Summer Porch Wines 2014
I 'm not sure i like the way the words "quaff' or "quaffable" sound.
They remind me of a lame haircut or a sick duck.
But i'll use them today for the sake of getting my point across.
Also, they are easier than saying "very Summer-porch-wine-like"
Cambridge defines quaffable as easy and pleasant to drink a lot of.
And that, my friends, is what our July and August feature is all about.
We want your summer to be easygoing and full of pleasantries.
And we wouldn't be doing our job if we also didn't encourage you to drink a lot.
Not over drinking, just... a lot...in a pleasant way.
So, a summer porch wine or quaffable wine is lighter and fresher than most but it doesn't have to be low quality or simple.
In our industry, a wine is sometimes referred to as a quaffer. This is usually said quickly with a wave of the hand and a slight derogatory tone in the voice.
What this really means is that the critic secretly likes it. yup.
And at the same time, they are dismissing this wine, they are picturing themselves somewhere in pleasant surroundings, gleefully slugging copious amounts of it.
Around them are close acquaintances chatting about this and that, chuckling sporadically and helping with the quaffing.
Here at Divino we believe quaffibility is directly related to addictiveness.
i have just used a word that is rooted in a very dark place in the world of alcohol.
But i don't mean addictive in the sense that it will break up your family or land you in prison.
Think of a fluffier, kinder addiction...
more like kids and their candy, teens and their video games, adults and their Game of Thrones, me and my cereal.*
A good quaffable wine is one of those addictive wines.
You know who you are,
and you know the wines.
You can't quite place your finger on why exactly you like it, but it continues to beckon you every time you enter the wine store.
It’s one of those wines in which you pour yourself a glass and then continue doing whatever it is you do.
In no time, you are reaching for an empty bottle.
It always magically disappears.
It’s not that you’re not enjoying it, its just that you are not savoring every sip and moaning to yourself after each swallow.
We'll call it "fermented subconscious enjoyment"
Now the Divino wine of the month for our Summer Porch wine series has to be the king of quaffibility.
How does one go about choosing a wine that stands out amongst all porch pounders but is not too complex or overbearing?
A wine that is easy drinking but not boring?
Well it was not easy.
Our usual wine of the month selection process failed to produce.
Typically we gather all the potentials together over a period of weeks and brown bag them.
We pick a fine day and time and blind taste all of them.
We give each wine a score between 1 and 10, tally up the points, unveil the high score and voila.... wine of the month.
Not so much for the last round.
After tasting 25 very easy going wines, we were lost.
Lost in a murky sea of indistinguishable juice.
Everything tasted the same and nothing grabbed us by our tongues and screamed "Wine of the month dummy!!"
With due hesitation, i have to admit, we had over-quaffed.
We then realized that quaffibilty wasn't a contest.
We couldn't judge and rate these wines like some type of sport or pageant based on performance, quality, distinction and bribes.
We needed to try these wines in their element.
Where the surroundings were easygoing and our mood called for something poundable.
Kind of like Millertime.... but much better.
So over the next week we dipped into some of the higher scoring wines here and there only when it just seemed right.
Which was often.
One of these wines seemed to make everything pleasant and easy going.
We kind of felt like we were all floating in inner-tubes
down the warm waters of a tranquil summer river.
Between our song and laughter, fluffy clouds released golden droplets of cool wine onto our tongues.
And then it magically disappeared.
Summer Porch Wines 2015
Is it ever too hot to drink? Never.
But sometimes the temperature reaches a level where certain things just don't taste as good as they should.
Now, it doesn't matter if you are in the comfort of a climate controlled situation. That being your house, restaurant or whatever.
It still just misses the mark somehow.
We can't be temporarily fooled. Our bodies are in tune with what lies beyond our air-conditioned compartments.
Our consumable desires adjust accordingly to the weather or environment
A glass of 10 year Tawny Port just doesn't have much appeal on a summer stroll through the Mojave just as Provence Rosé isn't a hit in Fairbanks in February.
I cautiously confess that red wine is not at its peak potential for me in August as it is the rest of the year. My red crave-o-meter drops a few notches.
I am in no way advocating for anybody to cut back on red wine at any time. No sir. Keep the wine flowing however and whenever.
But I am addressing the opportunity for seasonal drinking options.
I want alcohol to taste its very best for you at any given day on the calendar.
In the next few weeks when our dear mile high city reaches the high 90s, the earth will bake, the pavement will sizzle.
The desert sun will beat down mercilessly upon thirsty heads and our wine desires will be boiled into uncertainty.
Divino presents to you this delightful antidote to solve the Mother Nature vs. Wine dilemma.
