VINTAGES Classics, May 2012 – Six “values” under $69

 VINTAGES Classics May 2012 

April 30, 2012

VINTAGES 

 

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/30/vintages-classics-may-2012-six-values-under-69/?postpost=v2#content

 

The bi-annual fine wine catalogue is “free to those that can afford it, very expensive to those that can‘t.” Have been burning the midnight must, wondering from which discretion inspiration will come, trying to forge a splurge decision on a $100+ icon. A Bouchard or Dublere Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru? Champy Mazis-Chambertin GC? Beaucastel Hommage or CDP Blanc? Messorio, Clos Mogador, Quintarelli Alzero? What about the Vérité Le’s and La’s? Head shake as if oscillating, eye-level hung boxing punch bag. Have now come to my senses. Presenting a shortlist of six under $69.

 

Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 (275735, $39) quiet, honest and of a certified sustainable winery represents the best fruit from prized vineyard sources situated around Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It has been said and may be true that early on some vintages at Rex Hill were more promise than delivery. Notes on the 2009 swing the pendulum in this outfit’s favour, “…just a lot of depth and flavor for the money,” “…loquacious and slightly acidic, yet well behaved” and “…focused, satiny and elegant.” Released at $48 US, prices hovered around the $30 mark last summer and if you were to find it now, the average price nets over$40 US.

Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2009

Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2009 (119081, $45) gumshoes while the iconic Littorai and Sea Smoke divert attention. Comfortably comparative, unrestrictive $10-15 tag versus our neighbours to the south. Make no mistake, this is deeply hued, 14.4% ABV Sonoma Pinot. Resides in that not yet greedy, none too precious wheelhouse once inhabited by Kosta Browne. Matthew Jukes says the Hobbs RRV owns an “…innate understanding of the celestial Pinot form.” The Scores are RP (92) , WS (91)JR-ST (90) and CT’s (91).

Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2009

Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2009

                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poderi Colla Roncaglie Barbaresco 2007 (715763, $49) totes Cru vineyard status and reminds me that Barbareschi offer some of the greatest $50 value. A tangerine site the Roncaglie, “she is my queen,” producing a shimmering wine with Nebbiolo country flourish. Galloni (94+) is joined by Kyle Phillips (**)Michael Franz (93)  and Monica Larner (91) on the butter pat.

Colla Roncaglie Barb 2007

Colla Roncaglie Barb 2007

 

Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Post Vineyard 2006 (261982, $65) will fill the “going to California with an aching in my heart” hole in my current wine voyage life. A hovering Zeppelin of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon replete with Left bank lead blown by Pacific winds over Diamond Mountain. Mr. Laube at WS (82) is the sole detracting critical voice so skim his dis off the bottom, along with the (96) hyperbole from W & S, from off the top. The middle ground notes black fruit, high, coarse tannins and a wooden depth of flavour. Priced and continuing to sell near the $75 US mark so a steal by VINTAGES, California standards. Here some more critical thought from WE (93), WN (92), RJ (91), Vinography (9-9.5) and the CT’s (91).

Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Post Vineyard 2006

Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Post Vineyard 2006

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Serena Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 (149583, $69) the highly clicked Sangiovese will clog the Classics queues. The (97) from Spectator guarantees a lottery effect. A child might ask, “what’s so special about this wine, what’s its magic?” If Brunello is your thing, you have to put in a ballot. Oh Serena, “when I come to lie in your arms, you should not treat me like a stranger.”

La Serena Brunello Di Montalcino 2006

La Serena Brunello Di Montalcino 2006

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delas Frères Domaine Des Tourettes Hermitage 2009(91652, $69) will be the singularly most requested wine of mortal value from this catalogue. Robert Parker rated it (98). Drop me a line if your ticket comes in.

Delas Frères Domaine Des Tourettes Hermitage 2009

Delas Frères Domaine Des Tourettes Hermitage 2009

Other Wines of Note:

LOUIS JADOT CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET LES DEMOISELLES GRAND CRU 2008 (261032, $399)

JOSEPH DROUHIN MONTRACHET MARQUIS DE LAGUICHE GRAND CRU 2007 (670323, $675)

DELAS FRÈRES LA LANDONNE CÔTE-RÔTIE 2009 (92197, $149)

DELAS FRÈRES LES BESSARDS HERMITAGE 2009 (92205, $149)

PAUL JABOULET AÎNÉ HERMITAGE LA CHAPELLE 2009 (973735, $255)

CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL HOMMAGE À JACQUES PERRIN CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2009 (985622, $325)

DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE CHAUPIN CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2009 (940379, $85)

CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL VIEILLES VIGNES CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANC 2009 (596098, $159)

PENFOLDS GRANGE 2006  (279695, $499)

 

 

Good to go!

