The CheapWineFinder Podcast https://www.cheapwinefinder.com Remarkable wines that pair nicely with your wallet Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:28:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Quake and Dave talk about wine, drink wine and whine about random things, again CheapWineFinder clean episodic CheapWineFinder itunes@cheapwinefinder.com itunes@cheapwinefinder.com (CheapWineFinder) © CheapWineFinder.com Remarkable wines that pair nicely with your wallet The CheapWineFinder Podcast http://www.cheapwinefinder.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/logo-1440.png https://www.cheapwinefinder.com TV-14 Chicago, IL Raimund Prüm Mosel Dry Riesling 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32365/raimund-prum-mosel-dry-riesling-2018/ Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:24:56 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32365 The Story The Raimund Prüm Mosel Dry Riesling is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Mosel district of Germany. There are a few interesting and unique details with less than 7 buck Riesling. First, you remember that ALDI is a German company and has great buying power in Europe and especially Germany. Second, Mosel is to Riesling what Pinot Noir is to Burgundy what Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is to Bordeaux what Barolo is Nebbiolo. It is the epicenter for that particular grape. If you want the best Riesling the first place you look is Mosel. This Riesling is designated a Qualitatswein wine which is the base quality level there are two categories above this. Which is expected in a wine at this price range. The third point is Raimund Prüm is responsible for this ALDI wine. The current SA Prüm winery has been family owned and operated for over 100 years, but the Prüm family has been involved with wine in Mosel for 900 years. Raimund Prüm is one of the elite winemakers in Mosel, he has produced Riesling that has sold for 100s of dollars. It is not unusual for established well-regarded wineries to produce custom wines for the likes of ALDI and Trader Joe's, but they normally use a dummy wine company name and come up with a brand name that does not suggest the original winery. Here, Raimund Prüm is putting his name on a $6.99 Mosel Riesling. The Mosel wine region is located on the steep banks of the Mosel River. The slopes are so steep for much of the best growing area that it is difficult and dangerous for humans to work the grapevines. The soil is strewn with chards of slate and the slate is so essential to the mineral component of the Riesling that any slate that rolls down the hill is collected and put back in its place. This wine seems to be sourced from vineyards from all over Mosel which keeps the price down. Like most wine areas certain sections can command a higher price and wine produced from a selection of districts are less expensive. But with a wine priced this low, it is not necessarily the location of the vineyards that matter, it is who made the wine. Good winemakers make good wine, great winemakers make even better wine. The alcohol content is a mild 11.5% and this is dry or not sweet Riesling. Riesling Tasting Notes The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is green apple, lemon, lime, melon, mineral water, and apricot, the scents are all light and subtle. This is a light, delicate, dry Riesling with a slightly complicated flavor profile. It tastes of peach, ripe, juicy apple, lemon, a soft minerality, lime, and melon. The mid-palate adds raisin spice, dried apricot, juicy nectarine, a salty sensation, and guava. I named a fair amount of flavors, but they were all restrained, one didn't overpower the other. The acidity gave the structure that allowed the flavors to unfold. Again the finish is subtle but lingers on and on. The Summary This is a pretty good Riesling for $6.99 at a supermarket. I was expecting it to be pretty good considering its provenance. Mr. Prüm wouldn't have put his name or the family name on this bottle if the results were not satisfactory. I quite honestly am more used to writing about Washington State Riesling for Cheapwinefinder. The Washington Rieslings are priced right and are easy to drink and to like. But this 7 buck Aldis Mosel Riesling is an extremely satisfying drink. The more I sip, the more I like it.   Check out the companion Podcast below !!!!!! The Story The Raimund Prüm Mosel Dry Riesling is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Mosel district of Germany. There are a few interesting and unique details with less than 7 buck Riesling. First, The Story
The Raimund Prüm Mosel Dry Riesling is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Mosel district of Germany. There are a few interesting and unique details with less than 7 buck Riesling. First, you remember that ALDI is a German company and has great buying power in Europe and especially Germany.

Second, Mosel is to Riesling what Pinot Noir is to Burgundy what Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is to Bordeaux what Barolo is Nebbiolo. It is the epicenter for that particular grape. If you want the best Riesling the first place you look is Mosel. This Riesling is designated a Qualitatswein wine which is the base quality level there are two categories above this. Which is expected in a wine at this price range.

The third point is Raimund Prüm is responsible for this ALDI wine. The current SA Prüm winery has been family owned and operated for over 100 years, but the Prüm family has been involved with wine in Mosel for 900 years. Raimund Prüm is one of the elite winemakers in Mosel, he has produced Riesling that has sold for 100s of dollars.

It is not unusual for established well-regarded wineries to produce custom wines for the likes of ALDI and Trader Joe's, but they normally use a dummy wine company name and come up with a brand name that does not suggest the original winery. Here, Raimund Prüm is putting his name on a $6.99 Mosel Riesling.

The Mosel wine region is located on the steep banks of the Mosel River. The slopes are so steep for much of the best growing area that it is difficult and dangerous for humans to work the grapevines. The soil is strewn with chards of slate and the slate is so essential to the mineral component of the Riesling that any slate that rolls down the hill is collected and put back in its place.

This wine seems to be sourced from vineyards from all over Mosel which keeps the price down. Like most wine areas certain sections can command a higher price and wine produced from a selection of districts are less expensive. But with a wine priced this low, it is not necessarily the location of the vineyards that matter, it is who made the wine. Good winemakers make good wine, great winemakers make even better wine. The alcohol content is a mild 11.5% and this is dry or not sweet Riesling.
Riesling Tasting Notes
The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is green apple, lemon, lime, melon, mineral water, and apricot, the scents are all light and subtle. This is a light, delicate, dry Riesling with a slightly complicated flavor profile. It tastes of peach, ripe, juicy apple, lemon, a soft minerality, lime, and melon. The mid-palate adds raisin spice, dried apricot, juicy nectarine, a salty sensation, and guava. I named a fair amount of flavors, but they were all restrained, one didn't overpower the other. The acidity gave the structure that allowed the flavors to unfold. Again the finish is subtle but lingers on and on.
The Summary

* This is a pretty good Riesling for $6.99 at a supermarket.
* I was expecting it to be pretty good considering its provenance. Mr. Prüm wouldn't have put his name or the family name on this bottle if the results were not satisfactory.
* I quite honestly am more used to writing about Washington State Riesling for Cheapwinefinder. The Washington Rieslings are priced right and are easy to drink and to like. But this 7 buck Aldis Mosel Riesling is an extremely satisfying drink. The more I sip, the more I like it.

 
Check out the companion Podcast below !!!!!!]]>
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Chateau Le Grand Moulin 2016 Costco https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32323/chateau-le-grand-moulin-2016-costco/ Fri, 17 Jan 2020 05:17:22 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32323 The Story The Chateau Le Grand Moulin Bordeaux 2016 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec from the Estate vineyard in the Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux AOP. This is wine available at Costco for $7.99, I don't think this is a Costco exclusive, on-line retailers seem to sell the same wine for almost twice as much. Chateau Le Grand is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded over 100 years ago.  Blaye AOP is the northern-most growing region in Bordeaux's Right Bank (the big names like Pomerol are located further south).  Merlot is the main grape, but Blaye also produces White wines and Sparkling wine. This is the region that produces everyday wines that is a step up from the value-priced wines. 50% of the wines from Bordeaux sell for under $20, which always surprised me since I equated Bordeaux with Napa Valley and not much is value-priced in Napa. The French have a tradition of drinking wine with their meals, so it makes sense that Bordeaux offers reasonably priced wines. Actually every growing region in France, other than Champagne, produces affordable wines. Sometimes the marketing makes it seem like they specialize in high-end wines, but that isn't the case. In Bordeaux, the simple (too simple) explanation is the Left Bank grows Cabernet Sauvignon and the Right Bank farms Merlot, but it is more complicated than that. The soil types change from area to area as do the growing conditions, but most of those details are not as important with value-priced wine. The collectors argue over which year is a good year and which Grand Cru excelled that year. With affordable Bordeaux, a good producer with a quality vineyard is what is important. The Chateau Le Grand Moulin cold maceration before fermentation. Cold Maceration is where they refrigerate the grapes for a few days, this technique helps concentrate the flavors and the color of the wine. After fermentation, this Red blend was aged in cement vats. Cement vats (they are lined to keep the actual cement away from the wine) are thick enough that they insulate the wine from temperature and humidity changes. Wine loves stable aging conditions and cement offers protection that stainless steel tanks and wood barrels can't. Even though this is an 8 buck Red blend the Chateau Le Grand 2016 has received 89 and 90 points from James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast, respectively. While wine points do not mean you will actually like the wine they do indicate that acknowledge professions deemed this a quality- made Bordeaux Red wine. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Bordeaux Tasting Notes The color is a dark, barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is blackberry, baking spice, black pepper, tea, dark chocolate, raspberry, and a blast of sweet blueberry. This is a well-balanced wine, it has tannins if you are used to California value-priced wines you might have forgotten how tannins used to be. It tastes of a mix of blackberry, pepper, soft plum, and spice. The mid-palate brings orange zest and dried strawberry pieces, a light hint of cream, and Nestlt Quick powder. This is a French Red blend, it is a different style than California and Washington State Red blends, you would never call this a juicy wine. What it lacks in fruit flavor it makes up for with structure, though it does have good flavor. The tannins are there, they make their presence known, but they do not bite. The acidity gives this Red nice length. The finish is fairly full and of reasonable length. The Summary I like this wine, it resets my palate. With writing and talking about value-priced wine you drink a lot of fruit-forward New World style wine, it is the dominant style of winemaking today. And while I wouldn't say the Chateau Le Grand is an Old School red it is very French with solid French style. At $7.99 this Bordeaux Blend is a bargain. I find that most Merlot wines are OK, they are fine but rarely memorable. There are scatter winemakers who do an exceptional job with ... The Story The Chateau Le Grand Moulin Bordeaux 2016 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec from the Estate vineyard in the Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux AOP. This is wine available at Costco for $7.99, The Story
The Chateau Le Grand Moulin Bordeaux 2016 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec from the Estate vineyard in the Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux AOP. This is wine available at Costco for $7.99, I don't think this is a Costco exclusive, on-line retailers seem to sell the same wine for almost twice as much.

Chateau Le Grand is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded over 100 years ago.  Blaye AOP is the northern-most growing region in Bordeaux's Right Bank (the big names like Pomerol are located further south).  Merlot is the main grape, but Blaye also produces White wines and Sparkling wine. This is the region that produces everyday wines that is a step up from the value-priced wines.

50% of the wines from Bordeaux sell for under $20, which always surprised me since I equated Bordeaux with Napa Valley and not much is value-priced in Napa. The French have a tradition of drinking wine with their meals, so it makes sense that Bordeaux offers reasonably priced wines. Actually every growing region in France, other than Champagne, produces affordable wines. Sometimes the marketing makes it seem like they specialize in high-end wines, but that isn't the case.

In Bordeaux, the simple (too simple) explanation is the Left Bank grows Cabernet Sauvignon and the Right Bank farms Merlot, but it is more complicated than that. The soil types change from area to area as do the growing conditions, but most of those details are not as important with value-priced wine. The collectors argue over which year is a good year and which Grand Cru excelled that year. With affordable Bordeaux, a good producer with a quality vineyard is what is important.

The Chateau Le Grand Moulin cold maceration before fermentation. Cold Maceration is where they refrigerate the grapes for a few days, this technique helps concentrate the flavors and the color of the wine. After fermentation, this Red blend was aged in cement vats. Cement vats (they are lined to keep the actual cement away from the wine) are thick enough that they insulate the wine from temperature and humidity changes. Wine loves stable aging conditions and cement offers protection that stainless steel tanks and wood barrels can't.

Even though this is an 8 buck Red blend the Chateau Le Grand 2016 has received 89 and 90 points from James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast, respectively. While wine points do not mean you will actually like the wine they do indicate that acknowledge professions deemed this a quality- made Bordeaux Red wine. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Bordeaux Tasting Notes
The color is a dark, barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is blackberry, baking spice, black pepper, tea, dark chocolate, raspberry, and a blast of sweet blueberry. This is a well-balanced wine, it has tannins if you are used to California value-priced wines you might have forgotten how tannins used to be. It tastes of a mix of blackberry, pepper, soft plum, and spice. The mid-palate brings orange zest and dried strawberry pieces, a light hint of cream, and Nestlt Quick powder.

This is a French Red blend, it is a different style than California and Washington State Red blends, you would never call this a juicy wine. What it lacks in fruit flavor it makes up for with structure, though it does have good flavor. The tannins are there, they make their presence known, but they do not bite. The acidity gives this Red nice length. The finish is fairly full and of reasonable length.
The Summary

* I like this wine, it resets my palate.]]>
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Kirkland Champagne Brut version 2019 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32277/kirkland_champagne_brut/ Wed, 15 Jan 2020 05:20:21 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32277 The Story The Kirkland Champagne Brut is a $19.99 Costco exclusive produced for them by Champagne Janisson of Verzenany in the Champagne district of France. There was a time when a sub 20 buck real-deal Champagne was unheard of, but ALDI, Trader Joe's (I think TJ's French Bubbles has gone up in price) and Costco have all managed to offer pretty enjoyable Bubbly. Janisson is a legit French Champagne House, check out the link above they have an architecturally stunning winery. The Kirkland Champagne is a blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay and the Janisson labeled Bubbly only uses Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, no Pinot Meunier. This indicates that this is a bottling made exclusively for Costco and Kirkland. This also means that this Champagne was sourced using contracted purchased grapes, which in Champagne is far more ordinary than you may think. With the prices that Champagne command you would think that famous Bubbly is sourced from the most exclusive sections of their Estate vineyards. But, most of the most well known Champagne Houses either don't have their own vineyards or only enough land to supply their most high-end offerings. Most people can name maybe ten Champagne Houses, some are so famous that even people that have no interest in wine know their names, but their 100s of Champagne producers. Most have been in business for decades and the average American wine drinker is unaware of there existence. So it does not mean much that you have never heard of Janisson, the reality is you have never heard of 90% of the Champagne Houses. Though finding a new favorite Champagne is fun and is probably the reason Janisson is selling their Bubbly for below market price. It is hard to attract attention when your competition is Icons. As a quick refresher, Champagne differs from Prosecco, because with Champagne after the grapes are pressed and go through fermentation, the wine is aged and then bottled. In each and every bottle a measured amount of yeast and sugar are added, a temporary cork is attached and the bottles' wine continues to age for a minimum of 18 months (Champagne is frequently aged for a longer time). So can a $19.99 Champagne be as good as the more expensive stuff? And the answer is yes, Champagne has extremely stringent rules and regulations governing all aspects of Champagne, from the vineyards to the winemaking process. These measures are designed to ensure quality, corner-cutting is not acceptable. The vineyards are the same vineyards used by the well-known wineries and the winemaking techniques are exactly the same as the other Champagne Houses. Champagne Tasting Notes The color is platinum with a hint of gold, the bubbles are plentiful. The nose is yeasty, with bright citrus, along with apple, cherry, vanilla, and melon. This is a Champagne with a substantial mouthfeel, it has some weight on your palate. It starts with lemon/lime (the flavor of a soft drink, but not the sugary sweetness), there is a nice salty sensation, followed by green apple, and a hint of stonefruit. The mid-palate adds cashew, dried strawberry pieces, and very dry, tart cranberry. There is an intensity to this Bubbly that you only get from the Sparkling wines from Champagne. The more you look for flavors, the more you find, this Bubbly keeps developing. The acidity is really solid, the flavors have room to unfold and that touch of acid gets you reaching for your glass. The finish is subtle and lengthy. The Summary I have always said that Bubbly/ Sparkling wine was my favorite category of cheap or value-priced wine. Since Champagne had a grip on all the expensive Bubbly all the other Sparkling wine producers were offering more reasonable priced Bubbly. All the competition made for some excellent wine. Well, now, Champagne is now in reach for the average wine drinker and the budget Bubbly category is crazy good. The Kirkland Champagne Brut is delicious. The Story The Kirkland Champagne Brut is a $19.99 Costco exclusive produced for them by Champagne Janisson of Verzenany in the Champagne district of France. There was a time when a sub 20 buck real-deal Champagne was unheard of, but ALDI, The Story
The Kirkland Champagne Brut is a $19.99 Costco exclusive produced for them by Champagne Janisson of Verzenany in the Champagne district of France. There was a time when a sub 20 buck real-deal Champagne was unheard of, but ALDI, Trader Joe's (I think TJ's French Bubbles has gone up in price) and Costco have all managed to offer pretty enjoyable Bubbly.

Janisson is a legit French Champagne House, check out the link above they have an architecturally stunning winery. The Kirkland Champagne is a blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay and the Janisson labeled Bubbly only uses Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, no Pinot Meunier. This indicates that this is a bottling made exclusively for Costco and Kirkland.

This also means that this Champagne was sourced using contracted purchased grapes, which in Champagne is far more ordinary than you may think. With the prices that Champagne command you would think that famous Bubbly is sourced from the most exclusive sections of their Estate vineyards. But, most of the most well known Champagne Houses either don't have their own vineyards or only enough land to supply their most high-end offerings.

Most people can name maybe ten Champagne Houses, some are so famous that even people that have no interest in wine know their names, but their 100s of Champagne producers. Most have been in business for decades and the average American wine drinker is unaware of there existence. So it does not mean much that you have never heard of Janisson, the reality is you have never heard of 90% of the Champagne Houses. Though finding a new favorite Champagne is fun and is probably the reason Janisson is selling their Bubbly for below market price. It is hard to attract attention when your competition is Icons.

As a quick refresher, Champagne differs from Prosecco, because with Champagne after the grapes are pressed and go through fermentation, the wine is aged and then bottled. In each and every bottle a measured amount of yeast and sugar are added, a temporary cork is attached and the bottles' wine continues to age for a minimum of 18 months (Champagne is frequently aged for a longer time).

So can a $19.99 Champagne be as good as the more expensive stuff? And the answer is yes, Champagne has extremely stringent rules and regulations governing all aspects of Champagne, from the vineyards to the winemaking process. These measures are designed to ensure quality, corner-cutting is not acceptable. The vineyards are the same vineyards used by the well-known wineries and the winemaking techniques are exactly the same as the other Champagne Houses.
Champagne Tasting Notes
The color is platinum with a hint of gold, the bubbles are plentiful. The nose is yeasty, with bright citrus, along with apple, cherry, vanilla, and melon. This is a Champagne with a substantial mouthfeel, it has some weight on your palate. It starts with lemon/lime (the flavor of a soft drink, but not the sugary sweetness), there is a nice salty sensation, followed by green apple, and a hint of stonefruit. The mid-palate adds cashew, dried strawberry pieces, and very dry, tart cranberry. There is an intensity to this Bubbly that you only get from the Sparkling wines from Champagne. The more you look for flavors, the more you find, this Bubbly keeps developing. The acidity is really solid, the flavors have room to unfold and that touch of acid gets you reaching for your glass. The finish is subtle and lengthy.
The Summary

* I have always said that Bubbly/ Sparkling wine was my favorite category of chea...]]>
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Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32248/technique-alexander-valley-cabernet-sauvignon-2018/ Mon, 13 Jan 2020 05:52:48 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32248 The Story The Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a wine that sells for $6.99 at Trader Joe's. Is it a Trader Joe's exclusive? I don't know since this wine does not conform to the typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine brands. The Technique label is owned by the Precision Wine Company which has 9 different labels and specializes in Napa Valley wines. This bottling is not shown on their website, but there is a Technique Chardonnay from the Knights Valley AVA. The Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma is about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean but is a warmer climate growing region since it is blocked from the Ocean by mountains. The Russian River runs through the middle of the Alexander Valley and the river gives the AVA the cool mornings and the even cooler nights to offset the warm summer days. The Russian River AVA, which is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is south of Alexander Valley. The Alexander Valley is THE Sonoma AVA for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Precision Wine Company produces wines that sell in the $20 to $65 range and generally speaking Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon does not sell for $6.99. A typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine is contracted from a winery who along with Trader Joe's creates a dummy wine company and a unique wine label. The dummy wine company is used to hide the original source since Trader Joe's wines usually sell for less than the producing wineries line of wines. The details involving the production of the wine are hidden, to hide the original winery and to keep costs down. But with the Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon we know who made the wine, cellared and bottled by does not mean too much, but we don't know why it is $6.99. Is this a wine they made especially for Trader Joe's and just didn't bother to hide the origin? Is this a Cabernet Sauvignon leftover from their wine club offerings? Is this a wine produced to sell for seven bucks or is it a wine that fits into the Precision Wine Companies portfolio and should list for $20 plus? Since Sonoma County Alexander Valley Sauvignon Cabernet doesn't sell for $6.99 in retail shops it probably does not fall into the first category, but what is what with this Cab Sauv remains a mystery. Maybe tasting will shed some light on just what is in the bottle. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a very nice shade of purple. The nose is subtle, the aromas are soft and integrated, there is ripe blackberry, black pepper, plum, oak spice, and a little vanilla. This is a balanced, dry Cabernet Sauvignon. It starts with blackberry, black licorice (Iknow licorice is supposed to be black, but I grew up on Twizzlers and they were red), black pepper, and soft, slightly sharp spice. The mid-palate brings raspberry, tart cranberry, none of these berries are super ripe and juicy, a little cream and a late slap of orange zest. The tannins are soft and sweet, you barely know they are there. The acidity is balanced and the finish is subtle and light but does linger. The Summary If this were a twenty-dollar Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I wouldn't be too impressed. It was nice to try, I liked it, but I would probably never revisit this wine at a later date. But $6.99 makes all the difference. It has subtlety and balance that are rare in inexpensive Red wines. So this is a Cab Sauv that is too good for 7 bucks and not so good for 20 dollars. But then again nobody but me mentioned $20 when talking about this wine so that comparison isn't fair. But at $6.99 The Technique Alexander Valley Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is 2 thumbs up!!   Check Out The Companion Podcast Below !!!! The Story The Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a wine that sells for $6.99 at Trader Joe's. Is it a Trader Joe's exclusive? I don't know since this wine does not conform to the typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine brands. The Story
The Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a wine that sells for $6.99 at Trader Joe's. Is it a Trader Joe's exclusive? I don't know since this wine does not conform to the typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine brands. The Technique label is owned by the Precision Wine Company which has 9 different labels and specializes in Napa Valley wines. This bottling is not shown on their website, but there is a Technique Chardonnay from the Knights Valley AVA.

The Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma is about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean but is a warmer climate growing region since it is blocked from the Ocean by mountains. The Russian River runs through the middle of the Alexander Valley and the river gives the AVA the cool mornings and the even cooler nights to offset the warm summer days. The Russian River AVA, which is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is south of Alexander Valley. The Alexander Valley is THE Sonoma AVA for Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Precision Wine Company produces wines that sell in the $20 to $65 range and generally speaking Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon does not sell for $6.99. A typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine is contracted from a winery who along with Trader Joe's creates a dummy wine company and a unique wine label. The dummy wine company is used to hide the original source since Trader Joe's wines usually sell for less than the producing wineries line of wines. The details involving the production of the wine are hidden, to hide the original winery and to keep costs down.

But with the Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon we know who made the wine, cellared and bottled by does not mean too much, but we don't know why it is $6.99. Is this a wine they made especially for Trader Joe's and just didn't bother to hide the origin? Is this a Cabernet Sauvignon leftover from their wine club offerings? Is this a wine produced to sell for seven bucks or is it a wine that fits into the Precision Wine Companies portfolio and should list for $20 plus?

