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
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.
March 24, 2016 § Leave a comment
A few weeks back I was in Vancouver to meet with some customers. On the way home we stopped at the largest store in the LDB chain – 39th & Cambie. It had been awhile since I had been in and I was excited to find items that were unique and not commonly available here. Well the truth is that there wasn’t much of a difference. You can pretty much get everything here that was there.
Given that I couldn’t find anything truly unique I was looking for a deal. I have had previous vintages of the Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva, but I hadn’t tried the ‘entry’ level Tempranillo so that became my choice.
Price ~ $15
Score ~ 6.3/10 Good Drop
This turned out to be a decent wine and fairly priced, but that isn’t what we are looking for. We are looking for something that over delivers.
There was definitely some nice berry and fruit, hints of spice. The palate was a little thin but it didn’t show any harsh edges. The finish was fine, somewhat short for a Tempranillo of this price point.
As for food pairings, I would keep it simple. Margherita Pizza, light pastas, and chicken noodle soup… seriously, chicken noodle soup worked really well with this wine.
Grapes ~ 100% Tempranillo
Store Section ~ Spain
Availability ~ Both Private and Public stores.
the Dork UnCorked.
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September 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 7.2 ~ Good Drop
If an all powerful being were standing in front of me and saying that they will take away all of my problems and those of my family, but I had could only drink the wines of one region for the rest of my life, it would be Chianti (if any of you reading this are all powerful, give me a ring, let’s talk!).
This wine needs to some time to show its true nature. I tasted this over 3 days and left it open to the air all three days. The first day the nose was muted and the palate fine, and fresh, but it didn’t so much other than some youthful vigour (after all just over 1 year ago this wine was grapes on a vine). Day 2 showed much more. Finesse, refined textures and some good cherry flavours. By Day 3 it was heavenly – wonderfully perfumed, delicious, plum nectar and cherry, velvety finish with some spice and floral characters, depth, depth, depth.
If what I tasted on Day 3 was what I tasted on Day 1 then this would easily have been a Best Buy wine. It’s a good drop, made better by patience. If you have the patience to let it breathe then this is a great buy, if you are like most people and want it to perform in the glass straight away, then there are others I would recommend.
Purchase At: Cascadia Uptown
Food: Great with Chicken, Pork Tenderloin, smoked cheeses.
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.
August 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
I get a strong sense that consumers are starting to look for more finesse in their wines. They are starting to move away from the big boozy juice bombs that laden the liquor store shelves. Inevitably this leads the consumer to European wines for the most part and if that path leads to Italy it likely means tasting wines made from grapes that are not household names. This wine is just such an offering.
It hails from the Alto Adige region of Northern which is nestled in the Dolomite mountains, and is a blend of Teroldego, Lagrein and Merlot. See what I mean. I have been tasting wines for 20+ years and I can only recall tasting Lagrein once or twice and I have never had the pleasure of tasting Teroldego.
I poured a glass right after pulling the cork. I loved the perfumed, berry, floral nose but the wine seemed really shy on the palate to the point where only its structure was at play. I put the wine aside for a couple of days and that did the trick. Clearly this is a wine that needs a lot of breathing (Vinturi, decanting, or simply leaving it open for a good amount of time) because it totally opened up and showed bright fresh berry and plum fruit flavours along with floral and spicy notes. The finish didn’t show any of the harsh tannins I noted on the first pass. I loved this wine… after a few days.
I would have scored this wine higher but the reality is that most people want to dive into their bottle and don’t purchase their wine to have two nights from now. So in terms of real life value its okay. In terms of cork dork value, this is awesome!
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
Food: Steak, roasted meats, cheeses, rustic breads. Could work for Foodie foods and comfort foods.
August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
Overall this is a very simple wine to enjoy. It is fruit forward, soft and supple and if you are looking for something easy to go with a simple comfort food meal this is a good choice.
Having said that I personally want a little complexity for my $15. I love a good Merlot and a good Primitivo, and together there is a ton of potential. Outside of the fruit and texture it didn’t do much. Certainly it is better than a number of $15 competitors but is not my first comfort food/pasta choice in this category.
Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores (I suspect this is an exclusive to BC Liquor Stores)
Foods: Pasta, Burgers, Mac N Cheese
July 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
I bought this wine because I was in the mood for a hedonistic fruit and baking spice explosion, and because McLaren Vale is the source of my favourite Aussie Shiraz’s.
There is a lot more finesse in this wine than what I was expecting… and that is a good thing. This wasn’t your run of the mill fruit bomb explosion so it kind of missed the mark there, however it more than made up for it with finesse.
