September 14, 2012
There is a great new wine on the market called “The Beachhouse.” I tried their white blend a couple of months ago and recently tried their red blend as well. Both are really simple, easy drinking wines and have become regulars during the week in our household. I have purchased them anywhere from $7.99-$9.99 depending on the location.
The white blend is 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, a classic Bordeaux-style white blend. The Sauv Blanc gives a crisp, clean taste while the mild sweetness of the Semillon balances out the cirtus. The wine is produces from vineyards in the Cape Costal Region of South Africa.
Also from South Africa, the red blend hails from the Western Cape and is a dynamic blend of Shiraz (65%), Mourvedre (20%) and Viognier (15%). Yes, Viognier, crazy right? I don’t know about you, but when I hear Viognier I always think of white wine. So I was intrigued and tried it for myself. Fruity, smooth and a little bit of spice. It was lovely! I must admit, the white is my favorite, but I’d buy the red again for sipping after a meal or with a nice cheese plate on a crisp fall evening.
So there you have it, what I’ve been doing the past couple of months! I also managed to track down a case of Kaiken for only $120, what a deal! Buying by the case has been our MO as of late. Much easier to buy a months’ supply at a time than running to the package store twice a week. Buying wine by the case, having groceries delivered, getting huge boxes of diapers from Amazon every other week. Will I ever set foot in an actual store on a regular basis again? We’ll see…
Now that we’re approaching the fall I think it’s time to try some fun new Cabs, so be on the lookout over the next few weeks for more reviews. Have a great weekend!
July 31, 2012
I have another fun rose to tell you about to wrap up the month of July, Segura Viudas Brut Rose sparkling wine from Spain.
I have blogged about Segura Viudas in the past but I have never tried the pink bubbly version. This sparkler is a brut, meaning it is low on the sugar scale (0-12 grams of sugar per liter to be exact). The wine is dry for sure, but crisp and refreshing. There is a nice subtle fruit on the palate as is typical with rose wines. The bottle was only $7.99 so we’re not talking blow-your-socks-off here, but this would be great for a champagne-style punch, or add a little Chambord and you’ll have yourself a lovely little aperitif! And it just looks so pretty, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m just biased because I adore those champagne flutes, an engagement gift from my bestie/woman of honor… Those flutes make drinking tap water exciting and sexy! But I digress… So overall I would recommend this wine as long as you have the right expectation. Celebrating an anniversary or big promotion? No. Mixing up a pretty cocktail for a girlie baby shower? Perfect! I hope you enjoyed the roses we reviewed this month and I apologize I couldn’t get all four reviews up. If you’re looking for more suggestions I would be more than happy to send you further info. Now we need to pick a theme for August… Hasta pronto!!
July 11, 2012
Next up this month we have the delightful Chateau Montaud Cotes de Provence. This 2011 rose cost $10 and comes in a beautiful bottle typical of rose from the region.
The wine is made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. The nose is lightly floral with soft berry notes the palate is smooth with bright strawberry and cherry flavors. This is a dry rose and despite its fruit flavors it is not at all sweet. But that is ok because sweetness is not what a real rose is all about, right? I enjoyed this wine very much and would highly recommend it. Looks like we’re two for two on rose month, huzzah! Check it out and let me know what you think. Until next week, salute!
July 4, 2012
It’s summer, everyone! I know, I know, summer officially been a few weeks ago, but July is the time when it really feels like summer, you know? June can be touchy, some cooler days and such, but July is all sunshine and happiness! Nothing says summer to me like a cool, crisp rose wine. Sitting at a cafe on the beach in Nice, sipping a cool, pink wine, nibbling on marinated olives and toasted almonds, the sun shining down and filling you with joy. THAT is my happy place, right there… Let me begin by saying that I mean rose, NOT white Zinfandel. Real rose wine gets its color from brief exposure to the skins of the red grapes from which the white grape juice is pressed and then fermented. White Zin is dyed and sweetened and just an abomination. But enough about that, let’s get right into our wine of the week, a delightful 2010 Bordeaux rose by Chateau de Castelneau.
This rose is made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The nose is slightly floral with bright strawberry. The palate is light and crisp with a medium finish and a hint of sweetness. The bottle was only $9, an absolute steal in my opinion! I recommend this wine for sure. Try it for yourself, and happy summer!
May 30, 2012
Rioja month has flown by, I can’t believe this is the last review! But at least it’s another goodie… This week we sampled Campo Viejo, a 2008 Rioja blend (85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 5% Mazuelo). I purchased the bottle on sale for $7.98.
