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Category Archives: Red Wine

Dinner with Faugères

2007 Château St. Roch de Laurens , Faugères, France LCBO# 223865 $18.95

Autumn is the season for the rarest of wine snob events…the wine tasting dinner. You know, the dinners you see advertised on the LCBO’s Vintages website touting amazing wine paired with incredible food for what many consider too high a price. Too many times we have passed up these events as been the bastion of the über wine snob. I say enough! We, the wine drinking masses, must invade this last outpost of the snobby elite for the simple reason that these tasting dinners are the best way to taste some pretty incredible wines at a fraction of the price of buying the wine yourself.

Think about it. The average wine dinner might cost you $250 per person. I agree, that’s a pretty high price for just a dinner, but if you factor in that many of these dinner feature super-premium wine that cost upwards of $100 a bottle at retail (or $200 off the average restaurant wine list) how could you not see this as a deal.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating that attending a wine dinner as a regular event, but going to one that features a producer or region that interests you is well worth it. Often these dinners are attended by either the winemaker or the winery owner, which is always educational and frequently entertaining. I guarantee that not only will you come away with a new appreciation of the wines that you have tasted (plus a full belly), but you will undoubted meet people at these events who share your interest in wine…and drinking wine with friends is never a bad thing.

Ok…now I can get off my “wine box” and get to this week’s wine. The 2007 Château St. Roch de Laurens hails from a warm pocket of the Languedoc called Faugères. This is a rustic blend of the three grapes Syrah, Mouvèdre and Grenache. It has big flavours of red berries, prunes, red cherries and classic notes of dried sage. I would recommend pairing it with grilled meat or even meat lasagna. As for cheese, you can try it with Manchego or any other sharp hard cheese.

At $18.95, 2007 Château St. Roch de Laurens is a great wine so share at your own “home-cooked” wine dinner. This is definitely not a snob wine…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in France, Grenache, Mourvedre, Red Wine, Syrah

 

Drink F#@king Merlot

2007 Peter Franus Merlot, Napa Valley, California, USA LCBO# 235952 $34.95

Maybe it’s the movie Sideways’ fault. Maybe it’s my own childhood issues, but I don’t drink enough Merlot…and that’s a mistake. Merlot has (for some reason) been an often maligned and misunderstood grape. The truth is Merlot forms the base of some of the greatest wines in the world! (Have you ever heard of a little wine called Château Petrus?) Merlot not only imparts a variety of black fruits to a wine, it also brings a softness and elegance to its body. In homage to my main man Justin Timberlake, Merlot brings the “sexy” to the world of wine.

The 2007 Peter Franus Merlot is a beautiful example of an elegant Merlot from the Napa Valley. This wine has well defined flavours of dark chocolate, blackcurrants, black cherries, baked plum, white pepper, leather and molasses. There is a lot going on in this wine, but it keeps its balance. Its silky tannins are a pleasure and helps hold everything together. I would recommend pairing this wine with lamb chops, roasted chicken or even turkey. As for cheese, you can try it with everything from a mild Swiss cheese to a savoury cheddar.

At $34.95, the 2007 Peter Franus Merlot is a bit on the high side of the value meter, but an excellent wine none the less. If you are looking for a great Merlot to enjoy now or over the next few years you should definitely check this wine out…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in California, Merlot, Red Wine

 

The giant killer from Napa Valley

2007 First Press Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, USA LCBO# 188110 $19.95

I always love it when an inexpensive wine shows up its more expensive brothers and sisters. It justifies everything that I believe in when in come to wine. What I don’t like is when I am the sucker who brought one of the more expensive wines only to be reminded of what humility tastes like. The forum was a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. My entry was a 2005 Frog’s Leap Napa Valley. It was a $60 wine when I bought it on release. With a little bit of age and its pedigree, I was sure that it would be the best wine in the tasting. When the dust settled, my Frog got crushed by a wine a third the price!

The giant killer was the 2007 First Press Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This incredible value has well integrated flavours of black fruit, leather, mocha and cedar. It is very well balanced and has smooth tannins that coat your mouth. This is a great steak wine. Alternatively, I would recommend pairing it with BBQ pork ribs, osso buco or rabbit stew. As for cheese, I would recommend trying it with a hardy cheese like a manchego or a parmigiano.

At $19.95, the 2007 First Press Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the best deal coming out of Napa Valley I have seen in a long time. Go get this wine as fast as you can…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

 
 

Make summer last forever…drink Beaujolais!

2009 Mommessin Domaine de Champ de Cour, Moulin-A-Vent, Beaujolais, France LCBO# 430876 $19.95

I really can’t stand August. It’s the meanest of months. August is a constant reminder that a sudden and much unwelcome end to summer is right around the corner. I will do anything in my power to deny this sad reality. I’ll wear shorts and flip-flops all the time (even when August sometime becomes bitingly cold). I’ll use the outdoor BBQ for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll meticulously prepare my white pants for post-Labour Day wearing…and I’ll drink a lot of Beaujolais. For me, Beaujolais is the quintessential red wine for summer. It’s fruity, fresh, full of acidity and light on tannins. It’s a shame that more people don’t drink it regularly. I guess you can partially blame the marketing genius of Beaujolais Nouveau, but this underappreciated region is so much more than that.

