Going Camping?

July 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

Heading out of town? Going camping or to the cottage? One of the smartest ways to take wine with you is to take a box of wine; yes a box of wine.

I know the impression is that box wine is total plonk, but here in BC, that is because we have always only known plonk to be in box. The fact is there are a number of great options that provide outstanding value.

For those that don’t know the bag in the box (BIB) format, it is the best way to keep wine fresh over time, it is much lighter to transport than the equivalent number of bottles, and you are typically receiving a volume discount.

When it comes to camping, I like to find wines that will pair well, perhaps not perfectly, but well with classic camping meals. For example we always have hot dogs and beans on the first night, followed by evening meals of chicken, steak, fish and sausage. So we need something that is incredibly versatile in order to make the purchase worthwhile.

To that end here are some of the best values on the market that are versatile, cost effective and damn good.

RedsVina Borgia
Vina Borgia Garnacha 3L ~ $35+

This Spanish Garnacha is made by the same people that bring you Borsao Garnacha which gets 90+ point ratings every year and is truly delicious.

3L equals 4 x 750ml bottles thus your average price/bottle is $8.74. Compare that to $13.99 for the equivalent bottle!

Available only in private stores.

Radio Boka Garnacha 3L ~ $35Radio Boka Garnacha

Again, Spanish Garnacha and really juicy! Ripe raspberry, blueberry and plum. You really can’t go wrong here. Pairs beautifully with grilled chicken, pork, beef, and of course hot dogs and beans.

The bottle equivalent cost is also $8.74.

Available in both private and public stores.

Carawine Rosso 3L ~ $33Carawine Red

This southern Italian blend includes Negroamaro, Primitivo and Merlot and is black in the glass. A little less boozy than the two above, but equally as versatile. Flavours of black cherry, plum, blackberry and pastry. It’s also pretty cool packaging that will get the people in the next campsite asking questions.

The bottle equivalent cost is $8.25

Available in public stores only.

White

Carawine Bianco 3L ~ $33Carawine White

This is a fruit driven white blend is really lively and bright. A blend of Chardonnay, Tebbiano and Pinot Grigio, this is a very versatile white. It’s a great pairing for everything but steak, but if you can’t drink red this is pretty damn good.

Bottle equivalent cost is $8.25

Available in public stores only.

Have a great time camping or at the cottage and please drink responsibly!

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

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Red Boot 2009 Italian Red

July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

Red Boot WineIf 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.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

 

Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva

June 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Albas de Los InfantesOne of the things about the wine business is that it is a business of passion. I can tell you there isn’t a lot of money in it, and if you were to ask anyone involved they are not in it for the money, they are in it because they love it. So it is sad when you hear that a talented, passionate importer has decided to pack up and move to a different industry because he can’t make ends meet. The silver lining however is that he has reduced the prices on a number of products in his portfolio. Including the Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva.

For those that don’t know for a Spanish wine to be called Gran Reserva is must be aged 2 years in barrel and further 3 years in bottle. What this means is that the wine grower and the wine maker saw something in the quality of the grapes and resulting wine that was special. So special that they decided to assume the added cost of a min. 5 years of ageing.

Typically the price for a Gran Reserva wine from Spain starts at the $22 mark and goes up, way up from there. So when the importer told me what the ‘clearance’ price was I started to salivate. It took a while for me to find some bottles in stores, but when I did I was over the moon.

It is not too often that a wine gets a Best Buy rating from me, as it truly needs to punch well above its weight to do so, but this is one.

Price ~ $12.99

Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy

It may only be $13 but please let it breathe for at least 30 minutes. If you do you will be rewarded.

The colour is a dark red/purple and the nose shows bright red and blue berries, with some spice and leather.

The palate shows a ton of fresh fruit, while the texture is supple and richly textured. The finish shows generous berry and black tree fruits along with some sensuous savoury spices.

I know that I will be buying this by the case.

This weekend all the dad’s in the family will be enjoying a barbeque, and that is exactly what I would recommend for this wine. Slow roasted ribs, grilled meats, chicken. This would also be a delight with some medium aged cheeses right up to some top quality manchego.

Grapes ~ Tempranillo, Garancha

Store Location ~ Spain

Availability ~ Limited to private stores. I got mine from Spinnaker’s James Bay.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Beer Of The Week: Gulden Draak

May 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gulden DraakI recall a time when I thought beer either can in a bottle with a blue label or a bottle with a red label. In fact there was a time that, like in politics, families were either Labatt Blue or Molson Canadian families. Those times have long since past and the diversity in beer choices rivals that of wine choices.

At the beginning of the craft beer renaissance there was a lot of talk about Belgian beers and Belgian brewing. It was at this time I was introduced to the multi-time World Beer Champion – Gulden Draak.

Price ~ $4.00 (330ml), $8-$10 (750ml)

Score ~ 9.1 Best Buy

Right away you can tell that you are not dealing with your run of the mill brew. At 10.8% alcohol it is a bit of a monster that pours dark brown in the glass. The nose shows caramel and Christmas cake, with generous malty greatness. The palate is big and broad. Caramel, toffee, candied fruit and nuts dominate the flavours, while the finish makes you think of the holidays and is dry.

