Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NV Double Dog Dare California Chardonnay

Next up in my "Under $5" series is this little gem! I'm typically not a Chardonnay drinker, but I was feeling adventurous with so little money on the line. :)

A nice light straw color, the nose was citrus and pear - and it continued on the palate along with tart apple flavors and maybe just a hint of vanilla on the back end. The finish was rather acidic - staying along the sides of my tongue well afterwards, begging me to pair it with something!

And....OMG people - it was only $2.99 a bottle! Medium bodied, fruity, plenty of acidity to pair with a variety of dishes - what a pleasant surprise! Would I serve it to my guests? YES!

This is the perfect cocktail wine on a warm summer day, if you prefer a dry white, and I'd also use it to cook with confidence, because the price tag is unbeatable!

Are there any bottles under $5 that you'd recommend, or suggest that I try? I'm two for two here, and would love to find some new and inexpensive favorites!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

NV Santiago Station Devil's Back Sauvignon Blanc, Valle Central, Chile

I need to add a new label - a $5 and under one! Never in a million years did I think I would be rating wines this low on the price point scale! Yet, here I am.

In my never-ending search for knowledge of all things wine, not to mention that I recently discovered Total Wine & More, I decided to find out what price has got to do with wine enjoyment.

What's price got to do with it, got to do with it? Are you humming along yet? Oh, nevermind...

So I ordered myself a case of el-cheapo wines, figuring that if nothing more, I would have a nice supply to cook with.

I paid $2.99 for this bottle. OMG, I can't believe I just typed that! Yes, really. For a 750 ml bottle.

Poured some into my glass, and the first thing I notice is the body - even before the color. It stuck to the glass rather nicely, so already I'm thinking I'm going to give this wine a chance. The color was straw, and the nose was definitely citrus - my husband swears grapefruit. The taste was...well, not incredibly deep or interesting, but not unpleasant by any means. In fact, I would sip this nicely chilled in the summer! Fruity, mineral-y, quite nice, really. The acidity mostly kicked in at the end, so it would probably work really well with a light meal that features citrus-y ingredients.

I'd give this 3 out of 5 stars, and for $2.99 - I mean, really, you can't go wrong! Cook with it, yes, but steal a glass now and then, and no worries about pouring a glass for your guests!

Next up - another under $5 bottle. I've got 10 of them to go through, so let's see what else is out there!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DiGrazia Vineyard Wind Ridge Seyval Blanc White Wine

Welcome to CT! I picked up this little beauty from my local package store for a bit less than the $15.99 retail price you'll pay at the vineyard. That vineyard would be DiGrazia Vineyard in Brookfield - clear across the other side of the state for me, so I'm glad Harry's had a bottle on their shelf. I really like that Harry's devotes some shelf space to local wines - not enough, but some. Spendless Discount Liquors on Spencer St. in Manchester has a much broader selection of local wines, but I digress.

I know I've said this before, I'm not really a sweet wine lover, but I love me an off-dry or semi-sweet any day! The Seyval Blanc hybrid varietal is very common here in these parts, as it ripens early and stands up to the cold admirably.

The Wind Ridge is a light bodied, off-dry wine, with a nose of apple & pear, and also a distinct mineral-y-ness to it. The taste is also apple & pear - fruity, nice, and a pleasant finish that hangs around for a bit, but is still rather light. It is so fruity, it will fool the palate into thinking it has a higher sugar content than it actually does.

I would pair this with a light pasta meal, or even a roast chicken or holiday turkey. Yes, I'll bet it would be yummy with turkey! But honestly, it's nice and light just to sit and sip. Hey DiGrazia - winner!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Little Black Dress Pinot Noir, California, 2011

Notes from the distributor's website -

Region: California
Vineyards: California, USA.
Winemaking: The grapes are harvested throughout the month of September. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak barrel (approximately 33%) for 6 months.
Tasting Notes: Bright, ruby-red in color with aromas of cherries, cloves and light floral notes. A delicate, light-bodied wine with a lingering finish of strawberry jam and pomegranate.
Food Pairing: Little Black Dress Pinot Noir is an ideal match for chicken, veal and lamb dishes, as well as roasted beef and pork.