Since Sonoma County Alexander Valley Sauvignon Cabernet doesn't sell for $6.99 in retail shops it probably does not fall into the first category, but what is what with this Cab Sauv remains a mystery. Maybe tasting will shed some light on just what is in the bottle. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very nice shade of purple. The nose is subtle, the aromas are soft and integrated, there is ripe blackberry, black pepper, plum, oak spice, and a little vanilla. This is a balanced, dry Cabernet Sauvignon. It starts with blackberry, black licorice (Iknow licorice is supposed to be black, but I grew up on Twizzlers and they were red), black pepper, and soft, slightly sharp spice. The mid-palate brings raspberry, tart cranberry, none of these berries are super ripe and juicy, a little cream and a late slap of orange zest. The tannins are soft and sweet, you barely know they are there. The acidity is balanced and the finish is subtle and light but does linger.
The Summary

* If this were a twenty-dollar Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I wouldn't be too impressed. It was nice to try, I liked it, but I would probably never revisit this wine at a later date.
* But $6.99 makes all the difference. It has subtlety and balance that are rare in inexpensive Red wines.
* So this is a Cab Sauv that is too good for 7 bucks and not so good for 20 dollars. But then again nobody but me mentioned $20 when talking about this wine so that comparison isn't fair.
* But at $6.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 8:48
Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32201/babich-marlborough-sauvignon-blanc-2019/ Fri, 10 Jan 2020 05:05:27 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32201 The Story The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a young Sauv Blanc sourced from mainly Estate vineyards (they own several in different sub-regions of Marlborough) and other carefully chosen contracted vineyards. Babich is a family-owned wine operation founded in 1916 and three generations of the Babich family currently oversee the operations. Marlborough is located on the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island and produces 2/3's of New Zealand's wine. We have just entered 2020 and the Babich Sauvignon Blanc is a 2019 vintage which seems like this wine is released a bit too soon until you release that New Zealand has its summer when the US has its winter and vice versa. So, it is just a young wine, not meant for aging, which is fine for value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. Young Sauv Blanc smells and tastes like springtime in a bottle. There are some wine regions, such as Bordeaux, where Sauvignon Blanc is blended with Semillion and often oak barrel-aged, while I think Bordeaux Blanc wines are great, there is something about a well-made young Sauvignon Blanc. This Sauv Blanc was fermented in stainless steel vats and uses both natural yeast and cultured yeast. The yeast used brings different flavors to the wine, so the use of both types of yeast indicates the winemaker was going for a particular outcome. This particular wine label was first introduced in 1991, so this wine has been a success for 30 years. This isn't a wine you want to lay-down for a year or two, it will be at its best on the day you buy it and pop the top or actually unscrew the top. The alcohol content is 13%. The Tasting Notes The color is very pale sunshine yellow, just the hint of color. The nose is not shy, you can nose this Sauvignon Blanc from 10 paces away, there is a citrus, tropical fruit, grassy notes, apple, peach, pear, and limes, the aromas are bold, but rounded. This is a clean, crisp, bright Sauv Blanc. Every time I see NZ Sauvignon Blanc tasting notes from the producer they will almost always mention gooseberry, I don't think I have ever seen as gooseberry much less tasted one so these tasting notes will be gooseberry free. It tastes of a mix of melon and lime, Anjou Pear, juicy apple, soft spice, and lightly grassy. The mid-palate has unsweetened pineapple, lemon creme, peach, and just a dash of tangerine. The acidity is solid, enough to allow the flavors room to unfold, but not enough to be sharp on the palate. The finish is soft, yet long. The Summary The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is exactly what you want from NZ Sauv Blanc. Bold, but not too bold, loads of flavor and easy to drink. There is just a touch of cream on the mid-palate that puts this Sauvignon Blanc over the top. It is extremely enticing. I found the Babich on sale for $9.99, it is a bargain at that price and a good value at full price.   Check out the Companion Podcast Below !!!!! The Story The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a young Sauv Blanc sourced from mainly Estate vineyards (they own several in different sub-regions of Marlborough) and other carefully chosen contracted vineyards. The Story
The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a young Sauv Blanc sourced from mainly Estate vineyards (they own several in different sub-regions of Marlborough) and other carefully chosen contracted vineyards. Babich is a family-owned wine operation founded in 1916 and three generations of the Babich family currently oversee the operations. Marlborough is located on the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island and produces 2/3's of New Zealand's wine.

We have just entered 2020 and the Babich Sauvignon Blanc is a 2019 vintage which seems like this wine is released a bit too soon until you release that New Zealand has its summer when the US has its winter and vice versa. So, it is just a young wine, not meant for aging, which is fine for value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. Young Sauv Blanc smells and tastes like springtime in a bottle. There are some wine regions, such as Bordeaux, where Sauvignon Blanc is blended with Semillion and often oak barrel-aged, while I think Bordeaux Blanc wines are great, there is something about a well-made young Sauvignon Blanc.

This Sauv Blanc was fermented in stainless steel vats and uses both natural yeast and cultured yeast. The yeast used brings different flavors to the wine, so the use of both types of yeast indicates the winemaker was going for a particular outcome. This particular wine label was first introduced in 1991, so this wine has been a success for 30 years. This isn't a wine you want to lay-down for a year or two, it will be at its best on the day you buy it and pop the top or actually unscrew the top. The alcohol content is 13%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is very pale sunshine yellow, just the hint of color. The nose is not shy, you can nose this Sauvignon Blanc from 10 paces away, there is a citrus, tropical fruit, grassy notes, apple, peach, pear, and limes, the aromas are bold, but rounded. This is a clean, crisp, bright Sauv Blanc. Every time I see NZ Sauvignon Blanc tasting notes from the producer they will almost always mention gooseberry, I don't think I have ever seen as gooseberry much less tasted one so these tasting notes will be gooseberry free. It tastes of a mix of melon and lime, Anjou Pear, juicy apple, soft spice, and lightly grassy. The mid-palate has unsweetened pineapple, lemon creme, peach, and just a dash of tangerine. The acidity is solid, enough to allow the flavors room to unfold, but not enough to be sharp on the palate. The finish is soft, yet long.
The Summary

* The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is exactly what you want from NZ Sauv Blanc. Bold, but not too bold, loads of flavor and easy to drink.
* There is just a touch of cream on the mid-palate that puts this Sauvignon Blanc over the top. It is extremely enticing.
* I found the Babich on sale for $9.99, it is a bargain at that price and a good value at full price.

 
Check out the Companion Podcast Below !!!!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 7:58
Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32148/tiefenbrunner-pinot-grigio-2018/ Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:45:30 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32148 The Story The Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2018 is 100% Pinot Grigio sourced from the Tiefenbrunner estate (founded 1848) vineyard in the Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT district of Trentino-Alto Adige region of far northern Italy. Vigneti Delle Dolomiti is located in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains which are part of the Alps Mountain chain. This part of Italy is as much German as it is Italian, with most villages having both a German and an Italian name. The IGT wine designation loosens the rules and regulations that winemakers in DOC and DOCG areas have to adhere to. Trentino and parts of Veneto are the leading growing regions for Italian Pinot Grigio with Alto-Adige being the elite area and wines from there commanding the highest prices. But the conditions in the district allow many locations to grow excellent Pinot Grigio grapes. The Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio is sourced from a vineyard with mature grapevines (planted 1985 or older). This Pinot Grigio was fermented in stainless steel tanks and them aged in cement vats for 4 months. Cement vats are not yet common in US winemaking but are used often in Italian and French wines. The cement tanks are lined to keep out odd flavors and the sides are thick enough to provide the aging wines stable temperatures and humidity. Caves are often used as wine cellars since the temperatures and humidity in a cave a constant and developing wine perform best with consistent climate conditions. Stainless steel tanks are fairly thin-walled and while they provide several advantages for the winemaking process are not as efficient with climate control as cement vats. The alcohol content is 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a very clean, clear pale wheat yellow. The nose is ripe citrus, along with Golden Delicious apple, peach and a bouquet of flowers. This is a rather tasty Pinot Grigio, light and delicate, but rich flavors and well-balanced acidity (some Pinot Grigio from this general region can overdo the acidity). It starts with a mix of grapefruit, lemon, and lime, and then pear, and a little gentle spice. The mid-palate adds guava, a salty sensation, a hint of minerality, and a late dash of juicy peach. One thing I always enjoyed about Pinot Grigio was the layers of distinct, but subtle flavors and the Tiefenbrunner does well in this regard. The acidity is in the pocket, the flavors unfold, but the acid does not bite. The finish is subtle but does not quit any time soon. The Summary I was talking to someone recently who has family in Rome and they made the comment that folks in Italy do not spend more than $10 for a bottle of wine unless it is a very special occasion. I found the Tiefenbrunner for $11.99 in Chicago, which would put it under ten bucks back in Italy. It is a delicious Pinot Grigio. Not only are the flavors pleasing it has enjoyable mouth-feel and texture, but it is also a well-made wine.          Check out the Companion Podcast Below !!!! The Story The Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2018 is 100% Pinot Grigio sourced from the Tiefenbrunner estate (founded 1848) vineyard in the Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT district of Trentino-Alto Adige region of far northern Italy. The Story
The Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2018 is 100% Pinot Grigio sourced from the Tiefenbrunner estate (founded 1848) vineyard in the Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT district of Trentino-Alto Adige region of far northern Italy. Vigneti Delle Dolomiti is located in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains which are part of the Alps Mountain chain. This part of Italy is as much German as it is Italian, with most villages having both a German and an Italian name.

The IGT wine designation loosens the rules and regulations that winemakers in DOC and DOCG areas have to adhere to. Trentino and parts of Veneto are the leading growing regions for Italian Pinot Grigio with Alto-Adige being the elite area and wines from there commanding the highest prices. But the conditions in the district allow many locations to grow excellent Pinot Grigio grapes.

The Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio is sourced from a vineyard with mature grapevines (planted 1985 or older). This Pinot Grigio was fermented in stainless steel tanks and them aged in cement vats for 4 months. Cement vats are not yet common in US winemaking but are used often in Italian and French wines. The cement tanks are lined to keep out odd flavors and the sides are thick enough to provide the aging wines stable temperatures and humidity.

Caves are often used as wine cellars since the temperatures and humidity in a cave a constant and developing wine perform best with consistent climate conditions. Stainless steel tanks are fairly thin-walled and while they provide several advantages for the winemaking process are not as efficient with climate control as cement vats. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very clean, clear pale wheat yellow. The nose is ripe citrus, along with Golden Delicious apple, peach and a bouquet of flowers. This is a rather tasty Pinot Grigio, light and delicate, but rich flavors and well-balanced acidity (some Pinot Grigio from this general region can overdo the acidity). It starts with a mix of grapefruit, lemon, and lime, and then pear, and a little gentle spice. The mid-palate adds guava, a salty sensation, a hint of minerality, and a late dash of juicy peach. One thing I always enjoyed about Pinot Grigio was the layers of distinct, but subtle flavors and the Tiefenbrunner does well in this regard. The acidity is in the pocket, the flavors unfold, but the acid does not bite. The finish is subtle but does not quit any time soon.
The Summary

* I was talking to someone recently who has family in Rome and they made the comment that folks in Italy do not spend more than $10 for a bottle of wine unless it is a very special occasion. I found the Tiefenbrunner for $11.99 in Chicago, which would put it under ten bucks back in Italy.
* It is a delicious Pinot Grigio.
* Not only are the flavors pleasing it has enjoyable mouth-feel and texture, but it is also a well-made wine.

 
       Check out the Companion Podcast Below !!!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 9:22
Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32048/trader-joes-grand-reserve-carneros-pinot-noir-2018/ Fri, 03 Jan 2020 05:15:50 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32048 The Story The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 Lot #23 is a $12.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Carneros AVA which is half inside the Sonoma AVA and half inside the Napa AVA. This is the 10th vintage of TJ's Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir, we last reviewed the 2017 version. Carneros is an interesting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape growing region. The Carneros AVA is farther inland than most Pinot growing regions and is able to have the proper climate because its southern border is the San Pablo Bay (that is the bay just north of the San Fransico Bay). This brings cool breezes in from the Pacific Ocean which along with the poor soil (remember, quality wine grapes need to struggle to produce good wine, happy grapes make bad wine) create proper Pinot Noir conditions. Carneros Pinot Noir tends to start in the $20 range and go up from there. So, $12.99 is a very good price if the Pinot Noir if this Pinot Noir is even close to those more high-end Pinots. There are not any "budget" wineries in Carneros, the grapes had to come from quality vineyards. Plus the 12.99 TJ's price seems to indicate a quality source for this wine. Trader Joe's does not give any information on the maker of this Pinot Noir or the source of the grapes, but this being the 10th vintage indicates a stable source. At first, I thought a 2018 vintage may be a little young for a Carneros Pinot Noir, but I checked and there are plenty of 2018 Pinots on the market from big-name producers. The Grand Reserve Pinot Noir was aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, which is right on par with Carneros Pinot Noir selling in the $40 range. So, even though we do not know the who, what, and where of this wine this Trader Joe's Pinot Noir does have a track record and what little we do know about it matches up to some top-notch Pinots. The alcohol content is 13.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is a see-thru garnet red, with a clear halo. The nose is very promising, there is the aroma of herbs, mushroom, dried autumn leaves, spice, cherries, black pepper, all very delicate and enticing. This is a smooth fruit-driven Pinot with an exotic edge. It tastes of black cherry, licorice, sharp spice, and ripe plum. The mid-palate brings in black pepper, raspberry, a salty sensation, herbs, and bitter dark chocolate. The tannins do not bite and the acidity lets the flavors unfold but does not interfere with the flavor profile. The finish is persistent and while subtle does last. The Summary The Trader Joe's  Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 Lot #23 does a very solid impression of a more expensive Pinot Noir. So you know where I am coming from, I prefer the more classic Russian River, Sonoma Coast-style Pinot Noir to the modern Meiomi-style big and fruity Pinot Noir. The Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot tastes like old-school California Pinot Noir. It has the tasty ripe cherry that you would expect along with the crazy, funky flavors that only California Pinot seem to have (well, have in abundance, anyway) There was a time, not long ago, when value-priced Pinot Noir was simple, inoffensive cherry-flavored wine. Not exactly terrible, but nothing worth remembering. Today, there are many cheap Pinots that are extremely enjoyable, solid and worthy wines in their own right. Winemakers have adopted new (new to California Pinot Noir, not Beaujolais, France) that has brought improvements to the point that cheap Pinot Noir is my favorite cheap red wine. And the TJ's reserve is a great example of cheap Pinot Noir's elevation.                                                      Check Out The Companion Podcast Below !!! The Story The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 Lot #23 is a $12.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Carneros AVA which is half inside the Sonoma AVA and half inside the Napa AVA. The Story
The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 Lot #23 is a $12.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Carneros AVA which is half inside the Sonoma AVA and half inside the Napa AVA. This is the 10th vintage of TJ's Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir, we last reviewed the 2017 version. Carneros is an interesting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape growing region.

The Carneros AVA is farther inland than most Pinot growing regions and is able to have the proper climate because its southern border is the San Pablo Bay (that is the bay just north of the San Fransico Bay). This brings cool breezes in from the Pacific Ocean which along with the poor soil (remember, quality wine grapes need to struggle to produce good wine, happy grapes make bad wine) create proper Pinot Noir conditions.

Carneros Pinot Noir tends to start in the $20 range and go up from there. So, $12.99 is a very good price if the Pinot Noir if this Pinot Noir is even close to those more high-end Pinots. There are not any "budget" wineries in Carneros, the grapes had to come from quality vineyards. Plus the 12.99 TJ's price seems to indicate a quality source for this wine. Trader Joe's does not give any information on the maker of this Pinot Noir or the source of the grapes, but this being the 10th vintage indicates a stable source.

At first, I thought a 2018 vintage may be a little young for a Carneros Pinot Noir, but I checked and there are plenty of 2018 Pinots on the market from big-name producers. The Grand Reserve Pinot Noir was aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, which is right on par with Carneros Pinot Noir selling in the $40 range. So, even though we do not know the who, what, and where of this wine this Trader Joe's Pinot Noir does have a track record and what little we do know about it matches up to some top-notch Pinots. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red, with a clear halo. The nose is very promising, there is the aroma of herbs, mushroom, dried autumn leaves, spice, cherries, black pepper, all very delicate and enticing. This is a smooth fruit-driven Pinot with an exotic edge. It tastes of black cherry, licorice, sharp spice, and ripe plum. The mid-palate brings in black pepper, raspberry, a salty sensation, herbs, and bitter dark chocolate. The tannins do not bite and the acidity lets the flavors unfold but does not interfere with the flavor profile. The finish is persistent and while subtle does last.
The Summary

* The Trader Joe's  Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2018 Lot #23 does a very solid impression of a more expensive Pinot Noir.
* So you know where I am coming from, I prefer the more classic Russian River, Sonoma Coast-style Pinot Noir to the modern Meiomi-style big and fruity Pinot Noir.
* The Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot tastes like old-school California Pinot Noir. It has the tasty ripe cherry that you would expect along with the crazy, funky flavors that only California Pinot seem to have (well, have in abundance, anyway)
* There was a time, not long ago, when value-priced Pinot Noir was simple, inoffensive cherry-flavored wine. Not exactly terrible, but nothing worth remembering.
* Today, there are many cheap Pinots that are extremely enjoyable, solid and worthy wines in their own right. Winemakers have adopted new (new to California Pinot Noir, not Beaujolais, France) that has brought improvements to the point that cheap Pinot Noir is my favorite cheap red wine. And the TJ's reserve is a great example of cheap Pinot ...]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 10:07
Louise d’ Estrée Brut Trader Joe’s https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31959/louise-d-estree-brut-trader-joes/ Mon, 30 Dec 2019 05:03:22 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31959 The Story The Louise d’ Estrée Brut is an $8.99 Trader Joe's exclusive Sparkling wine produced somewhere in France with undetermined grapes. The label has virtually no information except that this Bubbly is made with the Traditional Method (same technique as Champagne) and it is Brut or Dry (not sweet). In France where the grapes are grown and the wine is produced is more important than which grapes were used. For example, Red wine from Burgundy will display the village where the vineyards are located but have no mention of Pinot Noir. The wine classification is also extremely important, AOC, IGP, or Vin de France are mentioned on every French wine label, but not here. Which is odd for a French wine, they all have some sort of classification. The producer named on the back label is Marcel Martin, which is a company and not a person, located in the Loire Valley and is part of a very large French wine company. Marcel Martin does make a well regarded Cremant (the French term for Sparkling wine or Bubbly that is not produced in Champagne) from the Loire Valley using the Chenin Blanc grape. So, Marcel Martin does have a track record of producing excellent Sparkling wines. Still, I am puzzled by the lack of information on the label, maybe because this wine is made for the US market it is not subject to French labeling laws. But still where the grapes were grown and which grapes are included should be standard info for any wine. The alcohol content is 11%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale golden yellow with a splash of tiny bubbles. The nose is crisp and clean, lemon, melon, citrus along with apple and pear, ripe peach and faint spring flowers. This is a balanced and tasty value-priced Bubbly, not complex by any means, but enjoyable. It starts with a mix of ripe peach, slightly tart lemon, and slap of minerality, pear, and grapefruit follow. The mid-palate adds that salty, cashew "on lees" thing, along with a juicy apple. The acidity is well focused, lets the flavors unfold, but does not bite. The finish is nicely full and long. The Summary The Louise d’ Estrée Brut Trader Joe's is a first-class New Years' Eve 2020 party wine. It is relatively cheap ($8.99), tasty (cool mix of sweet and sour flavors along with some wine snobs attributes like minerality and "on lees"). Why drink a Bubbly toast only at midnight when you can have your Bubbles all night long. This Trader Joe's Bubbly is satisfying enough work for the midnight 2020 toast.                                                   Check out the companion Podcast below !!! The Story The Louise d’ Estrée Brut is an $8.99 Trader Joe's exclusive Sparkling wine produced somewhere in France with undetermined grapes. The label has virtually no information except that this Bubbly is made with the Traditional Method (same techn... The Story
The Louise d’ Estrée Brut is an $8.99 Trader Joe's exclusive Sparkling wine produced somewhere in France with undetermined grapes. The label has virtually no information except that this Bubbly is made with the Traditional Method (same technique as Champagne) and it is Brut or Dry (not sweet). In France where the grapes are grown and the wine is produced is more important than which grapes were used. For example, Red wine from Burgundy will display the village where the vineyards are located but have no mention of Pinot Noir.

The wine classification is also extremely important, AOC, IGP, or Vin de France are mentioned on every French wine label, but not here. Which is odd for a French wine, they all have some sort of classification. The producer named on the back label is Marcel Martin, which is a company and not a person, located in the Loire Valley and is part of a very large French wine company.

Marcel Martin does make a well regarded Cremant (the French term for Sparkling wine or Bubbly that is not produced in Champagne) from the Loire Valley using the Chenin Blanc grape. So, Marcel Martin does have a track record of producing excellent Sparkling wines. Still, I am puzzled by the lack of information on the label, maybe because this wine is made for the US market it is not subject to French labeling laws. But still where the grapes were grown and which grapes are included should be standard info for any wine. The alcohol content is 11%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale golden yellow with a splash of tiny bubbles. The nose is crisp and clean, lemon, melon, citrus along with apple and pear, ripe peach and faint spring flowers. This is a balanced and tasty value-priced Bubbly, not complex by any means, but enjoyable. It starts with a mix of ripe peach, slightly tart lemon, and slap of minerality, pear, and grapefruit follow. The mid-palate adds that salty, cashew "on lees" thing, along with a juicy apple. The acidity is well focused, lets the flavors unfold, but does not bite. The finish is nicely full and long.
The Summary

* The Louise d’ Estrée Brut Trader Joe's is a first-class New Years' Eve 2020 party wine.
* It is relatively cheap ($8.99), tasty (cool mix of sweet and sour flavors along with some wine snobs attributes like minerality and "on lees").
* Why drink a Bubbly toast only at midnight when you can have your Bubbles all night long.
* This Trader Joe's Bubbly is satisfying enough work for the midnight 2020 toast.

 
                                                Check out the companion Podcast below !!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 7:15
Roederer Estate Brut 2018 version https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31926/roederer-estate-brut/ Sat, 28 Dec 2019 04:56:15 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31926 The Story The Roederer Estate Brut is a non-vintage Sparkling wine with a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Roederer Estate (founded 1982) is the Mendocino County, Anderson Valley in particular, branch of the nearly 200-year-old (founded 1833) Louis Roederer Champagne House in France. Roederer Estate has 600 acres of vineyards and grows only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Anderson Valley is a coastal valley about 100 miles north of San Fransico. Roederer Estate produces Champagne-style Traditional Method Bubbly with the same esthetics as its Champagne counterpart. The first fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks, then portions of these wines are then aged in French oak barrels. As a non-vintage Sparkling wine different vintages of these barrels aged wines are added to the mix. Roederer Estate goes into detail about the production techniques used. When the freshly picked grapes a crushed to extract the juice, they often crush the grapes 2 or 3 times, it is thought that the quality of the juice declines with each pressing. The Roederer Estate Brut only makes use of the first pressing, the 2nd or 3rd pressing juice is sold off. In Champagne, the rules dictate that the second fermentation (this is where the bubbles are formed) must last a minimum of 18 months, this Roederer estate Brut was aged "on lees" in the bottle for at least 2 years. This Bubbly was named the #27 wine in Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines of 2018 (it is a non-vintage wine so the 2019 release should be exactly the same) and every wine publication of noted has issued it 92 points or more. So, what we have here is a Sparkling wine founded by an Iconic French Champagne House, produced very much in the style of the French Bubbly. With Estate farmed grapes from an excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing area and produced to specifications above the rules and regulations of Champagne, France. So what exactly is the difference between Champagne and comparable Traditional Method Sparkling wines produced elsewhere? Is the difference only price or is there more? Let's find out. The alcohol content is 12.4%. The Tasting Notes The color is pale gold with persistent bubbles. The nose is detailed and slightly yeasty, there is lemon, green apple, pear, crusty bread, grapefruit, soft black cherry, and lime. This is a Bubbly that expands as it engages your palate, crisp, clean with excellent acidity. It starts with lemon cream, tart grapefruit, slightly sour apple, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate offers cherry, a little brioche, that salty, cashew "on lees" thing, a touch of melon, and guava. The acidity is well-balanced, this Bubbly has terrific length, the flavors keep rolling on. The finish is strong and long. The Summary Do you really need to spring for real-deal Champagne for New Years' Eve 2020 or can you save a few bucks and get what is essentially the same thing only from Anderson Valley, not Champagne? In a blind tasting, I doubt if too many people can pick which Bubbly was French and which is California. Louis Roeder Champagne produces Cristal and some truly excellent high-end Bubbly and there are not many other wine regions that can go one-on-one with high-end Champagne. But when it comes to more "entry-level" Champagne there are Sparkling wines that can compete and come in several dollars cheaper than the French stuff. The Roederer Estate Brut is a Bubbly worthy of special occasions, weddings, anniversaries, and New Years' Eve 2020. It is not Champagne, but it is real-deal, great-tasting, luxurious Sparkling wine that does not have to take a backseat to any entry-level Champagne.                                                               Check Out The Podcast Below!!!     The Story The Roederer Estate Brut is a non-vintage Sparkling wine with a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Roederer Estate (founded 1982) is the Mendocino County, Anderson Valley in particular, branch of the nearly 200-year-old (founded 183... The Story
The Roederer Estate Brut is a non-vintage Sparkling wine with a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Roederer Estate (founded 1982) is the Mendocino County, Anderson Valley in particular, branch of the nearly 200-year-old (founded 1833) Louis Roederer Champagne House in France. Roederer Estate has 600 acres of vineyards and grows only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Anderson Valley is a coastal valley about 100 miles north of San Fransico.

Roederer Estate produces Champagne-style Traditional Method Bubbly with the same esthetics as its Champagne counterpart. The first fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks, then portions of these wines are then aged in French oak barrels. As a non-vintage Sparkling wine different vintages of these barrels aged wines are added to the mix.

Roederer Estate goes into detail about the production techniques used. When the freshly picked grapes a crushed to extract the juice, they often crush the grapes 2 or 3 times, it is thought that the quality of the juice declines with each pressing. The Roederer Estate Brut only makes use of the first pressing, the 2nd or 3rd pressing juice is sold off.

In Champagne, the rules dictate that the second fermentation (this is where the bubbles are formed) must last a minimum of 18 months, this Roederer estate Brut was aged "on lees" in the bottle for at least 2 years. This Bubbly was named the #27 wine in Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines of 2018 (it is a non-vintage wine so the 2019 release should be exactly the same) and every wine publication of noted has issued it 92 points or more.

So, what we have here is a Sparkling wine founded by an Iconic French Champagne House, produced very much in the style of the French Bubbly. With Estate farmed grapes from an excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing area and produced to specifications above the rules and regulations of Champagne, France. So what exactly is the difference between Champagne and comparable Traditional Method Sparkling wines produced elsewhere? Is the difference only price or is there more? Let's find out. The alcohol content is 12.4%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pale gold with persistent bubbles. The nose is detailed and slightly yeasty, there is lemon, green apple, pear, crusty bread, grapefruit, soft black cherry, and lime. This is a Bubbly that expands as it engages your palate, crisp, clean with excellent acidity. It starts with lemon cream, tart grapefruit, slightly sour apple, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate offers cherry, a little brioche, that salty, cashew "on lees" thing, a touch of melon, and guava. The acidity is well-balanced, this Bubbly has terrific length, the flavors keep rolling on. The finish is strong and long.
The Summary

* Do you really need to spring for real-deal Champagne for New Years' Eve 2020 or can you save a few bucks and get what is essentially the same thing only from Anderson Valley, not Champagne?
* In a blind tasting, I doubt if too many people can pick which Bubbly was French and which is California.
* Louis Roeder Champagne produces Cristal and some truly excellent high-end Bubbly and there are not many other wine regions that can go one-on-one with high-end Champagne.
* But when it comes to more "entry-level" Champagne there are Sparkling wines that can compete and come in several dollars cheaper than the French stuff.
* The Roederer Estate Brut is a Bubbly worthy of special occasions, weddings, anniversaries, and New Years' Eve 2020.
* It is not Champagne, but it is real-deal,]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 10:12
ALDI Monsigny Brut Champagne #3 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31863/aldi-monsigny-brut-champagne-3/ Tue, 24 Dec 2019 04:10:58 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31863 The Story The ALDI Monsigny Brut Champagne #3 is a non-vintage $19.99 ALDI exclusive, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay sourced from multiple vineyards in Champagne, France. It seems this is a brand name that ALDI owns and in the past several different Champagne Houses supply the Bubbly for ALDI. But it seems, and it isn't easy to be sure, that Philizot et fils has been making these Bubbles since 2012. Philizot et fils are negociants, which means they do not grow the grapes and possibly do not perform the first fermentation on the grapes. That isn't unusual in Champagne, most of the big, famous Champagne Houses do not own their vineyards or if they do have some fields only use those grapes on the most exclusive Bubbly. ALDI in Europe and Australia are far more famous for their value wines than in the US. Their wines often win prestigious awards and Monsigny Brut #3 won the best Champagne award in an international wine festival. In Europe, the Monsigny Brut is known for its low price and for being one of the best Sparkling wines under $50. Is this the same Champagne that won the award? It does not seem to be, the award-winning Bubbly was 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay and while that is only a 10% difference with the Chardonnay and the Pinot Meunier, that does make this a different Bubbly. I asked a winemaker once on why they would add 1% of a grape to a blend and they said everything you do to wine makes a difference. Ten percent of something makes a big difference. Is this a Champagne made for ALDI America and not the same as the European effort? I don't know, but the $20 selling price is attractive and ALDI has an excellent track record with this Bubbly. There are some great reviews online and who knows, maybe the change in the blend (I am not positive these Bubbles are from the same producer) made this Champagne even better than advertised. The alcohol content is 12%. The Tasting Notes The color is a mix of platinum and silver and the bubbles are plentiful. The nose is crisp and clean, there are scents of cherry, lemon, a nice hint of minerality, a little melon, and lightly floral. This is a well-balanced Champagne, nice and dry, it almost evaporates on your palate. It tastes of tart, sour cherry (not sweet and ripe), lemon cream, a slap of minerality, a touch of crusty bread. The mid-palate adds that salty, nutty "on lees" thing, lime, and soft black cherry (again not juicy and ripe). The acidity is spot-on, enough to let the flavors unfold and enough to get you reaching for the next sip. The finish is full and does not stop. The Summary I came into this post thinking this, at $19.99, would be ok for a party Champagne, but not for the New Year's Eve toast or any other very special occasion, but I was wrong. That this version of the Monsigny Brut # 3 wasn't the same Champagne as the Sparkling wine that received all the acclaim in Europe was a red flag, after all, it is 20 buck Champagne. Now, I do prefer Pinot Noir based Bubbly to Chardonnay-based Bubbles, so I am predispositioned to enjoy this 60% Pinoir Noir Bubbly. But this Champagne is delicious This is the best entry-level Champagne I have tasted in some time, period. That you can buy 2 bottles of the Monsigny Brut #3 for the price of a typical entry-level French Champagne is crazy.   The Story The ALDI Monsigny Brut Champagne #3 is a non-vintage $19.99 ALDI exclusive, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay sourced from multiple vineyards in Champagne, France. It seems this is a brand name that ALDI owns a... The Story
The ALDI Monsigny Brut Champagne #3 is a non-vintage $19.99 ALDI exclusive, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay sourced from multiple vineyards in Champagne, France. It seems this is a brand name that ALDI owns and in the past several different Champagne Houses supply the Bubbly for ALDI. But it seems, and it isn't easy to be sure, that Philizot et fils has been making these Bubbles since 2012.

Philizot et fils are negociants, which means they do not grow the grapes and possibly do not perform the first fermentation on the grapes. That isn't unusual in Champagne, most of the big, famous Champagne Houses do not own their vineyards or if they do have some fields only use those grapes on the most exclusive Bubbly.

ALDI in Europe and Australia are far more famous for their value wines than in the US. Their wines often win prestigious awards and Monsigny Brut #3 won the best Champagne award in an international wine festival. In Europe, the Monsigny Brut is known for its low price and for being one of the best Sparkling wines under $50.

Is this the same Champagne that won the award? It does not seem to be, the award-winning Bubbly was 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay and while that is only a 10% difference with the Chardonnay and the Pinot Meunier, that does make this a different Bubbly. I asked a winemaker once on why they would add 1% of a grape to a blend and they said everything you do to wine makes a difference. Ten percent of something makes a big difference.

Is this a Champagne made for ALDI America and not the same as the European effort? I don't know, but the $20 selling price is attractive and ALDI has an excellent track record with this Bubbly. There are some great reviews online and who knows, maybe the change in the blend (I am not positive these Bubbles are from the same producer) made this Champagne even better than advertised. The alcohol content is 12%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a mix of platinum and silver and the bubbles are plentiful. The nose is crisp and clean, there are scents of cherry, lemon, a nice hint of minerality, a little melon, and lightly floral. This is a well-balanced Champagne, nice and dry, it almost evaporates on your palate. It tastes of tart, sour cherry (not sweet and ripe), lemon cream, a slap of minerality, a touch of crusty bread. The mid-palate adds that salty, nutty "on lees" thing, lime, and soft black cherry (again not juicy and ripe). The acidity is spot-on, enough to let the flavors unfold and enough to get you reaching for the next sip. The finish is full and does not stop.
The Summary

* I came into this post thinking this, at $19.99, would be ok for a party Champagne, but not for the New Year's Eve toast or any other very special occasion, but I was wrong.
* That this version of the Monsigny Brut # 3 wasn't the same Champagne as the Sparkling wine that received all the acclaim in Europe was a red flag, after all, it is 20 buck Champagne.
* Now, I do prefer Pinot Noir based Bubbly to Chardonnay-based Bubbles, so I am predispositioned to enjoy this 60% Pinoir Noir Bubbly. But this Champagne is delicious
* This is the best entry-level Champagne I have tasted in some time, period.
* That you can buy 2 bottles of the Monsigny Brut #3 for the price of a typical entry-level French Champagne is crazy.

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CheapWineFinder clean 10:39
Trader Joe’s RSVP Brut 2019 Version https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31825/trader-joes-rsvp-brut/ Sun, 22 Dec 2019 05:00:19 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31825 The Story The Trader Joe's RSVP Brut is a $6.99 TJ's non-vintage exclusive, sourced from grapes grown in California and produced with the Traditional Method, the same techniques used to make Champagne. CWF reviewed this wine way back in 2010 and then it was a blend of "92% Chardonnay and 8% shhh...it's a secret". Why they felt the need to "shhh" us, I don't know, what could the mystery possibly be? This may or may not be the same blend. The label says this Bubbly was produced by RSVP Vineyards out of Ceres, California. Ceres, Ca. happens to be the headquarters of Bronco Wines, the makers of "2 Buck Chuck" a Trader Joe's staple, so there may be a connection. I went to Trader Joe's looking for an inexpensive Holiday party wine, I recalled them having some decent Cremant Bubbly from Burgundy in past years. Cremant is the French term for a Sparkling wine or Bubbly made in France, but not in Champagne. I checked the Bubbly section and they had a few to choose from, but none of the bottles said Traditional Method on the label. Now, this isn't by law or is scientific, but I have found that when a Sparkling winemaker produced the Bubbly with the Traditional or Champagne Method that put the information on the label front and center. If the Bubbly was made in the Charmat Method or the Prosecco Method they don't mention it. It's just me, but I want my value-priced (cheap) French Bubbly made in the Champagne style and my inexpensive (cheap) Italian Bubbles made in the Prosecco style. So, anyway, this isn't a value-priced French Burgundian Cremant write-up, It is a super cheap California Traditional Method Sparkling wine. Judging from my review from Christmas 2010, I thought it was a very tasty bang-for-the buck Bubbly. The alcohol content is 12%. PS: If you want to know what RSVP stands for check out the upper left corner of the front label, turns out RSVP is French, who knew? Tasting Notes The color is a pale golden yellow with a flurry of bubbles. The nose is a crisp green apple, lemon, a little brioche, Anjou pear, peach, and lime. This a well-balanced Sparkling wine, the acidity stays in control (often very inexpensive Traditional Method Bubbles can be acid bombs) along with some flavors that caused me to pause to figure out what was happening in my glass. It tastes of slightly sour lemon, a drop or two of lime, crisp apple and melon. The mid-palate adds some Ricola cough drops (mix of herbs and lemon), apple core (seeds and all), stone fruit, and pear. The acidity does not bite and the herbal, apple core flavors take a moment to get used to, but once you adjust it becomes a pleasant surprise for a $6.99 Sparkling wine. The finish is full and long. The Summary I seemed to have enjoyed the 2010 version of the RSVP Brut more than the 2019 version. The 2010 RSVP seemed to be a typical Chardonnay-based Sparkling wine, just very inexpensive. The 2019 edition has some challenging flavors, not bad flavors, it is just that herbs, minerals, and apple core are not often seen in cheap Bubbles. This is a very drinkable Bubbly, but may not be the first choice to pour for non-wine people at a Holiday party. Something light and breezy may be a better choice. It is not a bad Bubbly by any means and is actually quite interesting, it is just that I am not so sure interesting is the best choice for a Holiday party. The Story The Trader Joe's RSVP Brut is a $6.99 TJ's non-vintage exclusive, sourced from grapes grown in California and produced with the Traditional Method, the same techniques used to make Champagne. CWF reviewed this wine way back in 2010 and then ... The Story
The Trader Joe's RSVP Brut is a $6.99 TJ's non-vintage exclusive, sourced from grapes grown in California and produced with the Traditional Method, the same techniques used to make Champagne. CWF reviewed this wine way back in 2010 and then it was a blend of "92% Chardonnay and 8% shhh...it's a secret". Why they felt the need to "shhh" us, I don't know, what could the mystery possibly be? This may or may not be the same blend. The label says this Bubbly was produced by RSVP Vineyards out of Ceres, California. Ceres, Ca. happens to be the headquarters of Bronco Wines, the makers of "2 Buck Chuck" a Trader Joe's staple, so there may be a connection.

I went to Trader Joe's looking for an inexpensive Holiday party wine, I recalled them having some decent Cremant Bubbly from Burgundy in past years. Cremant is the French term for a Sparkling wine or Bubbly made in France, but not in Champagne. I checked the Bubbly section and they had a few to choose from, but none of the bottles said Traditional Method on the label. Now, this isn't by law or is scientific, but I have found that when a Sparkling winemaker produced the Bubbly with the Traditional or Champagne Method that put the information on the label front and center. If the Bubbly was made in the Charmat Method or the Prosecco Method they don't mention it.

It's just me, but I want my value-priced (cheap) French Bubbly made in the Champagne style and my inexpensive (cheap) Italian Bubbles made in the Prosecco style. So, anyway, this isn't a value-priced French Burgundian Cremant write-up, It is a super cheap California Traditional Method Sparkling wine. Judging from my review from Christmas 2010, I thought it was a very tasty bang-for-the buck Bubbly. The alcohol content is 12%.

PS: If you want to know what RSVP stands for check out the upper left corner of the front label, turns out RSVP is French, who knew?
Tasting Notes
The color is a pale golden yellow with a flurry of bubbles. The nose is a crisp green apple, lemon, a little brioche, Anjou pear, peach, and lime. This a well-balanced Sparkling wine, the acidity stays in control (often very inexpensive Traditional Method Bubbles can be acid bombs) along with some flavors that caused me to pause to figure out what was happening in my glass. It tastes of slightly sour lemon, a drop or two of lime, crisp apple and melon. The mid-palate adds some Ricola cough drops (mix of herbs and lemon), apple core (seeds and all), stone fruit, and pear. The acidity does not bite and the herbal, apple core flavors take a moment to get used to, but once you adjust it becomes a pleasant surprise for a $6.99 Sparkling wine. The finish is full and long.
The Summary

* I seemed to have enjoyed the 2010 version of the RSVP Brut more than the 2019 version. The 2010 RSVP seemed to be a typical Chardonnay-based Sparkling wine, just very inexpensive. The 2019 edition has some challenging flavors, not bad flavors, it is just that herbs, minerals, and apple core are not often seen in cheap Bubbles.
* This is a very drinkable Bubbly, but may not be the first choice to pour for non-wine people at a Holiday party. Something light and breezy may be a better choice.
* It is not a bad Bubbly by any means and is actually quite interesting, it is just that I am not so sure interesting is the best choice for a Holiday party.
]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 9:12
Légende Pauillac Bordeaux 2015 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31767/legende-pauillac-bordeaux-2015/ Thu, 19 Dec 2019 22:36:48 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31767 The Story The Légende Pauillac Bordeaux 2015 is a 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30%Merlot blend sourced from Domaines Barons de Rothschild estate Lafite vineyards near the village Pauillac in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. That is about the fanciest sentence CheapWineFinder ever had to write. While these vineyards are very, very upscale vineyards, the grapes were taken from some of the younger vines, which keeps the cost down. This is a Bordeaux selling in the $45 to $50 range rather than 100sof dollars per bottle. The Légende is Rothschilds' brand wine, they have a line of White and Red Bordeaux wines that are reasonably priced (50 bucks for a Bordeaux from Lafite vineyards IS reasonably priced, the others are mostly well under $20)) and solid representations of Bordeaux wines. You don't need to know Domaine This or Chateau That to choose an excellent, affordable Bordeaux wine, You just need to know Legende. With the younger vines and the various lots of wine being aged 3 to 9 months, 40% in French oak barrels, the didn't specify but I would imagine the other 60% was aged in stainless steel tanks. This is a drink-it-now wine, not meant for cellaring, you may be able to put it down for a couple of years, but there isn't any need for further aging. Check out the Podcast where Quake and Dave put the Légende Pauillac Bordeaux 2015 through its paces. While we make no claims to being Bordeaux experts, we do know good wine and more importantly, we know what we like. So listen up as CheapWineFinder goes upscale for the Holidays. The Story The Légende Pauillac Bordeaux 2015 is a 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30%Merlot blend sourced from Domaines Barons de Rothschild estate Lafite vineyards near the village Pauillac in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. The Story
The Légende Pauillac Bordeaux 2015 is a 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30%Merlot blend sourced from Domaines Barons de Rothschild estate Lafite vineyards near the village Pauillac in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. That is about the fanciest sentence CheapWineFinder ever had to write. While these vineyards are very, very upscale vineyards, the grapes were taken from some of the younger vines, which keeps the cost down. This is a Bordeaux selling in the $45 to $50 range rather than 100sof dollars per bottle.

The Légende is Rothschilds' brand wine, they have a line of White and Red Bordeaux wines that are reasonably priced (50 bucks for a Bordeaux from Lafite vineyards IS reasonably priced, the others are mostly well under $20)) and solid representations of Bordeaux wines. You don't need to know Domaine This or Chateau That to choose an excellent, affordable Bordeaux wine, You just need to know Legende.

With the younger vines and the various lots of wine being aged 3 to 9 months, 40% in French oak barrels, the didn't specify but I would imagine the other 60% was aged in stainless steel tanks. This is a drink-it-now wine, not meant for cellaring, you may be able to put it down for a couple of years, but there isn't any need for further aging.

Check out the Podcast where Quake and Dave put the Légende Pauillac Bordeaux 2015 through its paces. While we make no claims to being Bordeaux experts, we do know good wine and more importantly, we know what we like. So listen up as CheapWineFinder goes upscale for the Holidays.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 14:00
Beringer Founders Estate Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31773/beringer-founders-estate-pinot-noir-2017/ Wed, 18 Dec 2019 04:44:40 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31773 The Story The Beringer Founders Estate Pinot Noir 2017 is the #1 wine on Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buy Wines of 2019. And that is somewhat remarkable. Beringer is the oldest (since 1876) continuously operating winery in the US and they produce a lot of wine, from $400 bottles to $4 bottles, they run the gamut. The Founders Estate Pinot Noir is not the typical wine that leads best-of lists (I have not tasted it yet, I do the tasting notes in real-time). First, it is a Pinot Noir that I found on sale for $7.99, second, most of the grapes (along with a smaller portion of grapes from coastal Central Coast AVA) are sourced from multiple vineyards in the California Delta region. The California Delta region is basically the Clarksburg AVA and the Lodi AVA, they are about 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. They are wine grape growing regions because of the San Pablo Bay, which is the bay north of the San Fransico Bay and is far enough inland that its influence can reach those areas through rivers and valleys. Neither AVA is known for Pinot Noir. Value-priced (cheap) labels from giant wineries, featuring grapes from non-buzz-worthy Pinot Noir growing regions and nothing out of the ordinary production techniques. It is aged for 5 months "on" French oak, what does "on" mean in this setting? I thought you aged wine "in" barrels, is "on" some winemakers term or does it mean something else. Actually, I don't expect a sub-10 buck wine to see oak barrels, it does happen from time to time, but the oak influence can come from oak staves or chips with inexpensive wine. I am not trying to be negative, because I am intrigued. #1 wines on Top 100 lists tend to be some wine from France or Italy that you can't find in any wine shop. Not that the Beringer was easy to find, I figured since it hit the top of the Best Buy 2019 list every store would feature it with a sign saying #1, but I had to visit 5 shops to find it and it was on the bottom shelf behind a kiosk of some other wine. I guess accolades don't count for much anymore, but when I read it took the first spot, I knew I had to see what was what. The alcohol content is 13.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is crystal clear, see-thru garnet red. The nose is ripe fruit and funky herbs, there is ripe cherry, mushroom and a distinct herbal scent, oak spice, vanilla, slightly sour cranberry, and a faint hint of smoke. Ok, I kind of get it, it has a distinct mouthfeel, smooth, but with an edge and interesting flavor. It tastes of black cherry, spice, a little black pepper, chocolate powder, and ripe plum. The mid-palate shows tart cranberry and vanilla cream, along with soft herbs and orange zest. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity does a good job of allowing the ample flavors to unfold. The finish is soft and does linger for a while. The Summary First of all, we at Cheap Wine Finder have known for some time that on the best, if not the best, inexpensive red wine was California Pinot Noir. In the last few years, cheap Pinot Noir has blossomed. Is the Beringer Founders Estate Pinot Noir 2017 my personnel #1 wine of 2019? No, but I am glad I gave it a try. It is more on the Meiomi side of Pinot Noir, which I like, but it isn't my favorite style of Pinot Noir. If you like your Pinot Noir full of ripe and juicy cherries, herbs, and spice, yet nicely focused, then the Founders Estate might be your #1 wine.                                                           Check out the companion podcast below     The Story The Beringer Founders Estate Pinot Noir 2017 is the #1 wine on Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buy Wines of 2019. And that is somewhat remarkable. Beringer is the oldest (since 1876) continuously operating winery in the US and they produce a lo... The Story
The Beringer Founders Estate Pinot Noir 2017 is the #1 wine on Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buy Wines of 2019. And that is somewhat remarkable. Beringer is the oldest (since 1876) continuously operating winery in the US and they produce a lot of wine, from $400 bottles to $4 bottles, they run the gamut. The Founders Estate Pinot Noir is not the typical wine that leads best-of lists (I have not tasted it yet, I do the tasting notes in real-time).

First, it is a Pinot Noir that I found on sale for $7.99, second, most of the grapes (along with a smaller portion of grapes from coastal Central Coast AVA) are sourced from multiple vineyards in the California Delta region. The California Delta region is basically the Clarksburg AVA and the Lodi AVA, they are about 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. They are wine grape growing regions because of the San Pablo Bay, which is the bay north of the San Fransico Bay and is far enough inland that its influence can reach those areas through rivers and valleys. Neither AVA is known for Pinot Noir.

Value-priced (cheap) labels from giant wineries, featuring grapes from non-buzz-worthy Pinot Noir growing regions and nothing out of the ordinary production techniques. It is aged for 5 months "on" French oak, what does "on" mean in this setting? I thought you aged wine "in" barrels, is "on" some winemakers term or does it mean something else. Actually, I don't expect a sub-10 buck wine to see oak barrels, it does happen from time to time, but the oak influence can come from oak staves or chips with inexpensive wine.

I am not trying to be negative, because I am intrigued. #1 wines on Top 100 lists tend to be some wine from France or Italy that you can't find in any wine shop. Not that the Beringer was easy to find, I figured since it hit the top of the Best Buy 2019 list every store would feature it with a sign saying #1, but I had to visit 5 shops to find it and it was on the bottom shelf behind a kiosk of some other wine. I guess accolades don't count for much anymore, but when I read it took the first spot, I knew I had to see what was what. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is crystal clear, see-thru garnet red. The nose is ripe fruit and funky herbs, there is ripe cherry, mushroom and a distinct herbal scent, oak spice, vanilla, slightly sour cranberry, and a faint hint of smoke. Ok, I kind of get it, it has a distinct mouthfeel, smooth, but with an edge and interesting flavor. It tastes of black cherry, spice, a little black pepper, chocolate powder, and ripe plum. The mid-palate shows tart cranberry and vanilla cream, along with soft herbs and orange zest. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity does a good job of allowing the ample flavors to unfold. The finish is soft and does linger for a while.
The Summary

* First of all, we at Cheap Wine Finder have known for some time that on the best, if not the best, inexpensive red wine was California Pinot Noir. In the last few years, cheap Pinot Noir has blossomed.
* Is the Beringer Founders Estate Pinot Noir 2017 my personnel #1 wine of 2019? No, but I am glad I gave it a try. It is more on the Meiomi side of Pinot Noir, which I like, but it isn't my favorite style of Pinot Noir.
* If you like your Pinot Noir full of ripe and juicy cherries, herbs, and spice, yet nicely focused, then the Founders Estate might be your #1 wine.

