Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beer or Wine, the pleasure is all Mine

  I haven't been posting recently.  Why?  I've found a new beverage that has intrigued me, beer.  As much as I am a wine novice, my knowledge of beer is far less.  When people describe a beer as "hoppy" or "full of malt" I have no idea what they mean.  As a matter of fact, I could have cared less.  I was never a beer girl.  The only reason I'd drink beer was to get drunk.  If I wanted to drink to take the edge off a tough day, to relax or unwind, or to have something enjoyable, I'd open a bottle of wine.  Except for recently.

  I noticed back in October, for some reason, I really wanted to try pumpkin beer.  It was one of those things, everyone else seemed to be doing it.  I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.  Fortunately for me, there is a fantastic beer and wine store not that far from my home.  Total Wine & More.  They have an entire section dedicated to seasonal beer.  Then two aisles of single beers.  Just about any beer you may like is represented.  I found myself going there and making my own six-pack.  Many times it was just based on the prettiness of the label and sometimes the brief description of the beer.  We all know this is not the best way to find something to drink.  I decided it was time to begin my education in beer and share this all still enjoying a great wine from time to time.

  As 2013 approaches I hope to post more often with information and with what I'm currently enjoying!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blueberry Pinot

  Last weekend I was out doing some site seeing.  I was not planning on buying any wine.  My wine rack is flowing over and I made a promise to myself I needed to open a few more bottles before I add another.  We  ventured to National Harbor right outside of Washington DC.  Fortunately for us there was a little open air market going on.  We walked around, picked up some amazingly yummy tomatoes and nectarines.  Just as we were about to head to the car, we saw a small tent offering wine samples.  Well, I don't know about you, but when I see wine samples...I'm like a moth to a flame.  I cannot walk away.
  The winery was Solomon Island Winery.  This is a local Maryland vineyard located in Lusby, Maryland.  This day they were offering their Island Mist collection.  I sipped Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc, Mango Symphony, Watermelon White Merlot and last but not least Blueberry Pinot Noir.  I liked all of them, but the Blueberry Pinot Noir stood out.  
  It is labeled as a sweet wine.  Compared to many sweet wines that I've had the pleasure of tasting I did not come off as a sugary sweet wine.  Instead, it was more of a strong blueberry pinot noir.  It is recommended to be served chilled.  I don't typically like my pinots cold.  To me, if a wine is too cold it loses a lot of the flavor.  I tried this chilled and room temperature and both were absolutely delish!!  I must admit slightly cool is my favorite.  Will I purchase another bottle?  No.  I will pick up a case next chance I can!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Strawberry Banana Vine Smoothie Recipe

  I've noticed many people find this blog after searching for "Vine Smoothie Recipes".  Realizing what a huge disappointment this blog must be to those searchers I've decided to add a recipe. First I should say there are real recipes listed on Vine Smoothie's website.  I chose not to look there...actually making my evening drink kinda came upon me in a different way.

  I originally planned on having a simple glass of wine.  I have this chardonnay that I've been wanting to taste.  The warm weather today...well, it just seemed like a chard kinda day.  I was all set to pop open the chardonnay, when the bottle of Strawberry Vine Smoothie appeared.  Originally, I was just going to drink it over ice, but changed my mind and decided to try it blended over ice.

Some Ice
 As I was about to pour the strawberry vine smoothie into the blender, I spotted a banana on the counter.  Then I blended until smooth.

Guesstimate I added 8oz of Strawberry Wine Smoothie
  Once completed I took an apprehensive sip and was pleasantly surprised.  I find vine smoothies can be a bit strong, even over a few ice cubes.  Adding the banana and blending over ice, softened the taste.  It was actually perfect.  If you prefer more of a strawberry taste, add more smoothie, prefer more of a banana taste, add more banana or maybe use less around with it

TA DAH!!! My Strawberry Banana Wine Smoothie

Monday, August 20, 2012

Scheurebe- Looking for something different?

  How do you like your scheurebe?  What?  Never heard of it?  Welcome to the club.  When I received this bottle all I knew about it was it was sweet and light (it came as in a shipment from Vinesse Sweet and Light wine club). 
  It seems over the years Germany has crossed quite a bit of grapes.  Scheurebe (pronounced shoy-ray-beh) is a cross between riesling and silvaner.  I had the pleasure of having my first glass of scheurebe to be 2010 Louis Guntrum.  According to the information I received from Vinesse:

   "Louis Guntrum crafts its Scheurbe in a sweet (but not too sweet) style that's also mildly spritzy.  The 2010 vintage is an exceptional wine-perfectly balanced and fruitful, with just a hint of Germany's famous minerality."

  If you prefer your wines slightly sweet, not sugary, light and with a pop, you will adore this wine.  I think it's perfect for a mixed crowd of wine drinkers.  Not too sweet, not too dry, simple easy and fun to drink.  Check it out!!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

When a Beast is Not so Beastly

  This week I opened up a bottle that I have been holding onto for awhile now.  I can't say why I have, I guess I was waiting for the perfect occasion.  Fortunately for all the perfect occasion came up.
  I had a few friends over, nothing special, just to giggle and talk.  A perfect time to try something new!  I decided to open up a Big House Wine.  I thoroughly enjoyed the last Big House wine I tried, Big House Red and was eagerly anticipating my first sip of Cardinal Zin Beastly Old Vines.

Since most wine newbies tend to go toward the sweet, I'll put this right out there, this is not a sweet wine.  But do not fret, it is not a dry wine either.  This is a delicious zinfandel.  Not familiar with zinfandels?  I wasn't either.  This was my first and from this experience I will definitely be drinking more.  I would classify this as a slightly heavy wine...what does that mean?  To me, it is a wine that has some substance to it, a couple of sips on an empty stomach and you will feel it.  It coats your tongue and the flavor stays with you from lips to back of throat.  I wouldn't call this a summer wine, but let's be real, a good wine is good all year round.  Check it out and let me know your thoughts. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I'll have Another of The Other

  I first heard about The Other Red Wine by Peirano Estate Vineyards, from a fellow wine blogger, D'Vine Wine Time.  I love this blog, well written, informative, funny and it seems we have similar taste (very important when reading wine reviews).  Awhile back she wrote a post titled, Liquid Artwork.  After reading her review I added The Other Red Blend to my list.

