Monthly Archives: June 2010

Pulling the Cork in Europe – Summer 2010


This blog is going mobile. 

Besides proving to myself that the world is round – this summer I am pulling corks (and twisting them if I have to ) on the Mediterranean.  Yes, all my entries and photos will be from these great wine-making countries as I search for wine, espresso, and local food. You might be mad at me all summer – but that could be fun too!

I will also investigate why France and Italy did so poorly in this year’s World Cup.  I am afraid that it might be a bad vintage for both countries so I am determined to disprove that theory as Europe becomes my tasting lab.

Malaga - Antibes - Genoa

 “Come on move now Movin’ Keep me movin’, yeah Keep me movin’, groovin’, groovin’, yeah Movin’, Yeah Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, …
I’m mobile Oooooh, yeah, hee!  Mobile, mobile, mobile yeah”

(Pete Townshend, The Who)


Locavore? Well that’s relative

My Uncle gave me homemade wine from the relatively obscure wine region of Northwestern Ontario. Is that considered a local wine?  He is my Uncle (that’s kinda local),  it was made in Ontario (a two day’s drive from where I live but still in Ontario),  and it does fit in with the 1200 mile diet that I am trying out this week (well today).

My Uncle Art, the original “most Harrowsmith man in the world”, gave me a High Bush Cranberry Wine from Dryden ON – vintage August 2009.  Usually that’s not a good sign on a vintage when they also tell you the month, but for this wine it seemed perfect.

The nose is of sweaty socks – exactly what high bush cranberries smell like – so I guess it’s off to a good start.  The colour is a lovely hue of light rhubarb, and it tastes like those stinky cranberries.  Also, it drinks like a grappa and my Uncle doesn’t tell me what the alcohol content is – so user beware.

Seriously though, I literally ran around my neighbourhood pouring glasses for 3 of my neighbours who I knew would be as excited about it as I was.

Thanks Uncle Art – you’re part Uncle, part winemaker to me. This may be how Tio Pepe got his start.

World Cup update – what was I thinking?

HEY – my theory just picked 3 out of the first 4 group winners. You thought that picking your World Cup winners based on each countries wine production was silly? Consider the following …

Pool A  FranceOOPS didn’t win a game – maybe 2010 was a disfunctional vintage 

Pool B winner ArgentinaCORRECT go ahead and buy some Fuzion, see if I care

Pool C winner USACORRECT American wine is more than Ernest & Gallo white zinfandel

Pool D winner GermanyCORRECT and I have one word for you – Gewürztraminer [ɡəˈvʏɐtstʁaˈmiːnɐ] (please say that in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice – or just say Bastian Schweinsteiger if you like)


My theory did pick 5 of 8 pool winners in the end.  It was always a long shot for Portugal to beat Brazil’s soccer genius – the Dutch are the best drinkers in their pool – Spanish wine is my favorite, thankyou for winning your pool – and Italy?… I don’t even know where to begin.  Let’s just hope that your wines age better than your aging national team.

Two summer reds – Bouchard Père & Fils

“Sweet baby Bacchus I need a great summer wine – and make it red”.  Does this sound like you?  Perhaps you’ve tried to find one and the closest you’ve come is close.   We both know that’s not close enough.  Here are my summer reds.

BOUCHARD PERE & FILS – Bouchard Père & Fils is a family winery in Burgundy France.  These wines are clearly brothers. They are similar, light reds from Burgundy and both made with Gamay.  The Mâcon Gamay has a nice sour cherry taste to it and is my favorite but I’ve never gone wrong serving a Beaujolais-Villages at a summer grill party. A great price, great flavours, and perfect for summer drinking.

Summer wines from the LCBO

    LCBO 164582 | Price: $ 13.95 

   LCBO 665448 | Price: $ 12.95

Windows error

This is seriously funny.

I got it from who got it from somebody named Neil.


I have just added this to my list of computer troubleshooting skills.  Right after yelling at my computer and hitting it.

A PulltheCork Father’s Day

Father’s Day is around the corner and I might as well ask for something ridiculous. Here is my suggestion for the wine loving Dad.

The Swarovski Corkscrew – the PullTex pulltabs is the best corkscrew out there.  This model is embedded with 26 Swarovski crystals, and comes packaged in a leather box with satin.   Luxury!  Call Gail at Thyme to Cook in Guelph if you want one.  A deal at $154.99. 

I know, who in their right mind needs a corkscrew with Swarovski crystals in the handle? I’m not sure I can answer that.