 

 

Triassic Tasting at Pangaea

Pangaea Upstairs Dining Room

Pangaea Upstairs Dining Room

 April 24, 2012

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/27/triassic-tasting-at-pangaea/

Pangaea Restaurant, 1221 Bay Street, (416) 920-2323

Chef du Cuisine: Derek Bendig, Sommelier and Manager: Benjamin Hardy

 

The group of seven. Sorry. Not THE Group of Seven. This group of seven. Our new format is really taking shape. We no longer each bring wine from cellar to share. Now one leader, one cellar, nine wines. Plenty to share with Mr.’s Hardy, Bendig and crew. Seamless sally forth through five courses. Godspeed to Pangaea for an all out effort in syncopated rhythm. This tasting the high water mark (of the new era) to date, with no disrespect to what came before, but the senescence has reached the early stages of maturity. Laud and applaud to AZ for coordinating food and wine synergy. A coup de foudre from the get go.  

Nine Wine Night

Nine Wine Night

 

Amuse Bouche, radish ‘ravioli’ stuffed with chèvre, tomato, basil

Chef’s Creek (Fanny’s Bay, Vancouver Island) Oysters, on the half shell, horseradish, lemon, shallot mignonette

  1. Peninsula Ridge Fumé Blanc 2008 wants to be 1er Cru Chablis in my universe but sweats heat and spice, “green cardamom pod and roasted salsify,” adds AM. Nutty lemon custard and did someone say Boxwood? Not quite Sauvignon Blanc but PR brings out enough mineral to do this style proud up on the Bench.  88
  2. Domaine De Congy Cuvée Les Galfins Pouilly Fumé 2009 tasted blind is undoubtedly old world but the lack of grass and oak leads me to Muscadet. Wrong! Oh the marl and fossilized oysters of it all! More Sauvignon Blanc to confront my tasting demons. Solid, if not as cursive as the PR.  87

 

Ahi Tuna Tataki, seared tuna, blood orange and fennel salad, avocado pureé

  1. See Ya Later Ranch Brut NV strikes a match from the outset and never wavers. The other MG senses After Eights but for me that possibility is smothered by a leesy, cheesy lard maigre et fromage. Gismondi calls this BC bubbly “a Champagne ringer.” Not so much. Flat finish so s’ya later, “s’alright ma’, i’m only sighing.” Just tasting.  85

 

Intermezzo, grapefruit and tarragon flavoured ice

 

Quebec Duck Breast, pan-roasted, seasonal vegetables, potato rösti, game jus

  1. Fontanabianca Barbaresco Sori Burdin 2004 the blessed and confounded queen Nebbiolo is the totipotent master of the moment. Italianate yet without animale, rosy cheeked and impossibly elegant, it still manages to anesthetize the mouth. So pretty it hurts. Along with the Sori Paitin, easily the best value in Barbaresco. On this night my allegiance is to the queen.  92
  2. Renatto Ratti Barolo Marcenasco 2004 of the famiglie Pola e Ferro is polar as compared to the non of the Burdin. AM and D nose “car exhaust.” I am tricked by its charm and think New World Syrah, but am reminded that the colour lacks gloom. Hugely muscular, girded by plastron and decades ahead of itself. “Leave it open all night and it’ll be amazing” says Dr. C.  91
  3. D’arenberg Ironstone Pressings 2001 holds the title of GSM pop star of the Mclaren Vale. Eponymous iron filings and pressed fruit roll up. A mixed bag of Grenache, Syrah and Mataro, the IP’s warm, berry and balsamwood address is veiled by a touch of oxidation. “Stinky feet” corrects AM. Good integration of fruit, acidity and tannin present proper balance.  90
  4. Mas Doix Salanques 2006 is a revelation. A Pegau-esque perfume aux gasseuse leans Rhône but an amazing (65%) Garnacha sweetness veers Priorat. Iodine (Syrah and Carignan) of black slate soil, tar, smoked meat and bacon. A Parker and Galloni thesaurus of descriptors must be bequeathed on this candied (Merlot) wine loaded with acidity in magnums.  CVR** WOTN.  93

