Tag Archives: Ribera del Duero

Tom And The Rainbow Daily Slosh

24 Oct

It’s been a sad month or so for music lovers, hasn’t it? This one was so unexpected. “Well let me get to the point, let’s roll anther joint. And turn the radio loud. I’m too alone to be proud”.  I have it loud as usual.

I’ve been absent from the wine recommending crowd the last three months. Just my usual hiatus as I try and figure out if I can keep going. It takes real dedication to drink this much wine. Let’s give the October 28th release a try and we’ll see how it goes.

I’ll start with a few repeat recommendations. How much of the 2005 Balbas Reserva #085183 $22.95  did the mothership buy? I’m guessing a million cases although I’ve told myself a thousand times to stop exaggerating. Regardless, I have purchased this stuff in multiples as a “New Arrival” or part of a “Release” on numerous occasions over the past three years. I’ve recommended it every time. You can’t get a solid Ribera del Deuro Reserva of this age for this price anywhere. It’s a no-brainer. If you want to read my previous reviews they are here, here, and here. It’s still so ready to drink – expressive and balanced. And, yes, if your friends aren’t impressed by my enthusiastic endorsement, then you can flash the ’93’ from Wine Spectator sticker on the bottle.

Another repeat is the 2016 Miraval Rosé #342584 $22.95. I know that the weather has turned and many of us have tuned up the quintessential Canadian male 5th appendage (oh behave). I’m talking about the snowblower. But rosé isn’t just for summer. I keep a few bottles down below for sipping or even with a meal that pairs well – buttered popcorn, sea salt chips? – even in the colder weather. Past review here. Owned by Brangelina and worked by famille Perrin, I wonder how the celebs are going to split this community property. Have you taken sides on this break up? In our house, we cheer for Brad but I think that’s a function of Angelina’s weirdness (Billy Bob Thornton, really?). At least that’s where we are until I’m forced to read new revelations in the National Enquirer at the check out line. Speaking of which, the Enquirer tells me that Marilyn Munroe and Elizabeth Taylor were lesbian lovers. It’s going to be hard to get that picture out of my head. In my mind, Liz is Butterfield 8 Liz and Marilyn is, well, Marilyn. Say no more.

Ever had Torrontés? No, it’s not the city in Ontario that my AutoCorrect insists it is. It’s a white grape and wine that is Argentina’s answer to the question – “Name a wine that is yuuuge at home and hardly available abroad.” My ‘go to’ is Susana Balbo’s take but this one is cheaper and does the trick. The 2016 Zolo Torrontés #183913 $14.95 is big on the sniff with a hint of the citrus, lip smacking stuff to follow. Perfect with cold shrimp, smoked salmon with capers, or (not being an oyster lover) I bet with oysters. Or just sip on its own. Clean and crisp but not sharp edged. A nice surprise for your guests.

Another repeat – the 2015 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel #942151 $29.95 is returning to the shelves. I recommended this previously here. A friend who actually reads this site (yes, there are people that read this site), responded with purchase and a quick note to me that he y esposa enjoyed the wine. Shout out to J & O. Do you enjoy Zin? I mean there are the usual suspects led by the always tasty Ravenswood Old Vines. But, do yourself a favour and step up to this brilliant wine. This is loaded with character, power, and life. “Yet”, he adds, not the confusing jumble of darkness and heat that many entry-level Zins offer. It’s a sophisticated beaut.

A fellow blogger wrote a nice post on the wines of Languedoc-Roussillon. Shout out to Michelle at Rockin Red Blog. You can read her take here. If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that I love many wines from that region. And, I’m excited that one of those guys is being released again this weekend – 2015 Château Saint-Roch Chimières #119354 $19.95. This is pure Roussillon. A result of hot summer days, dusty roads, lavender fields, and careful winemaking. A Grenache/Syrah/Carignan blend, it starts with the Grenache on the sniff and the swish – some heat, jamminess, and dark fruit. The Syrah on the finish shows some spiciness. This is a superb value only discounted to $19.95 perhaps because of the lack of caché that the AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages carries. The herbal quality and spiciness would pair well with a lamb tagine – and that’s saying something about this wine’s spicy complexity.