  I wasn't able to find it at my usual wine store, so it moved to the back burner.  Then one day, while strolling around a local strip mall I spotted a new wine shop.  I felt like a kid discovering a new toy store.  As I slowly walked up and down the aisles, swearing i was just going to look, I saw it.  Let me first say, the review I read, included a picture.  Once you see a picture of this bottle, it stays with you.  I knew right away when i saw it, that I had to get it.

How can you forget a label like this?
First sip, soft and smooth as silk!!  It's difficult to believe this is a blend.  According to their website it is "45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 10% Syrah"  I loved every drop of it.  Like I said, soft, easy to drink, not sweet, but not overly dry.  I think this would be the perfect wine for a dinner amongst friends that enjoy various types of wines.  Try it out and let me know your thoughts.

I just saw they have a white blend, I'll definitely have my eyes out for that!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Judging a Wine by its Name

  Have you ever decided on a wine because of it's name?  I admit, I have.  Awhile back I fell head over heels in love with Cupcake Vineyards pinot noir.  That infatuation lead me to Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet.  I was wandering around my wine shop and for the first time in a long time their Cupcake Vineyards display was pretty full (typically this display in particular empties just as soon as it is filled).  When I saw the bottle sitting there I couldn't help myself.  Red velvet, all I could think about was a sweet, luscious make-my-teeth-ache yumminess.
  I could not have been more wrong.  This is not a sweet wine.  But don't get me wrong, it is a delicious wine.  According to their site Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet "is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah".  I noticed a slight hint of chocolate with red and blackberries.  The combination works out perfectly. The velvet in the name must come from the absolutely smooth, velvety finish.

  Check it out, and let me know how you enjoyed you red velvet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some Summer Wines

  Summer is quickly approaching.  Hot days, warm nights, lots of cook outs and time for friends and family.  What you drink during the summer tends to be a little different then what you sip over the cooler months.  Again, I'm far from an expert, but here are my suggestions of some fantastic summer wines.  All of these are perfect to enjoy sitting outside enjoying the sun with friends, or tucked away in air conditioning watching a movie while a summer storm passes by.  Pick up a bottle, grab an opener and enjoy!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Totally Random

  I was perusing my most recent shipment of wines from Vinesse Light and Sweet Wine Club when I discovered Totally Random Moscato.  I wasn't sure if I was in a moscato mood, until I read the back of the bottle:
When a quiet night at home becomes a dance party, or a dinner with friends starts at dusk and ends at sunrise - life is giving you its best when you least expect it.  So prepare for the unexpected.  Be.  Live.  Totally Random

  After reading I popped the cork and decided to live a little, and boy did I!  This wine is perfect for a night in with your sweet wine loving mate.  I also think it's a great bottle to have around in case friends stop by or for that spontaneous summer cook out.  It's sweet, ripe, fruity, but most importantly it's YUM!!  My "I-only-drink-sweet" husband really enjoyed this with me.  Grab a bottle and let me know your thoughts!

You can pick up a bottle here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

FishEye Pinot Grigio

  Do you like your pinot grigio soft, smooth with a hint of sweetness?  If so, then you will adore FishEye Winery's Pinot Grigio.

FishEye winery is located in Griffith Australia.  I can honestly say I have not tried many, if any Australian wines.  After my first sip of this pinot grigio, I decided I needed to correct this mishap.  I really, really enjoyed this wine.  It smells of peach and tastes of tropical fruit.  I would say it leans more toward the fruity flavor, than sweet.  It's perfect for warm spring or summer days.  What aids in it's beauty?  It's suggested retail price of under $10 for 750ml (I received this as a sample for review).  I definitely will be stocking up on this for weekend cookouts and dinner with friends.

  Throw something yummy on the grill and open up a bottle.  Trust me, your guests will thank you!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Moscato by Lulu B Wine

What do you do when the weatherman is predicting a beautiful, warm day?

  Have a glass of Lulu B wine Moscato, what else?

If you know anything about wine, you probably know moscato is a sweet wine.  This grape has recently become one of the most popular types of wine for new wine drinkers.  Grab a bottle of Lulu B moscato and you will see why.  It's sweet, but not syrupy, crisp and fruity.  This bottle was empty before I even knew what happened!  Will I be buying more?  You betcha!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Are you in a Wine Rut?

  I read a very interesting article the other day.  It got me thinking about how easy it is to get into a wine rut, especially when you are new to wine.  You find something you like, why risk trying something new.  It can get pretty expensive, pouring un-liked wine down the drain.  So how do you expand your wine knowledge, without it costing you too much?  Check out the post from Matt The Wine Guy, great suggestions there.  And try out a few of my ideas, so far they have all worked well for me.
  • #Winechat- I've mentioned this before.  It's a weekly get together via twitter.  Each week there is a different topic.  It could be wines from a particular country, wines from a particular part of the country, or just a different type of wine.  It's a great opportunity to engage your local wine store clerk.  Tell them you are in a wine group and this week you are drinking X.  Give them your price range, the types of wines you prefer and let them help you find something.  Now, this can be hit or miss, but I love it because each week it gives me a chance to step out of my safety zone and try something different.
  • Wine Festivals- Spring and summer are perfect times for wine festivals.  In some areas, there are a few each weekend.  These festivals offer up an excellent chance to try many wines for a very low price.  In my area, the various wine festivals feature local wines.  There is nothing better then learning about and supporting your local wine producers.  If you don't want to shell out the money to attend one of these festivals, try volunteering.  Many of the vineyards request volunteers.  They typically pair you up with someone that is knowledgeable about wine, you'll be amazed at all you will learn.  Not only will you get into the festival for free, some may even pay you for your time and most likely you'll get a discounted bottle of wine out of it too!
  • Wine Blogs- I love reading blogs.  Whenever I read a review that excites and tantalizes me, I add that wine to my shopping list.  If I purchase and like the wine, I go back to that blogger and see what else they recommend.  I admit, this can be hit or miss, but finding a blogger or reviewer that shares your taste is not too complicated.  And if you let them know you've enjoyed their selection, most likely they will offer up another wine for you to try.
Do you have a way to try new wines, without spending a ton of money?

