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

 

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La Bastide 2014 Pays d’Oc

March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

La BastideI firmly believe that Grenache, and Grenache blends will be the ‘it’ wine of 2016/2017. I declare this to be true for a few of reasons.

  1. Taste Profile – Grenache is alway juicy and easy to enjoy, with a delicious kiss of savoury spices and a soft round texture because the grape is naturally low in tannin (pucker).
  2. The Underdog Effect – Grenache has long been considered a blending grape and therefore its impact on the quality of a wine has either been overshadowed or totally missed. Loads of cork dorks around the globe are choosing Grenache because it so overlooked.
  3. Value – Grenache is the second most planted red grape in the world meaning there are oceans of quality Grenache produced each year meaning there are lots of great wines under $20 and even under $15.

I was strolling around my local store looking for that underappreciated bottle of Grenache at a real good price… enter La Bastide.

La Bastide hit the market like a bomb a few years back. Every store had a stack and it was flying out the doors. Little did people know that this wine is about 70% Grenache, hence its juicy delicious character. Well that was a few years ago and now this wine is most likely found on the bottom shelf as the shine has worn off. That is great news for those looking for a juicy, delicious wine with loads of flavour, lively spice, a soft texture and are willing to bend their knees to get a bottle that totally over delivers for the price.

Price ~ $11

Score ~ 7.4/10 – Over Delivers

This is a real crowd pleaser and if you are looking to get married this summer or perhaps you are buying the wine for the nuptials, this is a great choice- inexpensive, over delivers and is incredibly food versatile.

Speaking of food I would have this wine with anything BBQ. Either BBQ sauce or slow roasted. Oh and it is also awfully good with a flank steak that has been marinating all day.

Grapes ~ 70% Grenache, Carignan, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both Private & Public Stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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Castillo de Monseran 2014 Garnacha

February 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

Castillo de Monseran GarnachaGrenache, or Garnacha, is a grape on the rise and that is good news for those seeking great wines but don’t want to sell the farm to do so.

Most famously Grenache is a key to Chateauneuf du Pape, but it is also the main grape in regions of Spain such as Calatayud and Carinena, and these are where some of the greatest buys are hailing from.

Garnacha is a late ripening grape that requires a lot of heat to reach its full potential, hence you will only find a few expressions grown in the very southern reaches of the Okanagan in BC.

Garnacha is truly a crowd pleaser grape. Dark juicy fruits of raspberry, plum and blackberry, low in tannin meaning very little pucker. The only challenge is keeping the acidity up in order to insure a balanced wine.

Crowd Pleaser is definitely the phrase I would use for the Castillo de Monseran. Dark juicy fruit, very soft and brilliant with casseroles, Mac N Cheese or Pizza.

Price ~ $8.99

Score ~ 7.3/10 Over Delivers

This wine scores high on the value meter and would have scored higher is there is a little more depth to it. Having said that as soon as I paired it with food it was brilliant.

If you haven’t added Garnacha to your repertoire of wines, this is a great one to start with and it won’t set you back an arm and a leg.

Grapes ~ 100% Garnacha

Store Section ~ Spain

Availability ~ available in both private and public stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

Mezzomonda 2014 Negroamaro IGT

January 30, 2016 § 1 Comment

IMG_0655This is the most recent vintage of this wine, and as much as there is not a huge vintage change when it comes to the wines of Puglia, this wine shows a lot more juicy punch than did the previous vintage. For $9 you really can’t go wrong.

Price ~ $8.99

Score ~ 7.2/10 Over Delivers

I first discovered this wine after a trip to Argentina where I tasted 200+ Malbecs over a 10 day buying trip. Needless to say I was looking for something a little different but I still had the zest for the rich fruit, structure and leathery elements of Malbec. Negroamaro perfectly fit the bill. Rich and juicy like Malbec, but just different enough to be very enticing. The difference is in the spice. This wine shows black pepper and hints of rosemary instead of the leather and smoky nature of Malbec.

Grapes: 100% Negroamaro

Store Section: Italy

Availability: Both Government and Private Stores

Foods Pairing – Pasta, Burgers, Pizza, Steak

If you have had the opportunity to have tasted this wine please let me know what you thought of it.

Cheers

the Dork Uncorked

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Best Wine Gifts For The Unknown Palate Under $20

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s the end of the school year and time to get gifts for our kids very deserving teaWine Gift Bagchers. I happily take on this challenge but was faced with an interesting challenge. What wine do you get for someone whose wine tastes you are not sure of?

My answers are below and they all share a similar trait; they are fruit driven, silky with soft tannins and are complex. I know the last one is usually lost on most people, but what complexity does is never lost. Complexity simplifies the taste experience. That’s right simplifies it. In a moment a fruit driven, soft tannin, complex wine provides all that the drinker will want. They don’t have to dive into the details to know they enjoy it.

Red Wines

Ca’ Montebello BarberaItaly (click on the name to go to the original review)

Score: 7.9 Over Delivers and I Love It!

Price: ~$13.99 to $15.99

Barbera by nature is very juicy with big grapey and plum flavours. The Ca’ Montebello has a wonderful silky finish and has delightful complexity as a result of the bright acidity and flavour nuances of dried herbs and pepper. Letting it breathe is advised but not necessary.

Penfolds Koonunga Hills Shiraz- Cabernet Sauvignon – Australia

Score: 7.4 Good Drop – I Like It

Price: ~ $16.29-$17.99

The Australians are famous for making hedonistic crowd pleasing wines and the Penfolds winery has lead the way for years. The Shiraz-Cab is big richly flavoured, juicy with flavours of black fruits, red berries, and plums. There is a spicy back end that features baking spices. The finish is juicy and soft making it an ideal gift for those whose palate you are not familiar with.

Fascino Passo Negramaro-Primitivo– Italy

Score: 9.3/10 Best Buy & WOW!!

Price: $17.99 (only available at Everything Wine)

This may seem like an odd choice given that the grapes are not household names, however the Italians have long known the pleasures of hedonistic food and wine and I think these two grapes embody their centuries of practice. Dark fruit of crushed  ripe plums, blackberries, cherries with nuances of savoury spices and the delicate scent of freshly wrapped cigars.

White Wines

Aveleda Vinho Verde – Portugal

Score: 8.9 Over Delivers & I Love It!!

Price: $14.99 – $15.99

This wine is vibrant and alive and I guarantee that every sip brings on a smile no matter the experience of the palate. From northern Portugal this wine has a little bubble (frizzante) with white peach and pear flavours. Chill this down and this will please anyone.

Painted Wolf Chenin Blanc – South Africa

Score: 848/10 Over Delivers & I Love It!

Part of the reason why I love this wine as a gift is because that is how I discovered it. The wine is fresh and alive with great complexity just like the Cape that it hails from. Pear, apple, honeydew melon and brisk freshness. Your gift goes a little further as every bottle means a donation to save the wild Painted Dogs of southern Africa.

Aveleda 2013 Vinho Verde

March 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

imagePrice: $14.99

Vinho Verde has long been a favourite of many cork dorks and those immersed in the industry, however its beauty and style has been often overshadowed by the marketing power of major brands and major wine regions. Think of Pinot Grigio meets Sauvignon Blanc. Put another way this wine is like a mash-up of Meg Ryan and Meryl Streep. It is fresh, vibrant, sometimes bubbly, but is also serious, elegant and sophisticated.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is pale straw to flinty green and the nose shows spring blossoms, fresh pear and first harvest green apple. The palate is fresh and alive and filled with vibrancy that lifts the spirits. This finish is surprisingly long for such a light fresh wine with lots of fresh fruit and savoury herbs.

Tasting Notes with Food: I enjoyed this on a fresh, warm spring afternoon with some light cheeses, first of season strawberries, and fresh baguette, truly outstanding!

Value: For $14.99 I would happily choose this wine over many of the whites offered at $14.99. To me this is on a similar scale to classic Italian Pinot Grigio (circa $18) and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (circa $18.99).

Added Value: This is an awesome wine for Weddings, BBQ’s (fish), as a Crowd Pleaser and certainly for Girls Night Out. This wine also has added value as a discovery or Exploration Wine. If you haven’t had Vinho Verde before, you must have this before summer is out.

Score: 8.9 – Over Delivers

Service: Chill down and enjoy. I highly recommend pairing this wine with a back deck or yard and sunny spring or summer afternoon.

Grapes: Loureiro, Arinto, Trajadura

Store Section: Portugal

Appellation: Vinho Verde

Available: Everything Wine, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Metro Liquor Stores

Buy OnLine: Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 11.5%

Masia F Vino Tinto

March 2, 2015 § 3 Comments

imagePrice: $10.99-$13.99

Best Buy –  9.3/10

This wine is the embodiment of the purpose of this blog. It is one of those wines that enters the market without much hope of discovery or success, but to those that find it, they are over-joyed.

Tasting Notes: Bright red berries and fruit with some ripe plum underpinnings greet the nose. The colour is dark crimson and the palate echos the nose. The palate is complete, there are no holes in this wine. The texture is bright, supple and of mid-weight. The finish is of medium length and features the juicy red berries prominent on the palate with the addition of delicate savoury herbs.

Value: At $$10.99-$13.99 this is a killer deal and is a case lot buy… as long as you can find it. This wine truly represents killer value and I would happily seek this out.

Added Value: This wine shines as a Foodie Wine, Crowd Pleaser, BBQ and Comfort Food wine. After all many of the dishes we consider Comfort Foods or ‘everyday meals’ were crafted by peasants in Spain, France and Italy.

More To The Story: As I mentioned above this wine is an example of the purpose of this blog and shows that the diversity of the wine world means that one can’t assume that price or brand awareness will guarantee quality. This wine is imported by a small agency and I can see how most would overlook it. The packaging is dull, the bottle inexpensive, it isn’t blessed with a D.O. certification. I can also see where the price might scare some people away as being too cheap to possibly offer quality, but for those intrepid buyers who take the time to move beyond convention, they will be rewarded. For those readers that need a little more convincing that they should be buying this buy the case, This wine is the house wine at the world’s only 7 star hotel, Bariq Al Arab. Fine praise indeed.

Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for 20 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times. I love having to let a wine of this price breathe. Complexity and character develop as if a blossoming flower.

Grapes: Tempranillo

Store Section: Spain

Available: Spinnaker’s James Bay, Spinnaker’s Vic West, Metro Liquor Stores, Cascadia Liquor Store, Vintage Wines & Spirits, HIllside Liquor Store, One20 LRS, Cork & Barrel, Sooke River Hotel, Liquor Planet.

Alcohol: 13.0%

Monte Nobile 2013 Nero D’Avola

January 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.4 – Good Drop2015/01/img_0715.jpg

Price: $14.99

I rated this at the top end of Good Drop because it was a toss up whether it hit the Over Delivers category or not. Finally I came to the conclusion that at $13.99 this would be in the Over Deliver category for sure; at $14.99 it’s a pretty damn Good Drop.

Tasting Notes Sipping: This is blackberry pie on the nose and in the mouth. The aromas betray the wines origins. Blackberry, blueberry and savoury spices on the nose, while the palate shows some good weight, and a little grip. Flavours of blackberry, raspberry, savoury spices and custard/pastry (hence the Blackberry pie reference). The finish is short to medium and is a showcase for the fruit and the tannin.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this with baked chicken leg and thigh that was seasoned with a touch of salt, pepper and thyme. On the side was rice with butter and parmesan, spinach salad with bacon, blue cheese, cranberry, olive oil & balsamic vinegar (seems like a long list, but really simple; made in a total of 40 minutes). If you love big fruit flavours coating your mouth, making it water, this wine is for you. I really enjoyed how the food made the fruit flavours pop, and the tannins worked to smooth out the texture of both the wine and the food.

Value: I have said for a long time that Nero D’Avola, like Negromaro & Primitivo, are Europe’s answer to California Zinfandel and Argentinean Malbec. If you get value from discovering new things then this wine offers great value to you. I would also content that it is worth spending a buck or two more for this wine than entry-level California Zinfandel, or if I were having a steak, from $12 Argentinean Malbec. As for saving, I would choose this over Dancing Bull Zinfandel or Apothic Red any day of the week, and pocket the $2 for something great like a good pretzel or shot of espresso.

Added Value: The wine really shines with BBQ. Whether it BBQ brisket or pulled pork, grilled steak or chicken this is a winner. I would also serve this to the Foodies when they come over, as they are always looking for a new experience and to save a few bucks.

More To The Story: Nero D’Avola has ancient roots. The Romans used to demand the wine of the black grape from the port of D’Avola on Sicily. Previous to the Romans, the Greeks held the island. The story goes that the reason the Greeks fought so hard to keep control of Sicily, was because of the quality of the wines.

Service: Twist the cap off and let breathe for 15-20 minutes or run it through your Vinturi.

Grapes: Nero D’Avola

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Sicily

Available: Everything Wine, BC Liquor Stores,

Buy Online: Everything Wine

Alcohol: 14%

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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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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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