Tag Archives: Prosecco

Rainbow Daily Slosh

11 Oct

I read a piece by Eric Asimov courtesy of Charles Scicolone that talks about the issue of expressed bias in wine criticism. Great piece. Question: Should a wine critic attempt full neutrality or should they allow their biases to come through as long as they are declared? If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that I have many biases and hopefully, they’re expressed clearly as I expound on the wines that I love. In other words, if you don’t know me by now….Also, I’m not often talking about wines that I don’t care for. So, even by exception, you’ll get to know my preferences. But, that doesn’t mean that I think there are wines that you ‘should’ drink and wines that you ‘shouldn’t’ drink. Well, that’s not true. I do think some wines need to get a pass. But, I don’t judge – drink what you love. And often. Just consider the wide world of wine and once in a while take a jump in the deep end. I’ll swim with ya. If you’re interested in reading Eric, I’ve linked to Charles’ reblog of Eric’s piece here.

I’ve had difficulty getting to white wine recommendations. The same goes for sparklers. So, I decided to incorporate all colours into this post. I’ll try and make it short, he says as a long and winding idea comes to his mind.

Sparklers

carpeneDo you have friends that like to open a bottle of bubbly as you enter their kitchen? No? Then get some new friends. Our friend, Suzie B. loves her Prosecco and frequently is itching to open a bottle. That opportunity presents itself when you cross the threshold. I’m not complaining mind you. I initially had trouble warming to Prosecco, however. I found that the category was a bit watered down – non-descript. I found the same thing with Cava a few years back. I just got tired of the product just got less interesting and fun. I said it was me not them and we went our separate ways. Well, that all ended when my friend, Andrew, introduced me to Carpenè Malvolti Cuvée Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore #727438 $16.95. This is a very dry Prosecco with some minerally components……OK, it is my favourite Prosecco year-in year-out. Period. Why? Way more fruit (white flesh), controlled, tight bubbles, and a nice kick at the end. Balanced. I think Suzie will love it and I’m hoping she’ll pop it the moment we walk in the door. Hey, Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend. A perfect time to pop and pour one of these.

Red Daily Slosh

langagarnachaLast year, I featured the 2008 vintage of the 2011 LangaTradicion Centenaria Garnacha #194795 $14.95. It was well received by all my readers (several? – well, more than ten). This vintage is a bit stricter – more evident tannins than Grenache usually presents. If you like garnacha (grenache) like I do, you’ll appreciate this well-priced wine with some real food. Think Cotes du Rhone and you’ll get the garnacha vibe. This one appears more mature than the vintage suggests – some stewing of the fruit and a little earthy, smoky thing going on particularly in the glass. Great value!

villamedoroWhen I see a repeat bottle in the ‘New Arrivals’, it bugs me. What’s ‘new’ about a wine that was available a year ago? I feel betrayed by the mother ship trying to sneak an old friend through as the new kid in town. Then, I’m conflicted. Do I recommend again? I loved it before, why not show it some love again? So, here goes. The 2009 Villa Medoro Rosso del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo #357160 $18.95 is a nice big MdA. My previous review here. But, I know you’re lazy and don’t want to click here and there to get your news. So, to quote myself (December 2013), “Medium to full-bodied. It also has a great nose of Italian-ness – dirty, smelly, funky that follows you to the finish – not George Clinton funky but Isley Brothers – relatable, I’m thinking. And, it tastes good too. Perfect wine for a thin crust sausage pizza (spare me the deep dish), spaghetti with store bought tomato sauce, or a plate of antipasti.” Just a word to the wise. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’s are not your shy Italian wines – subtle, intellectual, requiring you to draw them out. MdA’s make a statement – simple and straightforward. I love ’em.

mommyRemember Mommessin? It used to come in two formats – red and white. It was a litre and a half, dirt cheap, and French too. One of the neat discoveries that I’ve made over the years is that some of these big French box wine style companies also make tasty and even vineyard specific wines too. Bouchard et Fils, Louis Latour, and Georges Duboeuf Come to mind. Mommessin works like that too. They please the masses with some straight up red and white in big bottles with thumb holes and make some great, distinctive wines as well. This week, the 2012 Mommessin Domaine de Champ de Cour Moulin-a-Vent #430876 $19.95 fills that niche. Distinctive, that is. Moulin-a-Vent Beaujolais is more….masculine than most other Beaus. It has a structure that doesn’t really say Beaujolais to most people but still brings the fruit that we love. This one is in that vein – solid tannins and acidity carrying some fruit (hiding a bit still – give the wine some air) and a country feeling – think of sitting on a piazza watching those little white (read: rusty) pick-up trucks that they have in Europe filled with freshly harvested grapes bombing along, heading to the winery for crush. Sip, nibble something local (cheeses?) and remember how special it is to be there. This wine is perfect for that image.

White Daily Slosh

spyvalleyThe white wine that used to carry the most controversy was chardonnay. It’s too big, too creamy, too woody, just too too. Now we are inundated with unoaked chardonnay and that’s supposed to be what we want. Sorry, I don’t like most of them. Now, I’m hearing some of the same disputes about sauvignon blanc – too ‘cat pee’, too grassy, too gooseberry, too big, too big, too big. OK, time to take a break from dictating what a wine is supposed to be like. Style is a matter of taste. Please disregard my opening paragraph – I reserve the right to be contrary. I don’t like bow ties. Really think they look stupid – especially on television personalities. Who the hell was that Charles guy on CBS? That does not mean that they aren’t ‘true’ ties. No matter what styles come and go, bow ties are still legitimate ties. And, no one is compelled to wear them or like them. Where was I? Oh, sauvignon blanc. I think that the most controversial sauvignon blancs come from New Zealand. They aren’t shy usually. Have an abundance of bite, fruit, and grassiness. Maybe a bit over the top for some. This week there’s one that I think does all that respectfully. It isn’t shy but not dominating the conversation either. It’s grassy or herby – I can’t quite decide which, an assertive nose (Jimmy Durante?) and packs an acidic punch. I quite like this style. The 2013 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc #686675 $18.95 is that wine. I’d suggest that you not drink this as a sipper. It needs some food. I’d say seafood (shrimp?), salads, limey Asian stuff.

Wines that I’ll pick up:

clarkeSpent an interesting post-golf round discussion about wine with John. He told me that he doesn’t know that much about wine but loves red Bordeaux. Especially those that have a bit of age. Sounds like he knows everything that he needs to know. There’s a perfect mid-priced red Bordeaux on the shelves this week – 2009 Château Clarke #503904 $37.95. I went to a Bordeaux Futures tasting one year for the ‘03’s. My friend and I wandered about tasting red after red. Near the end of the night whilst removing the sock from my mouth, I tasted the ’03 Ch. Clarke and thought, “What the hell, it’s one of the lowest priced ones and it tastes like every other at this point.” And also thought, “I think that I’d better stop drinking….I mean, tasting, now.” I bought a bunch and watched it evolve over a few years. It was great value. Not a long cellar candidate. But very nice. I can’t speak to this vintage specifically but I think it’s pretty safe to say it will reward a little time and a modest investment for a Bordeaux. John, go for it.

Feeling Good – The White Daily Slosh

28 Aug

kellyleeA few weeks ago, I said that I would get back to my music links and I gave you JJ Cale earlier this week. I wanted to continue by mentioning the best concert I attended in the last three years or so (at least back to the Leonard Cohen night which I’ll leave for another time),  KellyLee Evans. Thought I’d promote her a bit – click here to hear this exceptional performer. So genuine, so generous, so much fun, so talented. If you ever get a chance to see her live at a jazz festival near you – don’t miss it. A disclaimer – she gave me a hug at her concert!

Now to the White Daily Slosh – with an interloping sparkler.

