Our story so far
After abandoning his mentor, wine-critic Jeb Dunnuck sits down to write his first solo review. Since wine blogs are rare, Jeb expects to make big money in this activity. He is dealing with the jitters and writer’s block and is attempting to give himself a pep talk.
Jeb, you’ve done this hundreds of times while that abusive-asshole Parker watched your every move. You don’t need him. You can do this without him. So just smell and taste this Tessellae Vieilles Vignes Carignan and then write down the first thing that pops into your head. Here goes…swirl..smell…swirl…taste and what pops into my head? And that thought is “jammy mc jam jam.” Jammy mc jam jam, WTF Jeb! You can’t use jammy mc jam jam in a wine review. Who the hell will buy a wine that is jammy mc jam jam?
Okay, time to regroup. I need a break. I know…I’ll stare at myself in the mirror for a few minutes. What do you see Jeb? Oh, yes! I see my my my hair. Gosh, I love my hair. I might love my hair more than I love wine. My hair is so sexy…wait that’s it sexy…that wine is sexy not jammy. And, it is not “mc jam jam” either. Only the purest fruit goes into making jam. So, that wine is sexy with purity of fruit. And, because the grape is Carignan, the wine has spice and pepper. The price? Less than $20! The wine is a steal too. Instead of “jammy mc jam jam” my review of this wine will be “This full-bodied, ripe, sexy red has incredible purity of fruit, no hard edges and classic notes of blackberries, plums, spice and pepper. It’s a screaming deal.”
Screw you Robert Parker Jr. There’s a new kid in town that knows how to use WordPress.
In related news, upon hearing that the location of last Sunday’s tasting was moved from the Muddle Bunker beneath King Street to a nearby patio, the three would be premiers of the People’s Republic of Ontario issued the following statements:
Ford: “We will respect the taxpayer by slashing taxes on white and rosé wine. Heck, we will eliminate all taxes on everything! This will, of course, be funded the same way as all our other election promises, which is a complete and total secret but trust me, I know what I’m doing.”
Wynne: “Sorry, not sorry the tasting had to be moved. Our government has worked hard to triple the price of electricity and make air conditioning so expensive more events get moved out of more basements. That’s the real reason Dalton canceled those gas plants in Oakville, which had nothing at all to do with buying back those juicy Oakvillian votes.”
Horwath: “If elected premier I will immediately hire 1,000,000 more civil servants to retrofit every basement in Ontario with a skylight to let in more fresh air and sunshine. No tasting will ever have to be moved again!”
Thanks to big John C who wrote the last part of our story.
Noteworthy Toronto Area Wine Events
If you will be in the Toronto area in June and are a wine enthusiast or someone that wants to meet nice people and learn about wine then consider registering for one or both of the following June events:
The Toronto Vintner’s Club will hold a tasting of Washington State Rhone Blends on Tuesday June 19. Information is available at www.torontovintners.org and you can register for the tasting by clicking here.
Toronto WineTasters will hold a tasting that contrasts Niagara Chardonnay against Chardonnay from Burgundy on June 27. Details are being worked out and they will soon be posted on WineTasters website (www.winetasters.ca).
I typically attend the events of both clubs and if you sign up please seek me out to say hello.
Onto the observations from the wines we tasted and are presently available from the People’s Republic of Ontario’s liquor control monopoly the KGBO (a.k.a., the LCBO).
The $27 Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2017—VINTAGES#: 416511 likely will fool most tasters into thinking that they are enjoying a decent quality Chablis (and that’s a good thing). The posted tasting notes are accurate, the wine is very enjoyable alone and would work with food. The price is the same as our friends in the good old USA pay. If you like Chardonnay and $27 is in your price range then I think you will enjoy this really good wine.
It strikes me that the 2015 vintage in Beaujolais is shining brightly as good quality Beaujolais has appeared frequently lately at the KGBO. The one is this release is the $24 Stéphane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Moulin-à-Vent 2015 Gamay—VINTAGES#: 368134. It’s a lovely wine at this price point, would age for a few years nicely, and would benefit from time in the cellar.
Looking for a white wine to sip on your dock or your deck or your patio? Then consider the cheap and cheerful $15 Nuragico Justu Vermentino di Sardegna 2016—VINTAGES#: 541516. The posted tasting notes are accurate. A good value wine.
