High Performance Reds

Issue #31 October, 2021

These days, our deciduous friends are blushing in vibrant shades of ruby, crimson and scarlet.  So, I thought it only appropriate that we celebrate this colourful month (let’s call it Redtober) by spending time here in the cellar with not one, not two but with four tasty high performance reds that can take you from 0 to the LCBO faster than you might have thought possible.

We’ve never dedicated our time exclusively to red wine and it’s not that we need an excuse, but the cooler temps are certainly a reasonable justification. 

At any rate, it’s time to step on it and meet this month’s bottles. So, as Admiral David Farragut of the U.S. Navy said back in the 1800’s, ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.’ 

Welcome back to the cellar.

We kicked off this issue with a rather beautiful red car, so we’ll kick off our tasting with a rather beautiful red Carmenère 2019. This grape now grows abundantly in Chile but is considered one of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux. It’s almost impossible to find in France today, due to the Phylloxera plague of 1867. 

(See issue 14, May 2020,  ‘When the French wine industry was brought to its knees by an aphid.’)

Morandé Gran Reserva Carmenère 2019
Maipo Valley, Chile
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  371112

Carmenère generally has a cherry-like, fruity flavor with smoky, spicy and earthy notes and a deep, crimson colour. And that certainly describes Morandé Gran Reserva Carmenère 2019.

The wine producers of Bordeaux must be envious (hopefully no sour grapes) of Chile; now home to this wonderful grape and the unique-tasting full-bodied wine it produces.  Morandé Gran Reserva will always have a home in this cellar.

The Clare Valley in South Australia produces many excellent reds. This area is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, best known for producing Riesling. But our next wine proves that The Clare can also turn a few heads with its Cabernet Sauvignon.

Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
South Australia, Australia
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#:  675223

Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Cab Sauv 2017 definitely belongs in the high-performance wine club. In the glass, it’s as dark as a witch’s cape. It has aromas of ripe raspberries and cassis. It’s rich, full of flavour and can disappear from your glass like a Ferrari on a straight-away. 

Now for our next red, I’ve dusted off a bottle from Portugal. I have to admit, the name of this one sounds like the fragrance of a scented candle. But as explained on the back of the bottle, the flavours and texture of this wine are a tribute to the Portuguese explorers who discovered the silk and spice routes in the 1500’s. 

Silk & Spice 2019 Red Blend
750 mL bottle LCBO#:  533307

Silk & Spice is a blend of four grapes; Syrah, Baga, Alicante Bouschet and Portugal’s finest grape, Touriga Nacional. Together, they pour a deep, garnet colour with aromas of blackberry, nutmeg, pepper and cedar. This wine is smooth and silky with tastes of smoky berries, vanilla and cinnamon. 

It’s on sale right now for a couple of bucks off, making it a pretty good find, some 500 years after Mr. Magellan and friends discovered the spice route that inspires its name.

Back in May we spent a little quality time with a lovely Pinot Noir from Oregon. I mentioned that Oregon is credited with producing some of the best Pinots outside of Burgundy, France. There’s a very good reason for this. It is located at 45degrees North latitude; exactly parallel with Burgundy. Those finicky grapes know what they like. And I like a good Pinot, so here’s one that granted, pushes the limits of ‘affordability’ but considering it’s our fourth red, wine not.

Cloudline Pinot Noir 2019
Oregon, USA
750 mL bottle VINTAGES #159970

Cloudline Pinot Noir 2019 comes from Domaine Drouhin in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley, southwest of Portland. If any family has Pinot Noir in its DNA, the Drouhin clan does. Joseph Drouhin began making wine in Burgundy in 1880.

In the glass, it’s a slightly transparent crimson and wafts cranberry, strawberry and cherry wood smoke. Now instead of the usual taste descriptors, this beauty needs no more than a single word; Wow! It is worth going over budget now and then. 

Cloudline Pinot Noir is the perfect example of a red that performs at the highest level with classic, timeless elegance.

That brings us to the end of another get together. I hope you have enjoyed helping me deplete the cellar of four tasty wines. 

I’d be mad at myself if we parted without mentioning two other high performance Reds who deserve to never be forgotten.

The wonderful, gentleman and comedian, Red Skelton. And of course, our very own Red Kelly, who earned eight Stanley Cup rings.

See you in November.

Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.


Thanks to everyone for signing up to my web page where you’ll see this each month as a blog. If you know anyone who is interested in following the newsletter, they just have to visit jimsafffordablecellar.ca to submit their email. They’ll be notified each month, as will you, when each new issue is published. And the newsletter is a little more reader friendly there.

Please let me know if you’d like to share some wine you love with the rest of us. roamingbuffalo44@gmail.com 

2 thoughts on “High Performance Reds

  1. Hey Jimmy: my first thought when I saw the red car was that you might be doing a James Bond theme for this month’s newsletter.

    As it turns out, you had other inspirations, so I wasn’t disappointed:) except by the fact that i checked my email AFTER running my errands on Queen st., which included a stop at the local LCBO. I did buy a red…..and was kind of perplexed trying to decide what to buy, so I decided on a country – Spain- and then picked a bottle by its label. “Monasterio de las Vinas”. I’ll let you know how my strategy worked out! The label certainly has the look of wine cellar authenticity.

    If not very well, I might splurge on a bottle of Cloudline.

    Reds to be remembered: Well, Anne of Green Gables of course!

    See you soon. Lizzie

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Hi Jim,

    Barb and I are excited to let you know that tonight we are diving into a bottle of Silk and Spice, reviewed by you in this issue! Really looking forward to it!




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