 
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CheapWineFinder clean 11:11
Mionetto Brut Prosecco Podcast & 3 More Things https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31755/mionetto-brut-prosecco-podcast/ Mon, 16 Dec 2019 18:37:42 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31755 The Story Quake and Dave sample a bottle of Mionetto Brut Prosecco from their Prestige Collection. It is a light, crisp and delicious DOC Prosecco from the Treviso region in northern Veneto section of Italy. It may be crisp, light, and refreshing Bubbly, but it has loads of flavor: apple, lemon, pear, honey, and grapefruit, with light acidity. It is one of those wines where the bottle is empty before you know it - it is just so easy and enjoyable to take another sip. Mionetto has a whole line of tasty sparkling wines. The IL Collection, a light, and breezy bubbly that goes well with pizza. The Prestige Collection, which is this bubbly with the orange label. The Avantgarde Collection, the black label which we have not tried but it looks interesting. Then there is the Luxury Collection, with the Cartizze DOCG, the flagship wine. Mionetto is one of those "can't miss" bubbly wines. If you don't know which Prosecco to pick, grab the Mionetto. Quake and Dave also reminisce about a few terrific wine events we've attended, the Spring and Fall Galas at Mainstreet Wine and Liquors in La Grange, Illinois. Nancy and friends really know how to throw a party - these are great events! Also one of our favorite events, the LuxeHome Chill @ the Mart, is a truly unique wine and food event inside the showrooms at the Merchandise Mart on the Chicago River in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Each amazing high-end kitchen and bath showroom features food from a noted Chicago restaurant and several excellent wines. The Mart is huge and there are many showrooms along the block-long first floor and every showroom has something interesting to eat and drink. And last but not least we talk about Wine Condoms, an idea that at first, I thought was silly and then when I used them made perfect sense and they certainly are a conversation starter at a party. So listen up and enjoy! The Story Quake and Dave sample a bottle of Mionetto Brut Prosecco from their Prestige Collection. It is a light, crisp and delicious DOC Prosecco from the Treviso region in northern Veneto section of Italy. It may be crisp, light, The Story
Quake and Dave sample a bottle of Mionetto Brut Prosecco from their Prestige Collection. It is a light, crisp and delicious DOC Prosecco from the Treviso region in northern Veneto section of Italy. It may be crisp, light, and refreshing Bubbly, but it has loads of flavor: apple, lemon, pear, honey, and grapefruit, with light acidity. It is one of those wines where the bottle is empty before you know it - it is just so easy and enjoyable to take another sip.

Mionetto has a whole line of tasty sparkling wines. The IL Collection, a light, and breezy bubbly that goes well with pizza. The Prestige Collection, which is this bubbly with the orange label. The Avantgarde Collection, the black label which we have not tried but it looks interesting. Then there is the Luxury Collection, with the Cartizze DOCG, the flagship wine. Mionetto is one of those "can't miss" bubbly wines. If you don't know which Prosecco to pick, grab the Mionetto.

Quake and Dave also reminisce about a few terrific wine events we've attended, the Spring and Fall Galas at Mainstreet Wine and Liquors in La Grange, Illinois. Nancy and friends really know how to throw a party - these are great events!

Also one of our favorite events, the LuxeHome Chill @ the Mart, is a truly unique wine and food event inside the showrooms at the Merchandise Mart on the Chicago River in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Each amazing high-end kitchen and bath showroom features food from a noted Chicago restaurant and several excellent wines. The Mart is huge and there are many showrooms along the block-long first floor and every showroom has something interesting to eat and drink.

And last but not least we talk about Wine Condoms, an idea that at first, I thought was silly and then when I used them made perfect sense and they certainly are a conversation starter at a party. So listen up and enjoy!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 19:44
Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31746/substance-cs-cabernet-sauvignon-2017/ Sat, 14 Dec 2019 04:58:58 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31746 The Story The Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from several carefully selected vineyards located in various AVAs inside the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. Check out the Wines of Substance website for vineyard details. This is the base Cabernet for the Substance line, the others are single-vineyard wines selling at several times the price. But being the value offering does not hold this Cabernet Sauvignon down, Wine Spectator (also gave it 91 points) named it #49 in the Top Wines of the Year, not Top Value wines, #49 out of all the wines they reviewed. Jeff Dunnuck (also gave it 93 points) said this Cab would sell for 3 or 4 times the price if it said Napa on the label. Substance wines are one of Charles Smiths' wine labels, he was behind House Wines, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Boom Boom Syrah, and Velvet Devil Merlot among others. He produces wines that receive 100 points and can get quite expensive and is also one of the most reliable value winemakers. This wine was fermented with natural yeast, which is the yeast that naturally floats on the air and sticks to the grape skins. This Cab was aged for 12 months ("on lees") in 50% new and 50% reused French oak Bordeaux sized barrels. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is deep, dark, opaque purple. The nose is rich, ripe fruit with a touch of spice, there is blackberry, molasses, plum, a hint of smoke, baking spice, licorice, and pepper. This is a balanced wine, nothing is over-the-top, it is sleek and focused. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, chocolate, soft spice, and juicy plum. The mid-palate adds extracted blueberry, a nice rough edge from herbs, the salty, nutty "on lees" thing and a late hit of tart cranberry. The tannins are smooth and the acidity does its job and gives the flavors plenty of time to unfold. The finish is as full as the body of the wine and stays with you. The Summary The Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is an extremely tasty wine. Often value-priced Red wines get things done with a bit of bombast, in-your-face flavors, but the Substance Cs use the restraint and elegance approach. The more sips I take, the better I like it, which tells me to be sure you let the wine "open up". Pop the top and pour will do this cab a disservice. Is this Cab the equal to Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 3 or 4 times the price? (Costco has it for $12 or $13, it lists for $17 and every store sells it for somewhere in between). I don't know, I do not have that much experience with pricey Napa Cabs, I am the Cheap Wine Finder, not the Napa Cab Finder. But I can say that the Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is my current favorite Cab.                                                                  Check Out The Companion Podcast Below!!!!! The Story The Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from several carefully selected vineyards located in various AVAs inside the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. Check out the Wines of Substance website for vineyard... The Story
The Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from several carefully selected vineyards located in various AVAs inside the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. Check out the Wines of Substance website for vineyard details. This is the base Cabernet for the Substance line, the others are single-vineyard wines selling at several times the price. But being the value offering does not hold this Cabernet Sauvignon down, Wine Spectator (also gave it 91 points) named it #49 in the Top Wines of the Year, not Top Value wines, #49 out of all the wines they reviewed. Jeff Dunnuck (also gave it 93 points) said this Cab would sell for 3 or 4 times the price if it said Napa on the label.

Substance wines are one of Charles Smiths' wine labels, he was behind House Wines, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Boom Boom Syrah, and Velvet Devil Merlot among others. He produces wines that receive 100 points and can get quite expensive and is also one of the most reliable value winemakers. This wine was fermented with natural yeast, which is the yeast that naturally floats on the air and sticks to the grape skins. This Cab was aged for 12 months ("on lees") in 50% new and 50% reused French oak Bordeaux sized barrels. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is deep, dark, opaque purple. The nose is rich, ripe fruit with a touch of spice, there is blackberry, molasses, plum, a hint of smoke, baking spice, licorice, and pepper. This is a balanced wine, nothing is over-the-top, it is sleek and focused. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, chocolate, soft spice, and juicy plum. The mid-palate adds extracted blueberry, a nice rough edge from herbs, the salty, nutty "on lees" thing and a late hit of tart cranberry. The tannins are smooth and the acidity does its job and gives the flavors plenty of time to unfold. The finish is as full as the body of the wine and stays with you.
The Summary

* The Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is an extremely tasty wine. Often value-priced Red wines get things done with a bit of bombast, in-your-face flavors, but the Substance Cs use the restraint and elegance approach.
* The more sips I take, the better I like it, which tells me to be sure you let the wine "open up". Pop the top and pour will do this cab a disservice.
* Is this Cab the equal to Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 3 or 4 times the price? (Costco has it for $12 or $13, it lists for $17 and every store sells it for somewhere in between). I don't know, I do not have that much experience with pricey Napa Cabs, I am the Cheap Wine Finder, not the Napa Cab Finder. But I can say that the Substance Cs Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is my current favorite Cab.

 
                                                               Check Out The Companion Podcast Below!!!!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 8:51
Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31731/trader-joes-reserve-north-coast-brut/ Thu, 12 Dec 2019 04:29:41 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31731 The Story The Trader Joe's Reserve North Coast Brut is a Trader Joe's $9.99 non-vintage exclusive and is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The North Coast AVA consists of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, along with the lesser-known Marin and Solano AVAs. This Bubbly is made for Trader Joe's by Rack and Riddle, a company that specializes in producing Sparkling wine and many of the California Bubbly made under varying Brand names are produced by Rack and Riddle. They also have Sparkling wine sold under their name. The term Reserve doesn't have a legal meaning, Trader Joe's may have a less expensive Califonia Sparkling wine and Reserve means this one is positioned a step up. The TJ's Reserve is made in the Traditional Method, the same production technique as Champagne, meaning the 2nd fermentation (this is where the bubbles are created) occurs in every bottle. A major difference with the Trader Joe's Reserve and Champagne is the 2nd fermentation in France must last a minimum of 18 months and here the 2nd fermentation is 12 months. That is more in line with Cava than Champagne. Brut indicates that this is a dry wine or not sweet. The North Coast AVA is an excellent place to grow these grapes, Rack and Riddle have years of experience making Sparkling wines and Trader Joe's has a history of bang for the buck Bubbly. So why not take a chance. The alcohol content is 12.7%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale, clean, clear gold with plenty of bubbles. The nose is crisp and slightly nectar sweet, lemon, green apple, juicy peach, lime, a little brioche, cherry, and pear. This is dry Bubbly with crisp flavors and a bit of an edge. It starts with a mix of green apple and unsweetened lemonade, a salty sensation, a bit of yeasty bread (not too much), and ripe pear. The mid-palate adds ripe peach (again not too sweet), lemon cough drops, and spice. The acidity is well managed, sometimes under ten dollars, Bubbly has the acidity that can bite. The finish is full and does not quit. The Summary The Trader Joe's Reserve North Coast Brut does not have the depth of Champagne, but it is plenty tasty. At $9.99, getting the flavor, but not the depth ain't a bad thing. I am getting jaded enough with Sparkling wine (Champagne and Prosecco are both Sparkling wine) that I am really into Bubbly that has extended 2nd fermentation times (often several extra years), there is something about that extra time that brings out sensational characteristics in the wine. The Bubbly with extended 2nd fermentation tends to get a little pricey, so this solid. but standard Bubbly is really nicely priced. I am of the position that with Bubbles if you are looking for a special bottle for a special occasion find one of those extended fermentation Champagnes, they can be remarkably special wines. If you just want a nice glass of Bubbly/Sparkling wines like TJ's Reserve hit the spot at a great price. The Story The Trader Joe's Reserve North Coast Brut is a Trader Joe's $9.99 non-vintage exclusive and is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The North Coast AVA consists of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, The Story
The Trader Joe's Reserve North Coast Brut is a Trader Joe's $9.99 non-vintage exclusive and is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The North Coast AVA consists of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, along with the lesser-known Marin and Solano AVAs. This Bubbly is made for Trader Joe's by Rack and Riddle, a company that specializes in producing Sparkling wine and many of the California Bubbly made under varying Brand names are produced by Rack and Riddle. They also have Sparkling wine sold under their name.

The term Reserve doesn't have a legal meaning, Trader Joe's may have a less expensive Califonia Sparkling wine and Reserve means this one is positioned a step up. The TJ's Reserve is made in the Traditional Method, the same production technique as Champagne, meaning the 2nd fermentation (this is where the bubbles are created) occurs in every bottle. A major difference with the Trader Joe's Reserve and Champagne is the 2nd fermentation in France must last a minimum of 18 months and here the 2nd fermentation is 12 months. That is more in line with Cava than Champagne.

Brut indicates that this is a dry wine or not sweet. The North Coast AVA is an excellent place to grow these grapes, Rack and Riddle have years of experience making Sparkling wines and Trader Joe's has a history of bang for the buck Bubbly. So why not take a chance. The alcohol content is 12.7%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale, clean, clear gold with plenty of bubbles. The nose is crisp and slightly nectar sweet, lemon, green apple, juicy peach, lime, a little brioche, cherry, and pear. This is dry Bubbly with crisp flavors and a bit of an edge. It starts with a mix of green apple and unsweetened lemonade, a salty sensation, a bit of yeasty bread (not too much), and ripe pear. The mid-palate adds ripe peach (again not too sweet), lemon cough drops, and spice. The acidity is well managed, sometimes under ten dollars, Bubbly has the acidity that can bite. The finish is full and does not quit.
The Summary

* The Trader Joe's Reserve North Coast Brut does not have the depth of Champagne, but it is plenty tasty. At $9.99, getting the flavor, but not the depth ain't a bad thing.
* I am getting jaded enough with Sparkling wine (Champagne and Prosecco are both Sparkling wine) that I am really into Bubbly that has extended 2nd fermentation times (often several extra years), there is something about that extra time that brings out sensational characteristics in the wine.
* The Bubbly with extended 2nd fermentation tends to get a little pricey, so this solid. but standard Bubbly is really nicely priced.
* I am of the position that with Bubbles if you are looking for a special bottle for a special occasion find one of those extended fermentation Champagnes, they can be remarkably special wines. If you just want a nice glass of Bubbly/Sparkling wines like TJ's Reserve hit the spot at a great price.
]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 12:37
Tempest Bay Carneros Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31711/tempest-bay-carneros-chardonnay-2018/ Tue, 10 Dec 2019 04:36:56 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31711 The Story The Tempest Bay Carneros Chardonnay 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from grapes grown on the Napa side of Carneros, the Carneros AVA is half in Sonoma and half in Napa. The Carneros AVA is located a good distance from the Pacific Ocean, but its southern border is the San Pablo Bay (the bay just north of the San Fransico Bay) which brings cool Ocean breezes and morning fog. Carneros is one of the premier Chardonnay regions in the US (they are known for Pinot Noir, too) and many of the wineries located here are the Who's Who of California wine. So, a $7.99 Carneros Chardonnay is a welcome find. Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer states that "you normally wouldn’t find a Carneros Chardonnay of this quality for under $20" and that is not an exaggeration. You may find a brand (a wine not tied to a specific Winery) Chardonnay for around $20, but Carneros Chardonnay gets expensive in a hurry. I checked the COLA website (the government website that keeps alcohol records) and found that the Tempest Bay label name is owned by a very highly respected Sonoma winery. I won't name them since how they fit into this can vary. Since this seems to be a wine that Trader Joe's contracted with them to produce and this isn't one of their own wines, you can't infer too much other than they do know how to make high-quality wine. The Tempest Bay Chardonnay does have a write-up in Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, which gives a few clues on how this Chardonnay is produced. They mention vanilla, baking spices, and toasted oak which would indicate a fairly serious oak seasoning program. There is no mention of oak barrels, so how those flavors were imparted into the wine isn't specified, but you wouldn't figure that new French oak barrels are used on a $7.99 wine. Then again, it does not make much sense to be too critical or demanding of an 8 buck Carneros Chardonnay. The alcohol content is 13.4%. The Tasting Notes The color is a wheat beer yellow with a touch of gold. The nose is full of ripe fruit and citrus, there is an apple, lime, orange blossom honey, lemon, vanilla, candy spice, pear, peach, and melon. This is a Chardonnay with balanced acidity and subtle flavors. It tastes of lemon curd, tart green apple, melon, vanilla, ripe peach, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate is slightly spicey, with that nutty, salty sensation from "on lees", and banana cream (faint). The acidity is very well balanced, the flavors have plenty of time to unfold. The finish starts strong and slowly, very slowly fades away. The Summary With writing for Cheapwinefinder.com, I do not have a great deal of experience with Carneros Chardonnay. Its almost always out of the price range for the website and while I do get to sample it now and again at tastings, I really didn't have a good fix on what to expect with the Tempest Bay. The Tempest Bay is not as fruit-forward as the typical $10 California Chardonnay, there is a subtlety there, it builds slowly in flavor. I actually really enjoy several Chardonnay wines in the ten buck price range, they are bright and fruit-forward and often delicious. But this Carneros Chardonnay is not exactly the same, it hits your palate in a slightly different way, the acidity seems more integrated. My favorite value-priced Chardonnay are still my favorites, but I am glad I bought this wine. It brings elegance to $7.99 California Chardonnay.   CHECK OUT THE COMPANION PODCAST BELOW !!!!   The Story The Tempest Bay Carneros Chardonnay 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from grapes grown on the Napa side of Carneros, the Carneros AVA is half in Sonoma and half in Napa. The Carneros AVA is located a good distance from the Pacific O... The Story
The Tempest Bay Carneros Chardonnay 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from grapes grown on the Napa side of Carneros, the Carneros AVA is half in Sonoma and half in Napa. The Carneros AVA is located a good distance from the Pacific Ocean, but its southern border is the San Pablo Bay (the bay just north of the San Fransico Bay) which brings cool Ocean breezes and morning fog. Carneros is one of the premier Chardonnay regions in the US (they are known for Pinot Noir, too) and many of the wineries located here are the Who's Who of California wine. So, a $7.99 Carneros Chardonnay is a welcome find.

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer states that "you normally wouldn’t find a Carneros Chardonnay of this quality for under $20" and that is not an exaggeration. You may find a brand (a wine not tied to a specific Winery) Chardonnay for around $20, but Carneros Chardonnay gets expensive in a hurry. I checked the COLA website (the government website that keeps alcohol records) and found that the Tempest Bay label name is owned by a very highly respected Sonoma winery. I won't name them since how they fit into this can vary. Since this seems to be a wine that Trader Joe's contracted with them to produce and this isn't one of their own wines, you can't infer too much other than they do know how to make high-quality wine.

The Tempest Bay Chardonnay does have a write-up in Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, which gives a few clues on how this Chardonnay is produced. They mention vanilla, baking spices, and toasted oak which would indicate a fairly serious oak seasoning program. There is no mention of oak barrels, so how those flavors were imparted into the wine isn't specified, but you wouldn't figure that new French oak barrels are used on a $7.99 wine. Then again, it does not make much sense to be too critical or demanding of an 8 buck Carneros Chardonnay. The alcohol content is 13.4%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a wheat beer yellow with a touch of gold. The nose is full of ripe fruit and citrus, there is an apple, lime, orange blossom honey, lemon, vanilla, candy spice, pear, peach, and melon. This is a Chardonnay with balanced acidity and subtle flavors. It tastes of lemon curd, tart green apple, melon, vanilla, ripe peach, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate is slightly spicey, with that nutty, salty sensation from "on lees", and banana cream (faint). The acidity is very well balanced, the flavors have plenty of time to unfold. The finish starts strong and slowly, very slowly fades away.
The Summary

* With writing for Cheapwinefinder.com, I do not have a great deal of experience with Carneros Chardonnay. Its almost always out of the price range for the website and while I do get to sample it now and again at tastings, I really didn't have a good fix on what to expect with the Tempest Bay.
* The Tempest Bay is not as fruit-forward as the typical $10 California Chardonnay, there is a subtlety there, it builds slowly in flavor.
* I actually really enjoy several Chardonnay wines in the ten buck price range, they are bright and fruit-forward and often delicious.
* But this Carneros Chardonnay is not exactly the same, it hits your palate in a slightly different way, the acidity seems more integrated.
* My favorite value-priced Chardonnay are still my favorites,]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:28
Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31697/klinker-brick-old-vine-zinfandel-2016/ Sun, 08 Dec 2019 05:51:50 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31697 The Story The Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is sourced from 16 "old vine" vineyards in the Mokelumne delta region of Lodi, California. Klinker Brick is family-owned and they are 5th generation fruit growers and have produced Klinker Brick wines since 2000. You hear about old vines when talking about Zinfandel on a regular basis, but there are no legal standards for what age an old vine vineyard has to be. Klinker Brick Old Vine Zin is taken from vineyards aged from 55 years to 120 years. That seems legit to me. This is Klinker Brick's second line Zinfandel label. They have the Old Ghost Zinfandel which is sourced from a single 90-year-old vineyard and is priced about 3 times higher. Older vineyards naturally have smaller yields than vineyards in their prime years, the smaller the yield the fewer grapes to go around and the higher the price. The way to get all the good qualities the old vine vineyards provide at a lower cost is to use smaller portions of grapes from multiple vineyards. By the way, grapes from the same vineyard as the Old Ghost Zinfandel are also included in this bottling. This Zinfandel is produced the traditional way, oak barrel fermentation, then the grape juice and skins are cold-soaked for 24 hours and then undergo maceration for 7 days. Maceration extracts color, tannins, and aroma from the grapes and allows the structure of the wine to develop and enriches the body of the wine. This Zinfandel is aged for 15 months in American oak barrels and then the various vineyard lots are blended to achieve the final product. The alcohol content is a sturdy 15.4%.  The Tasting Notes The color is a barely see-thru, concentrated black cherry red. The nose is extracted red berries, toasted vanilla, baking spice, chocolate milk, orange zest, raspberry, and pomegranate. This is a Zinfandel with a soft mouthfeel and a mix of rounded and edgy flavors. It starts with rounded black cherry, black pepper, dark chocolate, slightly sharp spice, and plum. The mid-palate adds licorice, cold coffee, and cherry. The tannins are soft and sweet and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is large and long. The Summary The Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is an excellent, classy Zinfandel. In this price range, there are many "brand" wines, and that isn't a bad thing. The rise of brand wines (meaning the label is part of a large wine conglomerate and not associated with a particular winery) has improved the overall quality of "cheap wine" while keeping prices down. But the Klinker Brick is a genuine Winery offering and typically the 2nd tier wine has many of the characteristics of the top-line wine but at great savings. This is a delicious Zinfandel that was produced with all the production techniques the winemaker deemed necessary, no shortcuts, nothing to speed up the process. Just old-school Lodi Zinfandel. The Story The Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is sourced from 16 "old vine" vineyards in the Mokelumne delta region of Lodi, California. Klinker Brick is family-owned and they are 5th generation fruit growers and have produced Klinker Brick wine... The Story
The Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is sourced from 16 "old vine" vineyards in the Mokelumne delta region of Lodi, California. Klinker Brick is family-owned and they are 5th generation fruit growers and have produced Klinker Brick wines since 2000. You hear about old vines when talking about Zinfandel on a regular basis, but there are no legal standards for what age an old vine vineyard has to be. Klinker Brick Old Vine Zin is taken from vineyards aged from 55 years to 120 years. That seems legit to me.

This is Klinker Brick's second line Zinfandel label. They have the Old Ghost Zinfandel which is sourced from a single 90-year-old vineyard and is priced about 3 times higher. Older vineyards naturally have smaller yields than vineyards in their prime years, the smaller the yield the fewer grapes to go around and the higher the price. The way to get all the good qualities the old vine vineyards provide at a lower cost is to use smaller portions of grapes from multiple vineyards. By the way, grapes from the same vineyard as the Old Ghost Zinfandel are also included in this bottling.

