens if I wait too long? Open it too early? Second, I don’t really get aging. Let me explain.

I read all kinds of stuff about all kinds of stuff. It makes me a good conversationalist at a dinner party. Topic: the effects of pesticides on bee populations? I’ve got it canned, locked and loaded the moment it comes up. It never comes up, actually, if you need to know. Topic: A-Rod – bum or victim? Charming dissertation on the history of PED’s in sport. Topic: Mount Veeder viticulture as a metaphor for life? Don’t get me started. OK, that last one was bullshit – I have nothing on that one. But, my knowing, really knowing most stuff is a hoax. I don’t truly learn things through reading. I learn through doing, experiencing. So, someone telling me in a book that aging wine improves the depth, texture, balance, etc. doesn’t inform me in my core. It just gives my mind more stuff. I still won’t truly get it. Even if someone were to patiently tell me how it chemically changes – the #*****ases and the #****phenols, the unexplained changes brought on by French being spoken quietly in a dark cellar, I won’t truly understand it. And I really don’t want to understand it that way other than to use it as a party trick. Sorry.

There is a point to this story. A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I had dinner at my place. It’s a bit of a tradition that we have a bottle of his and a bottle of mine. And, you need to know that we have many of the same wines, having similar tastes. That night, he brought a 2003 Chateau Haut-Bages-Libéral. I contributed a 2006 Chateau Duhart-Milon. Yeah, yeah, I get it oenophiles, we both thought Pauillac, how intuitively in tune we are. I decanted the latter for……..ever. The ’03 – pretty well popped and poured. What did I learn? Well, I learned what happens to a wine that ages. Correction: I learned again what happens to red Bordeaux like ’03 Haut-Bages-Libéral when it’s aged a bit compared to a similarly structured newer wine. If I was at a dinner with unsuspecting people and this particular evening came up, I’d tell them the textbook stuff. I’d bullshit them or carefully toe the correct wine guy line. But, I don’t want to do that to you. I speak almost truths to you guys. My truthiness is unassailable! So, how were the two Bordeaux? The ’03 was sooooo much better. That’s it? Well, not exactly. My friend and I talked feminine versus masculine. Seriously, we did or maybe it was just me? But, what it boiled down to for me was that the older wine seemed more settled – more ready for prime time – more interesting. I could say that the tannins were a little softer, acidity a bit further in the background, fruit more focused, all more balanced because I think that’s true. But, what’s the point? You don’t need to know that exactly and you may have felt, tasted and experienced it a bit differently. What’s important is that I reinforced my belief that there are wines that just don’t do as well early as they do after some time in bottle. If I had a theory that allowed me to understand when exactly to open these wines, I’d be all set. But, I will continue to open many too early a la ’06 Chateau Duhart-Milon and others too late. ’94 Lazaretti BdM comes to mind. And, the way I learn that it’s too early or too late is by opening them. So, take my advice about aging wines with a pinch of salt, a jaundiced eye and any other old weird saying that comes to mind. When I taste a young wine, I do know if it needs time for me to truly enjoy it at its best. That’s for me to truly enjoy it. And, I’ll recommend when that’s my belief. But, I think that I’ll stay away from suggesting the exact month, week, and time of day.

So, why the ramble? Maybe just a nudge to readers to try the open-one-now-leave-one-for-later approach to wine. Or, it could be a veiled attempt to ensure that my friends reading this don’t try to lay some young Oregon pinot or 2010 Barolo on me when they drop over. I’m not having it. And, thinking this all through has contributed to a bit of angst about the ’98 and ’99 Taurasi Radici’s downstairs. What to do? Any advice?

Photo Credit: italianwineshop.it

The Very Last Way Too Early Holiday Edition – The White Daily Slosh

21 Nov

arethafranklinI did warn about another tune. Mylie Cyrus, The Queen of Twerk? Nope. As Steely Dan said, “Hey 19”, she’s the Queen of Soul – Aretha Franklin. Yes, she did look this young once. Don’t worry as this is my last seasonal song installment. Here it is. Just couldn’t do this without her. Did I ever tell you about seeing her live or that the best song (song, song – not aria) ever sung by a woman was sung by her? Another time maybe. Or just guess. OK, never mind, here it is (written by her sister) or maybe it’s this one. OK, I’ve stopped now. But, as soon as I post, I’m turning up the volume!

