April 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
Spring is here. We have enjoyed a phenomenal week of sunshine and temperatures around 20C. As the season changes so do our behaviours. Our behaviours when it comes to consumption and what our day to day looks like.
Typically when sun is out we stay up later, get up earlier and start to eat fresher foods and do more grilling. Today’s show is all about wines for a ‘Spring’ lifestyle.
Segment 1 ~ Is Wine A Part of A Healthy Lifestyle?
I maybe a little biased but I believe that it is. There are reams of studies suggesting moderate consumption is actually healthier than abstinence and certainly healthier than heavy consumption. But what does moderate consumption mean? The answer to this question is the sticking point.
In North America 1 glass of wine a day for the average person (height & weight), whereas in Denmark moderate consumption is considered 4-5 glasses a day. My belief is that this points to the fact that science hasn’t been able to separate wine consumption from other elements of a culture’s lifestyle.
I do love the stories about the 110 year old Greek man or Italian woman who swears up and down that drinking 4-5 bottles of wine a day is the secret to a long life. I suspect that the truth is not just in the quantity but in the process.
Consider that in Greece and Italy most of the food is without preservatives. Also consider that lunch and dinner are integral to the culture, communal and done slowly over hours. In contrast, North America is famous for a ‘quick’ bite at the desk or shoving some food in prior to taking the kids to ballet/soccer/hockey class.
I believe that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a smile, exercise, clean food and a pace that allows one to consider the beauty of the people, surroundings and food they are enjoying at the moment.
Quick Note on Vintages
This is an exciting time of year for us dorks as the new vintages of whites and rosés from the Northern Hemisphere, and all from the Southern Hemisphere are starting to appear. What makes this spring so exciting is because it sees the arrival of the 2015 vintage. The world over this vintage is said to be one of the best. Some of the wines below may have transitioned already.
Segment 2 ~ Red Wines For Spring
In spring we tend to get out of the kitchen and on the BBQ and that typically means more grilled meats, salads and fruits. To that end here are some red wines that pair well with Spring because they are a little light in body, are a little brighter on the palate and offer fresh fruit flavours instead of stewed or cooked fruit flavours.
Borsao 2014 Garnacha – $15, Grenache, Spanish Section of the Store and available in both public and private stores (2014 review to follow, click here to see 2013 review).
Ermelinda Monte da Baia 2014 – $12, Castelao-Touriga Nacional-Syrah, Portuguese section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).
Cono Sur Bicicleta 2014 Pinot Noir – $14, Pinot Noir, Chilean section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).
Segment 3 ~ White Wines For Spring
Halibut season is upon us and just around the corner is Spot Prawn season. Anyway you look at Spring means more fish in our diets along with more fruits and vegetables. Here are some white wines under $20 that are brilliant with Spring fare.
Campogrande 2014 Orvieto – $17 Trebbiano, Italian section of the store, and only available in private stores (click here to see review).
Lindemans Bin 65 2015 Chardonnay – $13 Chardonnay, Australian section of the store, available in both public and private stores (click here for review).
Aveleda 2014 Vinho Verde – $17, Loureiro-Trajadura-Arinto, Portuguese section of the store and only available in private stores (2014 review to follow; click here for 2013 review).
Segment 4 ~ Rosé Wines for Spring
Did you know that Rosé is the fastest growing category between red, white and pink wines. It is a category that is finally coming into its own and truly provides the flavour essence of Spring.
Mocojo Long Stem 2014 Rosé – $18, Pinot Meunier-Pinot Noir, BC section of the store and available only in private stores (click here to see review).
Quill 2014 Rosé – $18, Gamay Noir, Vancouver Island section of the store and available only in private stores. (click here to see review).
Cazes de L’Ostal 2015 Rosé – $15, Grenache, French section of the store and available mostly in public stores right now (click here to see review).
Best Buy of the Week – Ermelinda Monte da Baia – see above for detail and click here to see the review.
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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.
May 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
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
Grapes: Sangiovese, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.
Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine
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PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.
March 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Seductive, tantric, beguiling, these are words I usually use for the wines of the Langhe region (same goes for Barolo and Barbaresco). With visions of sultry seduction I happily purchased this wine made by the Batasiolo winery.
