We’re sitting in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, and it’s almost 90 degrees outside. Normally, after a round of golf in this weather, we’d have a cold beer or two. But sometimes it’s nice to have a wonderful crisp white wine on a hot day. And even nicer if you can avoid getting too dizzy too quickly.
Monte Campo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie is just such a wine. At 12% alcohol, it doesn’t bite too hard, and at about $8.00 U.S. this is a great buy! The writeup on the bottle says:
Mainly derived from Pinot Grigio grapes this crisp, white wine has a delightful fresh lemony nose and a dry flavor with a hint of smokiness. It may be served as an aperitif and also makes a good accompaniment to salads, seafood, chicken, cream-pasta dishes or Asian dishes.
We bought our wine at Feldman’s in McAllen, Texas. It might be available in other U.S. stores – and it was sitting right beside some other Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie wines in roughly the same price range.
He said: My initial taste is apple-y, but the finish is acidic and more in the citrus vein. It’s crisp, bold and refreshing.
She said: A keeper! Once we’re in the US for longer periods of time, it will be a regular in the refrigerator!
It’s been a while since we commented on a wine, mostly because I’ve been struggling with various food allergies – which meant I kept my wine drinking to a single glass at a time. Food sensitivities can manifest themselves when you drink wine, making you get uncomfortably hot, and/or flush a horrible red colour, which can stay with you for hours. But today, I said to Dave “Let’s be adventurous and finish the whole bottle.” Which means we start to wax lyrical about the wine, if it’s anywhere near decent. And because the food allergies are under control, aside from a bit of silliness, the wine hasn’t affected me too bad.
This is a very decent wine, for a very respectable $17.95.
She said: For me, it’s got lots of berry in the mouth, a bit of mushroom or truffle on the nose, and a nice peppery finish with a bit of tannic backbone (translation: I smell something earthy like mushrooms, taste lots of berry flavour, and it’s peppery once I swallow it, but doesn’t strip the finish off my mouth). It would be nice with everything from cheese to meat, although it seems to be doing just fine with golf on the TV.
He said: Very pleasant, not too bold, would good go nice with a steak, great value.
She said: Quit gushing!
- Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
- Maipo Valley, Chile
- 14.5% alcohol
The 2013 vintage is also available for $17.95 at LCBO.
Although we love wine, we’re not dating exclusively. So here’s one of my other favorites.
On a cold winter’s day, there’s nothing better than getting outside to enjoy the bracing weather, then coming in to a warm Irish Coffee. Years ago, I was fortunate to live in San Francisco for a couple of years, and we would visit the Buena Vista Cafe down on Fisherman’s Wharf. During tourist season, they were always packed, but in the off season, you could actually get in there and order a drink. We used to go down there occasionally, sometimes even taking the cable car to get there (it’s at one end of the cable car route). I found out that they were famous for their Irish Coffee, so gave it a try. Instant yum! Here’s the story of how they came up with their perfect Irish Coffee. And a bit more history. And here’s a recipe for the “authentic” Irish Coffee. I cheat a bit: I’ll rim the glass mug with cocktail sugar, then use the whipped cream out of the can – if you gently stir it, you can create a cream “float” to drink through (see the authentic recipe for explanation).
The Buena Vista is still going strong, so if you have a chance to go to San Francisco, it’s a great place to stop – just get there early so you can get a spot at the bar!
Occasionally friends will ask me for wine recommendations, as they want to give someone a bottle of wine. But rather than make recommendations, here’s a nice article from the LCBO offering up several choices. I have no doubt that the Luca Malbec will be wonderful, as Dave and I have quite enjoyed the Catena Malbecs before and are always on the look for more. Cave Spring’s Riesling has always been a favorite of ours – it’s a crowd pleaser too, and appeals to almost everyone. Don’t believe we’ve had the Fontanafredda Barolo or the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, but I’m putting them on my list! And Cuvee Catherine is a great choice for bubbly, my friend Anne has loved it for years!
