Tag Archives: Borsao

Strawberry Samba Duels Chianti – The Red Daily Slosh

3 Jun

My favourite Neil song in an abbreviated cut. Shout out to all my Neil Young fanatical friends, in particular, AL and DJ.

dievoleBefore we wade into the new release, I want to mention a wine that I had the other night that led to running back to the store for more – 2010 Dievole La Vendemmia Chianti Classico #283101 $19.95. This vintage has shown a bunch of winners in Chianti Classico, but I think that this might be the one that I’ll remember the most so far. Let’s ignore the notes with all the scents/tastes and get to the experience – have you ever been somewhere, a different culture and country and having just sipped a smidgeon of their local wine, thought to yourself, “This is really fill in the blank.” Well, not fill in the blank but wherever you are. This wine made me think of Italy on the first swallow. And, not so much country-side Italy but more sophisticated Italy, smooth Italy. That doesn’t sound just right as all Italy is sophisticated in its own way. But, I hope you get it anyway. I’m not sure you need food with this but it’s ripe and ready for some less heavy fare – perfect evening-patio red or wait-out-the-rain cottage red. Case purchase? Still lots out there.

Ramble Divertimento: Let’s talk about wine served at large functions, shall we? We were at an event this past Saturday evening and decided to purchase a bottle of red for our table. Perusing the wine list (they used the term ‘list’ shamefully as there were only three choices), they had really bad ($39), really bad and more expensive ($42), and really bad yet more expensive again ($44). Because I always know the second least expensive bottle of every wine list, we choose number 2. It has massive label recognition.  Well, how was it? As we say in Canada – “Brutal.” No, really brutal, eh. I subsequently checked out my local to find this wine resident in mass quantities. I asked a consultant how it sold and she told me that it was one of the biggest sellers in the store as far as red went. Loudhailer in hand – “People, you don’t have to drink this shit!” I have to ask myself why is it that people drink stuff like this:

  • Different strokes for different folks – not everyone gags on bad wine – some love it. Exhibit 1 – Girl’s Night Out “Strawberry Samba”. I’m not making this up. There is a wine called that. They even have a Darkberry Duet!
  • People haven’t tried other wines and think that all wine is this bad. Exhibit 1 – “Bill, I drink beer ‘cause wine doesn’t work for me.” Dude, this wine doesn’t work for anyone except those covered in bullet one. You didn’t like beer the first time out either unless you grew up where I did as most of us 13 year olds loved beer right out of the gate.

I can’t do much about the first bullet but I can try and encourage people to try different wines until they find their fav – and, if the fav remains an over-priced (even at $10) plonk – I can at least say that we’ve both tried. Wait, did I say $10 – so why were we paying $42? And, yes, of course we finished the bottle. I’ve already admitted that I have a slight problem. And, if memory serves me I didn’t do it all by myself.

Deep breath……..This week’s release (June 4th) concerns Aussie wines. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any of them in the vintage offered. But, I’ll mention one below that I’ve always loved in earlier vintages in case you’re looking for Aussie love.

leonMy comment above about the Italian wine ‘not’ bringing the country-side with it.? Well, the 2010 Salice Salentino Leone de Castris #597534 $19.95 brings the country-side from Puglia right to your dinner table. This smells, tastes, and warms you like Puglia. Lots of shrubby stuff, great acidity, spice and enough backbone to stand up to something tomatoey, meaty – sausage pizza? Gutsy yet seductive – like Lucy Liu. I love this stuff. Love Lucy as well, I must say. I had this wine overlooking a garden in Otranto. Sounds more romantic than it truly was – some road noise and smoke in the air from burn offs in the olive groves. But, I think that’s kind of what I’m saying about the wine – it’s genuine and representative – not presenting like a zillion other wines and not apologizing for it’s little imperfections.

laurasI haven’t been to Creekside Estate Winery near Jordan in a few years. It used to be one of my favourites – not sure why I’ve missed hitting it on my way around Niagara. Maybe it just shows how many great wineries are churning out stuff. I always appreciated the laid back vibe there. Anyway, this week, their 2010 Creekside Laura’s Red #117960 $19.95 hits the shelves of the mother ship. This is a solid mid-weight red blend. It tells me that there’s syrah/shiraz there somewhere due to a stripe of spice – particularly on the finish. Creekside is one of the few wineries in Ontario that attempts and succeeds with shiraz. This has cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec along with the shiraz. Fresh and juicy. Great stuff – a consistent performer that can do that performing as a stand around wine or with burgers and dogs.

BorsaoTresPicos_2Here we go with a threepeat recommendation – 2011 Garnacha Tres Picos #273748 $19.95. If you bought it before, you’ll want to get more. Here is my most recent post highlighting this wine. Great wine.



brecaAnd, since we are in to comparing wines here – I’m going to pick up the 2010 Garnarcha Vieilles Vignes Breca #329086 $19.95. This wine looks to be less fruit and more land. Sparser yet more powerful. Should be interesting.





Shiraz 2012 004And I did promise a sure-fire Aussie. If you’re looking to step out with some fatty meat (and, I’m not meaning your husband here, girls) on the barby, pick up a bottle of 2010 Haselgrove First Cut Shiraz #367425 $18.95. This wine is usually a full-bodied, wood nuanced shiraz. Smooth but still present tannins and a bit of a juicy end. Reviews of this are very positive.

