Archive | August, 2016

Weekly Wine – Astica White

31 Aug


Trapiche Astica Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon
13% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

I had this wine three years ago. It was the 16th wine that I reviewed for the blog.
Now it will also be the 177th wine. My how time flies.
The review is there –
And a few things have changed since then.
One is the label. It is a bit more modern looking – a bit more hip.
The second – and this is important. It is a much better wine. The harsh tones are gone – it is so much smoother. I opened this with some friends and they were surprised that it was under ten bucks.
It is a perfect wine for relaxing in the back yard. Perfect summer barbecue wine.
The previous wine was a 2012 vintage – this is a 2015. Perhaps the vintage has made it better. Perhaps the winery smoothed out the process.
It is a great wine.
One thing that did not change with this wine is the price. Take that inflation … this wine is under eight bucks.

Photo Trauma

30 Aug

I have been in a state of catatonic trauma for the past week-and-a-half.
During a soiree at our house my camera bag fell off a chair– that`s not so bad.
Except that my prized Nikon was in it.
I thought nothing of it until a I went to fetch the camera to take a picture and was greeted with a lens that was in pieces.


I closed the camera bag and have not been able to look at it until today.
Bloody hell – this was a good camera and an excellent lens.
I will attempt to have it fixed – but can a digital lens be really fixed.
More trauma…

Louvre with moon

28 Aug


The title says it all – what more is there to add.

Weekly Vinyl – Voulez-Vous

26 Aug

I used to dislike Abba.
But then I started to really listen to them.
I realised that their song writing was brilliant. The compositions were so tightly crafted and precise. The actual words were nothing revelatory – but it was good pop.
I think this is my only Abba record and this is actually why I dislike the band.
It is all coming back.
Yes it is poppy.
It is full of hooks and hummable melodies.
The words are fluff.
It is way to over produced. It is too clean … It is like getting a pair of jeans dry cleaned and having them starched and all crisp.
Besides the title track, which was a hit, there are a few others but none of the real stand out ones that everybody remembers. They are all rather formulaic and lifeless.
Abba is a kind of band that I would really prefer the Greatest Hits package.

Weekly Wine – Dunvar

24 Aug

DunVpgDunvar Pinot Grigio
12% ABV
$9.55 (LCBO)

I keep on saying that it is hard to make a bad Pinot Grigio wine.
My first sip of this wine has me rethinking that statement.
I’m concerned because now I have to really think about this bottle. More so than other times.
The wine is crisp but it is not very light. I would not describe it as heavy butthere does seem to be a lot of fruity flavours working here and it does not come off as a crisp light wine. The flavour is fruity – apples lemons, lime. But somehow it does not work.
After the third and fourth sip a harsh after taste becomes more pronounced. These be sulphites that are emerging from behind the fruit.
Is this a bad Pinot Grigio – no. Not really. I’ve had much worse wines, and much better ones too. There are much better wines and Pinot Grigios at this price point, and even cheaper. If you are looking for a medium bodied, fruity and little sour wine – here you go. I wouldn’t bother.


21 Aug


There have been several years in a row that have been called the hottest years on record.
This one will probably be the next one.
The Hoover dam is going to be empty/ You can see what the high water mark used to be in theis shot.

Weekly Vinyl – Neil Diamond

19 Aug

Hot August Night
Neil Diamond
No joke, I put this album on, 1st record, 1st side, and I thought it was a classical album that somehow got mixed up. The prologue is very deceptive for the first minute.

With patience, and a bit of time, the white funk comes out.
It is ironic in a way that I’m listening to this album. The album is called Hot August Night. I’m listening to this on a hot August night. You are reading this, perhaps, on a hot August night.
The night that this live album was recorded was August 24, 1972. I’m assuming the temperature was hot, Los Angeles in August, a fair assumption.
Yet the music does not get me “hot”. It is forgettable. Yes, there is “Sweet Caroline” and some of the hits that one might have heard before. The weird thing about this album is the fact that it is live and is so devoid of energy. Most live albums have this performance energy that cannot be replicated in a studio. On this recording, the performances are flat and uninspired. I do not hear the excitement.
The one thing you will learn from this album is that Neil Diamond wrote “Red, Red, Wine.” UB40 made this a hit. I love that song. This is an example of the cover being so much better than the original. It is fitting that this song is followed by a song called “Soggy Pretzels.”
Listening to this album is like eating soggy pretzels.

Weekly Wine – Astica Rose

17 Aug

AsticaRoseAstica Malbec Rose
13% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

I like the Malbec grape.
Malbec wines are, as experienced in my limited and narrow perspective, red.
This is rose wine.
Is this just watered down Malbec wine?
At this price, it is well worth a try.
It is a sharp wine. Crisp and taut. One can taste the fruity flavours – mostly berries and a bit of citrus as a rather pleasant aftertaste. It gets more pronounced, but not worse, as the wine warms up after taking it out of the cooler/fridge/freezer/whatever.
It is a nice summer wine – a little bit too heavy on the alcohol for my liking as one could probably down a whole well-chilled bottle lickety-split on a hot humid day and the 13% alcohol will do you a bit.
This is not just watered down red wine but a fairly nice rose. Not as elegant and refined as some of the competitors and several times the price, but a good one to have for the BBQ or the beach.

Questions about rain

15 Aug

After a long dry spell it finally rained.
This is wonderful for the grass. For the tomatoes in the garden. For the weeds that I have to pull out.
But the cliché of freshness after the rain eludes me.
It is hot.
And sticky.
Rather miserable as everything is damp and humid.
When will the rain come to rid us of the humidity?

Sunset beach

14 Aug


There is a peaceful calm when people vacate the beach in the evening.
The noise of the people is replaced by the sound from waves, wind, and seagulls and other bird eating what humans have discarded.
This shot was taken at a resort in Cuba.