On to the wine!

So, what do we need as we approach Thanksgiving (US) and vicarious re-living of Thanksgiving (Can.)? We need loads of serviceable white wine, that’s what. Friends of mine had a cocktail party last year and they noticed that people who asked for white wine actually more frequently asked specifically for “chardonnay” – instead of simply “white wine”. Whereas the red wine drinkers just mumbled incoherently (trying unsuccessfully to project an image of sobriety), “Ummm, red wine, please. I want red wine.” Interesting that, given the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) trend that’s been on for a few years. So, let’s give you some reasonably priced options for that chardonnay.

PeninsularidgeLocal is always good and these guys make great wine – have a splendid restaurant – great view. If you haven’t, make sure to drop by next time you’re in Niagara (picture provided by website). The 2011 Peninsula Ridge Barrel Aged Chardonnay #211490 $15.95. This is unusual for me (I know – I am unusual) because I’m used to their Inox Chardonnay which has no oak – steely and fruit focused. This one has all the nuances of oak that you might be looking for – not heavy but present primarily in vanilla on the finish and some butter stuff when you gurgle it. Just the right weight for a cocktail party. Or, you could do this with your turkey if it’s the traditional sage thing.

scrcI included the 2010 Santa Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay #928580 $14.95 because it’s a great price point and provides the same utility that the one above does – great for people who like white wine and like standing around as they drink it. This gives you the oaky stuff way before the one above – from the first sniff, actually. So, of the two, if oak is your primary glug thing – get this one. Tropical fruits and the tell-tale Granny Smith apple that chardonnay usually brings. It might have a bit more acidity and it’s light-medium weight, as well. You can’t go wrong with this right-priced chard. Case lot?

roquefortIf you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll remember that I talked about the forgotten white – white Bordeaux a few weeks ago after reading a great Eric Asimov article. This week there’s a white Bordeaux that I got to taste at a local Vintages aisle – 2011 Château Roquefort Sauvignon/Semillion #313346 $16.95. Traditional Bordeaux blend that brings a lot more roundness – no, that doesn’t sound right – brings a lot less of a linear feel – that too sounds like bullshit. What about – it comes across as more New World than I thought it would – bigger, fuller in fruit flavours and still some of the Old World earthy, stoney mouthfeel that these can give you. I liked it a lot. It would also be perfect for a walk around cocktail party wine. And, if you haven’t in awhile – you should.

wynnA wine that I’m going to get that I haven’t tried is the 2012 Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay #468928 $17.95. I love Wynn’s approach to their line up. Particulary their cabernet sauvignons. And, this sounds pretty interesting – described as full-bodied against the lighter versions above. Maybe better with food. While I’m on the topic of pairing (which I kind of wasn’t), I agree that you eat what you like with a wine that you like. But, really, I do think that the old red wine with meat and white wine with chicken and fish works pretty well unless you are a white-a-phile or red stained. I’ll think a bit more about it – read a blog or article the other day that said this and after a few days consideration – I agree. Not my original idea but still.

Value Bordeaux and Passo the Appassimento – The Red Daily Slosh

21 Oct

chateaulamotheThis week’s release features 2010 Bordeaux from less expensive appellations and there are plenty of great values. Shop districts like Blaye, Lalande de Pomerol, Cotes du Bourg, Listrac-Medoc for value. I haven’t tried very many of those on offer but will give it the college try and start popping corks once I get my hands on them. But there is one that I have had that I think is exceptional value – 2010 Château Lamothe de Haux #641555 $16.95. This red is from another minor Bordeaux district – Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux. In a year like 2010 that means that you’ll probably be getting a very good Bordeaux for less. And, that is the case here. This wine is ready to drink now with a traditional red meat dinner. It has tannins (which is good) but not so evident that the fruit is buried underneath your furry tongue. Red fruits of cherries and evidence of barrel treatment (sandalwood?), kind of  floral on the nose too. Get a couple and put one down for a year or two.