Pulltap‘s Classic Line Swarovski

World Cup Update – England aware of their faults

 To further support my theory that the countries with the best wines  will win their pools (World Cup Soccer – let your wine decide) – England is using an Italian as head coach!

Knowing the state of winemaking on the home front, England hired Fabio Capello to do their coaching. Appearantly the plan is that some of that good old Chianti would rub off on the lads. 

Consider that last World Cup England tried a Swedish coach. Ridiculous!  Sorry Sven-Göran  but the results speak for themselves.  Italy has great wines like Barolo and Amarone – Sweden, nothing but vodka. This theory of mine is clearly gaining momentum.

In similar news – I just had to repost this from the AP. Now I’m certain England beats USA on Saturday.

IRENE, South Africa (AP) — Bob Bradley sounds more like a student discussing a teacher than a coach talking about a rival when he speaks about Fabio Capello.

Speaking Wednesday, three days before the U.S. plays England in its World Cup opener, Bradley recalled taking his Princeton team to Italy in the 1990s when Capello coached AC Milan. Bradley has gotten to know Capello over the years.

“His quote to me, his coaching advice is always something along the lines of: `When you make wine, the grapes aren’t always the same,”‘ Bradley said. “And the first few times he said that to me, I thought he was actually talking about wine. But since then, I thought about it and I realized that he was trying to tell me a little something about football.”

Really Bob? Maybe you should have kept this one to yourself. I think he was trying to tell you a little something about football too.

World Cup Soccer – let your wine decide

The World Cup starts this week in S. Africa.  There is a good chance that I forget to blog about wine while watching the world play soccer.

The way I see it, winning a World Cup pool is easy if you have a Physed degree and are a Wine Consultant.  Using my modified Diane Chambers (Cheers) method of winning a pool – “A Bear could easily beat a Dolphin” – the country with the best Wine wins each pool. If necessary I will consider the actual strength of the country’s soccer team – but I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Pool A winner France (easily) – nobody mentions the great wines from Mexico these days or as my sister-in-law says, “What idiot would choose Mexico”

Pool B winner Argentina – their Malbec and Barca star Lionel Messi make them the clear choice.  Also, the Greeks put pine pitch in their wine

Pool C winner USA – unless beer counts as wine and in that case England wins

Pool D winner Germany – yes the Aussie Shiraz is great but a nice Gewürztraminer [ɡəˈvʏɐtstʁaˈmiːnɐ] (helpful pronunciation guide) easily shifts the balance

Pool E winner Holland – okay nobody deserves this pool (Japan, Cameroon, Denmark) for their wine, but the Dutch are great drinkers

Pool F winner Italy – the Azzuri and Barolo easily beat out the crisp Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  Also, NZ is not very good at soccer

Pool G winner Portugal – I know Brazil is very good at soccer and supermodel Gisele  Bündchen is a great Brazilian export, but Vintage Port rules. Plus Portugese captain Ronaldo is good looking too

Pool H winner Spain – 3 reasons – I love Rioja, Spain did win the Euro 2008, and I’ve always been neutral towards Swiss wine – maybe that’s what they want.

Playoff winners to follow and it’s going to get even better.  Italy and Spain are slated to be quarterfinalists against each other. Rioja vs. Barolo, Ribera del Duero vs. Barbaresco, Sherry vs Grappa – that’s a game to analyze!

Stewn Winery – a lesson in marketing

If you don’t like how you look then get a haircut and buy all new clothes.  That’s my advice to anyone who asks – except my wife – I am far more tactful (“you look great and those clothes still look good on you”).

Strewn Winery of Niagara just got a facelift. The wine formely known as Cabernets has been renamed and repackaged and I am impressed. 

The wine has a great clean new label and an even better name – The Rogue’s Lot!  Very Australian of them.  The Aussies have cool names for many of their red blends – “The Lackey”, “The Stump Jump” (named after a plow), and “The Angelus Bell” by Wirra Wirra to name a few.  Sometimes there are cool stories behind the wine – sometimes it’s a mystery.

Good on Strewn for coming up with a cool name and for having some fun.  It is now their best selling LCBO red wine. There is a great description of the wine on the back of the bottle – I copied it below for you.   Great wine too. 

LCBO 65342 | Price: $ 13.95

The Rogue’s Lot – Rogue: different, unusual, edgy, mischievous but likeable. A wine that stands apart. Uncompromising. A bit tangy, kind of silky. No excess baggage, take it anywhere. It will add to any food pairing. (from the bottle’s back label)