February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
I was feeling like I was on top of the world. The sun was out, the kids were happy, business was positive and I wanted something that had some depth, substance and a strong sense of destiny. As I was strolling the Italian section I saw the Tormaresca Trentangeli. I have had and enjoyed the Tormaresca Neprica ($14-$16 private stores only) on a number of occasions and loved it, so I thought I would put on my wings of exploration and take on the Trentangeli.
Price ~ $18
Score ~ 8.2/10 Way Over Delivers
The Neprica is a blend of Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo, whereas the Trentangeli is a blend of Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and the difference is striking.
Trentangeli and Neprica share a well balanced nature with a vibrant heart, but this is where any similarities end. Trentangeli is dark, deep, substantive with a well defined body. As I was filled confidence and feeling bold this was the perfect wine for me.
Black in the glass with aromas of blackberry, ripe plum, black currant/cassis, savoury spices, hints of smoked meat. The palate shows depth, structure and some muscle, the kind of muscle that suggests that any challenge is welcome.
My mood called for a meal that would stick to my ribs. Something like steak, a hearty pasta, cheesy dishes, roast Pork or pork chops. In my case we had a grilled steak and it was fantastico!
Oh and here is a bonus – the grapes for this wine are organically grown.
Grapes ~ Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ both private and government stores.
When you head out looking for this wine, please let the store know who sent you.
the Dork UnCorked.
December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I say the word Shiraz what do you think of? Probably Yellow Tail right? I have a very clear recollection of the Aussie wave that hit our shores in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Every Shiraz coming into the market seemed to fit a very thin taste spectrum. I remember thinking that could be a big mistake. As it turned out, like most things, people tired of the same flavour and body and started to migrate to Malbec thus insuring the rapid decline of Australian wine fortunes in BC.
The fact is that only those Shiraz’s manufactured to taste the same year after year do. 99% of Shiraz made in Australia is not manufactured and actually reflects the region and winery it comes from.
I know that the Grey Label is outside of the $20 but holy crap does it represent a great value. Close your eyes here comes some dorky terms – very well balanced, bright acidity, dense flavours and aromas from start to finish. This is the whole package and thoroughly enjoyable.
Price ~ $29-$33
Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy
Unscrew the cap and let this wine breathe for a few minutes (10-15) and you will be well rewarded. Stick your nose right in the glass and take a deep breathe. What you will notice is the scent of blueberry, blackberry, ripe plum, black cherry, black pepper, violets, lavender, and just a hint of cured meat. I know, I know it seems like there couldn’t be all that, but there is.
The palate is bright yet full and ripe and the finish is juicy with just a kiss of spice and sultry smoke.
Grapes ~ 100% Shiraz
Store Section ~ Australia
Availability ~ Both government and private stores.
Food ~ Roasted or grilled lamb, Duck, even Turkey, Aged Cheddar.
Acknowledgements: Stacey Brennan, Pam Sanderson, Ernest Sargent, Brianna Kirby, Jami Wood, Karin Kallio, Angela Phillips, Patti Raffle.
the Dork UnCorked
December 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
There are loads of wine choices on the shelf, the hard part is actually deciding which one is the right one.
What are some ‘pairings’ based on the personality you are buying for. I hope this helps and Merry Christmas.
Gentle, quiet, pensive
Must be soft, but not to soft. Quiet in its unfolding of it personality and much more to it if you let it wash over you.
R Wolf Blass Grey Label 2012 McLaren Vale Shiraz ~$30 (Australia)
W Cameron Hughes Arroyo Secco Chardonnay ~$25 (California)
Doesn’t hold back in terms of fashion, or desire for flavour. Seeks out and loves to stroll down the path less travelled.
R Seven Deadly Zins ~$23 (California)
W Tahbilk Marsanne ~$19 (Australia)
Always a smile and loves to dance.
R Ca’Montebello Barbera ~$17 (Italy – private stores only)
W Aveleda Vinho Verde ~$15 (Portugal – private stores only)
Brooding and Reserved
A little stormy, angst, a classic brooding artist struggling to find their voice.
R Apollonio Squinzano ~ $22 (Italy- private stores only)
W Lurton Les Fumees Blanches ~$13 (France)
Strong Silent Type
Person of few words but those few words, and resulting actions convey calm strength in the face of adversity.
