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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!

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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.)

syrah

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.)

“Late Autumn Riesling” – three words designed to appeal to me

I was telling a couple of you last night that I saw this in the store and said to myself, “What a wonderful idea!” and then took it home and put it beside… the bottle of it I already had at home. Doh!  Good thing it’s quite lovely.

I gave it a sniff before drinking and if someone had told me it was pear cider, I’d have believed them. Fortunately, it tastes better than just flat pear cider. It’s a 2 sweetness, so it doesn’t have a lot of bite, but now that it’s cold in the house I’m fine with that. There are a ton of beautiful fruit flavours. Compare to what I think of as the quintessential autumn white, which is a vidal, and there’s a lot more going on here than in any comparably-priced Vidal  I’ve had (not that I’ve had them all or anything). I drank this with fish (please feel free to imagine a classy homemade lake trout with some sort of delicate sauce rather than frozen battered haddock). And leftover chocolate cake. Better with the former than the latter.

$10.95 LCBO.

Fall red, label pandering edition

Cattail Creek Catastrophe Series – Red, $13.95 at the LCBO. I usually try to be immune to cute/trendy labelling, but they got me with these cats. Actually, the bottle I bought has quite a different label — a sleeker, black-on-black silhouette, rather than the cuddly black kitties on white shown here and on the winery website. In my defense, I also chose it because it was on the VQA “Wines to Watch” display with a tempting description. 🙂

This is a nice light dive-back-into-reds wine (and I bet it would be a good spring red, too). The site says “A blend of Gamay Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc creating a crowd-pleasing, medium-bodied red wine with flavours of black cherry, raspberries and vanilla with just a touch of mint on the finish.” I don’t get the mint or vanilla, but it’s very tangy without being too sweet or too light (I drank it with a heavy pasta meal). It’s very clean and refreshing for a red, but it’s definitely RED in flavour, which makes the colour in the glass all the more surprising. For the first glug or so I thought maybe I’d accidentally bought a rose! Observe (yes, that’s pie for dessert):

It’s pale!

A bit of the money from the sale of the Catastrophe wines goes to help rescued cats, which I’m a huge fan of, so there’s that too.

Last pink for a while?

This might be the last pink wine for a while… I’ve been craving reds like I’ve been craving fall. 🙂

This, bizarrely, tastes almost like a Wild Vines type of thing. After my first sip, I went back to the fridge & checked the bottle to see if it was raspberry flavoured or something. So it’s definitely… not for everyone/every situation. But I enjoyed it with a very spicy sausage dinner, and certainly a second glass to sip with some after-dinner comfort TV was pretty much perfect (except I was cold, it is already so cold in the house). It occurred to me that you could add a really tiny amount of token fruit to this and call it rose sangria without waiting for the fruit flavours to blend their way in. That might have seemed more appealing in July.