From the “Previous Release’ file, there is a great red from Toro in Spain that you need to pick up – 2012 Terra d’Uro Finca la Rana #424135 #18.95. Before I talk about this wine, why don’t they just say $19.00? I think I speak for all of us when I say that we get that this wine is essentially $19.00. Just saying. OK, the wine. This is from Toro which means that it’s serious and oh so Spanish. No mistaking the origin of this. Mostly Tempranillo – so a bit of a Rioja or Duoro vibe. More stoney and less woody than Rioja. An attractive mustiness (is that just me? Not the mustiness part, although I can get musty, but the attractive part – love the mustiness) and some darker fruits on the sniff. I read where this is aged in used French oak barrels but there’s nothing to indicate such – loads of anise particularly after it’s gone. A real steal at this price. Don’t buy just one.

This might be a good time to load up on some bubbly. Not bubbly as in mixing-something-fizzy-with-orange-juice bubbly. Or, “Man, I’m a bit whirly” bubbly. But, substantive, classy, “Wow” bubbly. This is a hit with The Director who is a Chardonnay hound. Could be that it has some Chardonnay in it but I think that’s only part of the equation. This is smooth without being creamy – crisp, tightly knit bubbles like a good Champagne, apples – made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Aligoté. And consistent year-in, year-out as pointed out by Michel Godel in his review. I recommend it almost every time I see that’s it’s on offer. You can read my last one here and the one before here. Almost forgot, it’s the Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne #991562 $19.95. I’m stocking up at this price.

There are some high priced beauties coming to shelves, as well. Headlined by the 2014 Sassicaia $216.95, the 2012 Antinori Pian della Vigne Brunello di Montalcino $62.95, and the exquisite 2010 Tedeschi Capitel Monte Olmi Riserva Amarone della Valpolicella Classico $79.95. And the Sassicaia is under $217!

Cheers.

Bill

Pais It Forward – The Red Daily Slosh

19 Nov

As I type this post, I glance out the window to a yard covered in snow (and getting deeper) and rock to Talking Heads, volume at 11. We all remember that über cool 80’s group, right? I discovered that they’re same as they ever were. To quote Chris Farley, that means they’re, “Haaaawesome”.

These recommendations are for the class of November 22nd.

A release called “Uncork The Finest” naturally focuses on the finest (read: expensive) wines and makes it difficult to provide ‘daily’ slosh recommendations. But, I’ve given it a college try and found 4 beauts. And, if you want to splurge in the run up to the holidays, there are also some classic, iconic labels such as Chateau de Beaucastel, Sassicaia, and Silver Oak. Suggestion? Save some money by going on one less treasure hunt at Costco. You’ll save enough for a case!

Disclaimer: It seems that every time I review the wines available against my experience and notes, I bump into a Grenache (Garnacha) dominated wine that I’ve liked a lot. Not sure what the attraction is. Grenache is generally a little less tannic? But, I quite like a streak of tannin. I’ve been to the Languedoc-Roussillon, Southern Rhone and Provence – all areas that grow a lot of Grenache and I like to recreate that vibe? I don’t really get it. Maybe it’s just a phase that I’m going through. Wait, I know. They’re really good!

nostre paisThis week there is a three-peat wine. I liked it in 2010, liked it more in 2011, love it in 2012. The 2012 Nostre Païs Costières de Nîmes #295410 $21.95 from Michel Gassier is a wine of elegance and regional representation – a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Syrah. It’s medium-to-full-bodied, scents of leaves, lavender – chock full of herbs, dark fruit in the mouth. This is bolder than the last two vintages – more complete and definitely more substantial – longer finish. I enjoyed the last two versions with simple fare like pizza and those ones were perfect for that. I think this vintage needs a bit more class. I’d think a stew with winter vegetables might work. This would cellar for a few years (3 – 5). The 2013 vintage was a bit of a challenge for Grenache in the south. Can’t wait to see what 2013’s Nostre Pais brings. FYI, there’s another Michel Gassier offering this week – 2012 Château de Nages JT Costières de Nîmes #7368767 $24.95. I can’t comment on this vintage but it is highly recommended in several reviews I read. I guess that qualifies as a comment after all?

barahondaLately, there have been more Monastrell wines out of Spain showing up than in the past. What is Monastrell? Monastrell is just Mourvedre carrying a Spanish passport. Generally, unless it’s blended with some of its friends and called Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it’s well-priced. This week, the 2011 Barahonda Sin Madera Monastrell #366823 $15.95 arrives. This wine comes from Yecla DO (Denomenación de Origen) a region that we don’t see that often – but Yecla’s making a move up the charts. Yecla is in the south of Spain just under Valencia, near the Mediterranean – it’s hot and the wines show it. This wine is all fruit – darker and red. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, there isn’t a hit of anything that might be associated with time in wood. It’s easy drinking with some good spicy elements on the finish. Moderately high 15% ABV – so some heat on the nose and mouth. Smooth party wine and a great introduction to Mourvedre’s Spanish alter ego.

Interesting factoid: The Mourvedre grape was named via a contest held in the village of Uzes from where the grape was thought to originate. The contest asked residents to suggest a name easy to correctly pronounce by francophones but impossible for anglophones. Mission accomplished.

fincaecinalA couple weeks ago, I opened a Ribera del Deuro Reserva (2005 San Cristobal) that I’d forgotten in my mess down below that masquerades as a ‘cellar’. It was the best wine that I’d had in months. Sweet cedary scents, fruit still showy and perfectly balanced. I regret to say that I have very few RdD left. So, what to do? Well, let’s buy a few and let ‘em grow up in the basement. Although it may not cellar for as long, the 2010 Finca el Encinal Crianza #355081 $17.95 provides me with that opportunity. These wines are predominantly Tempranillo or Tinto Fino as they call it in Ribera del Deuro. This one has a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. Crianza wines can be a real find for Spanish red lovers. Usually immediately drinkable, easy-going, priced well, and lip-smacking yummy. This wine is a huge cut above anything explained that simply. It is smooth, full-bodied, complex, wanting to please above its designation. Love it. This has a real presence. Let it gasp a bit before you slurp. Very impressive.

ironyPreviously recommended and re-released – 2011 Irony Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon #025106 $19.95. My previous review here.

Also, the 2010 Chianti Classico’s are generally very good. There are a few already on shelves and two in this release (Rocca Delle Macie and San Felice il Grigio) – both riservas.

Images courtesy of:

http://www.vintages.com

http://www.bodegasvalparaiso.com

 

Down By The Ribero – Red Daily Slosh

16 Jan

H3csI penned a post about the end of the calendar year and my first year writing this blog. But, after reading The Hosemaster of Wine’s rant on end of year posts, I declined to post it (click on his link – right banner – to read his take on end of year lists). One of the things that I did mention in that post is that I am going to drink more North American wines. So, lets’ kick the year off with one of my favourite North American red labels – 2011 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon #210047 $19.95. This is from the guys and gals that bring you all kinds of value wines from the Northwest, Chateau Ste. Michelle. I sometimes eschew (always wanted to use that word) ‘big’ wines. This is the exception that proves the rule – it’s pretty big and I love it; like I love John Goodman and Katie Webster. It has a smoky aroma and a smoky taste – even maybe meaty taste. It has a little heat at 14.5% ABV that I could detect on the nose even (which sometimes means a lack of balance to me) but this wine’s large enough to handle it. Dark fruit. I’d let it air out a bit or pour it through one of those wine gadgets you received for Christmas. And, have some burnt meat with it – steaks, ribs, BBQ chicken. Or, going out on a limb here, just pop and pour – forget about the fuss and drink alone, like me.

