Author Archives: Travis Oke

About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant

In Stitches

As a life long Habs fan I can now look back fondly on the Boston Bruins of old and find nice memories. Okay, I was just kidding.  My fondest memory of the Bruins is the goal Guy Lafleur scored on Gilles Gilbert in 1979.  Ha Ha Boston. That was 35  years ago and I still feel the schadenfreude welling up within me like it was yesterday.

However, I am maturing and making peace with my the side of me that derives so much pleasure in the misfortune of the hockey team from Boston. With this in mind I invited my Leaf loving brother-in-law over [no room for schadenfreude with Leafs fans, their misery is just plain funny] and we tasted the Lake of Bays latest offering in their signature NHL alumni series – Gerry Cheevers “Stitches” Oktoberfest Lager.  The lager is named after the hall of fame goalie with the iconic stitch pattern goalie mask – a marking for each time he was struck in the face with a puck.

IMG_8200

It is a nice solid beer, strong enough for winter. Spicy and not sweet, it can warm you up on a cold night. A good transition beer for cold weather as it is 8% alc./vol. and low on the IBUs [25].  Also, I always secretly thought Cheevers’ mask was cool. While I enjoyed the lager I  also drank it wearing my Habs touque.  Ha Ha Boston.


Hoptorial – 3 for 1 deal

Two for the price of one.  Truly one of the great deals in the world. Perhaps only to be topped by the “gift with purchase”. I am one of those people who consciously allows myself to be taken in – suckered if you will – by a great marketing campaign and I love it when the product is equally as brilliant.

The craft beer industry has caught my attention again.  Fighting the urge to market themselves using slow motion cheerleaders or enormous horses playing football, the micro brewers carve out their own niche in a more personal way. Of course they do – they are real people. Often with wicked cool beards.

The latest to catch my attention is the Hoptorial pack from Muskoka Brewery.  Great beer, clever marketing, and a Hop tutorial – I love it when my 2 for 1 becomes a 3 for 1 and the “gift with purchase” is educational! The box is covered with facts about the beer, the hops, hops in general, and some general foolishness [my favourite kind of foolishness].

hoptorial

Available at both the LCBO and Beer Store you get 2 Detour, 2 Mad Tom, and 2 Twice as Mad bottles for $14. Delicious and educational.

Ha – I just looked up my Detour review about Albert Einstein and laughed – narcissistic perhaps – but anyone who writes a blog has a bit of that in them i think. Note to self – avoid seeing your reflection in a pool if you can.


The Authoritative Guide to Beaujolais Nouveau

There is only one winner in a contest like this – and that winner is me.  Having a house full of friends eating and drinking unpretentious wine is the best of all worlds.

But in a very real way 3 wines won this year’s Nouveau competition. Here’s how I saw it anyhoo.

#1. Georges DuBoeuf Gamay Nouveau – at $10 it is a great price point.  Tart, juicy, and a bit of effervescence. This, in my humble opinion [which is the only one that counts in my wine blog] is the perfect Nouveau. So good that I only have empties left.

IMG_8255

 

#2. Mommessin – at $14 it’s not a crazy “fou” price and it inspirted the art that my girls draw every year on our chalkboard.  The smoothest, most well balanced of them all.  I have a couple left to serve with American Thanksgiving turkey this week.

 

IMG_8254

 

#3. Georges again – this time with this fancy label Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, that is a little pricey at $15 but what cha gonna do?  Georges knows Nouveau. Good enough to tuck away in my cellar until Christmas and even as long as Easter.

IMG_8253

 

Heavy Criticism Alert.  Hey Joseph Drouhin.  Stop trying to charge me $16 for Nouveau. You were very tasty but I could save my money and buy more of those expensive French copper pots I love if you would charge me $10 like you should.

IMG_8252

Thanks to all the other wines that participated. Here are my thoughts on you.

Italian wine … you tasted too much like Uncle Tony’s garage wine at the end. I liked your effort at rustic but it turned out a little too rustic if you know what I mean.  And Ontario wine … I like Jolly Ranchers as much as the next guy but sweet jolly rancher wine is not my idea of a Nouveau.  Art … I just didn’t like you.  Nothing personal.  I know that sounded personal but it’s not.  I will buy you again next year.

 

 

 

 

 


Mais Oui

Today we celebrate the release of the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau in la maison Oke.

