Canadians were warned that we would see some “harsh bites” this winter and while the attack has thus far been quite benign, there are signs that the worst is yet to come. The predictions were kind to Western Canada but not so for the east. The Atlantic provinces have already been subject to some harsh conditions and Ontario, well, no big deal thus far.
Earlier this week my lighthearted attempt to cheer up a few million cold and flu stricken Canadians certainly struck a chord. Thank you all for sharing. For those of you that prefer red wine to cozy up to on these bone-chilling nights, this one’s for you.
Here are six warm-bodied reds to look for this coming weekend.
The grape: Dolcetto
The history: The Gamay of Italy, from Piedmont in the Northwest
The lowdown: Boasso turns out a Dolcetto serious to its appellation not unlike how great examples from Morgon or Côte De Puy are to Beaujolais
The food match: Mexican beef brisket and winter squash chili
Boasso Meriame Dolcetto D’Alba 2011 (303461, $15.95) also reminds me of young Tempranillo from Montsant. This one acts like jam-dusty confiture, not sweet but fruit forward. Not typically plum and sour cherry searing and even a touch funky. Like Cru Beaujolais there is further extraction and earth-resonant, secondary characteristics. 88
The grape: Malbec
The history: Cahors in the south of France makes the most pitchy Malbec on the planet
The lowdown: New world Malbec from an old world setting
The food match: Roast Sirloin Tip Roast Sliders, ciabatta roll, horseradish mustard
Clos Troteligotte Kor Malbec (299982, $16.95) is indeed a troglodyte, at least in colour and its’ caveman, musty odour, in an alpha male kind of way. Smoking cedar boughs, mint splinters, sweet, CDP Kirsch and blackberry smells lead to a very ripe, then dusty and chalky totality. Good bones, fine lines, great label. 89
The grape: Shiraz
The history: From the winery of founders Allan Jackson and Don Triggs, who established the winery in 1993
The lowdown: Winemaker Marco Piccoli embraces the generous ’10 vintage to craft a serious Shiraz
The food match: Smoked Lamb Sausages, roast garlic smashed potatoes
Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Shiraz 2010 (317941, $19.95) impresses in pitch, kick and fleetness of foot. A middle of a moonless night depth allows for a keen sense of smell, of charred and roasted meat. Plays as much by Aussie rules as by a Canadian 110 yard thing and is very much Shiraz, as opposed to Syrah. Runs deep routes into red zones down under. 89
The grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
The history: From the “House of Momi,” legend Momi dea Bionda and the three Italians, including winemaker Dario de Conti, who is also in-house chef
The lowdown: Who isn’t weary of inexpensive Napa Cabernet? This one avoids cliché; the winemaking is honest, unencumbered and not masked by heavy oak
The food match: Grilled Beef Tenderloin Medallions, caramelized onion, brussels sprouts leaves
Ca’Momi Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (315002, $22.95) over does nothing, accomplishes everything. Napa berries lean blue out of a dry and dusty entry. The film is vanilla, not chocolate, the middle earth a bit rusty and rustic. At 13.9% abv the heat is so acceptable, the edges rounded and soft. The length lingers on. Perhaps you’re on one of those no-Cab diets? If you have balance in your life, why wouldn’t you buy this? 90
The grape: Tempranillo
The history: A re-release of a wine I referred to last April as “Titanic Rioja“
The lowdown: A blend of 80% Tempranillo, 16% Grenache, 2% Mazuelo and 2% Graciano. Aged in American oak for 36 months. 13.5% abv.
The food match: Chicken Hashweh with Vegetable Stuffing
Bodegas Franco-Españolas Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2004 (114454, $22.95) is still classic Rioja. Smouldering cherry smoke now, deft wood touch. handled with care. Old school but user-friendly. My previous note: “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.” $22.75 at the SAQ. 90
The grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot
The history: Marc Pages and son control this estate that dates back to the 16th Century
The lowdown: This is as good a “tier-two” level Left Banker as you are likely to find to peek into the mysterious world of top-vintage, look 10 years into the future Bordeaux
The food match: Butternut Squash Agnolotti w/ Brown Butter, Sage & Pecorino
Château La Tour De By 2009 (189233, $28.85) is firm, taut and gripped by grainy, chalky tannin. Quite pitchy and stormy for Médoc. Not offering much at this stage but it is structured from top to bottom and shows tons of potential. Awaiting the emergence of the fruit will require patience, but I think it’s there. 90
Good to go!