Tag Archives: Vouvray

White Man Privilege Rant – The Red and White Daily Slosh

24 Jun

Love, love, love this song. And, it is so relevant today. You’d think it was written yesterday.

I don’t usually express a non-wine opinion on these pages. Whaaat? Duff always expresses non-wine opinions on these pages. Which means that I have mission permission (as the Organizational Development guy in me would say). That said, may I take a wee bit ‘o’ your time?

I’m heading to a fundraiser for Women’s Community House tonight (tickets still available 519-672-8800). It gave me pause to reflect on the issue of woman abuse and it never ceases to shock me. We have been dealing with this issue head-on seemingly forever yet we still need easily accessible services and supports for women and their children who are subjected to this violence. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Women still are likely to experience abuse – sexual, emotional……………at a shameful rate. It saddens me. Make me wanna holler.

But luckily, it’s not happening to me. You see, I don’t have to worry about being raped if I had a drink or two at a bar, I’m walking home late at night, I’m asleep in my dorm room, or just ’cause. I was never sexually harassed in the workplace despite my snappy business casual look. My spouse isn’t the most likely person to assault me. Come to think of it…… I will never be carded as part of ‘good’ policing. I won’t be routinely stopped on the basis of my skin colour as I drive to work. I won’t be led to a more intensive Canada or US Customs inspection line for people who simply look like me. My parents and/or grandparents weren’t scooped off to a residential school. I won’t be assaulted, targeted in a terrorist attack, refused service, or excluded from sharing my life with the person I love based on my sexual orientation or gender identity. And, I get to drink wine as a frigging hobby and write about it! Conclusion?    BILL      IS      AWESOME!

So, what did I do to ‘earn’ this life? I mean there must be something that I accomplished that set me apart for special status. Honest answer: I am an older (don’t you dare say ‘old’) heterosexual white male born into an Anglo-Saxon family in a western democracy that just so happens to be the best country in the world IMHO. That means that I, personally, did nothing, squat, zero, nada. I didn’t earn it; I was given it as my birthright. And believe me, I am thankful for my good fortune. But also it’s horribly, horribly wrong. It needs changing on so many levels. It should be everyone’s birthright. Hopefully we are heading in the right direction. But tonight sadly shows me that it’s taking way too long.

Done. Thanks for staying with me. I apologize for the smugness and self-indulgence – wasn’t my intention. It’s just that I am unfortunately a very smug and self-indulgent older white guy. And that’s my friends saying that.

Wine, yes, wine. It is a wine blog after all. Some quick recos.

bacoHave you ever had Baco Noir? Get your binder out and check your tasting notes. Well, Niagara makes good Baco Noir. It ranges from Gamay-styled wannabes to rich, creamy chocolatey age-worthy reds.  The best of the second style that I’ve found is that made by the Speck Brothers of Henry of Pelham. This release (June 25th), there’s a great example in the 2013 Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir #461699 $24.95. This is dark in the glass and in the mouth. Burn barrel and black fruits. But, the main event is really the texture. Soft, full-bodied, moderate alcohol (13.5%) without any heat. Suffice to say, that this is a pleasure to drink on it’s own or with something fresh and soft – perhaps something cheesy. Henry of Pelham does an “Old Vines” Baco (circa $20) and a regular Baco ($15) as well that are usually in the General Listing aisles. Maybe Baco will become you new fave.

medoroSpeaking of smooth, the 2012 Villa Medoro Rosso del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo #357160 $21.95 has a similar vibe but with a nice vein of acidity on the finish and much more complexity. Rich is the first thing to come to mind once it hits your mouth. You might think, “It’s an MdA and $22? I usually can pick those up for $14.” Well, get over that. Seriously. If it doesn’t work out, send me the rest of your bottle(s) and I will give you credit toward a DuffsWines T-Shirt. The Henry of Pelham is an exceptional food wine due to the structure and texture. Great hostess gift if it’s a BBQ (ribs, burgers, grilled portobellos). It’s a night wine, if that makes sense and make sure it isn’t room temperature if your room is 80 degrees plus. In that case pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes. In fact, when it’s unbearably hot, do that with most if not all reds. I have recommended this label in several vintages and look forward to many more.

hogueIn my earliest email broadcasts pre-website, I used to talk about ‘Value Labels”. Labels and therefore wineries that people could usually count on for strong QPR (Quality to Price Ratio). It was designed to present recognizable options you could trust without too much blabbing about the wine. And, when I did, I frequently mentioned Hogue from Washington State. Seldom had a poor one. This week, there’s the 2013 Hogue Chardonnay #402172 $15.95 hitting the shelves. This is exactly what we need by the case this summer. Well-priced, judiciously oaked and balanced without being flabby. Perfect summer sipper for the Chardonnay lover at your place. Look for other Hogue products at the mother ship – Hogue Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon $18.95, Genesis Meritage $18.95.

vouvrayMy niece has relocated to London and she and her husband came over the other night and made me curry. Fabulous family recipe curry. But, what to have with a dish with so much going on? I chilled up one of my Mosels but couldn’t bring myself to pop the cork as I think it’s still developing. So, I went with a Vouvray. No well-thought out pairing paradigm used to connect this sightly off-dry wine with curry but it seemed to make sense. The Vouvray that I bought was 2014 Donatien Bauhaus Les Grands Mortiers Vouvray #140889 $17.95. This wine turned out to be perfect. The curry demanded a bit of sweetness but not too much. The wine was expressive with peaches and enough acid to not get run over by the curry. If you are curious, Vouvray is from the Loire and is made from Chenin Blanc. In my experience Vouvray doesn’t present like the Chenins from South Africa – not as straight forward, not as fruity but maybe that’s just my prejudice showing. I like them a bit off-dry unless it’s bubbly Vouvray where brut is usually the style. About this particular wine, I’m not sure there’s a lot available still. There is another label that seems in higher volumes – 2014 Charles Bove Vouvray #448563 $17.95 – with exceptional reviews, so pick one up and you will shout “Hurray For Vouvray!” A great wine that’s usually overshadowed by Sancerre.

carteressesHey, just as I was finalizing editing this post (Thursday evening), I opened a chilled bottle of 2015 Domaine de Carteresses Tavel #739474 $18.95. I get it. I have a problem with rosés. And that kind of works against my pledge of cutting back on the wine mid-week – tomorrow, I’ll cut back – promise. Wait, it’s Friday tomorrow. Anyway, I’ve raved about this wine before but this vintage seems a bit better then previous. Not quite as crisp as the Côtes de Provence that you may have had. This Tavel really provides a hint at what people are talking about when they say that Tavel is the red wine drinker’s pink. No time to write notes. Suffice to say that it’s fuller-bodied than most rosés – rounder, deeper, almost red winish.  Absolutely love this stuff!

Cheers.

Bill

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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