Coppola and Mondavi Wines

Coppola and Mondavi Wines

Today on Wine Friday, I’ve got a white wine on sale for $11, and a red wine on sale at under $6. As I’m all about the tasty wine under $10 when possible, these two are a good fit for the blog (despite the $11 sale price).

bottle_sauvignon-blancFrancis Coppola Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Yellow Label  Alcohol, 13% by Volume;  Regularly $14.99, on sale at Vons for $10.99

On the Label: “Dramatic style, vibrant packaging and fruit-forward, smooth wines are the signatures of Francis Coppola Diamond Collection.  Our Sauvignon Blanc delivers a beautiful perfume of tangerine, pink grapefruit, and honeysuckle followed by juicy flavors of tropical fruit, zesty citrus, and a int of minerals.  Delicious with grilled fish or spring greens with fruit and goat cheese. Learn more about our wines at”

My Take: It’s a good sipping wine, a good wine with crab quiche, good with your Easter ham. I don’t know what I was expecting; I’m finding that one Sauvignon Blanc tastes very like another, which is rather disappointing. I suppose some day I should have a Sauv Blanc tasting party, just so I can see if I’m right and they DO all taste alike, or if some have a better something than the others. Hmmm.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable to Very Drinkable ~ and if you’re going to relatives for Easter lunch or brunch, this would be a good bottle to bring along with you. It does have a certain panache, after all, with the Coppola name on it.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir 2012  Alcohol 13.5% by Volume; pinot-noir-bt$5.98 on sale at Vons.

On the Label: ” ‘One of a winemaker’s most valuable companions is patience.’ – Robert Mondavi

“Pinot Noir is a challenging grape to grow in any climate  Winemaker Rick Boyer patiently selects fruit from our best California vineyards to create a wine with classic notes of violet, rose petal and red cherries.

“Become our valued companion on Facebook.”

My Take: Facebook? Hm. Maybe I will click “like” on that page. That said, I like Mondavi wines. They tend to be reliable, solid structurally, and rarely is there a bad bottle among the Mondavi line.  This Pinot, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, doesn’t make my Smoking Loon test. (Which is, is this wine better than the Smoking Loon Pinot Noir, which I can almost always get for $5.99?) I usually don’t bring that test up when the price point is so dead on, but for some reason, while this is a perfectly acceptable Pinot Noir, it didn’t hit my sweet spot this week. Which means, of course, I’ll have to try another bottle (because at $5.98, why not?).

My Rating: ~ Drinkable to Very Drinkable ~ Maybe I was just in a mood.


With the continuing unpredictable weather we’re having, what are  you going to be drinking this Easter Sunday?

Two wines, 50% Off

Two wines, 50% Off

I have a love-hate relationship with the 50% Off shopping cart parked in the wine aisle at my local Pavillions grocery store. Half the time there’s nothing there I want to sample; the rest of the time there are deals too good to pass up. This post points up why sometimes, when dealing with Sale wine, a “too good” deal can cut both ways.

photo of the bottle of a woodbridge chardonnayWoodbridge California Chardonnay 2011 by Robert Mondavi Alcohol 13.5% by volume; 1.5L; Regular price $15.99, half price $8.00 at Pavillions.

On the Label:  “Our Chardonnay’s vibrant fruit, spice notes and creamy texture make it an elegant match for roasted chicken, grilled fish, fresh salads and creamy cheeses. Believing that wine should be an integral part of life, Robert Mondavi founded Woodbridge Wintery in 1979 to make fine wines for every occasion. He returned to his childhood roots in historic Lodi, California to craft wines using his signature techniques that combine rich tradition with state-of-the-art innovatin. To learn more, visit .”

My take: I’ll be honest. I picked up this wine for three reasons: $8 for 1.5L, 2011 Chardonnay, and the Robert Mondavi name. I don’t remember but I believe when I first became aware of Woodbridge, they didn’t tie the Mondavi name to it; and I didn’t like what I tasted when I first found it, years ago now. So I almost never pick up Woodbridge wines. Plus, this was a bulk wine, and while I usually don’t mind bulk wines (especially chardonnays or pinot grigios), this was a Woodbridge bulk wine.

But I picked it up anyway. And for once, the label rang true. This wine went with chicken one night, fish the next. It was a terrific sipping wine for the cook; and because it was a 1.5 liter bottle, it lasted longer than two days which is always a plus.

My Rating: ~ Very Good ~ I went back to pick up another bottle, but didn’t find any still on sale. Found a lot of Woodbridge Muscat, which made me think that perhaps this bottle got mis-sale-labelled? If so, yay for me!

Byron Santa Maria Valley 2002 Chardonnay Alcohol 14.2% by volume; Regularphoto of bottle of Byron chardonnay 2002 price $18.97, 50% off for $9.49 at Pavillions.

