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.
Leese-Fitch California Chardonnay 2010 13.9% Alcohol by Volume; $9.99 at Vons
On the Labels: (This one has stuff on the front as well) “Established in 1836, the Leese-Fitch adobe has been home to a girl’s school, a hotel, a military headquarters, along with several saloons and restaruants. In 2004, it became the home of the The Other Guys, part of Don Sebastiani & Sons.”
“This wine celebrates our home, the Leese-Fitch Adobe. Built in 1836, this historical landmark in the Sonoma Plaza was named after Jacob Leese and Henry Fitch, brothers-in-law to General Mariano Vallejo, the founder of the town of Sonoma.”
My Take: Ah. What a refreshing label. None of the nonsense about how this wine will make you beautiful, clean your house, and give you a party in your mouth. Ahem. Also, the way the bottle is “corked” is fabulous – which was actually one (okay, the main) reason why I bought the bottle.
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ It’s not a big wine; it has no real pretensions to greatness, but you know what? Usually I want a wine that complements the food – not food that must stand up to the wine. So for me, this is an easy -drinking wine that I’ll keep an eye out for, especially when I’m doing a big dinner salad and other veggies as a main meal. Something I’m doing a lot more these days and boy, don’t I feel healthier?
Steelbird Smoking Loon Unoaked Chardonnay, 2011
California Alcohol 13.5% by Volume; $5.99 on sale at Vons.
On the Label: “Rarely seen was the Steelbird, who fo’ da most part kept to himself, but would swoop in an’ fly the Smoking Loon outta there if he got in a tight spot,” Jake went on, chomping on his cigar. “Mos’ folks figured Steelbird was just an odd duck, but his inner circle knew he was more dependable than anyone else. A smooth operator, never takin’ any chances. He kept his ride pristine – sleek, gleaming and finely tuned. He’d maneuver these impossible routes, fast as lightnin’, without a scratch.”
My Take: This is another arm of the Don Sebastiani & Sons winemaking business, and one of my favorite labels. So when I saw this one sitting on the shelf, I had to pick it up. Especially because, hello! Screw top! I do love screw tops.
Plus, how can you resist a label that has nothing to do with the wines? I feel like I could pull up a bottle and a glass (or sit beside a cask of wine with a pour spout thingy) and listen to Jake all day long. What stories he has to tell!
Regarding the wine, it is surprisingly similar to the Leese-Fitch (and I didn’t know they were made by the same family, I swear, until just a few minutes ago). Kind of bland and unoffensive – and for being an unoaked chardonnay, there is very little of the steeliness in it, which is a plus to me. Steel is not my favorite flavor in wine. But it went beautifully with the double-veggie-stuffed baked potatoes and salad that we had for dinner last night, and that’s all one hopes for with a wine, you know?
My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ And Hello! Affordable! Plus both bottles are attractive and won’t look like you went cheap if you take it to a picnic.
Thanks so much for dropping by. What wines have you tried lately that have reached Slut status? Or that you wouldn’t drink again even on pain of severe injury? Spill it in the comments!
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! ~
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My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!
Nice to know about, especially for our Meatless Mondays. Thanks!
Perfect corkage for a picnic too and they sound good for a warm summer evening of Shakespeare in the park. Okay, a little sick of the back and forth weather right now.
Oh, me too. Frost on my veggies this morning, I mean seriously! FROST! Grrr.
Wine…with veggies…genius! Who knows, I might actually start eating my veggies like a good girl. I will have to give this a shot. Thanks Christine!
LOL Sam – eat those veggies!
I’ve had pretty good luck with Smoking Loon. It’s not amazing wine, but it’s good and, as you say, cheap. Thanks for the wine tips!