June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
Have you ever watched the move My Summer In Provence? Every scene that involves a meal has a bottle of Rosé. It makes perfect sense because Rosé can be incredibly refreshing and wonderfully versatile. In fact Rosé goes with a broader spectrum of foods than does white (I know I know I am generalizing). So when the temperature rises to above 20C and the grass starts to bleach out, I get a craving for rosé.
As I strolled through my local wine shop I saw a signficant increase in the number of rosés from Provence, which is classic. Prices ranged from $15-$25 which is what I expected, but then I say a lonely wine from Gascogne. Not your typical rosé hotbed and you know how I love to find great values where they are unexpected, so I grabbed a bottle of the Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé.
Price ~ $18.99
Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers
If you follow me on Instagram (rod_phillips) you no doubt saw the photo I took of the wine. The colour is a deep rose, and the nose shows bright fruit of strawberry, raspberry. and currants, while the palate is fresh, alive and bursting with finesse and elegance. The finish shows all the fruit and is dry. It is not possible to not want more of this wine, as evidenced by my instagram photo. This is a highly shareable wine and my recommendation would be to have 6-10 bottles kicking around for when friends drop by as one will not be enough.
Grapes ~ I had to do some research for this one as the label doesn’t really tell you anything. Tannat, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec
Store Section ~ France
Availability ~ Private Stores only
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.
January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
Today’s show is all about exploration without the risk. The world of wine is immense and encompasses far more than those that are top of mind like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz or Chardonnay. Today we feature a number of wines that represent great value, are likely not wines you have heard of before and are different enough from your favourites to be interesting, but similar to make you feel at home.
Episode 13 – Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Shout out to the teams at Lifecycles and Spinnaker’s for coming together to create Backyard Blend Cider. This is a cider made from apples collected from backyards throughout Victoria. It truly is a cider of the community and the taste of Victoria – well done!
Shout out to Chef Sam Harris at Agrius and his mussels. I had the wonderful experience of lunching there with a dear friend and I am a sucker for mussels. Done in a classic white wine sauce and served with Fol Epi’s world famous (certainly famous in my world) Boule. Heaven!
Shout outs to Keith, Deborah, Jason, Karin, Pam, Ernest & Jami for their continued engagement and lively discussion.
Segment 2 ~ A Side Step From Malbec/Shiraz
Here are some wines that are different enough from Malbec and Shiraz to be interesting but share their fruity depth and luscious body.
Nero D’Avola (Italy)
Cusumano – $16-$17 widely available at both private and government liquor stores.
Monte Nobile – $14 distributed mostly in government stores on Vancouver Island.
Montalto Nero-Cabernet – $11 widely available in both private and government liquor stores.
Luccarelli – $13 mostly available in government stores.
Mezzomondo – $9 widely available
Segment 3 – A Side Step From Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Lopez de Haro Crianza – $17-$18 available only in private stores and by the glass at Bodega by Trounce Alley in Victoria (great Charcuterie board for lunch if you are in the neighbourhood).
Campo Viejo – $15 widely available
Periquita – $9 widely available
Grao Vasco Dao – $9 widely available
Segment 4 – A Side Step From Chardonnay
Yalumba Y Series Viognier (Australia) – $18 widely available
Cono Sur Bicicleta (Chile) – $10 mostly available in government stores.
Best Buy of the Week
Grao Vasco Dao 2012 – $9 a true delight for a wine under $10. A wonderful glass that pairs well with grilled or roasted poultry, pasta, pizza even steak or a roast of beef.
the Dork UnCorked
Tune in Saturday afternoons at 2pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork UnCorked Radio hour.
January 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
Well another holiday season has come and gone and all that remains are the memories and the bills that will arrive shortly. To that end this show is all about bill buster wines. Each wine featured is under $10 because after all why give up one of life’s great pleasures when all you have to do is reduce expense?
Episode 11 – Link to Podcast
Segment 2 ~ Red Wines Under $10
Masia F Vino Tinto Tempranillo (Spain) – $9.99 (Private Stores Only)
I have mentioned this one before and ounce for ounce it is the best bill buster value on the market. The wine shows balance, ripe fruit, spice and a long finish.
McGuigan Black Label (Australia) – $9.99
This wine has been available forever in BC and as such it often gets overlooked. This is a blend that includes Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and offers ripe juicy flavours with a round texture on the palate.
