In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10, unless noted otherwise.
Finally, the dust is settling on my whirlwind vacation and new job. I can divulge a few more wines that we indulged in, while enjoying nature at close to 8 thousand feet in the Eastern Sierras.
Steelhead Pinot Noir, 2009 Sonoma County Alcohol 14.3% by volume – $9.99 on sale at Vons. Check out the winery here.
On the Label: “Better wine. Better world. Earthy, dark cherry flavors, notes of spice and cocoa and a long, velvety finish. Pair with wild salmon, poultry, pork and lamb. Sonoma County Vineyards with ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir. French Oak. This wine honors our commitment and efforts to restore the Steelhead habitat. We are the official wine of Trout Unlimited and support their conservation efforts with a donation for every bottle purchased.
My take: It’s a lovely wine. It has depth, a nice velvety texture (as advertised), and went brilliantly with campfire smoke and hamburgers. Plus, it’s makers are altruistic. How cool is that?
I checked into the Trout Unlimited group. I didn’t have time to really dig into the website, but for any avid trout fisherman, it’s fascinating reading. I, however, am not an avid trout fisherman. Go to the site though, because it does look interesting.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ I truly enjoyed this wine. Though it could be the campfire talking…
Winery Wine – Harmony Cellars Harmonie White Table Wine Paso Robles $14.50/bottle
On the Label: “My goal is to produce wines that taste delicious. With over 800 awards and accolades since 1989, the wines of Harmony Cellars simply speak for themselves. Harmonie is our white table wine, a lovely blend of Chardonnay, White Riesling, and Muscat Canelli. Harmonie, with it’s light tropical aromas and flavors, pairs wonderfully with summertime fare, cheese and crackers, and good friends. Please visit us in Harmony, or on the web at HarmonyCellars.com or call 1-800-432-9239.” – Chuck Mulligan, Winemaker
My take: As he says, this is the perfect summer wine. I recognized that in February, when we visited the winery on our way home from Big Sur. Hubby loved it – I purchased four bottles of the stuff. (I did end up filling a case – six bottles of the 2007 Zin, two of the Private Reserve Pinot, and the four Harmonie.)
If you’re in central California and you can, I encourage you to visit Harmony (population, 18) and the Harmony Cellars off of Highway 101 (just south of Cambria and near HW46). The people are friendly, the wines tasty (though they do vary in price – $14.50 seems to be the bottom of the range), and the memories lasting.
My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable ~
Okay, one more…
On the Label: “Our Cabernet Sauvignon offers luscious blackberry, cassis, chocolate and cedar aromas and flavors. Hints of toffee linger on the fruity finish. The rich, velvety flavors make a dynamite match with grilled steak, roasted game, garlicky lamb chops and aged cheeses.
The inspiration for the name Dynamite came from hillside vineyards so thick with volcanic rock that we blasted with dynamite to plant the vines. Our colorful label by Stephen Ward illustrates the Pomo Indian legend behind the diamond-like quartz that sparkles in the soils of our volcanic vineyards: “The Moon wept when she could not be with her love, a Pomo Chieftain, and her tears fell to the earth, forming glistening ‘moon tears’. ” Taste the magic in our legendary wines.”
My take: Way too much info on the label and way too diverse info on the label. Any one of those things would be interesting – volcanic rock, dynamite, Pomo Indians, ‘moon tears’ – but put it all together and it’s a label I find terribly confusing. The painting that’s on the front is beautiful, and so is the Indian legend (even though it comes out of the blue), but…eh. Of course, now I want garlicky lamb chops. Bustards.
As to the wine – well, the first bottle we had earlier in our camping week seemingly disappeared after I opened it. And then the top got cut off, and the bottle disposed of…so I had to get a second bottle, especially when I saw it was going for half price.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ It just wasn’t memorable. Though I certainly wouldn’t spend $20 for it!
When I went to their website, the consensus was overall that the wines were high quality, but also “every day” wines, and I’d have to agree. I just don’t think an “every day” wine should be $20.
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and how much writing I’ve done that week. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~