Posts tagged ‘Wine Advocate’

June 15, 2017

Yangarra McLaren Vale Grenache, 2014

Below expectations: Complex and intense and concentrated. 91 points (Wine Advocate).  I think that was on the sticker with the price tag in BC Liquor where it was marked down a notch to about $32 before extras.  The word concentration is wine review speak for heavy, as in dense on the palate like cheap port, and not always pleasant.  Think of the way concord grape juice sticks to the tongue.  The residual sweetness is not approachable, it’s assertive and, depending on whether you’re tasting or eating and drinking, it’s overdone (tasting, just odd when eating).  There is a sting of the spice drawer, a mix of clove and cinnamon, which to us was uneven but lovely on the nose.  Is it drinkable?  Is it a sipper, food friendly, delectable?  Yes, yes and yes.  And while it drank like velvet it seemed to lack the novelty and curiosity of many Spanish Garnachas (which you can source at a lower cost).

 

Price: Regularly available around $35 depending where you shop.

 

Market Liquidity: It passes muster.

February 24, 2017

Di Majo Norante Ramitello, 2012

di-majo-norante-ramitello-2012

This opens up nicely with pronounced bittersweet chocolate and sour cherry.  Light notes of candied violets.  The final push, a raspberry soda with a woodsy note, is soft and not overwhelming.  Silken on the palate.  Drinks like a well tailored suit.

 

Over at RA’s Wine Advocate, Monica Larner referred to it as having a sophisticated international style and being “exciting value” from southern Italy.  It is all that and then some.  While we couldn’t quite get the 91 points of the whole enterprise we do say this: BC churns out a wine like this there are seven “very limited” cases at $80 a bottle.  I exaggerate, but you get my drift.  At this price point BC vineyards are selling their “base model” reds that are often bitter and lesser and forgettable.  Plus, why not try something from Abruzzi-Molise?

 

Price: Regularly a very respectable $24 at BC Liquor, on sale currently at $22.50 but, and I must rub your nose in this, only $19 in Ontario.  We really are the oppressed state Ms. Christy Clark.

 

Market Liquidity: You’d be hard pressed to serve this at dinner and not please the lot.

January 24, 2017

Conceito Douro Superior, 2013

conceito-douro-superior-2013-front

I found it very hard to wrap my mind around this.  It was an intriguing if perhaps confounding white, with peaks like the butterscotch of Chardonnay but some valleys with the coarse citrus bite of a mediocre Sauvignon Blanc, and, in the middle, an earthiness reminiscent of Hunter Valley Sem.  All the complexity left me somewhat baffled, as if it had an identity but was in denial or masquerading as something else.

 

The professionals are gaga over this bottle.   95 points said the sticker at BCL.  “Impressive, powerful, rich, dense.”  I guess it is all those things.  So is a heavyweight champ.  So is El Chapo.  So is, it seems, half the politicians on the planet.  That doesn’t make the words explain what the wine’s identity is.  And, for us, we were left at sea.  Was it brilliant or parody?  Mark Squires in the WA wrote that it seemed a little unevolved.  That, I think, is extremely precise.

 

Price: Friggin’ expensive.  Like a whole lot of money.  I refuse to fess up.

 

Market Liquidity: When you see Amadeus on the stage you have to believe the actor playing Salieri, believe him when he’s old, believe him when he’s young, believe the transformation is plausible, and if you don’t, if you’re unsure, then the whole enterprise fails.

conceito-douro-superior-2013-back

September 26, 2016

Zenato Amarone Valpolicella Classico, 2006

a-zenato-amarone-valpolicella-classico-2006

From the cellar: Spectacularly good.  Ludicrously alcoholic.

 

If you are a disciple of the Revered One, aka Mr Parker, then you’ll know how it goes with his points, the higher the points the more alike the wines seem to be.  In fact, so many decades into drinking his selections, it’s as though he has a nose for only one type of red.  And this, you might say, typifies his passion.

 

Fruity fruit fruit, juicy plummy soft and jammy ripe, cedar shavings with a hint of clove and the aroma of your spice cabinet, so smooth it could be fondant, luxurious on the tongue, but with a faint and fading finish, a minor let down.  It drinks so beautifully it was sinful to do anything but sip.  Very, very slowly.

