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.
Finally, in my neck of the woods it is chilly in the mornings, pleasant during the day, and chilly again at night. Here are a couple of red wines to get you in the mood for cold nights and hearty meals.
Discoveries Vineyards, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Alcohol 13.5% by Volume; under $10 at Pavilions. Vinted and bottled by Firestone Vineyard, Sonoma, California
On The Label: “It’s not always the journey that changes our lives. It’s often the discoveries we make along the way. Our first discovery is a strategically placed chair and two reclining surf boards at Pierpont Beach in Ventura. Our second discovery is this Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are calm and peaceful. Only one has black currants and cassis in the finish. Front Label: Red Chair Lookin’ South by California artist Steve Cook.”
My Take: This was an easy-going wine, which was a surprise for a Cabernet Sauvignon. I like BIG cabs – this wasn’t. As the label said, it’s a calm and peaceful cab, good for sipping (which is rare) and goes well with food. Is it the first bottle of Cabernet I’d reach for if I had a hearty stew or steaks on the grill? No. But it’s a solid wine – the ’09, at any rate.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ But nothing to write home about.
Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Meritage 2007 Red Wine Yountville, Napa Valley Alcohol 14.3% by Volume. $9.99 at Trader Joe’s
On The Label: (Not much!) “Cellared & bottled by Behind The Scene Wine Company, Napa, California.”
My Take: Some wines deserve the “Grand Reserve” label, and others don’t. In my opinion, this one didn’t, though it was a very tasty wine, indeed. I will say I LOVED the label and it’s total lack of pretension, lol. But then, that’s par for the course for Trader Joe’s. I’m glad they are putting their own wines out.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ I’d have rated it higher, but that “Grand Reserve” title got to me.
Heartland Stickleback Red, 2009, South Australia Alcohol 14.5% by Volume – $22 in a restaurant.
On The Label: “Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) Shiraz (38%) Dolcetto (9%) LaGrein (8%) A dry, full-bodied red with wonderful depth of flavor, chocolate, sweet plums and blackcurrant on the palate are complemented by smooth, fine-grain tannina. Invite this fruit driven wine to your next barbecue and serve with char-grilled lamb or a juicy steak.”
My Take: Okay. Imagine this. Hubby and I are walking along in Carlsbad, headed to our favorite Italian restaurant even though neither one of us is in the mood for Italian. A cute young Aussie stops us, says they just opened their restaurant (The Australian Grill) two days earlier, and would we at least look at the menu?
We did, we sat, we ate. Hubby a lamb burger, and me a beef burger. Excellent food, excellent fries, and this wine which our waitress recommended as being “very Shirazzy”, lol.
The wine went very well with the food after it had some time to air. (Or maybe it was the second glass just tasted better, lol!) We sat on the patio, and true to our usual affect, we soon attracted other customers who didn’t know the place existed.
The restaurant was the dream of three women, all in their twenties. One was the chef, the other the Aussie hawker out front, and I’m not sure what the third did but she was bright and bubbly. I do hope they survive but I have my doubts! The next time we hit up Carlsbad, you can bet we’ll drop by and have another burger, if they’re still in business. (They also serve kangaroo burgers, but I just couldn’t take that leap of faith.)
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Okay, so I’m as susceptible to atmosphere as anyone else. I’d love to find this wine locally and give it another try, to see if it is still “Shirazzy”, lol. If you try it, let me know what you think!
As usual, these are my honest opinions and will depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?
My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!
It’s hot. Muggy. The humidity is rising faster than the heat, and the air conditioning can barely keep up. What’s a rational person to drink while barbecuing pizza at night, with the temps still in the upper 80s?
Try a white wine spritzer. Any white wine will do, actually, but I like going for the less expensive wines. Here’s the recipe:
One large glass – either a tumbler or a big wine glass.
Fill with ice
Fill half full with white wine
Squeeze half a small lemon or lime or – heck – an orange – into the wine (or get fancy, like the picture)
Add sparkling water (soda water) to the brim
(Contrariwise, you can always add some Sprite or 7-Up or other lemon-lime type soda instead of plain soda water. But beware; you add calories, too.)
Last night’s Spritzers were made with two different wines.
Side By Side 2010 California Chardonnay Alcohol 13.5% by volume; closeout sale at Vons, under $10.
On The Label: “Beyond the strategic relationship, so many of us from both nations have fought literally side by side, that this modern relationship between the US and UK military means a great deal to us. It has a depth and an emotion to it that is profound.” –Major General Phil Jones
Proceeds to benefit Azalea Charities Aid for Wounded Warriors program at http://azaleacharities.org ”
My Take: This was an easy-drinking wine, and the soda water and lemon made it go down even easier. I tried and failed to find the wine on-line; the label is a beautiful painting of two soldiers, one wearing a US flag, one wearing a UK flag. I wish I knew more about the wine; and where to get it. As it was on close out sale, my guess is its gone from the places I usually get wine.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ Perfect for a Spritzer, but just as drinkable without the extras.
Discoveries Vineyards 2009 California Chardonnay Alcohol 13.5% by Volume $7.99 at Vons
On The Label: “It’s not always the journey that changes our lives. It’s often the discoveries we make along the way. Our first discovery shows the silhouette of Ventura Pier and Anacapa Island in the distance warmed by the setting sun. Our second discovery is this Chardonnay. Both are soft and tranquil. Only one has fresh fruit and toasted oak in the finish.”
My Take: I sipped this wine straight out of the bottle after Tom made me a spritzer with it, just so I could get a sense of it. I went back to the spritzer. It turns out the lime/lemon added along with the soda water really made a difference in how the wine tasted, which made it perfect for a spritzer.
My Rating: ~ Perfect for a Spritzer ~ A new rating. I would otherwise rate it on the Barely Drinkable to Drinkable scale.
Two More Wines For Summer (that I would not use for Spritzers):
If you haven’t yet tried Cupcake Vineyards 2011 Angel Food, do give it a try. At first taste it does remind me of angel food cake, which is my all-time favorite. It’s got a great vanilla flavor with a little more than a hint of sweetness, cut by some green apple. I was vastly surprised that I liked it. My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Under $10 at Vons, on sale.
Also new to the stores is Be. Fresh Chardonnay 2011. Introductory price under $10; don’t know how long that will last. It’s a Beringer Vineyards wine, so the lineage is strong. I liked it; fresh, fruity, and when really cold, revitalizing. It was not in a typical Chardonnay-style bottle, but I got over it pretty quickly, lol. My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ (I couldn’t grab a picture of the bottle – but here’s the web page http://bewinery.com/fresh.php .)
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, how many political ads I’ve been bombarded with, and if Mercury is in Retrograde or not. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
DEMON HUNT Arrives July 16, 2012!
My Rating System: Undrinkable, Perfect for a Spritzer, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!