Episode 5 – In The Shadow of Stardom, Beaujolais Nouveau, Carmenere

November 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Episode 5 – Link to Podcast

Show Notes

Segment 1: Beaujolais Nouveau

The first wine of the vaunted 2015 vintage. Critics are saying that 2015 is the vintage of a century no matter if the wine is from BC, California, or Europe. This years Beaujolais Nouveau is a harbinger of the wines to follow.

Beaujolais is a region in France and is the southernmost area of the famous Burgundy Appellation. All the red wines from the region must be made of 100%  Gamay Noir and all the grapes must be hand harvested.

Recommended Wine: Georges DuBoeuf Paper Label ~ $18.49

Segment 2: In the Shadow of Stardom

It’s really about basic economics of supply and demand. Those regions that are world famous only produce so many bottles but have huge demand. Regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Napa Valley have no trouble in selling their wines at top dollar each and every year. However there are many more regions and wines around the world that exist in the shadows of stardom.

Recommended Regions for Value:

Italy – Umbria, Sicily, Marche, Puglia, d’Abruzzo

France – Languedoc, Provence

Other Europe – Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Greece

California – Lodi, Paso Robles

Other World – South Africa, Chile, Argentina

Other BC – Similkameen, Kamloops

Specific Wines Mentioned – Periquita (Portugal), Painted World (South Africa), Masia F (Spain)

Segment 3 – Carmenere

Thought to have vanished from the world after phylloxera destroyed thousands of acres of vineyard in the Europe in the 1860’s, and one of the original 6 Bordeaux grapes, Carmenere was only recently rediscovered as being alive and well in Chile.

In the late’s 90’s Alvaro Espinoza noticed that certain vines in the blocks of Merlot were consistently ripening later each year. He had the DNA analyzed and it was found that the mystery vines were indeed Carmenere.

Recommended Wines – Falernia Carmenere ($17.99), Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Block 12 Carmenere ($34.99), Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah ($9.99-$10.99)

Segment 4 – Best Buy of the Week

Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

Vina Maipo Carmenere – Cabernet Sauvignon

January 21, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.7 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0712.png

Price: $10.99

About the Wine: This wine is not available in BC Liquor Stores so check out your favourite private store. Hailing from Chile, this wine is priced to compete with ‘everyday’ wines like Copper Moon etc.

Tasting Notes Sipping: This wine, for the price, is a very good sipper. It is well balanced, offers good fruit, some spice and the tannins are soft and supple making the wine smooth. Aromas of crushed plum and berry are highlighted with black pepper and violets, while the palate shows similar flavours with the addition of a hint of mocha.

Tasting Notes With Food: The complexity of this wine avails itself to simple foods like pizza, tomato based pasta dishes, or straight up meat and potatoes. I had this with a meat lovers pizza and it worked great. The berry fruit flavours and spice tones become more pronounced and the structure was up to the task of refreshing my palate.

Value: Definitely worth the trade up in price from Naked Grape, Copper Moon et al. I would also look at saving myself a few bucks on the likes of entry level BC or California straight Cabs or Merlots.

Added Value: This wine shines as an everyday wine and thus is great when you are serving a big group (Crowd Pleaser, Wedding Wine), or when you are having Comfort Foods.

More To The Story: I have spent the last number of years tasting thousands of wines each year and I have come a ‘generalization’. The best red wine values that are priced under $12 are most often blends. There is an assumption that a single varietal ‘New World’ wine is worth more than a blend, and once you are above $15/bottle that seems to be true. However for red wines under $15 blends are the way to go, and here is why.

Each varietal has its strengths. Cabernet Sauvignon is known for bringing structure and boldness to a wine, Cabernet Franc aromatics. Merlot and Carmenere are often used for their fruit and texture. So where you are making a wine for the ‘value’ market you are usually using grapes that are not the best and thus have some glaring weaknesses. Blending complimentary grapes makes a better wine.

Service: Twist off the cap and let if flow.

Grapes: Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Express

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store,

Alcohol: 13.1%

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Ticket To Chile 2012 Carmenere

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.5  – Dead Average2015/01/img_0702.jpg

Price: $10.99

Tasting Notes Sipping: The nose only has hints as to the varietal and terroir. I get some dark plum and blueberries with some spice, but also a dose of green pepper. The palate is simple, a little astringent/tannic but does show flavours of blueberry and black currant. This finish relatively short, gripping tannins, and a hint of green pepper. Not a great sipping wine

Tasting Notes With Food: I had this wine with a Beef Stew and the weight of the stew reduced the grip of the tannins and let both the fruit and spice of the wine shine through. This was much better with food than without.

Value: All in all I wouldn’t go back to this wine as I think there is better on the market. From the Savvy Shoppers display choose the La Vuelta Malbec ($9.99), however if you are looking for a better Chilean choice for the same or better price, head to a private store and look for Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah ($9.99) or the Vina Maipo Cabernet-Carmenere ($10.99).

Added Value: If there is some added value in this wine it is when it is paired with a hearty Comfort Food like stew or pizza.

More To The Story: Like all grapes Carmenere can show a broad spectrum of flavours. The lesser the quality of the Carmenere the more the vegetative flavours like green pepper comes out. You can really see this in wet or cool vintages when the sugars in the grapes don’t fully form. There is no way for the winemaker to change this, however she is able to try to cover it up either through blending or oak aging.

Service: Twist the cap and let it flow. For food I would go with hearty Comfort Foods like and meat lovers pizza or beef stew.

Grapes: Carmenere

Store Section: Savvy Shoppers

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

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Con Sur Organic Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere

January 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.5  – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0699.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Dark purple/ruby in the glass. The nose shows ripe plum, currant, red berries and just a hint of black pepper. The palate is ripe and well-balanced. Juicy soft tannins make this a good sipper or a great match for red meats and hearty dishes. It is also certified Organic.

