This week’s diversion
(with apologies to Garrison Keillor)
It’s been a quiet week in Lake Control-be-gon, my home town, out near the edge of totalitarianism. Winter ravaged on but the natives take the cold temperatures in stride. In my town, the residents stoically endure the weather in the same manner as they cope with the government controlling their daily activities.
Father Suckling’s exorcism of the anti-high-wine-score demons that took up residence in Jollie LeBlois’ soul resulted in Jollie’s return as a functioning member of society. As one might expect after such trauma, Jollie began wandering the streets in a zombie-like manner. This lobotomized behavior so impressed LCBO management that they immediately hired the perpetually happy Jollie. Jollie spent his days smirking among the wine bottles, uttering a Rainman mantra (high scores, lots and lots of high scores), while he replaced Robert Parker 94 point stickers with the more consumer-friendly Jeb Dunnick 96+ point version.
With his hard work resulting in soaring sales, Jollie landed a spot on the Vintages Tasting Panel. During his first tasting, he watched in awe as the panel arrived at the groundbreaking revelation that Chianti pairs well with “pasta bolognese or mature cheeses.” Jollie’s contribution was to express the thought that someone should let the folks in Italy in on this discovery asap.
Down at the Tim Horton’s, the TVs blared the latest update from the scandal that is ransacking Ottawa’s Politburo. Pastor Parker (the removal of his stickers putting him in a foul mood) upset the crowd when he stammered loudly that the resignation of Comrade Butts was the equivalent of the school bus driver throwing himself under the bus because he was distracting the hijinks of the children. Father Suckling calmed the situation by purchasing two double-doubles and the gathered crowd then enjoyed a lively debate on whether the coffee was worthy of 96 or 97 points. Restaurant Brands International was forced to print the lower score stickers from Pastor Parker when Father Suckling refused to waive solicitor-client privilege.
That’s the news from my home town. Where are the women are strong, all the men good looking, and all the wines are rated 100 + points.
My report on this release is quite late. My apologies.
The $19 La Guardiense Janare del Sannio Greco 2017 VINTAGES#: 631085 is my value white wine pick in the release. The flavor profile is more citrus than the stone fruit as stated in the posted tasting but otherwise, the Vintage panel did a decent job describing this wine. The level of acidity is quite nice in this versatile white wine. This wine retails in Italy for about the equivalent of about $16CAD. Locations elsewhere in Europe pay about the same amount of money as we do here in the People’s Republic of Ontario.
The wine that caused the groundbreaking revelation that “Chianti pairs with pasta bolognese or mature cheeses” is the $19 Renzo Masi Riserva Chianti 2015 Sangiovese Blend VINTAGES#: 969469. This wine will not set your world on fire. It’s a bit rustic, has good acidity, and the typical red fruit and earth that one expects in a decent Chianti. All of these attributes appeal to me and I was low on Tuesday night wines so I bought a few bottles.
It appears that the $23 Rioja Vega Crianza Edición Limitada 2015 Tempranillo / Graciano VINTAGES#: 638783 is sold out. If a supply appears and you find yourself in need of a well-balanced-value Rioja then consider grabbing a few bottles. While the 95 point score is ridiculous, the posted tasting notes do a decent job.
Wines to consider
It appears that the $29 La Regola 2011 Cabernet Franc Blend VINTAGES#: 420653 is already sold out. Perhaps the powers at our all knowing and all controlling monopoly will provide us with more product. I found the presence of fresh green bell pepper in a fully ripe wine to be interesting. Sipping and observing how this wine improved over a three day period also indicates that this wine would reward cellaring. The posted tasting notes are accurate. Fans of Cab Franc-based wines should consider trying this example from sunny Italy. The vintage of this wine that was included in the May 2016 Vintages release retailed for $22. That $7 increment represents about an 11% annual compounded price increase (nearly 32% in total over the 3 years). Someone is being very very greedy and should go confess to Father Suckling. I bet that you are wishing that you could be so greedy in your annual salary adjustment. Go ahead and try. If the KGBO can do it then why not you?
Wines for wine geeks
I may develop a rule that when I am in doubt on how to categorize a wine I will just call it a geek wine. The $20 Viña Leyda Canelo Single Vineyard Syrah 2015 VINTAGES#: 632703 was the cause of my dilemma. This Chilian wine is a chameleon. Out of the gate, to me, this wine tasted fresh and fruity like a decent Pinot Noir. With time in the glass, the wine took on some of the classic Syrah attributes, including the presence of bacon fat that is often found with Syrah-based wines from the Northern Rhone valley. If you are willing and able to age a $20 wine, my guess is that the Leyda Canelo would reward patient collectors.
Wines that I am avoiding
I dislike the taste of saccharin in wine, so I am not a fan of the $29 Quartier Pinot Noir 2016 VINTAGES#: 632554. In any event, at the time of writing, it appears that this wine is no longer available.
I have previously fessed up to my sensitivity to what I perceive to be unpleasant sulfur attributes that are present in many Sauvignon Blanc-based wines. To me, the $22 Awatere River by Louis Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc 2017 VINTAGES#: 492272 has this unpleasant characteristic. I also found it out-of-balance both in terms of elevated acidity lacking support and an unpleasant bitter finish. That said, the local wine critics love this wine. Maybe I am out-to-lunch and should have sent my glass over to them instead of pouring it down the drain. This bottle will be returned for a refund.