Tag Archives: Susana Balbo

May 2-4 – The Red Daily Slosh

24 May

As I wrapped up this post this morning, we got the news that Gord Downie was ill. Quite a shock. Bumped into a friend at the grocery store and that’s the first thing we talked about. So, I tried to find the perfect Hip video for the moment. To celebrate! I decided on a song that seems to speak to his character and values. Plus, he’s so young here. And besides, the video for “In a World Possessed By The Human Mind” was a little slow getting going. It’s available here if you want. Either way, take some time this weekend to listen to some Hip and think of Gord. And, when they tour your town, make it out! This, sadly, is a true farewell tour.

My sunset on Friday night

My sunset on Friday night

So on to the truly trivial, I’m back from the cottage and we are opened up for the season ahead. For those not from the Great White North, this past weekend was May 2-4 or, for the monarchist set, Victoria Day: our May Memorial Day. Well, we don’t memorialize anything other than drunken revelry (hence, the 2-4) and mosquitos. Where our cottage is located, there is the addition of black flies. So, drunken revelry, mosquitoes and black flies. If you have never experienced black flies, I can easily explain them. Think of a swarm of pestilence of biblical proportions. Yup, that be them. They are the most persistent, bothersome, pesky little biters in the insect world. Regardless, I got some stuff done. Docks? Sort of – after determining the location of the nesting snapping turtles. Sometime, I will regale you with tales of snapping turtles, dead beavers – no shit, Bucky The Beaver, and really scary friends. But, Bill, what did you drink? WIYG?

I enjoyed rosé – Carte Noire – a great, crisp, light but not too light wine from Provence. And, I had a Rioja that was, well, disappointing. I recommended this very wine just a few weeks ago. I’m hoping that this 2011 Muga Reserva was an aberration – cooked, maybe. It was flat – unexciting and I love this wine usually. Oh well – Raptors were winning on the radio (no television allowed) and I didn’t really care about the wine. Go Raps!

The coming weekend brings some great opportunity to stock up for the summer. Remember that season? It’s warm, if lucky you’re on vacation, and, in my case, I get to spend time with friends, family and Bucky at my favourite place, Kahshe Lake.

benmarcoPicture this, you’re sitting around after a heavy day at work in the garden. You love Malbec. I have the tonic to what ails you – 2013 Benmarco Malbec #657601 $17.95. This will become your ‘go to’ Malbec – made from 100% Malbec. It is accessible, drinkable as in “where did that bottle go – open another” drinkable, and a great value. Much more balanced, refined than most of the General Listing Malbecs. Benmarco also makes a high level offering – Expresivo. If you see it grab it. The 2013 Expresivo has 30% Cab Franc – it’s a beaut – shows what can be done with Malbec that’s grown at altitude – refined. The bonus to Benmarco – or should I say the guarantee is that the winemaker is Susana Balbo. Caselot!

We were at a wedding last month and a couple there were leaving the next day for Italy. A pilgrimage of sorts to Ancona where a father had fought in a tank battle in WW II. But, they also were traveling around Rome, to Ancona (in the Marche Region) and then up to Bologna. They asked for any unique wine aldianorecommendations in the regions that they might run in to. I suggested Lambrusco di Sorbara, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Pecorino whites and, of course reds from Abruzzo. They were all too familiar with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo as we get a ton at the mothership. This week, there’s a regular in my cellar – 2011 Aldiano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Reserve #051706 $19.95. This is a perfect pairing with Spaghetti Bolognese. Ripe fruit, juicy acidity with a background of nastiness. Now, nastiness, for me, is the best part of these country wines. In this case, ‘nastiness’ is leather, brush, and brown. You might think brown is a colour not a flavour or aroma. In Duffs World, you’d be wrong, dude. If you sip this, you’ll see what I mean. It isn’t red, black, purple but brown in smell and taste. Tell me if you’ve experienced this.

Just re-read the above. “Brown” – um, that might not be an inducement to try this wine. When I think of brown liquid, I say, “Eeew.” What I meant to say, sans visualization, is that the wine has a sense about it close to leather, wood, and other brownish things. Just evokes ‘brown’ to me.

Oh, BTW, if you can find the 2012 Tre Saggi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo #204016 $15.95 still around your local, pick it up. Great value and good enough to serve at my son’s wedding celebration.

Local mid-priced reds include:
2012 Megalomaniac Bigmouth Merlot #067645 $24.95 – as the name suggests it’s big. Cherries and vanilla – good underlying muscle and support for the fruit.
2011 Tawse Grower’s Blend Pinot Noir #130989 $24.95 – this is a great entry into Tawse style and approach to this grape. Straight forward, purposeful, extremely refreshing Pinot. A guaranteed perfect host/hostess gift.

allegrinipdtAnd, I’ve saved the best for last. The 2012 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre #672931 $24.95 is a petit Amarone in my mind. I realize that if your sweet spot is $15 – $20 then you’ll have to ignore the cold sweats at the checkout and plunk down the $25 for this big, expressive, chewy wine. It has the telltale dried fruits of the ripasso technique but I’ve never felt that they were heavy handed here. Turns out that the wine is only half-assed ripasso. They ferment half the grapes fresh and then have another fermentation with grapes that have dried for a few months. The result is close to perfect for my tastes. Aged cheese, please.

And, let me know your favourite Tragically Hip song in the comment section below. Still can’t believe it. He’s only 52.

Cheers

Bill

Remember; Click on the linked SKU and price and it will take you to the mothership’s inventory site. Drop down the menu and scroll to your location and it will tell you how many bottles there are around. Beats driving all over town looking for the last remaining bottles. Now, who the hell would do that? Seriously.

Essentials Recommendations

10 May

A couple posts ago, I used a video of The Blind Boys of Alabama with Susan Tedeschi singing People Get Ready. I got a few responses saying that they had never heard Susan before. So, I’ve added another of her tracks above – a great John Prine song – great flute solo. Susan’s an accomplished blues guitarist and singer. Her main squeeze is Derek Trucks. How much great music must come from that house? Listen to it as you scroll.

On to the wine. Last week, I was asked by a golf buddy what would be a good red wine to take to a friend’s house for dinner. After I asked the requisite question about what the food was going to be (“Who knows?”), I kind of stalled. Oh, I finally gave a couple suggestions but I felt inadequate. Aren’t I supposed to know these kind of things off the top of my head? I think the issue for me was availability. What wines would be in stock and, ergo, a good recommendation?