Value: This is a no brainer trade up in price from Santa Rita 120 Cab or Merlot, Beringer California Cab, and Bear Flag Smooth Red. I would also suggest that, if you’re having Steak or Lamb, you might as well save yourself a couple of bucks and choose this wine over the likes of Apothic Red, or 14 Hands Hot to Trot.

Added Value: This wine really shines if you are BBQ’ng. It is also very applicable to Movie Night or Girls Night Out.

More To The Story: The people in the Chimbarongo region of Chile have always had a down to earth tradition. Simple foods, sustainable agriculture, and perhaps most importantly, respect for others. Did you notice the bicycle on the label? This is the main mode of transportation in the Chimbarongo and has become the symbol that represents their way of life.

Service: Let this wine breathe for about 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi. This wine is like a rose that needs to blossom; give it time and it will be a wonderful experience.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Colchagua

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Beverly Corners Liquor Store

Buy Online: Metro Liquor, Everything Wine

Alcohol: 14%

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Santa Rita ‘Winemakers Lot’ Carmenere-Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon

January 15, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.7  – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0691.png

Price: $13.99 ($10.99 On Sale)

About the Wine: This blend is very much the Chilean improvement on a classic Bordeaux blend. Full disclosure: Carmenere is my go to varietal out of Chile.

The nose shows generous plum, blueberry, red currant, cocoa, mint and black pepper. The colour is dark purple, making it look like a behemoth of a wine. The palate is full and complete and shows layers of complexity of flavour and texture. The finish is juicy, spicy and of medium length. For $10.99 this is an awesome buy, at $13.99 I think it Over Delivers.

I should also make clear that this wine is exclusive to Everything Wine.

Value: I can’t say how long this wine will remain in stock. My guess is that once it is gone it won’t return for a while. With that in mind I would save myself a buck or two from any Chilean, Argentine Bordeaux Blend, California Cab & Cab Merlot, and any similarly priced BC Cab blend. It should go without saying that this wine is well worth the trade up from under $9.99 Cabs and Cab blends especially when on sale.

Added Value: This wine shines if you are looking for a value priced wine to serve the masses (Crowd Pleaser, Wedding Wine), but is also spectacular for when the Foodies come over, Date Night, Movie Night and of course BBQ.

More To The Story: Carmenere used to be a key ingredient in Bordeaux blends. In fact Merlot wasn’t considered good enough to place in the official Bordeaux blend, that is until phylloxera wiped out Carmenere in France.

Just prior to the phylloxera epidemic in France, Chilean landowners overthrew their Spanish overlords with the assistance of the French. Instead of travelling to Spain, the landowners would now go to France. Many brought back clippings of vines to plant on their own estates. Prior to 1994 Carmenere was thought to have been extinct, until it was discovered to be thriving amongst the ‘Merlot’ vineyards of Chile by Alvaro Espinoza. DNA tests show that the Carmenere vines found by Senor Espinoza can be traced directly back to the original clippings brought back from France in the 19th century.

With the re-discovery of Carmenere in Chile, Chile had found its defining grape. However there was a cost. Prior to 1994 Chilean Merlot was highly sought after for its juicy character. It was discovered that Carmenere is what gave Chilean Merlot its soul. Once Carmenere was separated from Merlot, the quality and value of Chilean Merlot suffered greatly.

Service: This wine should be served at room temperature,thus just twist off the cap and let it flow. I love this wine with a simple grilled steak, or a meat lovers pizza.

Grapes: Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine

Buy Online: Everything Wine

Alcohol: 13 %

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Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

January 8, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 9.1 – Best Buy /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0660.png
Price: $9.99-$10.99

About the Wine: Juicy, seductive, spicy, layered sub $15 bliss. The nose shows generous lush dark plum, blackberry and black pepper, while the palate is lush. The complexity of this wine suggests $15/bottle easily. It does the job from start to finish. Speaking of the finish, it is very long for an $11 wine, and leaves you with a spicy, juicy kiss goodbye.

I recall a time about 10 years ago when I was an importer and we carried this winery and wine. The price then was $14.99 and we had trouble keeping it in stock. At $10.99/$11.99 this is a steal. Best Buy indeed.

Value: Put down the Fincas Los Primos or Copper Moon Malbec and trade up to this wine. In fact I would save myself a buck or two and choose this wine over Beringer Stone Cellars Cab Sauv or the Vina Maipo Carmenere.

Added Value: Those who would serve this as a wedding wine or having a BBQ will find extra value in this wine.

Service: Twist off the cap, wait 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Grapes: Carmenere, Syrah

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Central Valley

Available: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store,Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express, Liquor Depot

Buy Online/Delivered To Your Door: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 12.5%

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Carmen ‘Wave Series’ 2013 Pinot Noir

January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.0 – Good DropCarmen Wave Series Pinot Noir

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: It’s a big nose full (yes I have a big nose) of ripe, almost over ripe cherry, some spice and forward tones of vanilla. The palate shows some baker’s cocoa and a touch of pepper, while the texture is pretty lush and almost fatty. This finish is juicy with a kiss of vanilla which makes me think this wine was designed and not grown.

Value: Its lush style will make it very appealing to a number of people and it does offer an enjoyable first step into the world of Pinot Noir and thus it offers pretty decent relative value to the other $14.99’ers out there.

Added Value: To me this is a wine designed to bring Pinot Noir to the masses. It is a crowd pleaser and if you are having a group of people over for an evening, this would work.

Service: No need to let this breathe, just twist the cap off and let it flow.

Grapes: Pinot Noir

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Leyda Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Cascadia Langford

Alcohol: 13.5%

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