This one is a winner. One of the best in years. This is what Nouveau should taste like – tart, juicy, with a hint of effervescence – and it’s under $10!

It’s okay for you to go out and buy this at your LCBO in Guelph. I already have 6 bottles.

IMG_8246.JPG

 


Dear Wine Snob

This is an open letter to all wine snobs on the release of le Beaujolais Nouveau this week.

Dear Wine Snob,

I have the greatest admiration for you as a snob, and specifically as a wine snob. And so I know you will laugh at me when I declare that I am excited about the Beaujolais Nouveau release

I know why most “wine people” don’t really get into the Nouveau spirit of things.
• Beaujolais Nouveau is a very simple wine
• In fact it was only harvested 2 months ago
• It hasn’t been aged
• It hasn’t been blended with any other varietal – straight gamay
• In fact not much has been done to it at all except that the French have marketed the heck out of it – and they have done so brilliantly.
• Most of you refer to it as “wine Cool-Aid”.

Yes, I know it’s not a serious wine but I don’t care. I like it. It inspired me to start this wine blog in 2009.

2009nouveau

In fact I would go so far as to declare myself a Nouveau snob. I’m unreasonably hesitant to try a Novello from Italy (although they are always delicious) and I don’t get as giddy about a syrah Primeur as I do with a true Nouveau made with gamay grapes.

Fresh, juicy, “new” French wine is just the thing to start the holidays for me.

So to all you wine snobs that think that the words “Beaujolais Nouveau” translate as “I can’t believe I paid $12 for that” – this is what I have to say to you…

I like my carbonic maceration.
I like my red wine chilled.
I like the hype – bring it on Georges Dubœuf with your clever little œ in the middle of your name.
I like Gamay.
I like drinking wine that you don’t swirl and sniff.
I like Chateau des Charmes in Niagara producing Seven Generation Gamay Nouveau, because Canadians demand a little locavore in our drinking.

So while you wine snobs will be “pooh-poohing” me on November 15th, I will be proudly buying a 6-pack of Nouveau and loving it.

Travis Oke
Self proclaimed Beaujolais Nouveau snob.


Rene Descartes – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Did you know that Rene Descartes’ book “Meditations” is really titled Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur. Translation: Meditations on the First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction Between Mind and Body are Demonstrated.  That’s the way they rolled back in 1641.

If this blog post was a Medieval book I would probably entitle it :  The Who, Beaujolais Nouveau, and the Relevance of the Song Won’t Get Fooled Again on the Third Thursday of November: How the French Continue to Both Fool Me and Make My Life Better.

Who’s Next.  One of the greatest rock albums of all time – period. People who like this sort of thing are passionate about it aren’t they?  I have a friend [admittedly a bit of a curmudgeon] who has freaked out on people who refer to the song “Teenage Wasteland” on this album.  “The song is called Baba O’Riley! Get it right people”.

My favourite song may be “Won’t Get Fooled Again” – because the premise is of course that we all get fooled again. “Meet the old boss” anyone? “Same as the old boss”.

So I guess I’m willing to get fooled again – we all are.  At least when it comes to Beaujolais Nouveau.  The French have been scamming us [just like Vince Shlomi and the shamwow] and I don’t mind at all.  Selling fresh new wine that has only aged in the time it took them to put the juice in a bottle! Come on. In fact the French have fooled us several times over when it comes to food. Have you ever opened up a Camembert in a car in the summer?  They’re laughing at me while I gag on the gaggiest smell possible.

Next Thursday the Beaujolais Nouveau will be sold at the LCBO.  The “cookie dough” of wine is good enough to get me whipped into a frenzy year after year.  Don’t miss it.

Georges Dubœuf – with your clever little œ in your name – you are the new boss!

The Old Boss

The Old Boss

 


Shipped to Japan

As the anticipation of the release of the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau whips itself  up into a frenzy at La Maison Oke [“my house” for those of who who prefer not to parlez] it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

Anyone who has followed my blog [my brother and John from BC] knows that 5 years ago I built PulltheCork on the foundation of  my enthusiasm for Nouveau and my best idea ever – my annual Nouveau party.

Again, it’s not just me who gets excited. Read the following article from the Japan News. Anything the Japanese get excited about has to be good clean fun!

Less than 2 weeks to go!

Nouveau in Japan


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 587 other followers