Archive for December 29th, 2016

December 29, 2016

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +04/10, 2013


First off, God how I hate Laughing Stock labels.  They suck.  They are infantile, cryptic, ridiculously over-designed, and stupidly difficult to decipher.  They are not like the simple, straightforward title to this blog post.  No.  In the wine store the label would read LFNG 2013 +04/10 with various degrees of various types in tiny font sizes crawling all over the bottle like some BFA grad got his/her first gig for a vintner and came up with originality plus.  The professionals defer on design—but design is marketing and marketing is market share and market share is why there are professionals reviewers.


Second, the reigning graphic king of the 20th century was Raymond Loewy. I think if he saw the LFNG labels he’d not over roll over in his grave, he’d vomit, he’d roil, he’d heave, he’d wave a white hanky.  I mean they really are that bad, that pretentious, that inane.  I love Loewy.  No one comes close.  LFNG needs to look at Loewy, his decades of accomplishment, take a deep breath, sing the Sesame Street song (“one of these things is not like the other”) and revisit the whole marketing scheme.  Scam.

Perhaps Raymond's finest hour...

Perhaps Raymond’s finest hour…


OK, that out of the way, yes the wine is great. The heavyweight bottles come out “in the season” and this is a “no regrets” brilliant BC red. Check out all the reviews; there is no bad review, there is no wrong review.  Is it worth the price?  (And I mean worth the price compared to Spain or Chile or South Africa?)  No.  It’s really really really wonderful wine that is too expensive.


We found this blend (Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Malbec & Petit Verdot) poignant.  Like a heartfelt work of art.  Not like Vermeer, something so exquisite it’s puzzling, something you can’t figure out, not like Caravaggio, something so breathtaking and audacious you can’t believe it was even painted in its day.  It’s more like Stanley Spencer.  Sir Stanley Spencer: Christ in Cookham.  Striking, pointed, contextual, clever, but not, say, Ridge, not Caymus.


There is a sensational, toxic, extemporaneous finish, and that was our favorite part.  The long, glorious finish.


But like all art, you’ll have to decide what suits your taste, your style, your budget.


Price: $45 before the extras at the vineyard, around $50 before tax at YVR private wine stores, so it will take a bite out of your wallet.


Market Liquidity: Even if you could afford an Old Master, would you buy one?


December 29, 2016

Two White Riojas: Acustic Celler Montsant & Altos Rioja Blanco


Acustic Celler Montsant, 2013

You could cut this with a knife; a thick and meaty white, minerally to the point of an old oil can, spirited citrus and nuanced wood that is more mushroom and moss than wood shavings.  We found the juicy, stony assertiveness of this very masculine white something to write home about.  A white Rioja blend (Macabeo and Garnacha) which is a tad out of the ordinary.  From a region just outside of Priorat that I’m totally unfamiliar with.  A little touch of seasonal novelty: Fresh, unexpected, invigorating. Stood up to and conquered a vegetarian saffron dish: Well done!


Altos Rioja Blanco, 2014

A little simple; citrus forward, lemon, lime, grapefruit pith, with a sweet and weighted tropical note.  Uber refreshing and a perfect pair with any number of rich shellfish or cheesy starter type dishes.  With a cheese and bacon quiche it worked a charm.  If you were “introducing” white Rioja to someone this might be the gateway wine.


The thing is this: White Rioja has so much to offer, but it simply can’t compete with Burgundy or New World Sauv Blanc; it doesn’t hold a candle to Riesling; it bows down and is trammeled by Alsace.  And yet, and yet, it is ridiculously food friendly and deserves a place at the table.  If you are bored with predictability, this will enliven your cellar.  (And, get this: Many bottles of white Rioja age a treat.)


Most white Rioja is Viura; the Altos is blended with Malvasia giving it a nice prune-ish edge.  The Acustic abandons Viura for something novel.  Both win in their way.


Price: The Altos you can find at private stores in YVR for as little $20 before extras; the Acustic, harder to find, will run you about seven dollars more.


Market Liquidity: Refresh your palate; there’s more to life than Chardonnay.