This Zinfandel is produced the traditional way, oak barrel fermentation, then the grape juice and skins are cold-soaked for 24 hours and then undergo maceration for 7 days. Maceration extracts color, tannins, and aroma from the grapes and allows the structure of the wine to develop and enriches the body of the wine. This Zinfandel is aged for 15 months in American oak barrels and then the various vineyard lots are blended to achieve the final product. The alcohol content is a sturdy 15.4%. 
The Tasting Notes
The color is a barely see-thru, concentrated black cherry red. The nose is extracted red berries, toasted vanilla, baking spice, chocolate milk, orange zest, raspberry, and pomegranate. This is a Zinfandel with a soft mouthfeel and a mix of rounded and edgy flavors. It starts with rounded black cherry, black pepper, dark chocolate, slightly sharp spice, and plum. The mid-palate adds licorice, cold coffee, and cherry. The tannins are soft and sweet and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is large and long.
The Summary

* The Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is an excellent, classy Zinfandel.
* In this price range, there are many "brand" wines, and that isn't a bad thing. The rise of brand wines (meaning the label is part of a large wine conglomerate and not associated with a particular winery) has improved the overall quality of "cheap wine" while keeping prices down. But the Klinker Brick is a genuine Winery offering and typically the 2nd tier wine has many of the characteristics of the top-line wine but at great savings.
* This is a delicious Zinfandel that was produced with all the production techniques the winemaker deemed necessary, no shortcuts, nothing to speed up the process. Just old-school Lodi Zinfandel.
]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 12:06
Gruet Blanc de Noirs https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31680/gruet-blanc-de-noirs/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 05:03:33 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31680 The Story of New Mexico Bubbly The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is a non-vintage blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in New Mexico along with grapes from, I believe, California and Washington. The term "Blanc de Noirs" translates to White from Black, yes, I know, White wine grapes are usually green and Red wine grapes are purple or red in most cases, but for some reason the French use terms that are color blind. Gilbert Gruet started farming a vineyard in Champagne in the 1950s and the 1960s founded his Champagne winery near the village of Bethon in Champagne, France. He heard from other French winemakers about a promising, off the beaten path grape growing region in New Mexico. He decided to check it out and in the 1980s started a vineyard and by 1989 was selling New Mexico Bubbly based on the Sparkling wines from Champagne. In 2010, the Gruet Blanc de Noirs was named to Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines list, not bad for a Bubbly selling for less than $15. The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is produced with the Traditional or Champagne Method of production. Here the grapes are fermented the first time, the 1st fermentation is where all the secret House Style techniques take place. After fermentation, the wine is bottled, but before a temporary top is attached a measured amount of yeast and sugar is added to every bottle. The 2nd fermentation then takes place inside the bottle, the yeast and sugar do their job in about 30 days, but the dead yeast and residue stay in the bottle for a minimum of 18 months. During that time the CO2 that was released as a result of the 2nd fermentation incorporates into the body of the wine. After 18 months or so, the dead yeast and gunk are removed from each bottle and the bottle is topped off with a little bit of wine and maybe some sugar to reach the intended sweetness level, such as Brut or Extra Dry. Just like they do it in Champagne only this time it's occurring in New Mexico. The alcohol content is 12%. The Tasting Notes The color is pale gold with a hint of pink, along with a flurry of pretty little bubbles. The nose is crisp and clean, toasty vanilla, pear, grapefruit, green apple, and black cherry. This is an elegant Bubbly, well-balanced with tantalizing hints of flavor. It tastes of cherry and vanilla, peach and pear, tart grapefruit, and raspberry. The mid-palate shows that salty, nutty thing that 18 months of "on lees" provides, ripe McIntosh apple, and a flash of tangerine. The flavors are all subtle, they float in and out. The acidity is sneaky, it will get you reaching for another sip. The finish is soft and long. The Summary I have to admit my favorite Bubbly is the Pinot Noir based stuff, Blanc de Noirs, of course, I'm perfectly happy sipping the Chardonnay-based stuff as well. So, I am predispositioned to dig the Gruet Blanc de Noirs. We last reviewed this Bubbly in 2010 and while the price has risen in the last 9 years my enthusiasm seems to have remained. This is an excellent Sparkling wine/Bubbly. It is not merely good for the price. I have sampled the next level up Gruet Bubbly (around $25 to $30) when compared directly with Champagne Bubbly 2 or 3 times the price and in my mind, the Gruet won. When making your Bubbly purchase for the upcoming holidays let flavor and texture be your guide, not just price tag. Inexpensive Bubbly can give the entry-level Champagne Bubbles a run for their money.   For additional information check out the companion podcast below   The Story of New Mexico Bubbly The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is a non-vintage blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in New Mexico along with grapes from, I believe, California and Washington. The Story of New Mexico Bubbly
The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is a non-vintage blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in New Mexico along with grapes from, I believe, California and Washington. The term "Blanc de Noirs" translates to White from Black, yes, I know, White wine grapes are usually green and Red wine grapes are purple or red in most cases, but for some reason the French use terms that are color blind.

Gilbert Gruet started farming a vineyard in Champagne in the 1950s and the 1960s founded his Champagne winery near the village of Bethon in Champagne, France. He heard from other French winemakers about a promising, off the beaten path grape growing region in New Mexico. He decided to check it out and in the 1980s started a vineyard and by 1989 was selling New Mexico Bubbly based on the Sparkling wines from Champagne. In 2010, the Gruet Blanc de Noirs was named to Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines list, not bad for a Bubbly selling for less than $15.

The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is produced with the Traditional or Champagne Method of production. Here the grapes are fermented the first time, the 1st fermentation is where all the secret House Style techniques take place. After fermentation, the wine is bottled, but before a temporary top is attached a measured amount of yeast and sugar is added to every bottle. The 2nd fermentation then takes place inside the bottle, the yeast and sugar do their job in about 30 days, but the dead yeast and residue stay in the bottle for a minimum of 18 months. During that time the CO2 that was released as a result of the 2nd fermentation incorporates into the body of the wine. After 18 months or so, the dead yeast and gunk are removed from each bottle and the bottle is topped off with a little bit of wine and maybe some sugar to reach the intended sweetness level, such as Brut or Extra Dry. Just like they do it in Champagne only this time it's occurring in New Mexico. The alcohol content is 12%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pale gold with a hint of pink, along with a flurry of pretty little bubbles. The nose is crisp and clean, toasty vanilla, pear, grapefruit, green apple, and black cherry. This is an elegant Bubbly, well-balanced with tantalizing hints of flavor. It tastes of cherry and vanilla, peach and pear, tart grapefruit, and raspberry. The mid-palate shows that salty, nutty thing that 18 months of "on lees" provides, ripe McIntosh apple, and a flash of tangerine. The flavors are all subtle, they float in and out. The acidity is sneaky, it will get you reaching for another sip. The finish is soft and long.
The Summary

* I have to admit my favorite Bubbly is the Pinot Noir based stuff, Blanc de Noirs, of course, I'm perfectly happy sipping the Chardonnay-based stuff as well. So, I am predispositioned to dig the Gruet Blanc de Noirs.
* We last reviewed this Bubbly in 2010 and while the price has risen in the last 9 years my enthusiasm seems to have remained.
* This is an excellent Sparkling wine/Bubbly. It is not merely good for the price.
* I have sampled the next level up Gruet Bubbly (around $25 to $30) when compared directly with Champagne Bubbly 2 or 3 times the price and in my mind, the Gruet won.
* When making your Bubbly purchase for the upcoming holidays let flavor and texture be your guide, not just price tag. Inexpensive Bubbly can give the entry-level Champagne Bubbles a run for their money.

 
For additional information check out the companion podcast below
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CheapWineFinder clean 10:47
Field Recordings FRANC Cabernet Franc 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31641/field-recordings-cabernet-franc-2017/ Wed, 04 Dec 2019 02:24:47 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31641 In this podcast episode, Quake talks about: Repeal Day International Cabernet Franc Day   and sips the Field Recordings FRANC 2017 Cabernet Franc from Paso Robles.   Want to know more about these important booze holidays? How about cabernet franc? Listen in now (podcast episode below) ... In this podcast episode, Quake talks about: Repeal Day International Cabernet Franc Day   - and sips the Field Recordings FRANC 2017 Cabernet Franc from Paso Robles.   - Want to know more about these important booze holidays? In this podcast episode, Quake talks about:
Repeal Day
International Cabernet Franc Day
 

and sips the
Field Recordings FRANC 2017
Cabernet Franc from Paso Robles.
 

Want to know more about these important booze holidays? How about cabernet franc? Listen in now (podcast episode below) ...]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 10:48
Sienna Glen Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31616/sienna-glen-chardonnay-2018/ Sun, 01 Dec 2019 22:16:50 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31616 The Story The Sienna Glen Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes from more than one California grape growing AVA. This is one of those wines where there isn't much to say. It is a contracted store brand, they rarely give technical details on their wines. The winery that produced the wine, they are located in Mendocino, is an excellent winery, but they made the wine for another company (ALDI's) specifications, it does not really tell us much except a winery that knows what they are doing made the Chardonnay. The back label mentions vanilla as one of the flavors and that would indicate some sort of oak aging, but what? Oak barrel, oak staves or oak chips added to the stainless steel tanks or some other method, we don't know. Every winery and winemaker has their own way of making Chardonnay, it seems no 2 companies make it exactly the same. One thing that is different about the 2018 vintage of the Sienna Glen Chardonnay is they have upgraded the label. In the past they had a pretty basic front label, it basically shouted "inexpensive Chardonnay". The 2018 label has been improved, while it isn't fancy it would blend right in with retail Chardonnay selling for under $15. That is a trend I have noticed recently, the quality of inexpensive value-priced wines have improved to the point that they need a flashy label to catch your eye, a cheap price alone isn't good enough anymore. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale butter yellow. The nose is not shy, lemon, apple, pear, melon, lightly floral, a touch of honey, and a little butterscotch. This is a very fruity Chardonnay, not sweet, just fruit-forward. It starts with ripe apple, lemon, grapefruit, peach, vanilla, and melon. The mid-palate brings dried banana chips, a little spice, and a salty, nutty sensation. The acidity is fine, it does not bite and allows the flavors to unfold. The bold flavors in the body of the Chardonnay run right into the finish, which is full and lengthy. The Summary The Sienna Glen is a solid, fruit-forward Chardonnay. Remember, store contract brands have a significant price advantage when compared to retail brands. You never know how much of the saving the store (in this case ALDI) passes on to the consumer. It is probably at least a couple of bucks, so we should compare this to a Chardonnay closer to ten bucks. If you like your Chardonnay bold, but balanced, without too much oak influence, give the Sienna Gen Chardonnay 2018 a try.     The Story The Sienna Glen Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes from more than one California grape growing AVA. This is one of those wines where there isn't much to say. It is a contracted store brand, The Story
The Sienna Glen Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes from more than one California grape growing AVA. This is one of those wines where there isn't much to say. It is a contracted store brand, they rarely give technical details on their wines. The winery that produced the wine, they are located in Mendocino, is an excellent winery, but they made the wine for another company (ALDI's) specifications, it does not really tell us much except a winery that knows what they are doing made the Chardonnay. The back label mentions vanilla as one of the flavors and that would indicate some sort of oak aging, but what? Oak barrel, oak staves or oak chips added to the stainless steel tanks or some other method, we don't know. Every winery and winemaker has their own way of making Chardonnay, it seems no 2 companies make it exactly the same.

One thing that is different about the 2018 vintage of the Sienna Glen Chardonnay is they have upgraded the label. In the past they had a pretty basic front label, it basically shouted "inexpensive Chardonnay". The 2018 label has been improved, while it isn't fancy it would blend right in with retail Chardonnay selling for under $15. That is a trend I have noticed recently, the quality of inexpensive value-priced wines have improved to the point that they need a flashy label to catch your eye, a cheap price alone isn't good enough anymore. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale butter yellow. The nose is not shy, lemon, apple, pear, melon, lightly floral, a touch of honey, and a little butterscotch. This is a very fruity Chardonnay, not sweet, just fruit-forward. It starts with ripe apple, lemon, grapefruit, peach, vanilla, and melon. The mid-palate brings dried banana chips, a little spice, and a salty, nutty sensation. The acidity is fine, it does not bite and allows the flavors to unfold. The bold flavors in the body of the Chardonnay run right into the finish, which is full and lengthy.
The Summary

* The Sienna Glen is a solid, fruit-forward Chardonnay. Remember, store contract brands have a significant price advantage when compared to retail brands. You never know how much of the saving the store (in this case ALDI) passes on to the consumer. It is probably at least a couple of bucks, so we should compare this to a Chardonnay closer to ten bucks.
* If you like your Chardonnay bold, but balanced, without too much oak influence, give the Sienna Gen Chardonnay 2018 a try.

 

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CheapWineFinder clean 10:39
Pure Bred Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31584/pure-bred-lodi-old-vine-zinfandel-2017/ Wed, 27 Nov 2019 04:15:32 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31584 The Story The Pure Bred Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's (maybe exclusive). The reason I say maybe is this wine seems to be a close-out wine of some sort. The listed winery on the back of the label, West Coast Wine Group, Lodi, California, no longer has a website. Their URL, which is under their name, now sells online generic drugs. Maybe they forgot to re-up their domain name or maybe they changed their name or are no longer in business. But the 2016 Pure Bred Lodi Zinfandel sold online for $16.99 and another site had this 2017 vintage for $11.99. At some point, the Pure Bred Zin was a 17 dollar wine, since their website is down it would seem that this is some sort of distress sale, closing out of inventory. With store brands, contract brands you know you are getting wine at a discounted price, but it isn't easy to figure out the size of the discount. Here we know, the old price, $16.99, the new price, $6.99. In the accompanying podcast, we will go into detail on why old vines are a good thing and why they seem to be so abundant in Lodi. For now, we are happy to be drinking a Zinfandel selling for roughly 60% off. The alcohol content is 14.8%. The Tasting Notes The color is a still see-thru, black cherry red, with a clear halo. The nose is ripe and meaty, there is blackberry, mushroom, herbs, cherry, black pepper, baking spices, and dark chocolate. This is a medium-plus bodied ZIN, smooth with a nice sharp slap of spice. It starts with a mix of milk chocolate, black cherry, and black pepper (sounds awful, but actually tastes good.), raspberry, and spice. The mid-palate shows creamy vanilla, herbs, blueberry, and orange peel. The tannins are smooth and the acidity does its job. The finish is full and sticks around. The Summary This wine is easy, it is a Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, you basically know what to expect, and it sells for 60% off the list price. If you enjoy Zinfandel there is no reason not to give the Pure Bred Old Vine Zinfandel a try. It isn't my favorite Lodi ZIn, but it is a very respectable effort, it is enjoyable to drink and $6.99 is a ridiculous price. The Story The Pure Bred Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's (maybe exclusive). The reason I say maybe is this wine seems to be a close-out wine of some sort. The listed winery on the back of the label, West Coast Wine Group, Lodi, The Story
The Pure Bred Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's (maybe exclusive). The reason I say maybe is this wine seems to be a close-out wine of some sort. The listed winery on the back of the label, West Coast Wine Group, Lodi, California, no longer has a website. Their URL, which is under their name, now sells online generic drugs. Maybe they forgot to re-up their domain name or maybe they changed their name or are no longer in business. But the 2016 Pure Bred Lodi Zinfandel sold online for $16.99 and another site had this 2017 vintage for $11.99. At some point, the Pure Bred Zin was a 17 dollar wine, since their website is down it would seem that this is some sort of distress sale, closing out of inventory.

With store brands, contract brands you know you are getting wine at a discounted price, but it isn't easy to figure out the size of the discount. Here we know, the old price, $16.99, the new price, $6.99. In the accompanying podcast, we will go into detail on why old vines are a good thing and why they seem to be so abundant in Lodi. For now, we are happy to be drinking a Zinfandel selling for roughly 60% off. The alcohol content is 14.8%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a still see-thru, black cherry red, with a clear halo. The nose is ripe and meaty, there is blackberry, mushroom, herbs, cherry, black pepper, baking spices, and dark chocolate. This is a medium-plus bodied ZIN, smooth with a nice sharp slap of spice. It starts with a mix of milk chocolate, black cherry, and black pepper (sounds awful, but actually tastes good.), raspberry, and spice. The mid-palate shows creamy vanilla, herbs, blueberry, and orange peel. The tannins are smooth and the acidity does its job. The finish is full and sticks around.
The Summary

* This wine is easy, it is a Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, you basically know what to expect, and it sells for 60% off the list price. If you enjoy Zinfandel there is no reason not to give the Pure Bred Old Vine Zinfandel a try.
* It isn't my favorite Lodi ZIn, but it is a very respectable effort, it is enjoyable to drink and $6.99 is a ridiculous price.
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CheapWineFinder clean 10:47
Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31567/flora-and-stone-gewurztraminer/ Mon, 25 Nov 2019 04:19:03 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31567 The Story The Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer is a non-vintage dated $4.99 ALDI exclusive wine sourced from vineyards in Monterey County AVA in the Central Coast AVA of California. Normally, $4.99, non-vintage, and a store brand would be a cause for concern, but I did a little digging and there is more to this wine than that. The company listed as the producing winery, Pacific Bay Vineyards, seems to be a Trademark owned by a large, well-respected Winery headquartered in Mendocino. That Winery just happens to make a well-received Gewürztraminer that sells retail for just a few dollars more than the Flora and Stone. The Gewürztraminer grape is not widely planted in the US, a couple of AVAs in California and some cool weather grape growing regions sprinkled throughout the United States. Gewürztraminer is a grape that is reminiscent of Moscato but isn't necessarily sweet. ALDI's description of the wine says it will pair well with grilled meats with fruit sauces and will also do double duty with dessert. So, this looks like a White wine that will do well accompanying the Thanksgiving feast. The alcohol content is 12%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale butter yellow and it is slightly effervescent. The nose is ripe and almost sugary, there is orange slice candy, grapefruit, lemon cough drops, pear, peach, orange blossom honey, and melon. The nose suggests a sweet wine, so on to step 3. This is a wine that seems like it will be a sweet wine, but never quite gets there. It is probably classified as an off-dry wine, but there is a balanced unexpected in a $4.99 wine. It tastes of lemon/lime soft drink (not sweet), tangerine, honey, peach, apricot, soft candy spice, and dried pineapple chunks. There isn't much of a mid-palate, but with all the flavor upfront it isn't missed. The finish is full and does not let go. The Summary The Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer is a very tasty White wine. It isn't a full-blown sweet wine and I am not typically a fan of sweet wines, but I think this wine is a crowd-pleaser. Normally it is the acidity in White wine that keeps me reaching for another sip, but the acidity here is not that pronounced. I guess I'm reaching for more because it tastes good. Yes, this will pair well with white meat turkey and cranberry sauce and it will do well with a slice of pumpkin pie.         The Story The Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer is a non-vintage dated $4.99 ALDI exclusive wine sourced from vineyards in Monterey County AVA in the Central Coast AVA of California. Normally, $4.99, non-vintage, The Story
The Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer is a non-vintage dated $4.99 ALDI exclusive wine sourced from vineyards in Monterey County AVA in the Central Coast AVA of California. Normally, $4.99, non-vintage, and a store brand would be a cause for concern, but I did a little digging and there is more to this wine than that. The company listed as the producing winery, Pacific Bay Vineyards, seems to be a Trademark owned by a large, well-respected Winery headquartered in Mendocino. That Winery just happens to make a well-received Gewürztraminer that sells retail for just a few dollars more than the Flora and Stone. The Gewürztraminer grape is not widely planted in the US, a couple of AVAs in California and some cool weather grape growing regions sprinkled throughout the United States.

Gewürztraminer is a grape that is reminiscent of Moscato but isn't necessarily sweet. ALDI's description of the wine says it will pair well with grilled meats with fruit sauces and will also do double duty with dessert. So, this looks like a White wine that will do well accompanying the Thanksgiving feast. The alcohol content is 12%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale butter yellow and it is slightly effervescent. The nose is ripe and almost sugary, there is orange slice candy, grapefruit, lemon cough drops, pear, peach, orange blossom honey, and melon. The nose suggests a sweet wine, so on to step 3. This is a wine that seems like it will be a sweet wine, but never quite gets there. It is probably classified as an off-dry wine, but there is a balanced unexpected in a $4.99 wine. It tastes of lemon/lime soft drink (not sweet), tangerine, honey, peach, apricot, soft candy spice, and dried pineapple chunks. There isn't much of a mid-palate, but with all the flavor upfront it isn't missed. The finish is full and does not let go.
The Summary

* The Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer is a very tasty White wine. It isn't a full-blown sweet wine and I am not typically a fan of sweet wines, but I think this wine is a crowd-pleaser.
* Normally it is the acidity in White wine that keeps me reaching for another sip, but the acidity here is not that pronounced. I guess I'm reaching for more because it tastes good.
* Yes, this will pair well with white meat turkey and cranberry sauce and it will do well with a slice of pumpkin pie.

 

 

 

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:05
Raisins Gaulois Beaujolais 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31552/raisins-gaulois-beaujolais-2018/ Fri, 22 Nov 2019 05:18:46 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31552 The Story The Raisins Gaulois Beaujolais 2018 is a Gamay wine from Marcel Lapierre sourced from vineyards in the Morgon area of Beaujolais in France. The name "Raisins Gaulois" simply translates to French Grapes and from there we will begin our story. Marcel Lapierre is one of the icons of Beaujolais, pioneered a return to the old ways of producing wine, organic farming in the vineyards, native, natural yeasts for fermentation, no added sulfur dioxide, and not filtering the wine at bottling. Marcel has passed on and his son Mathieu is continuing his father's legacy (they are adding biodynamic farming techniques).  If you notice the label, and the label is something that does get your attention, the wine is designated as Vin de France or Table Wine, which is the lowest French wine classification. It is Table Wine, not because of quality issues, but this is a Beaujolais that does not conform to Cru or AOC rules and regulations. The Gamay grapes are sourced from organic Cru vineyards near the town of Morgon, along with a small number of grapes from AOC vineyards. The vines average about 15 years old, which is young for Marcel Lapierre, their top Beaujolais wines feature vines 60 years old and up. The Raisins Gaulois is a young, affordable wine, but has impeccable sourcing of grapes. The front label features a cartoon of a man squeezing a bunch of red grapes and wine pours from the grapes to his open mouth. The winemaking is not quite that simple, but the winemaking process is intended not to get in the way of the quality grapes. This is a wine that is not exactly Beaujolais Nouveau and isn't AOC Beaujolais either, hence the Vin De France designation. It was aged for 4 months and is intended to be as drinkable as Nouveau, but with the quality of grapes of Cru Beaujolais. The alcohol content is 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a see-thru black cherry red. The nose is subtle, a little cherry, herbs, some minerality, soft spice, a hint of jammy strawberry, and black pepper. This is a Gamay with an engaging mouth-feel, solid balanced acidity, and rich fruit flavors. It tastes of blackberry with a herbal edge, spice, black cherry, pepper. The mid-palate offers a salty sensation, minerality, a hint of tart cranberry, and a late blast of sweet raspberry. This is a very French wine, every component is of equal value and importance. The finish is soft and very long. The Summary The Raisins Gaulois is a wine made with the old techniques, but with modern equipment and ideas. A very tasty and affordable wine featuring some of the best quality grapes Beaujolais has to offer. This is a wine that grows on you, at first sip you are thinking, "I don't know about this". By The 3rd sip, you can't get enough.   The Story The Raisins Gaulois Beaujolais 2018 is a Gamay wine from Marcel Lapierre sourced from vineyards in the Morgon area of Beaujolais in France. The name "Raisins Gaulois" simply translates to French Grapes and from there we will begin our story.... The Story
The Raisins Gaulois Beaujolais 2018 is a Gamay wine from Marcel Lapierre sourced from vineyards in the Morgon area of Beaujolais in France. The name "Raisins Gaulois" simply translates to French Grapes and from there we will begin our story. Marcel Lapierre is one of the icons of Beaujolais, pioneered a return to the old ways of producing wine, organic farming in the vineyards, native, natural yeasts for fermentation, no added sulfur dioxide, and not filtering the wine at bottling. Marcel has passed on and his son Mathieu is continuing his father's legacy (they are adding biodynamic farming techniques).  If you notice the label, and the label is something that does get your attention, the wine is designated as Vin de France or Table Wine, which is the lowest French wine classification. It is Table Wine, not because of quality issues, but this is a Beaujolais that does not conform to Cru or AOC rules and regulations.

