Monday, February 24, 2014

Wine 19: Blue Fin California Petite Sirah

Blue Fin's friendly label.
After two weeks of suffering through the bug that refused to leave my system, causing a lack of those all important senses of taste and smell, I am finally back to sipping and sharing my wine loving opinion.

This weeks bottle of budget friendly wine, Blue Fin California Petite Sirah, was purchased at the Trader Joe’s a month ago. No, I wasn’t attempting to age this golden glass encased wine, it just so happens that I had picked up this wine on a regular Joe’s stop before the dreaded illness sunk in, and it remained in the wine rack, lonely, and hoping to be poured into a stemmed glass for a month.

Once the Amoxicllin kicked in I was ready to taste, so I grabbed the bottle of Blue Fin Petite Sirah, purchased at the nice price of $3.99, popped the cork and gave it a pour. If you are unfamiliar with the Petite Sirah variety of wine, you should know right off the bat that it’s not necessarily user friendly, and by that I mean it has specific flavors that are a little harsher and not common to most reds. 

No description of the wine.
The Blue Fin Petite Sirah gives you it’s Petite Sirah’ness right out of the bottle, the scent is strong, with an edge that is not necessarily unpleasant, but dark and earthy.  The color is not unlike a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but once you taste your first sip the difference in the body of the wine is evident.  The Blue Fin Petite Sirah is aggressive, it is peppery, smokey, and mildly tart.  The fruit flavors are reminiscent of blackberries and deep rich cherries, but that sweetness is quickly over come by the darker edginess of the wine.

Personally, I liked the Blue Fin Petite Sirah because I am the type of person who enjoys shaking things up a bit (especially when it comes at a easy to afford price tag), and I can appreciate the tartness and darker flavors of the wine.  If you are more of a cautious wine drinker, get more wine joy out knowing what to expect when you pour that glass, steer clear of the Blue Fin Petite Sirah and head toward something a bit more friendly like The California Rabbit Pinot Noir.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wineducation: Don't Just Drink Your Wine

This past week’s wine drinking was interrupted by a very vile virus that attacked our home and took my boy and I out for most of the week. The inability to taste or smell anything for days on end kept me from uncorking and giving a new budget friendly bottle of wine a try in order to offer you a review. While wine-less and laid up under a pile of blankets and pillows, I was able to spend plenty of time perusing the web and reading blogs, which is where I stumbled upon the ingenuity of wine drinkers who have whipped up new and novel ways to ingest my beloved wine.

1. From the blog The Busy Bee: Winesicles. I can't even imagine this deliciousness....I must make them.

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 2.  From the blog Thrive-Style: Wine Fruit Snacks. "There's always room for Jell-O," well, I couldn't argue with that statement when it comes to these.

photo credit:
3. From the blog Sprinkle Bakes: Red Wine Lollipops. It's a lollipop, it's wine, it's a LOLLIPOP made of WINE (enough said).
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I would have happily devoured any of these wine creations last week while laying in my deathbed, if only I could have got the hubs to hit that kitchen and get to wine creating, what a different week it would have been.

Please visit these brilliant blogs by clicking on their titles and give one or all of their recipes a try!

This shamrock mold would be perfect for wine fruit snacks! (photo credit:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wineducation: Valentine's Wine Picks

There is many a besotted couple that only wine on Valentines Day because of the pressure to make this day special. The rest of the three hundred and sixty-four days of the year they rely upon other sorts of spirits to provide that warm and fuzzy buzz, so when this holiday focused on Love rolls around every February, these once a year wine drinkers are left staring aimlessly at the wine aisle with no clue what wine to pair with their impending evening of amore.

Don’t worry lovers, I’ve got a few safe (and of course wallet friendly) wines for you to choose from that will impress your object of affection on this Valentines Day:

·      If you and your love enjoy the darker side of life, collectors of odd treasures, lovers of The Walking Dead, and prefer a smidgen of edge in all that you do, pick up a bottle of Benefactor Cellars Shiraz (available at Trader Joes). The Benefactor Cellars Shiraz is a spicy red wine with warm fruit flavors; it’s a stylish bottle featuring a rather macabre label drawing and will only cost you $4.99.

·      If you are like the Hubs and I, busy multi-taskers who love taking a moment to be together, but enjoy that time even more if we can accomplish something else at the same time (killing two birds with one stone type of couple), then pick up your bottle of Kirkland Cabernet Sauvignon during your weekly trip to Costco for $7.99. The Kirkland Cab is a smooth wine that will go great with almost any home cooked special V-Day extravaganza (and in true Costco fashion, it’s a big bottle).

·      If you are the couple that recycles together, share in the joy of a compost pile, and make informed purchases that include green packaging and fair trade ingredients, well, this one is for you: Green Fin Merlot (also available at Trader Joe’s).  Priced at $3.99, the Green Fin Merlot is an easy-going red wine with a darker smoky finish that will work well with a spicy Mexican influenced dinner of enchiladas filled with fresh spinach from your very own pesticide-free organic garden.

A word to the wise, these wine choices will all run you between four and eight dollars, this is not too much to spend on the one day of the year that you are putting in an effort to show your love just how much you think of them, but do stay within this price range and refrain from dipping below.  Wines priced lower than the four dollar mark (Pacific Peak, Oak Leaf, and/or Charles Shaw) are for the daily wine lovers, by all means pick up a bottle or two those wines as well for a particularly great or bad Monday, but not for Valentine’s Day (please, seriously, don’t damage your relationships).

Happy Sipping on Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wine 18: Buffalo Grove California Merlot

I used to consider myself a Cabernet Sauvignon type of girl. I loved the rich red hues, bold flavors, and the security of what to expect when ordering a glass of wine when out at a restaurant, but recently my taste have changed.  Now I would say that I gravitate more towards Merlot and Pinot Noirs (which is unfortunate because of the Pinot's more expensive price tag), but I find these two reds range of taste more broad, and usually more enjoyable as well.
The Buffalo.

The wine for this post, Buffalo Grove California Merlot, was purchased by the Hubs at the Total Wine, priced at $5.99, and handed over to me with a look in my husbands eye that said, "I hope this doesn't suck" (that look generally accompanies his wine choices).  This look mostly stems from the fact the Hubs chooses completely based on labels alone, and this particular bottle has a picture of a Buffalo on it, why this buffalo interested him, well....your guess is as good as mine.

I was lucky that the wine was a Merlot, it could have been a red table wine or Beaujolais for all the Hubs knows, so when I thanked him and said, "Nice, a Merlot," he smiled and replied, "Oh, is that what it is?" I guess it's the sort-of thought that counts in this case.

The reverse side of the Buffalo Grove Merlot's label is kind of ridiculous, the writer tells a tale of how the majestic buffalo (as in the animal) searched out the best places to live and feed, and in a similar nature, this wine maker exhausted themselves to find "artisan" grapes to create their Merlot (wow, I think a description of the wines taste would have been sufficient, but someone was feeling creative).

The fairy story-style label.
I twisted off the Buffalo Grove Merlot's cap, poured it into my glass, and noticed immediately how dark the color of the wine was. Merlots are typically darker in hue, but this was drastic.  I am talking almost black, I held the glass under a light and both the Hubs and I commented on how it virtually lacked any color whatsoever.  Fortunately, the dark color has little to do with the Merlot's flavor, which is surprisingly fresh, fruity, and light.  The Buffalo Grove Merlot starts out with a crisp currant flavor and ends with a deeper taste, reminiscent of dark chocolate (who doesn't love that), and is overall very enjoyable.

I think the Buffalo Grove Merlot is a great inexpensive wine find, even if it was a complete fluke that it ended up in my house. I say if you are looking for a Merlot that has a bit more to offer and have six bucks burning a hole in your pocket, definitely pick up a bottle.

Maybe this for the Hubs for Valentine's Day??