Archive for ‘Red Wine’

March 27, 2020

Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja, 2001

Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja, 2001

It’s the end of the world as we know it.  Better make the best of it.

 

Was this better than the 2006 we so eagerly sipped over the holidays?  No.  It wasn’t.  The 2006 was better.  Was the 2001 good?  Oh, Jesus, Joseph and Mary: Heavenly.

 

This was as warm and cozy as lolling on a [faux] bearskin in front of the fire, I see movies set in the Alps with fondue on the table and apres-ski soft core sex.  Deeply satisfying.  Lovely.  But, I should add, it just wasn’t quite as hardcore, as explosive, as the 2006.  Despite the price.

 

So there you go. Two delectable poisons, both superb, just one finished .01 hundredths of a second later and takes silver.

 

Price: Expensive.  Like over $60 before tax.  But you know what?  It’s the end of the world as we know it.

 

Market Liquidity: If you have any liquidity left in the market, buy wine.

March 27, 2020

Domaine Ollier Taillefer Faugeres, 2015 and Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, Crozes Hermitage, 2016

Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, Crozes Hermitage, 2016Domaine Ollier Taillefer Faugeres, 2015

We’ve been drinking a lot of “hot review” wines lately and coming up short.  Two today for example.

 

Both these wines are 90 pointsters and neither lived up to our anticipated hype.  The Faugeres had no breadth, it’s decent, palatable, mildly interesting; herby, wet earth, dry. The tannins simply clashed outright with a simple chicken dinner. The Crozes Hermitage must have legs; it has hints of greatness but you never know.  Gismondi said it had a twist of garrigue (that’s acceptable to write in the Saturday paper; the NYT is equally cryptic on Saturday, we expect having to use Google to decipher), and suggested three to five years.  Yes; three minimum.  We went looking for it because he quoted the price at $27, but it was in fact $30 before tax.  We saw the merit in two or three of the Chapoutier in the cellar; the Ollier seemed better off in the late afternoon sun in the Languedoc.

 

Price: $33 and $30 at BC Liquor and, occasionally, at Marquis.  The Chapoutier is regularly available at Kits Wine Cellar; feel the braille label.

 

Market Liquidity: Win some, lose some.

March 27, 2020

Altesino Rosso di Montalcino, 2016

Altesino Rosso di Montalcino, 2016

Reviewers love this wine.  We were mildly satisfied.  Out of the bottle it has no new world charm; it needs a minimum of 20 minutes decanted to bloom—and then it rewards.  Decanted or even aerated, whatever you’ve got.  More subtle than the Vajra we’ve been addicted to of late, the smoky, earthy, coolness of it with just tinges of berry and plum, come on lovely.  Not a long finish.  It might have legs, and we have a few laid down to find out, but for food friendliness and to please company, you’d actually be better off with something like the Celestiale.  It was a slog to source, then of course we wanted to try it out to see if it fit our palate, then  a double slog to find it again to lie some down.  Work equals force times distance and there was too much of it all; thanks BCL.  I think Gismondi referenced it as a lesser Brunello which, I think, is disingenuous.

 

Price: $29 at BC Liquor (when and if you can find it).

 

Market Liquidity: Well worth it, but not worth the effort to source.

February 25, 2020

Vaglio Chango Red Blend, 2015

Vaglio Chango Red Blend, 2015

From the cellar: Miracle in Mendoza. An Argentinian red blend that Gismondi recommended to lie down.  So we did.

 

It took a while to open (from sharp to warm and fuzzy in about 20 minutes) but was delectable with some air.  Not sure it had anywhere further to go, but as of now, five years in, muted tannins, soothing woodsy oak, and prominent herby notes melded with dark fruits. Lots of texture, the Malbec countered by Tannat and Cab Sauv. Puts the lush in, er, lush.

 

It lacked the diversity and kapow of the vintage Rioja we were gifted over Christmas but it was gorgeous nonetheless.

 

We lay down but one and this is no longer in the BC Liquor catalogue.  So it goes.

 

Price: $23.50 at BC Liquor in 2018.

 

Market Liquidity: Suave and debonair like a David Niven anecdote.

February 21, 2020

GD Vajra Langhe Rosso, 2017

GD Vajra Langhe Rosso, 2017

If you go below the base Nebbiolo, which we really liked (see here), if you go down, down, down beneath that to the Barbera, which quite frankly we love, so incredibly generous at the dinner table, if you go right down to the screw cap, you will end up at the Rosso.

 

And here, at the bottom of the barrel, a base model blend, you will have a juicy, fruity, slightly acidic and maybe a tad thin red, that is overflowing in simple joy.  Put on Beethoven’s Ninth and dance around the room with a glass.  Or just have dinner with it.  We couldn’t see the downside, especially in the US where you can score it for an unfrigging-believable $14 USD.

 

Can you hear my lips smacking?

 

Price: Around $30 at private wine shops in Vancouver.

 

Market Liquidity: Sharon Stone wearing Gap to the Oscars: It’s no Versace, but it does the trick.