The Gamay grapes are sourced from organic Cru vineyards near the town of Morgon, along with a small number of grapes from AOC vineyards. The vines average about 15 years old, which is young for Marcel Lapierre, their top Beaujolais wines feature vines 60 years old and up. The Raisins Gaulois is a young, affordable wine, but has impeccable sourcing of grapes. The front label features a cartoon of a man squeezing a bunch of red grapes and wine pours from the grapes to his open mouth. The winemaking is not quite that simple, but the winemaking process is intended not to get in the way of the quality grapes. This is a wine that is not exactly Beaujolais Nouveau and isn't AOC Beaujolais either, hence the Vin De France designation. It was aged for 4 months and is intended to be as drinkable as Nouveau, but with the quality of grapes of Cru Beaujolais. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru black cherry red. The nose is subtle, a little cherry, herbs, some minerality, soft spice, a hint of jammy strawberry, and black pepper. This is a Gamay with an engaging mouth-feel, solid balanced acidity, and rich fruit flavors. It tastes of blackberry with a herbal edge, spice, black cherry, pepper. The mid-palate offers a salty sensation, minerality, a hint of tart cranberry, and a late blast of sweet raspberry. This is a very French wine, every component is of equal value and importance. The finish is soft and very long.
The Summary

* The Raisins Gaulois is a wine made with the old techniques, but with modern equipment and ideas.
* A very tasty and affordable wine featuring some of the best quality grapes Beaujolais has to offer.
* This is a wine that grows on you, at first sip you are thinking, "I don't know about this". By The 3rd sip, you can't get enough.

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CheapWineFinder clean 10:15
Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31535/wente-morning-fog-chardonnay-2017/ Wed, 20 Nov 2019 04:36:14 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31535 The Story The Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2017 is 98% Chardonnay and 2% Gewürztraminer sourced from Wente estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley AVA located across the Bay from San Fransico in the northern section of the Central Coast AVA. Wente Vineyards started in the 1880s and has been in continuous operation since then (they didn't close during Prohibition). Wente is one of the cornerstones of American winemaking, their work in the vineyards developing hardy disease-resistant grape clones is still the basis for most vineyards. The Wente Chardonnay clones (there are more than one) comprises 80% of all Chardonnay grown in California. I have had a Bordeaux winemaker tell me that they use the Wente Cabernet Sauvignon clone for their high-end Bordeaux blends. He said it was a healthier vine and Wente originally got their Cabernet vines from Bordeaux anyway. Livermore Valley AVA is located on the east side of the San Fransico Bay and is unique because the valley runs east-west, most valleys in the wine regions run north-south. Livermore Valley gets the full benefits of the cool breezes off the Bay and the cooling morning fog (so that's where the name comes from). Wente is the first California winery to sell wine with Chardonnay on the label (back in the 1930s). The Morning Fog uses several Wente Chardonnay clones and is fermented in 50% neutral American oak and 50% in stainless steel vats. The neutral oak portion of the Chardonnay was aged "on lees" for 5 months, the stainless steel parcel was also aged for 5 months. 50% of this portion aged "on lees" and the 50% with the lees removed. Lees are the dead, spent yeast and grape residue bits, "on lees" means those bits are left in with the aging wine. They add texture and a salty nutty flavor and when stirred can bring a creamy mouth-feel, the oak barrel Chardonnay was stirred. Neutral oak does not add much if any flavor to the wine, but brings a different character to the Chardonnay since wood barrels allow for a tiny bit of oxygen to get to the wine and stainless steel does not. There is a noticeable difference in wine aged in barrel, even neutral barrel than wine aged in stainless steel. This Chardonnay should not have a great deal of oak influence, but it went through a very precise and detailed winemaking technique. The alcohol content is 13.5%  And if your interested James Suckling scored this Chardonnay 91 Points. The Tasting Notes The color is a clean, clear, wheat yellow. The nose is elegant, it is not just a rush of ripe fruit and citrus, there is honey, brown butter, lemon curd, green apple, lime, Anjou pear, light spice, and French Vanilla, all with a floral edge. This is a bright, alive Chardonnay, crisp and lean, with a pleasing flavor. It starts with lemon cream, tart apple, vanilla, soft, and exotic spice. The mid-palate brings juicy peach mixed with pear, melon, and tart, unsweetened pineapple. The mouth-feel allows the flavors to engage your palate and the acidity is very well-balanced. The finish is full and long. The Summary I have long been a fan of the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay, as a matter of fact, this is a Chardonnay that I compare all other Chardonnay. I think I found it for around $12 and it is rare that I find an expensive Chardonnay that I like better. It is really well-made and there is a lot of flavor happening in your glass. In France "terrior" is everything. That is the sense of place of the grapes in the vineyard and the winemakers' knowledge of these grapes that have been passed down over the generations. Wente Vineyards has "terroir" in spades, they created the grape clones and have winemaking knowledge passed down for 5 generations, all with 130 something years of knowing their vineyards and climate. Wente is legit and they have seriously good knowledge in producing Chardonnay (other grapes and wines, too). The Story The Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2017 is 98% Chardonnay and 2% Gewürztraminer sourced from Wente estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley AVA located across the Bay from San Fransico in the northern section of the Central Coast AVA. The Story
The Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2017 is 98% Chardonnay and 2% Gewürztraminer sourced from Wente estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley AVA located across the Bay from San Fransico in the northern section of the Central Coast AVA. Wente Vineyards started in the 1880s and has been in continuous operation since then (they didn't close during Prohibition). Wente is one of the cornerstones of American winemaking, their work in the vineyards developing hardy disease-resistant grape clones is still the basis for most vineyards. The Wente Chardonnay clones (there are more than one) comprises 80% of all Chardonnay grown in California. I have had a Bordeaux winemaker tell me that they use the Wente Cabernet Sauvignon clone for their high-end Bordeaux blends. He said it was a healthier vine and Wente originally got their Cabernet vines from Bordeaux anyway. Livermore Valley AVA is located on the east side of the San Fransico Bay and is unique because the valley runs east-west, most valleys in the wine regions run north-south. Livermore Valley gets the full benefits of the cool breezes off the Bay and the cooling morning fog (so that's where the name comes from).

Wente is the first California winery to sell wine with Chardonnay on the label (back in the 1930s). The Morning Fog uses several Wente Chardonnay clones and is fermented in 50% neutral American oak and 50% in stainless steel vats. The neutral oak portion of the Chardonnay was aged "on lees" for 5 months, the stainless steel parcel was also aged for 5 months. 50% of this portion aged "on lees" and the 50% with the lees removed. Lees are the dead, spent yeast and grape residue bits, "on lees" means those bits are left in with the aging wine. They add texture and a salty nutty flavor and when stirred can bring a creamy mouth-feel, the oak barrel Chardonnay was stirred. Neutral oak does not add much if any flavor to the wine, but brings a different character to the Chardonnay since wood barrels allow for a tiny bit of oxygen to get to the wine and stainless steel does not. There is a noticeable difference in wine aged in barrel, even neutral barrel than wine aged in stainless steel. This Chardonnay should not have a great deal of oak influence, but it went through a very precise and detailed winemaking technique. The alcohol content is 13.5%  And if your interested James Suckling scored this Chardonnay 91 Points.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a clean, clear, wheat yellow. The nose is elegant, it is not just a rush of ripe fruit and citrus, there is honey, brown butter, lemon curd, green apple, lime, Anjou pear, light spice, and French Vanilla, all with a floral edge. This is a bright, alive Chardonnay, crisp and lean, with a pleasing flavor. It starts with lemon cream, tart apple, vanilla, soft, and exotic spice. The mid-palate brings juicy peach mixed with pear, melon, and tart, unsweetened pineapple. The mouth-feel allows the flavors to engage your palate and the acidity is very well-balanced. The finish is full and long.
The Summary

* I have long been a fan of the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay, as a matter of fact, this is a Chardonnay that I compare all other Chardonnay. I think I found it for around $12 and it is rare that I find an expensive Chardonnay that I like better. It is really well-made and there is a lot of flavor happening in your glass.
* In France "terrior" is everything. That is the sense of place of the grapes in the vineyard and the winemakers' knowledge of these grapes that have been passed down over the generations. Wente Vineyards has "terroir" in spades, they created the grape clones and have winemaking knowledge passed down for 5 generations, all with 130 something years of knowing their vineyards and climate.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:20
Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31512/castle-rock-mendocino-pinot-noir-2017/ Sun, 17 Nov 2019 04:47:59 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31512 The Story The Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir 2017 is an inexpensive Pinot Noir, I found it for $7.99 at Costco that should provide a solid value. Castle Rock is an interesting wine company, they have been around for 25 years and have a unique business model. They own no vineyards, all their grapes come from long term contracts with well-respected vineyards. They own no winery or equipment, again they lease space and winemaking gear from existing wineries. They have a very low overhead which allows them to produce wine that will hit above its pricetag. Another interesting thing they do is they get grapes from all the leading AVAs. For instance, with Pinot Noir, they source grapes from the Central Coast, Monterey, Carneros, Russian River, Columbia Valley, and Willamette Valley. If you are looking to explore the Pinot Noir regions at a value price they have you covered. They do the same with other grapes. Mendocino County is just north of Sonoma County on the Pacific Coast and has all the climate advantages as Sonoma, but somehow is overlooked by many wine drinkers. While there are many well-respected Pinot Noir producers in Mendocino, it is a great place to look for Pinot Noir bargains. The Pinot is a 2017 vintage which is a decent amount of aging for a wine I found for $7.99. You can tell a great deal about wine by the year it is released, a 2018 Pinot would be a young fruit-forward, made to come together quickly, while 2017 will most likely have a more involved winemaking process which added another year to its release. That does not mean that one is better than the other, just in some way produced differently. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting notes The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is black cherry, herbs, dried autumn leaves, black pepper, brownies cooking in the oven, and exotic spice. This is a light side of medium Pinot, subtle, delicate Pinot Noir. It tastes of smooth cherry, black pepper, herbs, and strawberry. The mid-palate adds spice that has a bit of a sharp edge, cooling black cherry, jammy raspberry, orange zest, and a little dark chocolate. The acidity is well-balanced and the finish is soft but lengthy. The Summary This is an elegant Pinot Noir, that is something I did not expect in a sub-$10 Pinot. It has the same body and texture as expensive Pinots, it does not have the layers of flavors and depth, but it does just fine for a $7.99 Pinot Noir. The Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir would pair well with the Thanksgiving feast, it nails the turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato thing. Gooey, cheesy side dishes may throw the pairing off a little, but there is enough acidity on hand to pull-thru.   The Story The Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir 2017 is an inexpensive Pinot Noir, I found it for $7.99 at Costco that should provide a solid value. Castle Rock is an interesting wine company, they have been around for 25 years and have a unique busine... The Story
The Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir 2017 is an inexpensive Pinot Noir, I found it for $7.99 at Costco that should provide a solid value. Castle Rock is an interesting wine company, they have been around for 25 years and have a unique business model. They own no vineyards, all their grapes come from long term contracts with well-respected vineyards. They own no winery or equipment, again they lease space and winemaking gear from existing wineries. They have a very low overhead which allows them to produce wine that will hit above its pricetag. Another interesting thing they do is they get grapes from all the leading AVAs. For instance, with Pinot Noir, they source grapes from the Central Coast, Monterey, Carneros, Russian River, Columbia Valley, and Willamette Valley. If you are looking to explore the Pinot Noir regions at a value price they have you covered. They do the same with other grapes.

Mendocino County is just north of Sonoma County on the Pacific Coast and has all the climate advantages as Sonoma, but somehow is overlooked by many wine drinkers. While there are many well-respected Pinot Noir producers in Mendocino, it is a great place to look for Pinot Noir bargains. The Pinot is a 2017 vintage which is a decent amount of aging for a wine I found for $7.99. You can tell a great deal about wine by the year it is released, a 2018 Pinot would be a young fruit-forward, made to come together quickly, while 2017 will most likely have a more involved winemaking process which added another year to its release. That does not mean that one is better than the other, just in some way produced differently. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is black cherry, herbs, dried autumn leaves, black pepper, brownies cooking in the oven, and exotic spice. This is a light side of medium Pinot, subtle, delicate Pinot Noir. It tastes of smooth cherry, black pepper, herbs, and strawberry. The mid-palate adds spice that has a bit of a sharp edge, cooling black cherry, jammy raspberry, orange zest, and a little dark chocolate. The acidity is well-balanced and the finish is soft but lengthy.
The Summary

* This is an elegant Pinot Noir, that is something I did not expect in a sub-$10 Pinot. It has the same body and texture as expensive Pinots, it does not have the layers of flavors and depth, but it does just fine for a $7.99 Pinot Noir.
* The Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir would pair well with the Thanksgiving feast, it nails the turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato thing. Gooey, cheesy side dishes may throw the pairing off a little, but there is enough acidity on hand to pull-thru.

 ]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 9:31
Saint-Hilaire Brut 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31493/saint-hilaire-brut-2017/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 04:54:11 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31493 The Story The Saint-Hilaire Brut 2017 is a blend of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chardonnay, and 5% Chenin Blanc sourced from grapes farmed in the Limoux area of the Languedoc in Southwest France. The Sparkling wine of Limoux is 100 years older than the Bubbly of Champagne. Saint-Hilaire is the Abbey were history first records monks producing Bubbly/Sparkling wine (I am not saying Champagne, because only Bubbly from Champagne can legally be called Champagne, with a few exceptions...check out a bottle of Andre's). This particular Bubbly is designated a Blanquette de Limoux which by AOC law must be at least 90% Mauzac grape, a local grape long associated with this wine. There is also a Cremant de Limoux, Cremant is French for Sparkling wine and these wines can have a greater percentage of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc if Mauzac ain't your thing. And if you need more history Thomas Jefferson drank Blanquette of Limoux, after he passed away an inventory of his wine cellar showed several cases on hand. The Saint-Hilaire brand does not date back to the 1500s, just Limoux Bubbly produced in the Traditional Method. Champagne adapted the Limoux method to make their Sparkling wines and made the technical advancements that we recognize today. The Saint-Hilaire is fermented twice, the first fermentation is the same as all still wines and the 2nd fermentation happens in each and every bottle. With The Saint-Hilaire, the 2nd fermentation lasts 12 months, in Champagne, the 2nd fermentation must extend to a minimum of 18 months. In some ways, the Bubbly of Limoux may be more closely related to Cava, the Spanish Sparkling wine, produced in Catalonia, Spain. Catalonia is a bit south along the Mediterranean Coast. Brut indicates the Saint-Hilaire is a Dry Bubbly and the alcohol content is 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale hint of gold. The nose is delicate, crisp apple, a little bakery bread, pear, peach, soft lemon, and lightly floral. This is a crisp Bubbly, with a slightly husky taste profile. It starts with an apple, core and all (I have tasted Saint-Hilare in past vintages where the apple core flavor was pronounced, but for 2017 it is very mild), lemon, tart lime, and soft grapefruit. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty sensation, crusty bread, and slightly sharp spice. The acidity is well-controlled, enough to allow the flavors to flow, but not enough to bite. The finish has some oomph and lasts awhile. The Summary What we have here is a French Bubbly with almost 500 years of tradition, produced in the expensive Traditional Method, and sells for around ten bucks (I found it at Cosco for $9.99). Really what more do you need? If you are not a fan of the Mauzac grape, Cremont of Limoux with more Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc may be more your style. But any Bubbly that can survive for 475 years must have something going for it. Give it a try, you will be amazed at what $10 can buy. Check out the Podcast Below !!! The Story The Saint-Hilaire Brut 2017 is a blend of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chardonnay, and 5% Chenin Blanc sourced from grapes farmed in the Limoux area of the Languedoc in Southwest France. The Sparkling wine of Limoux is 100 years older than the Bubbly of C... The Story
The Saint-Hilaire Brut 2017 is a blend of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chardonnay, and 5% Chenin Blanc sourced from grapes farmed in the Limoux area of the Languedoc in Southwest France. The Sparkling wine of Limoux is 100 years older than the Bubbly of Champagne. Saint-Hilaire is the Abbey were history first records monks producing Bubbly/Sparkling wine (I am not saying Champagne, because only Bubbly from Champagne can legally be called Champagne, with a few exceptions...check out a bottle of Andre's). This particular Bubbly is designated a Blanquette de Limoux which by AOC law must be at least 90% Mauzac grape, a local grape long associated with this wine. There is also a Cremant de Limoux, Cremant is French for Sparkling wine and these wines can have a greater percentage of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc if Mauzac ain't your thing. And if you need more history Thomas Jefferson drank Blanquette of Limoux, after he passed away an inventory of his wine cellar showed several cases on hand.

The Saint-Hilaire brand does not date back to the 1500s, just Limoux Bubbly produced in the Traditional Method. Champagne adapted the Limoux method to make their Sparkling wines and made the technical advancements that we recognize today. The Saint-Hilaire is fermented twice, the first fermentation is the same as all still wines and the 2nd fermentation happens in each and every bottle. With The Saint-Hilaire, the 2nd fermentation lasts 12 months, in Champagne, the 2nd fermentation must extend to a minimum of 18 months. In some ways, the Bubbly of Limoux may be more closely related to Cava, the Spanish Sparkling wine, produced in Catalonia, Spain. Catalonia is a bit south along the Mediterranean Coast. Brut indicates the Saint-Hilaire is a Dry Bubbly and the alcohol content is 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale hint of gold. The nose is delicate, crisp apple, a little bakery bread, pear, peach, soft lemon, and lightly floral. This is a crisp Bubbly, with a slightly husky taste profile. It starts with an apple, core and all (I have tasted Saint-Hilare in past vintages where the apple core flavor was pronounced, but for 2017 it is very mild), lemon, tart lime, and soft grapefruit. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty sensation, crusty bread, and slightly sharp spice. The acidity is well-controlled, enough to allow the flavors to flow, but not enough to bite. The finish has some oomph and lasts awhile.
The Summary

* What we have here is a French Bubbly with almost 500 years of tradition, produced in the expensive Traditional Method, and sells for around ten bucks (I found it at Cosco for $9.99). Really what more do you need?
* If you are not a fan of the Mauzac grape, Cremont of Limoux with more Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc may be more your style. But any Bubbly that can survive for 475 years must have something going for it. Give it a try, you will be amazed at what $10 can buy.

Check out the Podcast Below !!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 9:39
Stick Figure Red Blend 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31475/stick-figure-red-blend-2016/ Tue, 12 Nov 2019 04:46:43 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31475 The Story The Stick Figure Red Blend 2016 is a Trader Joe's $8.99 exclusive sourced from a selection of cool climate and warm weather vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. As per usual, Trader Joe's does not offer technical information for the Stick Figure Red, so let's see what we can figure out on our own. Trader Joe features a Pinot Noir in November to pair with turkey and according to the Fearless Flyer, this blend is intended to pair with baked ham. It is a fruit-forward, generously oaked (their description), that is moderately dry. This is the 2016 vintage which is a fair bit of bottle age (and oak barrel age, too?) for an $8.99 wine. Generally speaking a wine with plenty of oak and a fairly long aging period is made differently than your typical $8 to $10 red wines. Most sub-ten buck wines are made to come together quickly, they do do not need much aging by design, the Stick Figure Red does not seem to follow this profile. The packaging is excellent, the bottle has some weight to it and the label features drawings of the various types of grapevine pruning. Nothing about this bottle says cheap and inexpensive. We do not learn which grapes are in the blend and since the Central Coast does well with almost all of the popular grapes, guess will be nothing more than a guess. Though the Fearless Flyer write-up suggests Bordeaux grapes, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Petite Verdot, with maybe Petit Sirah and Zinfandel. One of the great things about value-priced Red blends is the winemaker can accentuate the positive with the grapes, the blend can offer greater rewards than the individual grapes could on their own. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is dark, barely see-thru, cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is cherry, toasty oak vanilla, and spice (I would say this Red same some sort of extended oak conditioning), blackberry, molasses, licorice, light smoke, and baking spice. This is a medium to full-bodied wine, with bold flavors and a smooth mouth-feel. It tastes of black cherry, toasted vanilla, dark chocolate, black pepper, and ripe plum. The mid-palate is strong, there is blueberry, tart cranberry, exotic, slightly sharp spice, orange zest, and raspberry jam. The tannins are sweet and do not bite and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish starts off strong, fades before too long, but never completely fades away. The Summary There is nothing about the Stick Figure Red Blend 2016 that says sub-$10 wine, from the packaging to what is in the bottle all hit higher than the $8.99 price tag. Trader Joe's is positioning the Red to pair with a baked ham dinner and, yes, it can pair well, but I think this is more of any after the feast wine. More of a sit by the fire with family and friends Red wine, maybe talk about old times or watch the game. A nice, big, soothing Red blend to kick back and relax with.   Check out the companion Podcast below The Story The Stick Figure Red Blend 2016 is a Trader Joe's $8.99 exclusive sourced from a selection of cool climate and warm weather vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. As per usual, Trader Joe's does not offer technical information for... The Story
The Stick Figure Red Blend 2016 is a Trader Joe's $8.99 exclusive sourced from a selection of cool climate and warm weather vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. As per usual, Trader Joe's does not offer technical information for the Stick Figure Red, so let's see what we can figure out on our own. Trader Joe features a Pinot Noir in November to pair with turkey and according to the Fearless Flyer, this blend is intended to pair with baked ham. It is a fruit-forward, generously oaked (their description), that is moderately dry. This is the 2016 vintage which is a fair bit of bottle age (and oak barrel age, too?) for an $8.99 wine. Generally speaking a wine with plenty of oak and a fairly long aging period is made differently than your typical $8 to $10 red wines. Most sub-ten buck wines are made to come together quickly, they do do not need much aging by design, the Stick Figure Red does not seem to follow this profile. The packaging is excellent, the bottle has some weight to it and the label features drawings of the various types of grapevine pruning. Nothing about this bottle says cheap and inexpensive. We do not learn which grapes are in the blend and since the Central Coast does well with almost all of the popular grapes, guess will be nothing more than a guess. Though the Fearless Flyer write-up suggests Bordeaux grapes, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Petite Verdot, with maybe Petit Sirah and Zinfandel. One of the great things about value-priced Red blends is the winemaker can accentuate the positive with the grapes, the blend can offer greater rewards than the individual grapes could on their own. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is dark, barely see-thru, cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is cherry, toasty oak vanilla, and spice (I would say this Red same some sort of extended oak conditioning), blackberry, molasses, licorice, light smoke, and baking spice. This is a medium to full-bodied wine, with bold flavors and a smooth mouth-feel. It tastes of black cherry, toasted vanilla, dark chocolate, black pepper, and ripe plum. The mid-palate is strong, there is blueberry, tart cranberry, exotic, slightly sharp spice, orange zest, and raspberry jam. The tannins are sweet and do not bite and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish starts off strong, fades before too long, but never completely fades away.
The Summary

* There is nothing about the Stick Figure Red Blend 2016 that says sub-$10 wine, from the packaging to what is in the bottle all hit higher than the $8.99 price tag.
* Trader Joe's is positioning the Red to pair with a baked ham dinner and, yes, it can pair well, but I think this is more of any after the feast wine. More of a sit by the fire with family and friends Red wine, maybe talk about old times or watch the game. A nice, big, soothing Red blend to kick back and relax with.

 
Check out the companion Podcast below]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 8:14
Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31463/fetzer-sundial-chardonnay-2018/ Sun, 10 Nov 2019 05:13:35 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31463 The Story The Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in more than one California grape-growing AVAs. Fetzer was founded in 1968 and is a Certified B Corp, which is a designation given to companies that are sustainably and ethically managed, others are Patagonia and Ben and Jerry's. The Sundial Chardonnay sells over under 10 bucks (I found it on sale for $6.99) but received 88 points from Wine Spectator magazine. Wine Spectator typically deals with high-end wines and does not easily give points to any wine much less a value-priced wine. Fetzer is head-quartered in Hopland, California which is in the Mendocino AVA. I checking out Fetzer's website I found the Sundial Chardonnay has been receiving excellent wine scores for a number of years, which isn't always the case for sub-$10 wines (these wines tend to get overlooked by the wine magazines). Often value-priced White wine is very simply produced and with good results, but the Sundial production isn't so simple. This Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel tanks, the tasting notes were vague, but it looks like a percentage of the tanks has French and American oak (staves, chips, or actual barrels?) and the oak has various levels of toast. The inside of new wine barrels are flamed to toast the wood and different levels of toasting impart unique flavors to the wine. The oaked portion of the Chardonnay also completed malolactic fermentation. So that they used French and American oak (each has their flavor profile) and used multiple toast levels indicates that Fetzer went to great lengths to get the overall taste experience they had in mind.  The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a clear, shiny butter yellow. The nose is sweet, floral, and fresh, there are notes of ripe apple, vanilla, peach, lemon chiffon, pear, soft spice, along with spring flowers. This is a smooth, dry, flavorful Chardonnay, there is an oak influence, but well-balanced. It tastes of tart apple, lime, lemon, and vanilla cream. The mid-palate offers a salty nutty sensation, a little butter, unsweetened pineapple, and guava. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold and does not intrude on the flavor profile. The finish is strong and long.  The Summary The Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is a really nice effort. If you like your Chardonnay with a little bit of oak influence, but not too much and you do not want to spend much money, then this is your wine. This is a tasty, light side of medium-bodied Chardonnay, really well-balanced, everything has its place. The Story The Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in more than one California grape-growing AVAs. Fetzer was founded in 1968 and is a Certified B Corp, which is a designation given to companies that are sustaina... The Story
The Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in more than one California grape-growing AVAs. Fetzer was founded in 1968 and is a Certified B Corp, which is a designation given to companies that are sustainably and ethically managed, others are Patagonia and Ben and Jerry's. The Sundial Chardonnay sells over under 10 bucks (I found it on sale for $6.99) but received 88 points from Wine Spectator magazine. Wine Spectator typically deals with high-end wines and does not easily give points to any wine much less a value-priced wine. Fetzer is head-quartered in Hopland, California which is in the Mendocino AVA.

