Tag Archives: Torrontes

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

Susana Strikes Again – The White Daily Slosh

7 Jun

balbowineryI’ve mentioned Susana Balbo before in these posts. She is the winemaker for Dominio del Plata in Argentina among other wineries.  My mentions are most often in connection with her reds, in particular her Susana Balbo Signature Malbec. Now comes a great summer wine crafted by Susana, the “Queen of Torrontes”, the “Evita of Wine”. The 2012 Crios Torrontés #1834 $13.95 is a big flowery white that will shine in the heat of July and August. It can match with light meals but I like this style of wine by itself with conversation and nibbles rather than a meal. And, it’s $13.95, not a big expense for a new experience or reacquainting yourself with an old friend. This would be a great summer sipper around the crokinole board, crokinole being the national board game of Argentina, you know. Interesting and completely fabricated fact: In the 1530’s, Crokinole was invented and named after the Spanish explorer, Pedro de Mendoza, whose affectionate nickname was Crokinolé for the distracting habit he had of flicking his finger against his ear lobe. Does anyone out there still play crokinole?

campagnolaNow we’ve all been to functions where a white wine is served and you can remember saying to someone at your table, “I think the wine is OK. What do you think?” And they reply, “Yea, it’s OK.” There’s a good chance that that white wine was Soave or Pinot Grigio. They serve an important purpose. But sometimes in our world, they come off as simply. “OK”. Both wines would have you raving about them while sitting in a bustling Venetian café. Goes to show you what ambiance and situation do to the experience of wine. So, let’s try and recapture that Venetian ‘wow’ with a Soave. The 2011 Guiseppi Campagnola Le Bine Foscarino Soave Classico #134551 $13.95 keeps the price point of many other Soaves but brings a lot more to the glass – more flavour and aroma-wise. A profile a bit more like a sauvignon blanc sans the attitude. Serve cold. This is a lot more than just “OK”.

kjchardDid you try the Cannonball Chardonnay I recommended last time out? It was the poster child for oaked California chard – nicely balancing creaminess with enough acid and fruit. This week, there’s another somewhat predictable (which doesn’t mean ‘blah’) chardonnay from mega-producer Kendall-Jackson. The 2011 Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay #369686 $19.95 is a bit more restrained than the Cannonball. But, still you get the buttery notes and plenty of apple and a nice snap at the end. This would be a great summer supper wine – chicken in some kind of sauce, grilled lobster tails, or maybe even grilled shrimp in a not-too-spicy treatment. Buy it for your chardonnay lover.

vouvrayWay back when, I used to drink a syrupy sweet Chenin Blanc blend from California or so the label said. And it was in a bottle not a box! It was a ‘go to’ wine for company. Not sure what I saw in it but we all have those experiences in our wine backgrounds – a wine that upon reflection we find brutally unpleasant. Nodding with the Blue Nun, Black Tower memories, aren’t you? Check out the Blue Nun ad. Well, I’ve come to appreciate Chenin Blanc but in a different style – that of Vouvray. Vouvray can be anywhere from bone dry to fairly sweet. The 2012 Donatien Bahuaud Les Grand Mortiers Vouvray #140889 $15.95 is off-dry but for me carries the acidity and crispness of a drier style wine. It’s typical in minerality and intense aroma.  This is a great food wine.


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