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Many Faces of Vine Smoothie

  This weeks wine kinda sneaked up on me.  I went to my pharmacy to drop off a prescription.  While waiting, I did what any normal person would do.  I visited the wine shop located in the strip mall.  In the front of the store there was a display for Vine Smoothie.  I admit, I only know of Vine Smoothie because of twitter, we follow each other.  But up until today, I had not seen it in the stores.  This particular store carried two flavors, pineapple coconut and peach.  I'm not a huge pina colada fan, I picked up a bottle of the peach.
  When I got home I went straight to the Vine Smoothie website.  There I learned exactly what this was I just purchased.  Vine Smoothie is a combination of all natural, gluten free flavors, French chardonnay and Holland's famous dutch cream.  They come in 4 flavors peach, berry, pineapple coconut and strawberry.  According to the website, all you need to do is chill and pour.  I decided to go a tiny step further and blend, with our Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, with ice to make a smoothie.

Peach Vine Smoothie Blended with ice

Mmmmm, mmmmmm!  It was delish!!  Sweet (but not too sweet) and very easy to drink.  I kept mine pretty light, but depending on the amount of ice you use, yours can be as strong as you want it.  I also tried it straight.  That I found to be a bit too strong.  I added a few ice cubes, let it mix for a minute or two then took a sip.

 Again, I was thoroughly pleased.  The only downside, it was so yummy, the bottle was empty before we had a chance to try some of the recipes.  
  I cannot imagine anything better on a hot summer day.  I know what I'll be bringing to all the cookouts and events I'll be attending this summer.

  I'm currently scouring my local wine shops for the other flavors.  As soon as I get my hands on another bottle, I will let you know how the recipes go!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wine in the Big House

I read a review some time ago about a wine called Big House Red. After reading it, I quickly added it to my shopping list. This week I decided to try this interesting red blend.

This wine is a blend of quite a few varieties: 27% Petite Sirah, 14.5% Syrah, 8.6% Montepulciano, 8.2% Barbera, 6.4% Nero d’Avola, 6.1% Tempranillo, 3.3% Malbec, 2.4% Aglianico, 2.4% Souzao, 2.3% Charbono, 2.2% Petite Verdot, 2.1% Cabernet Franc, 2% Tannat, 12.5% Other Esoteric Reds. I can honestly say I wasn't too sure about this. All the various types of wine, one would think they may not all work well together. But these combine together beautifully!

The label looked fun and inviting and I'm a sucker for an interesting label. It was love at first sip. I found it to be a very easy wine to drink. I tasted blackberries and raspberries and a touch of spice. It was fruity, light and slightly sweet.

Big House Wine company is located in Soledad, California. The name derives from it's proximity to the Soledad State Correctional Facility. I love to look up the website of the wines I enjoy. Check into their history and not only learn about how they make their wine, but also any other tidbits they decide to share. Big House Wine, has a great site. Not only is it easy to use and move around, but they offer some fantastic pairing suggestions and recipes too.

Will I buy again? You bet! I cannot wait to try some more of their wines.

Have you tried any of the Big House Wines?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spiced Apple Wine-Our Kinda Wine

This week on #winechat the theme was local wine. I was looking forward to this. I'd been wanting to find a wine that I could enjoy with my hubby (my drinking partner). Since he loves sweet, I thought of this as an opportunity to pick up a semi sweet flavored wine. I decided upon a bottle of Berrywine Plantations Spiced Apple wine from Linganore Winery.

Linganore Winery is a local Maryland wine. Located in Mount Airy, Maryland, this family operated vineyard is rich in beauty and history. From their website:

Berrywine Plantations / Linganore Winecellars is a family operated vineyard and winery nestled on 230 acres of picturesque rolling countryside, 4.5 miles northeast of historic New Market, Maryland.
Established by Jack and Lucille Aellen in 1971, our first 6 acres of vineyards were planted in 1972 and the winery opened in 1976 in the lower half of a 19th century post and beam barn which previously housed the farm’s dairy operation. Using Lucille’s father’s hand winemaking equipment, we processed 6 tons of grapes our first year. In 1977, we held Maryland’s first wine festival as a way to introduce our first vintage to the public. In 1978, to meet consumer demand, we introduced the state’s first semi sweet grape wines, an off shoot of our German-Swiss winemaking heritage. With the knowledge and experience in the production of these lighter style wines came the introduction that same year of our honey and pure fruit wines.
By the early ‘80s, the winemaking responsibilities were taken over by Jack and Lucille’s son Anthony. Also in the early ‘80s, new experimental grape varieties from the grape breeding program at Cornell University were planted in test plots in our vineyards. The success of many of these new hybrids has been shown in expanded acreage and dedication to winery production

I've had the pleasure of tasting their wines in the past at local wine events. I knew when I walked into my wine store that I would find something fantastic from them. A wine that was sweet, but not too sweet. Spiced Apple Wine is just that. Having tasted quite a few apple wines in the past I was thinking this would be similar to those. Previous apple wines have been extremely tart. I often felt as if I was biting into a crisp green apple, with those wines. Berrywine Plantations Spiced Apple Wine, is no crisp green apple. First sip, it reminded me of biting into a slice of warm apple pie, and then allowing yourself to savour all those flavors. I tasted cinnamon, nutmeg, and baked apple. Yes, it is sweet. But I didn't feel as if it was too sugary or syrupy. I wasn't sure how my husband would feel. The bottle suggests to serve it warm. I knew he didn't care for warm wines that often. For me, leaving it room temperature added to the warm apple pie taste. The hubby, after one sip, smiled, looked at me and said, "This is my kinda wine!" I could not agree more. I will buy this again. I'm thinking a case may be in our future. I'm looking forward to pairing this with warm apples and pears! Please try and share your thoughts.

You can purchase their wine here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bongo for Bogle

Some time ago I found myself wandering around the wine store (this happens more often then it really should). After listening to me talk about all the wines I have liked so far, my favorite sales clerk suggested I try Bogle wines. He said all of their wines are great, especially their pinot. With that said, I picked up Bogle Pinot Noir.

Have you ever picked a wine because of the label? I admit I have. That's a very hit or miss way to pick up a quality wine. Bogle Pinot Noir is one of those wines I would have picked only because of the the beauty of the label. If I did it, would have been a hit!
I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. At first opening I found it smooth, rich and easy to drink. After allowing it to breathe I found the wine to be spicy and still very enjoyable. Will I buy this again? Of course!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Boedecker Reflection Pinot Noir Rose

I discovered Boedecker Cellars via twitter. Yup, I follow them. I decided that I wanted to utilize the services of one the wineries I follow. I could not have picked a better place to begin. First off, their website was very easy to use. Not every winery will ship to every state and sometimes I find myself searching trying to find a winery's shipping policy. Once I was on the site their sale item, Pinot Noir Rose 2010 was easily found. I should say, I don't mind buying a wine that's not on sale, but since I'm purchasing wines weekly, it can get costly. So, yes, I do look for discounts and sale items. :-)
I placed the order late in the day on a Thursday and UPS was knocking on my door the following Thursday. It really was easy and seamless. Now to the good part, drinking! From their site:

Saignee Pinot Noir Rose. This elegant wine is 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from all our vineyards including Carlton Hill, Cherry Grove and Shea Vineyards. The color is lighter than a typical red wine as we separate the juice from the grape skins after just a few days.

