Saturday, December 25, 2010

McWilliams: Week #19

Merry Christmas!!!  Obviously, being a Saturday and a special occasion, I will most likely be enjoying some beverages, but to avoid awkwardly blogging over the turkey, here is another stock-piled review coming at ya!

Every Sunday we "Family Dinner" at my mom & dad's house.  There are nine of us - six adults and three kids (4 and under) - and despite knowing this fact, we STILL can't figure out how many chairs and plates we need.  It is loud, chaotic, loud, fun, messy and loud.  To combat the loudness and maintain our sanity, the adults must consume alcohol - I mean, who wouldn't in this situation?  There really is no other feasible alternative.  Sometimes it is rum punch, sometimes it is coolers and beer, more frequently than not, it is wine... usually red and often Shiraz. 

I'd been eyeing this bottle of McWilliams Shiraz in the my parents cupboard for more than a few weeks, hoping that somebody would sanction popping the cork.  I liked the simplicity and elegance of the label, and I liked that is was a more expensive brand that I wouldn't have spring for myself.  Don't you just love parents?  I know I do!

McWilliams (Australia, 2008)
14% alc./vol.

A word from the wine:
"The supple yet generous palate is dominated by rich, plum and raspberry fruit flavors with hints of spice and vanilla. The wine is soft and well balanced with a lingering, fruit focused finish"
I think I like hints of spice and vanilla - that sounds right to me. 

Yum. Yum. YUM.  This wine is everything I love about Shiraz - it is smooth and rich on the tongue and has just that hint of peppery-bitterness in the finish.  Easy drinking and great taste with a bit of a bite... what more can you ask for?  I definitely sneaked a tad more than my far share from the communal bottle - but what is a girl to do when faced with splitting one bottle six ways? 

Daddy Dearest Comment: "There's nothing wrong with this wine"
I think he was reminding me that it was expensive and he paid for it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mission Hill Reserve: Week #18

To make up for my lack of posting promptness with my last entry, I have decided to post today's review by noon and have next week's waiting in the wings with an automatic posting timer! 

So, I'm at my mom & dad's house dropping off some pants to be hemmed (yes, Mommy hems my pants!  I like to focus on her awesomeness rather than my laziness in the situation), and I notice that my dad sits down at the computer, types something and prints off a document.  Nothing unusual about that, right?  Until we all head upstairs and he hands ME the folded piece of paper.  I'm thinking, "Oh shit.  Do I owe him money or something?"  Thankfully, the answer is no... well technically, the answer may be yes, but maybe it hasn't hit collections yet.  In either case, who types up a note to communicate with someone who is clearly occupying the same 3 meter radius as them?

Supposedly one of the better Shiraz wines that BC's Okanagan Valley has to offer.  Let me know how it stacks up against the Shiraz wines from Australia which usually are my favourites.
Price $24.99"

Then, he hands me a bottle of Mission Hill Shiraz.  So, despite his awkward social skills (guess I know where I get THAT from), you gotta love the sentiment, or at least the the wine, behind it. 

This appears to be a nice bottle of wine.  The label art is natural and understated, and the dimple in the bottom of the bottle is pretty deep - a few weeks ago, my brother, who is more of a refined wine lover than myself, told me that the deeper the dimple, the more expensive (and therefore better) the wine.  Since then, I've been wandering around sticking my finger in the bottom of wine bottles - thanks bro!

Mission Hill Reserve (Canada, 2007)
14% alc./vol.

A word from the wine:
"Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve wines are elegant and balanced, reflecting our passion and commitment to viticultural and winemaking excellence.  Tasting Notes: Dark, earthy and intense"
I like the sound of this.  Intense... yes, I like that.  But, what does viticultural mean? 
(PS: viticultural = the cultivation of grapes... that's it!?)

I enjoyed this with a friend at a pre-staff party gathering.  It was delicious, and smooth, and dry.  I noticed the color was particularly dark - it was very full bodied and rich.  Definitely an MVP if you can afford it, and for my dad's sake I will include that I think it more than compares to the Australians.

Guest Tester Review: "I taste it in my throat"
Gee, helpful husband may better watch out - someone is after his job!

Wynn's: Week #17

This review is more than late.  My apologies.  Don't worry, I still drank.... I just missed the writing part. 

Saturday evening I had the pleasure of an excursion with a couple of "Preschool Moms" - this is how I refer to women I have met through the older child's preschool.  This round included some, but not all, of the women present at a previously blogged about scrappy event. 

We went to a local Pizzeria and I enjoyed a Chicken-Pesto pizza with a small juice glass of red wine.  We were confused by the wine list - I honestly have no idea what I drank - I couldn't identify the grape or the brand name.  There was some animated discussion about the appropriateness of the juice glasses, but one well-traveled and refined (okay, she watches the Food Network) Preschool Mom informed me that is how it is done in Italy - and who am I to argue with the Italians?!

In either case, we hit the liquor store and purchased a swanky bottle of Shiraz - we settled on Wynn's which was on sale (save $3!!!).  Don't you love the rustic sketch on the label?  After picking up the bottle, a helpful shelf stocker sanctioned our choice saying it was a good wine and asking if it was a gift - uhm, no, we're going to drink it ASAP, of course!

Wynn's Coonawarra Estate (Australia, 2007)
$20ish... I can't remember the exact price, but it was around there after the $3 savings
14% alc./vol.

A word from the wine:
"The 2007 shiraz is classic Coonawarra - exhibiting black pepper, mulberries and dark plums. Stylish and consistent."
There was a nice little diagram on the back label and a long explanation of the vineyard's soil, drainage and climate - all which made little to no sense to me.  I'm getting very hard pressed to find any creative label notes.

I have to agree with the bottle on this one.  It was stylish and consistent.  It did exhibit some peppery fruitiness.  Basically, it was everything I like in a Shiraz - smooth and easy on the tongue, but with a bite in the back of the throat.  The only thing that will be keeping this wine from the MVP list is the killer headache I had after only one (fairly large) glass - and the lack of a good buzz.  I can't be certain that the wine caused the headache, but I will forever (unfairly) associate the two and therefore I will be tentative to try it again.  Keep in mind, my fellow two guest testers did not mention anything of the sort, so it should make a great choice for the readers out there!

Guest Tester Reviews: "Easy drinking!"
(I've noticed this is a common guest tester review when it comes to a good wine)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Las Moras Reserve: Week #16

Wanna know a secret?  I don't just drink wine on Saturdays. 
Sometimes I can't wait - I open the bottle a day early and attempt to cover my tracks by posting the review on Saturday or Sunday.  At times, I have some wine on Friday and then AGAIN on Saturday (and AGAIN on Sunday at Family Dinner) - you just never know with me. 

Anyway, this wine selection falls into one of the aforementioned categories.  In fact, truth be told, this was enjoyed with my husband on a Friday as my Saturday was booked with a girls' night.  My poor helpful husband felt he would miss out on the weekly sipping of the Shiraz.  So, in a truly selfless act, I agreed to share a bottle with him a day early and save the review for a week when my social calendar (I'm popular) prevents me from my usual Saturday Shiraz blogging duties.  You see, while it is a nice gesture to give the host of a social gathering a bottle of wine, demanding that they open it immediately and serve it to you may be construed as rude. 

I hope you enjoy this stock-piled review.

Helpful husband really took the helm for this one - he went to the store, and he chose the bottle all by his lonesome!  I had seriously considered this wine on a previous liquor store visit, but I had instead reached for its cheaper, younger, and less mature sister (how often has this exact scenario played out in real life?).

Las Moras (Argentina, 2007)
14% alc./vol.

A word from the wine:
Shiraz shows at its best in the San Juan region where weather conditions allow full ripeness.  Ages in American and French oak barrels for 12 months.
Nothing really interesting here, eh?

I was really expecting to love this wine.  I liked the cheaper version well enough, although, if I remember correctly (and I do, because I checked my one-line review) I felt it wasn't very Shiraz-y.  Still, I thought this older, and more expensive, wine would excel where its sister lacked.  However, I felt it was more of the same.  It was still a good, enjoyable red wine - but its nothing to write home about.  And, I don't think I'd bother forking over the extra few dollars for the "Reserve" label. 

Helpful Husband Tip:  I think YOU will like this one.
So, does he like it or not?  Does this mean he thinks I have bad taste or good taste?  I'll never be sure.