Vin Greco's weekend wine: Rogue Voodoo Memphis for Halloween?Sunday, October 20, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
Vin Greco is well known locally for his wine expertise.
His interest in wine has been life-long.
Currently he conducts tastings, formal or informal, upon request, and twice a year partners in a tasting with Chef Ian Thomlinson Upstairs at Rome’s.
This week Vin has many fascinating wine facts to pass along.
One of the most esteemed wineries in Australia is Penfolds, and, for years, the greatest of all Australian wines has been their Grange Hermitage.
Recently, I have been reading about another Penfolds gem, Kalimna Block 42, a wine produced from arguably the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world, planted in the mid-1880s.
These old vines produce glorious fruit, but in miniscule quantities, and so over the years they have only rarely been made into a "stand-alone" wine, the most recent expression being 2004.
Released in 2007, it sold for $225 per bottle, and today, the average price for that vintage is over $1,000, and the average "score" is 97/100 according to the "Wine Searcher" website.
Until the end of this month, however, you may have the opportunity to purchase a special edition of this Block 42, as the Summerhill store in Toronto might still be in possession of one of only 12 bottles in the world of Penfolds Ampoule.
Think of a giant, dark glass plumb-bob encasing a blown-glass cylinder containing 750 ml. of wine in a totally airless and airtight environment. think of it and know that it can be yours for just $168,000.
Considering that the container is worth over 160 times the value of the wine within, it isn't something you're likely to crack open any time soon, even with a really good friend.
Penfolds proposes that this is an experiment in seeing how well a wine can survive in this most pristine of conditions, but of course there is a huge amount of hype and publicity attached to the whole exercise.
It is difficult to contemplate who might buy a wine like this, when it is expected that no-one would open it for a couple of centuries.
At the end of the day, it won't be me, alas, and whoever it is will buy it just because they can.
With Hallowe'en approaching, there are always a few products in the LCBO that suit the theme perfectly.
While there are a couple of beer selections, such as Rogue Voodoo Memphis, $9.95 for 750 ml. and Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale, $7.95 for 625 ml., I can also recommend the Quintuple-distilled Spud Pumpkin-Spiced Sweet Potato Vodka, $29.95.
It is wonderfully smooth with delicate spice flavours, and is satisfying all on its own, chilled or not.
The bottle features an image of a sweet potato, but carved like a jack-o-lantern.
A suitable wine would be Coffin Ridge 'Back From The Dead Red' 2011, $17.00, based on the hybrid Maréchal Foch. It is a chewy red with some acidic bite to it, which makes it a good match with pizza or ribs.
We hope it will be available this week, but that takes us to the next bit of news.
Next Saturday's Vintages release is, at time of writing, a bit of a mystery.
What's happened is this: the LCBO, as I have mentioned, no longer has individual stores submitting orders, but instead decides independently what it will ship, probably based in part on what had been ordered historically.
In recent months, we have been getting a fairly generous cross-section of each release, resulting in many 12 bottle lots - so many, in fact, that the Great Northern Store has been running out of space to display them all.
With the upcoming release, the store decided to cancel what was, overwhelmingly, being shipped, and instead has tried to place an alternative, more manageable order.
Below, I will highlight some of the product for your consideration, first making some suggestions for wines not requested, for which you might want to submit your own customer order by next Tuesday.
If you liked the movie, Sideways, then the delicious and well-crafted Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Hometown Pinot Noir 2010, $26.95, is for you.
The motion picture was responsible for a huge upswing in Pinot Noir popularity, and the Hitching Post is the actual restaurant that figured in the plot.
For fans of the most well known white grape, Chardonnay, Chile's Qu 2011, $15.95 is a good deal, with good integrated new and used oak and mouth-filling texture on the finish.
Also $15.95, South Africa's Vinum Chenin Blanc offers a top-notch rendition of this grape, garnering a "92" from the Robert Parker group.
This is lighter in style than the afore-mentioned Chardonnay, and was praised for its "poise" and "focus".
Australia's Journey's end Shiraz 2007, $19.95, took gold at the 2013 Sommelier Wine Awards, and, as a 2007, it is "maturing beautifully" with an "absolute velvet" texture, according to Vintages.
I personally enjoy wines from the south of France, and so I am attracted to the Laplace Madiran 2010, $16.95, based on the Tannat grape which writer Jancis Robinson MW compares in colour and tannin to Nebbiolo, the heavyweight grape from Italy's Piedmont region and the source of Barolo.
Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast magazine praised its intensity and layers of dark fruit flavour, awarding it a "92".
Unusual, but well received and attractive are two wines from south-eastern Europe - Macedonia's Bovin Vranec 2010, $13.95, and Monşer Fetească Neagră 2009, $12.95, from Romania.
Both are well made and expressive with rich dark fruit, and simply demand to be tasted.
The following wines have been ordered, and while we hope they show up, it might not hurt to put in your own request by Tuesday as well.
Elaine has ordered 96 bottles of Argentina's Zolo Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $17.00 - considering that the Parker group scored it 93, this winner is one to snap up, enjoy now, or even lay down for 5 or 6 years.
Try the Zolo alongside California's McManis Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $19.95, 60 of which were requested - it was praised has being "rich, full, and succulent," so what's not to like?
If you're part of the big following for Australia's Small Gully The Formula Robert's Shiraz, then you should line up for their Mr. Black's Little Book Shiraz 2010, $17.95, which is over 15% alcohol, full-bodied and ripe with an intermingling of sweet and savoury flavours - only 36 bottles ordered.
So, you have some homework to do, but if you get it right, you can look forward to enjoying some "gold star" wines.