Bleasdale Langhorne Crossing Red (Australia) – $9.99
A wine that has been delighting palates across BC for a couple of decades now. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Malbec is medium bodied and offer plenty of juicy fruit and lovely spices.
Segment 3 – White Wines
White wines are typically less expensive than reds. This is a simple function of supply and demand. The demand for white wine is not as great as it is for Red, and there is more supply than demand. The other function here is that white wines have a perception of not being as complex as reds and thus shouldn’t drive as great a price.
Hardy’s Riesling-Gewurztraminer (Australia) – $8.99
One of the most popular white blends and certainly the most popular Australian wine on the market today, and it is no wonder. Ripe, juicy fruit, vibrant, clean with just a hint of spicy character. This wine puts a smile on any ones face.
Millstream Chenin Blanc (South Africa) – $9.99 (BC Liquor Stores Only)
I know I said Millstone on the show and for this I beg your forgiveness and please don’t take my mistake out on this wine as this wine deserves your attention, especially as a bill buster.
Vibrant, ripe fruit seems to explode onto the palate. Well, balanced, dry and an awesome introduction to Chenin Blanc if you have not tried it before.
Cono Sur Bicicleta Gewurztraminer (Chile) – $9.49
Very aromatic and expressive. Ripe generous fruit flavours that feature lychee nut and melon. Floral elements come alive. The wine is off-dry, meaning that it is a little sweeter than bone dry, which is really better shows the true nature of this wine.
Count Karolyi Gruner Veltliner (Hungary) – $9.99
Gruner is primarily found in Austria, however Hungary produces some incredible wines that if they were from Germany, France or Italy, the price would be at least $3-$4 more per bottle.
A vibrant wine that shows orange blossom, white peach, delicious apple and floral elements. A very easy wine to love and a great bill buster.
Segment 4 ~ Box Wines
Although the wines above will only set you back $10 or less (not including tax), some of the best value comes from boxed wines. Boxed wines have a reputation for being plonk. This is patently untrue. Boxed wines last longer not only because there is more wine in them but because the design of the bag in the box prevents oxygen from damaging the wine over time. Although they require a greater upfront cost, they actually save you money when you divide out the cost by regular bottles.
Hardy’s Riesling-Gewurztraminer 3L (Boxed Wine Section) – $31.99 (BC Liquor Stores Only)
I have described this wine above so I will keep these comments to the value. As noted above the regular bottle cost is $8.99, however if you purchase this by the box the cost per regular bottle is $8.00.
Vina Borgia Garnacha 3L (Spain) – $34.99 (Private Stores Only)
Garnacha or Grenache is a great easy to love wine. Ripe raspberry and black cherry, very soft, almost no pucker (tannin), with just a touch of black pepper spice.
If you divide this out the cost per regular bottle is $8.74.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Masia F Vino Tinto Tempranillo
The house wine and the world’s only 7 star hotel is still the best bill buster wine available in BC.
Have a Great Week
the Dork UnCorked
May 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
May is not only glorious for weather here on the West Coast of BC, but May also brings the first Grand Tour of the Pro Cycling Season – Giro d’Italia. The third week of the Giro is the toughest week as it winds its way through the hills and mountains of Tuscany. In light of this fact, and that I am serious fan, I thought I would test run a wine that has long been on the market here in BC – Monte Antico.
The Monte Antico has great, rustic, old school packaging and is, now, conveniently, under screwcap, which I really like for wines under $20.
Tasting Notes: The colour is dark crimson and the nose shows dark cherry, leather, earth, and savoury spices. The palate shows similar flavours but has added the added complexity of plum and raspberry fruit flavour, hints of dried cocoa and pepper. The palate is of mid-weight and can stand up to most comfort foods from grilled chicken dishes to steak. The finish is round and juicy leaving you with the delicate marriage of cherry, plum and spice flavours.
Value: As much as I enjoyed this wine, I found that I wanted more out of it for the price. It certainly has more complexity than the big brand names out of California, and the flavours are well honed, but I would have rated it much higher if the price was a buck or so lower.
Added Value: This wine has added value as a pairing for Comfort Foods, as a BBQ wine and for those looking to venture into the wines of Italy/Tuscany for the first time.
Food Pairings: Comforts such as pizza, pasta, grilled chicken or steak, casseroles, firm cheeses, lasagne, Mac ‘N Cheese and cold cuts.