The mothership has a cadre (over 100) of higher quality wines and spirits that are usually available in larger stores and they’re called the Essentials Collection. They range from Cristal Brut Champagne ($297) and Tignanello ($103) to Cathedral Cellar Cab Sav ($16) and Anselmi San Vicenzo ($17). It’s a broad spectrum but you should be able to find something that fits the occasion and your budget.

Budget Reds

Monte Antico #69377 $15.95 This is a food wine and it’s Italian. Meaning serve it with pizza, pasta with a tomato sauce, etc. Maybe even a mushroom dish. It has that bite that I love.

LAN Crianza #166538 $15.95 A $16 Rioja Crianza that carries the day. Perfect everyday medium-bodied red. I’m having ribs tonight and might pair them with this unless I get paralyzed down in the basement (so many choices) and end up bringing up something else. If you can find the Viña Real Crianza @ $18.95 – grab a couple bottles as it is very nice as well.

kaikenKaiken Malbec #58339 $14.95 This is a good value Malbec for those that love that grape. I know there are cheaper ones out there but step away from the Fuzion and make a very little step up price-wise to this much better version.

Mid-Range Reds

Muga Reserva #177345 $23.95 If there is even a hint that your guests or you, for that matter, like Iberian wine, this is the the ‘go to’ choice from Essentials. Consistent and typical Rioja cedary goodness. Food or just plain sipping.

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon #193573 $22.95 If it’s VQA you’re looking for, this is a great example of Niagara Bordeaux red. A hint of green pepper but not distracting from the dark fruit. Good steak wine. It’s tasty.

tenutacastigligoniMarchesi de’ Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni #145920 $21.95 I have recommended this wine so many times that I can type the name without checking the spelling. Pure Tuscan goodness. Spicy and fabulous with a simple lamb dish.

Honourable Mention

Wynn’s Coonawarra Black Label Cab Sav, Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir, Espãrao Reserva, E. Guigal Côtes du Rhone, Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon

Budget Whites

Anselmi San Vicenzo #948158 $16.95 If you like the vibe of whites from north-eastern Italy (Soave), grab this one. A perfect paring would be sun and friends.

Willm Reserve Riesling #11452 $15.95 An extra dry Riesling from Alsace. Stony, citrus. Great food wine.

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés #1834 $13.95 I couldn’t forget Susana. This is her entry-level Torrontés. I think it’s the perfect grape for sipping.

Mid-Range Whites

cloudy bayCloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc #304469 $32.95 The SB that started the whole Kiwi love-in. Powerful, clean, gooseberry. Perfect with grilled seafood. It can handle spicier, heavier fare – maybe even blackened grilled fish.

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay #545004 $21.95  BC wines are available in short supply here. So grab a bottle of this judiciously oaked Chard. Perfect with chicken, salmon or for just you and your imaginary friend (never drink alone).

Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes Sancerre #542548 $25.95 This would be a nice counterpoint to the Cloudy Bay above. Both SB’s but totally different styles. This one is restrained, minerally, and better with cleaner foods – like scallops or salads. Friends that winter in Florida start their evening imbibing with a white, frequently a Sancerre. Good sipping.

Honourable mention

Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Tawse Quarry Road Riesling, Malivoire Chardonnay, Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc

Rosé

Malivoire Lady Bug #559088 $15.95 Have recommended this almost every year. I’m typed out on it.

So, if you need a wine that’s not from the General Listing aisles – something with a little cache, wander to the Vintages section, search these out and please let me know what you think. After all, I am all alone and appreciate contact with the outside world. Well I’m alone except for my imaginary friend, that is. Clink, clink.

Cheers.

Bill

Back From The Abyss – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

18 Mar

lazy

It’s me – Duff. Remember me? After two months of silence, I’m back to bloggin’. There are several reasons for my absence. All are deeply personal and can’t truly be shared on something as trivial as a wine blog. However, other bloggers will identify with the challenge of balancing life with writing, making sure that you are ‘there’ for friends and family as well as readers, the pressure to taste interesting wines all the time instead of just chugging cheap caselots, and the constant demands of fame and fortune.  Now, if you’ve been playing along at home over the past three years, you know that’s got nothing to do with why I haven’t posted in a while.

Truth be told, I’m stubbornly lazy. I don’t know about you but once I cast my lot with Monsieur Sloth, I’m all in. And the winter just depresses me – so why not just sit around, veg, contemplate my mortality, and watch my Prime Minister doing something cool every day? Is it just me or is he everywhere – the most selfied man in the world? That’s all nice, but I am still waiting on the steak.

This Saturday’s release is titled, ‘Viva Italia!’. Most of the affordable Italian offerings seem pretty run of the mill or I haven’t tasted them. But I guess that I have to recommend at least one Italian wine.

carpeneI hate to use absolutes but Prosecco is the most over-rated sparkling bev, IMHO. I mean it’s everywhere and usually underwhelming. I guess if you are in a cafe in Italy and you want a little something before you dig into the ‘real’ wine, you might order a flute of bubbly – not worrying about its quality. But, with sparkling (as in not Champagne), I kind of gravitate to Cremant de Limoux, de Bourgogne, even Cava (story for another time), and local stuff. However, The Director and I shared a glass of Prosecco with friends a few years ago, and said, “Whoa!” The Carpene Malvolti 1868 Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore #727438 $19.95 is drier than most Proseccos. And not to flog the bad Proseccos horse too much, this one carries lots of actual flavour – peachy, stony. Pop this one with confidence.

susanabalbocsWho do I recommend the most? Susana Balbo, that’s who. Whether it’s her own label or Benmarco, I like her New World take on reds and Torrontes, in particular. This Saturday, her eponymous Cabernet Sauvignon returns to the shelves (if it ever left). The 2013 Susana Balbo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon #260919 $19.95 is all Cab Sav – dark fruit, cassis. I think it’s the best vintage ever of this bottling and I’ve got pretty much every vintage in my notes.  This is Serena Williams in a tux – classy and formal on the outside, powerful and beautiful underneath. This food friendly wine is full bodied with lots of stuffing, gentle tannins. Great value. Buy a case!

caliterraStaying in South America, the 2013 Caliterra Tributo Single Vineyard Carmenère #056630 $16.95 has all sorts of nervous energy. It’s powerful without the weight that this grape sometimes gives us. Struggling archaeology grad students love this stuff! Great value – great food wine. Smoky good.