My eyes grew wide as I twisted the corkscrew into the pliant cork. The long cork slowly broke free of its glass bonds. It took every inch of will not to seek immediate pleasure and pour myself a glass. I could hear the wine slosh deliciously as it poured forth… but no, I had to wait if I wanted to taste and enjoy the wine at its climax.
I put the bottle aside and waited for 30min. The wait was made easier by getting the update on the day from my wife and kids, but then moment finally came where dinner was served, and I could put my whole being into the sensory enjoyment of this wine.
I have to say that the wine did not fulfil my expectations. It is a blend of 3 grapes that can make some incredible wines on their own and it seems that together they served to mute their greatness instead of coming together to make something mind-blowing. It was kind of like the anticipation I had for the Canuck season when they had Messier, Mogilny, and Bure and we all know how that worked out.
Don’t get me wrong, the wine is solid and good, but does it deliver more value considering its price? Unfortunately this wine is fairly priced and thus is a Good Drop.
Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is dark purple with deep crimson edges. The nose is muted and somewhat confused. I was looking for the wonderful perfume of Nebbiolo or the bright juicy fruit aromas of Barbera. There were little bits of each, but they weren’t immediately present. The palate is rich and full and shows layers of complexity right from the start through the finish. Flavours of ripe plum, red berries, dried herbs and savoury spices glide across the palate and lead to medium length finish.
Tasting Notes with Food: I had gone to the store to find a wine that would work well with the Spaghetti Bolognese, what better choice than one from the Langhe region. The wine worked well with the meal as it did not shy from the richness of the sauce. The texture of the wine is what made this pairing work best.
Value: This is a good wine and I would suggest this as good introduction to the wines of the Langhe region. However if you are looking for something to blow your mind for the price… this isn’t it.
Added Value: This wine has added value as an Exploration Wine, BBQ wines, as a Foodie Wine and as a pairing for Comfort Foods.
Service: Let breathe for 30-45 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Grapes: Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo
Store Section: Italy
Available: BC Liquor Stores
February 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
From the ranks of the hard to find beauties comes the Buon Tempo Rosso di Montalcino. I dare say that this blog won’t be reviewing too many Rosso di Montalcino’s as most of them start around the $30. In fact this is the first in my 25 years in the game here in BC that is priced under $20 and it is a true treat.
About a year ago you would have been able to find this in many of Vancouver’s and Victoria’s finer wine shops, and it was gobbled up very quickly. Fortunately I stumbled upon a few bottles that were gracing the shelves of the Cascadia Colwood store (I think there was a total of 13 bottles left after my purchase). As I bid farewell to the very pleasant cashier my mouth began to water with anticipation. Would it be as awesome as I remembered it? Afterall it was a child of the incredible 2010 vintage. How could I go wrong?
Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is a deep rusty crimson and the nose is wonderfully expressive. Aromas of ripe cherries and raspberries, savoury spices like sage and a beautiful perfume of purple flowers such as violets. The palate is rich, vivacious and luxurious showing why the wines of Montalcino are in such hot demand. Flavours of cherry, plum and spice unfold as if blossoming on the palate. The finish is long, velvety and rich in flavour and spice.
Tasting Notes with Food: I had this with grilled chicken thighs that were spiced with Greek Spice and the pairing was a delight mostly because the wine was so good. Wines like this have such finesse and grace that they rarely over power a meal and are almost never overshadowed by the dish. The fruit and spice flavours came alive and my palate was kept fresh and wanting of the next bite.
Value: Given the rare nature of this wine I would highly recommend making this your choice this week (last week of Feb. 2015). I would forestall all others and enjoy this wine.
Added Value: This wine shows added value as a Foodie Wine, a great choice for a Date Night and is awesome for Comfort Foods. For those not familiar with the wines of Montalcino but have always wanted to try here is your chance to Explore this great region.
Score: 9.4 – Best Buy
Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for at least 45 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times.
Store Section: Italy
Available: Cascadia Liquor Stores (Colwood for sure, call the others to see if they have stock).
