Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

Hello Prince Albert! You may have asked or been asked this deceivingly simple yet complex question in your wine journey: what is the best wine? While some wines will obviously be technically crowned “the best of the best”, the answer to this question is completely dependent on who you are asking.

For instance, Caymus cabernet sauvignon is considered one of the best wines available in the city and while I agree that it is a fantastic wine, it didn’t hit all the spots for me. I tend to enjoy wine on the drier side with a touch more balance and structure (tannins). For other people however, this is a must-try wine well worth the higher price tag.

Asking which wine is the best is like asking someone which is the best movie or book. The answer truly depends on the mood, settings and food being served and this applies to wines too which are suited for specific foods or situations.

 Caymus is well-loved because of its silky smooth texture and rush of intense ripe fruits and while this is certainly a delicious combination, it can be too heavy handed at times. This is where the J Bouchon excels for my personal tastes. More restrained than the Caymus and focused more on the earthy and dry side of flavors, the J Bouchon Mingre provides the balance I look for in a wine.

You will notice that both wines scored a Very Good score and not my top score of Outstanding. This is because I don’t see the Mingre progressing any further in complexity and doesn’t have a lot of aging potential while the Caymus lacks complexity and is overly sweet (again, for my tastes). 

One of the “best” wines I’ve had wasn’t technically a great wine but it was the fact that I shared it with my late step-father. This memory stems from a $30 bottle of Nebbiolo that we decanted and sipped to the last drop.

I remember laughing and chatting and marveling at how much sediment was left at the bottom of the decanter. The wine was intensely rich and earthy and left a black residue in our mouths. We were all the more happy because of our wine-stained grins. The memory brings a tear to my eye. Now that’s a great wine! Here are my wine and beer picks of the week!    

J Bouchon Mingre Assemblage 2016: (Central Velley/Maule Valley, Chile). Dry red, deep ruby color. A tantalizing combination of dark cherry, sweet earthy cocoa, blackberry, leather and licorice springs from the glass on the nose. This red balances fruity and earthy flavors well with accents of rich cherries, plums, blackberries, earth, black licorice, smoked meat and a long satisfying finish. The tannins are chewy with plenty of grip and medium-plus acidity provides a mouthwatering effect. Medium-plus intensity with medium body. This makes an excellent wine choice for steaks, charcuterie boards, burgers and ribs. Drink now or within 3 years. Very good! $60, 13.5% ABV

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2016: (Napa Valley, USA). Medium-dry red, deep purple color. The nose begins with immediate high-intensity notes of fruity blackberry, Welch’s grape juice, cherry juice, grape bubble gum, cherry cola, California raisins and ripe cherries. This red provides a blast of high-intensity flavor right from the first sip. The flavors are full of ripe cherries, cassis, creamy cocoa, cherry cola, a buzz of mineral and an extremely smooth, creamy texture. An abundance of fruit-forward flavors are present with full body, and a silky mouthfeel. The wine is delicious but slightly out of balance (a bit on the flabby side), despite its medium-plus acidity. Sip on this wine by itself, with steaks, light desserts or with a decent cigar. Very good! $125, 14.4% ABV

Nokomis Weisensee Berliner Weisse 2021: (Nokomis, Saskatchewan). Tart, sour beer with a cloudy appearance and light orange color. The lacing is minimal and bright white on the glass.  The scents from this beer are sharp and musty with accents of lemon/lime, funky fruits, barnyard and horse blanket. There is an explosion of flavor on the palate with an intensely tart and prickly sensation greeting the tongue. Flavors of lemon/lime, Brett yeast (a specific strain of yeast), malty biscuits and animal notes (barnyard, wet wool, horse blanket). The acidity is high and clears the palate making this a great food-pairing beer with all types of cheeses and meats and/or snacks of all description. Beautiful Saskatchewan beer! Must try for sour fans! $10, 3.2% ABV