October 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
The data shows that household spending drops well below the annual average in the weeks following Thanksgiving up until the 3rd week of November.
The fact is that you don’t have to give a good glass of wine with dinner or after a hard day, you just have to find the best of the ones that fit your budget.
What follows is a list of 3 whites and 3 reds that provide great value and don’t break the bank.
Jean Louis Blancs de Blancs (Sparkling) – An everyday Sparkling wine. Yeah that’s right an everyday sparkling wine to celebrate life’s small victories. Delightful ripe apple and pear, a very decent mousse for the price. Just a fine glass of wine for the price. ~ Score 8.2/10 ($12.99-$14.99)
Cono Sur Gewurztraminer – For those who enjoy a lighter style wine that is a touch sweeter. This is a light bodied quaffer that shows flavours of lychee nut, white peach and pear. ~ Score 7.9/10 ($9.99 – $11.99)
Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay – A richer wine that embodies the sun of the country it comes from. Tropical fruit flavours with a touch of caramel on the finish. I love this wine as it has not really changed its price since the wine came into the market back in the early 90’s. ~ Score 7.8/10 ($10.99-$12.99)
Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot – Buy this one by the 1.5L (Magnum) as it works out to being about $6/Bottle. This wine is one of the most consistent and best values on the Market. Cherry, berry and plum flavours with a medium body. Do me a favour, let this wine breathe for 15-30min. before enjoying. If you do you will be handsomely rewarded. ~Score 7.9/10 ($11.99 1.5L)
Tocado Grenache – This is a super juicy, ripe wine and it will be tough to stop at one glass. Ripe raspberry, currant and blueberry flavours with a gentle soft palate. I know you can get this at Cascadia stores for $11.99 and $9.99 if you buy it by the case… and it is worth buying by the case. ~ Score 7.8/10 ($9.99-$11.99)
Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah – I would be hard pressed to find another wine of structure that provides better bang for the buck. The Tocado above is all about juicy-ness and a soft palate, this wine has some structure and is filled with plum, blackberry and cassis. ~ Score 7.6/10 ($9.99- $12.99)
July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
If you don’t have time to read this post, then simply drop everything and run out and buy as much of this win as you can!
It is the end of the school year and we always give our kids teachers the gift of a bottle of wine. As it happens we needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home, so I decided to pop into the store 2 doors down from the grocery store. Truth is that the store is not my normal haunt so I was curious to see what I was going to find.
I came across a number of ‘Blow Out’ wines, so I checked the vintages, looked to see who the importer was/is (often found on the back label), and any other information like blend, or viticultural info; anything that could tell me if this wine was a blow-out due to quality or overstocking.
I focussed on the Red Boot Italian Red. The importer was Freehouse Wine & Spirits, a very well respected importer known for finding exceptional quality, that has since merged with Icon Wine & Spirits. When importers merge there are often products that get blown out for a variety of reasons, quality issues are rarely one of them. So I decided to pick up a bottle.
Price ~ $9.99
Score ~ 9.2/10 Best Buy
The colour is a dark inky red and the nose show ripe cherry, currant and black plum. The palate is dense yet fresh (wine is at its peak right now) and wonderfully silky. The finish is medium length with lots of ripe fruit and hints of savoury spices. Seriously this wine has the quality of $18-$22 Toscana wines. I truly loved it!
I loved it so much I started asking around to stores to see who actually carried it as I know that the Freehouse/Icon merger was at least 6 months back. So far I could only find it at the 4 Mile Liquor Stores. I understand they have about 16 cases in total, 10 at their Admirals Store and 6 in Colwood.
As for food pairing this would would be a treat if you are grilling just about anything. Burgers, Chicken, Ribs, Lamb, etc. It would also go with some fine Parmesano or Gruyere.
As I said at the top of the post, get on your horse and buy as much of this as you can, you won’t be sorry and these are the last cases available.
Grapes ~ Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Store Section ~ Italy & on display
Availability ~ very limited, so far I could only find this at the 4 Mile Liquor Store in Colwood & on Admirals.
June 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
You know that part of the store that you walk past each time. Typically it is the dark corner where the dust bunnies hold their daily get togethers. This is where retailers categories that have the lowest sales, but have enough sales to justify being in the store.
I often have walked right by the section but the other day I stopped. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was feeling what it was feeling- I just need some love. Maybe the dusty bunny chatter was getting loud and it caught my attention. Anyway I stopped, looked and found the next wine that I had to buy.
When you think of Italian, French or Spanish wines you likely conjure up visions of rich colours, sensous landscapes and, of course, a couple of little old wizened folk that make the vision complete.
But what of Bulgaria? If you are like me you are likely thinking of row upon row of drab gray concrete Soviet era buildings, with downtrodden colourless people strolling the pock marked, beaten up streets. Hardly inspires confidence or enthusiasm for the wine, but this is exactly where you find great buys; where they are unexpected.
I reached out and firmly grasped the Lovico Gamza by the neck, wiped off the dust, and proudly presented it to the cashier who immediately tried to sell on an Aussie wine. Nope! I’m going Gamza!
Price ~ $9.99
Score ~ 7.8 Over Delivers
I have to say I really got into this wine. I pulled the cork and did my first taste and I thought “funky”, so I let it breathe for 20-30 minutes. Yes a $10 wine that needs to breathe.
When I can back to it the aromas had blossomed and were so intriguing. One would be forgiven if you thought Cabernet Franc. No wait, it must be Pinot. No, no there is too much spice, maybe Gamay Noir. Wow what is Gamza!
