Monthly Archives: March 2012

200 very dull things indeed

200 blog posts and not one Jane Austen quote?  This is for my wife’s, and strangely enough my brother’s, amusement. I  considered writing one very clever book or article – instead I settled for 200 very dull things indeed.  And now I attack you with more address.

“Ladies and gentlemen—I am ordered by Miss Woodhouse to say, that she waives her right of knowing exactly what you may all be thinking of, and only requires something very entertaining from each of you, in a general way … and she only demands from each of you either one thing very clever, be it prose or verse, original or repeated—or two things moderately clever—or three things very dull indeed, and she engages to laugh heartily at them all.”  Frank Churchill (Emma)

Yes, I couldn’t stop at just three – and Kenn – I get the full force of your meaning – but thanks for laughing. Also, “I saw you first in February. Let every body on the Hill hear me if they can. Let my accents swell to Mickleham on one side, and Dorking on the other. I saw you first in February“.


Product Discontinued*

My favorite LCBO summer red wine?  Doesn’t matter anymore – “Product Discontinued*” and I think the asterisk is there just to make me mad!  A perfectly good inexpensive French wine available nevermore (my third Edgar Allan Poe reference in two years – good for me).

Well LCBO – I know how to play this game. I contacted my girl in the Vintages section and she hunted down 6 bottles from some warehouse in Ottawa – where presumably the bottles were stored next to the Ark of the Covenant.

So here’s the next problem. With this heat wave and the BBQ going strong I opened my first (of 6) precious bottles and now it’s gone because we drank it.  Now I’m down to 5.  And I know myself, soon I’ll be at 4. I don’t like where this is going.  I can look for another great summer BBQ wine but that seems like a lot of work.

Anyone have a favorite summer BBQ wine for me? I need at least 6 bottles.


I Had An App In Ontario

This is a guest blog post from my friend John at linktrap - a site where he finds the best of the internet and technology and “traps” it for my enjoyment – yours too.

I was thinking about that famous line from the movie “Out of Africa” with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

“I had a farm in Africa”

I would have been pleased to own a coffee plantation. However, pushed into a corner (in the vintages section), I really think I would choose a vineyard first!

Since I have neither a coffee plantation or a vineyard, I yearn for second best; apps for my iPhone. I have too many apps for photography, and NONE for wine. My first app of the drinking genre comes from our beloved LCBO as we are given to call it.

I was introduced to the app at a party, a surprise party for a friend. For gift giving, the husband had suggested bringing a bottle of red wine. While standing in the kitchen I watched a special unveiling of a bottle for the birthday girl. I recognized the name of the wine, and I assumed it was a nice bottle.

Not long after another bottle of wine was being looked over and suddenly an iPhone was whipped out – that’s how we roll. In a split second an app was opened and magically the bar code was scanned and we had the following intel:

  • The Name of the Wine
  • Store Inventory
  • More Details (aka tasting notes)
  • Price

iPhones were quickly pulled out and the new FREE app was being loaded up. I immediately went straight for the “special” bottle I had noted earlier. This is when it occurred to me that I was about to cross the line.

So what if this bottle wasn’t so special? I was potentially going to out this guy as a cheapskate! On the other hand, he might be fine, having chosen a decent wine (Travis will be the first to tell you that price is not an indication of a wine’s pedigree). It came in at a hefty $45, so price wise, a decent gift for the birthday girl.

So think of the possibilities:

  • using the app to immediately scan the bottle a guest has just handed you as a house warming present
  • scanning bottles at a wedding as the waiter gives you a choice of red or white
  • lurking in Travis’s wine cellar to see if he’s got anything decent

I’m sure you can come up with more ideas – let Travis know how you might use your new LCBO app! And yes, if you must know it’s available for Blackberry users too.

Editor’s Note – My wine apps include Billys Best Bottles (my favorite), the LCBO app, Natalie MacLean’s (great for food pairings), and the Wine Spectator Vintage Chart (since I can’t memorize those on my own).


Hello My Name is Barbera

I have just realized that I love Barbera wines.  Barbera d’Anything is good. Barbera d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba, or Barbera d’Ann (“that’s ridiculousthat’s not even a wine – it’s a song by the Beach Boys – he’s making a  Beach Boys joke”). I think I even like Barbra Striesand.

I found this Barbera d’Asti using my BillysBestBottles app (in the category of Rustic Reds)- then verified that it was available in my closest store using the LCBO app – all this while standing right in front of the wine I was looking for while having a conversation with the manager of my local LCBO. No kidding.  I could have just asked him for a recommendation but its more fun to justify my iPhone again this month.

Barbera is the grape used in Piedmont Italy to make fantastic wines – berries, cherries, and low tannins – who wouldn’t like that for a simple, delicious wine. This one is inexpensive and tasty.

Who’s your favorite Barbara?


An offer I couldn’t refuse

March 15, 1972 marked the release of The Godfather – the touchstone movie by Francis Ford Coppola. As a tribute to its 40th anniversary I went in search of more Italian-American classics to bring to a party. This is what I found.

Primitivo (Italian) and Zinfandel (American) are actually the same grape.  Science proved itself useful again when DNA testing verified that just a few years ago – so I brought a Primitivo and two Zins to a party. By the way, Zinfandel is NOT your grandmother’s pink Zinfandel that she sipped with an ice-cube in the glass (although that’s perfectly acceptable behaviour if you’re a grandmother) – today’s Zinfandel is a great red wine that can be big and powerful like Don Corleone.

I have always liked the Cline Zinfandel but the Luccarelli Primitivo stole the show.  Rustic and bold, everyone liked this wine that cost less than $10.  The Sledgehammer was really good too – a nice combination of the more refined Cline Zin with the boldness of the Primitivo – and every bit worth the $18 price tag. However, I’ve already gone back and bought more Luccarelli simply because of the value. Let’s just say it made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.

LUCCARELLI PRIMITIVO PUGLIA IGT
Italy |  LCBO 253856 |  $ 9.70


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