Tag Archives: Rioja


I recently heard New Years Resolutions referred to as a “to-do” list for the first week of January. Personally, I love the NYR.

I’ve been asking around to see if any people have NYRs concerning wine drinking and buying. Here are the responses I received.

Editor of a “large” metropolitan newspaper, “I resolve to find ‘the’ wine that both my wife and I enjoy.”  My solution –  stop trying to find a wine you both enjoy and open 2 bottles.

Linktrap John, “Pay attention to food and wine pairings chocolate” – and then he sent me a photo of a Merlot with a Toblerone. Sorry John, I can’t help you.

My brother-in-law, “Drink more of your wine ” – Hey, I may borrow that and try and drink more of other people’s wines too.

My daughter, “Dad, I don’t even drink wine” – fair enough.

This year I resolve to drink more Rioja, Côtes du Rhône, and Australian Shiraz. Like my friend Rob said, “Hey, those our resolutions every year?” – fair enough.

What are your resolutions?


Taste Memory

My two strongest memories from this summer’s Spanish vacation are of the delicious red wine we drank and the 15 dogs that barked me awake at 3:30 each morning. Perros estúpidos!

Taste memories are strong. So this week I’ve been blocking the dog/sleep thing by focusing on the red wine.  Problem is that there is no Mercadoña or Carrefour to visit where I can buy Rioja for 2 €. Sad, but I am up for the LCBO challenge of finding a great inexpensive wine from Spain.

After trying 3 “good looking” red wines the winner was clear. Beronia is a dry, hot summer in your mouth (in a good way). It just became this year’s house wine in Casa Oke.

LCBO 243055 | Price: $ 11.25

A rather complicated source

Sometimes the stories behind a wine are just as interesting as the wine itself. Often they are better. James in Paris hooked me up with these two bottles.


The rosé from an Albanian friend who distributes for Famille Sumeire – a small family winery in Provence. The 1998 Reserva Rioja from an Irishman living in Paris who collected this bottle while living in Spain. He gave it to James in Paris as a thank you for helping him move the contents of his cellar (or “cave” as the French have it) two blocks down the road to his new home.



Both were fantastic wines. Why I ended up with them is simply a story of generosity. Thanks James in Paris.

And thanks Brother in Spain who cooked this canard for me in Paris to enjoy with the wine.


Monster under my bed

Is it only me or does anyone else remember jumping onto the bed from the hallway – just in case there was a monster under your bed?  It rarely occurs to me anymore that there might be something nefarious under my bed waiting to “get” me.

However, I’ve been staying at Brother-in-Spain’s house for the past 2 weeks and decided that a peek under the bed – just to see – might help me sleep better (I might also sleep better if the neighbourhood dogs would shut up at night). Look what I found!

There was a box of LAN Reserva Rioja 2005!  That doesn’t seem scary at all.  I discovered that my brother had been stockpiling wine anticipating my visit.  The last time he stockpiled anything was the Y2K scare – I think he still has  a year’s supply of sardines and bottled water left.

I was a little scared, but I opened the box anyway and was rewarded with delicious rioja.  That helps me sleep at night knowing that the monster under my bed is a monstrously good red wine.

March Madness – Final Four

They refer to the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament as  March Madness.  I say getting 8 inches of snow on March 23rd is March Madness! This weekend it’s down to 4 teams – The Final Four. I’ve come up with a March Madness competition that everyone can enjoy.

Confused by Wine? Descartes can help

Does the world of wine look like this to you?  These are only the wine regions in Spain for Pete’s sake! It seems so confusing but I can help. Or rather, René Descartes can help.

René Descartes used the philosophical method of Reductionism to analyse a problem.  Reduce the problem to its simplest elements – but no simpler. Look at the map below and see what  Descartes can do for you!  I call this approach the Cartesian Wine method and with apologies to all my friends who teach Math, it’s going to catch on much faster than Cartesian geometry. Here is the map of Spanish Wine 101.

It’s simple – and you can even leave out Rias Biaxas if you’re not going to drink Spanish white wines.  For that matter I can take or leave Montsant – but give me my Rioja, Priorat, and Ribera del Duero. Using this method it is easy to understand Spanish wine.  And if you have to make it even simpler then drink Rioja – LAN is my recommendation de jour.

LAN Crianza is on sale in Ontario for $15 this month and #44 on the WS top 100

 If I may quote Monsieur Descartes, ” Je pense bois, donc je suis.”

“Rene Descartes was a drunken fart, I drink therefore I am” (Monty Python)

Einstein would have loved an iPhone

I found myself staring at a great bottle of wine last week.  A 2004 single vineyard wine from Bodegas LAN -  I love LAN - then I remembered that I forgot to memorize the Rioja vintages chart. Was it 2004 that was a crappy vintage or 2003?  Who memorizes those things?

What I did remember was that  I own an iPhone – that means that with the proper app  I never have to remember anything – not even my phone number – AE would have loved that.

EINSTEIN, who was never able to recall his own phone number, was famous for not memorizing anything that could be quickly and easily looked up in a standard reference volume. “Never memorize what you can look up in books,” he said. In fact, EINSTEIN claimed never to memorize anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.

Furthermore, EINSTEIN once declared that his second greatest idea after the theory of relativity was to add an egg while cooking soup in order to produce a soft-boiled egg without having an extra pot to wash. This was clearly a man who would have loved the idea of using his “telephone” to help him purchase a bottle of wine.

Neither Albert or I can memorize this and hey, 2004 was a good year!


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