laplaceI have a friend who loves wines from Madiran and Cahors because they’re good and reasonably priced. But, I really think that he likes to step away from the crowd and when he can do that and drink great wine at the same time, he jumps at the chance, don’t you Andrew? 2010 LaPlace Madiran #103704 $16.95 is a wine made from Tannat like most Madiran reds. Tannat is exactly what it sounds like, a fairly tannic red wine grape that usually brings some raspberry fruit, tannins, acidity and ageability to the table. Actually I hate that phrase “brings to the table”. So, let’s try that again. ……………usually brings some raspberry fruit, tannins, acidity and ageability to the dance. The dance? Come on, I can do better than that ……………..usually is raspberryish, with tannins, acidity and, oh BTW, it can age. Better. This is most definitely a food wine. As above, buy two, have one now with something substantial and wait a few years for the other to see how time can soften the edges and bring the raspberries to the table, to the dance?

tedeschi2009 Tedeschi Capitel Nicalò Appassimento Valpolicella Superiore #984997 $15.95. I’m not always enamoured with appassimento/ripasso approaches. It’s supposed to bring a depth, body, and fullness to wines that otherwise would be more simple.  With the appassimento approach, there are many that just kind of get the cred without the improvement. But, some guys pull it off and when they do, I’ll recommend. This is one of those times. This wine brings some of the cooked elements of appasimento but not too much – it’s dark, medium-bodied and would be great with a big bowl of something tomato tangy. So, and I don’t usually do this, if you are having a rich meat sauce pasta next week, you must serve this with it! Now, Prego doesn’t count and doesn’t really qualify as rich. And don’t give me any guff about how hard it is to prepare meals when you work all day (from a man who sits at home in his housecoat and tastes wine before noon). I’ll meet you halfway – you’re allowed to use some organic pseudo gourmet sauce in a bottle but one that’s only available at Whole Foods (in London – SunRipe/Remark). Let me know how fantastic it turns out.

zoloArgentina makes more than just Malbec. I know. There doesn’t seem to be much else – but trust me this one time, there is. I’ve sung the praises of Torrontes in these pages and had good feedback on that white grape. This week, there’s a very solid Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Zolo Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon #054098 $17.00. If you like the ubiquitous California Cabernets at a similar price point, you’ll be pleasantly pleased with this step up. The erobertparker.com review says that it’s balanced but I think it tilts toward its fruit and alcohol (14%) – so some heat. Nonetheless, you’ll experience a suave, full-bodied red with a pretty awesome finish for this price. I could handle it standing around (leaning a bit, mind you) but also might like it with some food.

A wine that I haven’t had but piques my interest:

M2011 Vinos Sin Ley ‘M’ Old Vine Monastrell #344226 $18.95. I like Monastrell (Mourvedre) wines. Why, you ask? Well, to quote my youngest when he was, in fact young, “Because.” OK, my real answer is that I prefer wines that are, for many, a bit hard – rustic – earthy. Mourvedre or Monastrell is just that when young. But, this one is said to carry the earthiness that I love but is softer, more accessible – fruit very up front and fragrant. Sounds very good. Let me know if you try it.

Revisiting a recommendation:

BorsaoTresPicos_2I recommended the 2011 Tres Picos Garnacha #273748 $19.95 from Borsao last time out. I had a bottle with a friend the other night and I was reminded how smooth, full, and yummy this wine is. Sometimes when I’m in a funk or writer’s block, I question my recommendations. Was I right to put a ‘Buy’ on the Chateau Whatever? Is the Don Diego De La Vega Reserva all that and a bag of pretzels like I said? Well, this return visit to the Tres Picos dispels my momentary lack of conviction and commitment to bring you the greatest recommendations on this particular web site. Or, was it the company and the third glass? Regardless, run to the store and get a few of these beauties. There are lots left! Click on the link above and search stores near you.

Carl Jung And Wine Trouble

12 Aug

carl-jungLast month, a challenge was issued by The Drunken Cyclist to write a post on a theme – Transportation. My response is here. This month the winner of last month’s challenge, The Armchair Sommelier, another blogger that I follow, asked everyone to post on the theme – Trouble. As the other wine bloggers did, I had ‘trouble’, pardon the pun, thinking about wine as anything other than a blessing. What trouble could there be aside from overindulgence? Well, I came up with some of my all too regular troubles.

