Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Wish List: The Wine Decanter

The wine decanter is an item that many wine lovers surprisingly do not have, some think they wouldn't use it or that decanting doesn't really do anything to enhance the wine, but regardless of the reason many of your wine loving gift recipients are without a decanter, giving you the opportunity to broaden their wine drinking horizons.

The reasons I believe a wine decanter is a good gift is because a decanter is a great way to camouflage a less expensive bottle of wine, it can dress up the table at a dinner party, and by exposing greater surface area of the wine to the air it can smooth out some of the more harsh flavors in a wine.  I have given a decanter as a gift in the past to a family member that is a brilliant hostess, she has used it and fell in love with the decanters' many useful facets, which is proof enough for me that the wine decanter is a go-to gift idea.

I found a wine decanter that is stylish, functional, and inexpensive on the Crate and Barrel website that would make a lovely gift.  The Venue Wine Decanter has a shape that is reminiscent of a bell jar, with an interior indentation rising up inside from the base for a dramatic and classic look, all at an easy to manage price of $14.99.  You can see the Venue Wine Decanter on the Crate and Barrel website here or by clicking the picture below:
photo credit: Crateandbarrel.com

This next wine decanter is a great gift for those techies on your gift list, the very cool Wine Breather Carafe looks like a classic wine decanter with an interesting twist.  Built into the top of the decanter is an aerator, by placing an open bottle of wine down into the top, the wine is aerated as it pours into the decanter (you can leave the wine in the carafe or flip it back over to return to the bottle). I found the Wine Breather Carafe on the website: Uncommon Goods (a must visit gift giving website) for the higher end price of $50.00, you can view it by clicking here or on the photo below:


photo credit: uncommongoods.com
The wine carafe/decanter is an awesome gift for those of whom you are gifting, whether they know they want it or not. Sometimes offering a new way to enjoy your favorite things (like wine, wine, and more wine) is a fun gift in and of itself. I'll keep looking for more great wine gift ideas, so keep coming back here, and hopefully I can help check some of those names off your list.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wine 13: Crow Canyon Vineyards Chardonnay


I am a lover of almost all styles of wine; reds, whites, and I'll even go for a blush when the opportunity presents itself. I would say that I am an equal opportunity wine drinker and will happily sip any variation. With this said, I did second guess my wine choice for this post, a Chardonnay, only because after the rather unfortunate white wine from my last post (Three 3 Winemakers) I wasn't sure I could take another white wine disappointment. I was planning on choosing a rich red, but that plan was derailed when my husband returned from his winter beer quest and handed me a Chardonnay, so in the name spontaneity I went with the bottle.

The bottle was a Crow Canyon Vineyards California Chardonnay, as I mentioned it was chosen by my husband, and most likely chosen because of the label art (a cool crow), purchased at the Total Wine priced at $5.99. I checked out the label and found no description, so as I poured the rich daffodil colored chardonnay into my wine glass I kept my expectations low, but as I took in the aroma I found it very agreeable.  The bottle contained a rich smell of pineapple blended with pear, along with a sweet vanilla which makes you want to dive right into the Crow Canyon Chardonnay.  After another inhale of the bouquet, I took a sip and I am glad to report that the Crow Canyon Chardonnay tasted great.  The ripe fruit, pineapple and pear, are the opening flavors followed by a dry vanilla, and this combination makes for a great Chardonnay.

I recommend bringing a bottle of Crow Canyon Chardonnay to any Thanksgiving dinners or left over pot lucks you may encounter this coming holiday week, the $5.99 price tag won't empty your wallet too much, and the great taste of the Crow Canyon Chardonnay will show off your diverse knowledge of what makes a good Chardonnay.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Wish List: The Bottle Stopper

The bottle stopper is a wine accessory that can be functional, stylish, or both, but either way I believe the bottle stopper is a must have.  I have gone through many a bottle stopper, I have lost countless stoppers to kitchen black holes (under the fridge, behind the stove, and quite possibly the trash can), and I welcome one as a gift any time.  I researched the bottle stopper and was overwhelmed by the choices, I left my computer desk utterly unable to choose just two that I found outstanding enough to suggest, so I chose two websites that I think had good selections and fair prices.

