Archive for October, 2014

October 16, 2014

Qupé Roussanne, 2010

From the cellar: For Thanksgiving I thought an interesting white was in order. Braised pork shoulder in leeks, carrots, onions, dried apricots. This would have been Riesling’s time to shine but my cellar is not so well-stocked. We had a gifted prestigious Rhone varietal from the always interesting Qupé.

045

A lot to ponder: Pronounced minerality and citrus (grapefruit, lemon, pith), Chinese gooseberries, layered in a not completely harmonious balance, then followed by a woody, herbaceous finish. A ludicrously long finish, soft and elegant with none of the pungency on the attack. Finally, on the palate, an uneven lingering intensity, like the air in damp woods. Probably a major accomplishment for a major-general varietal, but there was something strident and cryptic in this wine that, ultimately, left us wanting. The pork however, ooh-la-la.

 

Price: Gifted but online $40 at the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Karl Popper was brilliant but impenetrable in print.

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October 16, 2014

La Frenz Montage, 2011

The last Montage we had was a 2008 I found tucked away in the “cellar.” Nectar from the gods; so nice I reviewed it twice. To say the expectations were high for a more recent vintage was the understatement of our holiday weekend. The 11 did not sustain the affair. Sad to say, we have gone our separate ways. It drank simpler, harsher, and with a sour note that was food unfriendly, even with braised vegetables, mild cheese and cured meats. Truthfully, we would have been better off with their always reliable Chardonnay.

084

La Frenz is a non-VQA winery that is worth at least a case, year after year, and rarely disappoints. Although not every bottle is stellar they are almost always satisfying, which, pretty much, is all the average person is looking for in a wine. I don’t want to rain on the parade, but in a way it kind of saddened us to have a bomb.

 

Price: From the vineyard, $22.

 

Market Liquidity: It was swell while it lasted.

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October 16, 2014

Valenciso Reserva, 2007

In a trio of Tempranillo’s we quaffed a few weeks back this took the prize. True, the Moraqona La Duna was better value, but this had an astounding wow factor that really lends itself to impressing guests. Deep, dark, ruby red, with luscious notes of spice (cinnamon, mace), cherry, the smell of an old wood cabin. Light with the fruit, dark with the tannins. Sheer pleasure. Although I will tell you one thing: It wasn’t as food friendly as the $17 La Duna. Funny. But rather than belabor the superlatives, if you need some fireworks for the holiday season, and don’t mind parting with double what I like to spend on a bottle, get a case. Or two.

rioja

Price: An unfortunate $40 but readily available at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Delectable.

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October 2, 2014

Ribera del Duero, Ninin, 2009

342

What a huge disappointment. A big pointer with the Robert Parker crowd (92 points to be exact) this is exactly the sort of wine that critics say the Robert Parker crowd loves and which lead to copycat wines which leads to a world full of monotonous Robert Parker 92 point wines. From the get go, has all the predictability and dusty mechanical boredom of a bus and truck production of A Chorus Line in its second decade. Fruit? Check. Pepper? Check. Oak? Check and check and check. Over 14 per cent alcohol? Do you need to even effing ask? It’s the Wine Advocate agenda. Sweet? Jesus, this could be Aunt Jemima syrup.

 

Something more memorable...

Something more memorable…

All we could think of was Charlie Chaplin getting sucked into a factory cog in Modern Times. Sucked into the monstrous system. Every single vineyard that nods to this pointster coup by imitating the Ninin is doing the wine world a disservice. We tend to love Spain, but love has its limits. This drinks really well, no, it drinks really easy, but it will linger in your memory like that episode of The Brady Bunch where Greg gets stuck in the butcher’s fridge. Could you care any less?

 

I am, of course, in the minority. The masses lap this up. Go online and see the myriad likes, loves and lauds.  So shoot me.

 

Price: A remarkably affordable $23.95 at the LLBO in Toronto.

 

Market Liquidity: Great old editorial cartoon: Dog sniffing a fire hydrant. Caption: Been there, done that.

October 2, 2014

Vega Moragona La Duna, Tempranillo, 2010

A little piquant and not in a good way. And that, my friends, is me scraping the barrel for something critical. Who can complain at this price point? This evocative Tempranillo is an astonishingly good value. Amazingly good value. $17 at the Ontario liquor store. Wonders never cease.

059

Big, broad, brash. Fruity, smoky, elegant. A weird clash of good and bad wine words the pros use. So little to complain about, so much to enjoy. Absolutely lovely. Did I mention $3 change for a $20? Unheard of in BC.

 

Price: $16.95 in Toronto at LLBO stores.

 

Market Liquidity: Mr. Ford: Better than crack. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)