Monthly Archives: June 2015

Which wine glass should you use?

Over the years, one thing we’ve both learned to do is swirl the wine in our glass, which gently exposes it to more oxygen – exposing the “nose” of the wine, and helping soften the wine a bit.  The glass you use can be extremely important for this purpose, especially if you’re an enthusiastic swirler!wine glasses

In our early drinking days, we had everyday glassware.  But now we will pay the higher prices for quality crystal wine glasses – for us they increase the enjoyment of the experience.

She said: “I love the light ‘ting’ that a good crystal gives off, plus the feel of it in my hand. These expensive glasses have larger bowls, which provide more air exposure to the wine, and room enough to get your nose down in there to experience the aromas of the wine, before that first important taste.”

He said:”You need a big glass so you won’t spill it when you’re swirling.”

Ah, well, there is that.  But do you really need special glasses?  The short answer is no – whatever works for you is fine.  But if you want to take your experience to the next level, investing in some purpose-designed wine glasses may be just the thing.  We have appropriate glasses for most of the wines we drink, and they just add to the pomp and circumstance of opening, then savouring, the wine.  The Wine Enthusiast web site has a very nice article on the different types of glasses.

d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2007, McLaren Vale

The Dead Arm.  Makes me think of the old west, of wild areas, outlaws, doing what they want with no regard for the law. Dust bowls and tumbleweeds. Abandoned ghost towns.



Couldn’t be further from the reality.  Here’s what the winery has to say: “Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an ‘arm’ of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.”

Huh.  Not at all what we were expecting.


She said:   Lots of blackcurrant and cedar – and enough tannin to give it some backbone without making your mouth get all puckery.

He said: The wine didn’t really communicate to me – it was smooth and tasty, but nothing was really standing out. I really enjoyed it though.

She said: That often happens when wines age a bit, they soften and mellow.

He said: Yup, your tastes have to be more refined to analyze the subtleties that you find with aging wines.

She said:  It could also be that the wine has 14.5% alcohol…

The details:

  • d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2007, McLaren Vale, Australia
  • 14.5% alcohol
  • Drink 2015 to 2027, according to
  • $49.95.  LCBO #981183

PS:  did you know that the LCBO uses the same number for a wine?  So while ours was a 2007 wine, this number currently describes the 2009 version of the wine.





Chateau Pique-Segue, 2009 Bergerac, again…

DSC_0164Checking 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.