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Tag Archives: red

Stonechurch’s insane free shipping deal – Top Secret Red

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After a winter of trying one underwhelming (but not underwhelming enough to rant about) wine after another, I’m finally gulping something worth posting about. I consider this a PSA.

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I was given 2 bottles of this “Top Secret” red and they’re not gonna last. It claims (but maybe it’s a smokescreen?!?) to be a Cab Franc/Cab Sauv blend, but it’s lighter than most of those I’ve had in the past. The colour while it pours is a weirdly watered-down purply pink. These things don’t sound appealing, I get that, but OH MY GOODNESS THIS WINE. It’s delightful. Berryish without too much acidity. You know how if you feel like a light and bright wine, sometimes it makes you feel like you accidentally drank vinegar for an hour? Not this one. It’s smooth while still being tangy. I don’t know how and I don’t care, I just love it.

Stonechurch currently ships FOR FREE within Ontario and a bottle of this is $5.95, almost criminally cheap. A case is just over $70 all in. You can mix and match wines in your order as long as you stick to multiples of 12; I’m tempted to try the Top Secret Pink, but I’ve been disappointed before when a brand is great at one varietal or style and terrible at another. (Open, I’m looking at you; HOW are you reds so terrible compared to your magnificent Riesling-Gewurtz? But that’s a post for another day, and possibly one I’ve already made.) Checking with my source who loves a rosé even more than me (which is really saying something).

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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!

Two reds: light & heavy

My new favourite light red is this Angel’s Gate Gamay Noir. I should have posted about it long ago! I’ve probably drunk about six bottles of this alone since I first tasted it — that’s a lot for me. It’s a truly yummy wine: a VQA Gamay with a mild fruity flavour that stands up to some foods and most importantly for me, is sippable on its own in the evening.

AngelsGateGamayI wouldn’t drink this with spicy foods or really powerfully acidic foods, because it lacks bite, but I’ve had it on pizza night and I’ve had it on comfort-food nights and it’s great that way. I hate the bottle: my good corkscrew kind of slips on the overly-rounded lip. But I’m getting the hang of it, and it’s worth it.

Because I love this Gamay so, so much, I tried their Süssreserve Riesling recently — it was not as much of a hit. With a name like that, I expected to basically be sipping pear nectar; but it was more like a really generic Pinot Grigio than an off-dry Riesling. So, not everything from Angel’s Gate is necessarily a home run. But this Gamay is really hitting the spot when I want the flavours I love from a light red, but not the zingy/tangy feel of, say, a Beaujolais. This is a light red that’s lasting me through the winter. Yum!

 

Meanwhile, I did also want some variety recently (it was SO COLD OUT! who’d want to drink “light” anything?), and decided to try again with the bigger reds. I’ve loved several of Cono Sur’s wines, and the price is right, so thought I’d try their Syrah (Reserva edition). You can’t go wrong with bicycle wine, right? Right, at least this time. I really enjoyed the Syrah, though fair warning: it will turn your teeth as blue as the Farnese Montepulciano. In the glass, it’s extremely grape-juicey, with an opacity that is shocking to someone like me who’s more accustomed to lighter varieties. Still, it was very appealing, and robust without any of the tendencies that are “downsides” for me (leathery, moldy, smoky, earthy flavours in really noticeable amounts turn me right off). I would buy it again for drinking AT HOME ALONE ONLY. Especially with a meaty or spicy meal, since it has a lot of flavour but is still smooth and not too tannin-y. (Sometimes I feel like tannic flavours make spicy food in particular just unpleasant — everything is too harsh! But this would be a great complement, IMO.)

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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!

Another big red

Like Rachel, I’ve been wanting to delve into deeper reds than I normally go for — but as a result, I’ve been bitten by the “bleagh!”s a couple times, because let’s face it, the heaviest, oiliest reds are still gonna gross me out. The other day I decided to go with a blend and the newer red from House Wine Co. jumped off the shelf at me. Described as “full-bodied and smooth” it still has a hint of the tangy flavour I love in the lighter reds, while really warming up a dreary fall evening. That was overly poetical; I’m trying to say, it’s yummy, and has a slight bite without being too sour, and big flavours without being overwhelming. Nice for either just gulping or with food, because no specific flavour jumps out too strongly at me. Totally recommended.

Rich reds

Normally I go for the fruity, berry reds. But I must have been feeling red-deprived over the summer, because as soon as the first hint of fall arrived, I wanted something big and strong. The Pelee Island Cabernet Franc fit perfectly.

It’s a bit sour, and not what I would call a sipping wine, but it was great with food (yes, even my steak-less vegetarian food), and definitely made me happy that fall was here. I’ll be getting this one again.

(Yes, technically Billy’s Best calls this a “rustic red”. Felt pretty rich to me.)

Contrasts.

My spouse is allergic to wine — wine, a.k.a. the Universal Random Gift. Last week, I drank her birthday wine. At the time, I didn’t think I liked it, because Merlot.

 

It was Kacaba 2007 Reserve Merlot. At 5 years old, it was a lot more WINE than I usually drink. I liked the smoothness, but I don’t usually love a Merlot (such a weird combo of heavy darkness but fruity flavours… should be the best of all worlds but usually just seems to be arguing with itself) so I kept saying “This is great for a Merlot” and “this is a great MERLOT.”
Today, I knew I’d want wine after a kind of ridiculous day, so at the grocery store I went into one of those places that are popping up in grocery stores and headed to the cheap section. Most of them don’t have a great selection and what they do have is kind of overpriced, IMO, so I figured I’d just get some plonk. I was torn between $12 plonk I was slightly worried I’d had before and hated, and $10 plonk I knew would be bad but figured wouldn’t be THAT bad.

So I got the $10 plonk, namely, the French Cross 1L Cab-Merlot. Cause I drink cheap stuff all the time and am often sure I can’t tell the difference between the okay and the bad wines.

Turns out, yes I can.

I mean, it’s not TORTURE bad. I’m drinking it. It’s ok. It’s really only almost ok, though, and really only with food. It has a strange just-plain-alcohol burn that I haven’t tasted in a while and usually associate with a strong cheap vodka cocktail. Not with wine. After that, it’s a bit sour and has kind of “red wine flavour” going on. That’s all.

Drink it with a really greasy takeout pizza, definitely. Supply it at an open-bar wedding reception nobody’s rich parents are paying for, totally. Otherwise, buy the $12 plonk. And know that you can, in fact, tell the okay wines apart from the bad wines.