Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva

June 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Albas de Los InfantesOne of the things about the wine business is that it is a business of passion. I can tell you there isn’t a lot of money in it, and if you were to ask anyone involved they are not in it for the money, they are in it because they love it. So it is sad when you hear that a talented, passionate importer has decided to pack up and move to a different industry because he can’t make ends meet. The silver lining however is that he has reduced the prices on a number of products in his portfolio. Including the Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva.

For those that don’t know for a Spanish wine to be called Gran Reserva is must be aged 2 years in barrel and further 3 years in bottle. What this means is that the wine grower and the wine maker saw something in the quality of the grapes and resulting wine that was special. So special that they decided to assume the added cost of a min. 5 years of ageing.

Typically the price for a Gran Reserva wine from Spain starts at the $22 mark and goes up, way up from there. So when the importer told me what the ‘clearance’ price was I started to salivate. It took a while for me to find some bottles in stores, but when I did I was over the moon.

It is not too often that a wine gets a Best Buy rating from me, as it truly needs to punch well above its weight to do so, but this is one.

Price ~ $12.99

Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy

It may only be $13 but please let it breathe for at least 30 minutes. If you do you will be rewarded.

The colour is a dark red/purple and the nose shows bright red and blue berries, with some spice and leather.

The palate shows a ton of fresh fruit, while the texture is supple and richly textured. The finish shows generous berry and black tree fruits along with some sensuous savoury spices.

I know that I will be buying this by the case.

This weekend all the dad’s in the family will be enjoying a barbeque, and that is exactly what I would recommend for this wine. Slow roasted ribs, grilled meats, chicken. This would also be a delight with some medium aged cheeses right up to some top quality manchego.

Grapes ~ Tempranillo, Garancha

Store Location ~ Spain

Availability ~ Limited to private stores. I got mine from Spinnaker’s James Bay.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Clos des Miran 2013 Visan Cotes du Rhone-Village

June 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

Clos de Miran VisanAs you know the purpose of this blog is to provide useful reviews of wines under $20. The goal is to weed through the plethora of inexpensive wine to find the true values. This wine perfectly encapsulates this.

This wine didn’t have a sale tag but, for those in the know, it is significantly under priced for it’s appellation. Cotes du Rhone-Villages is one cut above Cotes du Rhone, yet most Cotes du Rhone’s on the market are in the $20 range. With that in mind, this wine had all the potential of being a truly magical find.

Price ~ $14.99

Score ~ 6.8 Good Drop

It is a good wine, but it didn’t wow me like I was hoping. For the cork dork looking for elegance and finesse as expressed by bright acidity and relatively delicate palate, this is a great wine. However for those looking for the boldness one comes to expect from Rhone wines, you will not find it here.

I loved exploring this wine as it unfolded on my palate. Cerebraly it kept my attention glass after glass, but it left friends  over for a barbeque, wonting.

The nose shows savoury spices, raspberry and dark plum. The palate is medium bodied and filled with complexity if you choose to let it show.

For food pairings, this is great for chicken and pork on the grill and certainly cheeses like mild Gouda.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both private and public stores.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Cote Mas 2014 Languedoc

April 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Cote Mas Languedoc

PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.

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I first came into contact with the brand Cote Mas a few years ago when I was the buyer for a chain of liquor stores. I was introduced to a wine called Cote Mas Intense and man was it intense. For a while there we were moving 15-20 cases/week. The wine was a mouthful of ripe raspberry, cherry and black plum with a generous crushing of black pepper. If am not mistaken it was 70%+ Grenache and it was great.

This wine shows more finesse and I suspect, it is attempting to show that the Languedoc is not just neon paint thrown against a canvas, rather that the Languedoc can also produce wines that are gentle brushstrokes of nuanced shadows and light.

Price ~ $14

Score ~ 7.8/10 Over Delivers

The nose is brimming, almost restrained, with bright ripe raspberry, blueberry and plum. While the palate is well layered, shows finesse and structure. There are no holes in this wine and it finishes with a delightful burst of fruit, pepper and savoury spices.

I would not hesitate to buy this wine again even if it was a couple bucks more, but please don’t change the price. I’m having friends over for a BBQ and I would love to serve it to them. I know that the group has a vegetarian, a few steak lovers, definitely some who default to chicken burgers, and this wine will please them all.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mouvedre

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both public and private stores

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.

