Archive for the ‘NOT Recommended’ Category

I adore New Zealand wine.  Australia, not so much. The selection of this Shiraz-Cabernet from Rosemount’s Diamond Cellars range was a peer-pressured purchase to pair with pasta.

Before my wine-appreciation days began, so I have researched, the family-owned Rosemount Estates winery began some 40 years ago in the Hunter Valley of the NewSouthWales province roughly 100kms inland from the Tasman Sea.  The amazing quality of their wines was an Australian treasure.  Until, that is, they sold out to several major conglomerates.  Not one to give in to preconceived notions, I handled this wine as though I’ve never seen or heard of it before.

Dark garnet in color, its higher 13.5% alc/vol legged rather quickly on the sides of the glass. The nose offered traces of raspberry and mulberry with a faint presence of oak (even though I can be pretty sure no oak touched this juice).

The fuller Shiraz-forward palate is decently spicy with essences of anise and black pepper, the Cabernet helping to balance this spice with a packed earth flavor.  What got me to NOT liking this wine was the lingering and very strong earthy finish – giving the impression that you’re sucking on rocks from the back yard that dogs have sniffed and worms have died under. Each subsequent mouthful of delicious home-made lasagna tasted like a mud pie.

Can’t really recommend this vino for food pairing but if you’re just sipping, go for it.  For its ~$14/blt price tag (double the ~$7/btl in the USA), I would have expected much better.

Cheers.

~tvb

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**image credit – Me.  I took the bottle shot myself with my wee HP digicam, removed background clutter and exported to transparent PNG.  Product likeness property of the winery, duh!!

Finally! We’ve made it to France!! But this sparkler isn’t a champagne.  Château de Montgueret is in the Loire Valley – that doesn’t fall in the Champagne appellation, so its not a champagne.  Still French vino to be sure just geographically challenged by a few hundred kilometers.  This fourth offering in my four-part… er… five-part holiday series is a non-vintage sparkler in the moderately priced range of ~$19/btl. The label offered not the slightest hint of the contents – one of the reasons I picked this up.

In the first part of this Sparkler Series, I recall stressing control and safety while uncorking a bottle of bubbles – use a towel to shield the cork as you ease it from the bottle.  The curious sort that I am, I went to the terrace and with my thumb, I prised the cork straight out and (POP!) let it fly!!! Got great height but it fell into a stand of evergreens on the lawn of the condo so I didn’t see it land.  Maybe I should go hunting for it to retrieve for my collection…

The mousse foamed a little upon pouring but subsided quickly as the flute was filled. Color is a modest yellow-gold with overly-large bubbles (for a methode traditionelle) fizzing from primarily the dimple at the bottom of the glass. There is a faint breath of white bread but fills the nose with tart green apples, lemony notes and honey. These flavors carry through to the dry finish making it easy to go back for more.

A tasty bit of bubbly, but not a total show-stopper.  If you’re going to try this with food, I’d suggest something buttery – like a sturdy white-fleshed fish or grilled chicken. Nothing too fancy.

Cheers!

~tvb

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**image credit – ME!  I snapped this pic after I’d finished the bottle the next morning in a Mimosa. (yeah – it went a little flatter overnight than the others I’ve tested but still tasted good with my omelet. Design and symbols property of the winery obviously.

Even though this is the fifth installment in my now-SIX part series on holiday bubbles, I’ll not be expounding much on this particular entry. Yes, ~$11/blt is in the ‘moderate priced’ category, this sparkling wine will be grouped in the ‘budget category’.

From what I can find online and in my local LCBO, MezzoMondo offers four distinct vinos: Negroamaro Salento, Sangiovese Merlot, a Sicilian Pino Grigio/Chardonnay, and this Sparkling Rosé. The Salento kicks major butt, the Sang-Merlot is decent, I’ve not tried the Pino Grigio/Chard yet and then there’s this…uhm…stuff…

I bought this hoping the previous two vino experiences were the benchmark of something wonderful.

The cork leapt from the bottle as any would but this time it felt like it truly NEEDED to be away from this one.  The mousse foamed like soapsuds and left odd webbing on the glass. There wasn’t the faintest hint of any scents on the nose, nor even on the palate. There isn’t anything I can possibly try to dredge up to say anything positive about this stuff.  The coral-pink color is very pretty to look at in the glass as it dances with bubbles the size of peas.

A very disappointing offering from MezzoMondo.

YUCK!!!!!!!  Spend the extra dollar and get something better

~tvb

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**image credit – a Google Images search produced a few results – I chose one and added the festive holly border.  Label and naming is naturally the property of the winery, pictured here under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

YAY!!  The holiday season is upon us and to celebrate, your vinoboy is offering a four-part tasting series on Champagne and Sparkling wine.

My first offering is this sparkling Prosecco Brut from the Veneto region of Northeast Italy. Priced at ~$12/blt, this makes it a ‘moderately priced’ vino. and though not exactly specified on the label, I can probably conclude this is a Charmat-method sparkler.  (Please see “Glass & Grub” for what this means…)  As with Champagnes, only wines from the Prosecco region can be called “Prosecco”.

