VALDEPEÑAS ANCIANO GRAN RESERVA TEMPRANILLO (2005)—Because someone needs to mellow out

My Fellow Inebriates,

On Friday my mum told me to go away and make myself “useful.” When I offered to drink the bottle of ANCIANO GRAN RESERVA TEMPRANILLO on the counter and come back with useful tasting notes, she looked at her watch (9:00 am) and said, “No, I meant you could help Dad wash the car. He could probably use something small and absorbent.”

This seemed abusive, so I determined that I would drink that bottle at the first opportunity. I’d show her “absorbent”! Watch me absorb a bottle of wine!

058

They were sneaky, though, and poured it into a bearproof decanter. Tempranillo is a varietal that benefits hugely from decanting, often changing character entirely from one hour to the next if it’s allowed to aerate sufficiently.

By law, a Spanish wine can be called “Gran Reserva” only after being barrel-aged at least five years. This particular bottle has seven years under its belt, and we’ve previously tried another by the same vintner that boasted ten years’ ageing. The ten-year wine was delicious, striking very typical Tempranillo chords: leather, vanilla, tannins, plus raisins, plums, and vegetal notes. I didn’t expect the seven-year wine to stack up, especially at $3 cheaper. How did it fare?

Well, once I got my furry face into a glass of seven-year ANCIANO, it delivered a surprisingly easy-drinking experience. Lush and full on the palate, inky in the glass, ANCIANO served up a diversity of flavors, headlined by ripe raspberries/currants with some vanilla and cedar for back-up. It was smooth and mellow—not challenging the way a Tempranillo often is—the sort of bottle you could open with your breakfast omelet, then sip all day (okay, you’d need several bottles). I loved it, people, and I’d buy it again. It’s a mellow sipper, and goodness knows we could stand to mellow out at LBHQ. Especially my mother.

 

STARK RAVING RED—Warranted for four reasons

In the bathtub this morning: the most massive silverfish ever witnessed at LBHQ.

Only slightly larger than this morning's silverfish. More cuddly? Only Stephen Harper knows.

A well-known screenwriting technique for making a character more likable is “SAVE THE CAT.” Early in the story, the character rescues something—maybe a cat. Maybe Stephen Harper rescued this cat from a tailings pond. Maybe?

I wanted to put it in a cat carrier and send it to Stephen Harper as a pet, but instead my mother took a shower with it. So immense and robust was the silverfish, she reported, that it would not be nudged by mere water down the drain. Instead it filibustered by the hole until she aimed the showerhead right at it.

Now, ordinarily I would prefer not to have a play-by-play of any of my mother’s nude activities. But I like to monitor our silverfish situation—for a while, you may recall, I thought Fluffy Bear was summoning the creatures from some nearby Hell Mouth. He seemed to be marshalling them for some sort of arthropodic assault, an insect-amplified grief cry for our deceased Granny, whose bear he was before he came to live with us.

But then my dad sprinkled some white powder (instructing me not to even think about snorting it) around the baseboards, and the silverfish disappeared. For the most part. Those that survived his poisoning emerged larger, stronger, and more apt to wrestle you in the shower.

I think you’ll agree, my fellow inebriates, that the foregoing ramble warrants wine on at least four counts:

  • Encountering a silverfish the size of a cat is traumatic.
  • The mere notion of my mother in the shower is doubly so.
  • Should Fluffy choose to summon armies of silverfish again, they will be formidable.
  • Stephen Harper is still the prime minister of Canada.

stark raving red with LBKnowing that Stephen Harper probably wouldn’t think to reward us with, say, a bottle from the cellar at 24 Sussex Drive, I don’t feel so bad about failing to wrangle him a creepy new pet. Nor do I feel bad about busting the screwtop off a bottle of STARK RAVING RED. A big, jammy blend of Tannat, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet, and Petit Syrah, STARK RAVING RED is gonzo with plums and cherries, filling the mouth with sweet, somewhat cloyingly boozy fruit. It’s not disciplined in the least, MFI, it’s in-your-face, as bold as a silverfish on steroids, but without scales or antennae. I liked it even though there wasn’t a chance of taming it, decanter or not.

Would I send a bottle to Stephen Harper? Not on your life. He probably drinks $100 wine every night. Nope…if I ever send him anything, it’ll be a cat-sized silverfish, and he can stroke it.

stephen harper with silverfish copy

OMG, our neighbours are so cool

I had no idea where I was the other morning. First I thought I’d been left at the neighbours’. It took me half the day to realize I’d been jammed into a coat pocket and that it wasn’t actually night-time. That’s what comes of a six-hour wine-and–Trivial Pursuit bender.

We drank, among many, many things, a lovely bottle of FINCA LOS PRIMOS MALBEC (2012).

finca los primos malbec

I’ve mentioned this gem before; in the past it was a go-to cheap Malbec for us, but we forgot about it for a while. Then the neighbours invited us over and we found ourselves trawling the liquor store for cheap booze. That day it was $12.98 at our local store; now they have it on sale for a buck off.

OMG, my fellow inebriates, you would totally love FINCA LOS PRIMOS. If you’ve already followed my recommendation about their cheap TORRONTES, you know these guys know how to make a brain-blasting (14%) wine that not only tastes good—it can hang with much more expensive wines and come out ahead. Fruit-forward but not exceedingly so, the Malbec features gorgeous aromas of blackberry and ripe cherries, opaque in the glass with non-stop legs. On the palate it’s enveloping and lush and almost getting out of line—wish we could say that about ourselves the other night. Four a.m. it was when it dawned on my dad to look at his watch, and then it was too late. Thank goodness the kids were at a sleepover and we live next door, otherwise we wouldn’t have made it. And hey—I almost didn’t make it. I was like Schrodinger’s cat for a while…in or out of the coat pocket, nobody knew. Or do I mean dead? Well, at least one of my two neurons was dead. It’s probably still dead. Hey, I’m blogging to you with one neuron!

I love our neighbours.