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Saturday, January 16, 2010
Wine Musings From 2010
I like a good "Best of 2010" list as much as the next guy, but when you go through as many wines as I do in a year, it is difficult to record and remember with any clarity, which ones were truly "the best". Also, there is the troubling impact of circumstance, context or backdrop and the influence that the time, the place and the company have on your impression of a wine. Or at least that's the case with me. If I drink a wine at sunset on the edge of a coulee in the Alberta fall after hunting, and do so with some of my best friends, I am maybe inclined to have a more favourable impression of a wine than when I am simply hunkered down in my house avoiding the cold on a winter Tuesday night. I'm never fancy-pants enough to do blind-tastings, so that's just the way it is. Hence, what seemed to make sense to me was to simply provide a few of my 2010 wine highlights or memorable wines that I tried last year, and that I thought all of you might enjoy. Here they are:
1) Taurino, Salice Salentino, Riserva - 2004
This wine was given to me as a gift and what a gift it was. A mineral-tasting red wine from the little-known and unheralded Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes that really was a delight and a surprise. Precision in the vineyard (no training and severe pruning) and the use of small oak barriques have given these grapes and there resultant wine a character and style that are unlike any other wine. Also a great value at around $20 a bottle.
2) Villa Creek, Tempranillo/Grenache/Mourvedre, "Mas De Maha", Paso Robles - 2005
Another unusual wine that I enjoyed at the Kazimierz World Wine Bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. This earthy, yet fruity, wine is a little harder on the pocket book (around $60.00) but worthwhile, especially if you enjoy the California "Rhone Ranger" style of wines.
3) Wing Canyon, Merlot, "Lolita", Mt. Veeder - 2005
With a winery track record like Bill and Kathy Jenkins, who have been pumping out fantastic Mt. Veeder cabernets for years, it should come as no surprise that this velvety soft Merlot is another home run wine. Supple, comforting and down right drinkable, this wine is a real palate-pleaser. Add in Kathy's beautiful artwork on the label and you have a real treat. Around $30.00, which while not cheap, represents pretty good value.
4) Justin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles - 2007
Like the Isosceles and Orphan cabernet-based bottlings from Justin (one of my favourite California wineries, or wineries period), this is a fruit-forward bombshell of a wine that is just grand. However, this one and its $25 price tag really stands out and represents one of the best wine values around today.
5) S. Anderson, Cabernet Sauvignon, "Richard Chambers Vineyard", Stag's Leap - 1999
I seldom splurge on wines in restaurants given the big mark-ups and heavy list prices that you see these days, but on a recent trip to the Post Hotel in Lake Louise (where their 30,000 bottle cellar gets a guy to push the envelope of his wallet) this one called out to me. It was well worth the reach. A well-aged and well-structured red, this cabernet from this now long-gone winery (it was purchased by Albertan Cliff Lede who is now making great wines himself under the Cliff Lede label) was worth every nickel and many nickels were required. Let's ignore the price, but splurge on this one if you ever win big at bingo and have nothing to do with your winnings.
6) Barone Ricasoli, Chianti Classico, "Brolio", Tuscany - 2007
Truly the best wine value in 2007. This 2007 Chianti from sangiovese master Barone Ricasoli is just a well-balanced, fruit-forward wine that pairs well with almost any food. Throw in that you can usually find it from $15 - $20 at the Safeway liquor store and you have a wine that can be your real household standby for those above-mentioned basement Tuesdays and "Entourage" re-runs.
There were many other great wines that I should have blogged about, but failed to. Grab any of these, pull the cork and enjoy. I sure did.
Posted by Knox Harrington on January 16, 2010 in Food and Drink | Permalink
i like any good Italian red, cheap or expensive.
...and a Greek retsina is great with fatty lamb (or fatty anything).
but i'm a port and cognac/armagnac guy.
Posted by: shel | 2010-01-16 5:07:01 PM
"but i'm a port and cognac/armagnac guy."
Posted by: shel | 2010-01-16 5:07:01 PM
Is that While you are sitting there having your hair highlighted, or when your picking something out to wear for tommorow?
Ya ya I know my spelling sucks , you said that already.
Posted by: Vegan Philosopher | 2010-01-16 5:56:28 PM
WSB going woof woof.
Posted by: snowgirl | 2010-01-17 5:38:48 PM
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