Good wines without breaking the bank. I’m all about that. I believe that a good bottle of wine can be had for under $10, and I’ve appointed myself the job to sniff those out. (I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s MORE than $10, because every now and then I taste those, too.) If YOU have a favorite wine, I’d love to know – so please leave a comment!
As the title says, I’m mad for red wines. I mostly prefer Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels, but there are some surprisingly good red blends out there, too. So sit back and enjoy!
Trader Joe’s Reserve Zinfandel 2012 Paso Robles, California Lot # 84 Alcohol 14.5% by Volume
On the Label: “Juicy raspberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes lead to vanilla oak and spice notes with a smooth, jammy finish.”
My Take: First off, a bit of snark. I’m really, really tired of wineries saying their wines taste “jammy”. I’ve never tasted a wine and said to myself, gee, that tastes like jam! I should dip my toast into it with breakfast! (Okay, so that IS a good idea – but you get my meaning.) On the positive side, that’s it for label chat. Boom. Done. LOVE it.
A bit of wisdom for you – when Trader Joe’s puts out a reserve with a Lot # on it, you can almost guarantee that it’s a good winery wine in that bottle. I met a wonderful guy who works at Letitia when Tom and I were up in Cambria; he told us that Letitia wine was in one of these bottles (I’d tell you which one, but TJ’s doesn’t stock it any more so there’s that). We grabbed two bottles and wish we’d grabbed more, as they were $9.99, and I don’t think you can find much Letitia wine under $10.
Oh, and the wine – yes, tasty. TASTY. Not “jammy” to my tastebuds at all, but definitely full of flavor and perfect with steak and potatoes or maybe a hearty lasagna. No, I don’t know which winery it’s from. If you find out, please let me know! BTW, here’s an article on it from Trader Joe’s online Fearless Flyer.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ The only danger is having a love affair with this type of wine can lead to heartbreak when they – suddenly – no longer carry it. Sigh.
With every conservative bottle of wine (see above), there is its wicked cousin who comes to dinner (below).
Stark Raving RED by Rosenblum Cellars Sonoma, California Alcohol 12.5% by Volume $8.99 at Vons
On the Label: “Some might think quitting your day job to pursue your passion for winemaking is crazy – even stark raving mad. Stark Raving ™ from Rosenblum Cellars is a tribute to our founder’s maniacal obsession with experimentation, which still inspires us today. Our Red Wine is a playful and bold blend of plum and bright red fruit flavors, proving that a little dose of madness can lead to extraordinary things.”
My Take: I loved this wine. I picked it up for the label – I bought it for the fact that it came from Rosenblum Cellars, and I can tell you I’ll definitely be buying it again. It’s a big wine, and does better with a little airing. It’s also got a screwtop, which I love (makes it fit in my fridge easier).
My Rating: ~ Drinkable Plus ~ I did love this wine, but I didn’t LOVE it. There are some who won’t like it – it might be a bit too brash. It’s DEFINITELY a food wine – not a sipper, in my opinion – but that’s okay because I like to eat when I drink wine, lol! But do give it a shot and let me know what you think. Here’s a link to a YouTube video that’s really fun – give it a shot!
So, what do you think?
Hey, all! It’s been a long time, but Wine Fridays are back! 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.)
Belle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Manteca, CA Usually $9.99, on sale for $6.99 at Vons; Alcohol 13.0% by Volume
On The Label: “Belle Ambiance is a beautiful spot nestled in one of our family vinehards. During our 80 years of winemaking, we’ve enjoyed many perfect moments here under the shade of its ancient oak tree relaxing, watching the sun set, and basking in the moment with friends and a glass of wine. We created this luscious, rich, indulgent Cabernet Sauvignon to share that feeling with you.” BelleAmbianceVineyards.com
MyTake: I liked that the label wasn’t too into wine-babble; it struck me as a family-friendly label, lol. However, this was a meh wine to me. Either it hasn’t reached its peak yet (being a 2012), or it has passed its peak; it wasn’t memorable for being big and rich, nor was it past its prime. This is a new wine to me, and maybe I just need to try it again. For the price, and maybe for a second bottle at dinner, it’s fine and won’t upset anyone; but it’s nothing to brag about, either.
They’re owned by the Delicato Family Vineyards, and have a raft of wines under $10: for more on them, go here.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ Though there are other, more enjoyable wines out there for the same price.
Rosenblum Cellars Vintner’s Cuvee XXXV Zinfandel Sonoma, CA Usually $13.99, on sale $6.79 at Vons; Alcohol 14.5% by Volume
On the Label: Zinfandel is our signature wine, and with rich and layered flavors, it’s an excellent introduction to the Rosenblum Cellars style of wine making. We designate an anniversary number to each Zinfandel Cuvee blend, honoring our history with ‘America’s Heritage Grape’. Kick back around the table and enjoy this wine’s intense and robust flavors. Notes of blackberry, wild raspberry and cassis make it a delicious complement to hearty pasta and barbecue dishes.” rosenblumcellars.com
My Take: This was a lovely Zinfandel blend that perfectly accompanied the honey-balsamic pulled pork sliders I made last weekend. Its richness cut through the sweet-sour of the pork, and worked well with the purple cabbage Asian slaw side dish. It is most definitely a wine you want to sip with dinner, or at least with snacks, either in front of a fire (for those of you buried in snow back east) or while watching the sun set (for us west coast types). It feels young, still, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it ages. (Ha! As if I can keep a bottle that long…!)
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Especially at this price (which I’m guessing won’t be long, since it’s such an odd price point)! As soon as my paycheck clears, I’ll be grabbing a couple more bottles of this, just in case we grill some steaks this weekend.
What are you drinking these days? Does the weather outside change what you’re drinking inside? Sound off, and let me 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.