laileychardMy first brush with Lailey was hearing about it from Arlene. She had attended a cooking class at Kiss the Cook and Tanya Lailey (and I may have the first name wrong) poured their wines while Chris Squires hammed it up and made something spectacular, as always. So, I made it a point to get myself to Niagara and see what the fuss was about. I did, and it has remained one of my always-go-to wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I even make sure to recommend it to people who ask me what wineries to drop in on. The people are great, it’s more like a cellar door than many of the others – informal, understated. The wines are some of the most consistent performers year-in-year-out (for me the pinots, cab blends and chardonnays). They have mid-term cellaring potential in many cases (we still have a 2008 Brickyard Chardonnay that’s got some time to go, I suspect). They also try innovative things like using Canadian oak to age their pinots. So, if you’re heading to Niagara-on-the-Lake to catch some wineries, dinner and a play, drop in to Lailey along the Niagara Parkway. Say, hi from me, someone that they have never heard of. This week, the 2011 Lailey Chardonnay #193482 $19.95 graces our shelves. I’m not sure it isn’t always there but I guess the LCBO has taken some time to highlight it – good thing. This chardonnay has some acidity to carry what the Vintages Panel calls ‘ripeness’. I’m not sure I understand that term as I taste the wine itself. It seems like it’s trying to be Californian (a bit buttery) but knows it’s really cool climate and doesn’t give in to the temptation of being all about the fruit (more stony and appley, which is a fruit, I admit). I think just the right balance to please the big chard hounds but subtle and structured enough to please the rest of us. Simple. Nice finish too.

santoNow, when wine wankers (apologies to the real Wine Wankers) talk about terroirs they many times mention the soils of Santorini and Assyrtiko wines. To quote Wine & Spirits magazine – “Santorini is a rugged, sun-baked half-ring of tufa – the remains of a volcano responsible for one of the largest eruptions in the history of the earth”. Now admit it, none of us knows what tufa really is (Hell, spellchecker says it isn’t a word) – but I think we get the gist. If you’ve been, and I see a few nods out there, you’ll agree that Santorini is one of the most spectacular places on this earth. For the grapes, the vines are trained in a tight circle on the ground and it’s hard to believe that they could manage to survive let alone provide any fruit clusters. So, from this stark and challenging climate – you get a wine that sings to us about its home. Sounding a bit philosophical here but then again, I’ve had two glasses of Aglianico and if I want to philosophize and cry a little, I will. 2011 Santo Assyrtiko #627760 $16.95 – get it every year – with memories of overlooking the cauldera – minerally, but with loads of fruit and flavour. Bigger than I remember most Assyrtikos to be. It is a foundational hot weather wine. Serve cold with seafood, simple tomatoes and eggplant and/or saganaki – OPA!

A wine that I’m going to pick up but haven’t had is the 2011 Finca la Emperatriz Viura #342766 $15.95. I have had only a handful of Viura wines. But have had the same grape under it’s French name, Macabeo, in white wines from the Roussillon area. It’s light, can be fruity and usually dry and crisp. Why don’t we all enjoy a bottle and talk amongst ourselves next week?

auntsfieldSometimes, I hear people say that they have a ‘go to’ wine. When pressed, it sounds more like the only wine. Is it because it’s safe? Hell, all wine is safe! Now, in our house, I have to make sure that there’s some oaky chardonnay hiding somewhere in a cool spot. But, it isn’t always the same label. So, when I heard about a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc fixation, I felt compelled to respond and provide some type of gooseberry Nicoderm to wean this person from her addiction. I mean Kim might be her entry level drug but she needs to move on! I thought it best to just try sauvignon blanc from someone else.  So, let’s start with one of my favourite, usually available, kiwi sauvignon blancs – 2012 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc #663286 $19.95.  This is such a complete wine. It’s pretty dramatic in the glass, swirling around and providing great aromas of citrus and gooseberry – maybe a little tropical thing too. Full in your mouth and what I’ve come to know as New Zealand’s stamp of freshness and flavour – too good. But, I discovered someone who might be better equipped to tell her about New Zealand wines and that’s a blog called What’s In The Glass Tonight. I’ve provided a link here to her great blog and review of Marlborough wineries.

malvoltiI’d think that most of us are ambivalent towards prosecco. It’s alright and suits a situation – but we can live with it or without it – no biggee. The first time that I had a prosecco that was more than that was when I visited Jennifer and Andrew and he served Carpenè Malvolti Cuvée Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore #727438 $15.95. This is a dry prosecco. Now, by that I mean – dry. But that doesn’t mean that it’s uninteresting. I’d say that it brings enough soft flesh (or stone) fruit to keep you quaffing. The biggest compliment I can bestow is that it’s a two glass Prosecco.