 

 

 

Last one – the 2006 Monasterio de Las Viñas Reserva #166579 $14.95 is a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, and Carinena. The Garnacha comes through on the sniff for sure. Reminds me a bit of a Monsant without the higher alcohol (this one is 13% ABV). I’m sure there are a zillion cases of this made each year but that shouldn’t dissuade you from trying this well-aged, fun,

monasterio rand ready to drink red. This co-operative’s gran reserve (2005) is available in some mother ship locations and represents fantastic value too ($16.95). You can search for it here. Both these wines can be dinner wines and at these prices you don’t normally get something as balanced and food friendly.

One last pitch – I’ve been buying a lot of Bibi Graetz Casamatta #330712 $14.95 lately. Originally, I was thinking it would be a perfect cottage red – fruity, lightish, fresh. The problem? I got a case, I started drinking it every once in awhile, I bought another half dozen, and now I’m stuck with only 6 bottles left for the summer. And, I’m not too optimistic that there will be any left once the cottage road is open. If you like Tuscan reds that aren’t all funked up and leathery, pick up a bunch of these for the patio or deck.

P.S. On top of my laziness, I’m in a rut. I’ve been drinking French, Italian, Ontario, and Spanish wines a lot this past few months and I’ve noticed that I’m not drinking any California wines anymore. Well, aside from The Director’s Chardonnays. Why is this? I used to quaff those buggers like they were going out of style – Napa Cabs, Russian River Pinots, Rhone Rangers, Lodi Zins – loved them all. But, nothing lately. The only excuse I can muster is that my palate has changed? We all know that’s bullshit and since when is all California wine crafted to a single red-stained palate? So, help me out here fellow bloggers and readers. Help me edge away from the ledge of Euro-centric wineism. Shoot me some food friendly, exciting, not too big Cali wine recos to ease me slowly back. Thanks.

Cheers,

Bill

 

Duff’s Book Club – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

7 Aug

Well, what’s everyone been up to? Me? I’ve been off these pages for better than a month. I’ve been at the lake, doing man stuff (building things, beer, baseball on the radio), boating, swimming, sitting, drinking a shitload of wine (that’s a anthonydoerrmetric measurement for my friends south of the border), and reading a lot. Some great books. Some very disappointing ones. On that score, I’ve decided that I will never read another book with the word “Girl” in the title. And, if the book also tells its story through several different unreliable narrators, I am out of here. Did anyone read Gone Girl? It was pretty sorry, wasn’t it? Everyone is writing books that mirror Gone Girl’s tale, technique, and style. I made the mistake of getting The Girl On The Train and The Good Girl under the guise that The Director would like them. Brutal. Why everything the same again and again until no one buys it?

rawihagePlease no more ‘Young Adult’ books that involve wizards, vampires, and/or post apocalyptic young women. Everything the same again. Uncle. I give up!

I did read some great books. The best of which were: Rawi Hage’s DeNiro’s Game, Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, and a Carl Hiassen one that I probably read before – love him. I’m off to Spain next month so if you have some good reads to share, let me hear them.

This is a wine blog. So, on to the wine!

I thought that I’d just make this a mélange, a cornucopia, a bit of a mashup really of reds and whites.

Let’s start with Argentina. I was speaking with the son of a friend of mine and he said that every time he sees Susana Balbo’s Malbec, he buys it and then benmarcocswhen he takes it to an event, the host (if she/he even opens it- which is the peril of taking something that’s actually good to an event, isn’t it?), they remark that it’s great and posit that it cost a lot more than it actually did. The power of good winemaking is what that is. Well, this week, there’s another from Dominio del Plate (Susana’s home perch) 2013 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon #232637 $18.95. This is pure Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis, structure, grip – a food wine. Hands up – how many people think California when they think Cabernet Sauvignon? Bordeaux? Chile? Australia (stay tuned)? Argentina? Now, if there is one person with their hand up, I’ll buy a new MacBook. I’m not sure if anyone thinks of Argentinean cab sav as ‘classical’. This may change your mind and it’s only $18.95! You may say that I’ve been a little too effusive about Susana in the past and you’d be right. Regardless of the past love, my eyes are open, this is good juice.

roscsStaying on the cab sav bandwagon, let’s travel to the Margaret River region of Australia. In Western Australia, they make the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia possibly with the exception of Coonawarra in some vintages IMHO. It’s warm, dusty, and crafty there. The 2012 Robert Oatley Cabernet Sauvignon #323741 $19.95 is one of those solid yet elegant reds. It doesn’t hit you over the head with tannins and acidity but everything nonetheless is yummy – subtley good. Restrained. I’d say this could be a sipper – as in, just pop and pour during the argument phase of the evening which happens at my place pre-dinner, post dinner or actually during dinner. Actually save the dinner for a bigger more flamboyant red. This carries redder fruits than other New World cabs.

eastonI always love a good zin and this week there’s a consistent one that costs a bit more but I’m good for it – the 2012 Easton Zinfandel (Amador County) #328377 $27.95. I first had this label at a zin tasting and it blew me away. A zin tasting is like a Bordeaux pre-release tasting. By the time I taste 10-15 wines, my palate is shot, if I was being honest. Oh, I still swish and spit and ooh and aah but it’s a farce really. My notes become more and more cryptic and vacuous (like my comments here?). Well, this wine in it’s 2010 vintage broke through the sock mouth and showed leather notes, red fruit, and an earthiness that I don’t always associate with Zinfandel. This vintage is similar. Not heavy, good grip, and a burst of red fruit. After you swallow, you get a nice finish with a smokiness or leatheriness. A very sophisticated Zinfandel at this price. I’d love to understand if it’s the winemaker or the vineyard or both that brings this experience. Maybe a trip to California for research?

closOn the white side, there’s a nice Muscadet. I do love Muscadet. This one, 2010 Clos les Montys Vieilles Vignes Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie #297911 $13.95 is a typical one. Salty, crisp, and full of pears. Love pears too. This is the perfect accompaniment to shellfish simply prepared and eaten al fresco under the stars. OK, you could have it in the living room too. I had a comment a long time ago. The troll wondered why I slagged Pinot Grigio but loved Muscadet. Well, 1. it’s my blog and I’m OK with you thinking I’m contradictory, and 2. They are not remotely the same wine! Go ahead PG lovers, pick this up and have with the aforementioned shellfish or fresh field tomatoes and tell me that reminds you of PG.

