Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Check your couch for loose change....

....and you might find enough for a bottle of today's "best budget buy" wine.

Gray Monk 2011 Latitude Fifty White.

$11.99. E-FREAKING-LEVEN NINETY-NINE. That's almost free. It's about as cheap as you can get for wine not named Baby Duck. Or this crap (c'mon, you all remember these commercials).

 (in fairness, that is the VQA wine shop or winery price, I believe it's a couple bucks more at liquor stores).

Here are the specs (on the Latitude, not the freaking Hochtaler):


It doesn't say what varietals of grapes are used here and my unsophisticated palate can't tell for sure. The owner of our local VQA wine store, Kim, took one good sniff and said "I think it's Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Auxerrois". LOL. I have no way to confirm she's right, but she knows her S**T so I'm not betting against her. And since Gray Monk happens to make wines that feature all of those varietals, it's a logical guess.

This wine isn't sweet but I would describe it as "off-dry". It's marvellously fruity, and for the price, it's one you should stock up on just to have on hand for those days when you want a good white wine but don't want to open up the "good stuff".

As I mentioned before, I do NOT like cheap wine. This is a very nice exception to my "no-cheap-stuff" rule.

I had a bottle of this tonight with breaded chicken breasts, sautéed asparagus and rice, and it paired beautifully.

Rating: 6.5/10

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had dinner at Gray Monk's restaurant, Grapevine, last spring. The restaurant, although on Gray Monk's property (about 30 feet from their tasting room) isn't actually run by Gray Monk, but that doesn't really matter...I only know that because the waitress mentioned it. I'd love to give you a specific review of the food but it was over a year ago and I can't remember what we had; but I do remember we had a fantastic meal. Our table overlooked the lake, which probably would have been lovely had we not picked the last rainy weekend of May to take this trip.

Anyway, during that dinner we discovered what my wife called her "new favorite wine":

Gray Monk 2011 Reflection

This is a Muscat, which is very sweet. If you hate sweet wines, this is not for you. If you use that sweetness scale that some use, I'd suggest this is probably a 3 or 4 (for comparison, good dessert wines are between 15-20).

If you like sweeter wines, this is absolutely fantastic. Generally a wine this sweet would be an "after dinner" wine, but I paired it with my dinner (seafood of some kind I am sure) and it was terrific. We bought several bottles after our meal and have probably consumed 8-10 of them by now (and still have a few ready to drink).

Technical specs: http://www.graymonk.com/files/4113/3900/7146/Reflection_2011.pdf

Gray Monk is located quite a bit more North than most Okanagan wineries, meaning the climate is perfect for cooler climate grapes: basically, whites. That doesn't mean they don't make good reds, just that the grapes for their red wines are grown elsewhere in the Okanagan Valley.

When we were up at the tasting room, the young gentleman helping us out was on his last shift, so he let us try whatever the hell we wanted (what were they going to do? fire him?), so that was a fun experience of tasting. By the time we were done, everything probably tasted better than it really was :-)

Retail on this is a very respectable $18.99. Go back and search those couch cushions again!

Rating: 8/10

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