Recent Drinks

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This format has been convenient so far, so I plan to continue it every couple of weeks to go over the non-themed drinks ┬áin which I’ve been partaking.

Many think that Rose is insipid stuff, which it certainly can be. This, however, managed to be luscious and interesting, with richness and herbs and a beautifully plush texture. At around $35 I highly recommend this. Try Kits Wine.

I often do not like Prum, but this example really is outstanding. It is dry, extremely balanced, but also very nuanced. I love not only the wine’s minerality, but its layers of citrus and tropical flavours without losing acidity or being blousy. There is also not much more than a very slight hint of petrol, which in my mind is necessary for fruit to show through in the best rieslings.

Outstanding house champagne from the oldest in the region. This Ruinart is made partially with free run juice and partly with already vinified red wine. Purists may not wish to apply, but this is heady stuff with nice richness but also some really interesting flavours. The weight makes this a Champagne to pair with lamb (which I did, and it was delicious).

I defy anyone to find another wine made in Chianti that tastes anything like this. 2005 may be a ‘bad’ vintage, but Montevertine declassified the fruit for their top wine La Pergole Torte for this wine, which really is extremely impressive and good evidence that producer is more important than vintage. Montevertine is one of those obsessive traditionalist/purist wineries. It rejected the Chianti Classico DOCG because it thought it was polluting the region by allowing grapes other than Sangiovese. Even as this pressure prompted the regulator to change its rules, Montevertine remained fully IGT (despite making wines with 100% Sangiovese in a very traditional way). This is soft, lively, bright, translucent and shows you things in Sangiovese that no one else does. A truly great wine.

Guion makes better wine for $22 a bottle than most winemakers could at four times the price. This is the kind of wine that makes you question spending more on anything else. Eminently quaffable and amazingly delicious, this is Loire Valley Cabernet Franc at its finest. And I can say that as I sit here drinking something 5x more expensive, I long for a bottle of this instead.

God Jul is an outstanding Christmas beer from the Norwegian brewer Nogne O. This is the finest Xmas beer in the province and probably one of my favourites even including the much larger selection available in the U.S. Sort of a cross between a medium bodied stout with holiday spices, what makes this great is its combination of balance and flavour. In beer just as wine, balance is the holy grail.

Founders is one of my favourite brewers anywhere, despite the fact it’s from Michigan. Famous for its stouts, Founders has mastered balance better than almost anyone else. Drinking this beer (which I aged for 2 years before opening) was pretty much like reverting to the baby on the bottle’s label – sheer joy. If you can find this, I recommend you get as much as you can without hesitation. One of the world’s best stouts.

I bought this 4 years ago during my first trip to Napa when I was first getting into wine. Rich, oaky, and lacking a sense of place, this is still voluptuous and easy to appreciate. It’s definitely not worth anywhere near it’s $80 USD price tag and I could never recommend this wine these days. Nonetheless, it provided sufficient pleasure with the right food.

In contrast to the supremely manipulated Duckhorn above, this 2002 St. Clement Progeny Syrah is not so much like the California we know now and much more like the California that could have been. Bringing Californian ripeness together with the earthyness and minerality of southern France, this Syrah belies its origins only because it is more faithful to them. Made with fruit grown on the outstanding Mt. Veeder, this is full of texture, depth and power pulled back to taste like California brush. You can taste the browned grasses in this wine and I think it’s one of the most interesting Syrahs in Napa.

Posted in: Tastings


  1. Kyle
    December 7, 2010

    That Whispering Angel is pretty impressive, despite its name.

    Where did you get the God Jul? Didn’t see it at Brewery Creek last time I was there.

  2. Shea
    December 8, 2010

    I got it there – I assume they must have sold out. Too bad, I did want more.

  3. Shea
    December 9, 2010

    Was just there today, they have God Jul in the store.

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