yEvery year I mention the 2014 Yalumba The Y Series Viognier #624502 $16.95. I had this vintage at a restaurant while I waited for a colleague. Yes, that’s right, I started drinking before he got there. I know I have a problem. This wine just bursts from the glass – peaches and cream. Such an invitation to gulp! But, don’t. You’ll miss the bright acidity and lovely mouthfeel. It’s smooth and spicy at the same time.

contradeSplurge alert – in winegeekdom, there’s a club called the Wine Century Club. The goal of the club is to drink wines made with 100 different grapes. I started to fill in the forms with every different grape I sampled. But, like every other endeavour I undertake, I ran out of steam. But, if I was still doing the note taking, the 2012 Contrade di Taurasi Grecomusc’ #418715 $32.95 would have to be included. This wine is made from the Roviello grape. I associate Taurasi with red wines. I hadn’t heard of the white Taurasi made with Roviello. This was a glass in a restaurant again so I’m going with memories only here. Anyway, this white wine is all citrus and spice and incredibly strong. Not strong as in medicine but strong as in it’s intensity. It has a big backbone of acidity and I bet needs a few years or some time in the glass and warmth to express itself. Very interesting and worthy of a pick up in your Wine Century Club pursuit.

Cheers.

 

 

 

For What It’s Worth – The Red Daily Slosh

3 Mar

This day in music history (1966) – Neil Young, Steven Stills and Richie Furay formed Buffalo Springfield. That’s our boy Neil sitting on the amp. Sorry for the video quality. I think it might have been filmed with a Kodak Brownie. Not sure what the ending is either.

saintrochBack when I simply sent out a newsletter, I remember singing the praises of an inexpensive red from Roussillon. The ’05 and ’06 were superb representatives of the region – lavender, herby goodness. This week, the ’12 version of this wine hits the shelves – 2012 Château Saint-Roch Chimères #119354 $18.95. Not quite in the inexpensive range anymore but in a world where you pay $11 to see a cartoon movie (and don’t get me going on that score), not that surprising. This vintage carries the same brushy, garriguey, herby full-bodied goodness both in the swirl, sniff and in the mouth. That doesn’t mean fruit isn’t present – black fruit – juicy fruit – not the chewing gum but fruit with a nice puckery quality. This might be a bit smoother than other years and a bit bigger – it’s hard comparing notes. Nonetheless, this is a formidable wine – powerful. Love it. Great value for those that love the Rhone-style blends of Syrah and Grenache. That would be me. This is 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan. Highly recommend.

13thstreetCan we talk? I like to promote Ontario wine when I can. I like the wines, the people that make them, and the fact that they don’t feel compelled to send me samples. Well, maybe I hate that last part. The problem is that I’m usually reviewing and recommending from the bi-weekly Vintages release. And, there aren’t a ton of Ontario wines in each release. Example: this release has 120 offerings of which 9 are from Ontario. Just 9! It probably has more to do with the winery’s ability to supply enough product and, I admit, that there are lots of General Listing Ontario wines. But, it would be nice to have more ‘release’ Ontario wines, even in limited availability. OK, down off the soapbox. This week the 2012 13th Street Gamay Noir #177824 $19.95 arrives at the mother ship. There are some grapes that are done quite unevenly in Ontario and Gamay is one IMHO. There are a few great examples but way too many weak efforts. Gamay can be good simple and fruity usually with interest.. And, it can be just plain bad simple and fruity. The 13th Street Gamay is red fruity but has some underlying structure and loads of personality by way of earthiness and surprising minerality. That stuff comes through mostly on the sniff for me and dissipates a bit in the mouth – leaving the fruit and a nice bite. It’s interesting. Reminds me a lot of the Villages-Beaujolais that I recommended last time out but a bit fruit purer – less messy.

bonterrapnCheaper Pinot Noir is, well, usually pretty bad. It’s a grape that doesn’t lend itself to big harvesters, huge production numbers, and just-in-time delivery. So, I tend to avoid it. I know that I’ve recommended the Cono Sur Bicicletta Pinot Noir a few times over the years and it can be as low as $9.95 on sale. But, there haven’t been a lot like that. This week, there’s an organic Pinot Noir – 2013 Bonterra Pinot Noir #317685 $19.95. I like this – it has some wood effects – vanilla and cedary tannins. But, what I like is the unapologetic red fruit nose and finish. It’s juicy with a bite at the end but not too. It would be a great sipper – stand around wine. I’m going to check out now the price stateside just to show you how we get screwed on the lower end stuff……..lowest stateside price on winesearcher.com is $16.50 CAD. I stand corrected. I apologize. I guess $19.95 is fair considering that our monopoly helps build hospitals, women’s shelters, and pay off failed gas plant closures. Back to the Bonterra – pick this up. Recommended. Comment: the Bonterra label seems to be picking up its game – I have had a few different varietals from them that represent good effort.

benmarcoI haven’t had a Malbec for awhile. So, when I was out for dinner around the holidays, for our second bottle, we ordered the 2013 Benmarco Malbec #657601 $18.95. Either it was impressive or I was influenced by the poorer quality of the first bottle we had. I’m sticking with the first – it was impressive. This is a meat wine as are most Malbecs. It has integrated tannins, a vein of juiciness but the biggest thing you get is that this wine is together, balanced, smooth. Like The Spinners. Chocolate on the nose but I lost it in the mouth. Dark fruits everywhere. It’s made by my girl, Susana Balbo. There seems to be a purpose to all her wines. They tell a story; you don’t get confused – you know what you’ve got when you drink it. Highly Recommended. And, on second thought, you could just pop and pour this by itself. A guilty pleasure – put on The Spinners (you’ll need the little plastic thing that goes in the middle of the 45).

Splurge wines that I haven’t tasted but am picking up:

2009 Terre Nere Brunello di Montalcino #208462 $42.95 I love Brunello. It’s generally what people buy me if they truly appreciate me. Hint, hint. I have one of three 2004’s of this wine left in the basement. It has such a nice weight and juiciness to it (the 2004 that is). The review for the 2009 speaks to some of the same qualities I found in the 2004 – red cherries, spicy, big aromatics. From a vintage perspective, 2004 is a bit more heralded but, really, my palate may not be tuned to these nuances. I’m jumping in with both feet.

