Hearty Wines meet The Hardy Boys.

Issue #44, November 2022

Ahh, November. It’s a month to take refuge in the corner of a sofa with a glass of sump’m special and get lost in a book. As I mentioned last time we sat around the old oak tasting table, a hearty wine in one hand would do the trick and perhaps a hearty book in the other. You’re probably thinking, what the heck is a ‘hearty’ book Jim? Truth is, I don’t really know. So how about a classic Hardy Boys book? 

The Hardy Boys was a widely-read mystery series (66 books) first published in 1927 featuring the amateur sleuths Frank and Joe Hardy. The books were written under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon, but several ghostwriters actually wrote the stories.

One of those most notably was a Canadian; Charles Leslie McFarlane, from Carlton Place near Ottawa, who wrote 19 of the first 25 stories. 

He was born in October of 1902 and died 45 Septembers ago in Oshawa. 

So, in honour of Leslie McFarlane (father of one-time hockey commentator Brian McFarlane, btw) let’s meet three hearty wines for November presented with a tip of the wine glass to the Hardy Boys.

Welcome back to The Cellar!

If our first wine was in a Hardy Boys book the story might be called,


Red wine bottle of Catedral Reserva Dao

Catedral Reserva Dão
Dão, Portugal, 
750 ml LCBO #21981 

The Secret of the Dão is the story of one, Catedral Reserva. It comes to us from the mountainous Dão (rhymes with ‘now’) region of Portugal; one of the oldest and most established wine-producing regions in the country. The Dão is the home of the Touriga Nacional grape; the principal ingredient that makes port, which for me, puts Catedral Reserva in the ‘hearty’ category.

Frank and Joe Hardy were a tad young for wine but their famous private investigator father, Fenton Hardy would for sure have uncovered this beauty. 

It’s a deep ruby colour with aromas of smoke, licorice, prunes and spice. To taste it is an adventure in lush, round fruit flavours with enough tannin to give it just the right amount of heft.

I think the secret is, how do they make such a nice wine for such an affordable price? For now, that will have to remain a secret.

Our next wine presented with a Hardy Boys twist is,


Red iine bottle of Shanahans The Old Dog Shiraz 2019

Shanahans The Old Dog Shiraz 2019
South Australia
750 ml VINTAGES # 13030

The story goes that Shanahan’s The Old Dog is a tribute to the grandfather of winemaker John Harris. According to Mr. Harris, James (Jim) Shanahan was a hardworking, kind-hearted, wise and wonderful man. Atta boy Jim. 

Apparently, he was also a man of words. 

He used to say, “It’s the old dog for the hard road and the puppy dog for the footpath.” I think the mystery is, what does that mean exactly?

However, there’s no mystery to the wine. One taste and you immediately understand it as a classic full-bodied Shiraz. It’s loaded with ripe, dark fruit, and savoury spice flavours. But its leading characteristic is how smooth it is.

If butter could be wine, this would definitely be the wine. No matter what, The Old Dog is worthy of being any wine lover’s best friend.

Okay. It’s time to pull our next hearty wine, à la Hardy Boys, off the shelf.


White wine bottle of Mallory & Benjamin Talmard Mâcon-Uchizy 2021

Mallory & Benjamin Talmard Mâcon-Uchizy 2021
Burgundy, France
750 ml VINTAGES# 733956

The name Talmard has been listed in French wine-growing records dating as far back as the 17th century. So, no wonder this is a classically-styled Chardonnay. Simply put, the wine-makers of Burgundy wrote the book on Chardonnay. Not to mention, Pinot Noir but that’s another story.

The grapes for Mâcon-Uchizy 2021 were harvested from the southern part of Burgundy. It almost seems that as a thank you for letting them live in this beautiful part of the world, those grapes have given us a wine that is full-bodied with ripe, soft flavours, of citrus and spice.

It would be excellent with oven-baked trout or a hearty, roasted chicken. 

Now here’s why this story is called, The Phantom Bottle. The bottle is out there, but it’s hard to find. You’ll just have to channel your inner Hardy Boys and do a little investigating on lcbo.com using the vintages number shown below the bottle.

Wow, this sleuthing business is grueling! According to Brian McFarlane, his father regarded writing the Hardy Boys books as a nuisance.

“My father talked about having to write another of those cursed books, in order to earn another $100 to buy coal for the furnace. And he never read them over afterward.” 

I hope at least that one day he came to understand the escape and thrilling, sense of adventure he gave to generations of young readers. Thank you, Franklin W. Dixon.

As for us wine sleuths, we’ve worked hard this get-together. Good thing we’ve had the sustenance of three tasty wines to remember for a blustery November. 

Thanks to my son Cam for reminding me about Frank and Joe Hardy. And thanks again to my pal Brian Hickling for always making The Cellar look so inviting. 

See you in a month for our festive issue. 

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


Our readership is continuing to grow! Thanks to all the new sign-ups to my web page where this newsletter is published each month as a blog. If you know anyone who is interested in accessing it, they just have to visit jimsaffordablecellar.ca to submit their email. They’ll be notified each month when each new issue is published. Please let me know if you’d like to share some wine you love with the rest of us. roamingbuffalo44@gmail.com 

6 thoughts on “Hearty Wines meet The Hardy Boys.

  1. Hi Jim,
    How are you and Loretta doing ? Jane tells me they will be having a short visit with you guys this week. Enjoy !
    Here’s a wine you might what to try some time . It was recommended to me by the sommelier at the LCBO in Hawkesbury. Very good , inexpensive and I think you might enjoy it also.
    As I’m sure your aware ……lots of good wines come out of Portugal.
    Hope we get a chance to see you guys sometime soon.


    Sent from my iPad


  2. Hello! Mike hear from Kingston, you forgot the number 6 on the end of the LCBO look up number for the Mallory & Benjamin Talmard Macon-Uchizy Chardonnay. The number should be ; 733956. thank you I love the old cellar! Mike


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