The trick here is to let it breathe. I had this wine open on my counter for 4 days. Tasting on days 2 and 3 were far better than day 1 or 4.
The nose shows classic dark fruit, smoked meat and a little purple flower thing that I really liked. The palate is richly texture but not bomb-ish, and it was very well balanced with the alcohol (14.5%) and not boozy. Flavours of blue and blackberries with some cardamom and bergamot spice thrown in for good measure.
This is a great wine to have with grilled lamb or a pizza with prosciutto on it.
Score: 6.9 – Good Drop – Certainly an enjoyable wine, but I thought I got what I paid for, but what I am looking for is a wine that exceeds what I paid for it.
Purchased At Everything Wine
June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment
Can you believe the weather we have had? Two years ago we were talking ‘June’-uary and now this. Wow!
It is no surprise that the number of grills being fired up each evening have increased significantly and I would imagine that the number will increase 10 fold on Father’s Day (forecast for the Victoria area 21C with a few clouds). With this in mind here are my Top Wines for the Barbie that are Under $20 and currently available in the market. Enjoy and please wear an apron, no need in showing up at work on Monday with 3rd degree burns in unmentionable places.
Best BBQ Wine for Steak
Tinto Negro Malbec – Over Delivers & I Love It! Score ~ 7.8/10
$13.79 – $14.99
Sorry Alberta but I have to say that the best steak I have ever had in my wine driven travels has been in Argentina. Juicy, thick and so amazingly flavourful that it made be jump up and do the Tango, not that anyone else in the restaurant recognized it as the tango- just some gangly gringo gyrating away.
Part of the reason Argentine steak is so good is because it’s paired with Argentine Malbec. Big, robust, juicy, layered with savoury herbs, black pepper and lavender. Grab a bottle or 10 of the Tinto Negro and I promise you will Love It!
Original Review: TintoNegro Malbec
Best BBQ Wine for Salmon
This category was tough so I took the easy way out and chose two wines that are equally awesome and a great pairing but deliver a totally different flavour experience.
Casa Viva Pinot Noir – Best Buy & WOW!! ~ 9.1
Silky, cherry explosion with hints of cola and pepper. This wine has it all and is such a great value that I’m surprised that more stores, and by extension, people haven’t found its beauty. When paired with Salmon there is a flavour marriage that is greater than the sum of its parts with the added bonus of a silky seductive finish that relaxes the mind and body.
Original Review: Casa Viva Pinot Noir
Bright, vibrant strawberry freshly picked. Add a hint of black pepper and a fresh crisp texture and you have a refreshing glass of luxury. This wine enlivens the palate and when paired with fresh west coast salmon right off the barbie… sky rockets in flight! (If you are over the age of 40 you are now singing the song in your head).
Original Review: Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Rosé
Best BBQ Wine For White Line Fish (Halibut, Cod)
$13.29 – $14.99
Tis the season for fresh, right off the line Halibut and it is sooo good. Our local cod has to be some of the best in the world as well and both are readily available at your local grocer or, if you’re in the Victoria area, head down to Fisherman’s Wharf and get some right from the boat.
For me this wine had so much going on. It is fresh, it is vibrant, it won’t rip your tongue out with ripping acidity, it has bright stone and tropical fruits along with hints of cut grass and asparagus. Chill it down, not to cold otherwise you cover up the fruit and complexity. My rule of thumb is that if there is condensation on the bottle when it comes out of the fridge, it’s too cold. Wait 8 minutes and then enjoy.
Original Review: Lurton fumees blanches Sauvignon Blanc
Best BBQ Wine For Chicken
$10.99 – $11.99
I don’t care if you are doing Beer Butt chicken or simply grilling some chicken thighs, legs and/or breasts, there is not a better value on the market than this wine. Many un-oaked wines are one dimensional and lacking in character. To produce a world class wine un-oaked wine it’s all about the vineyard. This wine is unoaked and shows incredible depth, layers of flavours, juicy fruit, spice. When all put together in the glass that sits besides a plated graced with chicken right from the barbie, it is heaven. I guess this is what the Sommelier at the world’s only 7 star hotel (Bariq Al Arab, Dubai) saw to, as the Masia F is their house wine.
