Tag Archives: lopez de haro

The ‘Best’ Red Daily Slosh Ever

26 Apr

Spent the night at a friend’s last weekend and after about a zillion bottles of lovely wine, we started to play tunes from our smartphones with the intro, ”No, you’re wrong, this is the greatest rock and roll song of all time.” It ranged from Jimi Hendrix through ……well, I can’t quite remember. Since then we have been emailing each other with second thoughts on the matter. I know the Dead (above) is an jeffbeckacquired taste but I couldn’t help it; I love ’em and that was one of my potentials. I think it’s probably either something by Jeff Beck (left) or The Allman Brothers Band. I’d tell you what the others were pimping but frankly, they were wrong. So what’s the point? It got me to thinking about wine and the use of superlatives. If we can argue about ‘the best ever’ in something as important as music, why aren’t we arguing about wine – as in the best wine ever? In my case, I like just about any wine if it’s been made with passion and attention to detail. And, probably it’s a harder call when you’ve loved a lot of different wines. But still. There must be a wine that is the ‘best ever’ for Bill. The wine that after several bottles of lovely wine you’d argue is the best wine that there is/was, hands down. I don’t have a best ever wine. And, I bet not many others do either. Why is that? Now, before you comment below that Wine Spectator has a Top 100 of The Year and Wine and Spirits has a Best 100 Wines and so there is, in fact, a ‘best’. Let me remind you that WS has a ‘top’ wine and Wine and Spirits simply offers the best wines by varietal for the year. Nowhere does anyone say, “This is the Greatest Wine of all Time (apologies to Cassius Clay)”. Why doesn’t Bill have a ‘best’ ever wine? I’m not asking because I have the answer, BTW. I just thought that I’d stimulate the mind before I dulled your senses with my recos and inane banter. Too late?

It’s a shortlist of Red Daily Sloshes from the May 2nd release. Haven’t tasted many in this circular.

Out for dinner the past month at The Church Key in #lndnont and we sat at the bar and chatted up the bartender and the owner. Got into a discussion about the tastes of patrons and their tendency to stay glued to a single wine. No experimentation, no taking the waiter’s recommendation, or just picking something different on a whim. Fierce adherence to the varietal and, even more importantly, the label. In this case, we were discussing McManis Cabernet Sauvignon. In this town you can’t dislodge ‘em. Can’t stretch their palate (too condescending?). Just make sure you’ve got it in stock. Now I know that people should just drink what they loves and I should leave them alone. So, I’ll drop it. Maybe one last thing before I do; you don’t eat the same meal every time you go out to dinner. Do you?

terra nobleI was a ‘by-the-glass’ guy that night and tried several nice reds. One of those glasses was 2011 Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenère #957050 $18.95. Well actually, two of them were. I’ve recommended this wine in other vintages (when I was newsletter only) and have bought a case lot before. Bear with the wine geek talk for a sec – it’s really good. Maybe I should elaborate. This is smoky on the swirl and sniff with little red fruits barely peaking their heads out. In the mouth there’s chocolate, cherries, and a hint of oak. What was that chocolate candy thing that came in a box? Lowney’s Cherry Somethingorother. Of course, it’s not sweet like that but it’s what I think of. A balanced Carmenere – great sipper or with food. Buy it!

There are wine labels that just seem by their appearance to tell you where they’re from. I’ve coined the term “label terroir” for this short essay. Some Burgundy labels have just so much stuff on them about where precisely they come from that you know they’re from a Clos de Pricey and you envision a walled vineyard worked lovingly by Francois. German Riesling in those brown and green bottles and incomprehensible labels – hard to miss where they’re from. Same goes for Alsace. The Hugel wines that I recommended last week come with a label that you don’t have to read to know is Alsatian. It may be the combination of bottle shape, bottle colour and label but you get the point. These labels speak to me. I’m weird.

lopezdeharoThe 2005 Hacienda Lopez de Haro Reserva #357335 $18.95 has one of those labels. Diagonal banner with script. A gold medal. From cheap Garnacha to Gran Reserva Rioja, labels like this say Spain. I recommended this wine last September. The review is here. I had to rescue one from the cellar to see what’s changed. Acidity that was prominent on the first sip then has dissipated a wee bit. But, the rest holds true. This could still cellar for another 10 years. Great value in Rioja. Buy more than one and take the extra down below for a year or two or five.

Wait , just rethinking here, the ‘best song ever’? Maybe Sympathy For The Devil? Imagine? Roadhouse Blues? Something by The Clash? Leonard Cohen? Cowgirl In The Sand? Could be that, like wine, there isn’t a best ever rock song either. Thoughts? If you do have a best ever wine or song, let’s hear it.

Cheers.

Bill

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

Sad Songs and Dirty Old Men – The Red Daily Slosh

14 Aug

I’m kind of in a sad mood amid Robin Willaims’ passing and the realization that there are so many people feeling such despair. Randy Newman is usually satirical and clever, but I find this song quite sad, actually. Fits the day.

These recommendations are for the LCBO release August 16th.

Random preamble – a year ago on these pages, I told the story of wandering the aisles of the wine store and seeing a man trying to pick up women there by sidling up and talking to them about the wine they were looking at. How disgusted I was that a guy would use the sacred store (apologies to Don McLean) to find his one night stand. Well, this past week, I’m in the LCBO and as I’m checking out a wine, an attractive woman steps up beside me and what do I do? I start to talk to her about the wine she’s holding and tell her something like, “I’ve had that and it’s quite good. If you prefer California wines, you’ll love it.”  Now, there was no intent here. But, in a heartbeat I could tell that she was, well, creeped out a bit. Maybe creeped out a lot. A contributing factor might have been that she probably was going to be carded while I’m seeking the senior’s discount, if you know what I mean. It got me to thinking that my earlier characterization of that wine store guy as a predatory gigolo was hasty and I believe apologies are in order. So, if you see a middle-aged guy in the wine store smelling strongly of Axe with a very large gold chain revealed in an open necked Hawaian shirt (chest hair prominent), Oakley shades pushed up on his forehead, and chewing Thrills gum, apologize to him for me, will ya.

