Paul Mas 2014 Grenache Noir

February 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Paul Mas Grenache NoirGrenache can be so freakin’ delightful. Brimming with fresh raspberries, cherries and spice, and if from Europe, an earthy-spicy undercurrent that is both seductive and luxurious. The other thing about Grenache is that is usually used as a blending grape to tame the wild boldness of Syrah. To this end wines that feature Grenache are often under priced for the value they deliver. The Paul Mas Grenache Noir is just such a wine.

Price ~ $11.29

Score ~ 7.2 Over Delivers

The Paul Mas Grenache Noir has a wild side. Under the flavours of ripe raspberry, blackberry and cherry is some delightful earthy, leather and black pepper spices.

When sipping this wine on its own it lacks a little depth which I am willing to forgive for the price but is easily made up when having with a nibble of cheese (Cheddar) or a creamy pasta, roasted or grilled chicken. When paired with food the flavour sing to the heavens, and that makes me smile.

Grapes ~ 100% Grenache

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both government and private stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Tune into CFAX 1070 at 2pm on Saturday afternoons for the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour.

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Wolf Blass ‘Grey Label’ 2012 McLaren Vale Shiraz

December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

WB Grey Label ShirazWhen 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.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Rio Madre 2012 Rioja Graciano

November 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Rio MadreOne of the things I truly love about my journey through the world of wine, is having my ‘knowledge’ challenged. It seems that as humans, in order to form an opinion we must collect a few seeds of ‘solid’ knowledge on a subject. From these seeds grows our beliefs of what is true. This was my introduction to the grape Graciano. It was early on in my journey and the seeds planted were from the proprietor of Rioja based winery.

Rioja is a region in the north of Spain and is certainly world renowned. The wines are governed by the rules of Denominacion de Origen Califcada (DOC) and at the time to be called Rioja the wine must be a blend of Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano, with Tempranillo making up at least 60% of the blend. Graciano traditionally made up a fraction of the blend. Why? Well as the proprietor told me Graciano on its own “tastes like wet woolly socks at worst and dry wooly socks dipped in plum juice at best.” It has been almost 20 years since then, but I have continued to hold true that Graciano was nothing to get excited about. That was until last week.

I was happily walking through one of my local stores looking for the unusual, the lesser known, because my experience has always told me that this is where you find the best deals. A very nice staff person that I trust to point me in the right direction suggested that I try the Rio Madre 2012 Rioja Graciano.

Price Paid: $14.99

Notes: Pleasure is part of the fabric of being who we are and thus as our lives weave the tapestry that will be our story, different things provide pleasure. I have spent the last couple of years shedding the shackles of the expected and making a living by changing longstanding truths and behaviours. In other words life has been a wild, fully flavoured ride. As good as this sounds, a wild ride doesn’t always meet ones needs or desires.

I pulled open the cork and let the wine breathe for about 15 minutes and poured a generous glass – it had been a wilder day than normal – and I immersed myself in the aromas. There is indeed a wildness to the wine, but also a timeless, natural beauty. Aromas of black fruits, plums and floral tones blend with the untamed spicy essence of drylands.

The body of the wine is rich  but balanced. As the wine washes over your tongue you will get the sense of wild fruit like blackberries found in the back woods at the end of a long dry summer, combined with refined layers of plum, spice and a hint of hickory.

I really really enjoyed this wine and highly recommend it to others, especially those feeling a glint of excitement from the wild side of life.

Rating: 8.25/10 ~ Over Delivers

Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores

Section of the Store: Spain

If you happen to try this wine, please let me know what you think, and if you have any questions or want a specific wine researched, drop me a line.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked.

Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec

November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Tinto Negra MalbecWine 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

Price: $17.29

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

 

Simple Life 2013 Pinot Noir

September 9, 2015 § 2 Comments

Price: $12.99Simple Life Pinot Noir

Score: 8.8 ~ Over Delivers

There is a great deal of animosity and distrust between private liquor retailers and the government run, BC Liquor Stores, so it isn’t very often that I get a tip on a great buy from a private retailer about a wine than can only be had at BC Liquor Stores.

Based on the recommendation by my colleague I rushed over to the nearest BC Liquor Store that I knew carried the Simple Life Pinot Noir and grabbed a bottle. Man was I happy that I did.

The nose shows cherry, pomegranate, a hint of cola and white pepper, while the palate if richly textured and full of flavour. That said there are a number of Pinot’s under $20 that can produce similar olfactory and taste enjoyment, but to me, the real test comes in the finish. If it shows the silky, seductive finish of top quality Burgundy, New Zealand, BC, Oregon and California Pinot Noir, then deserves high praise indeed.

Although not as pronounced as its brethren in the $25-$45 price range, this Pinot has a wonderful silky finish that puts it, in my opinion, well above other Pinot Noir under and over $20 in terms of value. If I were you I would be buying this wine by the case now so that you have it on hand at Thanksgiving, my Wife’s 40th birthday (yes you are all invited, but you have to bring a bottle of Simple Life Pinot), and Christmas, as I don’t imagine there will be much of it around in a few months.

Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores

Section: California and/or Exclusives

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Food: Have this with roasted poultry, mild cheeses like gouda, soups, duck.

Masi Tupungato Paso Doble Malbec Corvina

September 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $13.99 ($16.19 including taxes & deposit)Masi Paso Doble

Score: 7.5

There are many food pairings for this wine, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this wine is best paired with a specific mood. I recently found myself in a place where I was at once excited about the possibilities of the future but at the same feeling a little apprehensive, pensive and perhaps dark. This wine has a ton of things going on in it and it expresses a number of emotions as a result.

I first gravitated to it because I met the people responsible for this wine in Argentina and we had a lengthy conversation about Corvina and how it could do in Argentina, and what wonderful things could come of a blend with Malbec.

Once you pull the cork you get the sense of a brooding dark wine, but once it washes over your palate you a brightened and refreshed. I think everyone has gone through, or is going through some dark times, and it is a testament to human creativity that most of the time we emerge in a happier place. This is what this wine tastes like.

Fruit flavours of dark plum, leather, red cherry and hints of blueberry. A dark almost dusty mid palate finishes bright and refreshing.

Granted this wine will not be for everyone and that is why I didn’t give it the highest of rankings, however if you are in the mood to see a brighter future, or at least taste it, this might just become your favourite wine.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: Italy

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Foods: Roasted chicken and lean red meats. Cheeses, hearty breads, also excellent with a simple grilled cheese.

Grapes: Malbec, Corvina

Chateau Pey La Tour 2012 Bordeaux

August 27, 2015 § 1 Comment

Price: $16.49 ($19.06 including taxes and deposit)Chateau Pey La Tour 2012

Score: 6.5

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

Section: France

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Food: Steak, roasted red meats, hearty casseroles; Foodie Wine

Grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

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