Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cheapo Night

8 bucks. Red Wine. One litre bottle. 13% alcohol. Sounds too good to be true? Well, this ain't no Chateau Petrus, but the Bodegas de Nobella, vino de mesa, NV, from Yecla in Spain sure is a bargain. Really not expecting much, I sometimes buy these el cheapo wines on a whim just to see.... This one is faintly fruity on the nose, light bodied but strawberrish and really not unpleasant at all on the palate. Quite short, but what do you want for 8 bucks? I give this a solid "OK", you could bring it to a casual (non-dinner) party no problem. Wouldn't drink it on a saturday night, though. For value, gets a solid "can't beat it for the money", just don't get carried away thinking this is a grand wine - remember how you much you paid for it!!


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bush Wine, continued

The Spanish "Bistro Mundo" non-vintage tetrapak was similar to the Italian effort (see previous post). A shade above "crap".
The French package was simply awful, real bubble gum cheap nose and palate, very simple, would not recommend, rates a solid "crap".
Since all these Bistro Mundo wines are the same price, if you have to buy them (and there is no real reason to buy them in the city), stick to the argentinian version.
By the way, we ran out of wine on day 5 or 6...we lost another tetrapak to "burst failure" in a canoe barrel somehow.

Here is a picture of the northern lights I took. Unfortunately, by that night we were dry!!!

And this is what we were doing in the middle of nowhere - having fun!!!

CHEERS! (ps if all the pictures are not open, click on the boxes and they will open :)

The Box Wine Experience

What do you drink in the bush??? Well, we were in the heart of the Mackenzie mountains in the North West Territories of Canada for two weeks, where it was getting dark at midnight, and wished to watch the northern lights with some refreshment. So I had the bright idea to recommend wine tetrapaks, and the even better idea to encourage someone else to bring them!!. This was key, because we wanted to bring 18 litres in hand luggage (for two reasons - Air Canada only allows 23kg per piece for checked luggage and I had some concerns about the durability of these tetrapacks in checked baggage). Well, what do you know - the day the wine was supposed to migrate out west was the day of the "liquids" terrorist scare and my poor friend had to re-pack all his "liquid" hand luggage into his checked baggage - and guess what happened? 3 of the tetrapaks turned into clothes dye within his waterproof canoe backpack. What are these bloody people going to stop at? they are making travel even more miserable than it already is. Anyway, I digress... what about the wine. Well, the three pictured above were the best of the lot. I have already talked previously about the Banrock Station, Shiraz 2004, it is a reasonably complex wine that is just plain GOOD. The Likan, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 is from Chile and is not quite as good as the Banrock; a shade cheaper at $12, it is still good value and certainly a good everyday wine. Out in the bush, we were fighting for it. The Bistro Mundi NV line of tetrapaks available in Quebec is really hit and miss. The best of the bunch was the argentinian effort, good fruit, some simple tannins, mildy "long" on the palate, overall "OK". Reasonable value at $12.

Next up was the italian effort, also not vintage dated. I think these wines come over in the tankers and get packaged locally (never a good sign). This was a solid non-descript effort, but at least it wasn't crap. Would I ever buy it for $12 in the city - not a chance.

To be continued!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Aging Gracefully

Opened the second to last bottle of Finca El Retiro, Syrah, 2001 tonight. This was an incredibly good value when first bought at about 15 bucks a bottle, so I stocked up. The wine has held up okay over the last three years (these "medium" priced wines are not built for long term aging). It is a thoroughly pleasant medium weighted still juicy effort, still fairly tannic with decent length, but is starting to slowly slip down that slippery aging slope where not only will it not improve any more, but will fade.....
The verdict: still good.
Value: good enough that if you see this wine (any year), try it!!!

I will not be posting for two weeks....Cheers!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Tried a "weekday" wine today and am pleasantly surprised. This is a South African effort that is damn cheap. It can be found in the regular listing section at the LCBO in ontario, so should be easy to find (if you live in ontario!!! ha ha). The KWV Roodeberg, 2003 is quite brick coloured in the glass, looks like an old mature Bordeaux. Restrained nose. On the palate it whacks you right away with a meaty, beefy, spicy medium bodied mildly tannic mouthful. Quite nice and a brisk departure from the typical new world jammy style - this could easily pass for a mid priced french or italian effort. The verdict: solid GOOD. Value: Excellent, if memory serves me correct (the old iron chef excuse!!), at $12 or so.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Simply Good

I've always admired the Penfolds wine labels - simple, informative, classy. And, to boot, I've never tasted a bad wine from these guys. They are one of the largest vintners in Australia, producing millions of cases per year but also Australia's "best" and most collectable wine, Penfolds Grange.
Tonight opened a bottle of their Bin 2, Shiraz Mourvedre, 2004, a blend (mostly shiraz) of two grape types best known from the south of France (shiraz known as syrah there). This is not the usual black cork stainer - the cork has a gentle purple tinge. It is a pretty dark dense looking wine in the glass, though. Light fruit aromas on the nose, there is a real mouthful of fruit on the palate - tastes slightly jammy, more like fresh crisp blackberries. Rich natural tannin background, none of the hefty vanilla oak tannins Penfolds is known for. I was going to say this was not oak aged but the label states "one year in old barrels" - probably very old. The verdict: a solid "GOOD", not a dinner wine but a nice sipper. Value: as usual with Penfolds, you get exactly what you pay for.