Tag Archives: Brancaia Tre

Fishes, Loaves and The Red Daily Slosh

28 Aug

My favourite blues singer (Beth Hart) and one of the all time great guitarists (Jeff Beck) celebrating the great Buddy Guy. Rocking a classic. Pair with the Carmenere below. Hang in for the encore – Sweet Home Chicago. It’s pretty cool.

This release (August 30) features wines scoring 90 points or more as awarded by wine reviewers. In wineland, there used to be controversy over scoring wines regardless of the system used. But now it seems that most wine writers use some system of grading wines – numerical scores, stars, wine glasses (bicchierres). I don’t like it as I get distracted by it. Here’s the thing. Sure everyone wants to know what the ‘pros’ think of a wine if they are considering buying it. But, when I hear that someone bought a $16.95 wine because it received a 90, and “$16.95 for a 90 is great value”, it makes me crazy. And, can we talk? There seem to be fewer and fewer wines that score poorly; making good scores pretty common place. Shelf talking scores in front of wines make good marketing; not necessarily good purchases. If you’ve followed me, you’ll know that I’ve stayed away from comparative scores. Why? Well, confession? I don’t have a great palate, my notes are cryptic, I’m lazy, I don’t want to be held that accountable, and I was a math major and I still can’t tell an 89 from a 90. Wait, I do know the difference between an 89 and a 90 – it’s one less. On the other hand, absolute scores may give you confidence and a reference point. So, if it helps you to use scores to better advise your purchases, knock yourself out. But, I’d think just talking to folks you trust, reading the write ups (while ignoring the scoring) that are available on the net or in the press, and maybe even asking my friend, Ken, at the LCBO would be a better use of your time. Or, I could revert to my fish and loaves scoring model. Over time you’d get the hang of what 4 fishes really means. It means it’s pretty good and one more fish than 3!

santacarolinaI recently spent time with my archaeologist son and some of his colleagues. One of his friends mentioned that she had picked up a Carmenère that I had recommended and found her new best friend – Carmenère. She said that she had subsequently asked at the wine store (Bottles in Providence, RI) about available Carmenère and had tried and enjoyed several different labels. What this means in archaeology-speak is that she subsequently drained the local wine store of every bottle of Carmenère. Why? Twenty-four hour-a-day fixation on fragments of pottery and weird details of early human civilization can do that to a person. It creates a feeling of insignificance in the vast historical universe. And leads to habitual alcohol consumption – not a criticism, just an observation. I also have a friend that drinks a lot of wine, but denies it. He said that he loves the Montes Purple Angel – a Carmenère-based wine. What’s going on with all the Carmenère love? Well, it’s good juice as my co-blogger, Conrad of the Wine Wankers would say. This week, one of our staple Carmenères hits the shelves. 2010 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmenère #034942 $18.95 is a pretty solid example of what Carmenère brings. And, that is? Well, for me it means full-bodied, full-flavoured, deeply coloured wine. The Santa Carolina is full-bodied with a big complex nose – fruit, spice and oak in the mouth with an interesting finish that’s long enough to resemble a biggish California Cabernet. In fact, if that’s your ‘go to’ wine, Cali Cab Sav that is, the Santa Carolina will be a perfect change of grape for you.

doglianiI have yet to be disappointed by Dolcetto di Dogliani wines. There’s a country-ness to the Dolcettos from the Dogliani DOC. Lip-smacking good – not heavy. Secret? Once I’ve hooked someone on Euro wine through Beaujolais. I move them on to Dolcetto. In a year or two, they’re pounding on my door at 2 in the morning begging for some Brunello. Yup, that’s how this wine thing works. Dolcettos are a fun wine but, like Beaujolais, not to be dismissed for that but rather celebrated. The 2011 Cantina del Dolcetto di Dogliani Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore #378547 $19.95 is a pretty serious Dolcetto for Dolcetto. Loads of things going on in the glass and the mouth. Enough that my tasting notes had entries crossed out with numerous notations and additions – not that easy to land on the usual terms. And, I have to say that this type of depth and complexity ain’t what I expected. This is a beautiful wine! Balanced, acidity not as front and centre as usual for this DOC, enough tannin to hold up to some fatty meaty dinner, or cellar. Go ahead and spring for this perfect-for-the-end-of-summer wine. And, one of the more elegant labels that I’ve seen lately.

rosewoodpinotSince I’ve already dissed my palate, I might as well give full disclosure. When I started to try and describe what I was experiencing with wine, I noticed some wineness on the nose and notes of wine on the palate and the finish. Then I graduated to all red wines having a definite cherry aroma and flavour hiding in there somewhere. I’ve been able to expand my repertoire quite a bit from those days but I’m always suspicious when I circle ‘cherry’. Is it that I’m just back-sliding? Am I not trying hard enough? Well, when I tasted the 2012 Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir #112177 $21.95, I circled cherry and then had that self-doubt. But on careful reflection, I’m pretty confident that cherry is the dominant fruit in this wine. It has some wood notes and packs the acidity that pinots seem to bring from this region. Good food wine. I like what Rosewood does with their wines – they get out of the way and let it happen. This would be a great host/hostess wine or accompaniment with something smoky. Note: Image above is not the ‘Select Series’ (I couldn’t find it) but it provides an idea of what the Rosewood label will look like.

