Wine Review: 2004 Andrew Will Sorella

18 07 2011

I may have let PnP’s 50th wine review pass with a $13 bottle that didn’t quite scream “momentous occasion”, but I wasn’t about to let review #51 similarly slip by without bringing out the big guns.  As a belated “happy 50th”/”I can’t believe I’ve written 30,000+ words about wine for free” gift to self, I went to my current favourite red wine region last night for a special bottle:  the 2004 Andrew Will Sorella red blend from Washington State.  I got this wine for my birthday this year from a couple of very discerning and wine-savvy friends (thanks Tyler and Corey!) and am proud that I actually held out for 2 months before my resolve totally melted away…give me a premium Washington red and my willpower just evaporates.  The current release price for this wine is $75 to $80 a bottle, but I’m guessing a back-vintage bottle like this (the current vintage is 2008) probably pushed $100 or more.  Let’s get to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips & Tricks: When Cork Attacks

13 06 2011

My Andrew Will, and the biggest piece of cork that refused to be separated from it.

I fully intended to write a wine review last night.  I had the wine all selected, and was even going upscale:  the 2005 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard red from Highlander Wine & Spirits, a $55-$65 predominantly Merlot/Cab Franc blend from one of the best producers and top vineyards in Washington State.  I had my notepad in front of me and my iPhone camera armed and ready; I popped the cork and out came…half of it.  The other half didn’t even budge from the bottom of the bottle neck.  I gently tried pulling out the stuck half with the corkscrew, but to no avail:  all I ended up doing was puncturing a good sized hole in the middle of the half-cork and causing a bunch of cork debris to fall into the wine.  Awesome.  I eventually ended up having to push the stuck cork back down into the wine, which would have been a great idea if the cork hadn’t disintegrated on its departure from the bottle neck and showered Andrew Will’s labour of love with a fine layer of wood powder.  After some salvage efforts I was able to get the wine back to a quasi-drinkable state, but decided against putting it up on PnP in case somebody questioned my tasting notes of sawdust, tree bark and firewood.

As a mournful tribute to the waste of a bottle that good (and the corresponding portion of my wine budget that went with it), I thought that tonight I’d quickly touch on what to do if you’re faced with this exact situation where your cork breaks as you’re pulling it out of the bottle.  Step one:  swear.  Even if you manage to save the day with the maneuvers described below, it’s still a giant pain that will require most of the contents of the bottle you’re trying to rescue to de-stress from. Read the rest of this entry »

Roving Wine Review(s): Saturday Night Tasting

8 05 2011

There was no PnP post last night, because instead of pounding something out on my keyboard for the blog, I was out doing “field research”.  It started at Brava Bistro on 17th Avenue (try the potato and honey flatbread!), ultimately ended up at a friend’s place downtown, and was the kind of research where no notes are taken, many glasses are emptied, and the recollection of wines past is not quite as sharp as expected the next day.  That said, we had enough interesting and incredible wines that I would be remiss not to pass along at least something about what we enjoyed.  The night’s wines were cracked in this order (Editor’s Note:  I am not counting the half bottle of Hello Kitty sparkling Italian rosé [don’t ask] that worked its way into the lineup at the end of the night and was, to put it kindly, an utter abomination): Read the rest of this entry »

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