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…
Dynamite Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Red Hills Lake County 13.99% alcohol Regularly $19.99, on sale at Vons for $9.99
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! ~
Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet?
Okay, love the names of this week’s wines. The label for Dynamite is fabulous. All will be going on the to be drank list even the everyday Dynamite. I am wondering how it would pair with my new favorite pork roast recipe.
You might LOVE the Dynamite, and I think it would pair beautifully with pork. The problem with it is, when it’s not on sale it’s a $20 bottle of wine. So hopefully when you pick it up, it IS on sale…
Dear Wine Lady,
I will be hosting a small gathering for friends soon and was wondering what you would recommend for wine. I do not intend to serve the best stuff in town, but will probably buy a couple of the over-sized bottles and am thinking about a White Souvignon (spe?) and what would you recommend for a red?
Thank you in advance for your expert advice.
I definitely suggest my favorite go-to pinot noir, Smoking Loon. Especially since it’s almost-always sale price at Vons is $5.99. There are some real good Champagnes out there, as well, for under $10 a bottle. I hope some of your friends think to bring a bottle!
I personally haven’t tried any white cabernet; for white I would stick with either a nice Chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio (or whatever YOUR taste buds like). Beringer has a tasty Pinot Grigio that’s on sale right now for $4.99 – can’t beat that, and the label doesn’t scream “cheap” either. It’s definitely going to be toasty warm this next coming week, so keep that in mind, too.
Have a wonderful party!
Okay, now I feel SO TOTALLY STUPID. White Sauvignon – Sauvignon Blanc – DUH! I blame my thick-headedness to the fact that I am occasionally not lucid. The penny dropped when I was writing up a review of a Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc…LOL! The joke is on me, Lynne…
As you know, I favor the Pinot Noir. It seems easier on the stomache. : 0 Anyway, I love the sound of the Steelhead PN. I can almost taste the wine by your description. Bet it’s delish with salmon. My fave take out place Bouchee Fine Foods, does a cold salmon with pesto, for about $5 a piece. Perfect for those days when I don’t want to cook in this heat. I feel like jumping into the car and … .
Robena, I know, right? There’s something about cold salmon that puts a nice chill on a hot day. Definitely try the Steelhead Pinot – I think you’ll be very happy with that wine!