Original Review: Masia F Vino Tinto
Best BBQ Wine for Burgers (Beef)
$10.99 – $11.99
I picture a big thick burger made of ground Angus beef, slathered with your grandmother’s secret BBQ sauce, a generous amount of melted cheese (Cheddar, Gruyere, Cambazolla are my faves), thick cut fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions and maybe some mushrooms, mustard, ketchup all within a fresh Pretzel bun… salivation nation! The only thing that makes this better is when it is paired with the right, juicy, bold wine that features dark fruits, red berries, black and white pepper and a supple finish… and that wine is the Terra Andina Carmenere – Syrah.
Original Review: Terra Andina Carmenere Syrah
Best BBQ Wine For Shellfish (Crab, Prawns, Lobster)
$14.99 – $15.99
Walk through any grocery store this weekend and you will find that they all have fresh Spot Prawns. It is a great time of year for those that love great flavour experiences. Spot Prawns on the barbie with a glass of chilled BC Pinot Blanc is a reward usually reserved for solving cancer or the federal debt, but is available to you just for grocery shopping or working with gravity to put your but in a chair.
Original Review: Mission Hill ‘5 Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc
Best BBQ Wine for Baby Back Ribs
Making Baby Back Ribs on the BBQ is an art. An art that brings people to their knees in joy and has humbled many a chef. Timing, temperature and patience are all necessary. A wine, seemingly, specifically crafted for this dish, is the Fascino Passo. This wine is a blend of Negramaro and Primitivo which juicy, richly textured flavours of black and blue berry’s, savoury spices and, yes, cigar box. The grapes are first air dried to intensify their character, then the wine is barrel aged for at least 2 years, followed by 1 year bottle age before release. When opening this wine you want to give it some time to breathe or better yet, run it through your Vinturi. Timing & Patience.
Original Review: Fascino Passo
PS- Hey- You’ll likely notice that in each of the red wine posts suggest letting the wine breathe to get the most out of it. There is an alternative that you will see that I mention. It is for a product that I use myself and absolutely standby its value – the Vinturi Wine Aeratorworks and if you buy it via the link I get a little back that helps pay for the costs associated with the blog. It’s not much, but every little bit helps. The ‘Essential Red’ is all you really need.
The Dork UnCorked.
June 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’m a podcast junkie. In fact I almost never listen to the radio in the car anymore, unless I’m with my kids and then I get my quota of pop songs that all sound alike and have the same theme. One of my favourites is the TED Radio Hour. The theme of a recent episode was ‘Storytelling’ and it immediately grabbed my attention. For the last number of years I have been thinking about writing a book. No not another diatribe about tasting wine in fantastic places or about the vagaries of the BC liquor system. Rather a book of fiction.
Wines, unlike other things, seem to tell me a story, either about themselves or about those who also enjoy the wine. This is why this particular podcast grabbed me. Two takeaways from the podcast were ‘tell stories about what you know’ and ‘let the subject should tell a truth about you’. No I am motivated. I seem to have greater clarity as to what and how I am to write my book. What you will find in each post from now on, is I will try to put into words the story the wine is trying to tell me and hopefully, that will also tell me a truth about myself.
The Muga 2014 Rosé gives me the impression that it is the mental floss or ‘romantic comedy’ of this illustrious winery. Muga is a great producer of top quality Rioja. Although each wine is brilliant and showing enticing finesse, they are also very serious wines. You know the type. If this wine was a colleague it would be that guy that is both brilliant, fastidious, and necessary for success, but who would feel totally uncomfortable at a music festival or in a food fight. The Rosé on the other hand shows that the winery has a soft, whimsical spot, that takes the tension away and adds some softness to an otherwise stalwart exterior. In fact, as important as the brilliant, outstanding and fastidious wines are to the winery, it is the Rosé that is the love that makes all the wines a family.
Tasting Notes: This pale pink Rosé has a classic red berry/cherry nose which is repeated on the refreshing, crisp palate. Many Spanish Rosés feature an undertone of black or white pepper spice that is not really evident here, however if you slow down, taste slowly, and let the wine caress the palate in a deliberate manner, then indeed there is just a hint of pepper.
Value: I think I got good value for my money, and I was craving a Rosado, however it didn’t blow me away and I’m not sure I would ‘camp out’ on this one. I’m already thinking of what Rosé I will try next.
Added Value: This wine is really good wine for those looking to explore the whimsical side of Rioja or need a well made wine to pair with a specific dish when the Foodies come over.
Food Pairings: I had this with some light triple cream brie and it worked beautifully. I would say that if you go with young cheeses and some fresh fruit, you will have it nailed.
Service: Chill this wine down, pull the cork and serve.
Grapes: Viura, Garnacha, Tempranillo
Store Section: Spain
Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine