March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
I 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
the Dork UnCorked
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February 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
Grenache, 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.
the Dork UnCorked
January 30, 2016 § 1 Comment
This 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.
the Dork Uncorked
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June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s the end of the school year and time to get gifts for our kids very deserving teachers. 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.
Ca’ Montebello Barbera – Italy (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.
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.
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.
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.
March 9, 2015 § 1 Comment
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
March 2, 2015 § 2 Comments
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.
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.