balbasI know, I know, $20.95 doesn’t qualify for a daily drinking red at my house either. But, this isn’t really a splurge and it might be the best $20.95 you’ve spent in a while. Well, since the 48 pound box of Tide at Costco? The 2001 Balbas Reserva #085183 $20.95 is a wine that I’ve recommended before and they’ve stocked up again at the LCBO. Plus, it won’t give you a hernia like the aforementioned Tide. They’ve done all the aging for you, it’s balanced, all nonsense integrated and working together, with a splash of acid that makes it very food friendly. It has leather both on the nose and a bit in the mouth. It’s grown up, mature – although gracefully so with a few years left and it’s settled on being one of the better value Ribera del Deuros available at the monopoly. I have purchased this wine on three occasions, same vintage and all, over the last 4 years and when I ran out, I cried, I hated myself for not getting more. So, seeing it once more on the shelves means a caselot, I fear. I want to love me; not hate me and I absolutely love this wine!

boutarigrI was sitting with a bunch of archaeology grad students last night and they were talking shop and Greek wines came up. The consensus was that Greek red wine was not so great. “Maybe when you’ve spent 10 hours in the sun crouched over a hole in the ground,” Bill says, demonstrating that he really doesn’t know what archaeologists do. But, there are many good to very good Greek red wines and many are made by Boutari. Hitting the shelves this week is the 2007 Boutari Grand Reserve #140111 $16.95. This is a full-bodied Naoussa red (one review says medium-bodied but I disagree) that’s chewy, ripe and full of fun stuff that everyone won’t agree on. I like it’s cedary, long finish and the fact that it’s lost a bit of it’s edges over time without being flabby. A challenge to those Greek red wine critics – pick this up and change your outlook. BTW, the Santorini Assyrtyko whites are fab too.

A wine that is coming in this weekend that I’m going to try:

perinet2005 Mas Perinet Perinet #143453 $16.95 Priorat wines that appear on these shores can be pricey. It’s a ‘hot’ region right now and the buzz is leveraged with higher pricing, I think. So, a Priorat wine with good pedigree that costs $16.95 is a good way to introduce/reacquaint yourself with this region. Love the label!

Dude, It’s The Red Daily Slosh

3 Jun

zinfandelvinehttp://www.dictionary.com ‘s slang definition of ‘gnarly’ is “distasteful; distressing; offensive; gross”. Clearly a winemaker wouldn’t use this word in the name of its wine as an attempt to be cool and current. “Buy our wine, it’s distasteful! And, it’s gross too.” So, why do we find 2011 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin Zinfandel #678698 $17.95 on our shelves this weekend? Perhaps, it’s the non-slang meaning of the word – which is “gnarled”. The picture above sums up the connection for this wine. Zinfandel vines are: 1) gnarlysome of the oldest vines in California; and 2) pruned in a way that features big, thick gnarled vine stalks with curly grape producing vines at the top, like a head, as it were. Now, why this same producer makes Gnarly Head Merlot, Gnarly Head Pinot Noir, and Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon sans a de facto ‘gnarly head’ for these varietals is a mystery for another time. It’s just plain distressing. Getting to this wine, this is one of those consistently yummy zinfandels that brings in the fruit and the power that we’ve become used to from California zins – perfect for the backyard, round enough for standing, swilling, and arguing but with enough stuffing for some burgers or ribs. Yes, I think ribs would be great with this wine.

alamosI’m hearing grumblings that many of my Daily Slosh recos are not all that ‘daily’, price-wise. I admit to a bit of price creep over the last couple of years. But, you have to work with what you’ve got. In the spirit of shaving a few bucks off the $20 norm that I’m accused of, let’s take a trip to Argentina; which along with Chile probably brings the best value wines available in these parts. The Catena family makes wines from $9 to a billion dollars a bottle. I think that I’ve waxed on enough about the Alta line, especially the cabernet sauvignon, so I won’t bore you. This week, there’s their 2010 Alamos Selección Malbec #322800 $16.95. (image courtesy of www.mightygrapes.com). This wine is all that malbec can be. It’s got loads of personality so not insipid and monotone like that über cheap one that we all know and are forced to drink. It has a strong tannic thread through the sip, swish, and swallow. But, don’t think that’s a bad thing. It just prepares your mouth for the finish of dark fruits. Neal Martin of www.erobertparker.com says this wine has ‘chutzpah’. It certainly does.

