Archive for the ‘Down Under’ Category

Yabby Yabby at the Playhouse Wine Festival

April 12, 2011

Had these two Chardonnay before the Playhouse Wine Festival, like a year ago, tasting courtesy of Renassaince Wine Merchants’ Alice Walcott. Liked them both then and liked them again a few days ago at the fest. The first of the pair (to the right) is the Yabby Lake Chardonnay, a brilliantly executed wine. Flavorful, crisp and unremittingly Australian in its boldness, self-confidence and flavors. The Cooralook, its little brother (or sister, depending of what you think of Chardonnay’s sexual inclinations) is full, very crisp. I believe the latter to be in the vicinity of 20 bucks and the Yabby Lake Chardonnay around 35. Good stuff.

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White Wine, Good Value and the Butterfly Effect

April 7, 2010

Not talking here of the white, fine hail that whipped me on my bike last evening, in Burnaby Heights, my hood. I want to feature a few whites that you should taste. Whites are ever more relevant in the market. I figure that, after a long time being sidelined by consumers, now that they are accepted by mainstream critics and writers, they start to shine. The more open you are  to enjoying something, the more you will enjoy it. Until last year I heard constantly “no, I don’t drink white” or “white wine gives me headaches” or even worse “they have lots of sulphites.” And lots of people still resist white wine; but a lot more are starting to appreciate it for what it is and for it can give to you. No red can exhibit the levels of refreshing acidity a good white can. And with good acidity, flavors are highlighted, focused, sharpened, delimited, underscored. Not to mention aromas. A red offering floral whiffs is like a few flowers, perhaps a bunch. A good aromatic white is like sniffing in the whole garden.

From the top.

Casas del Bosque 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. $17.99. Are you kidding me? 18 bucks for this Chilean gold medallist (Concourse Mondial du Bruxelles 08)? Geologists love minerals and critics love citrics and this one has both plus plenty of alluring fruit.

Jackson Estate 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. You enjoy Sauv Blanc from New Zealand? This is the one you should pick. 20 dollars of pungent grass and persistent tropical, guava flavors that surf down your palate on a wave of shiny acidity. No wonder why the empty spots on the shelves.

Domaine de Grachies 2009. This blend from Cotes de Gascogne will turn heads –and open wallets- at 11.99. Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc join forces to render an impressive table white.

The Hermit Crab 2008 by D’Arenberg. $21.99. Oh yummy Viognier/Marsanne blend. Fleshy and refreshing, with solid pear fruit.

Fish Hoek Sauvignon Blanc. $10.49. When looking for a budget white, look at this cheapie. Tropical and limey, with vibrant acidity and  slight background “Southafrican” aromas. Another reason? Great label! Click on pic.

Two in the Bush 2008 Chardonnay. $20.95. Chardonnay lovers, rejoice. A basket of fruit led by ripe banana. Smooth, creamy and nicely oaked.

Claar Cellars Riesling. $22.99. A Southafrican sounding name for this Columbia Valley Riesling with checks in all the right boxes. Bright acidity, check. Lip smacking citrus, check. Sweet tropical fruit, check.

Go white. Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? It works, its true. If all of us drink more white, the sun will show up more often. Serious.

Buller Shiraz Limited Release 2004 Rutherglen

April 3, 2010

If you are one of those rabid fans of the big, impetuous, tanned, vociferous and unabashedly Australian Shiraz, the Buller 2004 Limited Release Rutherglen is the one for you. I would say this is the cheapest trip down under ever. It takes you there. Starting with the color, it makes you drool. Beautifully developed crimson tones. A   whole lot of jammy yummy spicy Shiraz with extraordinary presence on the palate, at entry, during tasting and after. It’s almost like good sex. No. It’s better.  The Australian authority says “Drink with pork or ribs”. I say, drink on its own and enjoy every bit of it. If you are going to spend 32 dollars on a bottle of wine this weekend, buy this one.

Drinking Shiraz Down Annie’s Lane

June 16, 2009

Another delicious Shiraz from the annies laneland of kangaroos, venomous spiders and beer swilling crowds. Deep ruby red garment and a pronounced, sweet nose with vanilla, black pepper and blackberry. Full bodied, rich and with a somewhat medicinal –eucalyptus- streak. Good acidity and soft tannins in the tasty finish, which is smooth and long, packed with red fruit and spice.

Product: Copper Trail Shiraz

Variety: Shiraz

Vintage:2002

Winery: Annie’s Lane

Origin: Clare Valley, Australia

Alcohol: 15.0%

Price: 29.99 (Everything Wine)

Petit Verdot from Barossa

May 12, 2009

The 2004 version (Home Block) by the 1847 Winery of the Barossa Valley, is a big wine that deserves drinking it again and again. 1185284116_1847-2004-home-block-petit-verdotIntense and chromatic on the nose, it displays tones of dark red fruit, liquorice, raisin, pepper and cinammon. A full bodied wine with abundance of dark cherry and pepper, which is lifted up by vibrant acidity. The finish is expansive, with fine and polished tannins within an exuberance of spice and fruit.
Winery: 1847
Origin: Home Block. Barossa Valley, Australia
Price: 47.99 Cdn
Alcohol: 13.8%