Wine Friday is mostly about the bargain. I’m always on the lookout for wines that are tasty, easily available, and won’t break the bank. Below is my honest opinion of the wines I buy and drink; they are all available for under ten dollars, unless specified. (My rating system is at the very bottom of this post.)
Today, I’ve got two whites, for the white wine lovers in the crowd (and I know there are many!).
Creme de Lys Chardonnay 2012 Sonoma, California Alcohol Content, 13.5% by Volume. $7.99 on sale at Vons
On the Label: “Slow down, exhale and enjoy this rich, creamy Chardonnay. You deserve it! Our Winemaker chose California vineyards that yield incredibly lush flavors of tropical fruit, baked apple and citrus. Sur lie aging gives this wine its soft, creamy style. Aging nine months, primarily on French oak, adds hints of vanilla and creme brulee on the finish, making this wine the perfect reward at the end of your day.”
My Take: For those of you who love the new “naked” Chardonnays, i.e., a Chardonnay that doesn’t have that big, buttery 1990s flavor, relax. Even though this wine is aged in French oak, it’s got a nice richness to it that does not harken back to those big, buttery days. As well, those of you who MISS those big, buttery Chardonnays, take heart. This has the creaminess that many of the newer, “steel” Chardonnays could never have. A little bit of the old style in a new, creamy flavor. Excellent with chicken, or a creamy pasta.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable Plus ~ It’s not quite up to my Very Drinkable standard, but it will definitely fill the bill when you need a white wine for dinner OR for sipping. It’s versatile and very mouth-friendly. Enjoy!
Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Napa, California Alcohol Content, 13% by Volume. On sale for $6.99 at Vons.
On The Label: (Front) “Our historic winery is perched on a hillside overlooking the picturesque vineyards beneath Geyser Peak Mountain.” (Back) “Founded in 1880 by pioneering winemaker Augusts Quitzow, Geyser Peak Winery became California’s 29th bonded winery, and sits in the heart of Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Our Sauvignon Blanc, with fresh fruit character and balanced acidity, comes from a diversity of rugged, coastal-influenced growing regions. We seal our Sauvignon Blanc with a screwcap to ensure all of the delicate aromatics and flavors captured at the winery are delivered to you in the bottle – enjoy!
“Taste profile: Crisp and refreshing, with flavors of lime, grapefruit, honeydew melon and lemongrass.
“Suggested pairings: Fantastic with Asian food, especially Thai and sushi. Also great with salads, oysters, shellfish and grilled seafood.”
My Take: Whew. That’s a label that says a mouthful, plus tells you not only how to taste it but what to serve it with. Kinda pushy, don’t you think? Or maybe that’s just me. Anyhoo – despite the pushiness of the label, I really enjoyed this wine with the crab quiche I’d made. It’s definitely crisp and clean, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it to any spring or summer party. Definitely prefer it with seafood.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ And at that price, stock up on a few bottles. You never know when you’ll need a terrific wine.
What are you drinking? I’d love to know. Until next time – Cheers!
My Rating System: Undrinkable; Barely Drinkable; Drinkable; Very Drinkable; and the ever-popular “Stay Away! This is MY wine, you Slut!” All opinions are my own. You’re welcome, lol.
Wow – after cover reveals and guests this week, I’m finally back with some tasty wines. Spring is here, and the weather is warming up where I live. It must be time for some Chardonnay! Today I’ve got three, and they’re all from California…and they were all on sale.
Edna Valley Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay Paragon ~ San Luis Obispo County Alcohol 13.9% by Volume. Regularly $13.98; on sale at Vons for $9.97
On the Label: “Our vineyards enjoy one of California’s longest and coolest growing seasons, thanks to sea breezes funneled inland through Edna Valley. Our Chardonnay has amazing flavors of lush white peach and sweet spice with a crisp, clean finish. You will love our Chardonnay with fresh seafood, grilled chicken or roasted pork.”
My Take: Edna Valley wines can be in the upper teens, so when I saw this one for under $10 I grabbed it. It was actually a chilly day and I wasn’t in the mood to cook; luckily Ocean Fresh, our local seafood monger, had sent me an ad for freshly made clam chowder and crab cakes ready to pop into a pan or the oven. (The food was divine!) This Chardonnay stood up well to both the creaminess of the chowder and the spice of the crab cakes. It was not a big, oaky Chardonnay, but it had the clean finish of a Pinot Grigio as well as the lush fruit, and it handled the seafood brilliantly.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ I shall have to check out more of Edna Valley’s wines.
Simi 2010 Sonoma County Chardonnay Alcohol 13.5% by volume; regularly $17.49, on sale for $12.59 at Vons
On the Label: “Simi Chardonnay reflects the diversity of flavors found throughout Sonoma County. The area to the west gives pear and a luscious mouthfeel. The southern region brings citrus and crisp acidity, and vineyards in the north add tropical notes. These combine into complex fruit aromas, a creamy and toasty round mouthfeel with a brilliant balance that makes this Chardonnay delicious with cream-sauced chicken, salmon and mild cheeses.”
My Take: This was a lovely Chardonnay. It had that creaminess that I like, but it wasn’t over-oaked – in fact, oak was almost impossible to detect. I really enjoyed this wine, which we had with our “I doan wanna cook” meal of a rotisserie chicken from Costco and smashed potatoes. Add some fresh green beans to that, and you’ve got a delicious meal. Anyway – the wine went beautifully.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ But a bit on the pricey side.
Geyser Peak Winery 2009 Chardonnay Alexander Valley Alcohol 13.5% by Volume $11.12 regular price (HA!) at Vons, on sale for $7.78
On the Label: “At our winery in the heart of the famed Alexander Valley, our winemakers are impassioned to create wines that engage the senses and inspire the soul. To ensure the bottle you open delivers all the delicate aromatics captured here at the winery, we seal our Chardonnay with a screwcap closure.
Taste profile: Ripe pear and tropical fruit flavors with a hint of vanillin oak. Creamy and elegant with a crisp finish.
Enjoy with: Light pastas, roast chicken and light veal dishes.”
My Take: I really enjoyed this wine, but a part of that could be that I am partial to Geyser Peak. We visited the winery back in the late 1980s, on our first-ever wine tour, and had a blast, so the wine is suffused with rosy memories. I will say, though, I’ve never been disappointed in a Geyser Peak wine. This one has that hint of oak that I so adore.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~
So there you have it, three Very Drinkable California Chardonnays. Go forth, and stock up for the ever-changeable weather to come!
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and whether the cat has tried to kill me that day. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
BLOOD DREAMS, a Caine Brothers Short Story, will be out June 1st. DEMON SOUL is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet? Catch up, because soon DEMON HUNT will be out (summer 2012)!
Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!