 And, don’t forget that I recommended a couple of other Argentinean wines a while back. I bought a bunch of the Terrazas malbec and it is a great sipping wine and still around and priced right.

 argadensWhat did I say last time out? That I’d be looking for Bordeaux that comes in at the ‘daily’ range and still delivers. This week, there’s another goodie. The 2009 Château Argadens #681843 $17.95 is a great example of price conscious Bordeaux that, like all good Bordeaux, still has the legs to stand in your basement for a while. Or, let it breathe for a few hours before serving. It represents a pretty solid red with more interest and stuffing than you might expect. Buy a couple and just let them be, let them be, let them be, oh let them be for awhile (say 2 years) and see what age does to a solidly built wine. Great with red meat or sharp cheeses.

bilahautNow, when I recommend anything in the following stable of wines, the phone rings off the hook with accolades and comments about my astute wine savvy and, oh yeah, my modesty. That wine stable – the one that is oh so good – is Bila-Haut and this week brings 2011 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon-Villages #168716 $14.95! Great winemakers make great wines at all price points. M. Chapoutier makes this beauty and it’s hitting way over its weight – which proves the point. This is full-bodied and lures the smell of the south of France right out of the glass. What does Emeril say? “Bam!” Loads of fruit, plenty of woody, briary stuff and still enough tannin and acid to strike a great balance. If you love wines from this region and I see that some of you do, you can put your hands down now, place an advance order to ensure you get this red. And, yes, the bumps on the bottle are Braille. Probably a great one-liner about why and when Bill might need the Braille but I think I’ll pass.

balbasSecond consideration from an earlier recommendationBalbas Reserva. Had a bottle the other night with friends and all at the table were gobsmacked. This Spanish beauty may be the steal of the year @$20.95. It’s just so gentle and interesting. I vote for Balbas for the Red Daily Slosh of The Year (RDSOTY) and reserve the right to change my mind later on. There’s lots left in Ontario, you just need to know where to look.

Let me know if you have a RDSOTY candidate.

 

 

A Beau For The Patti-eau – Red Daily Slosh

8 May

DomainedechampA friend mentioned to me that he liked the grape, gamay. He wasn’t sure where he’d find it unless it screamed GAMAY on the label, as in New World (Ontario) gamay. I told him about Beaujolais where they use gamay to make ready-to-drink, low tannin, fruity reds with loads of flavour and personality. Then there’s Beaujolais with ‘cru’ status. ‘Cru’ usually means to me old-style Beaujolais with a more expressive flavour – ‘cru’ villages include Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent, Morgon, Julienas, Chenas, Chiroubles, Regnie, Brouilly, and Cote de Brouilly. One of these villages will be in the name. Perhaps my favourite ‘cru’ (No, not RunDMC) is Moulin-a-Vent because it can age a bit longer, has a bit more spunk than some of the others. Morgon is also good for that IMHO. This week, 2010 Mommessin Domaine de Champ de Cour Moulin-a-Vent #430876 $17.95 arrives. It’s had a couple years in bottle to find itself, understand its mission and is prepared to deliver. It comes complete with cherries, a great hit of acid, and a food-worthiness that tells me that I need an arugula salad with seared tuna (and Madelyn Peyroux playing on the iPod). Wait: I just found out the other day that tuna is frequently unsustainably farmed/caught (not sure what the proper term is) – so substitute prawns. A review from Wine Enthusiast says this wine has a pinot noir-ness but I didn’t get that. I know these wines over time can develop that, so I stand to stand corrected (the reviewer is the professional), let me know if you detect that character. I mentioned the patio last time out in connection with white wines. Well red wine drinkers get to sit on the patio too. This wine might be the choice.