I am a fan of my first website choice, Sur La Table, I have purchased kitchen wares from them that came in less than perfect condition, and they didn't just replace the damaged goods, they told me to keep the first shipment, and sent out a new perfect order (good on them).  Sur La Table's wine stopper collection is more on the functional side, in particular the Metrokane Wine Preserver ($19.95), this stopper is cool because all of us like a gadget that saves the flavor of our wine, looks sleek, and we actually understand how to use.  Please feel free to use this link to Sur La Table Metrokane stopper set or click on the picture below:


Metrokane Wine Preserver, photo credit: Surlatable.com

The next website I came across that offered an interesting selection of wine stoppers is, Home Wet Bar.com.  This website stood out to me particularly because the wine stoppers have personality (different themes: an owl or fire department symbol), without looking cheap or campy, and their prices are reasonable. The two that I like in particular on the Home Wet Bar website are: the Vintage Hot Rod in Ivory, priced at $10.95 and the Highborne Personalized stopper in Copper, priced at $24.95 (copper is a much more chic choice than stainless steel or acrylic). Please feel free to click on the pictures below or here: Home Wet Bar.com, to check out their selection.
Highborn, photo credit: homewetbar.com


Vintage Hot Rod, photo credit: homewetbar.com
Here you go, another great gift idea for anyone in your life that loves wine and deserves a little something, a little something that shows you know what they like and that you were thinking about them this holiday season. Until next time....

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wine 12: Three 3 Winemakers White Wine


Well my friends it is time that it happened again, I have been on a winning wine streak, and as streaks are known to do, it has come to an end.  As much as I love sharing great budget wines with you I truly hate sharing the budget bombs but an honest wine drinking mama has got to do what an honest wine drinking mama has got to do, so here it is.

The wine for this review was given to me by a friend, a great friend that supports this blog by offering me bottles of wine that fit into my choice criteria: inexpensive (ten dollars and under), available at a major retailer (supermarket or discount stores), and interesting subject matter (when possible).  The Three 3 Winemakers, Featuring White Rabbit White Wine has a groovy label and a peace sign on the foil covering, this was most likely the reason my friend made this choice, she is a little hippy dippy (in the most fantastic way).  Personally, I enjoy a wine labelled "white wine," otherwise known as a table white, the lack of pretenses of what the wine should be are out the window, leaving plenty of space to simply enjoy the wine.  Unfortunately, the Three 3 Winemakers White Wine was not one I enjoyed, while it was awfully heavy on acidic fruit flavors it was complimented with a disappointing syrupy sweetness that left me unable to finish the glass (this is an indication of a serious wine faux pas in this wine drinkers playbook).  I wish I could say that I believed it was possible the Three 3 Winemakers White Wine was just not my personal cup of tea, but passing the glass to my "I will drink almost anything" husband sealed the disappointment when he turned down the opportunity to finish it up for me.

Sorry Three 3 Winemakers your white wine is not for me and unfortunately if my readers tastes are anything close to mine I can't recommend your far out peacefully packaged wine, even with a three dollar price tag.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wine 11: California Rabbit Pinot Noir

Sometimes I find the amount of errands, as in trips to the market, I make unbelievable.  How can one small family of three be in need of something as often as we are? Although, these frequent trips put me in places that I can scope out a new bottle of wine to share with the rest of the lovely wine drinkers out there.  This week I was once again at the Big Lots, in need of Chex Mix and Angry Bird Popsicles, and was actually excited to peruse their wine aisle, where I found an interesting wine choice for this post, California Rabbit.

The California Rabbit Pinot Noir 2009 is packaged in a "Tetra Pack," now if you have read my previous post you might remember me being burned by choosing a wine because of it's sustainable packaging (you can read it here: The Bota Box), so I was hoping the California Rabbit would change my opinion on wines packaged in those small rectangular boxes.  The description printed on the box offers the suggestion of serving the California Rabbit Pinot Noir with "poultry, veal, and most cheeses," as a compliment to the wine's "sweet cherry," flavor. Well, I don't have chicken, veal, or a cheese plate so the wine will have to stand solo tonight.

I twisted off the California Rabbit Pinot Noir's tiny orange cap, poured the lovely deep red wine into my glass, and inhaled the mildly spicy aroma. My first impression of the taste was that the wine is good, I was surprised because of my past tetra box wine experience, but the California Rabbit tasted just as great as any Pinot Noir poured from a bottle. As the description mentioned, there is a slight sweet cherry flavor, but I would say the spicy (darker) flavors are more prevalent, together the mix is rather good.


Luckily, I found this California Rabbit Pinot Noir for the very nice price of $3.00, but I have seen the wine elsewhere between $8 and $9 (a bit much for this particular wine), hopefully a discount store near you will have it at the lower price.  I am going to recommend purchasing the California Rabbit Pinot Noir for a week night treat or to bring to a very Eco-conscious host at a dinner party (you will make serious points for lessening your carbon foot print), and you will look like you have great taste in wine (a win win for you).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Holiday Wish List: Wine Bottle Coaster


It is official, the race to the holidays has started, and in an attempt to help you have an answer at the ready for the ever present holiday question, "what's on your wish list," I am going to offer you some great gift ideas that you can have chambered and ready to go for yourself and for others.

My first suggestion is a very important item for us red wine drinkers: a wine coaster. Many a beautiful kitchen counter has been ruined by red wine rings caused by a careless pour dripping down the bottom of the bottle, and the wine bottle coaster is an easy fix for this.

The Vacu Vin Stainless Steel Wine Bottle Coaster is an excellent choice for the low maintenance, just want a glass a wine without having to scrub my counters later, type of wine drinker.  The Vacu Vin coaster is cool because it vacuum sucks onto the bottom of the bottle, so it stays on the bottle when you pick it up. This helps to avoid banging the bottom of the bottle all around the rim of the coaster when attempting to put it down, handy! It is priced on Amazon at $10.71, at this price you may even be able budget in a bottle of wine to go along with the coaster as a gift.  You can view this wine coaster at Amazon by clicking on the picture below:
photo credit: amazon.com
The Pottery Barn is a no-brainer when it comes to gift giving and their wine accessories are no exception.  There are three wine coasters to choose from on the Pottery Barn web site, but the one I chose to share with you is an exceptionally great gift idea. The Rhodes Bottle Coaster, priced at $24.95, is classy, classic, and will fit into almost any one's home decor.  With the loop handles on either side of the distressed white earthenware coaster, the Pottery Barn's Rhodes Bottle Coaster looks like an antique champagne bucket, adorable and fairly priced. You can check it out here: Pottery Bar Rhodes Bottle Coaster

photo credit: potterybarn.com

I hope these suggestions have inspired you, not only to start your list for the lovely people in your life, but also for yourself. Life is easier at the holidays when people tell us what they really want...so don't be afraid to put it out there and check back here for more suggestions to come.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wine 10: Double Dog Dare Cabernet Sauvignon

Well, it is time for another bottle of wine to be dissected by my unskilled, although wine loving, opinion. While on a trip to the Total Wine with my husband, on his yearly quest for the best pumpkin beer, I managed to find an inexpensive bottle while simultaneously keeping my five year old son from knocking over many a display of beer and wine.

The Double Dog Dare Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon called out to me for a couple different reasons, the label is pretty cute and the price was cute too, $2.99.  Once again the wine I chose has a label with absolutely no description of the wine contained within it's bottle, so I am free styling my opinion. One of my joys in choosing the wines to review is the hope of finding something great at a unbeatable price, but the only way to be sure is to pop the bottle open and give it a pour.  That is just what I did with the Double Dog Dare Cabernet, I found the color to be a lovely red, it smells like dark red grapes, and something sweeter, almost like strawberries.  I am happy to say that when I took the first sip I was surprised, after a run of disappointing wines, the Double Dog Dare Cab is delicious.  The flavor is smooth, it has a tiny bit of sweetness, and the perfect amount of spicy aftertaste, all good combinations in my book.

The Double Dog Dare Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is a great buy at $2.99 and I absolutely recommend picking up a couple of bottles to have on hand to fulfill an unexpected weekday wine mood (Unexpected...who am I kidding?).  My other thought about the Double Dog Dare Cab is that the bottle is a perfect gift for a dog lover, just take a look at the label, it's got, "Oh, aren't you thoughtful," written all over it. Give the Double Dog Dare Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon a try, I think you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wine 9: Benefactor Cellars: Shiraz 2012

Good day my fellow wino's, and I use this term with the greatest affection, it's time I give the low down on my latest wine pick.  From the middle shelves of the Trader Joe's wine section (I picked up this bottle at the same time as my unfortunate disappointment from last post) I chose Benefactor Cellars Shiraz 2012.  This is a purely aesthetic decision, with our favorite holiday Halloween, closely approaching I thought the Benefactor Cellars Shiraz label would be a hauntingly beautiful addition to our table on Halloween evening.

The Benefactor Cellars label is very Dia de los Muertos,  for those of you unfamiliar with this Spanish term it means, The Day of the Dead, and the artwork is doing a fantastically spooky job at presenting itself as a macabre bottle of wine.  Although, the label is not offering any sort of description of what may be hiding in wait under that blood red twist off cork, so it is with an unsuspecting palate that I give the bottle a pour to see what it has to offer.

The Benefactor Cellars Shiraz has a great aroma of black cherries, the color is the same blood red as the label, and the taste is great.  The flavor is more currant than black cherry, it has a warm aftertaste, and I would even say it is a bit sophisticated (much more than its $4.99 price).  Here I go, this is when I say to buy or not to buy, and I say....buy a bottle of the Benefactor Cellars Shiraz, it will be five bucks well spent.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wine 8:Trader Joe's Vinas Chilenas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

It is no secret that I was beyond disappointed in Trader Joe's when they decided to up the price on my beloved Charles Shaw wine (fifty cents more a bottle adds up when you are buying multiple bottles at a shot), but the TJ's does have a good wine selection with fair prices. Out of respect to the store that changed the way many housewives made healthy choices for their family, I made a special trip to Joe's to pick up a bottle of wine to share with you, dear readers.

The bottle of wine I chose for this post is, Trader Joe's Vinas Chilenas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, at the honorable price of $2.99 that was conveniently placed on the middle shelf, which this is not always the case with budget friendly wines. I was interested in this Vinas Chilenas particularly because of the price, fifty cents more a bottle than the Charles Shaw, that made me think that this was Joe's version of stepping up their wine game, so I was in.

Time to get to work, sipping that is, so I poured a glass and....I was not blown away, and I had such high hopes for this wine.  The Vinas Chilenas Cabernet Sauvignon has a pleasant enough aroma, which is how I would similarly describe the flavor, simply pleasant enough.  The Vinas Chilenas has an woodsy oak flavor with a touch of black licorice which causes the wine to be a little on the dry side. My overall opinion is that  Trader Joe's Vinas Chilenas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon is worthy of its $2.99 price tag, but not much more than that.  The bright side is that people are "into" Trader Joe's, as to say open minded to their self labeled products, and the bottle's presentation of the Vinas Chilenas Cab looks like it's worth more than it's $2.99 price point, so I would say you could safely bring the bottle to a dinner with friends or family as a, "I thought we would try something different tonight," bottle of wine and you would look like the thoughtful guest. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wine 7: Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

The wine I am reviewing this week was not chosen by me, it was a surprise bottle purchased by my husband during a trip to the Total Wine.  I queried into his thought process behind the choice, like many aspects of my husbands life, he stated there was neither rhyme nor reason in his choice, he saw the bottle and he bought it. So, my dear reader, my experience with said bottle will have no preconceived
notions and will be completely without expectations.

The bottle in question is Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon purchased, as I mentioned, by my husband at the Total Wine at the list price of $4.99.  Anyone with experience with the Total Wine knows it can be an overwhelming place to pick a bottle of wine, the prices range from $1.97 to the sky's the limit, but with an overabundance of choice comes the side effect of confusion.  So without having any knowledge about the Canyon Oaks Cab I looked to the label where the description toasts the wines aromas, including cassis, mint and chocolate.  That all sounds good, but really how often does the wine do the label justice?

I got my trusty cork screw and was ready for The Canyon Oak's minty-chocolate aroma, unfortunately that was not what I found, to be fair there was a hint of cassis but the aroma was not as impressive as the label description.  I went in for my first sip and was taken aback by the acidity, I knew I was in for heart burn so I grabbed an alka seltzer to pair with my glass of wine (never a great sign).  The Canyon Oaks Cab is a little rough for my taste, it is a bit too heavy and dry for my liking, although my husband thought it was "okay" (buyer be cautious: he could have been swayed by the fact it was his choice).

The Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is not for everyone, it is not a great bottle to serve to mixed company, nor would I bring it as a gift to a host.  In defense of the Canyon Oaks Cab I did drink a full glass and never wretched once (meaning it is drinkable), so if you happen to have a bottle or are served a glass at a friends house give it a shot, but for $4.99 I think you could find a more taste worthy bottle of wine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wine 6: Kate and Cassie

After a few weeks of wines from the very very bottom of the super market shelves, this week I decided to review a blended wine from the middle shelves that I picked up at a very unexpected place, Big Lots. I like the idea that those of us who love wine can pick up a good bottle at places we HAVE to go during our daily routines. Most of us do not have the time to visit a specialized wine store or even a liquor store, not to mention what a horrible idea it is to frequent those places with small children in tow, broken bottles, strange looks from other patrons, you get the picture, so major retailers carrying a selection of fair priced wine is a little gift from heaven.

This week I purchased a bottle of Kate & Cassie Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend from a local Big Lots store for the fantastic price of $4.50. I am a fan of blended wines, some of the most flavorful user friendly bottles of wine I have tried have been blends, and the Kate & Cassie Cab Merlot blend stays true to my past experiences.  I popped out the synthetic cork to a great fresh red grape fragrance, a substantial deep purple color, and good consistency as I poured the blend into my glass.  When I sipped the Kate & Cassie Cab Merlot I was even further impressed, the wine is delicious, forget fancy descriptions the wine is fresh, has a very pleasant grape flavor with absolutely no burn after taste. This wine was so good that I actually told my husband to grab a glass so he could enjoy in my great unexpected delight and he was as impressed as I was.

I hope a Big Lots store in your area carries the Kate & Cassie Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot because for $4.50 it does not disappoint, if you come across this good looking bottle of great wine I say don't hesitate and pick up a bottle (or two, why not...you deserve it).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wine 5: Oak Leaf Vineyards

As a mother of a five year old my life is chock full of stress inducing moments, a wood chip embedded into my son's sock can easily derail the entire morning, this is why an inexpensive bottle of wine is a staple in my wine rack. By no means do I limit how essential the inexpensive bottle of wine is exclusively to mothers, there are bad bosses, traffic, and long lines full of people with more than ten items in the express line at the market that we all have to contend with, inexpensive wine is vital to us all.  With these reasons in mind I would like to express my new found admiration for Oak Leaf Vineyards wines which have fulfilled my need of a glass of red on many a random week night.

The Oak Leaf wines are available at Wal-Mart for the extremely reasonable price of $1.97 (in California) in ten varieties, yes ten different wines to choose from. I have passed over a few of the wines such as a Sweet Red and Sweet White, but have purchased the Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and the Merlot.  Here's the the deal with the Oak Leaf, it is middle of the road, beige, standard issue, there is no big moment of wine bliss bottled under the synthetic cork.  The two stand out winners of the Oak Leaf varieties are the Sauvignon Blanc, which has a hint of fresh pear, and the Merlot with it's slight black cherry flavor, either of these are suitable for company (preferably company you know very well).  The truth is the Oak Leaf wine is on the thin side, my husband complains about it's unfortunate watery pour, and the flavor is not knocking any one's socks off, BUT for two dollars it is a great week night alternative to a bottle of wine within the five to ten dollar range (honestly I have had twelve dollar bottles that are not as good as the Oak Leaf).

Next time your at the Wal-Mart for toothpaste, socks, and sinus medication pick up a bottle of the Oak Leaf Vineyards wine, I do not think you will feel that you wasted those hard earned two dollars.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wine 4: Recas Cabernet Sauvignon

http://www.recaswine.ro
While making my way up and down the abundance of wine aisles at the Total Wine store in Northridge, looking for my next new bottle of wine to review, I was overwhelmed by the typical locations that are generally showcased; California, Chile, Argentina.  So I was surprised when I saw the label of my chosen wine for this review listed its origins as Romania, yes, Romania. Needless to say I was interested and in keeping with my intended purpose of this blog the priced was under ten dollars, around $5.99, so I committed to the Romania Cab, "Recas".

After twisting off the cap of the Recas Cab I poured a nice dark, deep burgundy glass of wine, and smelled the aroma of this very foreign wine.  The smell is sweet and spicy, very similar to the flavor which starts with a strong pleasant taste of vanilla and ends with just the right amount of spiciness. The Recas Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine to serve to friends and especially in mixed company of red wine drinkers. The origin of the bottle is interesting enough to be a great conversation starter when you offer a bottle Recas as a hostess gift.

All in all, I recommend giving the Recas Cabernet Sauvignon a chance, I do not think you would be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Week 3: Pacific Peak

photo courtesy of www.totalwine.com
A very sad thing happened in the world of wine drinking mothers on a budget, Two Buck Chuck (aka Charles Shaw), has changed to Two-Fifty Buck Chuck, not only does it not have as nice of a ring to the title any longer, but a case of wine is now thirty dollars (previously under twenty-five).  With this heart breaking news I found myself on the hunt for an under five dollar replacement wine, or as I refer to these bottom shelf wines, my "Tuesday" night bottle.  My "Tuesday" night bottle of wine is the bottle that if I open and only have a small glass I don't mind leaving the open bottle with the cork in it on the counter for a day or two, no big money loss if it is not fresh enough to finish the next time I am looking for a glass.

Luckily I found a replacement bottle of "Tuesday" night wine, Pacific Peak, at the Total Wine and More.  The store offered three varieties of Pacific Peak, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, and (this is the good part) the bottles are priced at $1.87 a bottle.  The bottles and cardboard cases state they are Eco-Friendly as they are made from a lighter material, as well as the company uses a synthetic cork that is easier to recycle.  So far so good, great price and sustainability, next is taste.  Truthfully I am not going to get too specific per wine variety, the facts are that each type taste like a version of what it should be, the reds are mild and difficult to tell apart from one another and the white is fine.

Pacific Peak is what it is, an inexpensive glass of wine, I would not it serve to company with a meal I am proud of, but for a girlfriend who I shared in the buzz of Coors Light tall cans in the past, Pacific Peak would be a great companion.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Week 2: Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel

 
            This week I decided to try one of the new crazes in wine; stylized boxed wines. Now, I know when you think boxed wine your brain directly references either a retirement home or possibly a trailer park, but times they are a changing for boxed wine.  Bota Box Old VineZinfandel, which I purchased at the Total Wine in Northridge (CA) for the price of $4.49, is not marketed as an inexpensive or value wine but rather an ecologically friendly way to consume a cocktail while out and about.  The “box” of Zin I purchased is especially practical for a picnic or hike because it is the smaller size box, it only contains about three poured glasses, or in reality two good poured glasses between my hubby and myself.

            The Bota Box Zinfandel’s color is that of a deep burgundy center with a brilliant ruby red on the edges and smells pleasantly of ripe red grapes.  The initial taste of the Bota Zinfandel offers a mildly sweet cherry flavor and as you let the wine expand you will notice a smoky finish. I did notice a quite bit of acidity in the finish of the Bota Zinfandel that can trigger an annoying bout of heartburn when I hit the sheets, so personally I would not choose this particular Bota Box wine for an evening glass of wine.
            As I warned last week, I can get a little hippy-dippy when it comes to favoring products that make an effort towards sustainability, and Bota Box most definitely falls into this category.  The California winery’s boxes are made from recycled paper and uses green manufacturing processes, purchasing the Bota Box brand wines helps you reduce your carbon foot print, all while giving you a nice wine buzz.
            Here is my final thoughts about the Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel 2010, the flavor is enjoyable but, as I found with Zinfandels in the past, the taste may not be for the fain of heart when it comes to their preference in wines.  Also, the acidity may cause indigestion in some, and I don’t want my perfect pork roast to be assumed the culprit for that discomfort in my husband or a dinner guest.  I will make a note to give the Bota Box another try in the future, but either a Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, in order to give the winery a fair chance.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Week 1: Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon


It’s the crest of 2013 which means most of us are creating unobtainable New Years Resolutions.  I decided that I would not include myself in the camp of those who, by choice, deprive themselves of something they enjoy or the others who force themselves to do something they hate (a.k.a. exercise), in the name of personal betterment in the New Year.  Not me, I am going to resolve to do more of something I love and share it with the rest of the world. I am going to expand my love for drinking wine by trying a new bottle, priced for those of us in middle-class families, once a week for the entire 2013 calendar year. I will share my thoughts about each new vineyard’s bottle and I will either recommend it or steer you clear of a savor disaster.  Okay, enough talking, it is time for tasting.
My week one choice is Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, this bottle in particular was chosen for two very simple reasons: it is sold at my local Costco where I was already shopping, and the price was just right: $6.49.  I love red wines, so the Santa Julia Cab was already ahead of the game prior to twisting the cap off the bottle (yes, wine with a twist off cap, but please note: do not let a twist off cap deter you from a bottle of wine, traditional corks can allow air to enter the bottle and spoil a six and a half dollar bottle of wine just as easily as a two hundred dollar bottle, so the twist off does not automatically mean a lesser quality wine).
With the Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon cap twisted open and poured into my favorite wine glass, currently I am using a high ball glass because it is much less likely to get knocked over when my son bumps into the coffee table for the thirtieth time, I notice the wine is very dark, not burgundy, but a deep inky color.  Even with the cab’s dark color the taste is light and of pure currants, it does not have an alcohol burn in the slightest, actually the Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon has what the pretentious would call “a smooth finish”. The aroma is similar to the taste: pleasant, light, and void of any irritating sting of firewater that many lower priced bottles of wine suffer from.
I quickly perused the label and found that the Santa Julia Winery, located in Mendoza Argentina, boast that it is “Sustainable by Nature”.  I am a Southern Californian mom who drives a Prius, so when I read “sustainable” I am sucked in.  I read the rest of the label and learned that the Santa Julia Winery uses green fertilizers, irrigates partly utilizing a recycled water program, and focuses on energy conservation, the winery also supports social welfare programs.  I gave myself an emotional pat on the back for supporting a company who cares about sustaining their environment and community, way to go Santa Julia.
Alright people, here is the bottom line, Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect wine to serve with mixed company and I would highly recommend it as an exemplary hostess gift at a dinner party, not because it is out of this world great but rather it is friendly enough to satisfy all types of red wine drinkers and it will quell the thirsty masses with it’s simplicity done right.
http://www.santajulia.com.ar