 

House Made Cheeses, goat camembert, blue haze, cloth bound cheddar, truffle tomme

  1. Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape 1998 would be my wine of choice walking a boulder strewn vineyard on a misty morning in the Southern Rhône. Expressions are hurled around the table, “candified Pinot nose” and “tutti frutti.” For Beaucastel? I can’t believe the tripartite fruit freshness, ambient funk immersion and pencil lead sharpness. This ’98 is “light as a feather, heavy as lead.” The Beaucastel will brighten up your tomorrow. WOTN  96
  2. Tablas Creek Espit de Beaucastel 2008 the worthy adversary is just a dude from California. A honey pot of stewed prunes and “Seville oranges” notes the quote machine. A sinkhole of 38% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 26% Syrah and 6% Cunoise, the Esprit does admirable expatriate yeoman’s work and I wouldn’t even think of marking it zero.  88
Tasting Table

Tasting Table

 

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR** – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

 

 

Good to go!

Eight Under $28 From The April 28th VINTAGES Release

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2012

VINTAGES

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/24/eight-under-28-from-the-april-28th-vintages-release/

 

Vinea Garganega 2010 (230656, $13.95) sugars great Veronese IVR* promise out of the Veneto. Hyperglycemic green-eyed lady bass line and Hammond organ finger roll plum and honey-dew in a state of barm loaf. Glycerin of Amaretto and snappy Salak. Sour apple martini with candy swizzle stick, “soothing every wave that comes.”  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canonica a Cerreto Chianti Classico Reserva 2007 (275867, $17.00) was surely not decanted from a straw flask into this sleek and marketable bottle. A precocious and gregarious ruffle of polish and cask modernity speak of the Cerreto’s new worldliness. Splashes of Cabernet and Merlot lean IGT and yet just enough Chianti brightness remains to keep it honest.  Scales (“never heard of him“) on the label are indicative of this balanced effort. Easy money.  88

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hogue Genesis Syrah 2009 (687822, $19.95) is a steadfast and decent wine so my exegesis begins at its central core. Black colour of a world still unformed. Heady like a stand of old growth forest; black oak, ash and walnut. B’reishit Washington Syrah where the bifurcation of quality and cost collide. Big wall of Syrah sound, perfect for headphones playing “no need to hide. Keep it dark.”  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Mâcon-Fuissé 2009 (264515, $19.95) the vibrant fresh maker, with crisp, apple taut fragrance and void of oak annoyance. Just a touch of baby fat and some mineral too. Well-balanced for under $20. Girardin’s (940825, $39) Santenay on this release is not to be missed.  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras 2009 (264663, $19.95) is as modern as it gets for the appellation, right down to “The Vac” label. Sweet Kirsch, lifted raspberry jam, soft, fleshy and forward. Has just enough funk to keep it real. Will have broad appeal and represents excellent Dogg value, if you like the plush style. Betcha Snoop drinks it.   89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leasingham Winemakers Selection Bin 61 Shiraz 2008 (448241, $24.95) the Kitty of Clare Valley is back in town. A loyal and trusted friend, reminiscent of the ’99. Burns no rubber and “goes runnin’ nightly, lightly through the jungle.” Less power, more strength. Less jam, more brakes. This Highway 61 should not be accused of having put its “bleachers out in the sun.”  90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saltram of Mamre Brook Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (48579, $24.95) may inexplicably enjoy cult status but for the money no other Barossa Cabernet can demand such respect. I would pay $25 for this over almost any $50+ peer within the appellation. Opulent, ruddy, bursting, pickled berries.  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isole E Olena Chainti Classico 2008 (704346, $26.95) the beguiler welcomes with cinnamon, cherry spice and award winning roses. Poised, confident, simply phenomenal CC issue. Delicious now and will be perfect in five.  Better than when tasted in November 2011.  91

TN from Nov. 29, 2011,“…a mouthful of black fruit, bourbon cask aromas, dark and stormy. The barque of a ship’s ocean misted, wooden planks and of a smoked beef rib. Hard lines but hard to resist. Bloody good CC but certainly not traditional.  89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Wines Tasted