A delicious crisp, delicate yet round and layered, a perfect wine to pair with a medium weight meal such as pork tenderloin or roast turkey!

I am not sure what I was expecting. I think because of my lack of wine knowledge, I was thinking this would be a sweet wine. I, for the life of me, cannot tell you why. Maybe because of the color (much lighter than regular Pinot Noir) or maybe it was because the bottle said Rose and my immature drinking mind equated that to sweet. This is not a sweet wine. It's not a dry wine either. It is a light, crisp and easy to drink. It's not a wine you can guzzle, I like that. It's perfect for sitting back with friends, eating a great meal and having a fantastic conversation.

Btw, the next day it was even better!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir 2010

Since beginning this search each week for a new wine I have found myself going back to Pinot Noirs. I just love them! I have also noticed they are not created equally. Some are light and smooth and others full and spicy. I'm not sure if it's the acidity or what (my immature palate and wine experience is showing), but some pinots have that umph...that little bite on your tongue that sends a jolt of electricity through your mouth and down your throat. While I do like that type of pinot, some nights I really want an easy, soft, smooth, no jolt glass of wine. If you are looking for an easy going wine with lots of flavor that is smooth and fun to drink, Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir is the one for you. I picked it up for $11.99, you can't beat that. Have a glass or 3 and let me know your thoughts.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Barbera B. Lovely

How did you spend your St. Patty's day? I actually had a pretty quiet one. In years past I would spend my day drinking with friends.

A good friend after too many Irish Car Bombs-St. Patty's Day Past

But this year I decided to spend the day in with my drinking buddy. ;-) We put the top down (it was a gorgeous day) and headed off to a local wine shop. I wanted to purchase some wine off my list and look into Barbera. As you may or may not know I have a twitter account and recently I noticed a conversation or tweets about Barbera. Are you asking the same thing I was? What is a Barbera?
A Barbera is a versatile Italian red grape. It generally produces lighter style wines with cherry and raspberry fruit flavors and aromas, mixed with rustic spice. This wine has a fantastic crispness and is ideal with food. Barbera is capable of producing medium to full bodied wines.

While at the store I found myself having a fantastic conversation with an employee. He reiterated that Barbera is very fruity, yet dry and while it can go with just about any food it would pair best with a bold, spicy red sauce. The prices ranged from $9.99 up to $30+. The salesman suggested I try an inexpensive one first ($9.99) just to see if I liked it. We decided upon Cren della Lepre Barbera Piemonte 2010.

Green label for St. Patty's Day

I have to admit, I was slightly concerned. The salesman stressed this was a fruity, yet dry wine. With my first sip I knew I had nothing to fear. I found this wine to be light, fruity and dry. Not too dry or too fruity, it reminded me a grape jelly, just not as sweet.

While I was learning about this wine, my drinking buddy discovered a tasting going on a few aisles over. In the spirit of the holiday he tried Irish whiskey (a few times) and a few wines. He found two that he liked. Now keep in mind he is super new to wine and so far only has enjoyed the sweeter ones. The first wine he liked and actually purchased was B. Lovely 2010 Late Harvest Riesling and the other, which we plan to go back and purchase Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz. Since we had the B. Lovely in the house, I might as well give you my thoughts on it.

I thought this Riesling was very sweet, crisp and tart. Probably a perfect wine for someone who favors sweet wines. For me, it was a little too sweet. I'm sure I'll purchase this again, not for me, but for him and his non-wine drinking friends. ;-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2010 St. Innocent Pinot Gris

I have a confession, this was my first taste of Pinot Gris. Doesn't sound too odd to you? Maybe it's not that big of a deal, but anyone that watches Housewives of New York and considers herself a Ramona Singer fan, I feel should have taken at least a sip or 3 of a Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris before this night. But alas, my Pinot Gris v-card has been stamped or taken or whatever happens to it.

Before I go to far into this, let's first talk answer a very important question: What is Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris? Pinot Grigio is currently the most popular white wine produced in Italy. Most is dry with fruit flavors. They range from light to medium body. Pinot Grigio is the same grape as Pinot Gris, yet they are capable of producing a variety of white wines in a number of different winegrowing areas. The best Pinot Grigio is produced in the northern area of Italy, benefiting from the cooler climate. The Pinot Gris of Alsace and Oregon are wonderfully crisp as well, but are fuller bodied and more aromatic.

For this week I decided to try the Pinot Gris that was recently received from my wine club, 2010 St. Innocent Vitae Springs Vineyard Pinot Gris. I found this to be very soft, smooth, slightly dry. My drinking buddy wasn't a fan, but again he only goes for the super sweet ones. If you are not into sweet, but enjoy a white, light, easy drinking wine, I would definitely recommend this.
Pinot Gris done, now I need to try a Pinot Grigio!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cava #Winechat

Wine Wednesdays, those two words get me excited. A chance to try a new wine, tweet about it and learn a little something. Last week's wine selection was Cava and just my luck I had one sitting on my trusty wine shelf. Jaume Serra Cristalino was shipped to me by way of my Vineese Wine Club. This club also sends some info and tasting notes with each shipment. This is what is says about Cristalino:

For what you'd pay for a single bottle of fine French Champagne, you could buy a case of Cristalino Cava, which is made by Spain's Jaume Serra winery. Founded in 1943 by Jaume Serra Guell, the estate is situated in the Garraf area of Spain's Penedes growing region. It was purchased in 1997 by the J. Garcia Carrion family, which invested heavily in renovation and modernization.
Spanish law requires that sparkling wine be made in the Methode Champenois--the way it's crafted in the Champagne growing region of France. However, the grape varieties used, other than Chardonnay, are different. For the Cristalino Brut Cava, the varietal makeup is Parellada, Chardonnay and Xarel-lo.
And what a sparkling beauty it is, made in a crisp and clean style with plenty of fruit and a long, lingering finish. Here's to a great wine, and a great value!

