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Hurray for Vouvray!

I was looking for a wine to take to a fancy pot luck dinner party. I was assigned the cheese course, and it’s next to impossible to pair a wine with cheeses (plural).  One cheese, sure, but four cheeses from mild to sharp is tricky. So I searched, and the internet told me if you need one wine to rule them all (bottom) go with something like an off-dry Riesling.Clos le Vigneau Vouvray 2012

Before settling on a Riesling at the LCBO, I passed by the French section and saw a white with a recommendation note from the staff on it. It was a Vouvray, which..what? To the Googles!  Ok, so Vouvray is made in the Loire Vally with chenin blanc grapes, and it comes in dry, off-dry and sparkling. This 2012 Clos le Vigneau Vouvray has a sugar content of 13 g/l, which puts it into the off-dry category, and was described as “concentrated and full-bodied, with a long, delicious finish.” Done.

Sweetness Weirdness: The LCBO has “extra dry” on the web page, which doesn’t make sense to me at all. A couple of years ago they did change how they describe sweetness, but I think this one’s a mistake because I don’t see how anyone could get extra dry out of this. I had this happen with a rose in the summer. It was listed as “dry” but drinking it was like sucking on a  jolly rancher. I returned it. Anyway…

Verdict

Delicious! I love this wine. It was the best wine of the evening. I love that it’s a richer white that isn’t chardonnay, with lots of flavour, and the touch of off-dry really did work well with the cheeses (well, three out of four…I don’t think anything was really going to go with “Old Grizzly”, an aged Gouda that bites back). It’s at the upper end of my weekend wine scale, but there are also a couple of other Vouvrays in stock for a bit less, so I’ll definitely try another one soon.

Hurray!

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Lamadrid: Great Value from Argentina

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Just a quick post to point you toward an Argentinian winery that delivers great value. We’ve had a few different wines from Lamadrid and every one has been delicious. However, now that I’ve visited the website for the first time I may have trouble forgiving them for what’s on the front page. Behind each door of our inner self, there is an objective, a goal that blinds and seduces by the glare of their flame… What is happening?? Is the wine behind the door? Is the wine the objective? Is the wine glaring at me? I’m confused!

ANYWAY, the wine is much better than the website content. We’ve had the Bonarda ($14.95), the cabernet sauvignon ($14.95), and the riserva cabernet sauvignon ($17.95), and all are very tasty.

It looks like all three are still in stores. Buy some!

Perfectly Decent $8.25 Italian Red

I’ve tried Farnese’s Sangiovese and Montepulciano d’Abrruzzo and wasn’t crazy about them. But last week I read something saying this 2010 Negroamaro was a great buy.

Negroawhat? To the Googles! Wikipedia says:

Negroamaro, also Negro amaro, is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. The grape can produce wines very deep in color. Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness.

The only description the LCBO site offers for the Farnese version is “Medium-bodied & Fruity” (and the photo doesn’t match the current bottle). Wine Align has “clear garnet colour; floral, blueberry and sweet cherry aromas; dry, medium body; cherry and plum flavours with a touch of spice to finish”

“Amaro” is Italian for “bitter”, but that’s not really what I got from the Farnese version. Comparing it with one of my favourite cheap Italian reds (Montalto N’ero d’avola/Cabernet Sauvignon) it was darker purple and just a tad sweeter, but not jammy sweet. But I have a taste for dry, rustic, food-friendly Italian reds, so you might not taste any sweetness at all. The product sheet from the distributor includes a review comparing it to a California Zinfandel.

Overall, I’d say it’s a perfectly decent red wine to have with pizza or meaty pasta, or some other casual thing that needs red wine. Plus, it gives you another fun Italian word to wrap your tongue around.

(If you have another $0.75 to spare, wine access says the Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2010 is a killer buy at $9.00. I haven’t tried it, but I will!)

Salute!

Liebfraublech

People, if you see something resembling this….

Run. Step away, run to the nearest Italian wine aisle, and pick up anything else.