Two Rivers of Marlborough Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (277707, $29.95) carries heavy alcohol bandwidth, tomato leaf pesto and band-aid across a frame of sweet lime concentrate. Hot for SB, over processed and heavy with silicone and collagen. Their will be superficial fans.  86

Chavet & Fils La Dame De Jacques Coeur Menetou-Salon Blanc 2010 (525048, $19.95) offers a rare VINTAGES sighting and would excite were it more Loire and less Marlborough. Salmagundi of pâté, gooseberry and kiwi, swathed by an alkaline grapefruit finish.  85

Torres Viña Esmerelda 2010 (113696, $13.95) zests halitious of ReaLemon and petroleum wax. Can’t help but hear the “smell of wine and cheap perfume” lyric played by a wedding band while the cast of Jersey Shore watch their drapery clad mothers put back the Esmeralda. Like Torrontoes with bad make-up. Won’t be tagging along on this Moscatel journey.  80

Colchester Ridge Crew Meritage 2007 (280990, $19.95) noses Ontario from the get go with burning campfire then wafts exotic towards Masala spice, brown derby dressing and horseradish root. Flavour of earth demi-glace, composted apple and black licorice.  84

Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (38075, $23.95) the “melody softly soaring through my atmosphere” is cute, sweet, lyrical and precocious. Gallo incarnate in the AlexanderValley. A death Cab for some but what’s not to like?  87

Stag’s Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (996405, $49.95) the model of consistency vintage to vintage and head to foot. Runs black cherry in its veins with nary a cut, scrape or bruise. Napa varietal profiling in its poised, beating heart.  89

Andrew Rich Cuvée B Pinot Noir 2008 (127043, $29.95) carries currant, candied pomegranate and the rocky crush of clove studded juniper berry. Well made, on the elegant side of Pinot life, even Burgundian if that can even be articulated.  88

Mendel Malbec 2009 (108225, $24.95) typifies Mendoza replete with old vines fruit adding canorous body. Infundibular midriff slows the smouldering, swelling berry pleasure. Crucial minerals carry red grape fluid away from the viscera and out of the body.  87

Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2009 (79798, $21.95) at the outset teases TCA, then VA. Paulliac nez of tabac et peau danimaux. That and a whack of new French Oak where vanilla, chocolate and coffee lambaste and pummel the senses.  NR

Majella Shiraz 2008 (269308, $29.95) is a vitrified, mined vine of depth and power but short on finesse. Heavy extract with a touch of soap and mired in the details of oak. “The wheels are spinning but the car, neutral.”  86

Esprit de Pavie 2008 (244020, $32.95) shows good spirit as it amalgamates 2nd wine fruit from iconic Pavie, Monbousquet, Clos L’eglise and St. Columbe. Spiced coffee cake and soft yet pretty purple fruit. Obdurate push back indicates three years of cellaring will help. Would have been a CVR** steal at $20-25.  89

Brancaia Tre 2009 (164715, $22.95) the SGM speaks of identity theft and lack of spirit. Once upon a Tuscan, now a global commodity playing on MOR radio stations. This bottling recently rushed to great success but there is now “a question of your honesty, yeah your honesty.” Sure it’s delicious but what’s with “all this machinery making modern music?”  Pair not with pasta asciuta normale87

StefanoAccordini Acinatico Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2009 (85159, $19.95) is pitchy for a valpo with splendiferous up front fruit. Cimmerian red plum joined by buff vanillan cocoa and velveteen in the mouth. So far so good but ultimately flaccid and void of oomph.  86

Allende 2006 (954560, $24.95) in extant cantillates oak, oak, oak. What happened to my Rioja? Tempered Tempranillo so no fear that it may seize. Pendulous and potent, well-mannered, ready to please. Go Condado de Haza over this for sure.  87

Perrin Réserve Rosé 2011 (719062, $15.95) is warm and balanced, all strawberry, all the time. Nutty for its ilk.  86

 

 

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR* – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

 

 

Good to go!

