Tag Archives: Kaiken

Hey Hippy, Get a Hair Cut – The White Daily Slosh

23 Jan

Scan_Pic00232010BarrelFermChard1These are recommendations for the February 1st Release.

When I was young, hair past my shoulders (yes, that’s me up there), struggling Fu Manchu, unfortunately even more vain than I am now, but flat broke, I had my hair cut at a barber school. I was going for the Rod Stewart Jeff Beck Group Look®. You can see it didn’t quite take. Suffice it to say that I learned the truth of the sigh-filled comment expressed by many a woman after a hair styling, “It will grow out eventually, I guess.” Now, what can this possibly have to do with wine? Well, it just so happens that you can like-wise buy wine made by those who are honing their craft at the Niagara Teaching Winery. Thankfully, it surpasses expectations usually and you won’t have to wait out a figurative ‘growing out’ of the wine. This week, the 2010 Niagara Teaching Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay #040634 $18.95 hits the shelves for an extended stay. This is a great example of how chardonnay in a cool climate can bring some edge in the mouth as well as the butter on the finish. Typical fruits – apple, a touch of peach on the nose. Good value! With food or without.

nadjaIt arrives! The best label in Niagara riesling IMHO – 2012 Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling #578625 $19.95. This wine is spectacular in great vintages, great in good vintages, and good in poor vintages, it seems. Like the Detroit Red Wings, it must be superior management; not luck or just the result of a great site. Great aromas of apple, stone fruit and a little floral somethin’ somethin’. Citrusy. Mouthwatering. This wine is made for food. It has some bracing acidity, an edge that would lend itself to something with some pop – nothing rich – maybe something from the Mediterranean as their site suggests. Nadja is surreal I’m Breton! Anyway, it’s good stuff.

kaikenchardI’ve mentioned the Kaiken Ultra line before in the red wines that they have. This week, there comes an Ultra chardonnay – 2012 Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay #355552 $19.95. This is a great candidate for a taste off with the Niagara Teaching Winery chardonnay above. Have some people over, blind taste them both and see what you think. This one is a bit riper – creamier. This is good stuff and if you’re looking for a strong contender for value creamy (but not too) chardonnay of the month, this is it.

Shallow Philosophical Disclosure: Can I say sometimes wines seem a bit too formula without it sounding critical? No – well, I’m saying it anyway. They just smell, taste and finish too purely – just what you thought they’d bring. Lately, or maybe always, I’m needing a bit more weirdness or deviation from expectation. So, I guess I prefer wines that have flaws or peculiarities? Maybe. Does that make sense? It’s like some of those current California cabs (and, Australian Shiraz’ of years gone by) – all in a row – priced within pennies and, seemingly to this amateur, tasting almost the same. I want to take the chance of having a bad one once in awhile. Surprising myself. I don’t think that I’m talking about terroir or anything that deep and I don’t like ‘bad’ wine. It’s just….. I don’t know, just sayin’ and thought you should know when following my recommendations.


Nostalgic Tune of The Post – Crossroads by Cream. Yes, Eric was young once just like the guy at the top of the page. More importantly, why aren’t there any ‘great’ drummers anymore. Or are there?

Way Too Early Holiday Edition 1 – The Red Daily Slosh

7 Nov

zztopJust a few preambles:

Did anyone else see ZZ Top last night? Ultra cool and loud. Still bringing it. Click here to see my favourite song of the night.

I must have hit a nerve with my last post on the early days of wine drinking. Many people responded with their ‘go-to’ wine from the past. Many emailed, which I love but you can also just click on “Comment” below and leave your, well, comment. Alas, many of these wines are not available anymore, I fear.

mateus2Mateus – hands-down most mentioned wine. Still around and I may be alone but I don’t think it’s that bad now. Echo – “it’s that bad now”. Hell, I am alone;

Colio Bianco Seco (1L size);

Mouton Cadet Rouge – goes particularly well with Korean cuisine, I hear;

One that I added during email discussions and for full disclosure purposes was Boonesberry Farms Strawberry Hill. Yikes;

“The Melting Candle’ Chianti – I believe it was called Chianti Ruffino? Which doesn’t sound plausible. And, if you can tell me what the name of the baskets that were woven around the bottles – you win a ……………actually, you win nothing other than self-satisfaction and bragging rights. But, it is a word that we use all the time now – but in another way; and

Lonesome Charlie – seriously, there was a wine called Lonesome Charlie? I vote, to capitalize on current affairs, we release a wine called Lonesome Rob (vodka-infused chardonnay with just a pinch of crack that you can drink, smoke, or snort and deny all of it because you were in a drunken stupor) or Wallin’s Blush (wait, she’s not even ashamed enough to blush). Any other current affair-inspired suggestions?

