France, Mâcon Villages Chardonnay, 2012
France has a rich and romantic history, filled with great art, delectable food, and delicious wine. A country which takes as much pride in their culture and history as they do their many industries, France's various winemakers imbue their craft with a delightful personality, unapologetically French, and incredibly charming. The Burgundy region is home to many a wine varietal, but the most famous are, of course, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Today, we'll dispense with the reds, the rosé, and the sparkling wines which are prevalent throughout the regions, and will focus on
Argentina, Malbec mix, 2012
The southern regions of Argentina continue to surprise and delight with exquisite wines made from some of the best varietals the country's earth has to offer. Malbec, Bonarda (Douce noir), and Syrah are among some of the more popular red varietals and, as we take a look at an offering from Mendoza, these particular grapes just so happen to be the name of the game. Trivento's Amado Sur Malbec combines 70% Argentinian Malbec grapes with 18% Bonarda and 12% Syrah to craft a Malbec blend which aims to be
Australia, Shiraz, 2013
$16.39 (in Canada)
Australia is no stranger to good wines, no matter what you may have heard. Before the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century and its decimation of the grape vines, Australia won several international wine competitions, despite, in some cases, the French judges refusing to accept that such a good wine could not be French. More recently, however, Australia's wine producers have been the butt (sorry) of many jokes, most famously by Monty Python, who mocked the entire country's wine producers by listing the supposed good points of fictional brands like Chateau St. Wogga-Wogga.
California, Pinot Grigio, 2013
The fertile plains of Sonoma County (more specifically Geyserville and Oakville, California) are home to a great many vineyards, producing a wide variety of incredible fruits. Indeed, Northern California is one of the main hot spots of American wine production, and has the great distinction of being one of my favorite sources. Famed film director and producer, Francis Ford Coppola, runs a quaint, family-friendly winery in the town of Geyserville, which features a restaurant, swimming pools, and bocce courts. Now is said to be a great time of year to visit the winery
Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'
Our visitor this evening hails from Valle Central, Chile. The Cabernet Sauvignon is known the world over as one of the most exquisitely bold varietals ever to be harvested. Its luscious ruby color and intense aromatics make it the favorite of many a wine lover. Combine this with the careful craftsmanship of the winemakers of Chile, and this
"It's a black fly in your Chardonnay..."
Those lyrics will forever haunt any occasion during which I am drinking an otherwise delightful glass of Chardonnay. It is perhaps well known that I am not what anyone might refer to as a drinker of white wine, although I have been known to dabble quite a bit, as one does. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and I'm not going to deny a good drink the honor of being enjoyed simply because of the beverage's hue. That would be both incredibly rude and unbecoming of a wine
Italy, Pinot Grigio e Verduzzo, 2012
There's something special about blends. The artistry, the level of detail, the expert awareness of subtle changes based entirely upon slight variations in the recipe ... It's an incredible balance which must be struck in the pursuit of not only a drinkable wine, but an enjoyable and memorable wine. This is why I tend to avoid blends from lesser renowned wine producers — you honestly can't be sure they really give a damn about consistency and quality. When I find a reputable source, however, that's when I feel as though I've won the lottery.
From the textured, egg-shell
Japan, Sake, Traditional
We're going to take a short detour this week and talk about a wine product very near and dear to me; a beverage of Japanese origin — sake ("sah-keh"). Sake is an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice and, although many refer to sake as "rice wine," in all actuality the brewing process is more akin to beer, transforming starches to sugars in the fermentation process.
Sake can be had hot or cold, and there are many different brands and qualities to choose from. While Japan is the largest producer of sake, there are companies producing this unique beverage
California, Merlot, 2011
You can't beat a good red. It's an opinion I've held onto for years, and one that I still find myself coming back to, over and over, and over again. While I've been busy exploring the South American continent, looking for all manner of intrigue and possibility, the folks over on the central coast of North America have been doing what they do best — relaxing and making good wine. Could I blame them? Certainly not. After all, they have their craft, and they stick with it, the same as anyone else.
As far as California
Argentina, Elevation Red Blend, 2012
Perusing the local state-run wine and spirits shoppe, I came across the Argentinian wine section... again. As luck would have it, they had one more bottle of Graffigna wine to offer and, being a completionist, I simply could not resist. We've sampled at least one red blend previously, and from what I can recall, it was okay. Always one to give a second chance to everyone, I'm looking to the talented winemakers of South America to get me back on board with the idea of blended wine.
From the silky, black label, pressed with silver lettering:
Argentina, Malbec, 2012
Vintages are a special thing when it comes to wine. Having sampled many a fine spirit in my time as Parched No More's liquor savant, I've grown accustomed to the ability of respected distillers to craft batch after batch of fine spirits, and seemingly without effort, produce a drink which provides exactly the same flavor, year after year. Wine, on the other hand, is left to the mercy of Mother Nature — soil quality, amount of precipitation, and local wildlife all come into play when attempting to extract the same flavor from a grape varietal,
New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012
With at least 15 distinct wine regions, New Zealand is an interesting choice for the wine enthusiast. Though the country mainly exists within a maritime climate, the grape varietals grown in New Zealand produce some incredibly exquisite wines. The Marlborough region lies on the northeast tip of the South Island, and is considered home to the genesis of modern winemaking in New Zealand, dating back to the late 1970s. And wouldn't you know it — that first wine just so happened to be Sauvignon Blanc.
From the sleek, khaki label, dutifully stamped "Private Bin":