balbasSome time ago, so long ago I’m afraid to admit to it, I mean Sherman would need to set the Wayback Machine – that long ago, I bought a few bottles of my first Ribera del Duero red wine. I was blown away with the complexity, the food-worthiness, and the blast of Spain that came through when I swirled. Well I see that there’s one on shelves in a nicely aged version. Our mothership says that it’s half the US price and I would tend to believe them (this time only). But, this means that it is probably in scarce supply – so if you’re considering, make sure you click on the link to check where they have it and call ahead to stash a couple or make sure you arrive late Friday evening or very early Saturday before the uneducated hoards. The wine – 2001 Balbas Reserva #085183 $20.95. With wine, there are things that you just can’t get under $22. This one is the exception to the rule. You get it all. Perfect for Spanish wine lovers like CM and EL! Tobacco, cedar and loads o’ love. Apologies to my non-Ontario readers – I tried to locate a supplier for this producer in the US but my Google came up empty. Which sounds a bit Austin Powers, doesn’t it?

monasterioAnother Spanish wine that comes at a great price is the 2006 San José de Aguarón Monasterio de Las Viñas Reserva #166579 $14.95. What a neat name for those of us who don’t speak Spanish! Just trying to say it with the proper accent makes me thirsty. I will have to work at it though for my trip to Spain next year – that is the language, not the thirst quenching. This is a wine that’s ready right now, after time in wood and bottle. Smooth, reflecting the garnacha, and bringing lots of spicy characteristics. Buy a case!

CatenacsI know that you always see the Catena name in the Argentina aisle and you say, “Now is that the Catena that I had last time?“ Their labels are all so similar, it seems to me. You don’t see the Catena name, you say? No, you just think you don’t see it. This week, the 2010 Catena Cabernet Sauvignon #985002 $19.95 is back on shelves. These guys make some of the best Argentinean wines on the basis of value and pleasure. I love their Alta brand cabernet sauvignon, particularly. This one isn’t clearly New World to me but not totally Old World either. It’s Old World in the glass but maybe less so in your mouth and at the swallow. It has plenty of structure as in tannins, balanced, medium-bodied and, if you let it sit or decant, you’ll get some cool darker fruits and leathery accents. Drink with the usual cab suspects – burnt meat and/or grilled marinated portobellos (shout out to the vegetarians).

Rockin’ Niagara for the Red Daily Slosh

14 Mar

RockwayI seem to be plugging Ontario this week. Maybe Tony Aspler’s lecture plus all the Ontario wine tweeters that I follow are rubbing off on me. But, don’t stop me now. This week there’s a wine that I haven’t tried but will pick up based on reviews, recommendations – 2010 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Reserve Red Assemblage (#321893 $16.95). As I’ve probably stated way too much, “Yes, way too much,” Bordeaux varietals in Ontario seem to do better IMHO when blended. I hear it’s the weather. Well, this wine has three of those varietals – Cab Franc, Cab Sav, and Merlot – a blend as ordered. Heard good things about this wine – that it’s full-bodied, rich and cellar potential too, if you wanted to see how it develops. And, you can’t go wrong on the price either. Perfect for a party wine. Spread the word – Rockway Rocks!

For those that liked the Chianti I recommended last time, pick up the 2008 Vicchiomaggio Agostino Petri Chianti Classico Riserva (#993360 $19.95). This is more refined than last week’s Chianti. No hint that it might benefit from a basket or a candle when done. Drink this puppy now, although there’s a recommendation that it will keep for a few years. Drink now – drink often. What to have with it? Come on….pizza!

ElHalcon_FRONTDropped off a bottle of Rioja Gran Reserva at friends as part of a big “Thank You”. They loved it and surprisingly they said Rioja was their favourite red. I explained that the grape widely used in Rioja reds, tempranillo, is used in other regions in Spain and in Portugal (under different names). They didn’t say, “Who cares.” But I felt it. This week, they should grab a bottle or six of the 2009 El Halcón Old Vine Tempranillo   (#313783 $17.95). This wine comes from the Ribera del Duero region from older vines. I know this as it says it on the label. This will not carry the effects of aging in wood that the gran reserva brought – so fresher. I know that Rioja freaks will appreciate it.

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