As much as the above breaks things down, I think the beauty of this beer is in the whole package. There is a whole lot going on and it is all really enjoyable.

I went to the Van Steenberge website and found a very cool looking cocktail of all things – replace the Irish Whisky in an Irish Coffee with Gulden Draak. This is now on my list of things to do.

As for food pairings, this would be ideal with stews, hearty meat based pastas, smoked cheeses, and, yes chocolate.

 

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Chateau Pesquie 2013 Terrases Rouge

May 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Chateau Pesquie TerrassesIt is amazing what the combination of proper merchandising and the feeling of optimism can do.

I was in one of my local shops the other day when I got a call from a potential client. This is a company I have been working on for the last 6 months. Finally the call came in that they we were coming on board. That added a little kick in my step and so almost automatically my budget went up. You know the feeling. That celebratory sense, even if it was only a small victory. Initially I was looking for something in the $12-$15 range, with this news I felt justified to go to $18.

I wandered through the BC, Californian, Chilean and Spanish section and nothing really grabbed my attention. I turned the corner and the Chateau Pesquie caught my eye. Not because of the packaging as that is a little dull, but because it comes from a region that just tastes like optimism and blue skies. It was also on sale making it almost irresistible.

Price ~ $19 ($18 on sale)

Score: 8.4 Over Delivers (7.8 at $19)

The wine pours the colour of blackberry and blueberry juice and nose shows savoury spices, black fruits, plums and red berries. The palate is at once elegant and full with big rich flavours, even a little bacon in the finish… just a little. There is a ton of complexity on the palate and as the wine lingers it seems to unfold, or blossom, to reveal more layers of flavour.

This wine comes from the sunny slopes of Mount Ventoux. If you were to spend some time in the region you would notice that the air is filled with the scent of peppery spices, but in the evening the peppery scent is joined by the lovely gentle whisps of BBQ, which is perfect because this wine is so incredibly suited to grilling.

Pair this wine with grilled meats of all stripes. Rubs of savoury spices are heavenly.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both private and public stores.

Cheers

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.

Wine Folly Image

Cusumano Nero D’Avola ~ Over Delivers

May 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m a big fCusumano Ner D'Avolaan of pro-cycling and one of my favourite races of the year is happening right now; Giro D’Italia. In light of this I tend to lean towards Italian food and Italian wines.

The first Italian stages of this year’s Giro D’Italia are down in the south of Italy so I thought I would start my Giro with a fine, dark, sultry, vivacious red that naturally hails from the south; Cusumano Nero D’Avola.

Price ~ $19

Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers

Immediately there is a difference. There is a glass cork that allows you to reseal the bottle, assuming you don’t finish it.

Pour the wine into your glass and as it tumbles you can already sense the intensity of the aromas, colour, and indeed what the flavour will be like.

The nose is bursting with dark fruits, ripe plums, blackberries, savoury spices. It’s kind of like fresh blackberry pie with some plum and blueberry thrown in.

The palate is rich, full and indicative of the sun drenched vintages that are very common in Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. The finish is long and juicy. I really loved this wine.

This would be an ideal match for a grilled marinated hunk of meat, anything with BBQ sauce on it. Beer But chicken seems to have a particular affinity for this wine.

Grapes ~ 100% Nero D’Avola

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ both private and public stores.

Cheers

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.

Wine Folly Image

Gayda 2012 ‘Flying Man’ Grenache

April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

GAyda Flying ManSteak was on the menu for Friday. I had started marinating the steak in some balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, lime juice, red wine and pesto at about 3 in the afternoon (I have done it with frozen steak where I make the marinade – about 5 minutes – and plop the frozen steak in the marinade while it thaws. By the time everyone gets home at night, everything is good to go). As you can surmise and good steak needs a good wine and I was in the mood to continue my exploration of Grenache.

As I have said before I really think that Grenache as a wine grape is on the cusp of rising to the top of the heap in terms of popularity and volume. Why? Because the flavour profile is perfectly in line the North American palate, there is a ton of it made each year, it is made in most growing regions around the world, and it’s quality is rarely in doubt (just ask the producers in Chateauneuf du Pape & Priorat).

With all this in mind, and because one of my favourite stages to watch in the Tour de France is the summit finish on Mount Ventoux, I went looking in the French section and found the Gayda 2012 ‘Flying Man’ Grenache.

Price ~ $15

Score ~ 7.4 Over Delivers

The wine is dark in the glass and the nose shows deep blackberry, plum and ripe raspberry. The palate is richly textured with good structure (meaning it feels good in the mouth and it could stand up to a big steak), and a medium-long finish. The flavours match the nose with the added bonus of savoury spices like Rosemary, Thyme, black pepper and just for good measure, a kiss of lavender.

There is some depth to this wine and I suspect that although this wine is already 4 years old (3 in the bottle), it improve with another year or so under its belt. I suspect that if I returned to this in one years time the score would be in the 9’s or Best Buy range.

In addition to steak, this would work well with lamb or pork chops, roasted turkey or turkey kebabs with savoury spices. This strikes me as a great wine for some Manchego cheese or an aged Gouda.

Grapes ~ 100% Grenache

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ private and public stores.

Cheers

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.

Wine Folly Image

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