Nino and Brigitte Bardot – Bubbly and Pink

21 May

Topic – Brinkmanship and the LCBO Averted Strike

Talk Amongst Yourselves

minofrancoActually, we could better spend our time considering the upcoming summer and what we’ll need to suffer through hot days, sun-baked skin, and many people dropping in to plunder our stock. What better way to enjoy summer than sipping on a simple, middle-of-the-road sparkling wine? To me that means chilly prosecco.  Nothing too full-bodied or complex – simple (said that already), flavourful and bubbling with energy. This week, NV Nino Franco Brut Valdobbiedene Prosecco Superiore #349662 $19.95  arrives. This is a super consistent and dependable prosecco. How do we say that? Is it Pro…sec-co emphasis on the first syllable and soft ‘e’ or pro-seec-co with emphais on the middle syllable but a hard ‘e’ or, and this is the last one that I’ve heard, a run on until the emphasis on the last syllable. Let me know how you pronounce it, sans cheating with Google or Dictionary.com. I pronounce it fabulous for hot days and sushi and hope I don’t sound too un-Italian. Well, hell, I’m not Italian and will always sound like a Canadian, eh. No apologies. So, while you’re ooout and abooout, pick a few of these up.

Last time out, I talked about rosé and it’s match to particular situations. Well, we are in luck and since you didn’t run out and buy a bunch from the last post (Lisa excluded), get ready, set, go – this week there’s another Tavel that rivals the one that I recommended last time (Domaine Maby, which I’m having as we type) – 2011 Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé #739474 $16.95 carteressesis a bit fuller and cheaper than the Maby from last week (more stuffing in the Carteresses, I feel). Remember, Tavel is the reddest of pinks and this one brings loads of red fruit flavour and punch. This is a regular of these pages most vintages and I hope you grab a bottle or two. This would work as a dinner wine with fish – grilled as is the norm in the summer, salads, or lightly seasoned chicken barbecue.

cartenoireLast vintage (2011), I went on about this wine in connection with my fascination with Brigitte Bardot. Was there ever a more iconic blonde bombshell than Brigitte (picture below). Last year, I said, and I quote, “I believe that Brigitte Bardot lived in Saint-Tropez when she was, well, really hot. Maybe as un hommage to Brigitte, you could chill a bottle of this and serve with roast endangered species, carpaccio di baby seal?” We have the 2012 vintage this week. I have not had this vintage but given the weather/climate in 2012 in Provence and the reviews I’ve read, I’m thinking the Maitres Vignerons couldn’t have screwed this up.  So, get out the pad and scratch this down or highlight this on your smartphone. Pick up the 2012 Carte Noire Rosé Les Mâitres Vignerons Saint-Tropez #319384 $15.95. They call for pork and chicken skewers in the review but I’m thinking that could be a bit too heavy depending on the seasoning. Stay with something light and salty, like fish kabobs, shrimp appetizers, or calamari.

brigittebardot1

Rosewood Honey and Peaches – White and Sparkling Daily Slosh

27 Mar

2011_RieslingAn Ontario winery that’s making noise is Rosewood Estates www.rosewoodestates.com  near Beamsville. I wandered there a few weeks ago and tried some of their current offerings (Merlot ’10 which was brilliant BTW, Chardonnay Reserve ’10, 2 different Rieslings, and their mead). Nice winery site (not web but actual) and even prettier in real spring, I bet. And, they have a dog patrolling the tasting room, a senior dog at that – I love dogs. This week 2010 Rosewood Natalie’s Süssreserve Riesling #258806 $14.95 hits the shelves. This is a medium sweetness, medium weight white with citrusy goodness. Great with some Asian stuff (not too spicy). Add this one to your Ontario Riesling experience. You will be supporting a friendly, senior dog.

08_MRWhy the reference to honey above? Well, Rosewood Estates makes honey and that ancient potable, mead! I remember sipping a ‘Buck Five Come Alive’ called “Ancient Mead” in Rondeau Park while still in my early teens.  Yes, I started early and often and I’ll thank you not to point that out. It was syrupy sweet and whispered softly in my ear, “Bill, you will regret me but never forget me.”  Guess what? I did and I won’t. Well, Rosewood has made Ontario mead respectable again for me. I tasted the 2008 Mead Royale #296178 $15.20 (500ml) and was wowed. It was light, silky smooth, subtly sweet but not too and brimming with clover and, well, honey goodness. Great with desserts, I’m betting. Get acquainted with this superb Ontario mead. I just discovered that there’s not much available in the stores. So, darn you’ll have to wander to their lovely winery on a warm spring day (or buy it on-line – link above).

bertrandTalk about a happenin’ grape – Viognier is it. Restaurants are starting to stock and push it, sommeliers are creatively matching it, wineries are rushing to plant it and stores are starting to sell it in case lots. What’s the big buzz about? (Damn, I should have used that phrase when I was talking about the mead) I’ll tell you what the big deal is – Viognier is good, it’s got intensity, floral presence, peachy/apricoty things, and fragrance in spades. Oh yeah, and Andrew L. loves it! This week, I’m recommending a relatively quiet Viognier 2011 Gérard Bertrand Réserve Espéciale Viognier #147975 $15.95 – softish, peachy but still crisp. It’s from Languedoc where they are really jumping on the Viognier wagon. The patio will soon be open, fingers crossed, and this wine would be great with what you’d munch under the umbrella, talking politics, or re-hashing the current season of Hell’s Kitchen.

libschoolchardOn a number of recent occasions, I have neglected to recommend a chardonnay for the chardhounds out there. So, here goes. A couple of weeks ago, I recommended a 2011 Liberty School Syrah #942383 $18.95. I said that Liberty School wines were usually available, fun, had a nice price point, and a middle-of-the-road flavour profile that works for just about everyone. The 2011 Liberty School Chardonnay #960120 $18.95 fits that description. It’s full of flavour, has a little less oak than many Central Coast chardonnays, and finishes clean. Perfect for the coming spring. So, when you finish spring cleaning, pop a cork, grab a book and relax with this wine (I’ve queued up Nikolsky, Gone Girl, and Updike’s Terrorist – you?) .

sannaproseccoEvery spring, I recommend this prosecco. Why prosecco at all, you ask? Well, you love prosecco when you have it. Pathetically, you lie in bed at night and wonder why you don’t have it more often – maybe on its own or with calamari, cheeses, light seafood, etc. I might be projecting here. And, I think this one is right on target for those days and sleepness nights. Pick up a bottle or two of the Tenuta S. Anna Extra Dry Prosecco #169128 $16.95. It’s got loads of what prosecco has loads of – crispness and fun.

Best of the Daily Slosh 2012: Sparkling and Rosé

31 Dec
The final of my year-end review, I haven’t been thirsty much in 2012! Here I take a look at the best of bubbly time.  Don’t forget to check out my reds and whites Best of the Daily Slosh.
  1. NV Nino Franco Rustico Valdobbiadenne Prosecco – If you drink bubbly much, you probably drink prosecco from time to time, or all the time. And, if you drink prosecco, you probably have had Nino Franco – it has a cool cross-hatch symbol on the bottle. Here is a nice Nino Franco – NV Nino Franco Rustico Valdobbiadenne Prosecco (#277574 $1795). This is more substantial in flavour and mouth feel than the regular Nino Franco. Great with seafood as they suggest. It’s actually quite neat to drink sparkly with a meal and this one would be a great candidate. Brunch?
  1. NV Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne – I’ve made consistent recommendations on this wine and several very similar ones. The NV Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne (#048793 $18.95). What could be better than a rosé sparkler for $18.95 ? Well, don’t get started because there’s that small red convertible, a paid off mortgage, a less boring job, and a negative CAT scan. All that aside, this is really nice with sufficient weight to share with some light seafood or shellfish. Always time for bubbly!
  1. 2010 Famille Perrin Tavel Rosé – The other rosé is from a stalwart producer in the Rhone – the 2010 Famille Perrin Tavel Rosé (#680801 $19.95). This is a more complex, drier, more full-bodied wine than the Carte Noir. Chill it with seafood or even grilled meats. If you like red wine and haven’t tried rosé for a while, this is the one to start with. And, if you haven’t come across les fils Perrin, stay tuned.
  1. 2011 Carte Noir Les Maitres Vignerons Saint-Tropez – Enjoy the south of France with a glass of rosé and pick up a bottle of 2011 Carte Noir Les Maitres Vignerons Saint-Tropez (#319384 $14.95). I recommended this last year too. The bottle is pretty neat and gives the impression of the wine – fun. I believe that Brigitte Bardot lived in Saint-Tropez when she was, well, really hot. Maybe as un hommage to Brigitte, you could chill a bottle of this and serve with roast endangered species, carpaccio di baby seal?
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