January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
I don’t know about you but I have two realitieses in my life. One, a glass of wine with dinner is a simple enjoyment that not only makes the food taste better, but slows the day down and brings a harmony to it that just isn’t there otherwise. Second is that this is the time of year that I lament going to the mailbox. Which bill is arriving today? It is the time of the year where I come to grips with the real cost of the holiday season. To that end I revel in
the beauty of oft forgotten wines that some may call cheap,
but I call inexpensive.
The price of a wine isn’t always a good indication as to its value. Consider the impact of the plummeting Canadian dollar on the price of produce. The price of tomatoes has skyrocketed in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the tomato has increased.
One of the great shelters of world wine value is Portugal. Often over shadowed by Spain, France and Italy, this little country on the Western side of the Iberian peninsula offers some killer wines for under $10. Grao Vasco Dao 2012 is just one of those wines.
Price ~ $8.79
Score ~ 7.6/10 Over Delivers
A blend of classic Portuguese grapes (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrochiero), this wine is easy going and is simple, but simple in the best way, like how clarity of mind makes things simple. It has good fruit, is well balance and offers decent structure making it ideal for chicken, pasta, even steak or a roast of beef.
My favourite part is the velvety texture combined with dried and fresh fruit flavours while having just a kiss of rustic reality. I know this sounds odd, but it is like leaving the city for the cabin on the lake and how the cabin on the lake has its own rustic beauty.
Store Section: Portugal
Availability: Market Wide
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November 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Episode 5 – Link to Podcast
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
February 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Have you ever done this? Gone into the Liquor Store with a specific purpose like “Washington, red between $12-$16”, and come out with something completely different? That was me this past weekend. I thought I would get something ‘SuperBowl-ish’ from Washington State to show my support for the Seahawks (can you believe that last play call!?). I can’t say what grabbed my attention about this wine, maybe it was the packaging, maybe it was because it looked a little lonely being the only Portuguese wine in a sea of others. Perhaps it was the underdog and I always cheer for the underdog (yes, I’m a Canucks fan. To be one you have to cheer for the underdog).
As I got home doubt had crept in. It was Sunday night, special dinner, had I just wasted $14? How was I going to explain this to my wife and kids if I had. Oh my god what have I done!?
Finally, after a crappy end to the game, the moment of truth arrived.
Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is medium ruby red and the aromas feature plum, black cherry, just a hint of oak and spice. The palate is of medium weight, fresh, with just a touch of tannin or grip on the finish. Flavours of plum, cherry and some dried herbs. Not very complex for $14.99 hence the dead average rating.
Tasting Notes with Food: Being Super Bowl Sunday dinner was a mish mash of a number of things. There was some proscuitto, some English & Irish cheddar, Spinach Salad, and some leftover pork tenderloin. I tried the wine with each of the ‘tapas’ and I have to say the wine kind of cowered from the food. Given its ‘okay-ness’ as a sipping wine, I really hoping to see it shine through some more, at least with the pork tenderloin and cheese.
Value: This is an okay wine, but I think there are better values in the same price range. In fact if you want Portugal I would go after the Periquita for $9-$10.
Added Value: Given that the wine is a blend of only Portuguese grapes, this is a great wine for the Foodies or to explore. Although for $14.99 it didn’t blow me away, it is well made, there is varietal character and it would interesting for those looking to explore.
More To The Story: The verdict is that the wine was pretty average, thus I don’t feel that I threw my money away, I’m glad I had the experience, however like you I want more for my money, especially as the price of gas seems to be on the rise again.
One thing this wine did do that I have to give it credit for, it was able to transport me to a cafe in Porto that overlooks the Douro river and the many Port houses on the south bank. I saw myself sitting across from my wife on a pleasant late spring day. We were enjoying the sun on our faces, the pleasure of the moment that wrapped together the flavours of the olives, local cheeses, small plates of fish and meats, the view, the pace of the river and of course each other. For this I am greateful to the Grilos.
Score: 5.6 – Dead Average
Service: Pull the cork and let it breathe for 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Grapes: Touriga Nacional. Tinto Roriz, Joen
Store Section: Portugal
Available: BC Liquor Stores
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