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L’Ostal Cazes 2015 Rosé Pays D’Oc

April 7, 2016 § 1 Comment

L'Ostal Cazes RoséI was so excited to taste this wine. Not only is rosé a perfect fit for recent stretch of weather, but it is one of the first 2015 Rosés to hit the shelves.

Price ~ $15

Score ~ 7.5/10 Over Delivers

The colour is a pale pink rose and the aromas are of fresh strawberries, cherries and a dash of spring flowers. The palate is lively and vibrant with the finish showing how finely balanced this wine is.

I couldn’t help but feel optimistic about what the summer will hold when tasting this wine. It just puts a smile on your face and if you have it in the backyard it will transport you to a seaside picnic in the south of France.

As for food, I had this with a simply grilled chicken that was marinated for a number of hours in lemon, lime and orange juice, white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon and rosemary harvested from the backyard…. and it was perfect.

Grapes: 50% Grenache 50% Syrah

Store Section: France

Availability: Exclusive to Government Stores 

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.

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Grenache – 2016’s ‘Wow’ Wine: Show Notes Episode 21

March 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

Grenache is the ‘International Man of Mystery’ of the wine world. Dashing, attractive, can handle himself in every situation, known by many names, is global, and is a part of some of the biggest stories of the year.

Today’s show is all about Grenache and includes some recommendations from France, Spain and Australia as well as some key food pairings.

Link to Podcast (when available).

Raise A Glass – Grenache.

The BC Hospitality Foundation (www.bchospitalityfoundation.com) dedicates themselves to support members of the hospitality industry whether it is help to meet financial obligations when illness strikes, or in the form of scholarships to assist in the on going study of the industry from service, culinary and beverage. I know the the founders and they have been industry leaders for decades. Their intentions are pure and the effects have been life changing – Cheers

BC Hydro Emergency Crews – this week saw the strongest winds that I can remember. Numerous power outages hit the South Island and magically within hours the power was back. The skill it must take to get into a bucket, be pushed into the teeth of the wind, remove branches or repair live wires, is truly amazing. Cheers.

Segment 1 ~ The Story of Grenache

I firmly believe that Grenache will be the ‘it’ wine of 2016/17. First it is planted all over the world and there is an ocean of awesome wine produced each year, meaning great wine can be gotten for low prices.

Second it a grape that is often overlooked but forms the backbone of some of the world’s most sought after wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape and Priorat.

Third its taste profile. Ripe juicy fruit flavours that range from black and blueberry, through raspberry and currant depending on where it is from. Spice and savoury herb flavours and a delightfully soft texture owing to the fact that Grenache has naturally low tannin levels (low pucker).

Combine these three facts and you have the makings of a Grenache Tsunami.

Grenache is known by multiple names depending on the country it is grown in. Grenache is most common, but in Spain it is Garnacha, Portugal it is Alicante Bouschet, and Cannonau in Italy.

Although the true origin of Grenache is not known, it is said that it originated on Sardinia and replanted throughout the Kingdom of Aragon which stretches from the Spanish Pyrenees down to Valencia. What’s interesting is that Sardinia, around the same time that Grenache was transplanted to the Spanish mainland, was under the control of the Kingdom of Aragon.

Segment 2 ~ Grenache in Gaul, The Kingdom of Charlemagne, Home of the Franks, otherwise known as France.

Grenache is widely planted throughout Southern France and centered in Languedoc Roussillon, Provence, and all through the Southern Rhone valley including being the backbone of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Each unique region shows its own flavours of Grenache but for the most, Grenache from France features more of the juicy blackberry and blueberry fruit flavours and tends to show more black and white pepper than do Spanish or Australian versions.

Here are a couple of wines that truly over deliver for their prices.

Mas Janeil – $19.99, blend of mostly Grenache, but also has some Carignan and Syrah (full review to follow).

Gayda ‘Flying Man’ 2014 Grenache – $14-$15, 100% Grenache and super juicy! (click here to see full review).

Paul Mas Grenache Noir – $13, 100% Grenache (click here to see review).

Cote Mas – $13, Mostly Grenache, with some Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre as well (click here to see full review).

La Bastide – $11, Mostly Grenache with some Syrah. (click here to see review).

