Thursday, January 20, 2011

Graham Beck Cabernet Sauvignon "The Gamekeeper's Reserve"

As many of you know I like to save a dollar when I can, perhaps it's my Scots heritage. I don't think of myself as cheap but rather value driven, to paraphrase a car ad "Cutting your own hair is cheap" whereas buying quality products when on sale is value driven.

Recently while strolling the aisles of the Mothership at 39th and Cambie I came across a discount on a South African Cabernet that I had been meaning to try Graham Beck Cabernet Sauvignon "The Gamekeeper's Reserve" . The discount was not large, two dollars, but on this occasion it was enough to sway my purchase and I'm glad it did. The wine is delicious and at $17.99, on sale, an excellent wine for a weekend dinner.

Graham Beck was a larger than life South African icon who passed away this past summer at the age of 80, he became massively rich in coal mining then quit the mining game to raise horses and make wine . He was as driven and committed in these pastimes as he had been in becoming a billionaire in mining and the wines of Graham Beck Estates are consistently high quality. Graham Beck Sparkling Brut gained huge press when President elect Obama chose it to celebrate with on election night but the winery has been no secret to wine lovers for years.

The Cabernet Sauvignon "The Gamekeeper's Reserve" is a classic Cabernet, muscular but with a lovely seam of rich fruit and the tannins are well in check so the wine can easily be enjoyed now, or cellared for a year or two. The nose is full of blackberry, cedar and leather and on the palate it shows dark fruit and peppery spice with a long finish and subtle tannins. The acidity level is slightly muted, in a new world style, but still is present enough to make the wine a very good match to red meats and the ragouts of winter .

"The Gamekeeper's Reserve" is on sale this month at the BCLDB, with reasonable distribution, for $17.99, I recommend picking up a bottle or two to toss in the rack for Sunday night dinner . On a side note part proceeds of this wine, and many of Beck's wines, go to fund a wildlife preserve in South Africa that provides habitats for endangered, and threatned, species so your not just drinking good but doing good as well .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nice Portuguese Red

I was trolling the aisles at the Mothership last week and I came upon a Portuguese red, on sale, that I had never tried .

Bought a bottle, brought it home and had it with dinner . Dinner was Pork Back Ribs with a mildly spicy/sweet sauce and the wine was a lovely match so I went back and got another bottle because often a discounted price and an older vintage can indicate bottle fluctuation but bottle #2 was delicious as well, this time with home made pizza.

The wine is Vinha Do Algueve 2006, it generally sells for $12.99 but is on sale for $10.99 this month. There is reasonable distribution in Vancouver, with 10 stores stocking it but not much in any store. The wine is made from a blending of traditional Portuguese grapes as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is fermented in stainless steel and then receives six months barrel aging in French oak. The wine is medium to full bodied with nice red berry flavours and a pleasant balance of oak, fruit and acid . Interestingly enough despite almost four years of bottle age the wine is fresh and vibrant, not something you often see at the sub $20 price point, and probably why I haven't tried it before.

While not a "must have" I would certainly recommend grabbing a bottle or two of this wine for partnering with the hearty winter meals that we should be eating at this time of year, it's good value at $12.99 and very, very good value at the reduced price.