Archive for February, 2010

O Pensador, Value Red Wine from Portugal

February 24, 2010

The Thinker, the famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin has inspired a wine version, from Alentejo, Portugal. The wine is called “O Pensador” (from pensar, to think) and comes conveniently packed in a 3 liter bag-in-a-box format. Price wise it competes against the cheapest. Three liters mean 4 bottles. At 33 dollars it comes to be $8 + change per bottle, a real bargain for the quality.

O Pensador is a blend of Portuguese grapes, driven by Aragones and Trincadeira, plus 10% Touriga Nacional, Portugal’s best, commonly used for Port.  The other 10% is Cabernet Sauvignon. I always find it fun to taste a good wine made of something other than the Cabernet-Merlot-Shiraz triumvirate, or the currently ubiquitous Malbec.

Expect a coffeeish nose followed by an easy drinking fresh-fruit flavored somewhat lower alcohol (13%) wine. The kind you can drink without pocket guilt. Also, the kind you can drink more of in less time, which is always fun. Try that with a 14.5-15% malbec or shiraz and you will know what I am talking about. I feel inclined to say it is my new favorite under 10 dollars, after a long time keeping that spot for Puglia‘s Paiara Cab Sauv Negroamaro blend.

What else  is good about this thinker of a wine? Well, it has a convenient spout which reseals the wine automatically after pouring, so minimum O2 will affect your plonk. Will keep it fresh and in good drinking condition for a lot longer than any screwcap.  Once you pour the last of it, get the bag out  and clip one corner. Pour out the leftover, as you will get at least a big full glass. Put bag back  in box and claim your pennies when you recycle your wine empties, which, if you are at all like me, must be hitting the basement roof by now. All that good red one needs to go through those hard winter months, you know.

What else could you ask for? Dont need to be a pensador to figure this one out.

Ciao

Ivan

ps. I guess I got carried away in my Pensador enthusiasm. Once you pour the last bit of it there is very little left in the aluminum pouch. I inflated it back blowing into it and used it as a space pillow on my ferry trip to Victoria. Those seats are uncomfortable, really. It worked so well that I am planning to take one on my camping trips in the ever closer summer.

ps1. Photo from Flickr by True Russian Vodka

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Wow! Time does Fly…2010, Olympics, Writing, White Wine

February 22, 2010

My dear few -select-  readers, I should say something about my inexcusable absence. Over a month without entering a single line on this blog. I hope those who visited it  found something interesting in older entries. What has kept me away from winecouver? Well, to begin with, as a typical southamerican man, I like to celebrate great occasions and when I celebrate, celebrations last days, or week, as in this case.

As some of you may know, besides being a bit of a wine addict and know a bit about it, and besides my culinary interests and my marine biology background, I am a fiction writer too. It is from this line of action that my celebration was born. Last December I was selected finalist in the Juan Rulfo Radio Francia International literary contest. This is probably the most prestigious prize of its kind (cuentos, short fiction) in the hispanic world.

15 works were chosen from a universe that I can estimate at -easily- one thousand entries. So, I am still trying to digest such honor. And this rewarding experience led me to try -unsuccessfully- to finish a novel in 26 days in order to enter another contest, this time for historical fiction.

The job was definitely too big for me and I decided to give this novel a real chance, so I am not rushing to finish it any more and instead I am starting to plan it so that it will be a good, solid one when it is done. The subject is the Incas, more precisely, the last days of the Incas, after the Spanish invasion of the …what century? 14th? (of course I know this, just adding some spice to this otherwise boresome account).

As for wine, hot weather has come upon us vancouverites well in advance. I keep my kitchen windows wide open at night time sometimes. Crazy. And because of this premature spring, I have been drinking white wine.

Here a few wines that are worth visiting. Some for sheer deliciousness, others for being serious value.

Rudera, Chenin Blanc (I think I had the 2006). Must give a chance to well made Chenin Blanc. Fully flavored and almost resinous, this Rudera was a revelation. Honey and wax and intense malus (the technical name for the apple family) flavors plus an acidity that stays on the palate to a long, satisfying end. $30-36

Other Chenin Blanc to check out, the Cuvee La  Negrette from the Loire Valley ($ 30-35) and for value try the Obikwa. Yes, the humble -often maligned- inexpensive South African brand makes a really good job at 9.99.

Feudo Arancio‘s Grillo is (at $15-18) definitely worth trying for those who love Pinot Grigio but find that the lovey Italian white is still too lean, too acidic, too refreshing for the weather. Try this offering from Sicily. Wine needs to be tuned to its environs, yes? Who would gulp a glass of heavy, dense Shiraz in the middle of a scorching hot day? You get the point.

As for the Vancouver Olympics…. could someone ask the rCmP (or whoever is in charge) to stop running those low flying choppers over Burnaby Heights? My house is very old and every night the poor little structure shakes to its foundations…. sure security matters, but c’mon this is not Bombthehelloutofitstan.

Cheers

Ivan