Archive | June, 2013

Weekly Wine – Lindeman’s Cawarra

12 Jun

SONY DSCLindeman’s Cawarra Shiraz Cabernet
13.5% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO)

This is the first Australian wine on the list. Hurray. Aussie wine used to be cheap, and good. But they have moved up in price in recent years. The quality has been excellent.
This wine caused me a great deal of confusion. I open it up, pour it, taste it and go to the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) Web Site to check the proper name and the price. Well… There are two products with the same name. One is $8.95 the other $18.95. The difference is that the less expensive one is 13% alcohol while the one ten bucks more is 13.5% alcohol. The bottle says 13.5% — The horror. I’m drinking 20-buck wine! That’s not plonk territory.
I scurry to find the bill and see that I paid $8.95 (including $0.20 deposit) for this bottle. Peace has returned to my soul. It must be some error on the LCBO site.
I concentrate on the wine. It is good. In fact, very good. Not as heavy as most Shiraz, but nice and spicy with no lingering aftertaste. I’m actually surprised that it can be bought at this price. I have been bypassing the Australian section of late. It is time to return to this land south of the equator and rediscover the wines.

Summer TV

11 Jun

I was reading the news on the Internet, like I usually do, when a brash headline struck me.

“20 TV Shows Not To Miss This Summer”

Really. Somehow I don’t equate summer and TV watching. It is not that I don’t watch TV in the summer. I do. I just don’t organize my daily/weekly schedule around the TV schedule in the summer. I don’t do this in the fall, winter or spring either.
I was attempting to counter this headline with a short blurb titled — “20 reasons not to watch TV this summer.” But I was struggling.
I could only come up with one.

It’s summer. Go outside.

Glorious Sprawl

9 Jun

The plane had taken off from the Toronto airport. These are the outskirts of the city. Like all other cities. The suburban sprawl. It looks horrible when you are driving through it. Or in it. But from above, the patterns of settlement are enticing. BUT. As David Byrne sang … “I wouldn’t live there if you paid me.”

Weekly Vinyl – Cheese Wheel

7 Jun

Räässe Chääs ond schapfe Back
Retonio & Toni
I call this album Cheese Wheel because that’s what’s on the cover. This album is totally incomprehensible to me as it is a comedy album. The comedy is provided by a guy who looks like Sammy Maudlin, Joe Flaherty’s TV host character in SCTV, and his wooden dummy. The recording is of a live show so there is laughter at the jokes. I guess the comedy is good, for that audience.
Interspersed between the laughs is very good folk music played by old Swiss men who are wearing earings. They singing and yodeling is a nice respite from the unfathomable comedy. Judging by the what the musicians are dressed up in, that there is an inner picture of them peering from the windows of the Hotel Santis in Appenzell, the fact that it was produced in Appenzell, leads me to conclude that this is an Appenzell group. I like the Appenzell area of Switzerland. My favourite cheese comes from there. It is a bit of a lesser well-known area of Switzerland with distinct traditions.
I’ve never been a fan of ventriloquist acts. I find it strange when a comedian comes on stage and pulls out his wooden dummy. But I don’t understand what they are saying here so id bothers me less. I like the music when the band is playing.

Weekly Wine – Garnacha

5 Jun

SONY DSCBeso De Vino Old Garnacha
13% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)
A corked wine is a rarity these days. Well at this price point anyways. So if you want to impress with a reasonably priced wine — here’s one. And it’s Spanish. Not the “new world” stuff. To underscore that it is old world it has what I assume to be a conquistador on the label. It might be a crusader. It might be Sir Lancelot – but probably isn’t.
This wine impresses not just with the cork, providence or label. It is a good wine. It got 89 points with The Wine Advocate. “Stunning value,” says Jay Miner. This is all on a label on the throat. I’m not sure who Jay is but I know that The Wine Advocate is a magazine.
I’m assuming 89 is a good rating. Would I give it 11 points shy of perfection? (I’m assuming the scale is based on a score out of 100. I could check but it is late and I’m drinking wine and writing. I’m not going to interrupt my flow by searching for facts.)
You get a hint of the sulphites. The wine comes in strong but mellows out nicely on the second and third taste. It is a nice wine. I am not used to hyperbole so I would not go so far as to call this wine stunning or judge it just shy of perfection. This wine is good. A very suitable bottle to take to any event — or to drink late at night, alone, while writing.

Hockey Night in Sudsville

3 Jun

So I walk into a bar to meet a friend and have a nice chat about this and that. The bar is convenient because it is about equidistant from both our houses. He lives due north and I am due west. We come here for the convenience not the atmosphere. The place used to be a McDonalds and now is a sports bar. The beer selection is insulting for one that likes fermented hopped barley juice — but they do have one beer on tap that is drinkable. Just barely.
The night we chose to come in happened to be a night when a hockey game was on TV – The NHL playoffs. Each TV was showing the same game. The TV sound was loud. The sound level was comparable to going to see a rock band in a small club. The bar was full.
As I tried to have a conversation over a beer with my fried, my one though was … don’t these people have TVs at home?

For survivors

2 Jun

I saw this sign in Chicago about a year and a half ago while walking around the downtown. I liked the honesty and the sloppy way it was mounted to the inside of the window. I erased the phone number.