Wine that I am going to pick up untried in this vintage:

treOK, there are great mid-priced wines and there are spectacular mid-priced wines. Brancaia Tre has been one of those (spectacular, that is) over the years of this blog. I’ve enthusiastically recommended the 2009 and 2010. And received many thanks from those that picked one or two up based on the recommendation. Well, along comes the 2011 iteration of this label. The 2011 Brancaia Tre #164715 $23.95 comes with loads of critical praise and high scores but remember what I said above – I get distracted by the scores and prefer to focus on great producers, solid vintages, and past experience with the style. This one is fool-proof on that basis. Great producer, past examples exceptional, vintage good to great. This wine should either sit for a few years or get some air, if other vintages are any indication.

I’m off to Niagara this weekend. Visiting wineries and gathering stories. Stay tuned.

Image Credits:

Brancaia Tre – http://www.brancaia.com

Rosewood Pinot Noir – http://www.vintages.com

Cantina del Dogliani – http://www.cantinadolcettodogliani.it

Santa Carolina Carmenere – http://www.santacarolina.cl




Best of the Daily Slosh 2012: Red

31 Dec

At this time of year, we reflect on the past twelve months, make promises about the next twelve, and get hammered a bit more than we’d care to admit. In that spirit (the reflecting part) I’d like to offer up Duff’s Best of 2012.

These choices and entries were pulled from my regular newsletters and your feedback, initial calculations were made on the back of an envelope (yes, I still use real mail), logarithms were developed to create unbiased selections, and then I chose the ones that I wanted to. Well, I listened to you too.

2012 Best of Daily Slosh Red  

  1. 2006 Sasso Al Poggio When I recommend Toscana reds, you love them and I feel the love when you do. This week, there’s a special one that was named #60 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2011. The 2006 Sasso Al Poggio (#134809 $18.95) is a “stunner”. Well, that may be hyperbole (and awfully UK) but you get the point – it’s damn fine. Now, who would like this wine? I’d say that if you like your wine a little dirty (not psychotic and sad Britney Spears-dirty but Sarah Silverman-dirty – good dirty, if that makes sense. If not, forget the ramble), not heavy (Britney redux) and with loads of personality – then, this is for you. Seriously, it is a full-bodied wine with loads going on and all in the right balance. The winery web site says to serve with matured cheeses and game.
  1. 2007 Beronia Reserva – Spain has brought us special things – Paella, Flamenco, Coca Cola, Chess, Penélope Cruz and wine! We can discuss the other things over a glass of Sherry but on the wine front, maybe there’s nothing more Spanish than Rioja. The 2007 Beronia Reserva (#050203 $18.95) is a great example of Rioja Reserva – smooth, balanced, and quirky good. Love Muga? Love LAN? You’ll love this! And, it’s cheaper.
  1. 2009 Brancaia Tre – I was in Providence, Rhode Island last week visiting our son and just couldn’t leave him with lousy wine. What caring father would do that?  So, I wandered to the local and picked up a bottle of 2009 Brancaia Tre for him. And, what do I see this week in our LCBO release but Brancaia Tre, a Super Tuscan. It just keeps getting spookier. FYI, a Super Tuscan isn’t a mild-mannered Florentine news reporter. One, two, three……It’s a consumer term for a Tuscan wine made outside of the traditional DOC or DOCG rules. Typically, it uses cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and/or merlot to a greater extent than normally allowed in Chianti, Brunello, Rosso di Montalcino, or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and usually is labeled as an IGT (Indacazione Geografica Tipica) and, sometimes, Toscana. This one – 2009 Brancaia Tre (#164715 $22.95) has a good dose of cabernet sauvignon and merlot along with sangiovese and is understated and delicate. I love this stuff! This was offered a few months ago and vanished within minutes. Did I say that I love this stuff? Take your time with it, savour it, and think about the warm Tuscan sun that produced this beauty.
  1. 2010 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec – While we’re discussing malbec, you need to pick up a bottle of 2010 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec (#079798 $19.95). This is a full-bodied malbec that has integrated oak and lots of fruit to enjoy. Susana Balbo makes some wine under her name, like this one, but also consults with many malbec growers and vintners in Argentina. She’s one very busy Argentinean. But don’t cry for her……………cause O Susana don’t cry for me.
  1. 2006 Hecht and Bannier (H&B) Côtes du Roussillon-Villages – A great wine from the south of France made by a superior winery is the 2006 Hecht and Bannier (H&B) Côtes du Roussillon-Villages (#142802). The St.-Chinian by H&B was also spectacular. These guys continue to turn out fabulous wines, typical of this region. E. Robert Parker’s wine critic in Roussillon says of this wine, “…….you don’t have to believe in the efficacy of geological underpinnings to recognize the dazzling complexity and uncanny balance on display here.” Phew! I have had sleepless nights worrying that my lack of belief in the efficacy of geological underpinnings was getting in the way of me recognizing dazzling complexity and uncanny balance. Anyone else with me?
  1. 2008 The Watcher Shiraz – For the Aussie lovers, there’s a wonderful shiraz that’s been recommended here before. The 2008 The Watcher Shiraz (#219196 $19.95). Chewy? You bet. Made by Fetish Winery. So, this wine goes well with hand cuffs, feather ticklers, lace, and small rodents (kidding on the rodents, of course!). It’s also recognized as #51 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010. Pick up a bottle and see if they were right.


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