Uncorked-Wine and Spirits Appreciation

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icemachine
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Postby icemachine » Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:03 am

I think there is some world class Ontario Reds, but you won't necessarily find them in the LCBO. My favourite red has to be Vignoble Rancourt's 2004 Meritage, a blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon and Merlot. Its $24/bottle and only available from the winery. They have a range of reds, all very nice but the Meritage is my favourite. Chateau des Charmes is another Ontario winery with some great reds that do not get LCBO releases.
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Postby Belgian » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:54 am

Great point Icemachine, though I wonder how many guys here want to travel to a winery if they are getting a basic orientation of the world's great wine styles! Might be fun though.

Some Ontario Reds are so small-production, because for the particular grape variety & wine quality level the winery can't pump out the sheer hectoliters of juice required to make LCBO listing minimums. Fair or unfair, there it is. Some of these wineries are still represented in other wines at stores, though.

Tthere are a few good limited-release Meritage (Bordeaux-style) cuvées, and even a few decent Pinot Noirs - with very small case counts.

Malivoire is one winemaker that has both store listings and special winery releases. I enjoyed the Pnoit Noir.
http://www.malivoire.com/ourwine.shtml

The special edition Pinot looks fairly serious, Burgundian... half a case for about $230.00, reasonable. I like thay they imported Burgundy region barrels for aging!
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Postby dutchcanuck » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:23 pm

Actually, I would have no problem traveling to a winery, if they sell their product by the bottle. I live in St. Catharines and I own a car, so I have easy access to all the local wineries. Its the one great aspect of living in Niagara that I have never taken advantage of.
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Postby dutchcanuck » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:54 pm

Steelback,
Well I took your suggestion and I bought a bottle of the Perez Cruz and it was pretty good. However, I think I need to go to some wine tasting classes or something because it tasted like every other bottle of red wine I can remember drinking. I guess I'm ignorant to what I am supposed to be looking for or understand what I tasting.
Can anyone think of a wine that really represents a style that I can kind of point a finger at and say "Ah Ha...that is a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon." Especially a bottle that has a distinctive or trademark taste or nose.
I apologize if I sound like an idiot, but I am trying to understand people's fascination with this beverage.
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:24 pm

dutchcanuck wrote:Steelback,
Well I took your suggestion and I bought a bottle of the Perez Cruz and it was pretty good. However, I think I need to go to some wine tasting classes or something because it tasted like every other bottle of red wine I can remember drinking. I guess I'm ignorant to what I am supposed to be looking for or understand what I tasting.
Can anyone think of a wine that really represents a style that I can kind of point a finger at and say "Ah Ha...that is a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon." Especially a bottle that has a distinctive or trademark taste or nose.
I apologize if I sound like an idiot, but I am trying to understand people's fascination with this beverage.



I am happy you picked it up, and even more happy that you liked it. Its one of those wines that I recommend to a lot of people. When I say a lot, well its over 100 by now. I've had several of those customers swing by the store just to tell me how much they liked it, and to thank me.
Its a pretty hefty warm climate cab.
I had mentioned some flavours and aromas that a good cab should have earlier in the thread. That is only a guideline. Some of the cabs you try might have none of those, or they might be quite subtle. I find cool climate cabs tend to aim more towards softer fruitier expressions, while the warm climate ones have a lot of that cigar box/cedar and dark fruit component. I prefer the latter, and I find it easier to pick out the flavours and aromas in varietals grown in warm climates. The key is balance and complexity, and ultimately finding this in a good value wine is important. A good value wine in my mind is $20 and under, although it is relative. If you find a nice Amarone for under $40, well that's a damn steal.

But the price of the Perez Cruz cab is reasonable, and exhibits a lot of solid cab qualities that you'd generally pay more for. Belgian had mentioned the Spanish Torres as well. It's excellent stuff as well. Very tasty.

I think you just need to start drinking wine more often. The reason you find that red wine tastes like "red wine" is because you don't know what to look for. But I bet you'd know a good Abbey Tripel if you had one. Reason being, you know what to look for.

