It’s Friday, YAY! Once again I’m filling you in on wines that are under $10 at your local grocery stores. Okay, to be honest, they’re MY local grocery stores – but I’m pretty sure they’re generic enough that you’ll be able to find the wines wherever you may be (at least, if you’re in the U.S.) Today I step outside of the West Coast of the United States, however, and venture abroad. But first…
To Swirl, or Not to Swirl? Lettie Teague fills you in on the art of the swirl – she’s got a video and everything! Go here for more info. Now…on to the wine!
Gabbiano Chianti Classico, 2008 Product of Italy Alcohol, 13.%% by Volume. Under $10 (according to my husband)
On the Label: “In 1124, Castello di Gabbiano was extablished in the heart of the renowned Chianti Classico region. During the Middle Ages, a courageous Italian knight, Il Cavaliere, dedicated himself to protecting our castle and vineyards. His code of honor came to embody our philosophy that the finest things in life deserve our fiercest commitment – estate vineyards, Old World traditions, and the enjoyment of robust wines. Our Gabbiano Chianti Classico has rich flavors of berry and pepper. Salute.”
My Take: I’m pretty sure I’ve reviewed Gabbiano before, but that I guess doesn’t matter. This is a lovely wine, and as advertised is rich with berry and that peppery taste I adore. We had it with parmesan mustard chicken, and it was a delightful accompaniment. It won’t rock anyone’s world, but it’s a solid player in the red wine department.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~
Picton Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 Product of New Zealand Alcohol 13.0% by volume; $7.99 at Trader Joe’s. (This was a screwtop bottle.)
On the Label: This wine is made from grapes grown in Marlborough and Nelson. Picton Bay Pinot Noir is fresh with delicious red fruit flavours, enticing spicy aromas and a smooth, fine texture. Drink now or cellar until 2015.
My Take: I was thrilled to find a red from New Zealand, and surprised to see it was a 2011. All the latest reds in the States have been 2010s, so I was a bit worried about drinking this obviously very young wine. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The wine was smooth – young, yes, but eminently drinkable right now. I may have to put a couple bottles aside and see how they taste a year from now…except, you know. I’ll never manage to hang onto them that long!
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ especially at this price!
Goats in Villages Shiraz Pinotage 2008 The Goats Do Roam Wine Company, South Africa Alcohol 14% by Volume $7.99 at Trader Joe’s. (Yes, that’s a screwtop.)
On the Label: “Africa has a way of bringing out the best in people. With its magnitude and raw beauty, and the intensity of day to day living, Africa draws on one’s deepest spiritual resources. Rebecca and Gary Mink moved from the United States to the wilds of the Caprivi in Northern Namibia, where they founded the Children of Zion Village to care for children orphaned by AIDS. Their immense courage and spirit however, could not fully offset their limited financial resources, and they were soon overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. An urgent appeal was sent for goats – and immediately a group of young does and bucks from our Goats do Roam herd volunteered, rushing north to supply our nutritious milk and gentle company. Our caprine colleagues who stayed behind in the Western Cape have carefully selected the finest grapes from which to make this complex wine. Rich, spicy Shiraz and ripe, robust Pinotage are carefully blended to emphasize the fruit, whilst judicious oaking adds elegance and structure, befitting the noble gesture made by the Goats who roam in African Villages. Enjoy this wine with barbecued meats and full flavored dishes.”
My Take: Wow, what a story! We had it with our corned beef on St. Patty’s day; and the wine was surprisingly superb. When my hubby tasted it (without knowing its name or where it had been made), he said there was something unusual – earthy, maybe – about the wine, and he quite liked it. I did, too – and am planning on going back and getting more.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ I mean, come on. When was the last time you consumed anything from South Africa?!!
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and 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! ~
My award-winning novel, Demon Soul, is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet? If you’ve read it, have you reviewed it on Amazon?
My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!
The news lately is depressing. Red meat kills you faster than anyone had thought (Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, March 13, 2012). You’re not supposed to drink coffee prior to donating blood, as coffee lowers your iron count. (This is new!)