2011 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz #422782 $34.95 When I started to splurge a bit, I always ended up with a few bottles of this wine. Through thick and thin we have travelled the roads to wine knowledge and appreciation. I love its weight – large but manageable; it’s berries too. I can’t identify a single kind of berry but it just smells like that yogurt you can get called “Fieldberries”. Strawberries? Not exactly. Raspberries? No not them either. But, by the Gods, jammy berries. And, it has some peppery notes but not overwhelming like some Shiraz. This one has great reviews and, in particular, I like the term, “finishing with good persistence”. Seems like a good way for a Shiraz to be. I’ll let you know what I think. I’ve had other vintages of this with lamb tagines. Perfect.

nkmip2011 Nk’Mip Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon #303719 $27.95 OK, this is a light splurge. This wine always intrigues me because of the story. Oh, the wine is usually great but the story is the best part. This winery is the first wholly owned and operated aboriginal winery in Canada. The dedication of the band leadership is quite remarkable, courageous, and inventive. You can read about him here. The wine? Well, it’s a dark, complex, structured cab in most vintages. It feels right to drink this wine. But, it’s tasty too. And, if you can pronounce the name, you win the monthly DuffsWines prize package.

Bill

A New Year – The White Daily Slosh

7 Jan

Aside from my splurge posts last month, it’s been awhile since I last posted on white sloshes. FYI, click on the links here to read the splurge posts: Holiday Advice Part 1; Holiday Advice Part Deux; Holiday Advice Fini

Can we talk? I hate winter. Back when I skied or took my son to hockey, at least there was something to celebrate besides gassing up the snowblower and road reports. The Red Daily Slosh that I posted yesterday was influenced by this sentiment, the cold, and the snow shovel, I’m afraid. It’s been pointed out to me that two (Sangrantino, Tannat) of the four wines were pretty heavy hitters – come-in-from-the-cold wines. OK, I did do that. So, why now would I recommend a white wine that’s so inextricably malingelinked to summer patios? Not sure. Maybe it’s because I like it, it’s my blog, and I’m not a slave to time of year. Heck, I drink rosé in the winter too. The 2013 Domaine du Bois-Malinge sur Lie Sèvre et Maine #224236 $13.95 could never be accused of being ‘heavy’. But it does pack a punch – an acidic punch. A lip smacker. It says in the review that it has a spritz to it but I’d say a tingle sums it up best for me. Great sipper or a great wine for salty seafood dishes. If you trend to Pinot Grigio (and, we won’t make a disparaging comment – live and let live – drink what you love), I’d think that you’d appreciate this light, refreshing white.

There’s a thing called #NWTW that wine lovers the world over participate in. OK, it may not be “the world over”. But, there’s a broad base of participation that you might want to think about joining. It’s gavidesigned to get us all to try different wines – get out of our rut. Change it up. Each week in 2014, a different wine was explored by Please Bring Me My Wine, the fearless leader of the idea. History, how it’s made, what to eat with it, and several suggestions of what labels to look out for. It is fun. So, let’s try this out here. Everyone pick up a bottle of 2013 Bersano Gavi di Gavi #999979 $14.95, break into small groups, sip and discuss, create a mindmap of your thoughts on the wine, and then report back to the large group minuted on a central flipchart. Sound like fun? Or just the work of a former “front-of-room” organization guy? I plead guilty. OK, forget about it. But, there’s a chance for rut escape with this crisp, meadowy white. Focused and light – a great white for sipping before a meal or with a light lunch. Try it out.

Where do bargains reside in droves? South America. I used to recommend a Chilean or Argentinean wine almost every post but have switched my tasting style to a more traditional continental feel, it seems. But, one winery always brings me back – Dominio del Plata and their winemaker, Susana crioschardonnayBalbo. The 2013 Crios Chardonnay #243196 $13.95 is a perfect cottage wine. I’m not planning on travelling to my cottage any time soon (couldn’t get in to it) but I could put a fire on right here and pretend that I’ve just spent the day doing nothing (OK, I really don’t have to pretend on that part) in the sun and open a bottle of this value Chardonnay. Crios in Argentina must mean “bargain”. The Torrontes and Malbec are also stunningly good value. This Chardonnay doesn’t fall into the “cheap Chardonnay” fault of lack of punch. It carries some weight and can take on foods that you’d think you’d need a richer wine to tackle. It has creaminess on the finish in particular with a hint of acid that takes away any impression that it’s flabby. Great value for the oaked Chardonnay lovers. BTW, at Duffswines, we hate flabby wines. Hate ‘em, hate ‘em, hate ‘em.

A couple Chardonnays that I’m going to pick up for The Director include 2013 Wakefield Chardonnay #711556 $14.95 which, in vintages past, provides great value in an oaked Chardonnay – balanced, straight forward, and full of toasty notes on the finish. And, the 2012 Voyageur Chardonnay #389544 $16.00. This is made by a Prince Edward County winery from Niagara fruit. If it’s PEC, it should be a little more restrained and classic – can’t wait.

For those new to the blog, if you click on the link provided with each wine (product number and price), you will be taken to an LCBO description of the wine. You can check availability in your area by pulling down the city list in the top right. If you have any trouble let me know.

Also, if you try any of these wines, drop me a line at the email address on the right or put a comment in below.

Bill

 

 

 

Chicchitti, Bang, Bang – The Red Daily Slosh

5 Dec

alligator

I’ve just returned from a week in Florida where I enjoyed some quality time drinking wine, getting some sun, golfing, and, well, drinking more wine. My friend and I were unable to solve the important riddles of life but we did discover that, Holy Jumpin’, alligators are not as quick on land as myth would lead you to believe. The first or was it the second wine we opened was a Rioja – 2007 Montecillo Reserva and the room quickly filled up with oh’s and ahs. Well, maybe not oh’s and ah’s but, “This sh** is greats!” and “Wow, smell that – no, Bill, I mean really smell it.” Just such a pretty wine, powerful nose with loads of

montecillowinecedary, spicy interest. All grown up, solid, settled in. Medium-bodied, moderate tannins and acidity. Rioja Reserva with a little age like this one is just so dignified and satisfying. So, I decided to source it locally and to my surprise it is offered in the General Listings aisles at the LCBO. But what vintage? It wasn’t given on-line. So, I wandered out to Fanshawe and Hyde Park to pick one up. Now, being a wine snob, I had to get directions to the General Listings section – “It’s just past the ‘Barefoot Strawberry Blush’ aisle end display, keep going until you see the basket of boxed wine. If you reach the red velvet cake-flavoured vodka pyramid, you’ve gone too far.” I said that I was a wine snob. The vintage that’s on shelves here now is mostly the 2009 Montecillo Reserva #621003 $18.95 (with currency exchange, the price at Total Wines was about the same as in Ontario). Now, to try it. This wine isn’t as settled as the 2007. It comes across as a bit more restrained and carries more acid. I like it but will like a lot better after a few years down below. If you can find some 2007 – big recommendation. Update: I’ve just let the ’09 decant for 4 hours and it’s just now starting to open up. Definitely a cellar and finish the bottle candidate. BTW, the label looks black above but is, in fact, blue.

ondarrewineA wine with similar characteristics to the ’07 Montecillo is the 2008 Ondarre Reserva #723452 $18.95. This wine has a darker tone to its fruit and a little less woodiness than the ’07 Montecillo. But, it too is medium-bodied, a streak of acidity that softens a bit with air. These wines would be great to have on hand for the cooler months ahead and the time of year where company comes and expects a sip or two. A nice break in the party season from the same old, same old.

