The Muddler is now traveling in the Excited States and will soon be off to taste wine in France and Spain. My next posting will be in July. In the meantime, you’ll have to muddle through the vast KGBO offerings somehow.
Our storey so far:
The year is 2018 and hard times have fallen on the citizens of the People’s Republic of Ontario. Wine, now considered to be a staple of life by the good people of the Republic, has soared in price. Wine prices have roughly doubled in the last decade, rising faster than inflation, and have sparked increasing anger among Ontarians. The elite of the Politburo are discussing action to take…
General Secretary Wynne: Guys, we’re in deep shit and we need creative thinking and bold action. We’re not leaving today until we have a plan to reduce wine prices in the Republic. Ideas?
Comrade Sousa (Finance Minister): Christ, this is a tough one. Everyone knows we screwed up. I mean think of everything that has happened at the LCBO, increased margins and extra taxes. We’ll need a magician to figure a way out of this mess.
General Secretary Wynne: Man, Charles you are a downer today. I’m guessing that someone pissed in your breakfast Cornflakes. Pointing out the obvious is not helpful. Can you help me find my nose? Come on man, we need ideas and fresh thinking.
Comrade Glenn Thibeault (Minister of Energy): Okay, okay no need to get to work. This problem is not so hard. We dealt with such matters before.
General Secretary Wynne: Huh?
Comrade Thibeault: Yeah, here’s what we do…we set up an entity and give it some fancy name… let’s call in the Wine Investment Master Partnership.
Comrade Sousa: Isn’t that WIMP?
General Secretary Wynne: Shut your pie hole Chuck and let Glenn speak.
Comrade Thibeault: WIMP will have the government’s backing and will borrow money. WIMP will use the money they borrow to reduce the price that the Proletariat pay for wine. On their bills wine bills they will see a 25% price reduction. We’ll need a catchy name for it. Ummmm
Comrade Sousa: How about a “global adjustment”.
Comrade Thibeault: Perfect. The Proletariat will get a “global adjustment” that reduces the price of the wine they buy by 25%. And, we’ll do this adjustment for 30 years.
General Secretary Wynne: 30 years and then what happens?
Comrade Thibeault: Well, then it all reverses. The global adjustment become a charge. We’ll have to call it something else, a term that appeals to the people…something environmental…I know we’ll blame it on the organic natural wine craze that is catching on. The government made a big investment in the infrastructure that supports natural wine and the “natural wine adjustment” will more equitably distribute the cost of this investment over time. Use the words “natural”, infrastructure, and environment to explain the adjustment and people wouldn’t question it.
Comrade Sousa: In 30 years I’ll be in the old age home eating pablum and watching Three’s Company reruns. I wouldn’t give a shit about the price of wine then. It’s a brilliant plan Glenn.
Comrade Thibeault: This ain’t my first rodeo.
Ontario Cutting Wine Bills by 25 Per Cent
System Restructuring Delivers Lasting Relief to Households Across Province
March 2, 2018 9:40 A.M.Office of the Premier
Ontario is lowering wine bills by 25 per cent on average as part of a significant system restructuring that will address long-standing policy challenges and ensure greater fairness.
In related news, Sam Euthanasia, World’s Oldest Wine Critic, praised the People’s Republic of Ontario’s plan as being visionary and brilliant. He added “I’ll be dead before the “natural wine adjustment” is put into place. Giddy up baby.
As a friend once told me…Rickee, if a joke has to be explained, it’s just not funny. So if the humor is lost on you then I will not waste your time trying to explain the context. Anyone living in Ontario will get it though.
On a serious note, the MuddleTasters identified several wines in the May 13 Vintages release that are worthy of your hard earned money.
Let’s start with a pound-the-table buy. If you are a fan of Bordeaux blends use www.lcbo.com to find the store that has supply of the $20 Grand Vin de Glenelly Red 2010 (360339). The LCBO tasting panel did a great job in the description of the tasting notes “The 2010 is an impressive, deliciously balanced wine with great integration of all parts – it offers superb black fruit, cherry and cassis in a concentrated and structured package. This is a wine of significance at an incredible value.” I would add that we decanted this wine for an hour prior to the first taste and tasted the wine over the course of several hours. The wine just keep getting better and better. Buy a case if you are able. Save some bottles from the case for aging if you have discipline. This wine is a Bordeaux experience at a fraction of the price.