 

Bodegas Roda – Raven of Rioja

Mideastro Yorkville

Mideastro Yorkville

 April 17, 2012

Mideastro, 27 Yorkville Ave, 416.477.2427, Chef Benny Cohen

http://wp.me/p1N3EI-cvj

The Spanish Wine Society and Halpern Enterprises precipitated a four-course, eight-wine pairing by way of Chef Cohen and Bodegas Roda. Chef”s Italian/Israeli/Mediterranean inspired fusion holds food sacred to stimulate the brain. Plates as Modigliani canvas, sauces of the fruitful earth, proteins enriched deeply by herb and flora. Bodegas Roda matches the culinary caws with wines possessed of stunning clarity, consistency and the subtlest of variance from the lowly Sela through to Roda’s Unico challenger, the Cirison. For Agustín Santolaya, playing winemaker at Roda must be a dream, like Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Here his wines one through eight, including two from Ribera del Duero (Corimbo and Corimbo 1), all Malena Costa beauties of viscous, long-legged concentration. Barcelona FC’s Carles Puyol is likely drowning his sorrows in a Roda vertical after this past weekend’s crushing loss to Real Madrid and the fading memories of his one time, raven-haired, Mallorcan model girlfriend.

Loud shout out to Doble B, the Marxist (as in Brothers) Spanish Wine Society maestro Barry Brown for an afternoon tasting at the Yorkville eatery. Roda’s eight great were presented dissertation style by the Bodega’s Export Manager, Gonzalo Lainez. Later that evening by member’s invitation, in flights, as guest to my liege AZ for comida and comedia.

Bodegas Roda at Mideastro

Bodegas Roda at Mideastro

 

Confit Quail, watermelon, spinach, red onion, with a light touch of ruby grapefruit vinaigrette and wild oregano, dauro olive oil

  1. Sela 2009 ($34) the new kid on the Roda of Haro block combines Hibiscus spiced charcoal, tar and roses from 89% Tempranillo with sherry, scented, savoury caramel apples of 11% Graciano. Gracious me.  88
  2. Corimbo, La Horra 2010 ($41) of ever red catholic fruit and pine tar migrates to a spice of an exotic edge. Floral and radiant Riberan of indeterminate florescence. High tide of Caribbean funk and vanillin fudge.  100% Tempranillo.  89 

 

Roasted Veal Sirloin, three colour potato, vermouth porcini jus

  1. Roda Reserva 2006 ($56) aligns velveteen, well-rounded Garnacha with smokey Tempranillo and thoughtfully astringent Graciano. Adds up to a promising future because at present this may be the most backward wine of the lot.  Shut down line built for a long playoff run.  91
  2. Roda Reserva 2007 ($51) the pensieve of reductive tomato and juiced violets has the most tang for the buck. Flirts with the vermouth porcini jus at night and runs away with the veal.  90

 

Tempranillo Braised Lamb Cheek, pomegranate risotto, zucchini papardelle, aubocassa olive oil

  1. Roda 1 Reserva 2005 ($90) is a tale of two bottles. First one slightly oxidized, second absolutely stunning. Mr. Lainez’s commentary, “fruit must play a prominent role and the oak is supporting actor” is evidenced by this ’05. Acidity and freshness incarnate.  93
  2. Roda Reserva 1 2006 ($80) like its ’06 brethren exemplifies the anthropomorphic personification of the vines polymer. Sweeping tannins on the loose, hexagonal, hooked tongue and cheek. A local anaesthetic in the mouth, syrupy, needing carne 92
  3. Cirison 2009 ($292) according to Gonzalo is “the best wine we have ever made.” Impeccable balance, perfect polymer, fruity, smooth. “The ultimate Tempranillo,” says Roda man. Whereas the rest of the portfolio are rotating single vineyard entities, the Cirison is made from the best bunches of grapes from Roda’s holdings. Expensive, refined, delicious.  94

Assortment of Artisan Spanish Cheeses, manchego, picón, mahon

  1. Corimbo 1 2009 ($80) is sweet thistle pie. A cracker jack Tempranillo and nothing but Tempranillo. Candy coated with red licorice and an inexplicable apple flower sensation as if molecular gastronomy of the Ferran Adrià or Heston Blumenthal kind. Exotic and spicy, seeing through me, it “knows my name but calls me ginger.”   95

 

 

Good to go!