After having such luck with Cortijo last week, I figured finding another fantastic Rioja under $8 would be too good to be true. But I was wrong! Like the Cortijo, Campo Viejo had some beautiful fruit notes, cherry in particular, but it also had a nice spice and a hint of earthiness as well. This added complexity is most likely due to the 12 months the wine spent aging in oak before botteling. I wouldn’t describe the wine as overly oaky, I know there are many of you who cringe at that word, I would rather call it toasty. The nice thing is that the toastiness and spice are not overbearing, the wine was still light and refreshing enough to enjoy on a warm spring evening. We took the bottle’s advice and used our wine chill drops to bring the wine to 62 degrees before serving which may have taken the edge off the spice, but the second glass was at room temp and it was also lovely. I do love when trendier wine makers include notes on serving, tasting, pairings, etc. on the label. Sort of a “cheat sheet” if you will. I am finding this more and more with younger Rioja’s in the $10 range. Spain has been undergoing this fantastic youthful revolution of late. They are doing a phenomenal job of marketing their wine, food and tourism to the younger generations. Of course they have my buy-in already, but it’s a great way to expose others to the wonders that country has to offer. ANYWAY, I highly reccommend Campo Viejo. Great Rioja with bright fruits, a hint of spice, medium body and a smooth finish. It is a tough call, having to pick a favorite between this and Cortijo. I think I’ll need to buy another bottle of each and taste them at the same time to make a decision. Woe is me. Hopefully I can find someone willing to go through an ordeal like that with me, any takers? You know where to find me
And now the adventure begins… What theme will we pick for the month of June? Warmer weather, the height of the wedding season, so many things to choose inspiration from. Guess you’ll have to check back next week to find out! Hasta luego!
May 23, 2012
I am so excited to tell you about this week’s wine, Coritjo, a 2009 tempranillo – garnacha (Grenache in Spanish) blend from the Rioja region. I bought this wine for only $7.98. It was one of those wines with all sorts of hand written signs saying the that it was a staff pick and had won all sorts of awards. So it was either a good wine or the package store owner had bought a bunch of it on sale and was trying to get rid of it. Either way I figured for under $8 it was worth a shot. I think it may be my favorite Rioja of the month do far…
First of all, I want to work for the company that produces this wine. The bottle is super funky and informative. The front label is pretty straight forward, but the back label has great info bulleted with bold titles and creative icons.
“The Wine” section describes Coritjo as “Deeply ruby red, with intense aromas of wild red berries,” describing the palate as “clean and bright with pure strawberry and raspberry fruit.” Spot on, a great description, the fruits are bright and balanced and lovely. my favorite line from the bottle is “Unlike many ‘sipping wines’ out there, this is what I call a ‘drinking wine.’” You gotta love the unpretentious attitude! This is absolutely a drinking wine that would pair well with a variety of foods. The wine is medium bodied so it’s not super heavy, but the flavor profile is complex enough to hold up to more powerful pairings. We had a glass last night with spicy quinoa and beef stuffed peppers and then a slightly chilled glass this evening with sausage marinara over pasta. Perfect with both! I would buy this wine again even if it were closer to the $12 range, for under $8 it’s a no brainier. So check it out for yourselves and let me know what you think! Only one more Rioja left, where did this month go??
May 16, 2012
Hmm, I just realize that this post was never published! Sorry about that… Here is last week’s Rioja review, stand by for another new review in Wednesday!
This week our focus on Rioja brings is to Massimo, a 2010 100% tempranillo wine that I picked up for $9.98.
The best way I can describe this wine is that it reminds me of an inexpensive jug of red wine you would get at a bodega in Spain. It’s 5 euro for the pitcher and you’ve already had a couple of cocktails earlier in the evening. So it’s not the best wine in the world but it’s fine for what you’re looking for. The wine tasted very young to me, not shocking as it’s a 2010. It had a fruity nose with raspberry & blackberry. The palate was more bold, spicy with robust tannins like a Cabernet. It had a longer finish than I would have expected. But all in all it didn’t blow me away. You can find so many great Rioja’s for under $10 a bottle that I won’t be in a hurry to pick this one up again. It would be great for sangria or tinto de verano, but so would an $8 bottle most likely… So Massimo isn’t my favorite but it’s not awful either. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts if you’ve tried it! 3 down, 2 to go. May is flying by!! Hasta la semana que viene…
May 9, 2012
Today I have a great little Rioja to tell you about, Vina Zaco. I have seen this bottle popping up at several wine stores lately and was excited to give it a go…
This is a 2008, 100% tempranillo wine that I picked up on sale for $9.98. There are a variety of bright red fruits on the nose with some spice and a hint of anise. The palate has a subtle earthiness but it is the fruit that really stands out. With all the red cherry flavor the wine tastes younger to me than a 2008, but just because it’s surprising doesn’t make it unpleasant! The finish is smooth and lingering, helping the wine stand up to a variety of foods. We paired it with spicy scallion and ginger turkey burgers with curried sweet potato fries and it held up very well. This is another Rioja that doesn’t strike me at first as a typical Rioja but that I enjoyed very much. Maybe I need to reevaluate my idea of Rioja, are the winemakers of the region steering away from the older style earthy wines in favor of these younger, fruit forward styles? Well, I say bring it on, as long as I can still get some of my “damp forrest floor” favorites every once and a while… For under $10 I will be picking this wine up again for sure. Rioja month is going well so far, 2 for 2, yay! Hasta la semana que viene!
