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11 November 2007

It's Not Big It's Large

The adjective 'big' as it relates to wine often carries a slightly negative connotation.  Well, if not a overtly negative, then at least, fairly rough.  A big red wine is more often lauded for its power than its beauty.  Perhaps those big wines that also maintain an air of nuance should be referred to as 'large' or 'grand'.

Petalesdosayoosred04 When it comes to large, grand wines, one of the world's up and coming regions is Canada's Okanagan Valley in BC.  In fact, one of Canada's biggest wine-glomerates, VinCor, has partnered with a band in Bordeaux (Groupe Taillan) to develop grand Bordeaux-style winery.  Osoyoos Larose produces complex, character-full grand/large wine.  The 2004 Petales d'Osoyoos (~$27)  may be a 2nd label wine, but it's also lovely and grand.  Petales is largely blackberry, earthy spice and plum preserves.  If you happen to live near the 49th Parallel, matriculate over the border and grab this wine for turkey day.  At a minimum, try it before the Loonie laps the Greenback on the exchange front and the wine costs you as much as a 'first label' vino.

If you're still having difficulty wrapping your brain around the whole Big v. Large concept, let Lyle teach you.  His band is most definitely large rather than big.  Listen here. 


Read a Canuck Wino perspective on big wine here.

21 July 2007

Weekend Hits/Misses

Ipodding iTunes Hits
The Long Blondes - Someone to drive you home: Edgy pop with a slightly gruff but bouncy alto lead singer.

Spoon - Ga ga ga (etc.):  Imagine if the Rolling Stones drank 100 pints from the Fountain of Youth, quit most mind altering substances and moved to Austin.

Wine Hits
Laurenz und Sophie Singing Gruner Veltliner 2005: I have yet to find inexpensive white wine that is consistently as good and character-full as cheerful chuggers from Austria.  Set aside Laurenz + Sophie's silly "singing" moniker for this wine, twist off the cap and be prepared for zip! sproing! and fresh!

iTunes Misses
Crowded House - Time on Earth:  "Don't Dream it's Over" is one of the greatest pop songs of all time.  Unfortunately, our gang of Kiwis squeezed for living space has graduated to the "Adult Alternative" category.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Discover any iTunes/Wine hits recently?

26 June 2007

New Music Tuesday: Sub-32F Juveniles

Cwk Any band*, which aspires to evoke DF Wallace & his E Unibus Pluram essay, is a shoe-in to occupy bytes/101010 on my iPod.  The fact that the Kids** sing about Red Wine*** makes them easy to enjoy (or, "leicht zum Geniessen," as my Teutonic friends might say [were my Teutonic friends applying English grammar rules to the rather different German grammatical lexicon]).

*Unless said musical group were named, "The Infinite Jesters," or recorded an album called, "12 Interviews with Hideous Men."

**You may already be unknowingly familiar with the Kids from the tune, Hang me up to dry.  A catchy ditty if I do say so myself.

**Ironically, I enjoyed a glass of Los Arcos Sherry while toe-tapping to this sticky (and by sticky I mean 'catchy') melody.

01 May 2007

Pink 'n Meaty

Strawbacon As with most varietals, the difference between new world expression and old world character is enormous.  Take one of my favorite Rhone grapes, Mourvedre (aka Monastrell in Spain).  The old world character of this red grape is often the recipient of such non-fruit descriptions like, "butcher shop," meaty, gamey and wild.  Produced in Aussie, Cali, South Africa or even in some of the modern-styled wines of Spain, Mourvedre morphs into a mighty fruity wine with scents of blackberry jam, black cherry and stewed raspberry.  Yet, even in its tamest, fruitiest form, Mourvedre always slides in something unexpected.  Occasionally, you'll get a whiff of eucalyptus, clove, tobacco or dark chocolate...or even meat.

So how would Mourvedre perform as a Rosé?  Will it be all yummy strawberry followed by bacon?

Fortunately, Cline's 2006 Mourvedre Rosé ($15) doesn't finish off with any flavors that could be construed as meaty.  It does however offer a nifty flavor combo of fresh strawberry, red plum and a touch of clove.  While This pinkie is a bit big on the -OH side (13%), it rights itself with a spritz of acidity and a touch of textured tannin.  As with most rosé wines, Cline's pink Mourvedre will do its duty with nearly any unpretentious food.  Try it with a  turkey burger, cheese pizza or pasta.

Think of it as your very own bottle of buckie [itunes] [emusic, trk 6]

27 April 2007

3 Musts

1. A rosé must not contain more than 13% abv

2. Your Friday audio rotation must contain Motorin' by the Saturday Knights


3. This photo must receive a caption

30 March 2007

Fri. Random 5 + 1 Chewy Chilean

Hollygo Friday Random Music 5

  1. Holly Golightly - This Ship
  2. Of Montreal - We Were Born The Mutants Again With Leafling (?)
  3. Alexi Murdoch - Song For You
  4. Miles Davis - I Could Write A Book
  5. Pearl Jam - Sonic Reducer (listen .mp3)

1 Chewy Chilean

Erasmo Reserva di Caliboro 2005 (~$25) - To those who think there is no distinct terroir in Chile, I say, "thhppphhhttt!"  This is the the 3rd Chilean Bordeaux (60% Cab S., 30% Merlot, 10% Cab F.) blend I've sampled that has a unique something-something.  That something is a nifty scent compilation of cherry liqueur, charred cedar and orange peel.  I dig it.  While the wine's flavor is straightforward black cherry-blackberry, it possesses two types o' tannic textures: 1) slightly abbraisive & attention grabbing followed by 2)smooth and supple.  Quite a trick.  Give it a go with a standing beef rib roast and/or crock-potted root veggies.

19 January 2007


Barahondaet2 Very rarely does a $10 wine change dramatically as it breathes.  But then Spanish Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) isn't your typical grape variety.

Senor Barahonda Monastrell Tinto 2005 + 5 mins: Scents of berry Hi-C, raspberry jam and a hint of pepper

Senor Barahonda Monastrell Tinto 2005 + 15 mins: Scents of fresh raspberry, leather and a bit o' bacon

Senor Barahonda Monastrell Tinto 2005 + 55 mins: Barnyard & butcher shop, baby.

The Details: Senor Barahonda Monastrell Tinto 2005 ($10-$12).  Red Spanish wine made from 100% Monastrell.  Produced in the Yecla region (Southeast) of Spain.  Imported by Ole imports.

"Breathe" that reminds me of a song..(Listen to itRead it.)..

"Run away my son. See it all. Oh see the world."

12 December 2006

MT: 5 Random Folk + Pierre's Reserve

5 Random Folk Tunes for Music Tuesday

  1. Tiny Idyll - Jolie Holland
  2. Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother! - Sufjan Stevens
  3. Diamond Shoes - Tift Merritt
  4. Rainsquall - Richard Buckner
  5. One Life Away - M. Ward

+ Pierre's Reserve

Sparr For $11-$12 one can't expect too much.  However, when a winery displays sizable cajones and/or marketing hoo-ha, and adds, "Reserve," to the label - well, let's just say my expectations hath been raised.  Pierre Sparr Reserve Gewurztraminer 2004 (imported by WJ Deutsch & sons) met my slightly higher expectations via a rarely used device in modern winemaking - a little something called restraint.  Most bargain-bin Gewurztraminer (no 'ü' in Alsace)  is one dimensional.  Some low rent G'traminer offers only one big whiff of lychee (litchi/lychi).  Others simply steamroll the palate with XL-alcohol or copious quantities of residual sugar.  However, Pierre's reserve brought a little complexity and restraint to the table.  This wine is replete with scents of lychee, along with ripe peach and Mandarin orange.  In the mouth, Sparr's Gewurz is indeed hefty (as is almost always the case with Gewurztraminer).  Yet the wine didn't overpower any of the food paired to it - definitely a sign of alcohol & sugar restraint.  Try Pierre's reserve with salmon sashimi, Asian-spiced spare ribs, or even edamame.

05 December 2006

MT: Random 10 + Dr. Pauly

Music Tuesday Random 10

  1. Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode
  2. Diario de Viaje - Federico Aubele
  3. Random Celebrity Insult Generator - Mclusky
  4. I'll Take the Woods - Mocean Worker
  5. Alone - Ben Harper
  6. Assessment - The Beta Band
  7. Lonely in Love - Lyle Lovett
  8. Lazer Beam - Super Furry Animals
  9. Oslo Skyline - Jaga Jazzist
  10. I Don't Want to Get Over You - Magnetic Fields

Paulybergweiler_1 + Dr. Pauly

Nothing says German winemaking like, "Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler."  Dr. Pauly is actually owned by Dr. agr. Peter Pauly.  While D.P.'s, "Noble House" may not be this winery's top offering, it does however make for a fine introduction to the racy-semi-sweet style typical of many good German Rieslings.  Noble House offers what many value-priced wine from Deutschland lack: Harmony and balance between acidity and sugar.  Sure this wine is slightly off-dry.  However, its bright acidity livens things up, and conveys fresh, rather than overripe peach & pear character.  Give the 2005 vintage of Pauly-Bergweiler Noble House a spin alongside tuna or chicken salad (we can still dream of picnic weather can't we?).  It's ten bucks well spent.

28 November 2006

MT: Random 10 + 1 German Pinot

Music Tuesday: Random 10

  1. I Gotta Move - Ben Kweller
  2. North Hanging Rock - British Sea Power
  3. Your Heart is an Empty Room - Death Cab for Cutie
  4. Doxy - Miles Davis
  5. Statecontrol - The Hives
  6. My Petition - Jill Scott
  7. From Which I Came/A Magic World - Eels
  8. America's Most Blunted - Madvillain
  9. The Other Side of This Life - David Byrne
  10. Destination 24 - Wellwater Conspiracy

+ 1 German Pinot

Georgb_1 Georg Breuer Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), 2004 ($20) - imported by Classical Wines.  Surprise! An excellent quality red wine from Germany's Rheingau region.  In a region - nee a country - known for racy Riesling, good old Georg puts his teutonic touch on Burgundy's grape. And the result is one of the zestiest white-wine-in-red-wine-clothing you'll ever taste.  This Pinot is damn near coral in color - more a dark rose than a red wine.  It offers up scents of just-ripe strawberry, tart cherry and woody spice.  In the mouth, Breuer's Spätburgunder possesses nearly invisible tannins; making for a sheer, silky mouthfeel.  It imparts flavors of red raspberry and cherry, followed by a delicate finish.  This wine is definitely for the fragile wine lover.  Don't clobber it with food.  Try Breuer's Pinot with roasted chicken, fresh goat cheese or sashimi.

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