Wild Leek Week

Zatar Flank Steak, Wild Leek Pesto, Chard, Yu Choy, Asparagus, Artichoke and Ramps

Zatar Flank Steak, Wild Leek Pesto, Chard, Yu Choy, Asparagus, Artichoke and Ramps

Rampcake

April 20, 2012

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/21/wild-leek-week/

 

Leek week. All leeks, all the time. Every dish gets ramped up by the foot soldier, pugilist and grognard of the onion family. “As long as I was in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.” The Mickey Finn allium, orchestrating as purgative, nicitating and aiding the digestive tract. Light yet electric flavour that builds like a fist over a pond. “Gotta strange magic.” A Riesling and a Sauvignon Blanc to match.

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2010, Niagara Escarpment & Twenty Valley (89029, $17.95) mans fine architectural lines akin the house that Maury built. A nectarine and guava smoothie, creamy, satisfying. a handsomely hatched thirst quencher. The restaurant version “Echoes” is on the card at Barque87

Pascal Jolivet Sauvignon Blanc, Attitude 2010 ($20.95) may not be labeled as Sancerre but that it is. Speaks its mind from the get go, slinging zinging youthful lemon and lime flavours across the tongue like a summer slip and slide. Straightforward Loire SB, unabashed, direct, food-friendly. Premium list at Barque.  88

Ramped Brisket Tacos and Sliders

Ramped Brisket Tacos and Sliders

Roast Chicken, Beans and Wild Leeks

Golden Beets, Avocado, Pomegranate and Ramp Oil

 

 

Good to go!

Spring Scion Search Leads To Wild Leeks

Field of Dreams/Michael Godel

Field of Dreams/Michael Godel

 April 18, 2012

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/18/spring-scion-search-leads-to-wild-leeks/

 

The subdivisions and four-lane roads loom close by but down here on the forest floor you would never know it.  Protected land descendant and magical, handed down from generation to generation through noble and notable families. My search is for the scions of spring, young shoots rising up from the loam. The tender green army of accretion ramps through the humus. Hunching in the mulch, great care is taken to remove one Allium tricoccum here, one wild leek there. Feeling through the marl, separating bulb from root without disturbing the subterranean system. This is how I spend my morning.

Harvested Ramps

Harvested Ramps

In the afternoon claustrophobia while tasting through 30 producer’s wines at Austria Uncorked. The Trump Hotel’s 8th Floor zimmer is too small for this event. There must be 200 geeks standing shoulder to shoulder, grappling for space. Must make quick haste of the room. Here then three Austrian standouts to pour alongside the cooked wild onions.

Kurt Angerer Grüner Veltliner Spies 2010 ($22.95) deserves props on a day when Austria’s alpha white plays second fiddle to the more invigorating Rieslings. A Grüner of mellow, yellow body, mind and soul.  Stone fruit, electrical banana and wouldn’t it be refreshing to see this varietal “bound to be the very next craze.” Saffron, green wine speaking terriorilly of gravel, granite and loess.  88

Heinrich Blaufrankisch Leithaberg 2009 ($36.95) out of Burgenland is a spirited and sugilite-hued in the vein of top cru Gamay. Versatile and lithe, able to withstand peppery, cooked greens and the would be food kill of the bulbous lily. Lavender imbued, Blau acts as a verdant harbinger for dinner. Signature red of Austria possessive of an art film quality that speaks a languid foreign language.  90

Bründlmayer, Steinmassel Riesling 2006 (0120600, $29) from Kamptal is a racy, stone cold, sobering Riesling just beginning to lay off the gas. The petrol notes mixed with a leesy, citrus pang show off the peripatetic nature of the varietal.  The zen of the intelligent Bründlmayer machine.  91

Wild leeks as vegetable, condiment and relish. Here, last night’s preparations.

Cleaning the Ramps

Cleaning the Ramps

T-Bone Steak, Brisket Burgers and Fried Leeks

Cannelini Beans, Zatar and Wild Leeks

Cannelini Beans, Zatar and Wild Leeks

 

Tomorrow, Ramp Omelette and Wild Leek Pizza.

 

 

Good to go!

Titanic Rioja for Friday The 13th

Friday, April 13, 2012

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/13/titanic-rioja-for-friday-the-13th/?postpost=v2

 

That the calendar’s folklorique confluence should coincide with this weekend’s 100th anniversary of the tragic Titanic’s sinking does not bode well for the superstitious kind. If you are one of the many inflicted with paraskevidekatriaphobia then this may not be your favourite day. If you also suffer from oenophobia, I feel for you. My solution? A big, bad, traditional Rioja from the April 14th VINTAGES release for and with supper.