Gamza, it turns out, is related to that other household name, Kadarka. When I taste it I can’t believe that its not the distant cousin of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and Cabernet Franc.
Aromas of crushed red berries, cherry and grapes, with spice and pomegranate. The palate is light to medium bodied, hence I wouldn’t suggest those that buy $10 Malbecs run out and get this. Yet there are some many interesting things going on in this wine.
I gotta say that for under $10 the Lovico Gaza was a great find and one that I will definitely seek out again.
Grapes ~ Gamza
Store Section ~ Eastern Europe
Availability ~ most private and public stores.
March 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
I’m always on the lookout for a bill buster wine that over delivers, so when I was cruising through my local store and came across Knock Out 2014 at $8.99, it was just cheap enough and unique enough to catch my attention.
I have had, and enjoyed, a number of wines from Bodegas Castano in the past, so when I saw their name attached to this wine I was sure I was in for a treat.
This is wine is fairly priced. If you are okay with fairly priced then this is a good wine. However I was looking for something that over delivered for the price and I just don’t think this wine did.
Price ~ $8.99
Score ~ $6.3/10 Good Drop
The nose showed dark cherries and red berries with a hint of savoury herbs. The palate is medium bodied and well balanced, and the finish was okay with a touch of fruit flavour.
As for food, this would work okay with lighter comfort foods like simple grilled chicken with BBQ sauce, simple think crust pizza, that sort of thing.
Grapes ~ Monastrell (Mouvedre), Syrah
Store Section ~ Spain
Availability ~ Exclusive to BC Liquor Stores
the Dork UnCorked
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February 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
Grenache, or Garnacha, is a grape on the rise and that is good news for those seeking great wines but don’t want to sell the farm to do so.
Most famously Grenache is a key to Chateauneuf du Pape, but it is also the main grape in regions of Spain such as Calatayud and Carinena, and these are where some of the greatest buys are hailing from.
Garnacha is a late ripening grape that requires a lot of heat to reach its full potential, hence you will only find a few expressions grown in the very southern reaches of the Okanagan in BC.
Garnacha is truly a crowd pleaser grape. Dark juicy fruits of raspberry, plum and blackberry, low in tannin meaning very little pucker. The only challenge is keeping the acidity up in order to insure a balanced wine.
Crowd Pleaser is definitely the phrase I would use for the Castillo de Monseran. Dark juicy fruit, very soft and brilliant with casseroles, Mac N Cheese or Pizza.
Price ~ $8.99
Score ~ 7.3/10 Over Delivers
This wine scores high on the value meter and would have scored higher is there is a little more depth to it. Having said that as soon as I paired it with food it was brilliant.
If you haven’t added Garnacha to your repertoire of wines, this is a great one to start with and it won’t set you back an arm and a leg.
Grapes ~ 100% Garnacha
Store Section ~ Spain
Availability ~ available in both private and public stores.
the Dork UnCorked
January 30, 2016 § 1 Comment
This is the most recent vintage of this wine, and as much as there is not a huge vintage change when it comes to the wines of Puglia, this wine shows a lot more juicy punch than did the previous vintage. For $9 you really can’t go wrong.
Price ~ $8.99
Score ~ 7.2/10 Over Delivers
I first discovered this wine after a trip to Argentina where I tasted 200+ Malbecs over a 10 day buying trip. Needless to say I was looking for something a little different but I still had the zest for the rich fruit, structure and leathery elements of Malbec. Negroamaro perfectly fit the bill. Rich and juicy like Malbec, but just different enough to be very enticing. The difference is in the spice. This wine shows black pepper and hints of rosemary instead of the leather and smoky nature of Malbec.
Grapes: 100% Negroamaro
Store Section: Italy
Availability: Both Government and Private Stores
Foods Pairing – Pasta, Burgers, Pizza, Steak
If you have had the opportunity to have tasted this wine please let me know what you thought of it.
the Dork Uncorked
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January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
I don’t know about you but I have two realitieses in my life. One, a glass of wine with dinner is a simple enjoyment that not only makes the food taste better, but slows the day down and brings a harmony to it that just isn’t there otherwise. Second is that this is the time of year that I lament going to the mailbox. Which bill is arriving today? It is the time of the year where I come to grips with the real cost of the holiday season. To that end I revel in
the beauty of oft forgotten wines that some may call cheap,
but I call inexpensive.
The price of a wine isn’t always a good indication as to its value. Consider the impact of the plummeting Canadian dollar on the price of produce. The price of tomatoes has skyrocketed in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the tomato has increased.
One of the great shelters of world wine value is Portugal. Often over shadowed by Spain, France and Italy, this little country on the Western side of the Iberian peninsula offers some killer wines for under $10. Grao Vasco Dao 2012 is just one of those wines.
Price ~ $8.79
Score ~ 7.6/10 Over Delivers
A blend of classic Portuguese grapes (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrochiero), this wine is easy going and is simple, but simple in the best way, like how clarity of mind makes things simple. It has good fruit, is well balance and offers decent structure making it ideal for chicken, pasta, even steak or a roast of beef.
My favourite part is the velvety texture combined with dried and fresh fruit flavours while having just a kiss of rustic reality. I know this sounds odd, but it is like leaving the city for the cabin on the lake and how the cabin on the lake has its own rustic beauty.
Store Section: Portugal
Availability: Market Wide
the Dork UnCorked
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