Cusumano Nero D’Avola ~ Over Delivers

May 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m a big fCusumano Ner D'Avolaan of pro-cycling and one of my favourite races of the year is happening right now; Giro D’Italia. In light of this I tend to lean towards Italian food and Italian wines.

The first Italian stages of this year’s Giro D’Italia are down in the south of Italy so I thought I would start my Giro with a fine, dark, sultry, vivacious red that naturally hails from the south; Cusumano Nero D’Avola.

Price ~ $19

Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers

Immediately there is a difference. There is a glass cork that allows you to reseal the bottle, assuming you don’t finish it.

Pour the wine into your glass and as it tumbles you can already sense the intensity of the aromas, colour, and indeed what the flavour will be like.

The nose is bursting with dark fruits, ripe plums, blackberries, savoury spices. It’s kind of like fresh blackberry pie with some plum and blueberry thrown in.

The palate is rich, full and indicative of the sun drenched vintages that are very common in Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. The finish is long and juicy. I really loved this wine.

This would be an ideal match for a grilled marinated hunk of meat, anything with BBQ sauce on it. Beer But chicken seems to have a particular affinity for this wine.

Grapes ~ 100% Nero D’Avola

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ both private and public 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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Tormaresca 2013 Trentangeli

February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tormaresca TrentangeliI 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.

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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Leccioni 2014 Chianti DOCG

September 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99Leccioni Chianti

Score: 7.2 ~ Good Drop

If an all powerful being were standing in front of me and saying that they will take away all of my problems and those of my family, but I had could only drink the wines of one region for the rest of my life, it would be Chianti (if any of you reading this are all powerful, give me a ring, let’s talk!).

This wine needs to some time to show its true nature. I tasted this over 3 days and left it open to the air all three days. The first day the nose was muted and the palate fine, and fresh, but it didn’t so much other than some youthful vigour (after all just over 1 year ago this wine was grapes on a vine). Day 2 showed much more. Finesse, refined textures and some good cherry flavours. By Day 3 it was heavenly – wonderfully perfumed, delicious, plum nectar and cherry, velvety finish with some spice and floral characters, depth, depth, depth.

If what I tasted on Day 3 was what I tasted on Day 1 then this would easily have been a Best Buy wine. It’s a good drop, made better by patience. If you have the patience to let it breathe then this is a great buy, if you are like most people and want it to perform in the glass straight away, then there are others I would recommend.

Purchase At: Cascadia Uptown

Section: Italy

Closure: Cork

Food: Great with Chicken, Pork Tenderloin, smoked cheeses.

Cecchi 2011 Chianti Classico

August 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $17.99 ($20.79 taxes & deposit included)Cechi Chianti Classico

Score: 6.3

Full disclosure, Chianti and Chianti Classico is a true love of mine. I’m not sure how or when, but the supple texture, rich seductive body, cherry flavours, floral elements along with savoury spices are a baseline for me. I can easily sink into a glass of Chianti Classico like a great book.

$20+ for Chianti Classico is t be expected and thus I’m looking for it to deliver more than a simple Chianti or Sangiovese at $15. When I say more I don’t mean more density or stronger flavours, rather I’m looking for greater complexity of flavours and structure. I’m looking for find more flavours and flavours that work together. I’m looking for a more supple and seductive bottle that what I am likely to find in a $15 wine. Sadly I didn’t find that here. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots to like and love in this wine, but it is not that dissimilar to the flavours and texture found in regular Chiantis such as Gabbiano, Cecchi and Frescobaldi.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: Italy

Cork Closure

Foods: Pastas, Pizza, roasted chicken or pork, hard cheeses, comfort foods and foodie foods.

Alta Luna Phases

August 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.59 ($16.88 incl. taxes & deposit) *this wine is on sale to $13.59 for the month of Aug.Alta Luna Phases

Score: 7.1

I get a strong sense that consumers are starting to look for more finesse in their wines. They are starting to move away from the big boozy juice bombs that laden the liquor store shelves. Inevitably this leads the consumer to European wines for the most part and if that path leads to Italy it likely means tasting wines made from grapes that are not household names. This wine is just such an offering.

It hails from the Alto Adige region of Northern which is nestled in the Dolomite mountains, and is a blend of Teroldego, Lagrein and Merlot. See what I mean. I have been tasting wines for 20+ years and I can only recall tasting Lagrein once or twice and I have never had the pleasure of tasting Teroldego.

I poured a glass right after pulling the cork. I loved the perfumed, berry, floral nose but the wine seemed really shy on the palate to the point where only its structure was at play. I put the wine aside for a couple of days and that did the trick. Clearly this is a wine that needs a lot of breathing (Vinturi, decanting, or simply leaving it open for a good amount of time) because it totally opened up and showed bright fresh berry and plum fruit flavours along with floral and spicy notes. The finish didn’t show any of the harsh tannins I noted on the first pass. I loved this wine… after a few days.