 

What’s brilliant about this wine is that all too often we end up drinking young, inconsequential Valpolicella, with pizza or pasta, but the artistry in this bottle puts the plonk to shame.  Ten years on and I could have left it lying down for another ten.  A real treat.

b-zenato-amarone-valpolicella-classico-2006

Having said all that, there is a catch.  There’s always a catch.  What’s the catch?  It’s a tad alcoholic.  Oh, of course.  With 95 points from the Wine Advocate, it will be at least 14 per cent.  At least.  Is it more?  Yes.  Guess.  14.5 per cent?  More.  15 per cent?  More.  15.5 per cent?  More.  Not 16 per cent?  No. Not 16 per cent.  It is, wait for it, 16.5 per cent.  16.5 friggin’ per cent!

 

Price: When it was purchased or exactly where I don’t know but I did save a blurb noting it was discounted from $60 to $50, and this would have been back when taxes were included.  I might have even picked it up in Toronto as the LCBO carried it; for a wine of this calibre great value, especially for those inclined to get very drunk very quickly.

 

Market Liquidity: So, basically, fortified wine…

c-zenato-amarone-valpolicella-classico-2006

July 26, 2016

TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec, 2012

TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec, 2012

92 points.  Seriously?  Someone is losing their marbles.

 

Price: $32.50 at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: An easy to drink red.

June 1, 2015

New York Times Stinging Critique of Robert Parker’s Wine Dominance

Welcome.  I am “An Extreme and Useless Movement.”  And proud of it.

 

89 Points and loving it

89 Points and loving it

“If ripe wines are considered good, many California producers reasoned, those made from grapes brought to the brink of desiccation, to the peak of ripeness (or even a bit beyond), should taste even better. That logical leap has created a new American vernacular for wine, a dense, opaque fruitiness well suited to a nation of Pepsi drinkers.”

 

That is one of my favorite quotes from a rather explosive piece in the Sunday New York Times Magazine yesterday. If you missed it, here is a link, but here are some other great quotes:

 

“Are the best wines the equivalent of Hollywood blockbusters or art-house films? And who gets to decide?”

 

“Ten wines, deemed perfect or near-perfect by Wine Advocate reviewers and validated by Parker’s palate, were poured for some 500 attendees in a room with the majesty of a Gothic cathedral. Despite the absence of food of any kind, not even the crackers or bread often served at such functions to neutralize the flavor of one wine before another is sampled, those attending paid the equivalent of $700 to taste them.”

 

The article went on at length to talk about diversity in wine growing techniques, that “marginal” group that likes wine with food (as opposed to a dais) and the idea that there is more than one wine palate in the world.

 

And here they quote Parker’s rebuttal, which is sad, desperate, defensive and a little pathetic:

 

“After 35 years I had thought there was no longer room for revisionist history, outright distortion, deception and clever scams… The jihadist movements of non-sulphured wines, green, under-ripe wines, low alcohol, insipid stuff promoted by the anti-pleasure police and neo-anti-alcohol proponents has run its course as another extreme and useless movement few care about.”

 

This blog isn’t deliberately political nor is it ever meant to be didactic. We don’t hate Parker, he’s rather brilliant, what we hate is the point system and how the point system has nothing to do with how millions of people enjoy wine, to say nothing of how the point system is more about points than wine, and how Parker steadfastly refuses to understand that concept. Those concepts.  We enjoy wine with food and the 89 points of one bottle may be ten times better than the 90 points he accords to another. Plus, as Hugh Johnson has noted, what sort of cretin creates a point system that begins at 84 and ends (most of the time) at 94? Alternatively, we don’t love the new wine zealots; they look in some way just like an alternative Parker. But we do love much of their message, particularly the abandonment of sameness, of the over-bearing predominance of high alcohol and of virtually all high pointers fitting a pre-determined expectation. But most of all, we LOVE being labelled as just another extreme and useless movement.

 

http://www.extremeanduselessmovement.com–not reserved yet. Get in while the going is good.

October 2, 2014

Ribera del Duero, Ninin, 2009

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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.