LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: December 6

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Silk & Spice 2016 Red (Portugal)

Sale $10.95, Regular $12.95
Discount (until December 30): $2.00
LCBO #533307 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Ripe black and red fruits, lots of plum and blackberry, sweet spice and soft deliciousness.
Pairs with: Burgers, stew, chili—simple stuff. Not a wine for over-thinking. Oh, and lots of pizza, the spicier the better.
Good for: Parties and partying. This wine is a cut above any other wine in its price range. It’ll be a pleasant surprise at any party or casual dinner table.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now.

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Why we're drinking this
This is a good sipper and a great value. Why? Because it’s not too dry and it’s packed with big berry and fruit flavours. I’d call it “robust” rather than elegant. It’s a good wine for playing poker or stoking the wood stove. It’s also a lesson in the meaning of “dry.” Marketers know that most people want wines that are dry, meaning not sweet. Or more correctly, that’s what consumers think they want. In fact, most general-purpose wine drinkers enjoy a wine with a fair amount of sugar, which is naturally left over after fermentation. That sugar adds body, texture and heft (it can also cover up faults). The drinker may not detect that sweetness, as it is all wrapped up in the overall experience of the wine. That’s where the “silky” aspect of this wine comes in. This wine is made from a variety of red grapes from Portugal, where they have no trouble ripening their grapes to maximum sugar content. Ripe grapes equate to lots of sugar. Now, at 16 grams per litre of sugar, this wine rides just this side of “dry” on a generous scale. It’s on par with Cupcake Red Velvet at 15 grams/litre or Apothic Red at 17 grams/litre. All very popular LCBO products; and very popular with those who think they like their wines dry. Anyway, I like this Silk & Spice better than those other ones. It’s a good deal and quite tasty.

Tasting note
This is not a wine for over-thinking. It’s big, warm, soft, juicy and delicious. More sensitive wine drinkers will find it a little tiring after a while because of the sugar levels. Chill it a little, just to take if south of room temperature and it’ll be quite pleasant. It has lots of plum and black and red berry fruit, some sweet spice, and a nice velvety feel. It’s a good wine. Last year’s vintage was rated 90 points and a “best buy” by Wine Enthusiast magazine. I did not taste that vintage, but I can see what they are getting at. Though I don’t think I’ve ever rated a wine under $20 with a 90-point score. I’d say this is a solid 86-87. A good to very good wine for the price. If you’re ok with not-too-dry. Serve with burgers, stew, chili, sausage, pasta and meatballs, and assorted meats.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder