Saturday, February 26, 2011

Laboure-Roi: Week #28

This week is the second of three selections chosen at a "foreign" liquor store (PEI).  I picked this one as it was cost-effective and from France.  I've only reviewed one other French wine (Fat Bastard) and it did not go well.  I'm not against trying another, but have been unable to find a suitable bottle at my local store. 

Labroure-Roi - France, 2007
12% alc./vol (WTH?)
$12.00 (approx.)

A word from the wine:
"Particular varietal from the Rhone Valley.  Intense purple colour, this wine shows spicy and fruity aromas.  Fruity and easy to drink.  Ideal with all meals, especially chicken meat and cheeses."
Anyone else think this is redundant and uninformative?

For a 2007 bottle, I thought this wine did not live up to snuff.  First of all, the cork broke as I was removing it, which forced me to push it into the bottle in order to access the wine inside.  This action, of course, lead to there being little pieces of cork floating around in each glass I poured.  It was drinkable, but I found it to be a touch acidic instead of spicy.  It was also bland. 

Helpful Husband Tip: "I think its fine"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quinta S. Joao Batista: Week #27

This week I was in PEI for the weekend - and, of course, I ended up at a liquor store.  I actually didn't have a single drop of alcohol on my weekend trip, but I knew there was a good chance that the PEI liquor store would carry some brands of Shiraz not available to me at NB Liquor.  I'll tell you what: I realized the full extent of my obsession when I can walk around a liquor store and identify all the labels/brands that are available at home - even those that I have yet to sample. 

Here are some interesting facts about the liquor store I visited in PEI:
1.  There was wine on tap.  You select a popular (cheap) wine and pour your own into the container provided and pay by volume.
2.  There was wine in tetra-packs.  Yes, the packaging you have come to love in juice is now available for wine.  Classy.

I restrained myself to choosing only three bottles - there were a few more I would have liked to pick up, but even I have limits.

The first in this series will be shared with my husband on Valentine's Day (I realize that is a Monday, but I'm playing catch-up).  This bottle intrigued me with its dark and mysterious label and its origin.  I have yet to sample a Shiraz from Portugal, and I don't think my local liquor store even has a shelf devoted to the country.  The label has a subtle texture and the bottle has a nice deep dimple - so my expectations are high on this one.

Quinta S. Joao Batista  (Portugal, 2007)
$16.71 (+ tax & deposit - usually included in my price tag, but PEI is apparently different)
14% alc/vol.
A word from the wine:
"Sao Joao Batista is the name of Saint John the Baptist who led a movement of baptism, having baptized Jesus Christ."
I'm not usually religious, but I can make an exception for wine.

This wine was yummy - I quite enjoyed it and thought my helpful husband was attempting to pull one over on me when I asked for another glass and he said it was all gone.  I guess it is easy-drinking!  I found this one was richer and had a fuller body than others I have tried lately, and it still retained a good hint of spice. 

Helpful Husband Tip: "I have nothing left to say"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Balance: Week #26

It's week 26 - that means I'm half way through this alcoholic journey.  You know what they say, a journey of a thousand wines starts with one sip.  Or something like that.

Selection this week was serendipitous.  I had both boys with me in the liquor store, so the pressure was on.  When I saw the special "Available only at NB Liquor" sale display, I pounced and hoped there would be a Shiraz.  There was.  It was $9.99, had a fun purple elephant on it (balancing on a step stool no less!), and it is called Balance - what a better name for the wine marking the half-way point of Saturday Shiraz?  Plus, the label notes made me do a double take.  It is a blend (Pinotage Shiraz), but you can't have everything. 

Balance Pinotage Shiraz,  South Africa 2010
13.5% alc/vol.
A word from the wine:
"Rewards with whiffs of French oak, luscious ripe banana and subtle berry flavours.  Pour a glass and we're sure you'll agree, Life is great!"
Wait, let's read that again.... BANANA??!??!? WTF??!?!?!  I'm not a big fan of fruity wines, but I couldn't resist this unusual tasting note.  However, the bananas & berries combined with the 2010 "vintage" year, plus the $9.99 price tag, in addition to the completely FLAT bottom of the bottle really lower my expectations for this wine.  I assume it will be gross, but interesting to taste - and since I have some unsuspecting guest testers at least the bottle should be empty.

I can't in good conscience recommend this wine - or really even attempt to describe its taste.  We could smell hint of banana, but not taste it.  The first few sips were tolerable, but cold, and once the coldness wore off, the taste became unforgivable.  It got worse with every sip.  I dumped the rest of my glass (sacrilege!), along with my fellow guest-testers, and then the hostess was forced to dump the remainder of the bottle after we left.  Luckily, another guest was thoughtful enough to bring Wolf Blass (Merlot) so the evening wasn't a total wash wine-wise (and it was great otherwise - lots of food and laughs).

Helpful Husband Tip: "I don't think it’s that bad - I'll finish your glass"
The man has a sickness.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hardy's Oomoo: Week #25

Earlier this week, I remembered that my brother & sister-in-law had given me a gift card to the liquor store for Christmas.  So, I decided that I would use it to its full potential and pick a more expensive bottle that normally I would be too frugal to purchase.  I have to say, that this week was the most enjoyable selection process to date - how fun to browse the aisles and purposely seek higher price tags!  I decided to stay in Australia, since the Autralian Shiraz can rarely be beat (the exception being Wally's Hut from week #12 ).  There were three bottles that fit the bill - but two were over my gift card value (one by $5 and the other by $10) and it's hard for me to be frivolous, so I sensibly chose the one that left me with a small balance on my card for next week.  Well, that and Oomoo is fun to say! 

Hardy's Oomoo (Australia, 2007)
14% alc./vol.

A word from the wine:
"Back in the 1870's Thomas Hardy adopted the Aboriginal word Oomoo, meaning 'good' or 'attractive' for his post popular wines."
I think I will adopt the Aboriginal word Oomoo as well.

Well, this wine is oomoo - but I still have to say that I was underwhelmed.  Sure, it was a solid Shiraz - it tasted great and had a bit of pep - but there are other (cheaper) brands that I have preferred.  I was actually quite surprised that it wasn't full-bodied, rich or velvety as I expect a more expensive bottle to be.  Had I spent $12 on the bottle of wine, it may have ended up on the regular rotation, but I didn't and so it won't.  If you find yourself wanting to spend more than $15 on a bottle of Shiraz, save yourself the heartache of lonely disappointment and buy Wolf Blass.

I shared this bottle with a friend - and since the wine was still good and the company was great, I don't think my minor dissatisfaction affected the overall enjoyment of the evening.  Plus, there were tasty snacks!

Guest Tester: "When you pay more, you expect more"
Guest Tester's Helpful Husband: "Not bad"

I'm glad to see that all helpful husbands are equally descriptive.