Archive | April, 2015

Weekly Wine – La Casona Monastrell

29 Apr


Bodegas Castano La Casona Monastrell
13.5% ABV
$9.80 (LCBO) 

The first sip of this wine did not do it for me. It was sour and a bit thin. Not that I wanted more sourness, it just caused a disturbing sensation in my mouth.
The sourness is not from the sulphites in the wine – those tend to stand out and be rather distinct. On the second and third taste the sourness dissipates but the wine does not really blossom. There is a flavour – hints of cherry and some other fruit. But it is not a complex flavour. It is just there. You won’t get too much complexity under ten bucks.
The sourness is always there – but by the third sip it had mellowed. I guess my taste buds had become accustomed to this. Or, I had stopped worrying about it.
This is a wine that really shows its price. It is drinkable, but just. Good to take on a picnic where one wants something cheap and drinkable, but does not want to get the urge to drink too much.

April 26

26 Apr


This idyllic image was not taken on April 26th. It was taken in Ukraine some times in July 2014 – around the time the Russian backed forces shot down the Malaysian plane. I was going to title this image kids and ducks but since I’m posting this on April 26, I’m titling this after the date because in 1986, about 90 kilometers away, the reactor at the Chornobil nuclear facility blew up.

Weekly Vinyl – Sound of Music

24 Apr

Sound of Music
Original cast


It is kind of weird doing a review of an album that most everybody knows. It is also weird doing a second soundtrack right after I did Man of LaMancha a few weeks ago. Random selections from the wall of records are funny that way.
But that was a play and this is a movie.
This album has all the favourites. Even the ones you don’t care about but still know by heart.
It sounds just like the movie so you can close your eyes and see the movie in your head while this album plays. I have never been able to do that with any other piece of music – I can’t see the rock videos of songs that I hear.
This Sound of Music is powerful stuff – my son recoiled in horror when I put the record on.
I mercifully spared him the pleasure/pain of listening to this very notable piece of work.

Weekly Wine – J.J. McWilliams

22 Apr


J.J. McWilliam Pinot Grigio
11.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This is a very interesting Pinot Grigio. It is rather more full bodied than most Pinot Grigios that I’ve had. It could be described as full bodied and fruity indeed.
It is smooth and nice, particularly when chilled. When it gets to room temperature, it loses a bit of life and becomes very pedestrian and plain. It is not bad at this stage but you would not really enjoy it too much. You would probably put an ice cube in the wine – a profanation for some.
For me it does not match a standard Pinot Grigio too much. Is it because it is Australian? The full body and the very fruity taste are a bit of a distraction but quite pleasant when the wine is well chilled.
I like the label that gives the wine some class – so I guess this would be a good wine to bring over to a dinner party or some such other occasion.

Something Interesting

19 Apr


This shop in Lviv, Ukraine has a great sign with multiple languages and a hole where the “O” should be. The shop is called Something Interesting.

Weekly Vinyl – Magnetic Fields

17 Apr

Magnetic Fields
Jean Michel Jarre
Spacy and ethereal is  short way to describe this album. Jarre is an interesting musician in that his music bridges the gap between experimental and pop music fairly well. Whereas music by people like Klause Shulze never achieved mainstream success, Jarre took that concept and made it pop friendly and more acceptable.
There are interesting tunes here. Some are danceable. Some are nice and quirky. One, the final song on the second side, “Magnetic Fields, Part 5” sounds a bit like something you would have heard in the restaurant, ballroom of a Holiday Inn hotel just off Exit 187 back in the 1970s. It is an interesting composition – but a little cheesy.
I like this album a lot, and I like Jarre’s work. Anybody with an album collection should have at least one of his compositions.

Weekly Wine – Lindeman’s Cawarra (again)

15 Apr

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

So I’ve had a few bottles in the past year or so and I’m getting a little absent minded when it comes to what I’ve tasted and what I have not.
Here is the first one that is a repeat. It is not a complete repeat as this “vintage” is 2014 and the one I sampled previously was from 2012.
I’d like to say it is a completely different wine but that would not be true. It is near impossible to compare the two wines as much time has past and the tasting notes have been taken by the wind. The label is different. Much different.
What has remained is that this wine is excellent. A great wine hanging around as an imposter in the world of sub ten dollar wines. To truly get a much better wine you would have to pay about three times the price. And this is not an economic argument. This wine is a pleasure to consume on its own merits.




Le Centaure (César)

12 Apr


I took this image in Paris. I liked the look of the statue but I had no idea what it was of or where in Paris it was located. Looking at the stores in the background I finally found it on Google Earth. The statue is of a Centaur by the sculptor Ceasar Baldaccini. It is on the corner of Rue de Sevres and rue Cherche-Midi.

Man of La Manca

10 Apr

Man of La Mancha
Original Cast Recording – Richard Kiley
To dream the impossible dream. This was the original cast singing the musica version of Miguel de Cerevantes classic Don Quixote. As a kid, this album was on the turntable quite often. I also remember seeing commercials of the cast when they showed up in Toronto.
As this album was imprinted on me as a toddler, I was quite taken by it. I even played in the orchestra when our high school did this as a musical.
So what do I think about it some 30 years after?
Not much. It did not move me. Nor did it stir up any subconscious nostalgic memories. I listened to it several times … and yet.
It’s a musical. It is OK, for what it is.

Weekly Wine – Sutter Home

8 Apr

SONY DSCSutter Home White Zinfandel
9.5% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This wine is sweet. It is listed as Medium Sweet on the LCBO website and I will take them at their word because they measure the sugar content of all wines they sell. The flavour is pretty sweet. So-much-so, you will be reaching for something acidic and/or salty to sooth your palate. All I had lying around was a bag of potato chips that were of a dill pickle flavour. I would have rather had the dill pickles.
But alas – you use what you have … and lo and behold, the dill pickle potato chips complement this wine very well. Sutter Home should mention it in their marketing material. Or perhaps Lay’s should in theirs.
The colour is typical for White Zinfandel rose – a nice, quite pleasant pink. The flavour is obscured by the sweetness. A hint of citrus does poke out but that only came after the potato chips.
There are better White Zinfandel wines on the market at this price point but if you like it more on the sweet wine this wine will suit you well.