I checking out Fetzer's website I found the Sundial Chardonnay has been receiving excellent wine scores for a number of years, which isn't always the case for sub-$10 wines (these wines tend to get overlooked by the wine magazines). Often value-priced White wine is very simply produced and with good results, but the Sundial production isn't so simple. This Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel tanks, the tasting notes were vague, but it looks like a percentage of the tanks has French and American oak (staves, chips, or actual barrels?) and the oak has various levels of toast. The inside of new wine barrels are flamed to toast the wood and different levels of toasting impart unique flavors to the wine. The oaked portion of the Chardonnay also completed malolactic fermentation. So that they used French and American oak (each has their flavor profile) and used multiple toast levels indicates that Fetzer went to great lengths to get the overall taste experience they had in mind.  The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, shiny butter yellow. The nose is sweet, floral, and fresh, there are notes of ripe apple, vanilla, peach, lemon chiffon, pear, soft spice, along with spring flowers. This is a smooth, dry, flavorful Chardonnay, there is an oak influence, but well-balanced. It tastes of tart apple, lime, lemon, and vanilla cream. The mid-palate offers a salty nutty sensation, a little butter, unsweetened pineapple, and guava. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold and does not intrude on the flavor profile. The finish is strong and long. 
The Summary

* The Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2018 is a really nice effort. If you like your Chardonnay with a little bit of oak influence, but not too much and you do not want to spend much money, then this is your wine.
* This is a tasty, light side of medium-bodied Chardonnay, really well-balanced, everything has its place.
]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 10:02
Mumm Napa Brut Rose’ https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31451/mumm-napa-brut-rose-2/ Fri, 08 Nov 2019 05:08:14 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31451 The Story The Mumm Napa Brut Rose' is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay sourced from as many as 50 different vineyards (depending on the vintage) in the Napa Valley AVA. Mumm Napa started in the early 1970s is the California project of GH Mumm founded 150 years earlier in Champagne, France. Mumm Champagne is the 3rd largest selling Bubbly in the world and the largest selling Sparkling wine in France. The 50 vineyard sources may seem like way too many vineyards but the entry-level Champagne from one of Champagne's most iconic Bubblies uses 100 vineyards. Since all Sparkling wine producers that use the Traditional Method of production use the same general method for the 2nd fermentation (where the bubbles are born), the magic happens during the 1st fermentation. Different vineyard lots are fermented separately and often differently, here most of the batches were fermented in stainless steel tanks, but some select batches were fermented in French oak barrels. Everything, every process used in the making of wine affects the finished product, even adding 1% of another grape makes a noticeable change. Champagne Houses have an identifiable and hopefully unique style for their Bubbly. When talking about the making of Champagne (France) or Sparkling Wine (Napa) the Winemakers usually highlight the 2nd fermentation where each bottle is filled with still wine then a measured amount of sugar and yeast is added. The 2nd fermentation is fairly standard, the main differences are the length, here it is 18 months. The 1st fermentation is where the house-style is formulated and the exact production techniques are carefully guarded. This is a Rose' and to get the proper color a small measured amount of still (not Bubbly) Pinot Noir is added to every bottle. The Mumm Napa sells for less than half of the price the French Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut. I found the Mumm Napa on sale for about $16, while the French stuff is $35 to $40. Yes, Champagne has great vineyards and decades of Bubbly experience, but it's not like Napa vineyards are all that shabby and the production techniques and equipment are at this point universal. I know French Champagne is excellent but is there any reason that Napa Valley Bubbly cannot be equally entertaining at half the price? The Tasting Notes The color is pale gold with a flurry of tiny bubbles. The nose is black cherry, cream, a touch of yeasty bread, a hint of spice, grapefruit, and the nougat inside a 3 Musketeers bar. This Bubbly has a soft creamy mouth-feel, with black cherry flavors, quite different if you are used to Chardonnay dominate Bubbly. It starts with ripe black cherry, then sleek, not too tart grapefruit, then a slap of vanilla cream. The mid-palate adds some minerality (just enough to be noticeable), raspberry, and a salty, nutty flavor. The acidity is really good, not enough to bite, bit enough to get you to reach for another sip. The finish is subtle but long. The Summary Mumm Napa Brut Rose' is a well-made and delicious Bubbly, remember this is mostly Pinot Noir and the flavor profile will be a departure from Chardonnay-based Champagne-style Bubbly. Only Bubbly from Champagne can legally be called Champagne, so the Mumm Napa has to be referred to as a Sparkling wine. The best wine I ever had was a Blanc de Noir Champagne (that means White wine from Red Grapes) or a Bubbly made from all Red Grapes usually meaning Pinot Noir. I didn't know enough about wine at the time to remember the name of the wine, I mistakenly thought they were probably all that good. But just the same my personal preference with Bubbles is Pinot based wines. Though, I have drunk my share of Chardonnay Bubbles, too. So, Napa versus France, who wins? If I'm paying I'm am more than happy to drink Mumm Napa, if someone else is paying then let us get the French stuff. Without having a bottle of Cordon Rouge here to do a taste test it isn't fair to make a determination, The Story The Mumm Napa Brut Rose' is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay sourced from as many as 50 different vineyards (depending on the vintage) in the Napa Valley AVA. Mumm Napa started in the early 1970s is the California project of GH M... The Story
The Mumm Napa Brut Rose' is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay sourced from as many as 50 different vineyards (depending on the vintage) in the Napa Valley AVA. Mumm Napa started in the early 1970s is the California project of GH Mumm founded 150 years earlier in Champagne, France. Mumm Champagne is the 3rd largest selling Bubbly in the world and the largest selling Sparkling wine in France. The 50 vineyard sources may seem like way too many vineyards but the entry-level Champagne from one of Champagne's most iconic Bubblies uses 100 vineyards. Since all Sparkling wine producers that use the Traditional Method of production use the same general method for the 2nd fermentation (where the bubbles are born), the magic happens during the 1st fermentation. Different vineyard lots are fermented separately and often differently, here most of the batches were fermented in stainless steel tanks, but some select batches were fermented in French oak barrels. Everything, every process used in the making of wine affects the finished product, even adding 1% of another grape makes a noticeable change. Champagne Houses have an identifiable and hopefully unique style for their Bubbly.

When talking about the making of Champagne (France) or Sparkling Wine (Napa) the Winemakers usually highlight the 2nd fermentation where each bottle is filled with still wine then a measured amount of sugar and yeast is added. The 2nd fermentation is fairly standard, the main differences are the length, here it is 18 months. The 1st fermentation is where the house-style is formulated and the exact production techniques are carefully guarded. This is a Rose' and to get the proper color a small measured amount of still (not Bubbly) Pinot Noir is added to every bottle. The Mumm Napa sells for less than half of the price the French Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut. I found the Mumm Napa on sale for about $16, while the French stuff is $35 to $40. Yes, Champagne has great vineyards and decades of Bubbly experience, but it's not like Napa vineyards are all that shabby and the production techniques and equipment are at this point universal. I know French Champagne is excellent but is there any reason that Napa Valley Bubbly cannot be equally entertaining at half the price?
The Tasting Notes
The color is pale gold with a flurry of tiny bubbles. The nose is black cherry, cream, a touch of yeasty bread, a hint of spice, grapefruit, and the nougat inside a 3 Musketeers bar. This Bubbly has a soft creamy mouth-feel, with black cherry flavors, quite different if you are used to Chardonnay dominate Bubbly. It starts with ripe black cherry, then sleek, not too tart grapefruit, then a slap of vanilla cream. The mid-palate adds some minerality (just enough to be noticeable), raspberry, and a salty, nutty flavor. The acidity is really good, not enough to bite, bit enough to get you to reach for another sip. The finish is subtle but long.
The Summary

* Mumm Napa Brut Rose' is a well-made and delicious Bubbly, remember this is mostly Pinot Noir and the flavor profile will be a departure from Chardonnay-based Champagne-style Bubbly. Only Bubbly from Champagne can legally be called Champagne, so the Mumm Napa has to be referred to as a Sparkling wine.
* The best wine I ever had was a Blanc de Noir Champagne (that means White wine from Red Grapes) or a Bubbly made from all Red Grapes usually meaning Pinot Noir. I didn't know enough about wine at the time to remember the name of the wine, I mistakenly thought they were probably all that good. But just the same my personal preference with Bubbles is Pinot based wines. Though, I have drunk my share of Chardonnay Bubbles, too.
* So, Napa versus France, who wins? If I'm paying I'm am more than happy to drink Mumm Napa,]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:57
Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31430/trader-joes-petit-reserve-russian-river-pinot-noir-2018/ Wed, 06 Nov 2019 05:05:57 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31430 The Story The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. There have been other Trader Joe's Reserve Pinot Noirs over the years, the regular Reserve and Grand Reserve wines tend to have Lot #'s to differentiate them, I believe the Petit designation indicates that there is a limited supply of this Pinot Noir. The Russian River Valley is located in western Sonoma County along the coast and runs parallel with the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean along the shore has cold water and winds and fog off the ocean are trapped in the valley allowing much of the Russian River Valley to be an ideal growing region for Pinot and Chardonnay. Brand wines from the Russian River tend to sell for over $15 and Winery Pinot Noir sells for $20 plus. So, $7.99 is an unusual price, the producers of this Pinot are negociants, make custom wines, and according to their website can produce clone wines. Tell the wine you want to imitate and they will reverse engineer it to come up wine at an agreed-upon price. There isn't any information available concerning the production of the Petit Reserve, but I figure anyone that can reverse engineer wine knows what they are doing. The back label mentions toaty oak and vanilla so this Pinot had some sort of oak treatment and the alcohol content is a rather stiff, for Pinot Noir, 14.58%. And as a 2018 vintage, this is a young wine with only a short period of aging. The Tasting Notes The color is pale garnet red. The nose is legit, the alcohol content had me concerned but the color and the nose are classic Pinot, there are notes of cherry, herbs, crushed autumn leaves, black pepper, exotic spice, and toasty oak. This Pinot is on the light side of medium-bodied, with delicate, but complicated flavors. This wine starts with tart cherry, followed by herbs, unsweetened cola, dark chocolate, and black pepper. The mid-palate offers bright fresh raspberry, a slap of sharp spice, a little creamy vanilla, and orange zest. The acidity is excellent, it does not bite but stays around to let all the flavors unfold. The finish is subtle but lingers. The Summary There is nothing about this Pinot that suggests it sells for $7.99, it looks, smells, and tastes like California Pinot Noir. If you got into Pinot Noir thru Meiomi Pinot Noir this will be different, the TJs is Old School Pinot Noir, Meiomi is New School. This is a Pinot Noir that will pair well with the Thanksgiving feast, the light-body, and the cherry flavors will complement the turkey and the acidity will cut through the accompanying dishes...The Tjs Petit Reserve is a Thanksgiving all-rounder. The Story The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. There have been other Trader Joe's Reserve Pinot Noirs over the years, the regular Reserve and Grand Reserve wines tend to have Lot #'s to differ... The Story
The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. There have been other Trader Joe's Reserve Pinot Noirs over the years, the regular Reserve and Grand Reserve wines tend to have Lot #'s to differentiate them, I believe the Petit designation indicates that there is a limited supply of this Pinot Noir. The Russian River Valley is located in western Sonoma County along the coast and runs parallel with the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean along the shore has cold water and winds and fog off the ocean are trapped in the valley allowing much of the Russian River Valley to be an ideal growing region for Pinot and Chardonnay. Brand wines from the Russian River tend to sell for over $15 and Winery Pinot Noir sells for $20 plus. So, $7.99 is an unusual price, the producers of this Pinot are negociants, make custom wines, and according to their website can produce clone wines. Tell the wine you want to imitate and they will reverse engineer it to come up wine at an agreed-upon price. There isn't any information available concerning the production of the Petit Reserve, but I figure anyone that can reverse engineer wine knows what they are doing. The back label mentions toaty oak and vanilla so this Pinot had some sort of oak treatment and the alcohol content is a rather stiff, for Pinot Noir, 14.58%. And as a 2018 vintage, this is a young wine with only a short period of aging.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pale garnet red. The nose is legit, the alcohol content had me concerned but the color and the nose are classic Pinot, there are notes of cherry, herbs, crushed autumn leaves, black pepper, exotic spice, and toasty oak. This Pinot is on the light side of medium-bodied, with delicate, but complicated flavors. This wine starts with tart cherry, followed by herbs, unsweetened cola, dark chocolate, and black pepper. The mid-palate offers bright fresh raspberry, a slap of sharp spice, a little creamy vanilla, and orange zest. The acidity is excellent, it does not bite but stays around to let all the flavors unfold. The finish is subtle but lingers.
The Summary

* There is nothing about this Pinot that suggests it sells for $7.99, it looks, smells, and tastes like California Pinot Noir.
* If you got into Pinot Noir thru Meiomi Pinot Noir this will be different, the TJs is Old School Pinot Noir, Meiomi is New School.
* This is a Pinot Noir that will pair well with the Thanksgiving feast, the light-body, and the cherry flavors will complement the turkey and the acidity will cut through the accompanying dishes...The Tjs Petit Reserve is a Thanksgiving all-rounder.
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CheapWineFinder clean 10:45
The Delicious Monster White Blend 2019 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31417/the-delicious-monster-white-blend-2019/ Sun, 03 Nov 2019 03:23:21 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31417 The Story The Delicious Monster White Blend 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's import wine, a blend of 60% Chenin Blanc, 20% Muscat, and 20% Chardonnay from McGregor Winery vineyards in South Africa. McGregor Winery is a co-op of 33 farmers who have banded together to produce wines in the foothills of the mountains in the Robertson Valley district of South Africa. If you notice this is a 2019 vintage and we still have 2 months of 2019 left, South Africa's winter and summer are reversed from North America. This is a young wine with just a little bit of aging, meant to be consumed in the first year of release or so. I think McGregor wines are for sale in other parts of the world and TJs have rights to this blend in the US. I was perusing the McGregor website and I found out why TJs is importing the Chenin Blanc based blend and not the McGregor Chardonnay. They named the Chardonnay after a local rain tree, which I suppose is very beautiful but unfortunately named, because the wine is called the Golden Shower Chardonnay. It makes me wonder if a delicious monster has a different meaning in South Africa. Chenin Blanc does extremely well in South Africa so I have high hopes for this inexpensive White blend. Chenin is one of those grapes that are versatile, young and crisp, oak-aged and age-worthy, Bubbly and everything in between. The alcohol content 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is clear, pale wheat yellow. The nose is, well, delicious, there is a lemon, honey, grapefruit, pear, crisp green apple, candy spice, and apricot. This is a wine that feels like it is about to be a sweet wine but never gets sweet, I guess the 20% Muscat gives it that feel. It tastes of melon, lemon, and lime, the Muscat adds sweet hard candy, but tart apple, and pear bring the wine back to Dry. The mid-palate mirrors the body of the wine but does add unsweetened pineapple. The acidity is closing to being lip-smacking good, but not quite. The finish is vibrant and lengthy. The Summary That slap of sweetness in what is essentially a dry wine is in fact, delicious. I wouldn't call it a monster but tasty is well deserved. The Delicious Monster is a very drinkable, change-of-pace $5.99 White blend. This is one of those wines where you need to buy 2 bottles because the first bottle will be empty in a hurry. The Story The Delicious Monster White Blend 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's import wine, a blend of 60% Chenin Blanc, 20% Muscat, and 20% Chardonnay from McGregor Winery vineyards in South Africa. McGregor Winery is a co-op of 33 farmers who have banded ... The Story
The Delicious Monster White Blend 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's import wine, a blend of 60% Chenin Blanc, 20% Muscat, and 20% Chardonnay from McGregor Winery vineyards in South Africa. McGregor Winery is a co-op of 33 farmers who have banded together to produce wines in the foothills of the mountains in the Robertson Valley district of South Africa. If you notice this is a 2019 vintage and we still have 2 months of 2019 left, South Africa's winter and summer are reversed from North America. This is a young wine with just a little bit of aging, meant to be consumed in the first year of release or so. I think McGregor wines are for sale in other parts of the world and TJs have rights to this blend in the US. I was perusing the McGregor website and I found out why TJs is importing the Chenin Blanc based blend and not the McGregor Chardonnay. They named the Chardonnay after a local rain tree, which I suppose is very beautiful but unfortunately named, because the wine is called the Golden Shower Chardonnay. It makes me wonder if a delicious monster has a different meaning in South Africa. Chenin Blanc does extremely well in South Africa so I have high hopes for this inexpensive White blend. Chenin is one of those grapes that are versatile, young and crisp, oak-aged and age-worthy, Bubbly and everything in between. The alcohol content 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is clear, pale wheat yellow. The nose is, well, delicious, there is a lemon, honey, grapefruit, pear, crisp green apple, candy spice, and apricot. This is a wine that feels like it is about to be a sweet wine but never gets sweet, I guess the 20% Muscat gives it that feel. It tastes of melon, lemon, and lime, the Muscat adds sweet hard candy, but tart apple, and pear bring the wine back to Dry. The mid-palate mirrors the body of the wine but does add unsweetened pineapple. The acidity is closing to being lip-smacking good, but not quite. The finish is vibrant and lengthy.
The Summary

* That slap of sweetness in what is essentially a dry wine is in fact, delicious. I wouldn't call it a monster but tasty is well deserved.
* The Delicious Monster is a very drinkable, change-of-pace $5.99 White blend.
* This is one of those wines where you need to buy 2 bottles because the first bottle will be empty in a hurry.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:29
Moon Willow Riesling 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31409/moon-willow-riesling-2018/ Fri, 01 Nov 2019 03:12:23 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31409 The Story The Moon Willow Riesling 2018 os a $6.49 ALDI exclusive sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in the Monterey AVA of California's Central Coast AVA. ALDI virtually never gives out technical information about their wines, so who, how, and where will be a mystery. But at this price point taking a chance isn't too big of a leap. The Monterey AVA is south of the San Fransico and north of Paso Robles and has a variety of climates, cool weather to warm and can grow a wide variety of grapes. The packaging for the Moon Willow is attractive, it's a reproduction of a painting that I believe is based on a Celtic poem. Inexpensive wines used to have very basic labels, maybe one or two ink colors, whatever it took to keep costs down, but this $6.49 White can hold its own on a retail store shelf. The back label mentions the wine having a light body, a touch of sweetness, and crisp acidity all of which are very promising for a value-priced Riesling. The alcohol content is 11.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is very pale butter yellow. The nose is bright and lively, there is a green apple, lemon, juicy peach, apricot, pear, and lime. This is a light to medium-bodied wine that has a touch of sweetness that is offset by the acidity. It starts with a stew of pear, peach, ripe apple, and lime. The mid-palate adds lemon hard candy and tropical fruit. This is a wine that will pair well with fancy salads, spicy Asian and can stick around for the dessert course, white cake with vanilla frosting comes to mind. The finish is light but does last. The Summary If you like your Riesling a little bit sweet, but generally balanced the Moon Willow is worth a try. I am not a huge fan of sweet wines, but I think the Moon Willow Riesling sis well. This is a very drinkable, slightly sweet Riesling at a very attractive price       The Story The Moon Willow Riesling 2018 os a $6.49 ALDI exclusive sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in the Monterey AVA of California's Central Coast AVA. ALDI virtually never gives out technical information about their wines, so who, how, The Story
The Moon Willow Riesling 2018 os a $6.49 ALDI exclusive sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in the Monterey AVA of California's Central Coast AVA. ALDI virtually never gives out technical information about their wines, so who, how, and where will be a mystery. But at this price point taking a chance isn't too big of a leap. The Monterey AVA is south of the San Fransico and north of Paso Robles and has a variety of climates, cool weather to warm and can grow a wide variety of grapes. The packaging for the Moon Willow is attractive, it's a reproduction of a painting that I believe is based on a Celtic poem. Inexpensive wines used to have very basic labels, maybe one or two ink colors, whatever it took to keep costs down, but this $6.49 White can hold its own on a retail store shelf. The back label mentions the wine having a light body, a touch of sweetness, and crisp acidity all of which are very promising for a value-priced Riesling. The alcohol content is 11.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is very pale butter yellow. The nose is bright and lively, there is a green apple, lemon, juicy peach, apricot, pear, and lime. This is a light to medium-bodied wine that has a touch of sweetness that is offset by the acidity. It starts with a stew of pear, peach, ripe apple, and lime. The mid-palate adds lemon hard candy and tropical fruit. This is a wine that will pair well with fancy salads, spicy Asian and can stick around for the dessert course, white cake with vanilla frosting comes to mind. The finish is light but does last.
The Summary

* If you like your Riesling a little bit sweet, but generally balanced the Moon Willow is worth a try. I am not a huge fan of sweet wines, but I think the Moon Willow Riesling sis well.
* This is a very drinkable, slightly sweet Riesling at a very attractive price

 

 

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:08
If You See Kay Paso Robles Red 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31396/if-you-see-kay-paso-robles-red-2016/ Tue, 29 Oct 2019 04:06:39 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31396 The Story The If You See Kay Paso Robles Red 2016 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot grown in vineyards in the hills and valleys of San Juan Creek and Estrella District of inland Paso Robles AVA of the Central Coast AVA of California. There seems to be or has been an Italian version of If You See Kay. It's kind of funny this brand has been around for at least 10 years and in that time calling the acronym (or is this a homonym ?) for sex isn't as acceptable and according to the website Kay is a strong independent woman and the name is inspired by a James Joyce novel from the 20s. Actually, I can think of a song from the 80s of the same name by April Wine (check it out on Spotify), it sounds sort of like a Sammy Haggar song, but Sammy was never that dopey. So here is something of a connection, a song by April Wine and Sammy Haggar has one of the best wine cellars in the country. If you see Kay is a wine made in the Prisoner style of winemaking but sells for 1/2 to 1/3 the price. This should be a rich, extracted, full-flavored blend and they didn't cut corners in the winemaking, this Red was aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. Paso Robles has a reputation that for wine there are no rules, the winemakers go where the grapes take them without paying too much attention to the wine traditions of France and Italy. It is also a great location for growing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The alcohol content is a precise 14.1%. The Tasting Notes The color is about as opaque as wine gets and there is more black than purple. The nose is dark berries, toasty vanilla, soft spice, chocolate powder, pepper, and cranberry. This is a very well-controlled Red blend, the flavors make a stew and the structure holds it all together. It starts with ripe blackberry, raspberry, fudge brownie, black pepper, and creamy vanilla. The mid-palate adds tart cherry, spice with a slightly rough edge, and dusty chocolate powder. The tannins are soft and smooth and the acidity is balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is strong and long. The Summary I am not sure if he is still involved with this wine, but the originating winemaker made his name with $250 limited availability cult wines and this was his foray into more easily obtainable wine, it should sell for between $15 and $20. The comparison with the Prisoner Red blend is warranted. The If You See Kay is a well-made, delicious blend. Large without being over-the-top, ripe without being perceived as sweet. The Story The If You See Kay Paso Robles Red 2016 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot grown in vineyards in the hills and valleys of San Juan Creek and Estrella District of inland Paso Robles AVA of the Central ... The Story
The If You See Kay Paso Robles Red 2016 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot grown in vineyards in the hills and valleys of San Juan Creek and Estrella District of inland Paso Robles AVA of the Central Coast AVA of California. There seems to be or has been an Italian version of If You See Kay. It's kind of funny this brand has been around for at least 10 years and in that time calling the acronym (or is this a homonym ?) for sex isn't as acceptable and according to the website Kay is a strong independent woman and the name is inspired by a James Joyce novel from the 20s. Actually, I can think of a song from the 80s of the same name by April Wine (check it out on Spotify), it sounds sort of like a Sammy Haggar song, but Sammy was never that dopey. So here is something of a connection, a song by April Wine and Sammy Haggar has one of the best wine cellars in the country.