Five great choices as gifts – reds, whites and even a sparkling wine. But I’d get them soon, as the highly recommended wines usually move off the shelves fast!
Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère Cab Sauvignon Organic 2013
It’s always wonderful when you taste a wine that inspires you to share with others. And that’s why we are sitting here, watching golf, sipping wine at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Our friend Mary suggested we try it – we’ve shared many wines with her and Mark, so they’re pretty good judges of what will get us excited.
And this one’s a definite winner! Rich and deep, it’s got wonderful body, but isn’t so robust that it needs food.
He said, “That’s different, I’m picking up some tannins that are lingering but overall it’s a quite peasant, enjoyable wine. Look forward to trying the other 2 bottles in upcoming years (see our thoughts on the 3-bottle lot). The tannins should mellow out and the wine will get smoother. It’s a flavour I haven’t come across in any other wine – I occasionally pick up a bit of strawberry and cherry, but the taste I get isn’t one that I’ve encountered with another wine. Might be the blend…”
She said, “First mouthful was red cherries and a bit of plum too. But what really does it for me is the fig on the nose – the scent of figs is one of my favorites. I suppose some might characterize it as “herbal” or “vegetal.” I’ll stick with yummy. More please, Dave.”
The wine is found in the Chile section of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), not the Vintages section, and we got it for $15.80. There is another wine by the same producer in the Vintages section – a different blend – that might be worth trying as well. LCBO doesn’t have a lot to say about it, but here’s what John Szabo had to say on the 2010 version on Wine Align:
A forward, very fruity and spicy, vegetal and floral, bold but certainly not subtle blend here from Emiliana’s organically famed vineyard in the Colchagua Valley. This is full, rich, rather thick and suave on the palate, with abundant black and blue fruit flavours and long finish. A terrific value for fans of full flavoured wines at a very fair price. Tasted January 2013. Value Rating: ***
- Vinedos Emiliana S.A., Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère Cab Sauvignon Organic 2013
- 14.5% Alcohol
- Colchagua Valley, Chile
- LCBO #434662
“He said, she said” is our attempt to provide two perspectives. We hope that you find the information interesting and helpful. Perhaps our adventures will help you design your own wine adventures!
We live in Ontario, Canada, and over the years we’ve been fortunate to get to know the wine regions of Ontario, California and Burgundy, France. We live in hope that we can expand that one of these days.
We’re very enthusiastic about wine, and love nothing better than learning something new through visiting wineries, or participating in wine tastings, whether formal, or with a group of friends. Over the years, we’ve dragged our friends to many wine tasting parties and events, and they’ve always been great sports about it. Even our friends that aren’t into wine have indulged us and come along for the ride.
We’ve recently relocated to near London, Ontario, so are looking to network with wine lovers in this area – and we’re looking forward to exploring Southwest Ontario’s wine scene.
If you’re interested in our golfing adventures, visit us at www.lovethatgolf.ca.
Melanie and Dave
For less than $20, this wine is a wonderful find. It’s also a good lesson in looking for the less expensive wines from the top tier wineries.
Catena classifies its wines: the regular Catena (like this wine) is from the family vineyards, Catena Alta is a limited production wine, while Catena Zapata is their premium wine, designed to compete on the world wine stage at the highest tiers.
He said: I remember thinking when I bought this that it was a bit of a steal, as the Catena wines are usually more. Catena – located in Argentina – is renowned for its Malbec.
She said: Too bad we don’t have any more, the 2011 Catena Alta – available in Vintages – is $49.95 per bottle.
He said: That’s a bit steep for us – we’ll keep our eyes open for the next regular Catena offering.
She said: Well, I think this $20 wine stacks up really well against many more expensive wines we’ve tried. I wouldn’t mind trying the Catena Alta, assuming that it should be better than this one. Maybe I’ll ask Santa Claus for one!