Also noted is that these wines are "designed in a fruit-forward style with the female palate in mind."

Sadly, I know exactly what they mean. Most women like cheap, sweet, fruity stuff that they can sip with their girlfriends at the end of a long day. Most women buy wine based on a cutesy label, or an emotional reaction based on the wine-makers or the distributor's description. Are you "most women?" I don't consider myself "most women."

Little Black Dress doesn't disappoint with the price tag. I paid $8.96 for this bottle. But Pinot Noir is supposed to be delicate and flowery, with cherry & red berry fruit and some food friendly acidity. This has an almost acidic cherry harshness that grabs my entire tongue shortly after the first sip, and then doesn't let go. In fact, it tightens its grip all through the finish. There is a wee bit of spice to make it a bit more interesting, but not much.

I think I like my Pinot Noirs a bit better cared for, and aged a bit longer in oak. All in all, Serious Wining is not impressed. But hey - it's under $10 a bottle, so why not pick one up and see if you like it! After all, we all don't have the same palate. Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean 10 others might.

Serious Wining gives this 2 out of 5 stars. Sorry LBD. Love your label, not your wine.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sampling the local flavor in North Carolina - Part 1

My family is vacationing this week in Kitty Hawk, NC. As is always the case when I visit other parts of the country, I love to sample the wines in the region. This week I managed to try 3 different ones - today I'll talk about the oldest wine made in this country - the Scuppernong white from Duplin Vineyards, NC.

From the vineyard - "Duplin Winery's Scuppernong is the most famous variety of Vitis Rotundifolia and the oldest wine made in America. No plantation dinner would have been complete without this delicious sweet wine."

And yes, it IS sweet! My sister-in-law said to take the grapes, eat one without the skin, and that is exactly the taste of this wine. From me, in one word, it is delicious and refreshing! OK - that's 2, so sue me. She did warn me, however, that it's got that sort of flavor that people either love, or they hate - no middle of the road here. If you enjoy eating grapes, and you like that sweet grape taste - then you will love this wine. Try it for the history - enjoy it for the taste. And the price tag! A mere $7.49 a bottle! Duplin Winery does ship - but be prepared to pay through the nose. Over $31.00 to ship a case via UPS ground.

Here's another tidbit for you health conscious folks. Muscadine wines, both red and white, contain 40 times the resveratrol when compared with ordinary red wines. So toast to your health!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good for me, not my guests

It's still summer in these parts. For some reason, summer and warm temps bring out the sweet wine lover in me. Normally, I prefer a dry riesling - along the lines of The Traveling Vineyard's "Calamity Sue" Riesling. I find the dry ones much more food friendly, so do keep that in mind when planning meals. But for sipping after a long day with my feet up on the deck? A sweeter Riesling is called for.

I occasionally wander down the inexpensive and economically packaged wine aisle at my local package store. Translation - cheap, big bottles! Most of the time, to be honest, the quality of this mass produced wine is pretty sub par. Sub par, that is, unless you're looking for something sweet. If it's sweet - it's sweet, and it doesn't matter if it's $5.00 or $55.00, it will taste fine because it's sweet.

I would never spend more than $20 for a bottle of sweet wine, unless it's a nice, carefully crafted dessert wine. Some sweet wines are worth the pricetag in the teens. $15.00 bottles of sweet wines can have a lot of character and complexity. But more often than not, sweet wine drinkers are looking for that cheap bottle of white zinfandel to satisfy their sweet tooth and give them a buzz at the same time.

Now, I'm not anti-white zinfandel by any means (even though I don't drink the stuff) but there are alternatives! Riesling is one of them, and lucky for you sweet wine drinkers out there, most rieslings you will find from the US are sweet. And cheap. And they get the job done.

Woodbridge 2011 California Riesling is doing the job for me right now. :-) I think I paid $12.99 for the big 1.5 liter bottle. It's sweet. Not cloyingly so, but pretty sweet. The only thing I would pair it with is a warm summer day and an Ulta Beauty sales flier. For company, I would most likely choose something a bit more interesting and flavorful. You know - it's OK for me, but not my guests. Serious Wining gives this bottle 3 out of 5 stars.