Tag Archives: creekside

Peace, It’s Far Out* – The Red Daily Slosh

24 Sep

peacesignhand

*And far far away.

No video today. I’m kind of bummed out by all the hostilities, refugees, insurgencies, attack drones, and “Boots On The Ground” blabber these days. The upside? The depression makes the wine drinking seem more….well….justified. The news never changes and that’s just the stuff that’s happening far away! So, to reflect my angst, I looked for a protest song video of relevance but they were all from my youth. Here’s the thing: with this world immersed in a never ending cycle of tribal conflicts, proliferation of weapons, and inequality enough to disadvantage all but a few, I am puzzled that the protest song or actual protest, for that matter, is dead (apologies to Ferguson). I was very fortunately born into a politically curious and active family. And I was an idealistic Canadian boomer that had college friends that were Vietnam draft dodgers and deserters (and, I’m not trying to stir anything up here), I marched arm in arm with them on Parliament Hill, signs in hand – Peace Now/La Paix Maintenant! Not sure what we were trying to accomplish – it wasn’t our war and the House of Commons was probably out of session that year. But, we were pissed about it anyway. It was so hard to comprehend – the mission and the loss of life that is. Admittedly, we were naive. Fast forward to today. I don’t see any broad swell of indignation on the part of today’s youth concerning what’s going on. Don’t give the world Taylor Swift boyfriend put down songs and LOL’s, FCOL. Mobilize – make us old white guys uncomfortable (don’t threaten my meager savings for retirement, though). March on a street near you. Get involved in the issues on any side! I’d even listen to a hip-hop version of Eve of Destruction! That’s how badly I want to see some engagement. If there indeed are protest songs and I’ve just missed those engaged youth, let me know. I’d be thrilled to be wrong. So, short story long, that’s why no video. Phew, now on to the wine.

These recommendations are for the new release of September 27.

balbasI won’t go into too much detail – GET A BUNCH OF 2001 Balbas Reserva #085183 $20.95. My past reviews of this wine – a Ribera del Deuro beaut – are here and here

 

 

A few months ago, I recommended this Niagara blend and got good feedback. Well, that was the 2010 and there’s been some shelf space allotted for 2011 Creekside Laura’s Red #117960 $19.95. As I mentioned last time, Creekside has a nice vibe at the

laurascellar door. They identify themselves as having a bit of an attitude. They might have been the first in Niagara to provide nibbles with their sips. And great nibbles at that. This blend includes shiraz/syrah which isn’t plentiful in Ontario. In my experience, it’s best done around Beamsville (the Creekside Shiraz and Flat Rock’s Rogue comes to mind) with the exception of Lailey’s NOTL versions. Well, this wine is very similar to the 2010 – I’d say a bit richer in the fruit department than 2010 but the same style – friendly, accessible, and spicy. Loads of smoky goodness. My friend, Grant, loved the last vintage and will likewise appreciate this local effort.

haroWe are starting to plan a trip to Spain this weekend. And, even though I’ve mentioned the Balbas up top, I need to show Spain more love. A few posts ago, I mentioned a great Rioja value – 2008 Lopez de Haro Crianza. See, how it works in Rioja is like this – there’s the Crianza – the bulk of most bodegas’ offering – made from good but not exceptional grapes and aged a shorter time in wood and bottle. Reserva – from better grapes, more highly regarded vineyards and aged longer in wood and bottle before release, and Gran Reserva —-you get the point. There is a progression in quality. At least there should be some integrity within a single producer. Now we have the – 2005 Hacienda Lopez de Haro Reserva #337355 $18.95. I mentioned that the crianza was a great value. And, if the system works, this should represent a more balanced, complete wine. It does! This is my kind of Rioja – cedary in the glass and the mouth, great acidity on the first sip that kind of eases off after that. Some dirt and grit from the land. Perfect red for my favourite Spanish meal – paella. And, only $18.95!

ventisqueroWhere do the best value reds reside? Chile, man. Yes, Chile has kept their pricing in the range of most wine consumers unlike some of the past bargain centres (Australia, California come to mind). This week, there’s another carmenère – 2011 Ventisquero Grey Single Block Carmenère #325415 $19.95. This wine brings the distinct darkness and full-body that I like. It might not be as tannic as many of these can be, which I think you’ll appreciate. Stand around is allowed but food would really help this wine shine. I posted my theory of carmenère and archaeologists in a previous post.

A wine that I’ll probably pick up but haven’t had this vintage:

Any self respecting California winehound (with resources) has enjoyed a bottle of Caymus. For me, Caymus Special Selection was the first over-priced California cab that I had and, wow, it was a bit of a revelation. It had more complexity and, well how to put it in my early wine description phase, ‘flavour’ than anycaymus red wine I had had to that date. And, since I couldn’t afford the Special Selection ($219), I settled for the regular bottling – which is almost always a solid cab. Well, this week our local favourite wine store (read: only wine store) has the 2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon #222877 $68.95. This wine has introduced many more than this poor scribe into the financially unfortunate habit of buying what all but the 1% would judge as expensive wine. Why not let it do the same for you? Plus, when you’re done, you could put a candle in the empty bottle and use as a centre piece – great conversation starter – “How we spent $70 on a bottle of wine and luvved it, baby.”

And on the slagging of all youth, I hope that I’m wrong and you’ll send in your experiences and protest songs through the comment box below. And, ‘Working In a Coal Mine’ and ‘Car Wash’ don’t count regardless of how hard it was. FYI as a poor student, I worked at a car wash – talkin’ about the car wash, yeah. And, since you’ll want to know, indeed those cars never seemed to stop coming.

Images courtesy of:

All bottle images – http://www.vintages.com

Peace sign – http://www.clipartpanda.com

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

 

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