God help us! Merchants are already trumpeting the beginning of the “Holiday Season”, whatever that means to you. I guess Halloween finished up last week or so, might as well get the marketing machine in gear and give us all an excuse to buy booze. In my case, it is wasted hype – you had me at “Operating Hours are 10 am to 10 pm”.

kaikenultracsIf you’ve wandered the Argentina aisles of your local, you’ve probably seen this brand once or twice. This week, 2010 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon #135202 $19.95 arrives (these bi-weekly events are now “arrivals” not “releases”). This is the Argentina arm of the Chilean wine company, Montes and we love Montes on these pages! Grapes are from the Lujàn de Cuyo and Valle de Uco areas. The ‘Ultra’ line appears to be their top wines with the exception of special releases from time to time. The wine above’s nose is still pretty muddled for me – dark with some woodiness but I can’t get the fruit (blackberry) that some of the reviewers find. But, the experience in the mouth is another thing altogether – I get the blackberry there – with a surprisingly Italian Super Tuscan vibe – leather? Nicely balanced, mildly tannic, would be great with a real meal – burnt red meat, veggies, spuds. Interesting things that occupy a cluttered mind – the Kaiken website has a neat diagram with a schematic, similar to that of their label, of Mount Aconcagua. Accompanying the schematic the words, “The highest mountain in the world, second to the Himalayas.” What? “est” means most, best, ultimate. Not second or penultimate to something else. If it were, we could read this on the MLSE website, “The Toronto Maple Leafs winners of the most Stanley Cups, second to the Montreal Canadiens.”

lazuliLet’s cross the Andes. There’s a wine from another winery that we speak of often. “Well, that’s not true, Bill.” OK, we don’t speak of it ‘often’ – but once in a while and favourably – Chilensis. It’s usually in connection with their Carmenère, which is available this weekend for $13.95. If that’s your sweet spot pick it up. But, if you want to kick it up a notch look to this blend. The 2010 Chilensis Lazuli #348129 $17.95 is a blend of the usual Bordeaux suspects (sans Cabernet Franc) plus 9% Syrah, and 8% Carmenère. It’s got great grip and after a breath or two, it opens to dried fruits and some woodiness. I think that if you like California Cabernet – particularly with steak, say – you’d love this wine and be saving a bunch too, yeah?

falconeAnd under the category Giving It Another Try, I’m going to recommend 2007 Rivera Il Falcone Riserva #177295 $22.95. I recommended the 2006 version of this last year and the feedback was not great – people found it ‘harsh’ and ‘almost impenetrable’. I liked it which just goes to show you that I am more sophisticated than some of my friends. This one won’t be received similarly, will it? Well, I don’t think so – had it in Puglia from whence it comes – loved it. Where the South American wines above seem to be black or dark fruit based, this one oozes red fruits. Chewy, lots of weight. Could it use some time? For sure. But, why not just decant for an hour or so, swirl like mad, and guzzle it now? Perfect wine to buy two – one for now, one for a year from now. Buy it, if you don’t like it, I will take unopened bottles at discount.

Ones that I haven’t tasted that I’m going to jump on:

saumurGo ahead, tell me who does Cabernet Franc better than Cheval Blanc and the Loire? What’s that you say? Niagara is doing Cabernet Franc well both as a single varietal and an ice wine? Yeah but, I’m saying – this week, from the Loire, there’s 2010 Reserve des Vignerons Saumur-Champigny #103879 $17.95. Pick this up if you’re looking to expand your Cabernet Franc beyond Cheval Blanc. Who am I kidding? No one who reads this buys CB. Anyway, I’m getting this one and might tell you about it in future posts.

lalunaA grape that I don’t mention much here is Barbera from Piedmont. Not sure why but probably the same reason that I don’t talk about Dolcetto much either – they play second fiddle to Nebbiolo (Barolo and Barberesco) and get lost. But, Barberas when they’re good are very good. They can sing a more rustic and lighter tune than their more famous cousins. In my Duff’sWines Super Serious Wine Drinker Paradigm®, Valpolicella Classico and Barbera both score 137.164 with two criteria met. I guess, the scale sees them as similar in feel, appropriate occasion matching, etc. Another good thing is that they are almost always available on Italian restaurants’ wine lists – so getting to know them is good practice for ordering. This week it’s  2010 La Luna E I Falò Barbera d’Asti Superiore #627901 $19.95. I think I’ll get a couple.

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