Tag Archives: Peninsula Ridge

The Very Last Way Too Early Holiday Edition – The White Daily Slosh

21 Nov

arethafranklinI did warn about another tune. Mylie Cyrus, The Queen of Twerk? Nope. As Steely Dan said, “Hey 19”, she’s the Queen of Soul – Aretha Franklin. Yes, she did look this young once. Don’t worry as this is my last seasonal song installment. Here it is. Just couldn’t do this without her. Did I ever tell you about seeing her live or that the best song (song, song – not aria) ever sung by a woman was sung by her? Another time maybe. Or just guess. OK, never mind, here it is (written by her sister) or maybe it’s this one. OK, I’ve stopped now. But, as soon as I post, I’m turning up the volume!

On to the wine!

So, what do we need as we approach Thanksgiving (US) and vicarious re-living of Thanksgiving (Can.)? We need loads of serviceable white wine, that’s what. Friends of mine had a cocktail party last year and they noticed that people who asked for white wine actually more frequently asked specifically for “chardonnay” – instead of simply “white wine”. Whereas the red wine drinkers just mumbled incoherently (trying unsuccessfully to project an image of sobriety), “Ummm, red wine, please. I want red wine.” Interesting that, given the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) trend that’s been on for a few years. So, let’s give you some reasonably priced options for that chardonnay.

PeninsularidgeLocal is always good and these guys make great wine – have a splendid restaurant – great view. If you haven’t, make sure to drop by next time you’re in Niagara (picture provided by website). The 2011 Peninsula Ridge Barrel Aged Chardonnay #211490 $15.95. This is unusual for me (I know – I am unusual) because I’m used to their Inox Chardonnay which has no oak – steely and fruit focused. This one has all the nuances of oak that you might be looking for – not heavy but present primarily in vanilla on the finish and some butter stuff when you gurgle it. Just the right weight for a cocktail party. Or, you could do this with your turkey if it’s the traditional sage thing.

scrcI included the 2010 Santa Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay #928580 $14.95 because it’s a great price point and provides the same utility that the one above does – great for people who like white wine and like standing around as they drink it. This gives you the oaky stuff way before the one above – from the first sniff, actually. So, of the two, if oak is your primary glug thing – get this one. Tropical fruits and the tell-tale Granny Smith apple that chardonnay usually brings. It might have a bit more acidity and it’s light-medium weight, as well. You can’t go wrong with this right-priced chard. Case lot?

roquefortIf you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll remember that I talked about the forgotten white – white Bordeaux a few weeks ago after reading a great Eric Asimov article. This week there’s a white Bordeaux that I got to taste at a local Vintages aisle – 2011 Château Roquefort Sauvignon/Semillion #313346 $16.95. Traditional Bordeaux blend that brings a lot more roundness – no, that doesn’t sound right – brings a lot less of a linear feel – that too sounds like bullshit. What about – it comes across as more New World than I thought it would – bigger, fuller in fruit flavours and still some of the Old World earthy, stoney mouthfeel that these can give you. I liked it a lot. It would also be perfect for a walk around cocktail party wine. And, if you haven’t in awhile – you should.

wynnA wine that I’m going to get that I haven’t tried is the 2012 Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay #468928 $17.95. I love Wynn’s approach to their line up. Particulary their cabernet sauvignons. And, this sounds pretty interesting – described as full-bodied against the lighter versions above. Maybe better with food. While I’m on the topic of pairing (which I kind of wasn’t), I agree that you eat what you like with a wine that you like. But, really, I do think that the old red wine with meat and white wine with chicken and fish works pretty well unless you are a white-a-phile or red stained. I’ll think a bit more about it – read a blog or article the other day that said this and after a few days consideration – I agree. Not my original idea but still.

Wine Meets Music – The Weekend Splurge

29 Mar

beroniaIt’s my blog which allows me pronouncements, foibles, poor syntax, and clearly wrong-headed positions. With this absolute power in mind, I think Whipping Post is the best rock and roll song of all time. Or perhaps Cowgirl in The Sand? Depending on the mood I’m in. When I hear them, I have to say, “I love this stuff”, “It’s the best”. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you – give me your picks. Sympathy For The Devil? John Hiatt’s Paper Thin, you say? Yes, in contention. But, I repeat, it’s my blog. This week there’s a wine that will have you saying, “I love this stuff,”  “It’s the best.” I mentioned last week a Rioja Gran Reserva that wowed my friends. Well, here we are again but it’s from my favourite readily available winery, Beronia www.beronia.es . You’ve provided tons of positive feedback about their ‘07 and ‘08 Beronia Reserva. Well, a Gran Reserva is made with grapes harvested from better vineyards, in exceptional years, and aged longer in wood and bottle. Result: it’s almost always a more complete wine. By more complete, I mean more things going on, smoother, truer expression of the fruit and the place. Classy, elegant, and in this case ‘just about perfect’. This week, taste the difference that the four letter word, ‘gran’, makes and grab a bottle or three of the 2005 Beronia Gran Reserva #940965 $32.95. You will not regret it. I love this stuff as much as Duane’s and Neil’s riffs! It’s the best! Well, until next week when I tell you something else is the best. Sunshine of Your Love? Pump It Up? Ripple? OK, I’m waffling. After all it’s my blog.

peninsularidgeStaying close to home, I visited Peninsula Ridge www.peninsularidge.com on a recent trek through the region and sampled their fares – great winery, great food, great wines done in a French fashion, in my mind. Did I mention the great food? This week, there’s a perfect Easter meal wine – 2010 Peninsula Ridge McNally’s Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Noir #257543 $24.95. This isn’t one of those ubiquitous big, bold New World pinots that I can’t help myself getting used to. I hate myself for that. It’s more feminine which is a wine bull schist description. It’s just hard for me to describe beyond the strawberries, smokiness?, the necessary and balancing acidity, and, interestingly, a wee bit of the region’s greenness – didn’t expect that. The review at www.vintages.com suggests red roses. What happened to red roses? They don’t smell anymore. What happened? Can anyone solve the mystery of the disappearing fragrance? GMO? Wimpy roses conforming to a scent-free environment policy? Tar sands?

And, remember, just because you’ve squirreled away splurge wines doesn’t mean keeping them for that special occasion which, oddly never quite seems to materialize. I know, not even my best friends seem special enough (apologies to my best friends) for some of my stash. Family – well forget it. Do not treat splurge wine like your good china – hidden deep in the bowels of your cupboard never to see the light of day – break it out for friends and family. Make any occasion special and pop a cork on one of those more expressive and expensive wines. First day of baseball season? Open the 2000 Chateau Duhart-Milon. Just crested 4 o’clock on a Monday? Perfect time for 2002 Chateau Montelena Estate Cab. Squirrels leaving your bird feeder alone? Well of course 1997 Chateau de Beaucastel. Go ahead – you and maybe a mooching friend or two are special enough. Splurge up!

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