Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Helix.

My previous post, Four-Buck Chuck, made mention of an "innovative closure."  Meet the Helix.  The brainchild of Amorim (one of the planet's biggest cork producers) and O-I (a rather large bottle manufacturer), the Helix closure combines a grooved cork with a correspondingly threaded bottleneck.  Bronco Wine Company was an early adopter of the Helix cork stopper for several of their value-priced wines.
With the Helix there is no need to look around for a corkscrew, there is also no need to feel like one is slumming it by buying a screw cap closed wine.  Additionally, in some small way, the Helix manages to preserve the romance of opening a bottle of wine and the pleasant pop that a real cork delivers when it is coaxed out of a bottle.
I for one found the Helix to be a little hard to twist in and out (despite multiple printed exhortations suggesting otherwise), but I did find it rather interesting.  And innovative.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Four-Buck Chuck.

There is a lot going on with this wine; trendy packaging, organic grapes, innovative closure, infamy.  What it doesn't have going on is complexity.  This is a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck, or rather Four-Buck Chuck ($3.99, to be exact, at Trader Joe's), Bronco Wine Company's Charles Shaw ultra value-priced vino.
The biggest selling point of this bottle of wine, perhaps, for those who care about such things, is that it is made from organic grapes. It seems that organic has become a synonym for quality nowadays.  As compared to most other wines that I drink, that are not made from organic grapes, does this wine taste different?  Better?  This is a four dollar wine, people.  Now, if this plonk was produced by a perceived premium winery the fact that it was made from organic fruit may count for something.  Instead, I'm quite sure this wine was produced in 50,000 gallon (or larger) silos.  Whose taste buds are that good to make such a distinction?  Not mine.
My WhiffsNotes for the Shaw Rosé 2017 are; nondescript on the nose except for a generic berry component; Kool-Aid-y berry-ness on the palate; acceptable acid; slight bitterness on the finish.  A beautiful pale, pale salmon, it is a shame that one can't taste colour.  (Or can one?  Synaesthesia?)  Undrinkable?  On the contrary, think a hot summer's day, afternoon garden party, giant galvanised trough of iced wine bottles, good conversation.  Drinkable?  Abso-freakin-lutely!  Besides, one sometimes has to drink the cheap stuff to understand why the good stuff is so, well, good.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Wild turkey.

I was woken up this morning by the gobble gobble of a rafter of wild turkeys: so loud.  The rather significant population of Meleagris gallopavo around Vinoland have been quite active the past few weeks.  I have spotted up to a dozen turkeys hanging out on a neighbours driveway when Vinodog 2 and I have been on one of our walks.  This morning, though, they were right outside my bedroom window.  So loud!
It was a cool, foggy and still morning, so this particular young tom-turkey didn't seem to notice me sneaking up on him, in my pyjamas, with my camera.  However, he wouldn't cooperate and keep still, he just kept strutting his stuff and gobbling - loudly.  I'm just glad that there are no grapes on the vines because a flock of this size could do some real snacking-damage.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Branching out.

Vinodog 2 and I get a little bored on our regular walk sometimes, so, now and again, we like to branch out and try new routes.  For several months now, we have been ambling, daily, up the hill behind Vinoland.  Well, it's not exactly ambling for me and I'm quite sure V2 finds the extremely steep section at the top a little easier on her four legs than I do on my two.  Phew!
It is on this daily walk that my dog and I just recently became acquainted with Phacelia ramosissima, commonly known as brancing phacelia.  A winsome little weed that is part of the Boraginaceae family (its familiar curving cyme did indeed remind me of fiddlenecks), branching phacelia can be very variable in appearance.  The local phacelia has white flowers, but they can also be blue; it can be prostrate or upright; it can be hairless to very hairy; it can have bell or funnel shaped flowers.  Interestingly, or at least I think it is interesting, like Vitis vinifera, this phacelia species is hermaphroditic.
I have no idea who the tiny interloping insect is.