I apologize for the lapsed blogging but the impact of 17 days of school vacation, coupled with Christmas sugar buzz, holiday volume at work and not seeing the sun for God knows how long, have prevented me from sitting down and writing.
Rather than get into a long and rambling discourse of all the alcohol I consumed over the Holidays I will limit this to a Top Ten Best things I drank in December.
10) Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year old Malt Whisky - this is my house "premium" malt and at the end of long days over the holidays its' smooth peaty goodness may very well have saved my sanity. BCLDB #387316 $67.95
9) Marston's Oyster Stout - while I am a huge fan of Guinness the fact remains that for home consumption the 500ml bottle of Marston's is simply better - a little sweeter than Guinness but lovely and long. BCLDB #457663 $3.75
8) Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Zinfandel 2002 - big, velvety with more acid than this grape often comes with. It was a gift from a guest so I have no idea as to where it came from but I'm guessing the retail is around $45.
7) Weinert Reserve Cabernet 1999 - Weinert are arguably Argentina's finest producer and this wine, which I bought on sale last March at the BCLDB for $19.95, didn't disappoint. Lots of "old world" charm wrapped in red fruit with a little dried cherry and bramble.
6) Shiraz Viognier "Laughing Magpie" D'Arenberg 2003 - this is an unusual blend using a small percentage of white Viognier grapes to balance the full fruity flavours of Shiraz. The practice is not uncommon in Cote Rotie and is being used more often in Australia. The wine is HUGE with lots of blackberry and cassis, as would be expected from McLaren Shiraz, but the Viognier adds a layer of white peach/apricot that tempers the overall fruitbomb impression. I will be interested to see how this wine ages. BCLDB #118570 $29.99.
5) Graceland Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - this is a small family run winery in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. This wine is quite simply beautiful with rich fruit overtones of raspberry and plum, a firm tannic backbone and the nice vanilla tones I associate with French Oak. BCLDB #140970 $29.99
4) Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone 2001 - the 2nd label of the famous Chateauneuf producer Chateau de Beaucastel this Cotes du Rhone is a great example of a great vintage in the Rhone valley. The wine has lovely acidity and a meaty element around the red fruit flavours, I think you are paying a few dollars too much but it should still be in your cellar. BCLDB #614503 $32.99
3) Kettle Valley Reserve Pinot Noir 2001 - as mentioned in my Christmas day post, I believe Kettle Valley to be the best overall producer of red wine in BC. This wine was great Pinot Noir, with a touch of old world barnyard mixed in with strawberry and dried cherry flavours. I worry a bit about the age worthiness of these wines so I would drink them over the next 18 months. Winery or VQA shops - around $30.
2) Cecil Chassagne Gicondas 2000 - as much the circumstance as the wine, this was the first bottle opened at our "fairly annual boys Christmas lunch", the wine is nearing its plateau but still gives off the lovely fresh fruity flavours of Grenache. I can't find any info on it but judging by the winelist price I'm guessing it would retail around $26-$28.
1) Bodegas Ostatu Crianza 2001 - simply a great bottle of wine for a very good price. Made with a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano from 50+ year old vines the wine has a lovely acidity wrapped in a red fruit core, the aroma is lightly smoky with an earthy character reminiscent of great Rhone valley wines. BCLDB #147330 $24.99