From the outside, it seems so awesome (as Chris Farley would say) to decide that you want to explore wines, try to become knowledgeable so as to better enjoy what you already love – and get to write about it. What could be better than reading about wine, visiting wineries, tasting (drinking) wines and writing about your experience as a sideline J-O-B? Sounds pretty trouble free doesn’t it?  What could you possibly write about that connects trouble to this wine life? Aside from those nasty liver enzyme levels? The other day, I read SavorEncyclopedia’s trouble theme and it tweaked something that has spelled trouble for me.

Folks (and I mean that in a non-Will Rogers sort of way) don’t want to misstep, make mistakes, err, screw up, look stupid. They usually want and need to move confidently, succeed, and look brilliant to others. It’s probably named after a psychologist. I’ll call it a Jungian Theory because it sounds like it could be Carl (Psych major here). Now, mix this Jungian Theory with the rules of wine that organically change monthly, wine etiquette, hundreds of varietal grapes, blends, techniques, French words adopted for wine discussion and you get a glimpse of  trouble. A lot of folks think that wine is hard – that you can mess up if you don’t pay attention. There apparently are non-intuitive secrets that take a long period of study to learn. Now, into this environment saunters a moderately articulate and light-hearted blogger who ‘appears’ to know stuff about wine. Well, he appears to know more than perhaps ‘folks’ think that they know. Well what happens? He becomes their ‘go-to’ guy for wine tips and recommendations. Where’s the trouble here, Duff? Let’s just say that there’s a burden that I bear that’s exactly the same as everyone else – I don’t want to screw up with wine. Trouble in Wine City? How about these:

  1. Expectations (aggressively nurtured on these pages) are that Duff is a wine pairing savant and pairing wine isn’t for novices. There are rules and, goodness, I respect them. Can’t always remember them – Google frequently, but, I know they kinda work. My trouble usually goes like this:

Overwhelmed Host – “Bill can you help me pair wine with my dinner menu? It’s the most important dinner of my life and I need your help.”  

Bill – “Sure, no problem. What’s the menu?” he says confidently as he opens Google.

Host – “Cumin crusted grilled scallop kabobs, arugula salad with orange segments and a citrus vinaigrette pre-main. Main is porcini-crusted beef tenderloin with truffle butter sauce served with parsley mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes and steamed summer squash.”

Bill – “Are you sh****ing me?” Well, I don’t actually say that out loud. But, I think it. We now have fully engaged Jungian Theory Trouble.

Where to start? Deep breath, I use a technique honed over many years of pairing wine to food, I close my eyes and just think about the food – scallops and I think…………..wait for it…………… a crisp white wine like an Albariño from Rías Baixas – I can taste it and it is good, very good. But then again, the scallops have a middle-eastern quality. Nix the Albariño and insert a Sancerre? Riesling? Yes, the Riesling will go beautifully with the spiced scallops and citrus salad, I bet, hope, am moderately confident about. And, don’t sommeliers usually recommend Riesling when they’re lazy or tired or confused (like me) or it brilliantly matches the dish as in this case? OK, Riesling it is! That’s just the appetizers! Porcini dusted beef tenderloin? Deep breath………….. You see what trouble you can get in as a wine ‘guy’ with Jungian sized insecurities? 

  1. Trouble # 2 This time it’s me having the dinner party for friends that I love but who are not hesitant to evaluate my cooking and wine pairing skills. I know they do it behind my back but it still hurts. Let’s say we’re serving the beef tenderloin above. In this quagmire of potential failure, comes the first major anxiety producing question: Can I serve the 1990 Château LaGrange yet? I read in one of my many over-priced subscriptions that the ’90 is good between 2009 and the predicted end of time but somehow, I doubt that it will have survived the day known by one and all as, “The Sweltering Summer Day That The Electricity Died.” Meaning: wine storage failed and it’s stewed already. Sob. Get over it; it’s now between the pristine 2000 Château Malescot St.-Exupery and a New World pretender, 2006 Caymus. It’s a high class problem to have admittedly. If the Margaux is good – it’s too good for these guys (sorry to those friends reading this and thinking that I’m talking about them – I am). I know they love Caymus but that would be too easy and I have a reputation – founded on Old World wines – so the Margaux it is. Trouble over? Never. Question: Just let it breathe or decant? And, for how long? Can I mess this up too? When in doubt, an expert like me decants for about ……..however long I remember to let it decant and always in a nice Reidel decanter. Oh, it’s impressive alright. But, it’s been a struggle to get there and I haven’t even mentioned the dessert course. Dessert? Arghh!

