Wines for whatever November throws at us.

Issue #20 November 20, 2020  (how crazy is that?)

I think it’s fair to say, the month of November can have a bit of a nasty disposition. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t get the brilliant leaves of October. Perhaps its nose is a little out of joint because festive lights and joyful hearts are reserved for December. The fact is, November can be downright moody and dark.  And it can certainly give one the cold shoulder. For the most part, November can be just plain disagreeable. After all, the first two letters in its name are ‘No’.

That said the November we are currently living with has been uncharacteristically friendly this year. But don’t be fooled friends. I just don’t trust it. This is a month that can turn on you faster than a competitor on Survivor

So let’s fortify our defenses and brace ourselves for the days ahead by getting to know three powerful wines that can go toe to toe with whatever November (the wolf currently in sheep’s clothing), eventually throws at us.

Welcome back to the cellar.

Let’s start with a muscular red that hails from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. This beauty pays tribute to the legendary Peter Lehmann; one of Australia’s most respected and innovative winemakers. 

Sadly, in 2013 he left the vineyard shall we say, but he left a great legacy of superb winemaking and some wonderful wines to remember him with.

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2018
750 mL  bottle  VINTAGES#:  522235
South Australia, Australia

The Barossan Shiraz 2018 is as deep and dark as November’s sky at 5pm, thanks to Daylight Saving Time. It’s a brooding heavyweight with aromatic layers of currants and black berries. And when it hits your taste buds you discover its robust, rich and smooth character with flavours of ripe cherries and dark chocolate.

A very good friend recently brought me this bottle and I just couldn’t wait to talk about it here. Thanks Steph. And thank you Mr. Lehmann. Forever you will be, The Barossan.

If there’s anyone you’d like to have your back, when November remembers it’s November, it would be the guy on the label of our next red.  

The story goes, back in the 1600’s he was known as a friendly sort of fellow, but based on the portrait, he doesn’t seem all that jovial. Maybe he was having a bad hair day. 

El Gorú
Monastrell/Syrah/Petit Verdot
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  44394
$13.95 (Always Available)

El Goru is made from a blend of three grapes, with most of the heavy lifting being done by Monastrell (also known as Mourvedre). This Spanish grape tends to produce strong tannic wines. In fact, it’s mouth-drying tannins earned it the French nickname Etrangle-Chien (the dog strangler). No wonder so many wine-lovers have wrapped their hands around the neck of this bottle.
El Goru is an intense wine. Considering his glare, that’s probably stating the obvious. But it’s a hearty taste treat of ripe dark fruit, black pepper, vanilla and mocha. Enough to make anyone happy. Even Goru himself.

Sadly, I’m finding that apart from a rather worn Visa card, my reading glasses are required equipment when I venture out to my local wine merchant, (aka, the LCBO). Happily, our white this month is easily recognized on the shelf by its striking green label with a pair of glasses on it.

J. Bookwalter Readers Chardonnay 2018
750 mL bottle  |   VINTAGES#:  634162
Washington, U.S.A.

J. Bookwalter Readers Chardonnay comes from Washington State’s Columbia Valley.
Reading the label tells you it’s a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Viognier. The Viognier gives it aromas and flavours of peaches and pears with a nice crispness.
It scores high on my refreshing metre too because that classic Chardonnay roundness comes with a welcome edge.

I guess you don’t have to read between the lines to tell that I quite like it.
Jerry Bookwalter started the winery in 1976. And it has grown from one of Washington’s oldest wineries to become one of Pacific Northwest’s most recognized boutique wine brands.
Try it. Readers or not, you’ll see what I mean.

Well, it’s time to get out of the cellar and see if November is showing any signs of living up (or down) to its reputation.
I hate to bring this gathering to an end. But soon December will be upon us and while perhaps it won’t be like any other December we’ve ever known, we will be able to get together once again back in the cellar.

Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer,
in a warm, don’t you dare enter my six-foot bubble kind of way, of course.


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