Right now I have the pleasure of working on a video project with producer Lewis Manne, a sprightly, multi-talented ball of energy who served in the Angolan war and made hit records in South Africa before setting up shop in Canada. It also just so happens that he and his wife wrote all of the music for the original Degrassi series, aka Canada’s most famous cultural export that does not involve a screeching she-skeleton named Celine. His Degrassi repertoire includes perhaps the show’s most identifiable song, Zit Remedy’s “Everybody Wants Something”. This is of course a fantastic pop culture perk for someone who grew up watching reruns of the show and will never forget such touching moments as Shane’s post-LSD-induced-head-injury rant to Spike, “you should be kicked…in the head!” You’d have to be named Geddy Lee to have more Canadian street cred than Lewis.
The other perk is Lewis’ excellent wine cellar. And when I say “cellar”, I mean “collection of wines squirreled away in various random hiding spots”. Tread carefully in the mechanical room, lest you disturb the case of Burrowing Owl. Lewis is an avid wino, and – curse him – he has introduced me to a wonderful Argentinian cabernet that is not available at the LCBO. The 2005 I.P. Mendoza Sottano Cabernet is a very bold wine for the price (apparently around $23). The nose holds nothing back. It overflows with intense dark berries, and the party continues in your mouth with an almost chewy sensation of chocolate and oak. The Sottano is definitely high alcohol (14.75%), but it gets away with it because the flavours are so outgoing that it all balances out.
This is the kind of wine that might compete with food rather than complement it, so I was happy to enjoy it on its own while being regaled with TV tales. Where else could I learn that Zit Remedy only had one song (or really, one chorus) because Joey, Snake and Wheels didn’t know how to play their instruments?