Category Archives: Wine writing

Ice to see you

In one of my favourite Simpsons opening scenes ever McBain appears from within an ice sculpture Venus de Milo and  … well take a look for yourself

It was with this in mind that i brought an ice wine up from the cellar to celebrate the end of summer.  Interestingly nobody was very interested [how paradoxical] in the ice wine.  They’re a picky crowd.  In the past i’ve heard things from these relatives like “i don’t really like white” and “i don’t really like sweet wine” and “shut up Travis” [actually that’s what i hear most from them].  So i thought maybe they needed some learning.

This Peller Estates Vidal Icewine was a gift from a friend, something i wouldn’t normally buy for myself – but i may have to change that in the future. It was a beautiful ending to the day and to the summer.  For those who don’t know, icewine grapes are picked at -10 degrees and then pressed while frozen. This allows only small quantities of Bacchus’ sweet nectar to be extracted. The wine exhibits light floral and peach notes and finishes with a taste of honey suckle. It was delicate and exquisite.  Award winning in fact.

Gold Medal – Korea Wine Challenge 2012

Gold MedalDecanter World Wine Awards, UK 2012

Gold Medal – Wine China Competition 2012 

Peller Estates Private Reserve Vidal Icewine VINTAGES#: 18564   |   200 mL bottle  $26.95

Green Eggs and Ham

Do you know that Dr Suess’ classic Green Eggs and Ham is all about trying new stuff?  I didn’t really know his books had a point to them [10 Apples Up On Top baffles me and i can already juggle!] but i’m starting to revisit these classsics in an attempt to answer many metaphysical questions of our world.


We should try new stuff.  I recently purchased a bottle of hot banana peppers and now keep it in my fridge. I was inspired by the Harveys employee [also a student at my school] who asked me if i wanted banana peppers on my veggie burger.  Kids know stuff.  It was delicious.

I’m pleased to see that the LCBO is trying new stuff.  Recently i purchased a Syrah from the region of Jumilla in Spain.  Honestly, i didn’t even know Jumilla exported any Syrah. I guess i’m not surprised that they grow it – Jumilla is basically Spain’s answer to the Cotes du Rhone – but it seemed daring of the LCBO.  Usually we import Spanish Rioja, Ribero del Duero, and then get crazy with a Monastrell or two. But I applaud somebody’s daring Dr Suessical approach to buying wine last month.  I guess it doesn’t hurt that Luis Gutierrez, from rated it a 92.  Well done Luis G!  Thanks for convincing somebody at the LCBO to try Green Eggs and Ham.  I drank it in a glass, with a spouse, beside a daughter, in the rain, with a goat, and on a train [except for the rain and goat and train].

VAlceño Premium 50 Barricas Syrah 2012 VINTAGES#: 398933  $13.95

85% Syrah/ 15% Mourvèdre This may be the best value wine i’ve purchased in years


Also, I realize the irony, writing about green eggs and ham and promoted the Veggie burger at Harveys [best veggie burger around]. Maybe green eggs and ham will inspire you to try their veggie burger next time and give a cow a break.

El Niño

What did you do during the hailstorm this weekend?

I paired the apocalyptic storm with a vibrant Cava – Juvé Y Camps Cinta Púrpura Reserva 2011.  It’s citrusy, light, and full of bubbles [which a good cava is].  I put some hailstones in it to bring it down a degree in temperature – actually just because it was freakin’ cool to do.

This is my second attempt to get the Weather Network to pay attention to pairing wine and weather. I first tried with Tornado Watch in 2011.  I guess they’re only interested in Storm Chasers, Global Warming, and Force of Nature highlights.  I think they’re missing out on the next ” blue ocean” – and i’m here to help.


VINTAGES 352864 $18.95

Aboriginal Wine

Recently I spent 1 week on Vancouver Island with my daughter.  Beautiful.  Honestly considered not coming back and sending for the rest of the family to pack up and join us there instead.  Did you know they can grow fig trees on the island?  For some reason that excited me.

Also, what excited me was when M found us a bottle of Nk’Mip wines – Canada’s first Aboriginal owned and operated cellar.  We drank the Dreamcatcher – a blend of Riesling and Chenin Blanc. It was dry, crisp, with lemon and melon notes, and just a touch of sweetness at the end from the ripe fruits. I’ve never had an Aboriginal wine before – and if you think of it, who knows how to work the land this country better? The Okanagan people have been growing crops here for centuries.  The wine was beautiful – like the Island. Seriously, look a this photo and for the love of sweet baby bacchus somebody tell me why i didn’t send for the rest of the family and just stay there.


Nk’Mip Dreamcatcher

Home base on Van Isle

Home base on Van Isle


Fig trees! Told yaIMG_1392


Decision Time

This summer I plan to make no decisions – and to renew that vow daily.  So I’ll let others make them for me – lessening the weight of responsibility that i might otherwise feel when it’s summertime and the living’s supposed to be easy.