Finally, a summer liquid,
the palm trees glisten and tree frogs listen,
the scorpions sting and the camels sing,
the sand dunes green and Priscilla Queen,
its the summer wine of 2015.....
Lima Vinho Verde
I remember when the Kiss solo albums came out. Paul! Gene! Ace! And that other guy, um... Peter. Four destined masterpieces released simultaneously. A landmark in Rock and Roll history! (At least in the eyes of the four members, their record company and leagues of teen idolizers.) In 1978, Kiss were at the height of their world domination, sitting on top of 4 platinum albums in just 2 years and a record tour attendance. Kiss action figures, lunch boxes, costumes, toothbrushes, you name it. Kiss was an explosion of Rock n Roll meets Vegas meets Comic books meets Halloween.A turbulent force of four chord power anthems fueled by locker room lyrics and crunching guitars.A mix of shock and glamour backed by explosions, flames and blinding flashes.The true rock purist will scoff and dismiss them as a half talented sideshow. All costume and lights. No depth.But their tunes were hard driving and damn catchy. And come on! They had the coolest looking outfits and make-up of any band ever to take the stage. People today still dress up like them.Plus, I don’t think Roger Waters or Jim Morrison could ever pen “you’re good looking and you’re looking like you would be good”Kiss were a the perfect cast of characters blended together to create a rock and roll commercial monolith.The Starchild: the flamboyant Paul on shrieking vocals and guitar supplied the panache.The Demon: fire breathing, blood spitting gene on growling baritone vocals and bass provided the dark sided backbone.The Spaceman: Ace the galactic space noodler on lead guitar delivered a sense of awe and wonderment.The Catman: the feisty Peter holding it all together behind the drum kit. They had America in a magical stronghold.It only seemed right to deconstruct Kiss.An exclusive album for each member.Their contributing talents and individual traits could now be illuminated in personal glory and celebrated by waiting world of fans.Gene Simmons will shine alone!Peter Chris solo! Finally given the deserved spotlight. Well, to be expected, there was some success, a few surprises, and some major let downs.I’m sure the majority of you have never acquainted your ears with these lost relics of Americana nostalgia. And some of you have forgotten with much intention. If you do attempt to familiarize yourselves with the Kiss solo albums, I warn you to tread cautiously along these dusty tracks.I’ll reiterate.Some take you to the glorious rocky peaks of pure Kissdom, while others will take you to loneliest depths of the darkest bargain bins. This month at Divino we will deconstruct. But worry not. We will deconstruct a majestic region. A Region celebrated and revered by the world for over 2000 years. A Region whose many components shine in the solo spotlight. Rhone Deconstructed. The Rhone is home of such famous acts as Cotes du Rhone, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. These Are famous and much respected blends which at times boast of having as many as 13 members in the mix.Divino releases these solo efforts from the Rhone this March...........
Ahhh Grenache! The spice of the party. The crowd pleaser. The food companionHail to Syrah. So bold on its own. Sometimes even monstrous. But always dark, deep and full of surprises.And Mourvedre. the colorful and complex rogue. In the shadow of the famed ones. But given the chance, it transcends with exotic expression and lush intensity.And there’s acts from many others like Viognier, Roussanne, Carignan and our wine of the month Counoise.In fact, there are about 23 to 26 different Rhone grapes depending on where you like to draw the much disputed boundaries. Many of these Rhone solo acts have gone on to become superstars. They have long claimed celebrity status on wine lists and store shelves. They are now household names across the globe. Even surpassing the fame of their origins.Some are rising stars, garnering attention from the media and select countries who have taken them under their wing.Others have become cult icons. They are on the obscure side and become pet projects for adventurous winemakers and have spawned devoted followers with their unique flavors. They all still remain important contributors to the famous blends but on their own have reached celebrity status. Most of the grapes of Rhone are considered success stories because they can show beauty, balance and distinctive character on their own.And what of the others?Well....they’re better off staying behind the drum kit. -DM
Some of these Rhone AOCs like Châteauneuf-du-Pape can be 100% monovarietal but its not that common.
We are not focusing on the Northern Rhone in our deconstruction process. This area represents appellations such as Condrieu, hermitage and Cote Rotie. These are magnificent wines and we carry and cherish them. But when we feature regions or grapes, we like to work with bottles that the any person could grab off the shelf for a reasonable price. Hermitage, among others is about as accessible to the wallet as the band Rush is accessible to the ear.
Its important that when these blending grapes stand on their own, they reflect their distinct natural traits and not to try to pose with more universal flavor profiles.Just as i don’t want my Syrah to the have the delicate flavors and finesse of Pinot Noir, I don’t want to hear Gene Simmons singing “When you wish upon a star”.(dare you listen?)
more great Kiss lyrics.....
."I really love you baby
I love what you’ve got
Lets get together, we canGet hot
No more tomorrow, baby
Time is today
Girl, I can make you feel
No place for hidin baby
No place to run
You pull the trigger of my
Lend me your ears and thirsty throats.
I have Drink to warm your bellies and raise your hearts.
I have tales to tell from shores afar
Of high adventure and mighty conquest.
Many moons ago
Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis
And the rise of the sons of Cabernet
There was an age undreamed of
And unto this, the vines of provenance sprouted from the black earth
Destined to bear the fruited crown of Viniferium upon a troubled brow.
It is I, the chronicler,
Who alone can tell thee of the saga of the Unsung Heroes…..
Alright, enough of that.
I will spare all of you my long-winded intros and seemingly aimless rants.
This time we’ll get straight to the reasons behind this month’s Divino feature.
I will shed away all allegories, strip down to the bare essentials and take a determined dive right smack into the center of that shimmering pool of clarification.
I’ll also actively avoid all arbitrary and agitating alliterations.
The Unsung Heroes.
The next 2 months at Divino we will focus on the grapes and types of wine that are either misunderstood or unaccredited for the essential role they play.
These are wines that maybe you have avoided because of misinformation or they have been wrongly stigmatized by the media.
Or maybe you just had a crappy bottle and that closed the door on it.
And we’ll look at regions that have fallen out of fashion. Could be a country that couldn’t handle the quick rise to stardom.
They become the “go-to” bottle at every store and restaurant. On the cover of all the mags.
Then they shoot themselves in the foot by exporting plonk to keep up with demand.
I always keep my eye on these regions. When a wine empire falls, the rebuild is always improved upon and the quality is fine tuned.
There is also the case of the slow fade: a trendy region that is progressively overshadowed by a neighbor’s rise to fame and left in the darkness. (Think South America)
Collecting dust on wine store shelves and getting the boot off restaurant wine lists.
Unsung Heroes is also about recognizing the anonymous grapes in the bottles that you might already love and drink on a regular basis.
Many famous wines are named for the area of origin and the grapes are left unmentioned.
So let’s get started shall we?
Here are just a few we will be featuring on the 10 under $10 rack……
Beaujolais: This is the poster child for “the misunderstood”.
The very name can conjure up images of flowery bottles of Nouveau.
Beaujolais is not just for November. And it is more than “fresh” wine that floods the market once a year.
The grape responsible is Gamay.
It is distinguished, enticing & and comparable to some of the very best Pinot Noir.
Merlot: You gonna let some weasley character in a mediocre movie 10 years ago tell you which grapes are uncool?
Cahors: The homeland! Southwest France. Where it all started.
Malbec addicts please pay your respects. Gracias, thank you & merci.
Glera: Prosecco is one of the world’s bestselling sparklers.
Does anyone know the grape making it all happen? You do now.
Nice work Glera. Sorry about your name.
Riesling: The answer is No. The Rieslings we are featuring are not sweet.
They are brisk, minerally and alluring.
That being said….. “sweet” or “off dry” in the wine world doesn’t always mean inferior.
Later picked Rieslings are some of the best whites in the world.
And dry Rieslings are some of the best food wine out there. You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to drink one.
Try a dry style from the rack to get you on board. Then ask us to pick you out an Alsatian or a Spatlese. You might become a lifelong fan.
Trebbiano: The most widely planted grape in Italy. That doesn’t make it a hero.
Travel over to France where it is called “Ugni Blanc”. The main ingredient in Cognac. Ahah! Sorry we can't put a Cognac on the 10 under $10 rack.
But try this Gascogne white to pay tribute to Trebbiano.
Australian Shiraz: A once great wine region destroyed by radioactive marsupials.
Now they continue to clean up and rebuild. Their time is coming once again. Can you dig it?
Furmint: Tokaji is the world famous dessert wine. Been made in Europe for over 500 years.
The drink of Kings, Dracula and Aleister Crowley. Try the grape unaccredited for this legacy. Not sweet or evil.
Chilean Pinot Noir: Chile offers what no other country in the world seems to be able to do.
Inexpensive Pinot Noir that is of decent quality.
The goal of the Unsung Heroes is to expose the unknown, smash the walls of presumption and expand your imbibing portfolio.
The 10 under $10 rack and Wine of the Month tower will be filled with carefully chosen disciples.
Come hither and celebrate with Divino. Do we expect you to sing? Yes we do.
Raise your drinks to the heavens. Pass around the goblets and drink long and deep.
Drink til the splendor is shining and the discriminations are drowned.
Share with us these viniferic victories and spread the word of the Unsung Heroes.