Let me ‘splain. One of my husband’s friends came over a few weeks ago and brought this…offering. I put it on the shelf and forgot about it. Then one night my husband asked if we needed wine or if we should drink “that wine J brought.” “Oh, sure…whatever”, I said, not remember what it was or that J is a TERRIBLE wine purchaser. When I saw the bottle I figured we were in trouble, but it was too late to go to the LCBO so we had it with take-out Thai.

It was terrible. It was even more terrible than I imagined it would be. I don’t mind off-dry wine, but it is sweet and…sweet. So sweet I got a headache almost immediately. We didn’t realize it at first, but it comes in a 1 litre bottle (which the LCBO site says is $9.85…for a litre). I also didn’t read the bottle first or the word “Liebfraumilch” and the picture of the Virgin Mary would have clued me in that I was about to drink the “beloved lady’s milk.”Christ that’s wrong! Google tells me the term “Liebfraumilch” is associated with low quality wine. So much so that Blue Nun,  which is a Liebfraumilch, stopped using the term. Blue Nun was embarrassed. Blue Nun, people.

So what I’m saying here is that this is terrible, horrible, no good wine. Most of it was poured down the drain. I give it minus five stars.

Oh, want an alternative cheap white? ANYTHING ELSE. But you can’t go wrong with Cono Sur Viognier, our no-fail, tasty, goes with everything, casual white ($9.95 for a respectable 750 ml).

New Look for Aveledo Vinho Verde

Hey, remember when I wrote about Aveledo Fonte Vinho Verde and made fun of the cheesy label? Clearly the Aveleda people were reading my post (clearly), because when I went to buy a bottle last week I discovered that it now looks like this. Much better, eh? I kind of miss the lad in tights, though.

Vinho Verd-eh?

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It’s fun, it’s spritzy, it’s $8.95 a bottle! Or, if you shop at the SAQ in Quebec you’ll pay $11.30 (suckers). This Aveleda Fonte vinho verde from Portugal is slightly fizzy, dry, and highly drinkable at only 10% alcohol. It’s zippy, zingy, tingly, and refreshing. I mostly get citrus from it…maybe some green apple, too. It’s a delightful summertime patio wine.

The LCBO website suggests serving it with oysters, grilled shrimp or deep fried calamari. If you come to my house you’ll be having it with party mix from Costco (it’s fun, it’s crispy, it’s $6.95 for a giant bag!)

Yes, it has a cheesy label. But it’s nice to know that if I go to Portugal a young man wearing tights and a puffy shirt will serve me vinho verde poured from whimsical fountain while I lounge at his feet.

You should plan on drinking it in one go, or  at least within a day or two, because it loses its spritz if it sits opened for too long. Give it a try! If you’re having a party, the magnum is only $15.95.

Off-Dry Wine Whine Featuring Lingenfelder

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I never miss the opportunity to buy a few bottles of Lingenfelder Bird Label Riesling when it comes into Vintages (twice a year, I think).

I just don’t know how you could get a better off-dry riesling for $13.95. Which brings me to my whine. It seems every time I mention that I like riesling someone says “Oh, I can’t drink sweet wine”. Being an ABC (Anything but Chardonnay) wine drinker, I really shouldn’t judge. I should just accept. But, I can’t help wondering if they’ve only ever had Blue Nun or Black Tower and think all riesling is sickly sweet. See, I’m willing to admit that I can appreciate a really good chardonnay. But most really good chardonnay is about $50 a bottle. So the option is usually cheap chardonnay, and I may as well lick the side of an oak barrel. But you can get a really good riesling for $18 a bottle and not resort to Blue Nun. A couple of times a year, you can buy this good riesling for only $13.95.

ANYWAY, the 2010 Lingenfelder Bird Label Riesling pleases me, as has every year before it. Vintages says “this off-dry wine features lovely aromas of peach, nectarine, and citrus”….sounds about right. I always get a bit of honey, too. It has a lovely label to boot, which would make it a great gift wine if everyone didn’t hate off-dry wine. Harumph.