This week’s wine comes from Moulin-A-Vent, one of the 10 villages (or Crus) within Beaujolais that are legally allowed to be denoted on the label. This (generally) means that you are getting the best of Beaujolais. Thankfully, this wine lives up to the task. The 2009 Mommessin Domaine de Champ de Cour is an amazingly fresh red made 100% from the Gamay grape. It has intense flavours of strawberry, red cherries and raspberries. It also has a well integrated spice notes, smooth soft tannins and great acidity. The trick to getting the most out of this wine is to put it in ice bucket for 20 minutes. Chilled Beaujolais is always better than one at room temperature! I would recommend pairing this wine with pastrami, beef stir-fry or chicken lo-mien. As for cheese, I would recommend trying it with a mild cheese like a gouda.

At $19.95, the 2009 Mommessin Domaine de Champ de Cour is a steal. This is another beautiful wine from another underappreciated region…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

Finally…I have something very special planned for September for all of you. Adam’s Wine of the Week is going on a road trip! Stay tuned for more details in next week’s post.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in France, Gamay, Red Wine

 

Over the garden wall in Saint Joseph

2007 Pierre Gaillard Saint Joseph Rhône, France LCBO# 194928 $22.15

Wine prices in the classic regions of France such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône are, to put it simply, gone totally insane! Even the lesser known Chateaux and Domaines have literally priced themselves out of the market for all but the most well-healed wine drinker. So what are the rest of us who yearn for good French wine to do? Simple! It’s all about geography. Some of the best values coming out of these classic regions of France are being produced in the lesser known sub-regions that surround them. Its funny how people think that a wine from a classic region like Côte-Rôtie is automatically better than one from a lesser known region of the Rhone when most times the only thing dividing them is a stone wall and a name. This week’s wine is a prefect example of the great wines you can find when you look over the stone wall.

2007 Pierre Gaillard Saint Joseph is an exceptionally crafted red wine. This full bodied powerful wine made from 100% Syrah has flavours of blackberries, black cherry, plum, spices and oak. It also has a well integrated seam of white and black pepper that is typical of well made red wines from the Northern Rhône. This wine is guaranteed to improve if allowed to age for another three to five years. I would recommend pairing the Pierre Gaillard Saint Joseph with a grilled flank steak, homemade hamburgers or (for the more adventurous) venison. As for cheese, I would recommend trying it with a Manchego.

At $22.95, I highly recommend searching out the 2007 Pierre Gaillard Saint Joseph. This is a beautiful wine from an under appreciated region…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in France, Red Wine, Syrah

 

Face your wine fears! Discover the Vulture!

2007 Cantina Di Venosa Terre Di Orazio, Aglianico del Vulture, Italy LCBO# 247494 $17.95

I have to admit, when it comes to my “wine related” comfort level, Italian wine has forever been my Achilles heel. I have always been slightly intimidated by the vast range of wine produced by this vino loving country. The sheer number of oddly named indigenous grapes being produced in the countless number of tiny (and often obscure) wine producing regions could boggle the mind! My advice, when it comes to wine, play to your weaknesses. Face the unknown and take a flier on a wine from a place that you might not be familiar with. This week’s wine is just that…a wine from region outside my comfort zone. Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? You might just discover a wine that surprises you.

The 2007 Cantina Di Venosa Terre Di Orazio a very food friendly red wine made 100% from the Aglianico grape. It has flavours of violets, cassis, black cherries and well integrated hints of oak, smoke and dark chocolate. The tannins are very smooth and help to bring the wine together. The Cantina Di Venosa Terre Di Orazio is drinking well right now, but will develop very nicely over the next 5 years.

This is 100% a pasta wine. I would recommend pairing the Cantina Di Venosa Terre Di Orazio with any tomato sauce based pasta. If you wanted to go meat, I would put it with grilled lamb chops or a roasted chicken. As for cheese, I would recommend trying it with a Pecorino.

This wine is a great discovery! At $17.95, this is not only a great value, but it has all the markings of being a solid everyday drinking wine. I strongly encourage you to seek out this wine and buy a bunch of bottles. Drink one tonight, drink a few through this fall and winter and “re-discover” the rest in a few years. Who said “discovery” doesn’t pay dividends…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below. If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at http://twitter.com/AdamsWOTW.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Aglianico, Italy, Red Wine

 

A Chilean Downer…and not in a good way

2008 Anakena Single Vineyard Carmenère, Rapel Valley, Chile LCBO# 59519 $14.95

Oh man did I pick a loser this week! In fact, the mere memory of tasting this wine makes me want to curl up the fetal position. So why review a wine that didn’t cut the mustard…because there is a valuable lesson tucked behind this awkward frog of a wine. The lesson is simple; you will never discover what wines you “truly” like without tasting a few you don’t along the way! Seriously, where else in the world can you make such an inexpensive mistake and still enjoy the blissful euphoria of a gentle wine induced “happy” mood. The best part is now you know you never have to buy that wine again. Sometimes knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do like.

So, without further ado…the 2008 Anakena Single Vineyard Carmenère is big brooding unripe monster of a wine with flavours of green pepper, tobacco, tar, white pepper, cloves, and a lot of green vegetal notes. The only fruit that I could pick out was a slight hint of black currant on the finish. Not exactly a “fruit-forward” wine. To top it all off, this wine is super tannic and literally feels like mud in your mouth. Maybe this is your cup of tea, but it’s certainly not mine!

I would recommend pairing the 2008 Anakena Single Vineyard Carmenère with your recycling bin or better yet, give it as a gift to someone you don’t like.

Even at the inexpensive price of $14.95 a bottle, this wine is not going on my “must have” list. But before you completely dismiss this wine, remember it’s what you like that counts! If the flavours I mentioned in my review resonate with what you like, please go pick up a bottle. Lord knows my palette should never be considered the end all to be all of good taste…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below. If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at http://twitter.com/AdamsWOTW.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Carménère, Chile, Red Wine

 
 
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