On the Label: Santa Maria Valley’s unique combination of ultra-cool climate and very long growing season makes it a natural wonder of the winegrowing world.  This wine was proudly grown, produced, and bottled on our estate to achieve the ultimate expression of California Chardonnay. ~Ken Brown, Founder & Winemaker May be cellared for five years or more.

My Take: Oooookay. I was good with the label until the last line…”may be cellared for five years or more”. Since this is a 2002, five years would put it at 2007. A judicious “or more” would be two more years – which would put it at 2009. And here we are, at the tail end of 2012.

I was really looking forward to tasting this wine, as Byron has a good reputation. Unfortunately, ten years past the bottling date is (and I’m guessing here) 3 to 5 years too long, which makes me wonder a) why Pavillions still had enough of this wine to put more than a bottle or two in the cart for their 50% off sale and b) if it was a new purchase, for God’s sakes, why? Two questions I’ll never know the answer to, I’m guessing.

This wine was to go with the roasted chicken. I tasted it. Hubby tasted it. We opened the Woodbridge that night, instead, and I decided I’d turn the Byron into Sangria. I put it back in the fridge and forgot about it until a couple days later. The next time I noticed it? After tasting it again, I poured it down the drain.

My Rating: ~ Life’s Too Short to Drink Out-Of-Date Wine ~ (otherwise known as Undrinkable) I’m hoping another Byron wine will come my way, so I can do a proper tasting. But as I mentioned in another post, do NOT drink white wines any further out than five years from the date on the bottle, unless a) you paid a heck of a lot more than $10 for it and b) someone else is treating you.


As usual, this is just my honest opinion and will totally 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!

Rieslings for the Summer

Rieslings for the Summer

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.

My friend and fellow writer, Kathy Bennett, asked about Rieslings a few posts ago.  Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know I’m not a sweet wine fan. But being the dedicated Wine Blogger that I am, I forged ahead into uncharted waters and tasted some Rieslings this past weekend. So here you go, Kathy…hope you find a few in here that  you like! (I know I did…)

Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Riesling, 2010
Monterey County, California 100% Jackson Estates Grown.   Alcohol 13.0% by volume; regularly $14.99, on sale at Albertson’s for $9.99.

On the Label: “The less we handle the fruit, the better the quality. The combination of climate, soil and hillside vineyards delivers a superior-flavored grape.  Our Jackson Estates Grown Riesling is no exception. Stone-fruit flavors of apricot and peach deliciously mingle with hints of Anjou pear and bursts of jasmine. This wine’s distinctive taste is a result of the coastal vineyards in Monterey County, from where it was harvested.”   –Founder, Jess S. Jackson

My Take: I really liked this wine, to my vast surprise. It has a faint flowery scent and a touch of the sweetness – just perfect for a spring meal (Easter, perhaps). The hubby wasn’t as enamored as I was, due to the slightly steely aftertaste and not enough sweetness in the foretaste.

My Rating:  ~ Very Drinkable ~ I’ll definitely keep it in mind now for those spring/summer warm to hot days.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Riesling, 2009  California  Alcohol, 12.5% by volume  Regular price, $11.99 – on sale for $6.99 at Albertsons

On the Label: “Through timeless winemaking innovation, an uncompromising eye for quality and unshakable faith in California’s vineyards, Robert Mondavi was a pioneer in producing wines that rival the world’s finest. The enticing floral and spice notes of our Riesling weave through the crisp fruit flavors.”

My Take: This wine smells like honey in a glass, and also has a lovely aftertaste of honey – light, crisp, sweet but not too sweet. My hubby said  “This is  a Riesling!” For me, this particular wine isn’t one I’d reach for on a daily basis, but for all of that it sits pleasantly on the palate and begs for a picnic at a scenic spot with someone special.  Some sharp cheese, maybe salami, and this wine – you’ve got a winner.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Plus it’s a fantastic price!

Chateau St. Michelle Riesling 2010 Columbia Valley, Washington State  Alcohol 11.0% by volume  Regularly $9.99, on sale for $7.99 at Albertsons.

On the Label:  “Enjoy classic Washington state Riesling in this fresh, crisp and balanced style. Delicious flavors of ripe peach and juicy pear are underscored with racy acidity.”

My Take: Admittedly, I had this wine under unusual circumstances. 1. I’d already had two glasses of Pinot Noir. 2. The wine wasn’t properly chilled. 3. I wasn’t really looking to have more wine. However, this blog called…and the wine answered. To my surprise, it was my favorite of all three. The sweetness is balanced between the Kendall Jackson and the Mondavi; the alcohol content is lower than both; and there’s no steely aftertaste. The scent is fresh and floral, but not overwhelming. Perfect for a picnic, or a before dinner drink.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ It doesn’t get a higher rating because, frankly, it’s not a red.  But to my taste buds, it’s the best of the three. Hubby preferred the Mondavi – and we’d both still drink the Kendall Jackson. And to my surprise, I’m now a Riesling fan!

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. And hey – if you’ve got a varietal out there you want me to taste, let me know! You know where to find me…

~ 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?

 My rating system: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!