Do some reading, find a wine writer that matches your tastes, and buy and drink lots of wine. I have one glass every single day.
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Postby Belgian » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:45 am

dutchcanuck wrote:Steelback,
Well I took your suggestion and I bought a bottle of the Perez Cruz and it was pretty good. However, I think I need to go to some wine tasting classes or something because it tasted like every other bottle of red wine I can remember drinking. I guess I'm ignorant to what I am supposed to be looking for or understand what I tasting.
Can anyone think of a wine that really represents a style that I can kind of point a finger at and say "Ah Ha...that is a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon." Especially a bottle that has a distinctive or trademark taste or nose.
I apologize if I sound like an idiot, but I am trying to understand people's fascination with this beverage.


Q was directed at Steel, but I will echo the general reply that your taste becomes LESS general as you find (and enjoy) specific examples of this or that red. You begin to differentiate, esp with good examples. You must take a plunge and try a lot of wines at least once!
If you want to know Cab Blends better, you might try a half-dozen lower-priced Bordeaux (Cru Bourgeois around 20-25 bucks) to get an indication of 'classic' use of Cab Sauv and Merlot. From there, you have a reference to Chilean wines that mirror the historic French style yet cost 1/3 to 1/2 less. See the pattern? You just need to dive right in and do the research, read the online reviews (before you uncork), and take a few chances now and then.

It's just a new skill you can sharpen and develop. You will have certain "Aha!" moments that gravitate your interest towards a certain grape or geography. Yes - as your question impies - some specific wines do have a much more distinct personality, whereas others really blend into the faceless crowd of 'any old red wine' - this is basically true, and it's the wine-maker who crafts the grape into the wine he markets as either a proud "character wine" or a simplified "crowd-pleaser."

Long ago a GF gave me a GREAT book - "Wine For Dummies" is one of the most fun, practical 'starter kits' to get a grasp on the world of wine. Buy it, borrow it or sign it out - reading this book will shed light.
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Postby dutchcanuck » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:00 pm

Belgian thanks for some helpful information. I may just walk down to my local chapters and pick up a copy of that 'Dummies Guide'. I would like to appreciate the subtleties of the wine since I understand that 'terroir' is an important part of wine appreciation. I guess I just feel as if I am trying to learn kung-fu without a kung-fu master to teach me.

But I'm stubborn and this is only the first of many bottles of wine which I will indulge in. I'm just fascinated about the history of wine and the important part it has played in western culture. As a result I want to understand what it is people see in this beverage.

I don't mind taking chances, however, I cannot afford to crack open 6 bottles for a single tasting. This is why I'm open to recommendations of wines that would help learn styles and add to my understanding. I have started reading wine reviews because I am interested in what experts have to say and as a result I have a couple of wines on my list. However, I'm always interested to hear what the bartowel crowd has to say.
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:13 pm

It's great to see you enthused about wine. It truly is a gift from the gods. But so is beer. I like them equally and at different times.

One thing I really look forward to in the warmer coming up is a lovely little wine called Vhino Verde. Portuguese "green wine" or young wine.
This is a wine from the north of Portugal, and while they do come from many varietals, I like the white vhino verde, which is about 9-10% alcohol, very floral, and high in natural acidity. They also have a bit of natural carbonation. I like to add an ice cube to a glass of this in a tumbler and serve with seafood or cucumber and feta salad.
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Postby Belgian » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:28 am

dutchcanuck wrote:
I guess I just feel as if I am trying to learn kung-fu without a kung-fu master to teach me.

I don't mind taking chances, however, I cannot afford to crack open 6 bottles for a single tasting.



Me either... but why do that? You can however try a handful of affordable (Bordeaux or whatever) one at a time over several weeks and still learn something (especially if you make a brief note with name & what you liked!)