Like most red wines, crow is a dish that is best served chilled slightly. My dish of crow is that typically I am not a fan of wine from the Antinori group. But, I must say that the $30 Villa Antinori Riserva Chianti Classico 2013 Sangiovese—VINTAGES#: 540971 is a good-quality-well-made Chianti Classico. We tasted the wine blind and thought that the wine was showing some characteristics of age, an attribute that adds to its appeal. An enjoyable wine and, like all good Sangiovese, a wine that likes hanging out with food. This wine is about $24CAD in Europe and $32CAD plus tax in the USA.
In need of a house red? The outstanding value in this release in the house-wine category is the $19 Luis Cañas Crianza 2014 Tempranillo Blend—VINTAGES#: 336719. I think that you will find this wine to be very versatile, lovely to drink, and really easy to go through multiple bottles.
Wines for wine geeks
The $67 Cowhorn Syrah 21 2013—LCBO#: 421411 is a terrific opportunity for the wine geek to experience a quality Rhone blend from Oregon. These examples are rare in the Excited States of America much less than in the People’s Republic of Ontario. You will particularly enjoy (or at least I did) the elevated levels of acidity and the relatively low alcohol (13.4%) that one typically does not find in this wine’s cousins from France and elsewhere. A real treat.
Do you want to show your friends that really good Pinot Noir can come from a place in France other than Burgundy? Then rush out and buy the highly enjoyable $64 Alphonse Mellot XIX Sur Vin Les Herses Sancerre Rouge 2014 Pinot Noir—VINTAGES#: 535864. This is a serious Pinot Noir and another example of a rare wine in these parts.
Wines to consider
If you are a fan of New World Pinot Noir then consider the $27 Cloudline Pinot Noir 2015—VINTAGES#: 159970. Pinot Noir from the New World tends to be more fruit forward, a style that has wide appeal. I enjoyed the acidity level of this wine and thought that the fruit and acid made this wine a good candidate for your dinner table. It’s a little pricey (it retails in the Excited States for about $21CAD plus tax) but it’s an opportunity to taste an entry-level-Oregon Pinot Noir from a good producer.
Fans of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon should consider the $27 Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec—VINTAGES#: 559872. To me, this is an intense wine that is crying for a charred-protein partner. It likely would be a home run in that setting. Remarkably, this wine only received a score of 91 points from James Halliday, the Australian Santa Claus of wine scores. James gives bilge water scores of 94 points so I’m guessing that someone at the winery pissed him off. This wine retails for $22CAD in Australia and $28CAD plus taxes in the Excited States. A decent bargain.
Fans of red Burgundy should consider the $23 Roche de Bellène Cuvée Réserve Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015—VINTAGES#: 299859. For the tasting group, this wine suffered from comparison as we enjoyed this wine with aged Burgundy from 2007 and 2005. Still, this wine’s pedigree came through. Red fruit, good acidity, good length. You can enjoy this red wine now and my guess is that it would improve with a few years in the bottle. I find that Burgundy is a wine region that is hard to navigate and knowing that Roche de Bellène typically puts out wine that punches above their price point is comforting.
If the $27 Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon is outside of your price range and you are looking for a cheaper wine to pair with that fatty-charred protein then consider the $16 Marrenon Versant Nord Luberon 2015 Syrah Blend—VINTAGES#: 537969. The wine is too intense for me to enjoy on its own but likely would work with food. The price is similar to that charged in Europe.
The $18 Château Saint Roch Le Rosé 2017—VINTAGES#: 557900 is a decent Rosé. The posted tasting notes are accurate and I would add that the finish has a nice hint of tannins that I like to experience in a Rosé. You can drink it alone or serve it with food. I just wish the price was lower. This wine retails for $14CAD in Europe and that would be a fair price here.
Wines that I am avoiding
I found green vegetable elements dominated the $19 Domaine de Matabrune Bourgueil 2015 Cabernet Franc—VINTAGES#: 196865 (in particular green bell pepper). This attribute is enjoyed by some people but it’s not my cup of tea.
The $19 Tessellae Vieilles Vignes Carignan 2015 Carignan—VINTAGES#: 343509 is “jammy mc jam jam” but the fruit is pure and Jeb has really nice hair.