Wine Guy: Rock ‘n Roll reds


The Wine Guy offers three reds that vibrate with vibrant energy, give off vibrations of leather and spice, are robust yet edgy, and simply strike the right chord to start the night.

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Does anyone feel the lull at the end of November? Darkness abounds, whether thanks to the change of time or the omnipresent clouds.


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And sure enough, the holiday season is approaching, but before the Christmas spirit fully ignites, there just might be a reason for a vinous energizer.

Cue the red rock ‘n’ roll. We’re talking about the kind of wines that vibrate with vibrant energy, give off vibrations of leather and spice, are robust yet edgy, and just strike the right chord to start a night out.

Bodegas Peique Ramón Valle 2018 Mencía, Spain ($ 27.99, # 88060)

Oh my God, that red is singing. In fact, it brings more of a calming growl. Pouring a deep garnet into the glass, with brooding intensity, this bold red is all black fruit, wood, leather and herbs. Robust but muscular with a long tannic finish, this is not an easy wine to classify. This is testament to the alluring Mencía grape found in the northwestern region of Bierzo in Spain, but also to this particular old vine, a 55-year-old vineyard planted by the patriarch of the Ramón Valle family. In short, it’s red wine in a leather jacket, standing at 5 o’clock, sporting shade.


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At the end of the line : A, Rock red wine in español!

Laughing Stock Vineyards 2019 Syrah, British Columbia ($ 39.99, available from winery and select private wine stores)

This bold red has all the vibes of wine, up to eleven (out of ten). There’s no holding back, and yet this intense Syrah manages to walk the rim, barely maintaining balance and elegance throughout. Engaging berry aromas meet herbs and a burst of peppery spice, mingling with notes of toasted oak and other savory notes. To this exuberance is to be attributed the winemaking process, which includes co-fermentation of whole berries with viognier – in a 96/4 division – and long-lasting aging in a blend of new and old French oak. Then open a bottle with a grilled leg of lamb or game burgers.


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At the end of the line : A, Edgy with a cashmere finish

José Maria da Fonseca 2019 Periquita, Portugal ($ 10.99, # 25262)

Wine doesn’t have to be expensive to rock n ‘roll. It’s all in the style; and attitude. Periquita has been an everyday option for a long time – indeed, it is the first red wine bottled in Portugal, from 1850. And what this red lacks in complexity, it composes with character, with nuances of dark fruit and dusty herbs. A blend of traditional Castelão, Trincadeira and Aragonez grapes, it features a bit of roughness around the edges before sweet fruit develops, ending with a touch of grainy tannins with a touch of cinnamon spice.

At the end of the line : B, Pair with heavy guitars

The Swirl: Advent calendars in jars

December has pretty much arrived. So if there is an advent calendar in your future, you better hurry. Fortunately, adult Advent calendar options have grown significantly over the past few years. Offers range from JP Chenet 24 200ml Wine and Bubble Bottles ($ 159.99, # 351828) to the Yalliday Advent Calendar featuring 24 cans of Hey Y’all ($ 51.29, # 347755). Or look at the local wineries to count the days, for example with the OCP Advent Calendar and its 12 full-size bottles celebrating 12 days of Crush-mas (regular price $ 345.80, visit for all the details).



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