Now, on to the wine. Languedoc, Roussillon and environs are featured in this release. It’s an area that I’ve been to and love. The heat produces wines with loads of fruit and the shrubby stuff that abounds on the hills there comes through both on the nose and the finish. It can be rustic or almost sophisticated but I think that I like the rustic ones the best. So, bear my preferences in mind. I also think of these wines as second sippers. You need to have a full glass to really ‘feel’ the wine. If the ones that I recommend aren’t in stock, ask for help finding a similar product.

tessellaeEvery once in awhile, there’s a cool label to include in my recommendations. This one is a primitive representation of a cellar wall or the Via Domitia, I’m assuming. Sure beats a graphic of a bare foot or a little black dress 2012 Tessellae Old Vines Côtes du Roussillon #343517 $18.95. Weird how the mother ship tells us it’s “Carignan” Old Vines on the header and the review says there is no carignan in it. Which is true? Checking the winery website, the answer is……there is no carignan! This is a GSM wine – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. That’s a relief as I’m not a carignan lover. This wine gives you the garrigue in spades – the shrubbiness tells you to have another sip. Lovely Grenache dominance on the sniff and the swallow which also means relatively soft tannins. Drink now with lighter fare.

hbscHecht and Bannier are not lion tamers, a law firm, or quirky magicians (one of which is mute). They are two guys that got together to help drive an improvement in wine production in the southwest of France. Well, did they? If this wine is any indication, they sure did. I’ve mentioned my penchant for Saint-Chinian wines about a million times. I love this appellation especially in the north. Not only is it beautiful to trundle through (my picture of the village Rocquebrun below), the people are engaging, of the earth, and tourism is limited. The wine – 2011 Hecht & Bannier Saint-Chinian #184184 $25.95. OK, I know that it’s a stretch to call a wine costing $25.95 a “daily” slosh. So, buy it and save it for a special occasion, then. This wine is deep, chewy and dark fruit spicy. It is rustic in a non-tannic way. There’s tannin there just not over the top. Rustic in flavour not texture, is what I mean. Great food wine. A shout out to Dale R. He once told me how Saint-Chinian got it’s name and he said it wasn’t named after a saint (in direct conflict with Wikipedia). Dale, if you’re out there, enlighten us. Or, if anyone else can answer the question, leave a comment below.

delabadAnother wine that I’m glad is back is the 2008 Abad Dom Bueno Mencia #291989 $16.95. It’s Spanish not from Languedoc-Roussillon. Note the vintage. It’s a 2008 and still could benefit from cellaring. A great way to start a little wine stash under the stairs. But now, it’s deep, dark, and strong. Beautiful yet you don’t mess with it. Which all adds up to Grace Jones? I’d suggest it for those that like a wine that makes its own statement. You don’t taste this and then say, “This tastes a lot like Abad Dom Delouise”. Spicy – anise-like aroma from the glass, dark fruit in the mouth. Like it a lot. Food and more food, please – think sausage pizza with Joe Bonamassa shredding. For my previous review of this wine click here.

lopez de haroLast but certainly not least – the 2008 Lópes de Haro Crianza #377481 $15.95 is one of the best Rioja values that I’ve come across in a long while. It’s had the benefit of time in oak which imparts a cedar chest vibe emanating from the glass. It’s medium bodied in complete balance with enough stuffing to drink with a meal. Dried fruit on the finish. Love it! Love it! Love it! It is also available through the on-line merchant www.wineonline.ca If you are so inclined, check these guys out – they offer a great portfolio of wines from all over and sometimes they ship for free. My experience of welcoming the Canada Post parcel guy – him, hauling a case of wine to my door; me, in my housecoat and slippers; the Director heading out to work is one of the most enduring images connected with this wine blog.

copertinoWhen I was in Puglia last year, I drank a bunch of Negroamaro wines. All grapes deliver a vast array of wines. That is, they don’t all taste alike. But, I’ve found that this grape is really unpredictable. Salice Salentino is made with Negroamaro and even that singular designation can have a zillion variations in quality and drinking experience. As Forrest Gump’s mother said, “You never know what you’ll get”. This week, there’s the return of 2007 Apollino Copertino Rosso #023226 $18.95. This one I like. I find that this wine has a porty thing going on – not sweet but thick. It’s ripe and full-bodied. Nothing complex, straight-forward. Easy to drink too much of, if that makes sense. Its ABV is 14% which isn’t crazy high but I’d stay away from having it as a stand around wine – pair with something that can hold up against the full-bodied nature of the wine. The LCBO suggests “pasta with a lightly spiced arrabbiata sauce.” I might step up the sauce to something more spicy but pasta and tomato sauce seems about right.

Wine that I’m going to pick up:

2012 Megalomaniac Sonofabitch Pinot Noir #085134 $24.95 – The same winery that has ‘Pink Slip’ and ‘Bigmouthed’ wines brings us one of the better names I’ve encountered. I understand that it reflects the difficulty in cultivating and vinifying pinot noir. It can be an SOB. I usually steer clear of wines with cute names but my interest is piqued and Megalomaniac has a pretty good track record. I’ll let you know how it works out.

“DRC is God’s way of telling you that you have too much money.” Robin Willaims

Rocquebrun

Rocquebrun

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