R Fabre Montmayou Malbec Reserve ~$24 (Argentina – private stores only)
W Guigal Crozes Hermitage Blanc ~$28 (France)
Witty, funny great with one liners and can be counted on to add comedic levity to any situation.
R Borsao Garnacha ~$12-$13 (Spain)
W Sileni Sauvignon Blanc ~16 (New Zealand)
Methodical, Reserved, Sophisticated
Stylish, quiet, worldly and never, ever quits.
R Chateau Pey La Tour ~$17-$19 (France)
W Chateau La Gravelle Muscadet ~$16 (France)
An Old Soul
Seems to have wisdom beyond their years.
R Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza ~$20 (Spain – private stores only)
W Charton Et Trebuchet Bourgogne Chardonnay ~$22 (France)
Inspiring Through Action
Doesn’t really need to say too much, leads by example.
R Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc ~$23 (BC, VQA)
W Blue Grouse Gamay 2014 Rosé ~ $15-$17 (Vancouver Island)
Doesn’t really walk, kind of glides. Confident and has a gentle, silky voice.
R Bodega Atamisque Pinot Noir ~$30 (Argentina- private stores only)
W Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay ~ $18-$20 (BC, VQA)
If there is someone that I haven’t really covered please let me know either through the comments or via e-mail at email@example.com
Tune in every Saturday between 2 & 3pm for the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour.
December 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Dropped by to see Bruce Williams on Cafe Victoria today and we talked about gift ideas and some wine recommendations for Christmas Dinner. I have also thrown in a few bonuses that I should have mentioned on the show.
Wine Gifts By Personality
You know the feeling. Your standing in front of the wine shelf in your local liquor store, and there is too much choice. How do you decide which wine is right. Well it may sound cheesy but the label often gives you an insight as to the personality of the wine. Here are some wines that work capture certain personalities.
Lake Breeze Ehrenfelser – $18-$20 Private Stores only.
Ideal for the whimsical, optimistic ray of sunshine on the list.
Honourable Mentions: Cedar Creek Ehrenfelser – $16.99, Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser – $12
Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz – $30
Ideal for tall dark and somewhat pensive and thoughtful.
Borsao Garnacha – $11.99
You the outgoing always engaging person, this is their wine.
Catena Malbec – $22
Perfect for the pensive yet authoritative person on your list.
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay – $18-$20
This is for the classic beauty with gentle side.
I will be doing a complete post on this in the coming days.
If you are looking for a huge bang for the buck then look to single batch rum or brandy. Both are often overlooked but deliver huge value.
Flor de Cana 18 Year Old – $60
Comparably aged Whisky runs about $120. Obviously Rum and Whisky don’t share the same flavours, but the reason aged spirits are more valuable is that more of the spirit is given to the Angel Share the older it is. The Angel Share is the amount of the spirit that is evaporated each year. The evaporation leads to a slow maturing of the spirit, meaning and intensification of the flavour as well as the subtleties. In Scotland the Angel Share is 2-3%/year where as in rum producing nations the Angels Share is 6-8%. Imagine the refinement of an 18 year old rum.
Torres Reserva Familia Jaime – $120
Torres brandies are aged using a Solera system. A solera aging system is an ancient aging system used primarily in Spain and Portugal for Port & Sherry. Typically 5 rows of barrels are used to aged the brandy with oldest being on the bottom. When this year’s batch is to be bottled, the barrels from the bottom row are emptied and put into bottles. Then the brandies in row two barrels are used to refill row one barrels and so on until the row 5 barrels are filled with this year’s product. As you can well imagine this system of ageing produces remarkable brandies.
The Jaime is named after the founder of the Torres winery and is composed of the oldest Soleras meaning the brandy is at least 30 years old. A similarly aged Cognac, although uniquely flavoured, runs about $180/bottle.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – $30
Should be hitting the shelves of your local liquor store this week. But get it quickly as there is only 1500 cases for BC and demand for 5000.
The Dork UnCorked airs each Saturday between 2 and 3pm.
November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Wine is not a commodity. I know this isn’t a revelation but there seems to be a lot of people who assume that every 90+ point wine is going to blow their hair back or that a 90+ point wine priced at $15 is better than a 90+ point wine priced at $25. The reality is that your mood and the scenario within which you will be tasting the wine play a huge role in your value judgement of the wine. With that in mind I have decided to another nuance to my reviews, that being motivations.