My thoughts on this cava. I enjoyed drinking it. I thought it was fresh, light and very dry. I mean so much so it seemed as if it evaporated on my tongue. Because of that, I wouldn't call this a refreshing wine. Yet I couldn't keep myself from drinking another, and yet another glass. I just about finished the entire bottle all by myself!! Here is the big test, would I buy this again? I'd have to say not for something to keep around and open for friends. Most of my drinking friends prefer something a bit sweeter. But if I had to go to a party and was asked to bring a sparkling wine or champagne, I would definitely pick up a few bottles of this.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Two Vines Riesling 2010

This week I went to the wine store not sure what I wanted. I had quite a few wines at home already and wasn't sure if I needed wanted to purchase something new. But then my eyes fell on Columbia Crest's Two Vines Riesling. I quickly recalled how much I loved their Cabernet Sauvignon and the Riesling was selling for $5.99, who could say no to that??

First, what is Riesling?
Riesling is most known for the sweeter-style German wine it produces. These wines typically taste of peach, honey and apricot fruit flavors. While Alsace Riesling are very well known and come highly recommended, Washington State also produces high quality Riesling.
Don't be mistaken, many assume (and you know what happens when you do that) that Riesling produces only sweet wine. Although sweet does dominate, there are some amazing dry and complex Riesling produced in Alsace, Germany and in the United States.

For this night I picked a Washington State Riesling, Columbia Crest, Two Vines.

I was excited to try this. As soon as I was able I opened it up and took a sip. It reminded me of biting into a Granny Smith Apple. It was sweet, crisp, juicy and a bit tart. Even with the tartness, I eagerly gulped down a second glass. I shared a bit with my drinking buddy and he actually liked it (so far he tends to only enjoy sweet wines. I'm working on it, give me time). I decided to leave enough left for another night, just to see if the taste changed. The next night it drastically improved. The tartness was all gone. It was semisweet, smooth, crisp and slightly dry. I really enjoyed it and for under $10.00, you can bet I'll be buying this again.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Wine for all Occasions- Newbie or Leap Year Party and everything in between

  Looking for a wine to give to a wine newbie? Someone just looking for something sweet and fun?  Searching for a wine to celebrate the Leap Year?
  May I suggest you try Stella Rosa. When I first decided I wanted to try new wines I joined a wine club. I figured it would be the best way to try various wines. I hadn't worked up the nerve to talk to anyone at my local wine shop (I found out it's not all that scary after all) and I wanted a variety. After doing some searching I found Vinesse's wine clubs. One of their clubs seemed perfect for me, Light and Sweet Wine Club. The first shipment contained what would soon be one of my favorites, Stella Rosa. According to their website, "Stella Rosa comes from a little town in Northern Italy where delicious sparkling wines are very common. Everyone drinks them. They knew this little secret for years and told no one. Originally, Stella was a red blend. Stella came to America a few years ago and everyone fell in love with this racy semi sweet Italian red wine"
  It's sweet, crisp and tastes of fresh strawberries! It's a sparkling wine and every party I've taken it to it has been a hit. I think it's perfect for a mixed crowd. Sparkling, sweet, light and red...what more could you ask for?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Erath Pinot Noir 2009

A couple weeks ago I took part in #winechat on Twitter. You can learn more about it, via this link. After hearing about so many great wines from Oregon I decided to pick up a bottle. I checked my shopping list and low behold I had an Oregon wine on my list, Erath Pinot Noir.

First, I was surprised to see it was another screw top. With my recent success with screw tops I didn't let that phase me. Many pinot noir's that I've had the p leasure of tasting up until this point have been very dark in color. So the first thing I noticed was the lighter color of this wine. I'll be honest, first glass went fast. I was watching television and talking to friends. Before I knew it, my glass was empty! Since I wanted to review it, I was obligated to pour another glass. With the second glass I took my time and thought about what I was drinking. I found it soft, light, not overpowering with just a hint of spice. I would not classify this as sweet or dry. If you like sweet wines, I would not recommend this. But if you are up for something new, a slightly richer wine than your sweet, I give this two thumbs up. It really is an easy wine to get lost in thought and conversation with. It goes down easily and went over well with a mixed group of wine drinkers, from newbies like myself to self proclaimed sommeliers. You
can pick up a bottle for under $20, grab one and share your thoughts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon

Before I began my wine ventures when I heard the name Francis Coppola my first thought would go to The Godfather. I can't recall where I first learned about the wine, but somewhere in my readings I learned that nifty fact. This trip to the wine store I decided to pick up a bottle of Francis Coppola's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

It was yummy. I'm not sure if it falls on my love list (coming soon), but I definitely like it. It begins fruity and smooth and ends with a slight kick of spice. I read a few reviews that called it dry, I didn't think it was. Not being one for food pairings, according to Coppola's site this wine pairs best with beef, Chinese take out or Jarlsberg cheese. I had my glass with leftover spaghetti (made with ground turkey), still enjoyed it quite a bit. Looking for a wine to take to a friend's house for dinner, yes, this would work. I paid $16.99 for it, perfect to bring to a party, not too expensive and versatile.
Have a glass, let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+ Viognier 2010

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to try a Viognier. I went to my local wine shop and the clerk recommended the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier blend. I wasn't sure about this. He advised the two types would work well together and felt that I would enjoy it.

First, what is Chenin Blanc or Viognier? A Chenin Blanc is a white grape that is capable of producing many types of wines from the light, crisp, and dry to sweet. It typically has fruit flavors of melon, pear, and peach. A Viognier is also a white grape. It's capable of producing extraordinary wines. The flavor tends to be sweet, peach, apricot, apple or nutty with undertones of spice. It is dry with lots of fruit flavor.

I was truly surprised by this wine. First, it was a screw top and I admit, I have a bias against screw tops. I put my snobbery to the side and took a sip. At first, it does come off sweet, crisp, and fruity. It ends slightly spicy and dry, but not so dry you fine your lips puckered together. If you prefer slightly sweet, dry wines this is the one for you.