Modern Rioja has its place but rarely speaks of its place. Youngish versions (Crianza and Reserva) often display good balance, treble clef acidity and red cherry fruit but are too often heaped with drying qualities. A second glass is like the towing of  a dead barge. I prefer Chianti at this level. The Gran Reserva of Rioja is another animal.

 Bodegas Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890. This an outfit of the low and slow fashion. Tempranillo aged in oak barrels for many years before release. No bucking of tradition; stubborn, sure, old-school. Not since the 2001 release of the 1991 Montecillo Gran Reserva at $19 has VINTAGES procured a titanic, complex concentricity of traditional Rioja, vintage and price.

Bodegas Franco-Españolas Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2004(114454, $22.95) whiffs salve-scented snuff, “gets you hooked and trifles with your mind.” The spicy cereza blossoms and heads straight south to the heart, followed by a sexy, brown sugar, saxy, Bobby Keyes note. “I’m no schoolboy but I know what I like.” I wouldn’t hesitate to visit this every couple of years up to the age of 15. Much ado about this Rioja from Beppi Crosariol (93), JR-IWC (91), Gord Stimmel (91) and WE (90). A blend of 80% Tempranillo, 16% Grenache, 2% Mazuelo and 2% Graciano. Aged in American oak for 36 months. 13.5% abv. $22.75 at the SAQ.  90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good to go!

April Wine: Top VINTAGES Values to Buy Right Now

April 12, 2012

How many times have you found yourself standing in the LCBO dumbfounded and lost in ambient wine distraction? Do you feel knocked upside the Medulla Oblongata by a monopoly’s shelves bedecked by every race, creed and colour of wine known to Ontario kind? Don’t get caught on The Bad Side of The Moon. Have no fear. Head straight to the VINTAGES section and choose one of these great IVR* and CVR** top picks.

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/12/april-wine-top-vintages-values-to-buy-right-now/

 
REDS
 
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Pietro Marini Malbec 2008 (268045, $13.95) Argentina
Petra Zingari Toscana Igt 2008 (244228, $13.95) Italy
Michele Chiarlo ‘Le Orme’ Barbera D’asti Superiore 2009 (265413, $14.95) Italy
Bodega del Abad Dom Bueno Crianza 2001 (244699, $14.95) Spain
Taurino Riserva Salice Salentino 2008 (177527, $14.95) Italy
Domaine De La Janasse Côtes Du Rhône 2009 (705228, $15.95) France
 
VINTAGES April 14th Release
Jorio Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009 (134577, $13.95) Italy
Fabre Montmayou Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (261891, $14.95) Argentina
 
VINTAGES April 28th Release
Sister’s Run Epiphany Shiraz 2008 (269464, $15.95) Australia
Cannonica e Ceretto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 (275867, $17.00) Italy
 
 
ROSÉ
 
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Tawse Sketches of Ontario Rosé 2011 (172643, $15.95) Ontario
 
 
SPARKLING
 
Current in VINTAGES STORES
Louis Bouillot Perle D’ivoire Brut Blancs De Blancs (48801, $18.95) France
 
 
WHITES
 
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Fielding Estate Chardonnay Unoaked 2008 (164491, $13.95) Ontario
Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2011 (080234, $16.95) Ontario
Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2007 (114777, $17.95) Germany
Marimar Estate La Masía Don Miguel Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 (270090, $19.95) California
 
VINTAGES April 14th Release
Michael Delhommeau Cuvee Harmonie Muscadet De Sevre-et-Maine 2010 (164624, $12.95) France
L’Uvaggio Di Giacomo Vermentino 2009 (279281, $15.95) California
Tyrell’s Brookdale Semillon 2011 (269316, $19.95) Australia
 
VINTAGES April 28th Release
Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Mâcon-Fuissé 2009 (264515, $19.95) France
 

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR* – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

 

 

Live Wine Chat on canada.com

April 12, 2012

Join in Today at 2:00 pm ET as I chat online about wine. I will be joined by Ruth Dunley (PostMedia), Rod Phillips (Ottawa Citizen), James Nevison (HALFAGLASS) and Gurvinder Bhatia (Vinomania)

http://www.canada.com/news/Live+Chat+wine+experts/6427822/story.html

We will be discussing wine media. Do you read wine reviews or make purchases based on what wine critics write … should you? 