Motivations: It’s been a hard week and its a dreary wet, chilling Friday. I could either go with something that is moody, a little stormy, heavy and brooding, or exactly the opposite; something bright, vibrant and juicy.
Dinner is a Turkey casserole the recipe of which came from a neighbour as a great way to enjoy Turkey leftovers. So the wine will have to work well with Turkey, gravy, stuffing, peas, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
Decision: Moody & Stormy – Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec
Store Section: Argentina
The Wine: The Uco Valley is one of my favourite regions in the world. It isn’t that far away from other wine growing areas surrounding Mendoza in Argentina. The wines offer amazing complexity and layers while being priced as well as others, and the Tinto Negro is no different.
The nose shows dark fruit with violets, hints of smoke, spice and cured meats, while the palate is full, multi-layered and round. The finish shows off the richness of the fruit along with subtle spice and floral tones. Overall this wine is a great wine for a slow moving, dreary evening and brooding, heavy mood.
Value: 8.7 – Over Delivers
Added Value: This has added value when paired with Movie Night, Comfort Foods, and dark misty nights.
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
August 27, 2015 § 1 Comment
Bordeaux has always been a mystery of sorts to me. My first experiences with it, unlike those of Chianti Classico, were not impressive at all. I found the wines, that I could afford, to be thin, tannic and not worthy of the heaps of praise and pretty penny the wines of Bordeaux receive. That is until I tried the great wines of Bordeaux and I quickly found out that if you are willing to pay top dollar ($800-$3000/bottle) you will always get a wonderful wine, however it is only in the best of Bordeaux vintages, does the lovely seductive body, perfumes and flavours of classic Bordeaux, transcend to the affordability of the everyday.
I spent a Sunday morning reading what I think is the world’s best wine periodical, Decanter, and it was all about Bordeaux. As my mouth started to water I took the decision to enjoy a bottle of Bordeaux that very evening. Being a relative neophyte I contacted a friend of mine who makes a living at choosing the great from the average in Bordeaux. She counselled me to select the 2012 instead of the 2011 and I am glad that I did.
The 2012 Chateau Pey La Tour is a fine wine and a very enjoyable expression of the ‘Right Bank’ (Merlot focussed) wines of Bordeaux. Lovely aromas, good body, supple long finish, complexity of flavours and structure. Yup enjoyable, however at close to $20 I’m expecting more than what I would get out of a Bordelaise wines like Chateau de Courtleliac ($13) or Chateau La Gorce ($13). I really liked it, was thankful for the experience, but as an everyday wine the value is in the lower priced wines.
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
Food: Steak, roasted red meats, hearty casseroles; Foodie Wine
Grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
August 25, 2015 § Leave a comment
Full disclosure, Chianti and Chianti Classico is a true love of mine. I’m not sure how or when, but the supple texture, rich seductive body, cherry flavours, floral elements along with savoury spices are a baseline for me. I can easily sink into a glass of Chianti Classico like a great book.
$20+ for Chianti Classico is t be expected and thus I’m looking for it to deliver more than a simple Chianti or Sangiovese at $15. When I say more I don’t mean more density or stronger flavours, rather I’m looking for greater complexity of flavours and structure. I’m looking for find more flavours and flavours that work together. I’m looking for a more supple and seductive bottle that what I am likely to find in a $15 wine. Sadly I didn’t find that here. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots to like and love in this wine, but it is not that dissimilar to the flavours and texture found in regular Chiantis such as Gabbiano, Cecchi and Frescobaldi.
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
Foods: Pastas, Pizza, roasted chicken or pork, hard cheeses, comfort foods and foodie foods.
July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
The Laya 2013 is a great value for those looking for a big punch of flavour. If you are feeling bold and like a bull in a china shop, as my mother used to say, this is the wine for you.
Dark almost black in the glass with a huge nose filling aroma of crushed ripe black raspberry, bing cherry and black plum. There is also a hint of pastry and thyme.
The palate is big and bold and just a little boozy which is not surprising given that it is 14% alcohol.
A great wine for Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket or anything lathered in BBQ sauce.
Keywords: bold, juicy, boozy, bbq
Value: 7.4 – Over Delivers… as long as you are looking for a whallop.