Part of feeling confident in choosing wine for a dinner out or at home is familiarity with the label, producer, grape, etc. That’s probably why, in my home town, every restaurant it seems carries McManis wines. People are familiar with them, confident in what they’ll get. In this case, I don’t get it – I’m not usually a fan of McManis at their price point – well, almost any price point. But, most folks like to stay on a familiar road. The corollary is that my susana_balbo_malbecopinion obviously matters little. But, what I can contribute is a few more labels that you recognize and feel confident ordering. This brings me to Susana Balbo. I haven’t mentioned Susana’s wines in a while but I didn’t cry. The truth is she never left us. Yes, you noted correctly – an Evita reference. I promise it’s my last when mentioning Argentine wine. This week her 2012 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec #079798 $19.95 arrives and I hope it stays a while. This is a superbly balanced wine for this price. I don’t mean all blended together like a smoothie when I say ‘balanced’. It’s just that there isn’t one voice yelling above the rest. It’s more a chorus where you can still pick out the altos, the tenors and the basses but not one dominates – harmonious. This is full-bodied with a bold nose of predominantly berry fruit. In the mouth, it holds some heat (14.5% ABV), a sticky tannin or two on the finish. It is just so tasty and warming. I loved the ’10 (reviewed here) but my notes on this vintage seem more effusive.

cicchittiwineIf you’re interested in seeing what some age can do for a Malbec pick up the 2004 Chicchitti Gran Reserva Malbec #155713 #22.95. I first picked this up seemingly years ago through the on-line shopping service of the LCBO. I left it a few years and opened the last one in 2010. It seems that the ’04 appears every year. This is grown up wine. How do you know if you’re a grown up wine drinker? You know you’re not a grown up wine drinker if:

  • When ordering wine in a restaurant, you’re torn between the Pinot Grigio selection and “No, wait – I’m having the featured cocktail – The CNIB Slurpy”, or
  • You can’t quite pronounce Rojaa or Sawveegnoon so you order the Meirlotte, or
  • Your best wine drinking memory is that Purple Jesus night during Greek Week, or
  • You’re thinking, “Wine? Not enough alcohol in it.”

Back to the Chicchitti. This is a deep dark wine with lots of stuffing left – no flab or stewed fruit – still fresh. More interesting in the mouth than the glass. Long spicy finish. I think it would keep for awhile longer but it’s yummy now. If you’re interested in shopping on-line for some smaller availability and premium wines, this is the link. It’s relaxing to spend hours researching wines on a MacBook screen. At least that’s what I tell my therapist.

An untasted suggestion:

I may have had the 2011 Rosenblum Zinfandel #031781 $19.95 from Paso Robles and failed to make any notes. It can happen. I’ve always liked this product in other vinatges. In any event, it’s hitting shelves this weekend. If you’re a zin freak and who isn’t, pick this one up. It’s usually big enough to carry some burnt meat or ham with crackling. Shelve the cab sav and pour this one. But remember it carries 14.9% ABV so no more than a bottle each.

Images courtesy of:

http://www.vintages.com

http://www.thesun.co.uk

 

 

Try Something Different – The White Daily Slosh

24 Oct

If I’ve posted this video before, I don’t apologize. Love the Joe, Love the horns. Saw him live last year with my son – brilliant! And loud too. Turn up your speakers, hit play and listen while you read.

As I mentioned in my last post, there aren’t a lot of wines from this release (October 25) that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting in the vintage offered. And, despite the advances of winemakers both in the vineyard and the shop, vintage matters in all but the most mass-produced wines. I’ve added a Vintages Essentials choice to fill in. The Vintages Essentials wines should be readily available in most mother ship stores.

sketches rieslingI haven’t included Tawse Winery in my series of Previously Unexplored Wineries because, well, they were never previously unexplored. I’ve been dropping in there since I started the wine thing. Love their cab franc, pinot noir, and chardonnay. Did I mention the pinot? Cool spot with great staff. One of my coolest wine gadgets is a turntable (or as my mom called it – a Lazy Susan) made from one of their barrel heads. Tours used to be somewhat impromptu – not sure now if that’s the case but a great way to spend an hour or more. They also make great riesling that seems to get lost in amongst their other offerings. Their entry level stuff is in the Sketches of Niagara line. Their 2013 Tawse Sketches of Niagara #089029 $17.95 is a medium sweetness effort but I have to say that the acidity that it carries dampens much of the sweetness – barely off-dry to me. It’s well balanced, has some citrus, not any of the kero that riesling (particularly older) can bring. I just tasted it – not drank it – didn’t have with a meal. But, I’d say some type of Thai or fusion cuisine would match well. If you are attracted to riesling with clearly present acidity (the title of a new Tom Clancy novel about winemakers threatening world domination )– this would be a perfect pick up. Good juice. And, even though I won’t be talking about Tawse in a special installment, you need to go see them. Tell them I sent you. Maybe I’ll get samples.

