Our story so far:
“Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink, I feel shame! Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this wine, they might be out of work, and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, ‘It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.”
Could TheMuddler be so wise? Nah, not a chance. He doesn’t think. He muddles. His daughter thinks his life is “ridiculous” because he rides his Vespa to the butcher to buy this week’s supply of duck eggs. The source of this wisdom? It comes from mister deepthought himself, Jack Handey. If we all were a little less selfish then the world would be less crazy. Start with your wine consumption and branch out from there.
The KGBO (a.k.a., the LCBO, Ontario’s wine monopoly) released some good wine last Saturday. In this release, I think that the KGBO is actually capitalizing on your willingness to spend more to secure decent wine for next weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner. This release seems to focus on better quality wines at a higher price point than the typical $15-$20 range. Unfortunately, many of these wines would benefit greatly with bottle age and I don’t mean a week or the length of time it takes you to get home from the store. If you are a bargain hunter I am afraid that this issue of The Muddler will leave you unsatisfied.
The $44 Jean-Marc Brocard Vau de Vay Chablis 1er Cru 2014 Chardonnay —VINTAGES#: 159012 is a wonderful mineral focused wine (an attribute I love and seek out in a wine). The 2014 vintage is a great one and this premier cru wine represents good value. It retails in the Excited States of America for $25USD. Using my double rule (accounting for exchange and payments to the People’s Republic of Canada and Ontario) one could expect to pay $50CAD here. The $44 price is decent. That said, the KGBO released the 2015 vintage of this wine last December and the retail price was $30CAD. Yes, 2014 is a better vintage than 2015 but the market price in other countries differs only by $2 between these two vintages. Someone is value billing the proletariat. Come on man. Kathleen and Justin already take most of our money and Finance Minister Bill wants more. Cut us a break.
If you are a collector, I think that this wine would age gracefully. If want to serve this wine now then please chill it only slightly (put it in the fridge for 30 minutes) and decant it at least 30 minutes before serving. Your efforts will be rewarded.
The $24 Château Ampélia 2015 Merlot/Cabernet Franc —VINTAGES#: 191171 is a wine for collectors only. Taste this wine now only if you want an educational experience. All the components of a decent Bordeaux are present but they are like a choir that has just begun singing together. Decanting will not help and don’t waste fatty-seared flesh on this wine. It needs ten years of age and in 2025 or later I think you will be pleased with your $24 investment. In Europe you will pay the same price for this wine, which means it’s a steal here in the People’s Republic.
Can’t wait 10 years? Then go buy the $42 Château Verdignan 2005 Bordeaux Red —VINTAGES#: 87304. If you don’t have prior experience with aged Bordeaux then this is your chance to gain an understanding of that taste profile. The local wine critics think that this wine is clumsy and tired. Our little tasting group disagrees.
I’m a big fan of the $60 Torres Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon —VINTAGES#: 129676. This a delicious and complex cab. The extensive tasting notes published in the Vintages catalog do a good job describing this wine. Thanks to Doctor C, who opened the 1994 vintage of this wine, we could taste where this wine will be in 15+ years. We sat around the table and treated our glass of 94 La Plana like the “my precious” ring in the movie. A tear shed down my eye when my glass was empty. Buy and cellar this wine if you are able.
The $31 Trimbach Réserve Riesling 2013 —VINTAGES#: 247023 is a child that need coaching and encouragement to come out to play. It is closed and only shows its true color with lots of air. This is a textbook dry Alsace Riesling that would shine after 10 years in the cellar. Like the Jean-Marc Brocard, if want to consume this wine now please chill it only slightly (put it in the fridge for 30 minutes) and decant it at least 30 minutes before serving.
Wines to consider
The $16 Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016 —VINTAGES#: 739995 has a great nose, is nice and dry and has pleasant tropical fruit flavors. It is simple so the tasting notes overstate the case. This is a wine for your dock or your deck. It is sipper and you’ll likely tire of it after a glass or two.
The $17 Domaine de La Baume Elisabeth 2016 Viognier —VINTAGES#: 438796 is a tropical fruit driven wine with floral elements and some minerality. It’s too fruity for my taste but the fruit-forward nature may be up your alley.
The $46 Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012 Red Blend —VINTAGES#: 959627 is a classic & elegant Châteauneuf-du-Pape with cherry fruit and cedar spices. I have enjoyed decades-old bottles of wine from this producer so I will be acquiring a couple of bottles for my cellar and will keep them for 10 years. If you consume this wine now make sure you decant it at least an hour in advance of serving. This wine finishes hot due to high alcohol levels. It’s a shame as this wine would be more enjoyable without that burning finish. Some blame global warming. I blame the wine critic Robert Parker. I’m not afraid of saying that his love of high-alcohol wines has not done the wine world a favor.
Wines to avoid
The $20 Valldosera Brut Nature Cava —VINTAGES#: 311738 is a simple dry sparkler with citrus notes and decent acidity. It’s boring and something you and your guests will tire of quickly. The tasting notes of one the local wine critics are nonsense. “It’s almost in the league of Champagne”. Seriously? That’s a pretty messed up comment.
The $29 Roger & Didier Raimbault Sancerre 2016 Sauvignon Blanc —VINTAGES#: 82255 is a fruit forward wine with lots of green apple flavors. It’s a good wine but it’s not worth the $29 the KGBO wants.
The $25 Château Sénéjac Bordeaux —VINTAGES#: 426668 s over oaked and if you like that style then decant this wine and serve it with fatty red meats. I doubt that this wine would age as gracefully as the Château Ampélia.