Budget Wine: Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014

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nobilo A pleasing nose with good intensity highlighting grapefruit and lemon aromas set off by muted asparagus notes.

On the palate, its very juicy upfront with some sweetness sitting soft and round in the mouth with medium weight. The intensity of the fruit diminishes midpalate but persists in a lower register through the clean crisp finish that shows bright lemon as it fades.

Pert and fleshy, this is an enjoyable quaffer, simple but generous, a solid everyday white wine perfect with light, summer dishes. And it’s widely available.

Score: 87

Price: $11

Alc: 12.5%

This song captures the right balance of sugar and spice

Against Vegetarianism

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cow2There are many good reasons for reducing our consumption of meat. The most important reasons have to do with the impact of meat eating on the environment and climate change. But as I’ve argued often on this blog and elsewhere, the moral arguments for vegetarianism based on animal suffering are weak. Although we should strive to reduce animal suffering as best we can, we have no general moral obligation to refrain from killing animals for food.

Philosopher Julian Baggini’s recent article in the Times Literary Supplement is the most succinct, accessible argument against moral vegetarianism that I’ve seen. Here is a brief summary of his main points:

How can you compare Hammy the hamster playing on his wheel and Miles Davis playing his trumpet?

Jeremy Bentham tended towards the view that all pains and pleasures are on a par, but the idea that all creatures with the capacity to suffer deserve equal moral consideration is implausible to say the least. That animals can suffer is a reason to give them moral consideration, but that does not tell us what kind and how much of that consideration is required.

Unlike the killing of persons,

“No ambitions are thwarted when a sheep is killed, no dreams lie unfulfilled….The animal would have had no life at all were it not brought into the world to eat. Dairy cows are not kidnapped from wild pastures. There is no happier, longer life such a beast would otherwise have had.

No single factor such as the fact that animals suffer is sufficient to guide complex judgments about what we should value or what is worth caring about. As Baggini writes: “This isn’t Disneyland and living authentically, as an adult, requires us to embrace fully the bitter-sweet nature of many of our most profound pleasures.”

No matter what we do, causing harm is unavoidable. It’s worth reading the whole article.

Wine Review: Maison La Belle Vie Marechal Foch Grand Valley Colorado 2014

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maison la belle vieMarichal Foch is a French hybrid developed during the mid 20th Century in Alsace and grown primarily in the Loire Valley, although today it is seldom found in France.  It is believed to be a cross between the riparia-rupestris hybrid and the vinifera variety Goldriesling. It’s primary virtue is that the plant withstands very cold temperatures making it an attractive option in cold-climate wine regions such as Colorado’s Western slope.

I’ve tasted a few but while powerful they always seemed disjointed and rustic. This one however is superbly balanced and delicious.

Gamey aromas in a tense standoff with  herbal notes are subordinate to the main show of spiced plum, chocolate and vanilla–a complex, intense bouquet

The palate is full bodied but lively with high acidity. There is loads of juicy black cherry fruit up front, but from midpalate through the finish dazzling acidity is like a slowly spreading wild fire lighting up the palate as it evolves from gentle jam to pungent spice while never losing its balance. The tannins are fine-grained and supportive but stay in the background.

Its aged for 16 months in medium toast French oak.

Maison La Belle Vie was our favorite winery during our recent visit to Palisades Colorado. Their line up is superb top to bottom.

Score: 91

Price: $32

Alc: 14.1%

Polished but racy with a bit of swagger, it’s a Mick Jagger wine in one of his more or less civilized moments.

The French Take Their Wine Seriously

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french wine militants

Photo Credit France 3 TV

The skill set of French winemakers seems to go well beyond winemaking.

Sudvin, one of the largest wine producers in Southern France, was attacked by a gang of 30 balaclava-clad militants last week as reported by Decanter magazine. According to the militants, a shadowy group of winemakers called Comité Régionale d’Action Viticole (CRAV),  Sudvin was importing cheap wine from Spain in lieu of purchasing the local grapes and so the group broke into the offices, destroyed the furniture and computers and set the building on fire. The tanks of wine were targeted as well but were empty.

Earlier this year, French winemakers hijacked Spanish wine tankers destroying thousands of bottles in protest over unfair competition. CRAV has been engaged in similar actions for years as French wine consumption declines and consumers seek ever lower prices.

Sudvin and their parent company Vinadeis deny that imported Spanish wine is a significant part of their production. Nevertheless,  France is now the biggest buyer of Spanish wine – purchasing 580 million litres in 2014 and many bulk wine producers in the South of France struggle to survive. Rumor has it that French companies buy Spanish wine in bulk, bottle it and sell it as French wine.

I understand the frustrations of the French winemakers but to be honest Spanish wine is of much higher quality at the lower price points and is far cheaper.

Chateau de Rauzan Augey Bordeaux Red 2014

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augeyMore cheap swill from Bordeaux but it’s an honest wine. It tastes exactly like cheap Bordeaux.

Red currant, smoke and green twiggy notes suggest under ripe grapes, confirmed by the meager palate which is thin, tart and roughly-textured with a medium length puckering finish. The nose has some presence but its hard to get much enjoyment from this.

If you are like me you can’t resist trying an unfamiliar, inexpensive Bordeaux just to see if someone has figured out how to make a contemporary, affordable wine from that region for the export market. They rarely deliver even for the price.

75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Score: 82

Price: $8

Alc: 12%

The music must be light, spare, rustic, and a little sad. Johnny’s looking good in this one.

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