yviognierThere are some labels that seem to hit the mark more often than not. That goes for Yalumba’s “The Y Series”. It comes in at an affordable price and is consistently good value. In this market, we usually get the viognier and the shiraz/viognier blend every vintage. But this is the White Daily Slosh, so I’m talking about the viognier. Topic: Viognier – what the hell is it? Talk amongst yourselves. Viognier is a grand old grape that made its name in the Northern Rhone with a wine that might be the most sought after white wine in the world, Condrieu. Qualification: if you are a grand cru Burgundy dude or dudette, you’ll be chasing something else. But, even you’d have to admit that Condrieu is special. In the Northern Rhone, viognier is even planted with syrah and used in the famed (and delicious) Côte Rôtie, a red wine. Unfortunately for we mere mortals, Côte Rôtie is a bit expensive too. Anyway, over the last decade or two, viognier has been planted further afield and used as a single varietal in Australia, California, and the south of France (primarily the Languedoc). My friend, Andrew – he of the charcuterie fetish – loves viognier and, frankly, turned me on to it. Where was I? Oh, the Yalumba. This week, there’s the 2013 Yalumba The ‘Y’ Series Viognier #624502 $16.95. This is a little more French in style than last vintage – not as busy or round for me. I like this better, more straight ahead and I liked the 2012 a lot (as did J & O). This is maybe a bit more food friendly (some backbone) but I love viognier all by itself too. Good effort. If you trend to full bodied stuff like creamy, oaked chardonnay this may be a gateway wine to riesling and sauvignon blanc.

pacoWe are off to Spain next year. Some time in Cataluña, Rioja, and, if I get my way, Rias Baixas chasing down some wines and grabbing some sun and great food. How to prepare? Explore Spanish wines and food. I picked up the 2012 Paco & Lola Albariño #350041 $18.95 to reacquaint myself with this juicy grape. This is a salty white wine. It reminds me of a Kiwi sauvignon blanc on the nose – grapefruity. I had it with a mango salad with shrimp and it battled the lime-chile dressing to a draw – a refreshing wine that doesn’t lose its appeal just because we had a frost warning last night. Distinctive bottle. I realize that you aren’t to wear white after Labour Day. But, it is simply fine to drink dry crisp white wines like this and rosés, for that matter any time of year. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of this wine available so “Act Fast”, as the commercials suggest.

Vintages Essentials

There’s pinot grigio in the Essentials aisle all right. And, although I’m a wine agnostic, I can’t go there. I apologize profusely (well, not much actually) that I can’t comment on pinot grigio offerings in the Vintages Essentials library. So, click away if you’re jonesing for some of that pg.

balbocriostoorontesNow, for the rest of you. If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that my favourite woman of wine is Susana Balbo. I’ve never met her despite my stalker-like emails and incessant LinkdIn requests. Come to think of it, my LinkdIn account is dormant. I like her winemaking style. Her entry level stuff is varietally true and simple. The higher level wines get specific and hooked on to the land a bit more. This is one of the former. The 2013 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés #001834 $13.95 is focused and citrusy. It’s a great value for white wine drinkers who like a wine to have some weight and expression. I like its smell. That doesn’t sound quite how I intended it. The wine has a lot of power in the glass after a swirl or two. Big sniff – lovely. If you take this to a party, probably no one would have tried a torrontés wine before – you’ll gain style points.

Images courtesy of – http://www.vintages.com

Monica Re-Appears Con Caprini – The Red Daily Slosh

11 Apr

I included this song because of the memories. It was playing in a Paris bistro when I had my first DRC wine (La Tâche – 1975). OK, I’ve never had more than a very small tasting sip of La Tâche and 1975 was a shitty year – truth be told and, just like Glen Beck, I’m all about the truth (he said with tongue firmly planted in cheek), actually this song was playing as I was getting this written up. Memories of school dances and Motown as it was meant to be – never forgotten. In future posts, I promise to bring my music selections into the present or recent past instead of the way back when.

This is for the April 12th release. This release features ripasso and appassimento wines. There is a great write up in the release brochure or on-line that’s good information about these techniques. It’s very well done and one of the things that we might actually miss if we privatized.

etichetta_ripassoA few weeks ago, I recommended a Speri ripasso – their Pigaro – great value wine and, yes, I do have some left – medium bodied with lots of local knowledge. This week, there’s the 2011 Speri Ripasso della Valpolicella Classico Superiore #370353 $21.95. This is a step up in depth but doesn’t sacrifice the sense that you’re drinking this while watching Monica Belluci guide her goats through the piazza (that breaks a four month hiatus without a Monica Belluci reference – fell off the wagon, I guess). But, even more important, what you’re eating with this seals the deal. This past week, we were in Chicago and had a great Italian piazza dinner. Well, not in a piazza but inside by a busy street but the reference works for me. We had margherita pizza, cheeses, lamb meatballs with aioli, grilled calamari – this wine would have been perfect.

My friend, MR, recommended an appassimento wine just this past month and voilà here it is. The 2012 Tedeschi Capitel Nicalò Appassimento Valpolicella Superiore #984997 $16.95 is pure Italy. I recommended the 2010 a while ago. If you favour wines that are easy, stay away. It’s not that it is “hard” – just it isn’t simple – it has some flavour muscle – dirty, earthy, dried fruit, but never heavy. I love wines like this stuff. Remember the wine that I recommended a few years ago – Tenuta di Castiglioni? This doesn’t taste like that, flavour-wise – but you get the same feeling from it – local, rustic, country-side. Like the one above, sit outside and enjoy the spring-like weather that we’ve been waiting so long for.

criosmalbecIf you play along at home, you know that I am in love with Susana Balbo. A woman that makes great wine? It’s got a sliver of romance to it that’s hard to resist for this wingger (wine blogger). Passing on a Susana Balbo wine would be like fooling around on her! Well, this week there’s their entry level malbec – 2012 Dominio del Plata Crios Malbec #162529 $13.95. My favourite reasonably-priced wine of theirs is the Susan Balbo Signature Malbec and this Crios holds up against that. It’s a little lighter but it carries the same degree of fun and flavour. If you’re a malbec lover and have settled for cheap (read: Fuzion) malbec, give this a try. I think it’s a big step up in sophistication from those. This is fine by itself with tears and old movies.

temaniaI can’t help myself (which is part of a lyric that I can almost grasp through my dementia – Buehler?) when I see New Zealand pinot noir under $20. I just have to try it. There have been flame outs, failures, but many great finds. This week, the 2011 Te Mania Pinot Noir #365247 $19.95 finds its way to our shores. It’s just what it appears – a refreshing medium-bodied pinot, that’s the kind of pinot that Goldilocks would appreciate. Not too much – just right. It carries enough structure to avoid being flabby – it’s got a spine of acidity and a bite that’s just right (reference Goldilocks, again). I like this kind of pinot by itself. I know that New World pinots can accompany meals just like their older siblings from Burgundy but this one would be great with friends at the start of an evening and before things get too serious. Or sadly by yourself in a hotel room while on business watching a movie that you wouldn’t rent at home (oh, behave) in a faceless city. Not that I have ever done that – just trying to imagine things and make a suggestion. It’s versatile. Loads of red fruits with mostly darker cherries and not much wood at all – clean and fresh. Great stuff at this price.