It’s been way too long since we shared our latest bottle of wine – it’s not that we haven’t been drinking, it’s just that we haven’t had time to discuss the wines. We’ve been tied up with moving from the eastern Greater Toronto Area to Southwestern Ontario, to the beachside community of Port Stanley (who ever thought downsizing would be easy?). We’ll save the discussion for moving wines, making an even bigger wine cellar (yay), and Port Stanley for another time. Today, let’s discuss this wine.
She said: “I learned about this wine from the Wine of the Weekend email I get every Friday. I liked the name so jumped in Bessie and drove in to St. Thomas to grab my bottles before they were all gone. The very nice gentleman at the LCBO store gave me two bottles although they weren’t actually to be released until Saturday.
He said: “d’Arenberg makes other wines we’ve had and liked, such as The Dead Arm. I like this wine. It’s light, crisp, acidic – although it does best if it’s cold. Starts to get a little flabby when it warms up.”
(So do I, she thought, I’d better chill!).
She said: “It’s got a beautiful nose, citrus and tropical fruits.”
He said: “It’s also got lots of layers to it.”
This is a very nice sipping wine, dry enough, but with tons of flavour. And at $19.95, it’s a great deal. But according to the writeup it goes quite quickly, so get out and pick up a few bottles as soon as you can – it’s a wonderful late summer wine.
- d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2013
- McLaren Vale Australia
- $19.95 | LCBO#: 662775 | 750 mL | 13.1% alc./vol.
Checking inventory and maturity dates, we had to pull another bottle of this wine from out of the cellar. We still have 2 left out of 6 purchased from Opimian. We’ve already reviewed this wine but it’s worth reiterating how great a wine it is for the $17 investment. But the real fun is in purchasing a wine in enough quantities to revisit it once or more each year, evaluating it as it matures. And likely as we mature as well!
Bergerac is a wine region in south-west France, covering an area along the Dordogne river. Despite the region’s long, varied history, Bergerac wines often play second fiddle to the famous cuvees of Bordeaux, just to the west. Generally, wines from Bergerac are similar to Bordeaux wines, being a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and sometimes a bit of Malbec. Geographically, Bergerac is separated from Bordeaux by mostly administrative definitions, rather than terroir. What this sometimes means is that you can get some amazing wines with the wonderful attributes of Bordeaux, but at a fraction of the price.
She said: I get notes of leather and tobacco, and got some smokiness when I first stuck my nose in the glass. It’s got lots of tannins, but isn’t so overwhelming that I can’t enjoy it with finger foods, like cheese and crackers.
He said: Let’s go inside so we can actually smell and taste it. There’s too much breeze in the back garden to do it justice. Initially, I got smoke on the nose, and am getting some on the palate as well. Don’t often get black cherry which I’m tasting, It’s also quite smooth & velvety.
Generally, we both thought it was a very nice wine, especially for the price – the kind of wine you’d want to buy by the case, to have it on hand, or even take as a hostess gift. Seems like our opinion hasn’t really changed any since the last time we tried it.
We originally posted this review on an old blog in February 2015.
This wine is one of the reasons we belong to Opimian. Priced at only $17.00 per bottle (Canadian), it came in a nice wooden crate, which hinted at what we would find inside. Chateau Pique-Segue is one of those gems that you don’t run across regularly, which is part of the value of a purchasing group like Opimian. It appears to be a smaller winery, producing about 500,000 bottles per year. In fact, here in Ontario, it doesn’t look like the Liquor Board carries any Bergerac wine at all.
Chateau Pique-Segue Bergerac is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Bergerac is an appellation at the eastern edge of Bordeaux.
She said: It’s not a super robust wine, but still has enough tannins that it will do better with food than on its own. I certainly get some nice pepper, but like most Bordeaux wines, it doesn’t have that “in your face” fruit hit – it’s more subtle and complex. For the price, it’s a great wine to have on hand.
He said: Purple colour with abundant flavour intensity, I get flavours of plum, oak, smoky, pepper and chocolate. It’s dry with medium complexity, medium body and a long finish. Serve with roast beef, old cheddar. Would definitely recommend this wine.