May 2, 2012
This month we are going to focus on the wines of Rioja, Spain. Rioja has long been one of my favorite wine regions but for whatever reason I noticed that I have not posted a ton of reviews on Rioja wines. This time of year I always get sentimental for Spain, the Feria de Abril, la playa de Cadiz, tapas en el barrio de Santa Cruz, so I thought this theme would help me cope with those feelings as well. I picked up 5 new bottles today and am excited to get started! The first bottle up is a 2009 Rioja, Montebuena.
The wine usually goes for $12.99 but was on sale for $9.98. Yes, please! I let it sit for about 30 minutes before sampling (read it takes about 30 minutes from the time the baby comes out of the tub for her to fall asleep in her crib, so the hubs heads downstairs to finish dinner and open the vino while I spend this time rocking in the nursery. We have developed quite an efficient system…). The wine has a subtle earthy nose typical of wines from the region. Even after breathing for half an hour you really had to get in there and smell to get the aromas, this is a key indicator of an old world wine. Old worlds have more subtle noses, new worlds have noses that jump up out of the glass. In case you’re ever blind tasting nd need to guess country/region/varietal, this is a good place to start… But back to Rioja – a common description of Rioja wines (which are made from the Tempranillo grape) is the scent of “damp forest floor.” While I love wines the meet this description, some may be a bit out off. Riojas generally are not super fruit forward as a result, having vegetal or mineral favors instead. This is why I was surprised by the palate of the Montebuena with its fruity flavors dominated by black cherry notes and a hint of anise. It still maintains an earthy quality, but the earthiness is on the mild side, a perfect wine for someone who wants to get into Riojas but is intimidated by the idea of drinking something with a nose likened to the ROUS’s scene from “The Princess Bride.”. That’s rodents of unusual size, for those of you who may need some brushing up… Dark, dreary forrest. Mmm… The finish is smooth and pleasant. This wine would be great on its own as long as you don’t mind a bit of tannin. It paired very well with the roasted pork, apples and mushrooms I prepared for dinner. I think it would be great with tapas, cheeses, pizza or pasta, any number of dishes. It is not super full bodied so I’d stay away from grilled meats or anything too rich, for fear of the food overpowering the wine. I would buy this wine again, with or without the sale. A great first pick for the month! If you try Montebuena I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, salud!
April 23, 2012
Have we come to the end of Rhone month already? We must as I only have one more Rhone left on the rack to try! The last wine up is Pierre Amadieu “Roulepierre” 2009 Cotes du Rhone.
This 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah blend is exactly what I think of when I imagine the Rhone Valley. Smooth, fruity, well balanced, it is a real home run. The winemaker describes the wine as having, “red and black fruit scents (blackberry, plum),” with a hint of liquorish in the palate. This description is right on, plus there is a real sweetness on the nose and even a hint of vanilla. Very pleasant all around. You could pair this with pretty much anything, and you can totally drink it on its own, too. Don’t you love wines like that? Powerful yet soft, like the perfect man… For $11.99 a bottle at Whole Foods I will buy this wine again, maybe even by the case, I love it that much. Hurrah, I LOVE projects like this focus on the Rhone because they force me to make more creative wine choices and find new favorites! Not that Rhones aren’t a part of my normal wine-buys, but I would pick up a bottle here or there, not 4 at once to then compare all within a few weeks…
So, to wrap up Rhone month, here are the four wines we tried in order of how much we loved them:
*Pierre Amadieu “Roulepierre”
*M. Chapoutier Belleruche
*Brotte Le Griveliere
*Le Vieille Ferme
Four great selections to get a feel for the region! I hope this little project helps you get a better understanding of Rhone wines and that the next time you’re out and want to try a nice red that’s not too big but not too light that you’ll remember to check out this region instead of just picking another California Pinot. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with California Pinots, but it’s good to branch out and try new things! If you have any questions about these wines or about the Rhone valley in general please do not hesitate to contact me. Excited to tell you about our project for May next week! In the meantime I’ll be celebrating my 9 year anniversary of legal wine tasting this weekend. Sounds better than saying I’m turning 30, don’t you think? Wish me luck…