For me, I reserve bubbles for sipping on their own.  Unless the wine is totally nasty, will it be used for Mimosas or sparkling punches.

Remember to NOT over-chill sparkling wine – 30 minutes in the freezer or ice bucket is plenty! Over-chilling will make the cork difficult to remove.  WARNING!!! Do not let corks fly from the mouth of the bottle with reckless abandon unless you’re outside and point it skyward! A well-trained host will ALWAYS ease the cork from a bottle of bubbles with a clean white towel.  The pressure inside the bottle can propel a cork with great enthusiasm and may hit someone or even break something like a window or picture frame – so be careful.

Cutting to the chase, this vino is a sparkling punch sort.  An ample mousse balloons in the glass to subside quickly – revealing an ever-so-pale yellow  glinting with a subtle pinkness whose moderately-sized bubbles rise in even columns. The nose is that of melted plastic and petrol with notes of marshmallow and Castor sugar. Medium-sweet on the palate, this sweetness is the only sensation other than the fizz.

If this vino is to be used to toast the instant of the occasion and drained by your already-half-wasted guests, perfect.  If it is to accompany a food course, forget it.

Bottega Il Vino dei Poeti Prosecco 2010 from the Veneto region of Northeast Italy.

Happy Holiday Toasting!

~tvb

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**image credit – Ontario distribution agent, Noble Estates.  Product copyright and wholly owned by the producer: Distilleria Bottega, Bibano di Godega, Italia Used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

Try not to judge a book by its cover or rather a vino by its ~$11 asymmetrical bottle…  The only reason I picked this wine up was to reaffirm my love of Pinot Noir with Seared MahiMahi.

I always Always ALWAYS buy MahiMahi with the SKIN ON!!! (Being from the East Coast, I prefer most fish whole or with the skin on, but I digress.) The now-thawed room-temperature pieces of mahimahi are liberally spritzed with pineapple juice before receiving a simple coating [salt,pepper,chili flakes,flour] on the flesh side. The good olive oil in a non-stick skillet is heated to almost smoking hot as the fish is placed breading-side down to sear for no more than 5 minutes. (I NEVER let the skin touch the pan. Just under this gorgeous skin is a layer of fat and dark meat rich in beneficial oils and fatty acids. To overheat this Eden of healthy goodness is to render out the reason to eat it. I also prefer MahiMahi, Salmon, Markerel and most other “steak fish” medium-rare to best appreciate their sweet succulence.) Marinated and steamed taro and an Arugula salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette eagerly await, on the plate, the fish.

The shifting colors of ruby red and purple swish in the glass strangely as sniffs of cherry blossoms emanate. The medium-bodied almost-elegance carries plums, vanilla and nutmeg upon the palate to finish subtly earthy.

The flesh of MahiMahi is very tuna-like in its texture and richness; and though considered a white fish, its bold flavor often pairs very well with lighter reds when it has been grilled, blackened or seared.

Definitely a with-food vino.  Not bad, really, but seems to be lacking something. Can’t quite put my finger on it. If I can score a 2007 and a 2009 to compare, I’m sure I’ll figure out that je-ne-sais-quoi.

Cheers,

~tvb

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**image credit – ME!!  I took this picture myself just before uncorking. Bottle shape, labeling and other marks belong to the producer, naturally.

I was in the mood for something VERY spicy! Once in a while I get those misguided urges and order some expensive Thai food from the restaurant across the street.  This time it was PANANG GAI aka Hot Red Curry with Chicken. As I waited for the chow to arrive, I studied the vino…

I’ve always reserved Gewürztraminer for my forays into hot&spicy Asian cuisine, so this Liebfraumilch is going to be an adventure!

Hrm… a mild nose of honey with grapefruit and pear; the sugary essence was almost thick on the nostrils.  A very tentative sip drew incredible sweetness to the palate to the point of too much!  Though sweet, there were great fruit flavors of juicy peaches and fresh apricots.  I’m not a lover of sickly-sweet table wines all by themselves so I put the bottle back in the fridge until dinner got here.

Its about time!  The delivery boy was out of breath – I bet he ran all the way across the street rather than driving.  I could have stepped out to get it myself but feh – free delivery for residents of my condo complex, so why not take advantage of the perk.  YIKES!!!  This has got to be the hottest red curry ever!! *cough. I rolled a mouthful of the wine around my tongue and was surprised at how effectively the heat was carried away by its sweetness!  Talk about extremes canceling each other out.

With a lot of residual sugar, save this for sipping WITH hot chow or as an aperitif for someone who really likes sweet wines. I forgot to take a picture of the bottle before uncorking and it just would not have looked the same empty, so it went straight to the recycle bin.  There ARE a few images out there on Google search, but none I’d repost here.

Not the greatest German offering I’ve tasted; I’d not buy it again for myself.

LCBO/Vintages ~$13/btl.

Cheers

~tvb

So…  As promised, I’ve decided to revisit the South American Malbec.  You may recall my review of the FuZion Malbec Reserva 2008 and how I kinda sorta didn’t quite like it.