I would have scored this wine higher but the reality is that most people want to dive into their bottle and don’t purchase their wine to have two nights from now. So in terms of real life value its okay. In terms of cork dork value, this is awesome!

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: Italy

Cork Closure

Food: Steak, roasted meats, cheeses, rustic breads. Could work for Foodie foods and comfort foods.

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.

Monte Antico 2010 Toscana Rosso

May 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Monte Antico 2010Score: 6.9 ~ Good Drop

Price: $14.79-$16

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

Appellation: Tuscany

Grapes: Sangiovese, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.

Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine

ABV%: 13%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Baccolo 2013 Rosso Veneto

April 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 6.7 ~ Good Dropimage

Price: $16.99

You have heard the phrase ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’? That is how the wine growers and makers of Veneto region have been approaching wine for over two millennia. This wine is a reflection of that tradition but with a modern twist. This is a blend of Merlot & Corvina which until recently would have been unthinkable… even in the wine world, steeped in all its traditions, has rebels within it.

Tasting Notes: Nice plum, cherry and blueberry aromas and flavours. Touches of savoury herbs and licorice don the finish. The texture is very soft. Pillowy soft you might say. I liked it but like a pillow, it met my expectations and did its job well, but was rather unremarkable.

Value: The value here is for those looking to turn their brains off, and just sink into a quiet glass of wine.

Added Value: This wine would shine best for those looking to delve into the variations of Merlot. Not only will you get a great representation of Merlot grown in the Veneto, but also how Merlot works with Corvina. This is also a great wine for burgers and meats done with BBQ sauce.

Food Pairings: Burgers with all the fixins. Grilled or slow roasted meats. Medium but flavourful cheeses.

Service: Pull thercork and you are ready to go, however the wine does blossom well over time. Run it through the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times and you are good to go.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Veneto – Veneto is in North Eastern Italy and is home Bardolino, Valpolicella, Amarone and a lot of Prosecco. It is a great place to travel through as it features rolling hills, lakes, mountains and stretches to the sea and the city of Venice.

2013 vintage was fair to good as vintages go but the 2012 is the vintage you will find for most reds right now and it was a pretty damn good vintage. Best vintages in recent years have been 2010 and 2006. There are still some Amarones floating around from these vintages and they are truly outstanding.

Grapes: Corvina, Merlot

Available: Everything Wine

ABV%: 13.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Fascino Passo 2011

April 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

Fascino Passo 2011Score: 9.3 ~ Best Buy

You know how some scents can instantaneously transport you back in time. My grandfather used to smoke White Owl cigars and when I was a kid I used to climb up onto his lap and he would tell me stories of his hockey playing days. His favourite cardigan held the subtle scent of a freshly unwrapped cigar. Some of my best and favourite memories of being with my grandfather automatically invoke the wonderful, delicate aroma of an unwrapped cigar. As I first opened this wine and put my nose to it, I was immediately transported back to my grandfather’s lap. It brought a smile both to my face and heart.

Price: $17.99

Tasting Notes: The colour is dark red with violet highlights on the edges. The aromas show red tree fruit such as cherries, ripe black plums, hints of violet and licorice and something that I absolutely adore, the scent of a freshly unwrapped cigar. The palate is velvety, juicy, well balanced and of medium to full weight. Flavours of cherries, leather, savoury spices, dried plums and pepper come alive. The finish is almost silky and juicy with a final cherry kiss at the end.

Value: This is a case buy for sure. After my first purchase I have gone back and grabbed few more bottles. If I have $18 to spend I would be hard pressed not to make this my choice if I were having lamb, beef, or just a simple platter of cheese and charcuterie.

Added Value: This wine really shines as a BBQ Wine, Comfort Food Wine and because of its sultry, velvety nature, as a Date Night Wine. I would also highly recommend this wine to anyone who is looking to explore either unique grape types or regions.

Food Pairings: As mentioned above, this wine works beautifully with roasted or grilled beef or lamb, but my favourite pairing is a simple platter of cheeses, cold cuts, olive oil and some olives.

Service: Room temperature is best and let it breathe for a good 20-30 minutes. If you have a Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
, run the wine through a couple of times and you are good to go.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Salento – The Salento region of Italy is on the heel of the Italian boot. As you can imagine it is a very warm region which produces voluptuous red wines that are very dark in colour. Did you know that Primitivo is the Italian cousin of California’s Zinfandel. Have a little fun and try a Cali Zin beside a Salento Primitivo and sense the differences.

Grapes: Negromaro, Primitivo

Available: Everything Wine

ABV%: 13.0%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

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