If you have spent some quality time with @mgodello you will know by now that he is not shy to champion rosés, especially Ontario’s ambient, rich pinks and the savoury, dry versions from the south of France. Valentine’s Day is traditionally a magnet for blush and fizz but it is my wine imperative to think outside the bottle.
The wines I will be seeking out this coming Thursday will need to be possessive of verve, show the sufferings of slings and arrows and display an irresistible, animal attraction. My advice is to just say no to pink. This year, you gotta be cruel to be wine for Valentine’s.
The grape: Chenin Blanc
The history: From winemaker Charl du Plessis and the 1997 Charles Back founded Swartland winery
The lowdown: Predominantly Chenin Blanc from a 34-year-old vineyard on the Rheeboksfontein farm blessed by just a kiss of oak-aging
The food match: Crab and Hearts of Palm Gratin
Spice Route Chenin Blanc 2011 (174623, $16.95) of oxy/petrol, almond/vanilla extract and nutty, molasses/honey is a veritable reeking pantry. Not for the weak or meek, only South African Chenin Blanc smells like this. A complex, drawn out affair, land specific, desensitizing to the mouth. I wasn’t so sure at first but a second attempt attacks my emotions and reels me in. 89 @SpiceRouteZA
The grape: Riesling
The history: Sourced from three separate vineyard blocks within two vineyards, Richie Roberts went cold, cold, cold on this Riesling’s behind, in fermentation and stabilization
The lowdown: Early picked fruit, self-promoted as a “crowd pleaser” but it is so much more than that
The food match: County General Two Way Fried Chicken, hoisin bbq, mint, thai basil, coriander, green onion, avocado, sesame and steamed buns
Fielding Estate Riesling 2011 (251439, $18.95) jumps out like a thunder crack with an instant emergence of gassy soda, lime and stone fruit. The citrus remains in attack mode and “her brains they rattle and her bones they shake.” Does the “jump back jack” and dances all around in the mouth, on the tongue and down the hatch. Very long persistence, almost glycerin in texture which for NP Riesling is simply awesome. 90 @FieldingWinery @RichieWine
The grape: Nebbiolo
The history: From the hillside of Monforte d’Alba, Località Ornati in Piedmont, Italy
The lowdown: It really does not get much more modern than this but Nebbiolo of this quality for $22? AYFKM?
The food match: Red Beans and Rice Soup with Andouille Sausage
Tenuta Rocca Ornati Langhe 2006 (309369, $21.95, SAQ, 11599320, $23.15) is serious Piemontese juice for nothing less than a miracle of quantification. Perfumed like a starlet and of an extraction the colour of modern Hermitage. Verve and ragu guts, confident in bold espresso, tempered chocolate and holds an acidity to pair with anything. There isn’t a pasta on earth I wouldn’t drink this with. The question is, who are you and would you drink this kind of wine? In the nick of time for Valentines, “Cruel to be kind, means that I love you baby.” Emphatic yes. 91
The grape: Merlot
The history: From Wismer Estate vineyards on the 20 Mile Bench
The lowdown: Has improved so dramatically in just three months I am serving a self-imposed penance for my earlier mini-dis
The food match: Balsamic Baby Back Ribs With Truffled Baked Potatoes
Rosewood Estates Merlot 2010 (211896, $22.00) has evolved way past “enjoyable if unremarkable.” Continues to show a reductive note in the form of vanilla and maple syrup, no honey actually, but all signs point to further excellence. High quality chocolate spiked by cherry, orange and a peppery, nasal tickle open up beautifully and expressively towards the dusty, berry main event. Knock your baby’s socks off with this double-stuffed Oreo and let the night unfold. 89 @Rosewoodwine
Good to go!