According to heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell, our years of eating highly processed carbohydrates and the excess consumption of omega 6 vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, and sunflower oil is the #1 major cause of heart disease, and not cholesterol (Sott.net, March 1, 2012). Here’s a quote from the Sott article: “Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped. ” It’s a fascinating article, and I highly recommend you read all of it.
PANIC TIME All this news, though, has caused me to panic in the kitchen. I enjoy making bread, and feeding steak and smashed potatoes to my boys. But at the same time, I want my family to stay healthy. What’s an omnivore who has no interest in changing her stripes to do?
I reached for a bottle of wine, natch!
Starborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand Alcohol 13% by volume. Regularly $12.84 at Vons; on 30% off special for $8.99. (DON’T get me started on that phony $12.84 pricing.)
On the Label: “New Zealand’s South Island is home to the Marlborough wine growing region, known for its natural beauty and some of the world’s finest Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough’s favourable climate and diverse geography develop wines with a unique character, making them as flavourful as they are refreshing.
“Our Sauvignon Blanc delivers all of the refreshing citrus aromas and lively acidity that characterizes the Marlborough region. Our goal is to take the Starborough experience even further; with a layered testure and long, crisp finish that truly epitomizes the character of New Zealand itself.”
My Take: I liked this wine a lot. I’d come home from work and was in a bit of a panic about dinner; found a healthy recipe and scooted off to the store. Found this wine – and felt my panic recede a bit. The wine was crisp, clean, and yet had a hint of sweetness. Refreshing and very easy to drink. After my first sip, I felt panic slip away and I began to cook.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ I think I may just start buying NZ Sauvignon Blancs when I’m in an S. Blancish mood.
Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms via MyRecipes.com
This recipe is one of my favorites – I didn’t list it here, because I didn’t create it, but do check it out. Grilled mushrooms, chopped tomato, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil and mozzarella cheese – what’s not to love?
Ahhh…I was sipping wine though, remember. And I was a bit panicked about life and eating. So where the recipe called for 2/3 cup of chopped tomato, I tossed in three chopped tomatoes. And where the recipe called for 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, I threw in a pound. (Oh, a handful at a time – but by the time I was done, the whole 16 oz bag had gone in. Whoops!)
The only bad thing was, I had made enough filling for twelve portobellos, instead of four. Sigh. If any of us had remembered to put up the extra, it would have made terrific topping for pizza! I did follow the rest of the recipe to the letter – grilling, basting, filling, and melting – and the mushrooms turned out spectacular (by far my favorite way to have them).
I paired this with a lovely chopped salad of bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber, spring onions, feta, three different types of lettuce (butter, red, and some crinkly artisanal lettuce), fresh basil, fresh parsley, and shredded carrot; squeezed one Meyer lemon over it all and added a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper, and mixed the heck out of it all. Tasted wonderful (and there were leftovers for lunch the next day).
On to the next bottle! After a full day of gardening, I came inside and opened another NZ bottle of wine…
thanks to http://www.wine.com
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand Alcohol 13% by Volume – on sale for $8.99 at Vons
On the Label: “Oyster Bay captures the special character of New Zealand’s cool climate viticulture…elegant, assertive wines with glorious fruit flavors.”
My Take: Nice and brief label – love it. I enjoyed this wine, too…it had a slightly more acidic flavor to it, which held up beautifully when paired with a robust chicken/mushroom soup I made and doctored the family with this past week.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Honestly, I was very pleased with the quality of both these wines. I will go out of my way to search for more New Zealand wines – hopefully I can find some yummy reds, too!
Well, that’s it for this week. Do you have any recommendations for wine under $10? I’m always looking for new ones to try! Remember the ratings are based on my taste buds (and sometimes those of my hubby), and will be influenced by how much the media has managed to panic me that week, how much gardening I’ve done, and the phase of the moon. Your taste buds will be different.
Thanks for dropping by – and remember to Drink Responsibly!