February 21, 2020

Tightrope Shiraz, 2016

Tightrope Shiraz 2016

Gismondi liked it.  I think a lot, so we got a bottle. And it was beyond a pass.  Just totally forgettable.  But we bought another bottle a few weeks later.  Props to our local producers, right?  And the second time round it was fine.  You know, a half decent red.  It was easy to drink but unremarkable, flavorful but not pronounced, a tad too flowery for us, for Shiraz/Syrah, without some redeeming finish, by which I don’t mean half baked but I do mean comme ci comme ca.

 

Price: Well if you score it at Save-On, and buy enough for the discount, you can come out around $30 before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: You know that Oscar Wilde line, If I put on music no one will hear it, if I don’t everyone will?  Sort of like that.

February 21, 2020

Errazuriz Aconagua Costa Syrah, 2016

Errazuriz Aconagua Costa Syrah, 2016

Oh James Suckling.  How mediocre does a wine have to be to score less than 93 points?  Crikey.

 

This perfectly palatable and in many ways lovely red is on the simple side; an authentic 93 point Shiraz is the Torbreck, reviewed here.  This subtle contender is just that, a contender. And not even a Brando On the Waterfront wannabe.

 

Yeast, light maraschino and tart berry, a crisp and inelegant finish, not long on the palate.  It’s certainly no dud but it’s bantam weight at best.  But, hey, like Lizzo says, let’s be body positive.

 

Price: All in at Firefly $35.

 

Market Liquidity: You will drink it, you will probably like it, and you will forget it.  Pffft.

January 8, 2020

Jean-Luc Baldes Clos Triguedina ‘Probus’, Cahors, 2005

Jean-Luc Baldes Clos Triguedina Probus, Cahors, 2005

From the cellar: And I thought Ginger Rogers had legs.  Yowza.

 

The first thing to remark upon is this is definitely a Malbec.  The second thing to say is this is definitely a Malbec.  However, and this is probably why wine drinkers like wine, this is absolutely not the coarse, crude or edgy new world Malbec we’ve come to expect at BC Liquor stores.  This was velvet.  This was a Liberace cape.  This was satin sheets in The Godfather.

 

Dark, dark dark, like it has a non-photosynthetic metabolic pathway to be a living thing without light.  Prune plum and chocolate, a hint of mint on the finish.  Believe it or not, 15 years in, light tannins; although it was our opinion this bottle had nowhere to go, it was peak ready.

 

Remarkable.  And then some.

 

Price: No idea.  I was lovingly gifted a cellar pick.  More recent vintages can be found in BC Liquor for the best part of a C-note.

 

Market Liquidity: As Futurama’s Hubert J. Farnsworth might put it with his contradictory catchphrases, “Good news everybody, a simple Cahors.  Wait, this is not a simple Cahors at all!”

 

January 5, 2020

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

I think Anthony Gismondi said that Cab Sauv drinkers should navigate towards Nebbiolo.  That was a Doh! moment for me; of course they should–why I’ve never said that myself is a conundrum…  I think, however, the acidity and tannins are not so similar, and while the average California Cab Sauv is “remarkable” from first sip, the average Nebbiolo is a wait and see and, if decent, an ooh-la-la.

 

This is a red that opens up.  There is no James Bond caper on the first sip; it’s more of a subtle start, Arvo Part minimal leading to a Handel’s Fireworks halfway through.  This is a two-bottle wine; at the last sip you will simply want some more.

 

There is a lot to be grateful for here in the New Year that you can still source a wine of this calibre (IN BC, at the BC government stores) for under $30.  When we started this blog x-teen years ago the bar was $20.  Tax has done us in on that score.

 

Although not as 100% food friendly as the Vajra Barbera we’ve waxed on about here previously, or as assertively Italian as the Vajra Nebbiolo, the Langhe is value, comfort, balances the acidity delicately and has a lighter, more Pinot-ish flair than the Vajra.

 

Price: $29 at BC Liquor stores.

 

Market Liquidity: The ultimate fireside winter sipper.

January 4, 2020

Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz, 2017

Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz, 2017

Another gift from Santa.  I must have been a very good boy in 2019.

 

We are doubly familiar with the less expensive Grenache-Shiraz, easy to source, easy to drink, although have never bothered to post a review.  The Woodcutter’s Shiraz, a top 100 2019 wine over at the Wine Spectator (with the 93 point bottle neck seal to prove it…) is harder to find, more expensive, and like our recent post on vintage Rioja, worth every last penny vis-a-vis the prohibitive cost of BC “flagship” reds.

 

The colour is charcoal, the flavour notes teeter on a broad spectrum, between tar (meaning dark and mysterious, woodsy) and cherry jubilee (meaning fruity and rich, creamy, velvet).  The 15% alcohol is I suppose par for the course, certainly over at the Spectator, but this lovely sipper is not top heavy.  There is a faint whisker of syrup in the richness, however the layered flavour notes never cease to surprise.  Halfway though you may come across a palate tangent of cedar frond.  A most impressive gift wine.

 

Price: Gifted, but around $38 at BC Liquor, here and there.

 

Market Liquidity: Delectable, if a tad decadent for us.