Also promised was to keep an open mind with the value-for-money aspect of some of these budget-priced wines from various parts of the globe.

I tried, my friends, I really and honestly tried.

This dark-purple goop smells like a dirty ashtray to which rubbing alcohol has been added.  Its chalky texture carries flavors of Mackerel and petrol to the palate and lingers most dolefully with essences of sour cherries and liniment to remind you of just how yucky this wine is.

Pop-for-the-dollar considered, you can do A LOT better than this for only $8/blt.  Try it for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t offer some advice.

Even paired with the suggested stuffed pasta (I had  cheese tortellini in beef&tomato sauce), I truly wish I could have set aside my honesty and given this vino a decent review, but I just don’t feel it.

~tvb

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**image credit – Google Image Search Results – used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

++the website for the actual winery is infected with a malware/spyware virus and my security suite prevented it from loading.

California’s Napa Valley is probably one of the most well-known places in the entire United States for the growing of grapes and the production of wine. On one of my many trips to the mid-west, I came across a retailer who was tasting this vino and stopped for a sip. For the record, this trip was around late August of 2008 and I’m drawing on my memory of the trip and my detailed tasting notes….

“How long has this bottle been opened?” I asked as I glanced at the unstoppered bottle.  This is ALWAYS my first question when chancing upon a tasting station.  The attendant glanced at her watch…

“About 2 hours,” she replied. “Its been kinda slow around here today, donchyaknow.”

“That’s not too long,” I lied. “Lets have a swig.”

In the wee plastic cuppy, this wine tasted flabby and weak; like all the life had been sucked out of it.  My experience to date with California Pinot Noirs has leaned towards chunky, bold and full-bodied so I was certain this sample bottle was past its prime.

On a whim, and at only $6.95USD, I bought a bottle to taste properly in the privacy of my hotel room.

Even when done in the true Burgundy tradition, cellared and forgotten about for as long as 20 years, I’ve yet to hear (with the exception of VERY few Russian River California appellations) of a California Pinot Noir that hasn’t turned to mud.  Anyway…

I chilled this bottle for about 30 minutes in the hotel minibar fridge and rummaged for my travel corkscrew.  The synthetic stopper was cleverly scrawled with the winery’s signature “Whoo Whooo COUGH Whooo Whoo” pattern.  I kept the stopper. *grin

With an easily-detectable 13.5% alc/vol and a nose of sweaty gym socks and over-ripe cherries, I was beginning to sense that the $6.95 could have been spent better elsewhere.  A cautious sip brought tears to my eyes with harsh flavors of masticated pomegranate seeds, kerosene and ammonia.  I SURRENDER!!

I don’t think I’ve ever abandoned a bottle of vino faster that this stuff.  I’m sure there’s a dreamy-tasting Burgundy-styled California Pinot Noir out there somewhere, but alas, this Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2006 ain’t that vino. Blech!!!

Value-for-money considered, be VERY glad this isn’t at your local LCBO.

~tvb

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*image credit – Google Images Search – selected image result used under fair-use provisions for review and critique.

oMondo Negroamaro Salento 2009. Great with pizza obviously; I’d say good too with grilled Mackerel in a  Tomato-Cilantro sauce or full-flavored orange cheeses like Colby and Cheddar. I’ll most certainly be picking up a few bottles for my wine rack – at this price its definitely a great budget-priced vino! Yes, that was not a typo: $7.95/btl!

Salute!

~tvbdonchya know

As everyone is by now well aware, I live within a stone’s throw of Ontario’s Niagara Region; renowned for its viticulture. I travel to many places often in search of regional wineries and their respective wines.

For the Labor Day weekend, I traveled to the wonderful Twin Cities for the Minnesota State Fair. Though there wasn’t  a booth set up for any of the local wineries (that I could see) I had heard that the University of Minnesota had been hybridizing various varieties of grapes with more hardy and cold-resistant v. riparia vines. One such complex hybrid is the Frontenac grape.

This full-textured wine poured into the tulip glass to shine in a brilliant straw color.  The aroma was of light citrus and faint wisps of spice. Almost too sweet for my liking, the rich ripe pear and peach flavors masked the 12.5% alcohol content.  Though very unique and definitely a regional thing, I’m not that struck on it.  Pleasing in flavor, to be sure, but overly sweet for much else than an after-dinner sipper or at its $14/btl price point, a rather nice base for a white wine punch.

~tvb

Six hours due south of the Calchagua Valley as the crow flies lies another cordilleran valley called San Javier. Directly descended from French migrants, the estate of the current Bouchon family produces a modest series of wines.

This very pale yellow Sauvignon Blanc has a nose of pineapple and urea. Its very light body carries a delicate spritzich on the tongue that gives the only hint of it actually being in my mouth.  In this vinoboy’s most humble opinion, there is no flavor to think of than to liken it to that gilded puddle left behind after a kitty who has just visited the litterbox. Though the label offers suggestions of lightly seasoned fish to linguine with clam sauce, I’m not sure I’d be willing to be that adventurous.

One hundred eleven years and still working on it.  They’ll get it eventually.

~tvb