 

 

 

Good to go!

Shinny Video, Sidney Crosby and the NHL Playoffs

April 10, 2012 

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/10/shinny-hockey-sidney-crosby-and-the-nhl-playoffs/

 

City permit expires, mercurial ice melts, close of shinny season. Beer break, break from beer. Hockey void temporarily filled if only in a heteroclite dream of narrative embroidery. For one weekend in April a miraculous, synergistic trinity. Enmity gauged exodus out of Pharaoh’s desert, the heavenly ascension and an inexplicable blast out of the pine straw at Augusta National. The Paschal Flame, Burning Bush and Amen Corner of Jesus, Moses and Bubba now in the rear view mirror. Attention diverts to round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The most exciting two weeks in sports television. 

At what twain do Shinny and the NHL meet? Does the amateur Thursday night skater dream of scoring the big goal to send his team to the second round? No. But does he wonder what wine to open when Crosby, Malkin and Fleury face the big bad Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night? Mr. Crosby has been accused of the whine and dive and having a little “punk in him.” Meanwhile, watch here as shinny guy goes five-hole on a Pinot and a CdP.

http://youtu.be/oM9EL32yg-4

 

3630 Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County 2007 may just be the Barnyard Wine Company’s last red. Whites only going forward. No mistaking the lackey to Volnay. Medaille, metallica and silica. Enter Pinot Sandman. Turn the page and despite the nettles and bitter herb of oppression gone biblical on the buds, the black cherry fruit is cheery. Strong bones transition firm and fighting towards wizard chess end game checkmate.  87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 turns water into wine in a presentation of varietal ephemera. The La Crau plateau galets impart a puckish, stony and smokey cinnamon sensation upon the raspberry-scented fruit. Defends its terrior with Vezina and Norris ability despite costing well below the league average. Has a good five years left in its stride.  92

 

 

 

Good to go!

KP Duty – Kosher For Passover Wines

April 4, 2012

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/04/kp-duty-kosher-for-passover-wines/

 

Lent? Forget about it. 12-day cleanses? Whatever. Try cooking with and having to eat nothing but Matzo, eggs and oil for eight days. To a Jew, Matzo is irresistible, consumed with über, hoover fervor and it leads to an awful syndrome. Matzo Belly.

(1998) Dry Bones cartoon: Passover,  Pessach,  Pesah, Holiday, Shuldig, Yom Kippur, over eating, over weight, dieting

Once a year due diligence calls so the apron goes on. Passover cooking is a science and an art unto itself. It is my form of penitence, tortuous, a culinary desert, horrific like a Fear Factor episode. Charred eggs, Haroseth, Chopped Liver, Kugel, Farfel Stuffing and desserts made with Cake Meal and Matzo Meal. My worst nightmare!

Recommending wines that are Kosher for Passover used to be similarly daunting but the field has certainly improved. Here five choices to get you through four cups, four questions, gamey gefilte and that wafer thin bread that tastes like forty year-old crackers. Be sure to click on the LCBO inventory links because the wines are only available in limited quantities and in specific stores.

 

ADAR DE ELVIWINES CAVA BRUT KP  (56737, $15.95) and its touch of residual sweetness will aid in the transition from a no beer, no scotch cocktail hour through to the traditional boiled potatoes and salt water. Why not go sparkling for Pesach?

HAFNER GRÜNER VELTLINER KP 2009 (157511, $12.95) is a newbie as far as Kosher for Passover is concerned. Touch of honey and upper level acidity is the key to this food and wallet-friendly Austrian white.

FIVE STONES SAUVIGNON BLANC KPM 2010 (218065, $23.95) may also be Meshuval but this Aussie SB is dry and worth the extra bucks. Beckett’s Flat is the producer of this aromatic beauty.

ELLA VALLEY VINEYARDS EVER RED KP 2007 (687897, $23.95) delivers the goods when the brisket comes to the Seder table. Ella Valley is Israel’s most consistent Kosher producer at a level most can afford. Their straight Merlot is their best but costs $10 more than this Bordeaux Blend.

GALIL MOUNTAIN YIRON KP 2006 (95075, $33.95) is the clear winner in VINTAGES Kosher choices for 2012. Tannins resolved, fruit still shining like the Galilee sun, Cabernet and Merlot lifted by the addition of Syrah.

 

 

 

Good to Go!