February 17, 2015 § 1 Comment
What happens when you come across a wine that you really enjoy but can’t seem to find anywhere. This is such a wine. It was given to me by someone who knows I have a passion for weeding through the thousands of skus on the under $20 market, to find remarkable wines for the money. They thought that this wine would get a pretty good rating and, yes it will. The quality of the wine is not the problem. The value for money is not the problem. The problem is that I can’t seem to find a store that carries it. If you are reading this, have a favourite local store, please ask them to bring the Gandia 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon in, then let me know and I will go down and buy some.
Tasting Notes Sipping: Deep crimson in colour with very complex aromas for the price. Red berries, cassis, dark chocolate, savoury spices, and just a kiss of licorice root. The palate is of mid-weight and the texture is round and velvety. The flavours echoed the nose yet the dark chocolate morphed into more of a mocha sensation. This finish shows polish and is of medium length. The tannins are soft and sweet which makes this an awesome sipping Cab.
Tasting Notes with Food: Typically Cabernet Sauvignon screams out steak or roasted red meat. This wine shows a little more softness and restraint so it is a better match for Pork Tenderloin, Pork Chop or Grilled chicken or Turkey. I had this with chicken thighs roasted in the oven with simple spices of salt and pepper and it worked beautifully. Anything heavier and it might have gotten lost.
Value: Again this is not your run of the mill competitor for a big California or Australian Cabernet Sauvignon. It represents great value for the money and I think you will really enjoy it, however of you are a lover of the Cabernets mentioned above this is likely an Exploration purchase. If on the other hand, you typically drink red blends of Southern France or Central Italy, this would be a great trade… at least to check it out.
Added Value: This wine shows added value for a Date Night, Movie Night and even for the Foodies.
More To The Story: Wine from this area of Spain (Utiel-Requena) has been enjoyed since the 7th century BC and has escaped Moorish prohibition and the scourge of phyloxxera which devastated most of the rest of Europe in the decades following 1868. Nestled just inland from Valencia Spain this D.O. has a broad range of grapes grown and shares a very similar climate to that of eastern Washington State and parts of northern California (long, dry hot summers, cold winters), which accounts for the finesse of the wine.
Score: 8.6 – Over Delivers (could have scored higher, however I’m estimating the price. If the retail price turns out to be $16.99 it would have gotten a higher score. If $15.99 then a Best Buy.)
Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
Store Section: Spain
Available: In very limited distribution. Check with smaller specialty private stores.
January 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here we go, the top 3 scoring wines of the week, and what a week it was. Glorious weather and a lot of fun seeing how the wines fared with the meals of the week. To be clear there was no attempt to pair the wines with the meals as the meals were just the usual fare.
You can click on the link and go directly to the full review. In this post, under each of the top scorers I have included an excerpt from the review.
By the way The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at my email.
Top Scorer: Artesa 2010 Rioja Crianza
Score: 9.1 Best Buy
Excerpt: “I’m not sure if there is a better value in the Spanish section. Sadly this wine only seems to be available in a very few stores. I would easily put down the Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza at $19.99 for the Artesa. As for trade ups I would happily move up from entry level $12-$14 California Cabernets and Merlots for this wine. Caveat: If you are looking for a big powerful fruit explosion, this is not your wine.”
Score: 8.9 Over Delivers
Excerpt: “If you are a fan of Chianti Classico or Sangiovese based wines in general, this is a keeper. I have chosen this over straight up Chianti at $16/$17 many times. I have even put down some Chianti Classico at $20 for this wine as it is in limited supply and really, really enjoyable. The depth and character of this wine is a good starting point for anyone looking to dip their toe into the pool of European wines. It’s just a small step from $13-$17 California or Aussie wines into this wine and the enjoyment is truly there.”
Score: 8.6 Over Delivers
Excerpt: “There are thousands of Pinot Grigio’s in stores these days. After tasting many they divide themselves into two groups- Marketing & Classic. The ones in the marketing group are those trying to take advantage of the popularity of the name Pinot Grigio. Those in the classic range are those that share classic Pinot Grigio aromas and flavours. The Montalto Pinot Grigio falls into the Classic group and certainly Over Delivers for the price.”
I would to hear your comments, especially if you have found one the reviewed wines at a store that I have not listed. If you let m know I will update the post and will forever be in your debt. Otherwise let me know what you think… feedback no matter the nature is makes the blog better.
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