Label Images:

Dievole, Leone de Castris – http://www.vintages.com

Breca – http://www.winesearcher.com

Haselgrove, Laura’s Red – http://www.haselgrove.com.au and http://www.creeksidewine.com respectively


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.

New World, Old World, Thanksgiving – The Red Daily Slosh

11 Oct

roastturkeyIt’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. When our neighbours to the south celebrate their Thanksgiving on the wrong weekend, I will relate the story of how Canadians invented Thanksgiving; along with the wheel, the telephone, postage stamps, kegger parties, and the sports bra. But, back to my Thanksgiving. I’m making a spice-rubbed turkey with stuffing that has pine nuts, fennel and some other stuff. Although, you could get away with the usual pinot noir/syrah/chardonnay with turkey tradition, I think that the first two wines below might show up on my table. They have some spice, lots of authority without being heavy, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Oh yeah, and we also invented basketball. It was at an American college but James Naismith was Canadian. Further evidence of which is this week’s Sports Illustrated cover #wiggins

BorsaoTresPicos_2In January of this year, I recommended the 2010 version of this wine. It was a “solidly made full-bodied wine” and I liked it a lot. Many of you did as well given the feedback. The 2011 version is a big wine. Now, when I say “big”, what do you think of? Tom Hanks? Chris Noth? Chocolate Bars? Noneoftheabove? What I think of is a wine that has several dimensions, has a strong mouthfeel by way of tannin, some acid and a long finish. I think power. Well, this wine is ‘big’ but not heavy or overly tannic. It brings loads of spice, red fruit by way of the 100% Garnacha, and a little jam too. But, not all was barrel aged (just half) so it ain’t woody. I think that it might be the Garnacha Of The Year. “The envelope, please.”  2011 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha #273748 $19.95. Love this stuff!

tessellaeWhen Arlene and I were in Languedoc-Roussillon, we stayed in Perpignan. What a great little town – loads of character, great food (ask me about the rodent night) and clearly some great wines nearby as evidenced by the 2011 Tessellae Carignan Old Vines Côtes du Roussillon #343517 $18.95 (sic). If you love the garrigue (and who doesn’t?) or if you don’t know what garrigue is, or you know what it is but would rather not talk about it, then this wine is for you. It is truly of this place – the Roussillon – garriguish as all get out. It’s balanced, smooth, and – wait a minute – it’s called “Carignan” in the LCBO website but the blend is 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache Gris. The winery website says it doesn’t have Carignan. So where is the Carignan? Don’t be confused if you don’t see Carignan on the label – because there is no Carignan. Which is good – Carignan wines can be pretty tableish and plain IMHO. This wine, on the other hand is anything but. It has a dirty Old World Syrah thing going on, which is perfect – full-bodied, balanced, red fruits on the nose and the palate and some interesting floral things that don’t dissipate until you swallow.  Great value too! Case purchase if you love the south of France.

canteloupI love Bordeaux reds. So, when I see a good one that’s reasonably priced (think: Chateau Lyonnat), I recommend it – the 2010 Chateau Haut-Canteloup #336867 $15.95 is one of those wines. This is such a surprise. The 2010 vintage is one in a series of “Vintage Of The Century”. Hear that phrase through a loud hailer with a distinctive Bordelaise accent and you get the gist of the hype machine from Bordeaux. But, it also means that you can get a lesser known wine during these vintages that provides exceptional value. Voilà, the Chateau Haut-Canteloup. Where did the name come from? Well, during the Classification of 1855 (which was actually a real event unlike this story), the panel visited this estate to meet the estate owner who stood 6’ 8” and had a very large head. Not so funny? Too oblique? This wine is still pretty closed up right now but either a couple hours of decanting or a few years in the dark will bring out loads of black fruit, blow off some of the woodiness and provide a great, solid wine for red meat. If I wasn’t buying a bunch of the wine above, I’d be over-weight in this value Bordeaux.

santacarmenereIt’s been awhile since I tried and am recommending a Carmenère. This is strange in that Carmenère provides such good value in most cases and truly satisfies those that prefer New World spins on Old World varietals – California Cabs, Merlots, Pinot Noirs, etc. – accessible, easy-drinking, stand around wines. This week, the 2010 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmenère #134942 $18.95 hits the shelves. This is exactly what you’re looking for if: 1) you drink red wine. It has quite a lot of different things going on. If there was a wine tasting, I’m saying that there would be very different takes on this wine. I like that – not one-dimensional and subtleties abound. It’s deep, dark (like most Carmenère), full-bodied, mildly tannic, and understated a bit – restrained. Stand around or serve with food.

There are a couple wines that I haven’t had but will pick up and may be of interest to you too:

2011 Heitlinger Mellow Silk Pinot Noir #344697 $16.95 Although Germany isn’t famous for its pinot noir, I have had a couple from there that were interesting and full value. This might be another. I found the others to be in a soft style but with good acidity. The one above’s name suggests that this will have a softness to it as well. Worth a try.

2009 Quieto 3 Malbec #275701 $14.95 A friend told me yesterday that he’s traveling to Argentina this winter and asked for suggestions for Argentinean wine to taste pre-departure – not right before the departure as in while in the lounge – but now to get the feel for the land and their wines. This week, there’s a wine that’s intriguing based on price and reviews that are very positive. Not sure what I’ll find but I think that I‘ll take the plunge. It’s only $14.95 afterall.

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