If you want a good white from this release you’ll have to pay for $40 for the Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Montmains Chablis 1er Cru 2012 (485383). We tried to find some value whites but the others we tasted we not good (more on that topic later). This Chablis is a fine wine with all the complexities and flavors that make White Burgundy distinctive and special. The local wine critics do not like this one but we disagree.
We tasted two Rosés, both cost $15, both come from Spain. I prefer the Izadi Larrosa Premium Rosé 2016 (490961) to the Muga Rosé 2016 (603795). Yes, if you have read previous posts, you know that I am a huge fan of all thing Muga but the 2016 doesn’t stack up with their prior vintages. This one lacks acidity so don’t believe the KGBO’s tasting notes. It’s a qualifier, for your deck or dock or your balcony, and very easy to guzzle. There is a candy element to the Muga’s nose that I found distracting and unpleasant. The Izadi has more character and balance with elements that work together and would be a great food wine.
I’d encourage you to explore at least one of the Sakis that were included in this release. You may believe that Saki is that harsh alcoholic mixture served hot from your experience at your local Sushi restaurant. That stuff is crap. Decent Saki is served chilled in the same manner that you serve white wine. The $13 (for a 300ml bottle) solid buy is the Sho Chiku Bai Premium Junmai Ginjo Sake (960088). It’s delicious and the tasting notes of “fresh coconut, parsnip, horseradish and rice pudding with a touch of lychee” are pretty accurate. The $30 (for a 720ml bottle) Hanagaki Junmai Sake (482745) is also a solid choice but the Sho Chiku Bai is more sophisticated, a better wine, and great value. Saki is not just for Sushi. We enjoyed these wines with cheese so don’t be afraid to experiment.
The $27 Domaine de la Colline St-Jean Vacqueyras 2014 (38661) is a delicious red rhone blend. If you are a fan of southern Rhone wines this Bud’s for you. The posted tasting notes are pretty accurate with great fruit, licorice and pepper elements. The alcohol level is only 13.5%, and a most welcomed relief from the mouth burn one often experiences when sipping southern Rhone red wine. A well put together, well balanced, delicious wine for a decent price.
The final red worth considering is the $19 Georges Duboeuf Belles Grives Morgon 2014 (487173). This wine started out in the glass as a disappointment. If you buy it decant or at least have the bottle open for an hour or two before tasting. With some airtime, this wine started to show its stuff. A decent value wine.
Wine to avoid? There are a few. Let start with the $18 Fabre Montmayou Reserva Cabernet Franc 2014 (492736). Tasting over two days yielded raspberry jam and little else. I was so looking forward to this wine being a star because I have experienced wonderful (yet rare) Cab Franc from Argentina. Don’t believe the published tasting notes. They are nonsense.
The $25 Errazuriz Pinot Noir 2015 (494807) is a simple fruit bomb. The tasting notes are getting silly…”Subtle red fruits with hints of earth and wild herbs. Very accomplished indeed, classy. A succulent wine with latent spice and energy. There is real focus and drive here, making it age-worthy.” Come on Decanter magazine. You can do better than that.
Avoid the $15 Les Hauts de Lagarde Bordeaux Blanc 2015 (491720). This wine’s nose is unappealing and the taste delivers nothing to change your mind. Critic Voss gave this wine a 90 and the local critics thought this wine was good value. We had a bad bottle? Maybe, but I wouldn’t risk it.
The Portuguese producer Quinta Da Rede had two offers in this release, the $22 white Grande Reserva Branco 2014 (477943) and the $28 red Grande Reserva 2013 (491993). Again, there is a disconnect between what we tasted, the published tasting notes and the reviews of the local wine critics, who loved both of these wines. Our experience was marred by something funky the producer is doing with the wines’ exposure to wood. For the muddlers both wines displayed unpleasant pine wood elements in both the nose and the taste. “It’s like licking the inside of a new piece of IKEA furniture” was the best line of the day. I wish that I was creative enough to come up with that one or sufficiently adventurous to have licked the inside of a end table. To think that one would prefer the Da Rede over the Chablis is kind-of baffling.