Yes, it is a tough life, troublesome, trying to live up to others’ and more importantly your own expectations. And heaven knows I don’t want to make mistakes – but I will. However, failure teaches you more than success, my father regularly told me and I know he was right because I bought a used 1974 Vega. It paired nicely with a full glass of regret and a case of motor oil!chevy-vega

Weekend Splurges Return and So Does Diane Lane

5 Aug

I haven’t been keeping up on my splurge recommendations. Choosing instead to just drink them. Plus, my ramblings take my eye off the ball too.

dalemThis week’s release features some great Bordeaux and, although it’s in my splurge category, they are bargains. Aside for a few finds like the Chateau Lyonnat a few weeks back, Bordeaux breaks the $20 barrier with ease and frequency if you’re looking tasty and accessible. And, if you’re talking age-worthy and “I think I’ve actually heard of that one”, you need to check your credit limit before swiping. The place to look sometimes are the lesser known areas like Canon-Fronsac, Cotes de Castillon, Lalande-de-Pomerol and Fronsac like this one and that below. This Bordeaux could be consumed now after a little air – 2009 Château Dalem #191213 $33.85. I hadn’t heard of this chateau before and was interested in the price point. It’s a surprisingly complex wine for this price – with pipe smoke and briary things happening. If you want to impress friends for a dinner party, get one of these, let it breathe or decant for a few hours and serve with a ‘real’ meal (whatever that means for you). Now, I mean real. Meat, vegetables and starch with maybe some gravy or sauce of some kind. So, really whatever that means for ME.

vcAnother Bordeaux that’s a splurge but paradoxically a good buy is the 2009 Château La Vieille Cure #193151 #36.85. I love this chateau. Have a handful of 2005’s and 2008’s. Haven’t had the 2009 on offer but I’m thinking that it would provide good value and be consistent with the ones in my basement. They are medium bodied, dark fruit tinged Bordeaux with lots of interest in the way of herbal things like mushrooms and dirt. Well, not real dirt but a nose that reminds you of dirt – say earthy and musty in a good way. It’s a wine that’s part of the In-Store Discovery series. So, check availability before wandering off.

A few months ago, I wrote about my visit to Megalomaniac Wines. I touted the 2010 Megalomanic BigMouth Merlot #067645 $24.95 by them and I’ll let you read the reviews and description of this interesting winery. This wine is available in numbers this week.

blackwellStaple splurgish shiraz’s for me back in the day were St. Hallett’s Blackwell and Faith shiraz’s. But then, I went ‘off’ shiraz (maybe only real splurge shiraz left in my cellar are Elderton Commands) for a while due to overload and the ubiquitous nature of shiraz at every function and party that I went to. I’m starting to get the same weird feeling with malbec now and think pinot noir is a creeping menace too. You all know what I mean – the mantra was when in doubt, bring/serve shiraz. But, with this week’s release of 2009 St. Hallett Blackwell Shiraz #535104 $34.95, I’m back, baby. Love this. This isn’t your ultra chewy Aussie shiraz. It’s more restrained without giving up on the mouth-filling part. Lots happening that you can wear out a pencil writing about. This is a great wine with surprising smoothness and interesting aromas and flavours – tropical fruit on the nose almost a la white wine with big, ripe dark fruits and pepper as any good shiraz should have. If you’ve wondered what would possess someone to spend $30 plus dollars on a shiraz when you can get Yellow Tail for $10 (is it still $10?) – you will find out when you get this. I just re-read that last sentence. Do you really have to ask yourself. “Why spend more when I can get Yellow Tail for $10?”

And a reminder. The inventory number and price are those for the LCBO. If you want to read about the wine (as in a review) and/or you are in Ontario and want to know where there is inventory, just click on the inventory number and price which should be underlined signifying a link. Then drop down the city menu and find a store near you (as they say in the commercials). In fact, any underlined stuff on my blog probably is a link. Sometimes pictures are links too as in the blog about Diane Lane’s movie. There, one week and I’ve mentioned Diane Lane twice.

