Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 194-Bear's Lair Viognier for $5.99 at Trader's Joes

The writing on this label looks exactly like Stag Leap's Winery label, whose wines are extremely pricey, which makes me wonder if Bear's Lair is their cheaper label. I was pleasantly surprised with this wine. This Viognier is great fruity Viognier with very little acidity. I generally like Viognier on the nose and at first however, lots of viognier are very aciditic on the aftertaste. This wine has no bitter aftertaste, very mellow, fruit forward, and full of peaches and apricots. I would buy this wine again and would also buy this wine by the case because there is really nothing about this wine that you would not like and almost any summer party or dinner party would be well served by this wine.

Day 193-Joseph Handler Sweet Red 2008 Rheinhessen for $4.99 at Trader Joe's

This red wine was a great deal at Trader Joes for those who like a touch of sweetness with their red wine. This wine is made with the Dornfelder grape used a lot in Germany and has a lot of flavors of plum and cherry. This wine is best served cold and is good on its own or paired with something with a spicier feel such as pizza or a spicy pasta sauce. Next to the moscatelle, this wine is the best wine for the price that we bought when we got a case of wine at Trader Joe's. This wine is very mellow with no tannic dry aftertaste. I would definitely think this wine would be crowd pleaser for the non-hard core red wine drinkers, and for the people who like an off-dry wine. I would definitely buy this again at this price, and maybe buy the case for backyard barbeque.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 192-2000 Ridge California Late Picked Zinfandel York Creek for $20 found at

I am obsessed with finding late harvest/late picked zinfandels. Generally speaking, they are at least $20 for a half bottle of late harvest zinfandel, so for a full bottle I always think this is just a great deal. Unfortunately, this is another bottle of wine that was only suppose to be aged 5-7 yrs and this is going on 9-10 yrs. This wine, despite being a late harvest, is not sweet at all. It is not bad wine, it is an ok red wine for maybe 10-15 dollars with some good fruit, but you can taste that this wine is past its prime. The tannins are extremely mellow with no bitter aftertaste, but the wine has no brightness of fruit and is just ok at best. The wine is 75% zinfandel and 25% petite syrah which I would think would be a killer blend, but I think that the age of the wine has taken some of the wine's distinctness away and so again I have learned a lesson to stop buying wines at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 191-Bitch Bubbly out of Southern Austrailia for under $12.00 at Vintages in Arlington Heights

This wine is a great buy for the holidays and New Years Eve. This wine was the most reasonable bubbly that I have enjoyed for a long time. A pink color this wine has a touch of sweetness that makes it very easy to drink on its own. The person pouring the wine, knowing I am a big fan of the Sparkling Shiraz, knew I would like this wine. I honestly can't imagine anyone not liking this wine, it is truly light and fun. It is not overly sweet like a Moscato d'Asti, however is not as dry as a rose' Champagne. I would buy this wine by the case, however I am sure this is not going to last long at the wine shop at this price. I will continue to look for this wine on the horizon, I only bought 2 bottles of it and one is already gone.

Day 190-Sacred Stone Masters Red Blend out of California at Vintages for under $15.00

This red wine paired excellent with barbeque pork and cheese steak sandwiches. This wine is a great every day read with flavors of cherry, plum, and earth or green pepper. I think this wine would make a great Thanksgiving Day wine, it is a great food wine. The alcohol content on the wine is 14.6%, so you can't sit there and drink the entire bottle yourself, but a couple of glasses with dinner was perfect. I am not sure if the grapes in the wine were listed on the back of the bottle, but I can tell you this would be total crowd pleaser for the red wine drinkers at your Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 189-Purple Moon Merlot for $3.99 at Trader Joe's

I tried this wine for the first time at a summer party and thought the wine was fruit forward for a merlot. I thought this wine was much drier when I opened it, and so I aerated it and it was better. This Merlot had a lot of black pepper on the aftertaste, so I was really not a big fan and paired it with food for the most part. I had a couple of glasses on its own and it is only slightly fruity with dark cherry and blackberry overtones. I would not buy this again, even though the price is less than the cost of Frappacino at Starbucks because I just did find it a wine I would look forward to drinking. It is a great price to bring to a party, and if people really did not care about the wine and are pairing it with food.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 188-2008 Vidal Blanc from Lynfred Winey for just under $20

I like this wine much more in the form of ice wine. This wine required food versus drinking it on its own. I found the wine to be too acidic on its own. The wine is a pale yellow, with a wonerful smell of lime, however the wine is just too dry for me and my better half. This wine was the white wine of the month for November at Lynfred, however this will be the last month for us, since they are not putting the premium wines in the clubs-the pear port, for example. I heard their is a blackberry port and a cherry port in the future and perhaps there will be a premium club, for now we will just stay in the fruit wine club.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 187-Oak Grove Petite Syrah 2007 Reserve at Vintages in Arlington Heights for under $15.00

Another wine reccomended by Robert that was very good. I paired this with pizza and italian sausage for dinner. The wine is packed with fruit flavors and very little tannin on the aftertaste. I did not taste the pepper that the label states comes through, but I do taste the blackberry and cherry. If you like a fruit forward red wine, this is a good wine for you. My favorite grape is the Petite Syrah, however I prefer it made new world style fruit forward, mellow tannins, and able to accompany any meal. I think this wine would make a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner and does not break the bank.

Day 186-Stefano Farina Italia-Moscato d'Asti under $20.00 per bottle

My better half loved this wine because he loves Moscato d'Asti. I found this wine to be very sweet as most Moscato d'Asti's are, but not unpleasant. The wine was a good sparkler with good fruit flavors on the nose and the palate. I find most Moscato d'Asti similar to others we have tasted and really have a hard time distinguishing this one from another Moscato d'Asti, however it was a huge hit with my in-laws and the bottle was finished in less than 30 minutes. This type of wine is the wine you bring to non-wine drinkers, almost all think it tastes like sparkling juice.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 185-Pomegranate Wine by Lynfred Winery for $13.00

I had great hopes for this wine. We have tried the Pomegranate wine at Coopershawk Winery and really liked it and thought this wine would be very good also. This wine is an alternative to cranberry wine that is served at Thanksgivning to be paired with turkey, stuffing, cranberry, etc. I did not like the wine at all and neither did my better half. The wine had some legs and just a touch of pomegranate flavor. I had a very hard time tasting the pomegranate in this wine, when usually the fruit wines taste like you are drinking the fruit. This wine had just been bottled this month, so maybe there was a bit of bottle shock, I don't know, but I would not buy this wine again, unless I have tasted it and the wine has settled a bit. The in-laws thought the wine had a good flavor, but much prefered the moscato d'asti that we popped open after this wine. Maybe this wine would be better spritzed, I don't know, but I will have to buy the Cooperhawk's Pomegranate now as a comparison.

Day 184-Joseph Handler Riesling Phalz for $4.99 at Trader Joe's

This wine was popped the same night as the last wine, and it was ok. I have found that these very cheap wines at Trader Joes have no distinct smell or flavor. The wine had just a touch of sweetness. I found this wine to be bland, but again, for the very sporatic wine drinkers, it was fine. Rieslings are one of my favorite grapes and this wine was a disappointment to me. I would not buy this wine again, and have found that almost all the wines that we bought at Trader Joes were sub par and not really worth the money even though the money was very little.

Day 183-Medici Lambrusco Bianco $4.99 at Trader Joe's

My son had his 2 nd birthday at Moretti's this weekend so my better half's family came in from McComb, Il which is about 4 hrs away. His sister and boyfriend came up a day early and we agreed to have them sleep over at our house. Needless to say, we opened up a few bottles of wine to celebrate our first overnight guests. This wine is a semi sweet, semi-sparkler and was at best ok, but for the price and for guests that don' t really care about wine quality it was fine. This wine had no distinct fruit flavors, and really could be used for mimosas. I would not buy this wine again because there a lot of lambruscos that I like a lot more for $3 more, but if I am making mimosas where the wine is not that important I would go with this one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 182-Old Moon Old Vine Zinfandel for $5.99 at Trader Joes

This wine was paired with barbecue ribs last night. I have to say this wine was disappointing. The wine had no distinct flavors to me. The wine was more tannic than I like and without food was totally unappealing. I like a zinfandel that has bold fruit and not earthy. I have a hard time with distinct flavors in this wine and I feel that there is a reason that is only $5.99. I would not buy this wine again, and I am going to have a hard time finishing the rest of the bottle. I started reading the wineaux blog and he is much more sophisticated on his wine tasting and has an ability to point out a lot more flavors, eventually I hope to have improved my tasting abilities to that level of description.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 181-Novella Rayons de Sol Muscat Canelli for $8.99 at Trader Joes

This wine was the wine we drank on Halloween with fish sticks and chicken fried rice. This wine is semi-sweet with great fruit flavors of peach and orange. The worst part about this wine is the very long bottle and finding a place for it to fit in my fridge. This is a great every day sipping wine for summer and fall. This wine has just a touch of sweetness that would make it a crowd pleaser at any party. I think this would be a great wine for a brunch, baby shower, barbecue, and at a great price you don't mind buying a case of it. Troy took one sip and he was like we will have no problem finishing this tonight, which was good because the bottle is so long it does not fit well. We will definitely be buying this wine again and sharing with friends. Muscat Canelli is generally a style of wine/grape that we like alot for its a nice balance without being overly sweet.

Day 180-Casa Cavilla 2008 Montrelle from Vintages for $13.99

I threw out the bottle on this wine, so the name might be a little off and I thought this was one of Robert's Picks on the website, but it is not, so I am sorry if you have trouble finding the wine based on the information I have given you. This wine was a great pizza wine and we had this last Friday night after a long week with a sick Peanut, our soon to be 2 year old. The wine is very mellow with minimal tannins. I am not sure what grapes are used in this blend, the wine is out of Spain, and I think are some of the new red table wines coming out of Spain for everyday that are reasonable, ready to drink, and very amicable with all types of food.