Monthly Archives: November 2010

El Clasico – Real vs Barça

I do try to hide the fact that really I am a soccer – or futbol – fan as much as I am a wine fan.  Having said that, it’s Week 12 in La Liga – Spain – and Barça plays Real Madrid in what is known as El Clasico.  The two biggest teams from Spain, the reigning World Cup and Euro Champions.  One declared by Franco to be the “Royal Madrid” team, the other claimed by dissident Catalans in Barçelona.  I will be watching the game on GolTV because as Eduardo Alvarez says in his article below – Nothing Else Matters.

Here are my Spanish picks for El Clasico.  May the best wine win.

Muga – Rioja representing Real Madrid

Torres – Penendès for Barça







Week 12 – Nothing Else Matters – November 26, 2010

Assuming you, dear reader, spend a minimum amount of your time processing information about the noble sport of football, you probably know that the first match between the two real contenders to the La Liga title will be played this coming Monday. Guardiola’s Barcelona and Mourinho’s Real Madrid have the perfect chance to display all their talents and show us how good they actually are in the most anticipated La Liga match in many years.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will come face to face on Monday night
GettyImages   Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will come face to face on Monday night

Does anything else really matter? And I am not referring to the rest of the weekend games, but to that upcoming argument with your partner over the unbearable thought of spending Christmas at his/her in-laws one more year, or to the excruciating realisation that one more year went by and you haven’t actually progressed that much, except for your belly – advancing at astronomic rates – I ask you again: do any of those or other things really matter?

ESPN Soccernet

Extreme Makeover – wine edition

 Both pullthecork and Jackson-Triggs have had a makeover.  In my case it was as easy as changing my WordPress theme. Jackson-Triggs, however, has come out with new labels and new categories for their wines.  Not only do they look great, they are very easy to navigate when searching through the Ontario section of your LCBO store. Also, the stylized Maple Leaf is very cool.


The Gold series are single vineyard wines expressing the artistry of the winemakers. You pay for this artistry but the wines are top-notch Canadian wines. The Silver series is price at $15-20. I would pick up their Gewurztraminer at this price! That’s a good Ontario white.

The Black Series, my personal favorite in the $10-$15 range, is the new look for Jackson Triggs Proprietors’ Reserve.  J-T make one of my favorite Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon blends and I often show off Ontario wines to my American relatives with the Meritage.

Oh, and it’s not like I need another reason to covet the iPhone but these series all have a QR (Quick Response) code on them.  You can scan the QR and get all the technical details of the wine, tasting notes, and food pairing notes.  It really is like living out an episode of The Jetsons. Nice makeover JT.

QR code


Nouveau Winners 2010

I’ve decided to be a Nouveau snob.  The only ones I liked in the 2010 release were from Beaujolais! My team of tasters tried all the Nouveau (and foreign pretenders) Friday night.  40 people weighed in with their opinions but only the inner circle of tasters had votes. Here are the winners. Get out and get some.

Gold – Georges Duboeuf Gamay Nouveau.  Tastes like Nouveau is supposed to taste. Maybe the best value wine in stores right now at $8.95.

Silver – Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau.  Light, delicious wine.

Bronze – Georges Duboeuf Beajolais-Villages Nouveau. Good but expensive.

Some other notes … The Italian wine – Novello – tasted  mature, even tannic.  I expected that kind of  muscle from Italy.  The wine from South-West France – which I renamed Chateauneuf de Nouveau – was good but a little juicy like blue Gatorade.  The local wine was thin and watery with  dimetapp undertones but Katie the locavore liked it. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Nouveau party.

Le Nouveau encore

Pullthecork started out with the Nouveau release in 2009.  102 blog entries and 15,000 hits later it’s time for the Beaujolais Nouveau party again. I know that the release of Nouveau is a marketing scam by the French but I want to be scammed every once in a while.  Nouveau is light, delicious, and easy to drink.  Exactly what I want my blog to be.

I always buy from George Dubœuf – the king of Beaujolais – because he’s the king and because of how cool it is that the o and the e get stuck together when he spells his name. 

I also buy a couple other French nouveau and always try one from Ontario if the LCBO gets one.  This year Reif Estates releases The Fool Gamay Nouveau – so they are the first winery in Ontario to put a 2010 wine on the shelves.  Well done!

The benchmark - Duboeuf

Here’s the entire list of Nouveau available in Ontario Thursday.


  • Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau,  $13.95
  • Duboeuf Gamay Nouveau, $8.95
  • Primeur Catalan Syrah Merlot,  $9.95 
  • Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau, $14.95
  • Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau, $14.95 


  • Mezzacorona Novio Vino Novello, $9.95 
  • Negrar Novello del Veneto, $9.95 


  • Reif Estates The Fool Gamay Nouveau, $10.95   

Looking for that Special Bottle

Forget all the hoopla about iPhone apps – I found a website that  can help you with your ewine needs (I hope I just made up the word ewine).

It can be a difficult, even intimidating, thing when you are looking for that special bottle of wine for a friend, for a steak, or for a romantic evening (with your steak). I have found a foolproof wine selection website (which is perfect for the wine fool in your life).

The site is the new and improved Vintages Essentials and any one of a thousand monkeys at  a computer keyboard could navigate their way to great wines using it.  Go ahead, click on the Vintages Essentials link and see if it isn’t easier than a barrel of monkeys. These wines from the LCBO are always available and are usually better wines than the regular wine list. 

 This site is very easy to navigate. For example – when I select Spain I  see that Vintages carries Hécula, Muga, and Torres Gran Coronas.  Those are all great bottles of wine.  This website seems idiot proof – which is just what us wine drinkers want in our internet.

There you go – the best thing ever on the internet and good for me for using exaggeration to make a point but mostly for mixing my metaphors (something Brother in Spain finds very funny). You had fun and I had fun. This website is so well designed  that I think my friend John over at linktrap will be  impressed.

Got an email from the LCBO today telling me to take their logo off my site until I contact their legal department - wait for it

My New(veau) favorite Wine Critic

POST #100 It is almost time for my annual Beaujolais Nouveau party.  It is our official celebration of the wine harvest and the beginning of the Holiday season.

 Beaujolais Nouveau is, of course, this year’s harvest from France.  New Wine = Nouveau (it’s a French thing). Nouveau is released all over the world this year on November 18 – so you can’t get it until then. Go to the LCBO next Thursday and ask for the Nouveau. 

 Wine critic Karen MacNeil has compared drinking Beaujolais Nouveau to eating cookie dough. Wine critic Karen MacNeil has just become my favorite wine critic! I love eating cookie dough.

Also, chill it before serving. It’s much better that way – both the wine and the cookie dough.

And yes,  this was my 100th Post on pullthecork – thanks for reading.



Steak Shiraz

My favorite Steak Shiraz is available again at your local LCBO store. The Australian Pillar Box Red 2007 is my failsafe wine when I am having  steak.  Sure, you can go with Cabernet Sauvignon every time but this Shiraz seems made for a steak. Maybe it’s the 15% alcohol. The bottle is easy to recognize and the price is right.  It is too tannic to drink on its own – although I do just because it makes me feel manly.

VINTAGES 685941 | Price: $ 15.00 15.0% Alcohol/Vol.

65% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot

Score – 90. (Jay Miller,