Upon completion of the first glass, I found myself wanting more and then more. What??? I love a screw top wine!! I know, I still can't believe it. Will I buy it again, Hells Yes!! Awesome, fresh, delish and full of flavor. I will be trying more Pine Ridge wines and I suggest you do the same.Link

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Cupcake

I'd been eyeing Cupcake Vineyards Pinot Noir for awhile now. I noticed the brand back when I was drinking nothing but Moscatos. But (in my best "I'm better than all" voice) I thought since it was so inexpensive, it couldn't be good. What!?! I know! How stupid and silly can a person be?

I picked this up for under $10.00. I found this to be amazing! I wasn't sure what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. It was smooth, rich, juicy with a hint of sweetness. The end added a kick of spice. Overall it was fantastic. I will definitely be purchasing this again and I really want to try the rest of the wines Cupcake Vineyards offer. MMM, MMMM Delish!! Looking for a yummy Pinot for your valentine dinner? You cannot go wrong with this!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

To Club or Not to Club

I currently belong to two wine clubs and just spent a very large part of my morning debating if I should join another. I joined the wine clubs before I began my blogs. I wanted to try new wines and figured the clubs would be the best way to get great selections. I still believe it is a fantastic way for a newbie to try wines. But I don't think it's the best way to learn about wine.

Just the other day I went into my local wine store looking for some local wine. After browsing for awhile and picking up a bottle off my shopping list, I asked the sales clerk if he had a Viognier. I had read some reviews of local wineries and their Viognier and I wanted to try it. He did point me toward a Viognier blend and then we began talking wine. From this very knowledgeable sales clerk, I was quickly given a lesson in wine. He explained tannins and some other wine lingo (a very definite future post) and asked me a lot of questions about what I like and why I liked it. From that, he said what I was holding was great and he'd keep an eye out for some new things for me.

When you are first learning about wine and what you like versus what you don't like, reading reviews, blogs and tasting are all important. But what is vital to the learning process is to have a conversation. I know I posted a teasing post the other day about "experts", but those experts do serve a purpose. I also understand it can be intimidating to ask someone. I know I was. Yet, I am so happy I did. I can't wait to go back, pick up something from my list and whatever my new wine "expert" suggests.  While you may get great deals and superb wines from a club, nothing beats face to face interactions with quality people.

If you ever find yourself in Maryland, stop by JP's Fine Wine & Spirits. They are helpful, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Not only will you be able to pick up a powerball ticket, you will also receive some great wine advice.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Van Ruiten Vineyards 2008 Chardonnay

This week I decided I'd try a white wine. I've noticed that I have been drinking a lot of red and I needed to switch it up. It also didn't hurt that I had just received a shipment from one of my wine clubs (Gold Medal Wine Club), that contained a white wine.

Van Ruiten Vineyard 2008 Chardonnay

What is a Chardonnay? In general, Chardonnay produces wines which are dry to medium dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavors. When little to no oak aging occurs, Chardonnay tends to be more crisp and fresh. With extensive oak aging, they become creamy and buttery with vanilla, spice and oak flowers. It is the world's most popular white wine grape and it is grown in virtually every wine-producing region.

I read another review of this wine:
Lush and round on the palate, the Van Ruiten 2008 "Double Barrel" Reserve Chardonnay displays intense fruit and spicy oak aromas with notes of creamy lemon bar, apple, papaya, and hazelnut. While the finish is long and clean, the flavors become increasingly full and complex with time. Bright acidity and nice tannins give a wonderful balance to the Chardonnay and allows for a multitude of food pairings. Try pairing the Van Ruiten 2008 Reserve Chardonnay with fettuccine or chicken with cream butter sauces.

My thoughts- I wasn't sure what to expect. I decided I'd open the bottle and have a glass with some leftover Chinese food, Sweet and Sour shrimp. Since it was a pretty sweet meal to begin with I thought I'd have a few sips while my plate warmed in the microwave. I was worried that the sweetness of the sweet and sour sauce would wash out the wine. My first sip, really shocked me. I found it crisp, smooth, juicy and not too sweet at all. The flavor held up, even with the sugary sauce. I probably would not drink it again with this type of meal, but the wine still held it's own. To be certain about the wine I tried it again the next evening (that's a valid excuse). ;-) It was just as fantastic as I thought. I would definitely buy this to keep around when friends stop by. A perfect, light, easy wine for drinking with friends!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Imperfect Palate

Since I've started this blogging adventure I've been reading many wine reviews. I have to be honest here, a lot of them leave me confused. That is one of the reasons I began this blog, my total confusion when I read reviews. Knowing that a wine smells like cola, dirt and menthol...does not make me want to drink it. Yet wine reviewers are able to make these things sound appeasing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking wine reviewers or claiming they don't know what they are saying, just the opposite. I'm in awe of them and this skill or ability that I lack.
Many reviewers are considered to have a "perfect palate". This unique ability to taste things that most of us can't. That makes me I tasting the same thing they are? When I drink a glass of Pinot Noir, does it taste the same to them? Am I just lacking the ability to discern the exact fruit a particular wine reminds me of, do I lack the knowledge to notice the currant or the hint of allspice? Is this skill developed over time or are you born with the ability to distinguish these things?
I wonder, if I invited the top wine reviewers and their awesome palates over and had a line up of various glasses of another liquid, say milk...what would happen? Would they take a sip, swirl it around and spit it out then tell me this came from a cow raised on fescue with hints of Kentucky bluegrass? Would they be able to determine that I mixed the whole with skim and a little 2%, with a dusting of pepper?
The perfectness of a palate makes me wonder what happened to mine. Was it ruined when I burned it as a child on hot chocolate that was too hot? The summers spent drinking sodas and fruit juices, did that harm my palate. Did it happen later in life, while drinking cheap beer and arbor mist? Or did I ever have a chance? Did my genetics ruin me and my ability to decipher all the many nuances in a glass of wine??

Who knows... What I do like when I read reviews of wines is how most end saying to use their review as a guide. The only way to determine if you like a particular wine is to try it. With my imperfect palate and all, I have no problem doing that! Cheers!!

Interesting Reads:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two Vines

Today I decided to try something different. After reading a review, I decided to pick up 2009 Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottle says:

"Our Cabernet Sauvignon features aromas of strawberry, cherry and cola while identical flavors give way to a silky, soft palate that culminates into a long velvety finish."

I'll be honest, when I purchased this I didn't know what a Cabernet Sauvignon was. I decided to do a little research before I opened the bottle (please see CAB SAV). So with a little knowlegde I popped open the cork, pour a glass and took a sip. Three glasses later, I have to say I'm a fan. Two thumbs way up. I've never had expensive Cabernet, but if it gets better with price, I can't wait to try it. This was absolutely delish. Even my drinking partner, who so far has not liked much of anything, liked this.

So why do I like it...what makes it yummy? I found it sweet, but not overpowering or sugary. It has a soft, smooth flavor, that lasts. That velvety finish from the bottle, yup I got it and loved every sip of it. One of the first times I was disappointed when my glass was empty. Definitely will buy again and will keep on hand. Actually, next time I head to the wine store, I'm going to grab at least two bottles. One to drink that night and another to keep on hand for that crazy, stressful day. Please try and let me know your thoughts.

Friday, January 27, 2012

6 Rules

I just read a terrific article, "6 Rules For Tasting Wine". What I love about this article is that it speaks to the non-wine expert. If you are going to attend a tasting or going to be somewhere with a lot of people who are knowledgeable about wines I suggest you take a few minutes and read this. Don't worry, you won't come off as an a$$hole! Check it out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Malbec not a Montblanc

This week I went to the wine store with a very open mind. I didn't have a taste for anything and wasn't sure what I wanted to buy. I walked into my favorite wine shop and just wandered the aisles. I found myself in the Malbec section. If you are anything like me, you are wondering, "What is a Malbec?"
A Malbec is the flagship red grape of Argentina. I found a lot of information about how this grape is used in blending other wines. I don't know how important that is to other people, so I didn't really focus on that. But if you want to sound as if you know something if someone brings up Malbecs, some key points would be knowing that the Mendoza region of Argentina is the Malbec's shining star and it pairs perfectly with grilled meats, game and robust spicy dishes.

The salesman suggested I try Malbec, Chalten Reserva 2010.
When I try a new wine, I like to look up the tasting notes, just to see if I can taste the same thing. A quick google search (after checking the blogs I typically follow) I found the following:

The wine has a beautiful reddish/purple color as most good Malbecs do. The aromas are a mix of freshly crushed black cherries and toasty/smoky oak just enough to frame the exuberant fruit. On the palate, the flavors of cherries and spice are obvious, and the jammy fruit quality just keeps coming on strong, with hints of spice and sandalwood lurking in the background.

My thoughts- First I must say it has a beautiful color. Dark, deep, intense purple (Have I mentioned I'm a Ravens fan).

I wanted to love it, but I didn't. It was dry, to me and I am not finding dry wines to be my thing. I didn't find it overly fruity, but I did get the toasty, smokey oak thing. The initial sip is very smooth, and the spice does jump in on you at the end, I did like that. But overall, not a wine I would buy again. I think I prefer something a little fruitier, slightly sweeter, not so dry and a little less spice. Will I finish the bottle? Yup! It's drinkable and I would recommend for someone who prefers less fruity and dry wine.

Have you tried it?? Please let me know your thoughts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Elude to Etude

  A few Saturday nights ago I had the immense pleasure of trying a wine that I would have never purchased.  I was invited to a dinner and as our party sat down and began perusing the menu, I was asked what many are asked around this time in the evening, "Red or white".  Recently, I have been drinking a lot of red, so I said red.  After much discussion at the table over which one, a decision was made.  This was a party of 16, knowing multiple bottles will be needed, they decided on a pinot noir,  Etude, Estate Grown Carnero, Napa Valley 08.
  Let me first say, my experience with most wine to date has been based on what I am willing to spend on a bottle.  What am I willing to spend?  $20 maybe $30 max.  Up until this evening, I had not found a bottle over $20 that I wanted to buy.  I have to admit, this was a great glass.  It had a beautiful color (not sure why I find myself noticing that, but I do find myself staring at a glass of wine and noticing the color) silky smooth, rich and very easy to drink.  The menu listed this bottle for $75, a helluva lot more then what I would pay for a bottle.  But it got me thinking... there are a lot of blogs out there dedicated to cheap or inexpensive wines and they all reiterate that price does not equal a great wine.  I wonder if I can find a pinot that I like as much as this one within my price range?  Not sure, but I am up for the challenge.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


This bottle was purchased only because it was recommended by a good friend. A fairly inexpensive wine ($9.99) I didn't think much about buying it. She suggested this after I told her that I had gone to a friend's party the night before and had a glass of pinot noir and loved it. Since I had a few glasses and other wines, I neglected to get the name of what I had to drink. I was just excited to find something, other then a sweet wine.
As I drank I read some reviews of the wine. I decided to do this because I think it will help me get a better understanding of what I am drinking and if I should follow the recommendations of the reviewer. I found a review:
Light bright black cherry hue with fresh fruit aromas of spicy strawberry with slight cinnamon notes. Quite nice!
Palate--Juicy acid,with mouth watering presence. Light on the palate with strawberry notes and a decent finish.
This is a value "Coastal California" sourced Pinot Noir wine and Mark West does it well. Be sure to read the labels of the Mark West line of wines as they source grapes from all over the world. For $10, it tastes real and varietal so raise a glass.
My thoughts- It is very light. When it first hits your tongue it smooth and juicy. But as it works it way down your throat, the spiciness of it hits you. My drinking buddy did not like this. He took one sip, and said, "Not for me". Me on the otherhand, after one glass, I'm not sure. The taste is unexpected. I think I was expecting richer, heavier...I would drink another glass, but I am feeling a pretty strong buzz right now! :-) Before I pass final judgement, I think I need to drink another glass with a nice meal. So far thumbs up!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time for a Wine Cellar?

  I read an article the other day entitled, The $2500 Wine Cellar.  I can imagine what you are thinking, "Pretty lofty goal for a novice wine drinker" and you are right.  That is a pretty far out there idea for someone new to the wine game.  To be honest, I have no desire to build a wine cellar at this time.  It got me thinking about the wine I have collected up to this point.
  I was given a "bar/wine rack" as a gift many years ago.  Before I started my search or education about wine there were maybe 1 or 2 bottles in the rack.  The obligatory bottle of champagne that was never opened one new years night and/or the bottle of wine that was either given by a dinner guest or from a business associate.  But since I've been reading, receiving recommendations and shopping the wine rack is slowly filling up.

Notice, the bottle of champagne still there
Before this year is over I may need to start my own wine cellar!  Ok, maybe not build a cellar, but I may need to invest in better wine storage.

  I did enjoy the article and found some very useful information.  Thanks to this article I added some more wines to my shopping list (not sure if my wallet appreciates that) and added to my ever growing knowledge of all things wine.  I highly recommend reading as much as you can while you are in your beginning stages of wine learnin'.  Sometime you may think an article or blog is not for you, just by the title.  Don't let that fool you.  Check it out, read it and you never know, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sweet Reds

I honestly don't remember purchasing this bottle of wine. It may have been given to me, I really don't know. But I saw it sitting there and figured I should pop it open and give it a try. With my history, one would think I'd love this wine. It's cheap (I just looked it up, under $10), sweet and red. And yes it is sweet, but I'm just not a fan. I'll finish the bottle, don't get me wrong (I hate to waste), but I would not buy this again.

I searched the internet looking for a description and mostly what I found were negative reviews. I don't want to be a negative nelly, it's not that bad. I think it's probably a perfect wine for a very new newbie to wine. The reason I'm not a fan, I don't care for wines that I can drink as if I'm drinking a glass of fruit punch. And while it's not that sweet (maybe more in line with grape juice), I prefer to know I'm drinking a glass of wine.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wine Blogs

Thanks to the amazing world of Twitter, I have been in wine blog heaven. I have read some very informative and useful blogs. My favorites are listed.  They are insightful, interesting, easy to read, don't talk down and have a different point of view. If the blog is too technical, or about outrageously expensive wines, I will not list. If it's not an easy read (I base this on my ease of read scale, you are entitled to use another), if I find it difficult to find the actual post in the midst of ads and other things, I will not list.
To make it easy, I will list blogs that I like. Please take the time to check them out and let me know your thoughts.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tacos and Beer

  I don't know about you but sometimes a quiet night in with the one you love is way better then hitting the bars or clubs.  This past Thursday was just one of those nights for me.  We decided to go to one of my favorite places Chipotle.  After we placed our order we decided to head to our local wine shop to pick up a few drinks for the evening.
  I wasn't in the mood for wine and truth be told I'm not a big beer drinker.  I started drinking beer only to get drunk.  I would always order Coors Lite and drink and party the night away.  But for a night in, curled up with my man, Coors Lite is not it.  I picked up Samuel Smith's Organic Raspberry.  What goes better with tacos then Raspberry Ale??  Come to find out, nothing!  Boy do I LOVE this beer.  Sweet, not syrupy, light and tart..  When you open the bottle you are greeted with a very strong aroma of raspberries.  It's smooth and absolutely refreshing.  I can only drink half a bottle at a time (I may be a light weight) but it just means more for the following day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Beajolais or not to Beajolais

  I may have mentioned this once or twice before, I'm new to this wine thing.  I've been drinking wines based on what friends recommend, what I see in the store or what I read in a blog.  But I often find myself asking the question, "What is pinot noir, or a Syrah?  I've heard people say, "I only drink Grigio or I never drink Zin."  What do they mean?  Hell, if I know.  I am not at the point where I can say I will only drink anything.  Deciding to never drink a Zin or Syrah because I had a glass that I didn't like would be like saying, "I don't date blondes because I dated one in middle school and he was mean to me."  Granted some people do go through life like that, I'm not one of them.
  That all being said, I think it's time we delve into what is a Zin or the difference between Pinot Noir and Grigio.  Let's begin with a wine I've reviewed Beaujolais Nouveau.  What is a Beaujolais Nouveau?  It's a wine made from Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais region of France and released in the same year of its harvest.  They are typically released on the third Thursday of November.  I found some interesting facts about Beajolais Nouveau.  While I wasn't a huge fan of this wine, I highly recommend you try a glass.  Truth be told, after doing all this research I am tempted to try it again myself.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

German Reds

On this trip to the wine store I went directly to the Germany section. There I found myself stuck between two wines Red Vin Sweet Red ($8.99) and Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Dornfelder Red 2010 ($11.99). I hemmed and hawed, walked the aisles, did everything except ask someone who worked there. I did stand there while one of the employees helped a couple, but walked off before he could look my direction.

I read the descriptions:
Red Vin Sweet-Rheinhessen Germany-Made from the native Dornfelder grape, this sweet red combines silky tannins with flavors of raspberry and plum with a pleasant sweet finish. Pair with cheese, spicy Asain cuisine, or just by itself.
Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Dornfelder Red- Pfalz Germany- A delightfully fruity red wine with a hint of sweetness. The intense fruit flavors of blackberry and cherry have a surprisingly full bodied finish.

How did I decide?
  1. I didn't want something too sweet
  2. I remembered a chat a had with an old friend. He sent me an article about cheap wines and said, "I'm of the mindset that you find a small store that has a small collection of $10-$20 bottles and go crazy there.
I decided on the Dr. H-B.  I liked it.  The description was pretty accurate, slightly sweet not syrupy.  My drinking buddy, not so much of a fan.  He took one sip and made a yucky face and dumped his glass down the drain.  Will I finish the bottle?  Yup, it's not that bad!  Will I recommend it?  Yeah, to someone who is looking for a not so sweet, inexpensive bottle of red.  Will I buy it again?  Probably not.  It's a screw top and maybe that should have made me think twice, but I didn't want to be prejudice against screw tops. =)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Decoding Sparklers

  I read an article today that I thought I should share.  It contained a cheat sheet on decoding sparkling wine.  This is a must have for the new wine drinker.  I know this is late for the biggest day of all for drinking sparkling wine.  But look at is this way, you have an entire year to perfect your knowledge and pick something amazing for your family and friends next year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

At first blush

  I went to my local wine shop and explained my wine experience or lack thereof and was taken to the sweet reds section. There I picked up an inexpensive bottle ($11.99) of table red, Rivata Casa Rossa

and I grabbed a french wine that a friend recommended, Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 ($9.99).

I actually liked Rivata Casa Rossa. It was pretty sweet, a little too sweet for me.  But if you are looking for an inexpensive table red for a mixed group I think it will do.  My friends liked it too.  I was with a group of people that don't normally drink wine, so I can understand why something sweeter went over so well.  I was not a fan of the Beaujolais Nouveau. It was a little flat...I'm not sure if that is the proper adjective to describe it.  All of the descriptions I read said it was a sweet wine.  I didn't find it to be sweet at all.  Maybe I had something a little too sweet prior to drinking this.  I may have to give it a second try.

  After telling my friend about my not so fond feelings about the Beaujolais, she suggested I try some German reds. I went back to my local wine shop and purchased Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Red 2010, I'll let you know about this in the future.