Other worthy picks:

2008 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère #169862 $19.95

Apologies for my Italian.

 

The King and Others – The Red Daily Slosh

21 Feb

elvis1These recommendations are for the March 1 release.

This week’s release features cabernet sauvignon – although you’ll see I’m not playin’. In the LCBO brochure and probably in point of sale signage, they call it “The King”. There have been many kings – The King of Pop (MJ); the King of Rock and Roll (EP); the King of Soul (JB – Godfather, really); the King of Siam (YB); the King of Swing (BG), among others. Many might agree that cabernet sauvignon is their red wine King due, in my addled mind, in this market, to California’s dominance and it’s ability to make great cabs at a reasonable price and better cabs at an astronomical price. But, I take issue with the coronation. I would have to upset our friend Miles from Sideways when I say that I think either merlot (largest number of acres under vine in the world, Right Bank beauties, blending dominant, and a very under-appreciated grape) or nebbiolo (as nicknamed ‘the King of Wine’, I believe, for years and producing unique special wines like Barolo) hold that spot. Not to say that I don’t love cabernet, just sayin’ that there is a debate. See poll below and participate to resolve this age old debate. And, don’t ask why I haven’t recommended any of the featured cabs. But it could be the inflated prices.

On to the wine.

rockwaycmIf you play golf and have ventured to Niagara, you might have strayed away from the bigger name courses to play 18 at Rockway Glen. It’s a golf course with a winery and reception centre. Or, alternatively, a winery with an 18 hole golf course. Anyone who has golfed with me will tell you that I am an extremely modest, spectacularly skilled golfer who very, very quietly goes about his business on the course. But, I don’t write a golf blog. I write a wine blog. So, it’s the wine I want to talk about. I tasted the 2011 Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Cabernet Merlot #370346 $15.95 at the winery and we all know that that’s the best place to taste. I was impressed with the freshness of this wine – perhaps the blend. It’s medium-bodied with more cab fruit on the nose (blackberry, cassis) and some woody nuances joining them in the mouth – medium finish. It’s a fun wine which shouldn’t be a drawback but a plus. Wine is supposed to be fun and easy to drink too much of. So, take your sticks to Niagara and after the frustration of a golf game, get a buzz on at the winery. Responsibly, of course.

villamoraAs I wandered the aisles of my local the other day, I checked out the reds from the under appreciated regions of Italy (usually I’m looking for a cheap robust, gutsy wine) and found 2006 Villa Mora Montefalco Rosso Riserva #357079 $19.95. This wine is from Umbria and has sangiovese, sagrantino, merlot, cabernet in the blend. It reminds me of a wine from the Languedoc, style-wise – very full and dense with aromas of brush, dark and dried fruit. Can’t quite find the sangiovese. Plummy, somewhat gamey and pretty balanced in the mouth after 7 years in the bottle. Fairly elevated alcohol (15.5% ABV) but no burn. Tannins integrated and maybe a bit too mild for me but a lovely, lovely wine. It’s not everywhere so run don’t walk. I will keep an eye out for more Umbrian wines after this reminder of their value and style.

sopheniaIt’s been a few months since I recommended an Argentinean wine. If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that I was a bit of a malbec groupie last year. And so were many of you, if your nodding heads are any indication. I think it was the Susana Balbo influence. If you asked me then what wine babe I’d like to meet. I’d have said Susana. Love her malbec, cabernet and torrontes. Lately, however, I’ve been drifting north. Not sure why. And, I’m, not seeing anyone else. It’s just that she hasn’t returned my calls and stalker emails. This week 2011 Finca Sophenia Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon #350090 $17.00 comes to us from Mendoza, a region which does grow cab as well as their famed malbec. It has a pretty full nose of spice and raspberries – a sandalwood mouth thing going on. OK, that didn’t sound quite wine connoisseurry enough. How about, it has a hint of sandalwood on the palate? It’s a nice fruity cab that you would love if you’re partial to stand-up-straight cabs – reminds me (maybe erroneously and without running to other tasting notes) of a Western Australian cabernet.

olarraYes, Spanish wine rocks. I’ve mentioned a lot of wines on these pages and I’ve …..mentioned ……a lot …..of …..wines on these pages. And Spanish wines are some of the wines that I have mentioned. I mean a lot of Spanish wines. I love them! So, if you do too, there’s a Rioja Reserva, the 2006 Bodegas Olarra Añares Reserva #244723 $19.95 coming to a store near you. This wine is mature – think Penelope Cruz in 10 years – yeah, that nice. Really nice. My tasting note says, “petrol” in the mouth. It’s penciled in – so I must have meant it. Red fruit that’s dried a bit almost prune on the nose and palate. But, this is truly of the soil – bringing you the smell, feel and warmth of Spain – deep and sophisticated. I have friends heading to do the pilgrimage through Spain next month – guys, pick up a bottle of this, enjoy with some charcuterie and you’ll be ready. Except for the physical conditioning that you’ll need.

I will take a peek at this one

dowieA friend of mine who is somewhere in Mali and writes a blog about it here, gave me a heads up on the Dowie Doole Shiraz that she feels is the best representation of that grape from Down Under, for her tastes. It appears every once in awhile but I haven’t pulled the trigger to buy any yet. This week there’s what I assume is an entry level Doole. Or is that an entry level Dowie? The 2010 Dowie Doole Second Nature Cabernet/Shiraz/Merlot #361329 $19.95. I think that if I ever want to keep this friend, I need to buy a bottle of this and let her know what I think. It sounds quite yummy, fruity, yet enough substance – not a pool but a river? If you get some, let me know what you think.

Background music please, video montage of vineyards and barrels, and Jim Nance’s voiceover – “I just want to say that I am having problems staying below $20 for the Daily Slosh. Our friends at the mother ship have upsold us over the last three years quite noticeably into the $20 – $30 range on wines that I really want and, in past vintages, used to feel were full value. My everyday wine is getting worse and I can’t bring myself to drink the good stuff except when goaded by friends and other bloggers. It’s a bitch.” So, sorry if the Daily Slosh is shifting a bit above your comfort level. My advice – pay the extra and save it for the weekend. You only drink on the weekend anyway, you say? Who are you, Saint Abstinence the Crazy? I will rant on this and other issues of the monopoly later this month.

%d bloggers like this: