Archive for April, 2016

“Canadian Gunners in an Italian Vineyard” with grapes

Canadian troops fought in Italy during World War 2.  They participated in campaigns both on Sicily and on mainland Italy.  The picture featured in this post shows a pair of gunners in a vineyard, both of whom are cleanly shaven and cleanly dressed. One is standing behind a scope and a second lounging on the ground writing in a notebook.  It is unclear when and where the picture was taken.  Canadian troops entered Italy during 1943.  Sicily was conquered by the Allies during August 1943 after which Allied forces moved to mainland Italy.  This picture, then, could have been taken during that fall of 1943.  There is a cluster of grapes on the notebook making it appear like a propaganda piece from a relatively peaceful area.  Perhaps it highlights the liberation of Italian vineyards?

Canadian Gunners in Italian Vineyard. ca 1943-1965. Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / ecopy [1]

Canadian Gunners in Italian Vineyard. ca 1943-1965. Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / ecopy [1]


[1] Canadian Gunners in Italian Vineyard.  ca 1943-1965.  Reference Number: R112-1475-X-E. Copyright belongs to the Crown ; Credit: Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / ecopy. URL:

Categories: History of Wine, Image

The 2012 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de la Casa is a strong value from Priorat

The latest vintage of 2012 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de la Casa, Priorat bears a slightly different label compared to last year’s.  This is a fruitier vintage that does not lose the sense of stones.  This juicy wine is best on the first night so grab a few to share with your friends.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Trosso del Priorat, Lo Petit de la Casa, Priorat – $16
Imported by the Spanish Wine Importers.  This wine is 100% Grenache.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose reveals deep, fruity aromas.  In the mouth this fruity and flavorful wine offers blue fruit, extract, some thickness, and stones in the finish.  This is best drunk on the first night for the juicy fruit which is enlivened by the acidity.  *** Now – 2018.


The 2014 Frank Cornelissen, Contadino 12th edition is well done

I have experienced maddening variation over the years with bottles from Cornelissen.  I do not know whether this is exacerbated by no merchant storing it below the recommended 61 F or the warm car rides home.  I certainly was prepared to return the bottle but after a quick sniff and taste, I knew I would not have to.  This bottle developed fine over the course of an evening without showing any Pilsner flavors.  It is best imagined as a rugged, approachable natural wine from Etna.  Well stored examples may even develop some complexity over the next few years.  I would recommend this for existing fans or those who want to experience what Frank Cornelissen is all about.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2014 Frank Cornelissen, Contadino 12th edition, Sicily – $26
Imported by Fruit of the Vines.  This wine is a field blend of 85% Nerello Mascalese along with a small amount of Nerello Capuccio, Allicante Boushet, Minella nera, Uva Francesa, and Minella bianco.  Alcohol 14%.  This is a zippy, stone infused, red fruited wine.  It mixed red fruit with citric pith flavors, plenty of baking spices, and extract in the way of texture.  It sports some very fine, cloudy sediment.  *** Now – 2021.

Modern Rioja Personified

David Bloch pulls the cork on a bottle of Rioja.


2001 Artadi, Pagos Viejos, Rioja
This wine is 100% Tempranillo sourced from 75 year old vines that was aged 18 months in 100% new French oak.  A totally locked down nose when opened.  Needs two hours in the decanter to open up.  Quite dark in color – ruby/violet.  Mildly tannic which makes this an ideal pairing with beef or lamb, or any game.  A modern-styled Rioja that shows plenty of meaty and espresso notes, framed by near perfect acidity.  A nice mineral streak too.  Sweet, ripe fruit.  Still young;  but accessible.  Many years of good drinking ahead, with the possibility of more development.

English bubbly!

The first time I heard about the 2013 Ridgeview, Bloomsbury Brut from England, all of the bottles had already been snagged up from MacArthur Beverages.  It was upon revisiting the store that I was able to secure a bottle.  There was no better excuse to open this bottle than when our English friend came over for dinner this weekend.  It is a pleasing enough wine, particularly for the quality of the bubbles.  This is a young, single vintage wine, so there is not much depth nor yeast flavors before things quickly wrap up. It is fun enough to try one glass if you have never drunk an English wine before.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Ridgeview, Bloomsbury Brut – $34
Imported by Siema Wines.  This wine is a blend of 59% Chardonnay, 27% Pinot Noir, and 14% Pinot Meunier.  Alcohol 12%. The wine is a light yellow color with a gold hint. In the mouth the very fine, firm bubbles dissipate into a soft mousse which reveals white and yellow fruit. There is a citrus aspect with a little chalk to the dry flavors. The finish is short. ** Now.


The place in Florida with a name once kept secret

Today I am flying back from Florida after having dined last night at a restaurant with a wine list so incredible that until recently no one spoke of it. Stay tuned!


Categories: Image

Tasting my first 2015 Rhone

The first 2015 red Rhone wines are hitting the shelves in Washington, DC.  If the 2015 Domaine Brusset, Laurent B., Cotes du Rhone is any indication then there will be some lovely wines to follow.  In my glass I found plenty of berry fruit which has both focus and vibrancy.  There is no reason to hold back on this juicy wine which will hold your interest glass after glass.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2015 Domaine Brusset, Laurent B., Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 10% Mourvedre of which 20% was aged in foudres for 6 months.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a focused, juicy wine with a core of fruit that exhibits gentle vibrancy.  The fruit tasted young and grapey, blending red and purple flavors.  With plenty of forward berry fruit this is a wine to enjoy over the short term.  ** Now – 2018.