Segment 3 ~ Garnacha in Iberia, Hispania, Espana, also known as Spain.

The Kingdom of Aragon was at the height of it’s power in the 14th and 15th centuries and included most of Spain, much of the southern coast of France and the island Corsica and Sardinia. I mention this as it is said that Garnacha originated in Sardinia (known as Connanau in Sardinia), and was transplanted by Aragon royalty in Spain.

Garnacha is used in Rioja, Ribero de Deuro, Navarra, La Mancha, Somantano, but it is the main grape in areas of Calatayud, Carinena and Campo de Borja.

Again, depending on the region you will find differences in the taste profile, however Spanish Garnacha  shows ripe raspberry, cherry and currant fruit flavours along with savoury herbs like Thyme, Sage and Rosemary.

Here are some recommendations of Spanish Garnacha that over deliver for their price.

Campo de Borja 5G – $16 (full review to follow).

Borsao – $13 (click here for full review).

Castillo de Monseran Old Vines Garnacha – $12 (click here to see review).

Segment 4 ~ Grenache in the World

Grenache loves long, hot, dry summers so it has flourished in places like California, parts of Chile and Argentina, but perhaps where it is most comfortable is in Australia.

In the 1800’s there was mass emigration from Europe. A number of these emigres took with them their food and wine culture in hopes of transplanting them in their new home. Numerous Italians and Spanish emigrated to the area now known as South Australia and immediately planted Grenache. In fact some of the oldest Grenache in the world can be found in the Barossa and Riverland areas of Australia.

You have all heard of Penfold’s and its iconic wine Grange. Grange now fetches close to $1000/bottle, but it wouldn’t have been if it were not for Grenache.

Rawson Penfold first planted Grenache upon his arrival and built a business based on port like wines (the naturally high alcohols that come from Grenache made it ideal for this purpose). If it wasn’t for the success of his Grenache based ports, the world would be without the Penfold’s brand and Grange.

Here are just a couple of Grenache and Grenache dominated wines for Australia that won’t break the bank and show fantastic quality.

McPherson ‘the Dish’ Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre – $15 (full review to follow).

Rosemount Grenache-Shiraz – $13 (full review to follow).

Segment 5 ~ Food Pairings for Grenache

Grenache is a wedding planners dream. It is one of the most food versatile wines on the market. It goes with spicy foods (higher alcohols work as a solvent for hot spice), it loves roasted poultry, lamb, anything encrusted with savoury herbs, paté…. and the list goes on.

I highly recommend having any of the wines above with Roast Lamb with Moroccan spices, Korean Ginger Beer, Indian Butter Chicken and roasted Turkey.

Best Buy of the Week – La Bastide 2014 (click here for full review)

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.

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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

PS – to keep things rolling I have signed onto acting as an affiliate for items that I think are truly noteworthy, remarkable and consistent with my values. If you don’t please click on the following, take a look and if you purchase, they send a commission that would be greatly appreciated.

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Perrin 2014 Ventoux

February 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Perrin VentouxOne of my favourite events each summer is the Tour de France. Every couple of years the race features one of the most difficult cycling climbs on the planet – Mount Ventoux. It is a heart crushing, leg grinding climb that is not for the faint of heart.

I really enjoy road cycling and would someday like to attempt the climb up Mount Ventoux. I was strolling through the wine shop the other day and found a key part of my training regimen; the wines of the Ventoux. I understand that the grapes grown on Mount Ventoux have magical powers when it comes to strengthening one’s legs.

The Perrin family has vineyards throughout the Rhone Valley and is best known for Chateau Beaucastel which is the iconic wine of Chateauneuf du Pape. The grapes for the Ventoux are grown on the hillsides of Mount Ventoux.

Price ~ $16

Score ~ 7.9/10 Over Delivers

The aromas a brooding and somewhat moody. By all means give this wine time to breathe as there is a great story to be told if only you wait for it. Dark ripe and stewed fruits like plums. berries and blackberries open on the palate and are then enhanced by earthy, spicy flavours along with hints of smoked meat.

This is not a big heavy wine, rather it is bright but with a moody side. I loved this with anything with smoked paprika or bacon. I really loved this with a simple cheese and charcuterie plate. Fantastic!

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ private stores only

the Dork UnCorked

Cheers

 

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