Issue # 3 June, 2019
You’ve likely heard the great old tune made famous by Judy Garland that begins with the words, ‘I like New York in June, how about you?’ Well, for this month’s edition of Jim’s Affordable Cellar, I like Italy, France and Bulgaria in June.
Welcome back to my cellar for your monthly introduction to three wines I like for the aromas and flavours they have but also for what they don’t have. A big price.
However, this month I can’t resist breaking my own ‘Under $20 Rule’ to tell you about a fourth bottle; a pricey old favourite of mine currently available in Vintages at the LCBO. Or as we like to say, the LikBo. So, on to the wine.
Let’s start with the red for this month. It hails from Italy’s south and features the grape variety Aglianico. This is the third power-grape of Italy. Certainly as worthy as it’s more heralded brothers, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Aglianico is often referred to as Italy’s Barolo of the south. Okay, enough set up. Let’s talk about Nativ Rue Dell’Inchiostro Aglianico.
Firstly, there are soft aromas of leather, like a worn saddle in a spaghetti western with distinctive black currants and prunes. Then, there’s a flavourful and smooth taste of ripe cherries and currants.
NATIV RUE DELL’INCHIOSTRO AGLIANICO 2017
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES# 631606
It’s mighty and velvety, mouth-watering and darned good with a long good-bye that leaves you wishing it wasn’t gone. This was released a couple of weeks ago at the LCBO, so it will be gone fairly soon. As a retired ad writer, I hate to say this, but hurry, act now!
Now for this month’s bottle of white. The Rhone Valley in France is one of the world’s wine utopias. Of course, the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape calls the Rhone home. But this valley is also home to the Perrin family. And they happen to produce some high quality, modestly-priced wine. Here’s a good example: Famille Perrin Reserve Cote Du Rhone Blanc 2017 (could the name be any longer?)
If you could pour sunlight, it would be like pouring a glass of this Cote Du Rhone. Light and fresh. It has aromas that are soft and floral, with peaches and melon.
The taste is slightly citric and crisp, but refreshing and understated. Just a nice, simple white wine for any old time you want a nice, simple glass of white wine.
FAMILLE PERRIN RÉSERVE CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2017
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES# 948059
As is our monthly custom, now we go to a place that perhaps some of us wouldn’t normally find ourselves when we’re looking for wine. Over here in the cellar, this is my ‘Under the Radar’ section. This month we have a Cabernet Sauvignon from Bulgaria. Here, they’ve been making wine for a heck of a long time.
Bulgariana 2015 is a deep cherry colour in the glass. Rich wafts of tobacco, ripe cherries and raspberry fill the air. It tastes a little smoky and spicy and tannic. You can feel it on your teeth.
This is a robust, old world wine. I would say unrefined but unmistakably tasty. It takes you to a farm house in the Thracian Lowlands of southern Bulgaria, sitting around a worn kitchen table with a topped-up short glass in front of you.
BULGARIANA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015
Thracian Lowlands, Bulgaria
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES# 419390
As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t resist mentioning an additional wine this month. It’s a real beauty; only appearing on the shelves of Vintages a couple times a year.
St. Francis is what I would call a classic California Cab. Rich, smooth and jammy. And if you might feel guilty about spending a little more on a bottle, this one is certainly worth the guilt trip.
ST. FRANCIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
Sonoma, California, USA
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES# 671164
That’s it for the June edition of wine picks from Jim’s Affordable Cellar. I hope you have a chance to try some of these suggestions. And I look forward to having you back to the cellar in July.
Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.