Summer Wine Picks Wrap Up

On the eve of my official return to work, post-summer break, it seems fitting to weigh in on the last of the CBC “All in a Day” summer wine picks. We managed to try all 6 bottles since we found the list in July, and included a few friends along the way in our taste testing. I got around to formally reviewing 4 of them, which are all linked below. The final 2 were a bit lack lustre, so I’ve just included a few notes on them below.

To Recap: “All in a Day” Wine Panel’s Summer Picks

Rod’s Picks:

Stacey’s Picks:

  • White: Grooner Gruner Veltliner (Austria) $13.30– 8/10 for taste and 3.5/5 for value.
  • Rosé: The Beach House Rosé (South Africa) $9.95- Overly sweet and a bit yeasty. Felt like a cheap bottle of flavoured wine, it was just missing the fake strawberry taste. Would not buy again, although would never have bought it, had it not been on the list.
  • Red: Santa Carolina Reserva Carmenere (Chile) $11.95- A dry red, spicy and peppery. Had a high alcohol content that took a long time to dissipate. Not the greatest because the alcohol really overwhelmed the flavour.

Trying these new bottles was a fun experiment, although it was not extremely useful in finding wines I would buy again. I think my wine taste is closer to Rod’s, I would buy both his red and white recommendation again, probably next summer. Stacey’s picks weren’t my favourite, all of them were a bit blah or cheap feeling, which is disappointing, because there are lots of $10 wines out there worth buying.

I think the verdict is, there are lots of wines on my $10 list that I would recommend ahead of these 6.

Thanks to Joe Shlabotnik for the photo.

Antonin Rodet Cotes-du-Rhone

Antonin Rodet Cotes-du-Rhone, $12.95. LCBO#8979.

This wine is the third we’ve tried from “All in a Day’s” 6 summer wines, and the first that I would buy again. It was exciting to turn to Kevin and say “I really like this one!” It started out well from the pour, a beautiful deep ruby colour, the kind that promises flavours just as rich.

There was some oak and cherry on the nose, with cherry on the palate. It is dry, yet balanced, and medium to full bodied. It is great for steak or burgers, but isn’t overwhelmingly big and fruity.

I definitely agree with this as a summer pick, as I sometimes find full bodied reds just too much in the heat. This bottle hits the right balance of body and fruit, without going overboard.

Overall, I give this wine 8.5/10 for taste and 4/5 for value.

Summer Wine Picks

I had the good fortune this afternoon of tuning in to “All in a Day” on CBC Radio One. I’m a big fan of the program, and the host, Alan Neal. Today, he had a wine panel on to discuss summer wines. Unfortunately, I came in half way through the program, so I can’t tell you much about the sommeliers that were on to share their opinions. However, after visiting the All in a Day website, I see that this is an ongoing feature, and that the recommended wines tend to be $13 or under, which definitely piqued my interest.

We have recently amassed almost $100 in gift cards to the LCBO (what can I say, our friends know exactly what to buy us), and have decided to put some of that to good use and try out these wines. Hopefully there will still be all 6 of these available at the LCBO after the region heard about these picks today!

Here is what the panel recommended:

The “All in a Day” Wine Panel’s Summer Picks

Rod’s Picks:

  • White: Cono Sur Viognier (Chile) $9.95
  • Rosé: MASI Modello Rosato (Italy) $10.95
  • Red: Antonin Rodet Cotes du Rhone (France) $12.95

Stacey’s Picks:

  • White: Grooner Gruner Veltliner (Austria) $13.30
  • Rosé: The Beach House Rosé (South Africa) $9.95
  • Red: Santa Carolina Reserva Carmenere (Chile) $11.95

The plan is to buy all 6 and report back over the course of the summer. I’m headed to the LCBO tomorrow in an attempt to beat other CBC Radio fans to the punch. Stay tuned for some summer wine reviews!

Holiday $10 Wine Tasting

The bottles, after the big reveal, in the order we tasted them.

Our $10 wine tasting was such a hit this spring, we decided to throw a repeat for the holidays. The details from the first party and the logistics can be found here. In a nutshell, a $10 wine party involves each guest bringing 2 bottles of $10 wine, one gets tasted and the duplicate bottle goes in as a prize for whoever brings the best bottle, as voted by the guests.

This time was as fun as the last, and the appetizers disappeared just as fast. The fan favourites continue to be home made sausage rolls and baked brie topped with fresh raspberies. I was quite proud of the spread, but am sad to report that I have no pictures of it. My camera man had too much fun socializing and neglected his duties! I suppose this means I will have to host another party and manage to document all the tasty treats.

This time we had seven bottles of wine to taste, and ended up with 2 whites and 5 reds. We covered the bottles in paper bags for a blind tasting and randomly tried them, starting with the whites and moving to the reds. I don’t know how much research there is on wine tasting bias, but the first 3 bottles we tasted got the top scores. Perhaps they were indeed the tastiest, or perhaps we got harsher as the night went on. I also liked the first three bottles the best, so I really can’t comment on tasting psychology!

There was a 2-way tie for first between the 2 white wines. It was great to see that both bottles were Ontario VQA. Third place went to a California red. The final 4 reds were very close in scores, so I won’t rank them. The tasting crowd was similar to the spring party, and it was easy to see that people like what they like. At the last party, off-dry whites and easy-drinking reds were a hit, and we saw a repeat of that this time.

Our winners were:

1. 2008 Eco Trail Chardonnay Auxerrois, VQA, $8.95. LCBO#591719. Pelee Island Winery, Ontario. Crisp, fresh, slightly sweet with apple and citrus flavours.

1. 2009 Strewn Gewurztraminer-Riesling, VQA, $10.95. LCBO#467662. Strewn Winery, Ontario. Off-dry with peach and floral flavours.

3. 2008 Barefoot Merlot, $9.95. LCBO#53991. E & J Gallo, California. Medium bodied with hints of toasty oak and vanilla. Very smooth and easy to drink.

The runners up:

  • 2008 Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, $9.95.
  • 2009 Mommessin Beaujolais, $9.85.
  • 2009 McGuigan Shiraz, $9.95.
  • 2009 Fuzion Shiraz Malbec, $7.75.

Our entry, the McGuigan Shiraz, was my second choice for a red in the blind taste. I still enjoy its spiciness and complexity, but I don’t think our guests enjoy a bold red very much. For our next party……perhaps I’ll have to bend to the will of the crowd and pick an off-dry white!