Tag Archives: Spain

El Niño – a hot, dry summer

I am currently looking for summer. I read a funny comic last week that said “The first person to complain about how hot is is this summer gets a punch in the throat”. People get a little emotional waiting this long for summer.

I started looking for summer in the Spanish aisle of the LCBO.

My brother-in-Spain says that a good Spanish Rioja tastes like a hot, dry summer. When we opened this one I got a little emotional.  Maybe I miss my brother? Maybe it’s the absurdly cruel long winter that really got me? Maybe I got a piece of cork in my contact? Whatever it was, I did get a little teary at how much this wine reminded me of a hot, dry Spanish summer.


LCBO 342006 |Price $ 14.40 

Dark plum and cherry fruits with a dryness that persisted on my palate [evoking the emotional response I referred to earlier]


You’ve got mail

I would like to do my own rant about the mail service in Canada.  Specifically the volume of email that gets sent to me .  Today I came home to find 38 unread emails. 38!  Those are just the ones that made it past my Spam and Bulk filters – that my wife hadn’t read already. I’ve had enough. So here goes …

icon_emailDear J. Crew,  stop sending me three emails at 5 a.m. and then again at 7:30 a.m. That is not the one ankle boot I need this year.

Dear Apple Store,  stop making your email come up a different colour than all the rest.  It freaks me out that only you can do that.

Dear eBay, I’ve NEVER purchased anything from you ever. How did you even get my email?

Dear FaceBook, stop changing your settings every 3 hours – I’m again getting notifications from people I unfriended a year ago [sorry Mom]

And hey Starbucks … if one more 50% off my favourite latte coupon gets sent my way today and I’m sending 50% of my next latte across your cafe floor.

Thank you for listening.

PS – my apologies to those who expected something about wine in this edition of my wine blog

PSS – brother in Spain, you’re welcome for not saying anything about wine in this edition of my wine blog

PSS – my wife wouldn’t let me say anything bad to the people at Pinterest

Too much time on my hands

Lyrics from the 80′s.  My 16 yr old nephew [nephew-in-Spain] was recently exposed to “Come Sail Away” by Styx for the first time.  I have a photo of the priceless, puzzled look on his face. “What in the heck in the what?”, is his expression. He’s right. Still, I wish I had a dollar for every time “I thought that they were Angels, but to my surprise, we loaded up the starship and headed for the skies” [2:48 and again at 3:32 in the video if you clicked on the link].

Watch out for the segue, here it comes – I think the guys at Wellington Brewery [right here in Guelph] have too much time on their hands [see what I did there?]. They have been releasing Welly one-offs at an alarming rate.  Alarming because I haven’t made it to their brewery every weekend to buy the newest brew.

Looks like my Saturdays are booked for the month.


You can’t believe how hard I tried to make a River Styx comment – like “Wellington Brewery, where the beer flows like the river Styx” – none of them worked.

Geography – what do you know?

So the Ministry of Education in Ontario forces every student to take grade 9 geography.  Useful.  I want my children to know that Halifax is to the east, Vancouver to the west, and there is a little something called the Atlantic Ocean that prevents us from driving in our car to Spain.

Here’s a little map that can help you out if you know nothing about Spanish wine.  The keys to this map?  Look north of Madrid  to Rioja and Ribero del Duero if you want to spend a lot of money but you don’t care because it’s worth it.  Look high and left if you need a crisp white – Rias Biaxis makes me giggle for some reason. And look at the purple regions if you want a good deal.

Spain wine mapI got this from the folks at Bodegas Altanza’s facebook page – who got it from someone else – who probably cut and pasted it from elsewhere.  Now it’s ours.  I love this internet!

Malaga Sherry Bar

I’m going to let my photos speak a thousand words. These were taken at Casa de la Guardia – a sherry bar – in downtown Malaga. If this doesn’t make you want to start drinking sherry then that’s on your own conscience.



The red clams moved when we squirted lemon juice on them. Then we ate them.
Notice the bill – la cuenta – written with chalk on the bar.

Spanish Math

Forgive me if this turns into a travel blog for a couple of months – I’m in Spain soaking up another Euro Championship, some sun, and some Cava

3  por 2 is my new favorite Spanish math.  We bought 3 Segura Viudas brut nature cava – Lavit – for the price of 2.   Loco!

That means that if I do my math correctly I can get 6 for the price of 4.  When have you ever seen that at the LCBO? Furthermore they are delicious.  They are inexpensive enough that I’m going to attempt to saber one open if I can convince my wife that our travel health insurance covers me for accidents related to opening champagne with the back of a chef’s knife. Video to follow.

Sangre de Toro – not superfluous

We had another Torres wine last night – Sangre de Toro which translates as “Blood of the Bull”.  It tasted better than that.  Made with both  Garnacha and Cariñena grapes it was  $7 here in the US of A. It’s $12 in Ontario but it’s a decent wine at that price too. The blend of these two grapes make for an easy drinking wine typical of Spanish wines that not made with Tempranillo.

What I really liked is their web page which is full of detailed information about the wines without the splashy superfluous stuff. Click for the Sangre de Toro webpage. I really wish that you could find out this much info about all the wines you buy.

What my tree-hugging, carbon footprint neutralizing,  Guelph neo-hippie friends will love is that Torres is committed to minimizing their negative effect on the environment.  “There’s no such thing as a good wine that does not respect nature” – Miguel Torres.

Okay, maybe the other reason I bought it was to get the cute little bull figurine that comes with the bottle. I’ve attached it to my key chain so that it can poke me in the thigh when I put them in my pocket.
LCBO 6585
Price: $ 11.95
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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)

Red Guitar of Spain


Red Guitar Wine from Spain is my newest value red wine – Olé (Spanish for “there you have it” – loosely translated). It is a classic Spanish Rhone style wine –  Tempranillo and Garnacha – and is very tasty – Olé. Normally I like Spanish Rioja wines that remind me of a dry, hot summer.  However, this one from Navarra is refreshing and interesting -Olé.  Rich and smooth but not too easy or sweet with medium tannis and a slight funky odour that isn’t unpleasant.  Besides, I like the funk – Olé. 

The website has a great musical flash intro page at redguitarwines.com (click the hyperlink to listen).  The Red Guitar that is playing is fun to listen to and my wife likes that fact that at no time does a Gypsy King start singing at you – Amen and Olé.


LCBO 54007 | Price: $ 12.95

Whenever the winemaker has a great description of their wine I use it – they know more about it than I do -   Red Guitar brings the style and excitement of Spain to life. From grapes grown on up to 100 year-old vines in the ancient kingdom of Navarra, Red Guitar delivers rich flavors and remarkable complexity in every glass. It is a wine that sings of the land of the bullfight, tapas, and the art of living well.

Sherry for Christmas

 Are you drinking Sherry this Christmas?  Maybe this photo will inspire you to start a Spanish tradition.  A nice dry (seco) sherry pairs well with fruitcake, gingerbread houses, and candlelight.




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