As far as needing a 'kung fu master' the truth is: wine is just a beverage you should naturally enjoy, not some big esoteric thing. Sure, there ARE wine courses and training programs etc. But you still can learn a lot from books, weblogs, online reviews, and talking with people... and experimenting on your own.

The DUMMIES guide offers starter tips on 'how to serve, taste and smell' which is great. Very unpretentious.

VINTAGES employees often have great free advice and personal tasting notes - they might steer you away from one inappropriate wine and towards something more to your liking. (I usually go with my gut in any case.)
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:23 pm

A Portuguese red of recent recommendation from a customer was Foral 2007, at $9.00 or so. This is a blend made up of Tinta Roriz and Touriga. I dont't buy Portuguese wine often, and when I do it is not red.

This is not very good. Overly earthy and the dryness sucks out the ability to have nice layers of flavour. Its mildly fruity, but all I really get is earth and young berries.

I haven't really had a single Portuguese red that I have enjoyed, with the exception of Port. I guess they just dont appeal to me.
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Postby Belgian » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:05 pm

SteelbackGuy wrote:A Portuguese red of recent recommendation from a customer was Foral 2007, at $9.00 or so. This is a blend made up of Tinta Roriz and Touriga. I dont't buy Portuguese wine often, and when I do it is not red.


I agree with you on that, Portu-reds can be a little too 'rustic' and weirdly idiosyncratic for me. That's why the Crasto Douro 2006 was quite a surprise - it is likely a trend for smart vintners to emulate the more popular French/Italian/Spanish winemaking styles (and in this comparison the style & quality level is everything, not the grape.) The Crasto gave me some faith in things to come:

Tinta Roriz = Tempranillo, the grape comprising 50% of this progressive Douro Valley wine that reminds me a little of powerful Spanish reds. Imparts a spiciness over the deep ripe-cherry tones.

Drinks very well in its youth, 15 bucks, scored a rare 91 - # 81588 whenever it comes back...
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Postby Belgian » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:23 pm

1) Anybody tried MYSTERIO Malbec yet? Cheap wine or simply junk? I did not care for FUZION.

2) Domaine Duthel 2007 MORGON - too subtle for me, barely worth 21 bucks when cheaper Gamays from Villages appellations (or Chiroubles, Julienás or Cotes-De-Brouilly) seem much more lively and interesting Beauj.

3) Chateau de Rhodes GAILLAC - can't wait to try Gaillac again, as this region has lesser-known French blends incorporating the Duras grape (and in this case Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauv.) 104901 16.95 Vintages
http://www.vintages.com/circular/2/finewines.html
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:37 pm

Belgian wrote:1) Anybody tried MYSTERIO Malbec yet? Cheap wine or simply junk? I did not care for FUZION.

2) Domaine Duthel 2007 MORGON - too subtle for me, barely worth 21 bucks when cheaper Gamays from Villages appellations (or Chiroubles, Julienás or Cotes-De-Brouilly) seem much more lively and interesting Beauj.

3) Chateau de Rhodes GAILLAC - can't wait to try Gaillac again, as this region has lesser-known French blends incorporating the Duras grape (and in this case Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauv.) 104901 16.95 Vintages
http://www.vintages.com/circular/2/finewines.html



I've had the Mysterio. For $7.95, it is a decent Malbec for sure. Beats the hell out of the unbalanced Fuzion that everyone is going crazy for.
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Postby Belgian » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:35 pm

Belgian wrote:3) Chateau de Rhodes GAILLAC - 104901 16.95 Vintages
http://www.vintages.com/circular/2/finewines.html


Hey this is a great 2003 Gaillac. Slightly grippy dry tannins, good dimensions of fruit, nice acidity - bold enough yet delicate. Wow... tasty stuff!
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:19 am

Last night I sampled the newest bottling of Fuzion Shiraz Malbec. It's not as good as last years by far. Really harsh, no balance, can't really get any of the malbec qualities out of it, maybe a bit of the green pepper flavour. This seems like one of those $9.00 sugar bomb Aussie Reds more than anything else. Avoid.
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