Decisions like which wine to open.


Fortunately I prepare for such life altering occasions by keeping a light red, and full-bodied rosé [or rosado in this case] and a crisp white in the fridge. So that when the wife gets home [don’t worry “Mad Max fans”  I asked her permission to call her “the wife” this one time so don’t go all Furiosa on me] she has an easy choice. Because really it’s a win-win-win decision [and no M I don’t mean open all three].

She chose.


And she wins.


The Red … Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais $11 on sale—LCBO#: 212480   |   Light, berries, cherry, easy drinking … please serve chilled.

The Pink … Muga Rose $14 —VINTAGES#: 603795   |   Seriously, i get zero kickback from the people at Muga … i just love this wine so much and it’s a better choice than those suckers who are drinking water.

The White …Marques de Riscal White, Rueda  $12 —LCBO#: 36822   |   Crisp, acidic, medium body, I say it tastes like rhubard, my wife says Lychee – I admit lychee sounds far cooler.

At the car wash 

I bet myself that I could write an entire blog post using my phone while sitting at the car wash.

Yes, I’m sitting for 30mins in line because it’s finally warm out and I want a clean car.  It’s actually a stupid privileged world problem – who needs a clean car? I’m even driving a Jeep, which I think is supposed to be dirty. I still don’t understand the Jeep thing.

Another thing I don’t understand is this.


My daughter, M, thinks that instant coffee will be the next big hipster thing. Like Pabst Blue Ribbon beer [previous post here] – everyone knows it isn’t good but we drink it anyways because it’s cool and ironic.  So I made myself a cup.

How was it? If you’re thinking of trying this at home … don’t.

Hey there you go – I entertained myself and maybe brother-in -Spain, wrote about something to drink, and was inspired by my muse M to write.  I call it the blogging natural hat trick.

Seriously, don’t drink this stuff.

Still waiting for a clean Jeep

Bob’s Book

Wednesday I went to a book launch by local author, and Guelph celebrity in his own right, Bob Desautels – who most of us know as the owner of The Wooly [or the Woolwich Arrow as nobody calls it], or as I call it, “The Home Court”, as it is the closest pub to my house.  As usual I’m already not talking about what meant to talk about – Bob’s book.  I went to the launch, got a copy of Bob’s book, got it signed,  then sold it on eBay two hours later for a profit.  First edition? Author’s signature? eBay gold!

WineSense is the name of Bob’s first book. Subtitled “the three keys to understanding wine” it reads like a series of lecture notes on the topic of wine. Lecture notes interspersed with witty anecdotes and clever quotes.  I appreciated it both as an educator and somebody who knows just enough about wine to consider myself interesting in a wine conversation [I can hear brother-in-Spain shouting, “interesting to who?”].

Three weeks ago my daughter, wife, and I were sampling ales at the Wooly when Bob came over very excited to have had the first books delivered to him that very day. He brought one over like a new grandchild and gave us an introduction.  I have been anticipating getting a copy ever since.

Three favourite quotes for from the introduction of WineSense …

  • The one indisputable thing about wine is that it will cheer you up [agreed Bob, unless it’s mulled wine – i’ve got nothing good to say about mulled wine]
  • Wine just helps to bring people closer together [true, i pack 50 people in a space designed to seat 8 at my Beaujolais Nouveau party]
  • Champagne is known to be the only drink or food that a person who is seasick can digest without vomiting [after my bout with the flu I wish I’d know that 5 days ago]

I think you can learn a lot about the authors intentions from the introduction. Bob is unpretentious, knowledgeable, and his  good guy-ness comes through.  It’s an easy read and a great course in wine education.  Well done Bob.  You can order the book from Friesen Press, but don’t – buying at the Wooly seems only proper.


From the Friesen website …

Wine is a muse for poets and ordinary folks alike, a great seducer and lifelong friend to many. It’s integral to some of the finest cultures on earth. But as simple and lovely as wine may be, the wine world can be intimidating. Many so-called experts perpetuate an elitist approach to wine, with their explanations so jargon-filled that the wine gets lost in the analysis.

WineSense cuts through the jargon and complexities wine can present. In this common-sense guide, Bob Desautels offers straightforward information on types of wine, tasting, wine history, grape varieties, approaches to winemaking, and more. His Three Keys to Understanding Wine allow the everyday wine enthusiast and the beginner to truly grasp the subject while increasing their appreciation of wine.

The ultimate purpose of this book is to teach you how to find good and consistent styles of wine that suit your palate. You’ll be able to look beyond the safe choices and search for local wines that have the best qualities of your international favourites. With a deeper understanding of wine, you’ll gain true WineSense, offering you a newfound confidence in choosing the right wine for the right time.



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