Dude, It’s The Red Daily Slosh

3 Jun

zinfandelvinehttp://www.dictionary.com ‘s slang definition of ‘gnarly’ is “distasteful; distressing; offensive; gross”. Clearly a winemaker wouldn’t use this word in the name of its wine as an attempt to be cool and current. “Buy our wine, it’s distasteful! And, it’s gross too.” So, why do we find 2011 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin Zinfandel #678698 $17.95 on our shelves this weekend? Perhaps, it’s the non-slang meaning of the word – which is “gnarled”. The picture above sums up the connection for this wine. Zinfandel vines are: 1) gnarlysome of the oldest vines in California; and 2) pruned in a way that features big, thick gnarled vine stalks with curly grape producing vines at the top, like a head, as it were. Now, why this same producer makes Gnarly Head Merlot, Gnarly Head Pinot Noir, and Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon sans a de facto ‘gnarly head’ for these varietals is a mystery for another time. It’s just plain distressing. Getting to this wine, this is one of those consistently yummy zinfandels that brings in the fruit and the power that we’ve become used to from California zins – perfect for the backyard, round enough for standing, swilling, and arguing but with enough stuffing for some burgers or ribs. Yes, I think ribs would be great with this wine.

alamosI’m hearing grumblings that many of my Daily Slosh recos are not all that ‘daily’, price-wise. I admit to a bit of price creep over the last couple of years. But, you have to work with what you’ve got. In the spirit of shaving a few bucks off the $20 norm that I’m accused of, let’s take a trip to Argentina; which along with Chile probably brings the best value wines available in these parts. The Catena family makes wines from $9 to a billion dollars a bottle. I think that I’ve waxed on enough about the Alta line, especially the cabernet sauvignon, so I won’t bore you. This week, there’s their 2010 Alamos Selección Malbec #322800 $16.95. (image courtesy of www.mightygrapes.com). This wine is all that malbec can be. It’s got loads of personality so not insipid and monotone like that über cheap one that we all know and are forced to drink. It has a strong tannic thread through the sip, swish, and swallow. But, don’t think that’s a bad thing. It just prepares your mouth for the finish of dark fruits. Neal Martin of www.erobertparker.com says this wine has ‘chutzpah’. It certainly does.

 And, don’t forget that I recommended a couple of other Argentinean wines a while back. I bought a bunch of the Terrazas malbec and it is a great sipping wine and still around and priced right.

 argadensWhat did I say last time out? That I’d be looking for Bordeaux that comes in at the ‘daily’ range and still delivers. This week, there’s another goodie. The 2009 Château Argadens #681843 $17.95 is a great example of price conscious Bordeaux that, like all good Bordeaux, still has the legs to stand in your basement for a while. Or, let it breathe for a few hours before serving. It represents a pretty solid red with more interest and stuffing than you might expect. Buy a couple and just let them be, let them be, let them be, oh let them be for awhile (say 2 years) and see what age does to a solidly built wine. Great with red meat or sharp cheeses.

bilahautNow, when I recommend anything in the following stable of wines, the phone rings off the hook with accolades and comments about my astute wine savvy and, oh yeah, my modesty. That wine stable – the one that is oh so good – is Bila-Haut and this week brings 2011 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon-Villages #168716 $14.95! Great winemakers make great wines at all price points. M. Chapoutier makes this beauty and it’s hitting way over its weight – which proves the point. This is full-bodied and lures the smell of the south of France right out of the glass. What does Emeril say? “Bam!” Loads of fruit, plenty of woody, briary stuff and still enough tannin and acid to strike a great balance. If you love wines from this region and I see that some of you do, you can put your hands down now, place an advance order to ensure you get this red. And, yes, the bumps on the bottle are Braille. Probably a great one-liner about why and when Bill might need the Braille but I think I’ll pass.

balbasSecond consideration from an earlier recommendationBalbas Reserva. Had a bottle the other night with friends and all at the table were gobsmacked. This Spanish beauty may be the steal of the year @$20.95. It’s just so gentle and interesting. I vote for Balbas for the Red Daily Slosh of The Year (RDSOTY) and reserve the right to change my mind later on. There’s lots left in Ontario, you just need to know where to look.

Let me know if you have a RDSOTY candidate.



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