Service: Twist the cap and let breathe for 15 minutes or let it run through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Store Section: Italy
Grapes: Sangiovese, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.
Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine
The Dork UnCorked
PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.
March 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
It was a cold and rainy night. Seriously it was. After an unbelievably beautiful warm Spring, this day was cold, wet and miserable as is expected on the West Coast at this time of year. That inspired me to find an under $20 Washington State wine that would warm the soul with its power and elegance.
It is remarkable to me that the wines of Washington State are not more popular. Typically they feature robust Cabernets and Merlots, meaty Syrahs, and refined whites. I suppose part of the issue is the fact that most stores shelve the few Washington State wines that we have here in BC, in close proximity to the numerous California based offerings. However overshadowing, more often than not, has the effect of giving more bang for the buck.
Tasting Notes: The colour is deep dark reddish purple which immediately conveys power and intensity. The nose shows cherry, plum, cassis and just a hint of smoked meat and black pepper. The palate is rich, juicy and very well balanced. This is not a simple juice bomb but offers lots of juicy character with the added bonus of being elegant and fresh. Look for flavours of black cherry, plum and pepper to dominate. The finish is juicy and of medium length showing some sweet and bold tannins.
Value: This is a great wine for those who love big bold Cabernets but want something with a little more finesse and elegance than the juice bombs of California (Apothic, Cupcake Red Velvet).
Added Value: This wine would shine at a BBQ, with Comfort Foods and for a Date Night.
Food Pairings: This wine loves a big steak that is simply seasoned with Salt and Pepper or Montreal Steak Spice. This is also a great choice for Spaghetti and Meat Balls, Pizza and, of course, Sunday Night Roast Beef.
Service: Open this up and let it breathe for about 15-20 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times.
Store Section: Washington State or USA
Appellation: Walla Walla
Available: BC Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor
February 17, 2015 § 1 Comment
What happens when you come across a wine that you really enjoy but can’t seem to find anywhere. This is such a wine. It was given to me by someone who knows I have a passion for weeding through the thousands of skus on the under $20 market, to find remarkable wines for the money. They thought that this wine would get a pretty good rating and, yes it will. The quality of the wine is not the problem. The value for money is not the problem. The problem is that I can’t seem to find a store that carries it. If you are reading this, have a favourite local store, please ask them to bring the Gandia 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon in, then let me know and I will go down and buy some.
Tasting Notes Sipping: Deep crimson in colour with very complex aromas for the price. Red berries, cassis, dark chocolate, savoury spices, and just a kiss of licorice root. The palate is of mid-weight and the texture is round and velvety. The flavours echoed the nose yet the dark chocolate morphed into more of a mocha sensation. This finish shows polish and is of medium length. The tannins are soft and sweet which makes this an awesome sipping Cab.
Tasting Notes with Food: Typically Cabernet Sauvignon screams out steak or roasted red meat. This wine shows a little more softness and restraint so it is a better match for Pork Tenderloin, Pork Chop or Grilled chicken or Turkey. I had this with chicken thighs roasted in the oven with simple spices of salt and pepper and it worked beautifully. Anything heavier and it might have gotten lost.
Value: Again this is not your run of the mill competitor for a big California or Australian Cabernet Sauvignon. It represents great value for the money and I think you will really enjoy it, however of you are a lover of the Cabernets mentioned above this is likely an Exploration purchase. If on the other hand, you typically drink red blends of Southern France or Central Italy, this would be a great trade… at least to check it out.
Added Value: This wine shows added value for a Date Night, Movie Night and even for the Foodies.
More To The Story: Wine from this area of Spain (Utiel-Requena) has been enjoyed since the 7th century BC and has escaped Moorish prohibition and the scourge of phyloxxera which devastated most of the rest of Europe in the decades following 1868. Nestled just inland from Valencia Spain this D.O. has a broad range of grapes grown and shares a very similar climate to that of eastern Washington State and parts of northern California (long, dry hot summers, cold winters), which accounts for the finesse of the wine.
Score: 8.6 – Over Delivers (could have scored higher, however I’m estimating the price. If the retail price turns out to be $16.99 it would have gotten a higher score. If $15.99 then a Best Buy.)
Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
Store Section: Spain
Available: In very limited distribution. Check with smaller specialty private stores.