If you see Kay is a wine made in the Prisoner style of winemaking but sells for 1/2 to 1/3 the price. This should be a rich, extracted, full-flavored blend and they didn't cut corners in the winemaking, this Red was aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. Paso Robles has a reputation that for wine there are no rules, the winemakers go where the grapes take them without paying too much attention to the wine traditions of France and Italy. It is also a great location for growing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The alcohol content is a precise 14.1%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is about as opaque as wine gets and there is more black than purple. The nose is dark berries, toasty vanilla, soft spice, chocolate powder, pepper, and cranberry. This is a very well-controlled Red blend, the flavors make a stew and the structure holds it all together. It starts with ripe blackberry, raspberry, fudge brownie, black pepper, and creamy vanilla. The mid-palate adds tart cherry, spice with a slightly rough edge, and dusty chocolate powder. The tannins are soft and smooth and the acidity is balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is strong and long.
The Summary

* I am not sure if he is still involved with this wine, but the originating winemaker made his name with $250 limited availability cult wines and this was his foray into more easily obtainable wine, it should sell for between $15 and $20.
* The comparison with the Prisoner Red blend is warranted. The If You See Kay is a well-made, delicious blend. Large without being over-the-top, ripe without being perceived as sweet.
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CheapWineFinder clean 9:56
Dearly Beloved I Thee Red 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31379/dearly-beloved-i-thee-red-2016/ Sat, 26 Oct 2019 03:10:33 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31379 The Story The Dearly Beloved I Thee Red 2016 is a kitchen sink blend, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. Trader Joe's sells this blend for $7.99 and the Dearly Beloved website shows they produce 2 Red blends and a Chardonnay and the website prices are $12 to $14 (and I think I've seen this at Target and maybe other stores). The Dearly Beloved brand has been around for a while, CWF first encountered these wines for the 2009 vintage and its major claim to fame is the painted on Mexican Day of the Dead skull for a label. Dark bottle, red label, a flowery skull and you have a Red wine that kills at a Halloween party. I think skulls are appropriate year-round, but that's me. The 2016 vintage is fairly lengthy bottle aging for a $12 to $14 wine and seriously long for a $7.99 Red. The website says they ferment and age each grape varietal separately and then create the final blend. The back label mentions oak seasoning flavors but doesn't specify how the flavors got there. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is black cherry red with black highlights. The nose is pretty decent, spicy with ripe berries, a little chocolate, some pepper, slightly smokey, and savory. This is a medium-body Red blend, full-flavored with good structure, wasn't expecting this for $7.99 or even $12. It starts with blackberry, sour cherry, light herbs, black pepper, and licorice. The mid-palate throws in some orange zest, tart cranberry, dusty tannins (you feel them more than tasting them), with a late hit of jammy raspberry. The acidity is nicely balanced, pair this with stews, steaks, that sort of thing, something hearty. The finish is bold, fades quickly, but lingers on. The Summary Ok, maybe I short-changed this Red by calling it a Halloween party wine, it's a legit Red blend. I know wine tastes are subjective, but I like this style of Red blend, I like some rough edges over soft and smooth. It had a skull on the label, it had to be good. You can pick a wine by the label and skulls and skeletons haven't let me down, yet. I more I drink under ten dollar wine, the more I am amazed at how many of them I actually enjoy. The Story The Dearly Beloved I Thee Red 2016 is a kitchen sink blend, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. Trader Joe's sells this blend for $7. The Story
The Dearly Beloved I Thee Red 2016 is a kitchen sink blend, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. Trader Joe's sells this blend for $7.99 and the Dearly Beloved website shows they produce 2 Red blends and a Chardonnay and the website prices are $12 to $14 (and I think I've seen this at Target and maybe other stores). The Dearly Beloved brand has been around for a while, CWF first encountered these wines for the 2009 vintage and its major claim to fame is the painted on Mexican Day of the Dead skull for a label. Dark bottle, red label, a flowery skull and you have a Red wine that kills at a Halloween party. I think skulls are appropriate year-round, but that's me. The 2016 vintage is fairly lengthy bottle aging for a $12 to $14 wine and seriously long for a $7.99 Red. The website says they ferment and age each grape varietal separately and then create the final blend. The back label mentions oak seasoning flavors but doesn't specify how the flavors got there. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is black cherry red with black highlights. The nose is pretty decent, spicy with ripe berries, a little chocolate, some pepper, slightly smokey, and savory. This is a medium-body Red blend, full-flavored with good structure, wasn't expecting this for $7.99 or even $12. It starts with blackberry, sour cherry, light herbs, black pepper, and licorice. The mid-palate throws in some orange zest, tart cranberry, dusty tannins (you feel them more than tasting them), with a late hit of jammy raspberry. The acidity is nicely balanced, pair this with stews, steaks, that sort of thing, something hearty. The finish is bold, fades quickly, but lingers on.
The Summary

* Ok, maybe I short-changed this Red by calling it a Halloween party wine, it's a legit Red blend. I know wine tastes are subjective, but I like this style of Red blend, I like some rough edges over soft and smooth.
* It had a skull on the label, it had to be good. You can pick a wine by the label and skulls and skeletons haven't let me down, yet.
* I more I drink under ten dollar wine, the more I am amazed at how many of them I actually enjoy.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:02
Moon X Black Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31357/moon-x-black-pinot-noir-2017/ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 02:53:16 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31357 The Story The Moon X Black Pinot Noir 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's wine, but I don't think it is a TJ's exclusive a website from New York sells it online for $9.99. The 2016 vintage of the Moon X Black Pinot was the #1 page on CheapWineFinder for about a year and a half, a lot of folks like this wine. The Black in the name is a hint, this isn't your typical Pinot Noir. It is Trader Joe's version of the extremely popular Meiomi Pinot Noir. Pinot purists hated Meiomi, but everyone else seems to love it, the founder sold the company for a 1/3 of a billion dollars, it looks like ignoring the purists is lucrative. There is isn't a technical sheet available for Moon X and at this part of the story I have not yet tasted the wine, but I would imagine that this isn't 100% Pinot Noir. There needs to be 75% of a single varietal to put the name on the front label, so the Moon X could have a good amount of other grapes involved. Which it would also have in common with Meiomi. The back label mentioned lightly toasted oak which can add vanilla, chocolate, and spice, but to discover more we will have to pour ourselves a glass. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is more purple than black. The nose isn't very Pinot-like, but it isn't bad, There is red berries, black pepper, dark chocolate, a touch of herbs, ripe black cherry, and a savory note. This is a soft, smooth Red wine, slightly jammy, with a dash of spice. It tastes of blackberry, cherry, plum, creamy vanilla, soft spice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds raspberry, chocolate, tart cranberry, and some orange zest. The tannins are sweet and don't interfere, and the acidity is such that I think this is more of a sipping wine than a food wine (the 2016 vintage had a bit more structure), though burgers, pizza, steak burritos would do well. The finish is soft and faes before long. The Summary If you are looking for a solid $6.99 Pinot Noir, this ain't it. If you want a well priced soft smooth tasty Red blend, then give it a try. It isn't over-the-top rich and jammy, it is fairly balanced. You may want to audition the Moon X for the Holiday party season. This really isn't a Meiomo Pinot Noir competitor but at almost 1/3 the price and with some similarities it may be smart to keep a couple of bottles on hand. The Story The Moon X Black Pinot Noir 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's wine, but I don't think it is a TJ's exclusive a website from New York sells it online for $9.99. The 2016 vintage of the Moon X Black Pinot was the #1 page on CheapWineFinder for abou... The Story
The Moon X Black Pinot Noir 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's wine, but I don't think it is a TJ's exclusive a website from New York sells it online for $9.99. The 2016 vintage of the Moon X Black Pinot was the #1 page on CheapWineFinder for about a year and a half, a lot of folks like this wine. The Black in the name is a hint, this isn't your typical Pinot Noir. It is Trader Joe's version of the extremely popular Meiomi Pinot Noir. Pinot purists hated Meiomi, but everyone else seems to love it, the founder sold the company for a 1/3 of a billion dollars, it looks like ignoring the purists is lucrative. There is isn't a technical sheet available for Moon X and at this part of the story I have not yet tasted the wine, but I would imagine that this isn't 100% Pinot Noir. There needs to be 75% of a single varietal to put the name on the front label, so the Moon X could have a good amount of other grapes involved. Which it would also have in common with Meiomi. The back label mentioned lightly toasted oak which can add vanilla, chocolate, and spice, but to discover more we will have to pour ourselves a glass. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is more purple than black. The nose isn't very Pinot-like, but it isn't bad, There is red berries, black pepper, dark chocolate, a touch of herbs, ripe black cherry, and a savory note. This is a soft, smooth Red wine, slightly jammy, with a dash of spice. It tastes of blackberry, cherry, plum, creamy vanilla, soft spice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds raspberry, chocolate, tart cranberry, and some orange zest. The tannins are sweet and don't interfere, and the acidity is such that I think this is more of a sipping wine than a food wine (the 2016 vintage had a bit more structure), though burgers, pizza, steak burritos would do well. The finish is soft and faes before long.
The Summary

* If you are looking for a solid $6.99 Pinot Noir, this ain't it. If you want a well priced soft smooth tasty Red blend, then give it a try.
* It isn't over-the-top rich and jammy, it is fairly balanced.
* You may want to audition the Moon X for the Holiday party season. This really isn't a Meiomo Pinot Noir competitor but at almost 1/3 the price and with some similarities it may be smart to keep a couple of bottles on hand.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:28
Lindenman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31326/lindenmans-bin-65-chardonnay-2018/ Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:24:49 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31326 The Story The Lindenman's Bin 65 Chardonnay 2018 is one of CheapWineFinder's perennial favorites it is an amazingly inexpensive Chardonnay (this time we found it on sale for $2.99, Binny's Chicago) that delivers year after year. Sourced from multiple vineyards in Southeast Australia, Lindeman's is no longer an operating winery, it is a brand. A large production, very inexpensive Brand wine does not sound like a promising proposition, but in this case, it works. The Bin 65 Chardonnay brand is been around since 1985 and in its time has received accolades from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. This is the little Chardonnay that could. The Bin 65 Chardonnay is a young wine and is made to be bright and full of citrus and fruit, but they did use French oak for seasoning. I doubt if they used actual oak barrels, the tasting notes didn't mention barrels which is usually a solid clue, but they just make too much of this Chard to use barrels. A French oak barrel can cost $1,000, I don't see how they can buy enough barrels to age this wine and still be able to sell for the price they do. As I said, I found it for $2.99, but it regularly sells for 5 or 6 bucks. The technotes don't say, but I think it is aged "on lees" since it has a creamy flavor on the mid-palate that often comes from "on lees" (aged with the dead yeast left in the tank and then stirred at regular intervals). In the past, it wasn't ever the greatest Chardonnay in the world, but at its price point, it was or is King. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a clean, clear pale wheat yellow. The nose is green apple, lemon, a little vanilla, a touch of peach, a little pear, with a slap of melon. This is a dry Chardonnay (sometimes very inexpensive wines are on the sweet side to give it the illusion of having more flavor) with balanced acidity. It tastes of a mix of grapefruit and pear, green apple, lime, lemon curd, and light spice. The mid-palate adds that salty sensation from "on lees", faint banana (of all things), kiwi, and a hint of cream. The acidity is very good, the kind that gets you to reach for another sip, but does not bite. The finish is fairly full and long. The Summary I don't want to oversell the Bin 65 Chard, but if you ask someone who just had a taste what they would guess the price is, they would never say $2.99 or even $5 or $6, it tastes and has the body of a Chardonnay in the 10 or 12 buck range. The 2018 vintage has more citrus notes than the last couple of vintages which were more on the ripe and juicy fruit side. The leaner more focused 2018 vintage has a touch of elegance. The Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay would make a great Holiday party wine, a wine that tastes great and costs little, what more could you ask for? The Story The Lindenman's Bin 65 Chardonnay 2018 is one of CheapWineFinder's perennial favorites it is an amazingly inexpensive Chardonnay (this time we found it on sale for $2.99, Binny's Chicago) that delivers year after year. The Story
The Lindenman's Bin 65 Chardonnay 2018 is one of CheapWineFinder's perennial favorites it is an amazingly inexpensive Chardonnay (this time we found it on sale for $2.99, Binny's Chicago) that delivers year after year. Sourced from multiple vineyards in Southeast Australia, Lindeman's is no longer an operating winery, it is a brand. A large production, very inexpensive Brand wine does not sound like a promising proposition, but in this case, it works. The Bin 65 Chardonnay brand is been around since 1985 and in its time has received accolades from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. This is the little Chardonnay that could.

The Bin 65 Chardonnay is a young wine and is made to be bright and full of citrus and fruit, but they did use French oak for seasoning. I doubt if they used actual oak barrels, the tasting notes didn't mention barrels which is usually a solid clue, but they just make too much of this Chard to use barrels. A French oak barrel can cost $1,000, I don't see how they can buy enough barrels to age this wine and still be able to sell for the price they do. As I said, I found it for $2.99, but it regularly sells for 5 or 6 bucks. The technotes don't say, but I think it is aged "on lees" since it has a creamy flavor on the mid-palate that often comes from "on lees" (aged with the dead yeast left in the tank and then stirred at regular intervals). In the past, it wasn't ever the greatest Chardonnay in the world, but at its price point, it was or is King. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a clean, clear pale wheat yellow. The nose is green apple, lemon, a little vanilla, a touch of peach, a little pear, with a slap of melon. This is a dry Chardonnay (sometimes very inexpensive wines are on the sweet side to give it the illusion of having more flavor) with balanced acidity. It tastes of a mix of grapefruit and pear, green apple, lime, lemon curd, and light spice. The mid-palate adds that salty sensation from "on lees", faint banana (of all things), kiwi, and a hint of cream. The acidity is very good, the kind that gets you to reach for another sip, but does not bite. The finish is fairly full and long.
The Summary

* I don't want to oversell the Bin 65 Chard, but if you ask someone who just had a taste what they would guess the price is, they would never say $2.99 or even $5 or $6, it tastes and has the body of a Chardonnay in the 10 or 12 buck range.
* The 2018 vintage has more citrus notes than the last couple of vintages which were more on the ripe and juicy fruit side. The leaner more focused 2018 vintage has a touch of elegance.
* The Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay would make a great Holiday party wine, a wine that tastes great and costs little, what more could you ask for?
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CheapWineFinder clean 12:20
Time Waits For No One Monastrell 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31313/time-waits-for-no-one-monastrell-2017/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 03:27:13 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31313 The Story The Time Waits For No One Monastrell 2017 is 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre in France) produced by Finca Bacara (Finca translates to farm or vineyard) in the Jumilla DO of southeastern Spain. This wine is designated a DOP wine which is Spain's highest wine category and Monastrell is the #1 Red grape in Jumilla accounting for over 80% of the grapes grown. Jumilla is located on the plains between the mountains to the west and the Mediterranean Ocean to the east. And they have a wine history that goes back to the ancient Greeks, which is enough of the wine travelogue stuff and gets us to why this Monastrell is on this website...it has a skull and crossbones on the label. I can't decide if the bones are a pirate flag or if they are the universal symbol for poison, which would be an odd choice for something you are about to drink. But, it is October, Halloween is coming and we are on the look-out for appropriate Halloween party wines. Monastrell is the same as Mourvedre which is the M in the GSM blends of the Rhone Valley in France. It is typically a blending grape, but in Jumilla it is King. In doing a bit of research it seems that Monastrell has been grown in the area for about 1,500 years. The Time Waits For No One was aged in American oak barrels for 6 months. I found this bottle at Costco selling for $9.99 and prices on the web are all over the place, a range of $12 to $19, so grab it at Costco, if you can. The alcohol content is a sturdy 15%. The Tasting Notes The color is dark, barely see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is earthy and slightly raisiny, there is exotic spice, vanilla, fudge chocolate, blackberry, and prune. This is a wine with a soft, beguiling mouth-feel upfront and gets rougher and more complex as the flavors play out. It tastes of blackberry, raisin, and plum, along with oak spice. The mid-palate shows some dusty tannins, a light sprinkle of Nestles Quik powder, and pomegranate. The acidity is balanced and the finish is full, if not particularly long-lasting. The Summary The Time Waits For No One Monastrell is definitely not the same old, same old. Decanter gave this wine 95 points and Wine Spectator gave an earlier vintage 81 points and I get it, if you like this Monastrell you will really, really love it and if you don't you will hate it. And I think that is a sign of good wine, it isn't simple and easy. This is a wine that tastes like Jumilla, Spain, not France, not Italy, not California, sometimes with New World wines the influences kind of blend together, but not here. Take time to let this Monastrell breathe, as it opens up the flavors become richer and opulent. The Story The Time Waits For No One Monastrell 2017 is 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre in France) produced by Finca Bacara (Finca translates to farm or vineyard) in the Jumilla DO of southeastern Spain. This wine is designated a DOP wine which is Spain's h... The Story
The Time Waits For No One Monastrell 2017 is 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre in France) produced by Finca Bacara (Finca translates to farm or vineyard) in the Jumilla DO of southeastern Spain. This wine is designated a DOP wine which is Spain's highest wine category and Monastrell is the #1 Red grape in Jumilla accounting for over 80% of the grapes grown. Jumilla is located on the plains between the mountains to the west and the Mediterranean Ocean to the east. And they have a wine history that goes back to the ancient Greeks, which is enough of the wine travelogue stuff and gets us to why this Monastrell is on this website...it has a skull and crossbones on the label. I can't decide if the bones are a pirate flag or if they are the universal symbol for poison, which would be an odd choice for something you are about to drink. But, it is October, Halloween is coming and we are on the look-out for appropriate Halloween party wines.

Monastrell is the same as Mourvedre which is the M in the GSM blends of the Rhone Valley in France. It is typically a blending grape, but in Jumilla it is King. In doing a bit of research it seems that Monastrell has been grown in the area for about 1,500 years. The Time Waits For No One was aged in American oak barrels for 6 months. I found this bottle at Costco selling for $9.99 and prices on the web are all over the place, a range of $12 to $19, so grab it at Costco, if you can. The alcohol content is a sturdy 15%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is dark, barely see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is earthy and slightly raisiny, there is exotic spice, vanilla, fudge chocolate, blackberry, and prune. This is a wine with a soft, beguiling mouth-feel upfront and gets rougher and more complex as the flavors play out. It tastes of blackberry, raisin, and plum, along with oak spice. The mid-palate shows some dusty tannins, a light sprinkle of Nestles Quik powder, and pomegranate. The acidity is balanced and the finish is full, if not particularly long-lasting.
The Summary

* The Time Waits For No One Monastrell is definitely not the same old, same old. Decanter gave this wine 95 points and Wine Spectator gave an earlier vintage 81 points and I get it, if you like this Monastrell you will really, really love it and if you don't you will hate it. And I think that is a sign of good wine, it isn't simple and easy.
* This is a wine that tastes like Jumilla, Spain, not France, not Italy, not California, sometimes with New World wines the influences kind of blend together, but not here.
* Take time to let this Monastrell breathe, as it opens up the flavors become richer and opulent.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:56
Kirkland Asolo Prosecco DOCG https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31298/kirkland-asolo-prosecco-docg/ Mon, 14 Oct 2019 03:26:27 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31298 The Story The Kirkland Asolo Prosecco DOCG Extra Dry is a $6.99 Costco import exclusive sourced from grapes farmed around the town of Asolo in the center of the Prosecco region in Veneto, Italy. In California, the wine grape growing regions comprise of unique territories known as AVA's, such as Paso Robles, Sonoma, Dry Creek, etc., these boundaries are all location-based there are no government mandates on which grapes can be grown, how they are to be farmed, and how the wine is produced. In Italy, the government uses DOC and DOCG to designate territories, but also provide strict regulations on many aspects of the grape growing and winemaking, with the DOCG (G stands for guaranteed) being the strictest level. These rules and regulations are put in place to ensure quality or with DOCG guarantee quality. That does not mean that a DOCG wine will taste better than a DOC wine, that is up to the winemaker and your personal preferences. But to my way of thinking the actual quality levels are up to the individual wineries because it is possible to make top-quality wine in all Italian levels of wine, DOCG, DOC, IGT, and table wine.  Most of the Prosecco region is designated as DOC, there is a very hilly section in the middle of the area that is deemed to be the absolute best place for growing the Glera grape, in the case of the Kirkland bubbles in the hills around the town of Asolo. This hilly section is rated as DOCG. Now, here is a bit about how Prosecco is made, first most Prosecco in the value price range is non-vintage, meaning that several vintages are blended together to maintain a recognizable "House Style", which is very important for Prosecco brands to create an identity. The Glera grapes (the exclusive grape of Prosecco) are kind of an empty canvas, you almost never see a Glera still wine (non-Bubbly) because it does not make a particularly interesting still wine. The Glera grapes are fermented the 1st time, each Prosecco House has its own winemaking tricks at this stage and when they decide the wine is ready it is transferred to huge pressurized tanks. These tanks are large autoclaves and are basically huge versions of the autoclaves used to sterilize surgical equipment and tattoo needles. Sugar and yeast are added to the vats and a 2nd fermentation begins. CO2 is released as a by-product of fermentation, but since the sealed vat is under pressure the CO2 has nowhere to go but back into the wine. This second fermentation can last a few weeks or a few months, the longer time allows the CO2 to better acclimate itself to the wine and become fine Bubbly. The alcohol content with the Kirkland Prosecco is 11%. The Tasting Notes The color is a platinum yellow with a decent supply of tiny bubbles. The nose is lemon, green apple, melon, and grapefruit, with a hint of ripe juicy peach and a floral edge. This Prosecco has balanced flavors, solid acidity, and a nice dash of minerality. It starts with tart lemon, peach, Bosc pear, and melon. The mid-palate offers a juicy apple, a salty sensation, and not sweet lemon hard candy. The acidity is very persistent, it is not quite a lip-smacking acidity, but it is part of the flavor profile. The finish is strong and long. The Summary This is an extremely solid Prosecco at an amazing price, $6.99. There are only so many Prosecco producers from the Asolo region, with a little bit of sleuthing you can probably figure out who made it, but I would imagine all the producers from this area are first rate. Keep the Kirkland Prosecco in mind for the Holiday party season, it is a steal at less than $7. This is an extra-dry Bubbly which means slightly sweet, but remember solid acidity balances the sweetness, so the sensation is more nectar sweet than sugar sweet.   The Story The Kirkland Asolo Prosecco DOCG Extra Dry is a $6.99 Costco import exclusive sourced from grapes farmed around the town of Asolo in the center of the Prosecco region in Veneto, Italy. In California, The Story
The Kirkland Asolo Prosecco DOCG Extra Dry is a $6.99 Costco import exclusive sourced from grapes farmed around the town of Asolo in the center of the Prosecco region in Veneto, Italy. In California, the wine grape growing regions comprise of unique territories known as AVA's, such as Paso Robles, Sonoma, Dry Creek, etc., these boundaries are all location-based there are no government mandates on which grapes can be grown, how they are to be farmed, and how the wine is produced. In Italy, the government uses DOC and DOCG to designate territories, but also provide strict regulations on many aspects of the grape growing and winemaking, with the DOCG (G stands for guaranteed) being the strictest level. These rules and regulations are put in place to ensure quality or with DOCG guarantee quality. That does not mean that a DOCG wine will taste better than a DOC wine, that is up to the winemaker and your personal preferences. But to my way of thinking the actual quality levels are up to the individual wineries because it is possible to make top-quality wine in all Italian levels of wine, DOCG, DOC, IGT, and table wine. 

Most of the Prosecco region is designated as DOC, there is a very hilly section in the middle of the area that is deemed to be the absolute best place for growing the Glera grape, in the case of the Kirkland bubbles in the hills around the town of Asolo. This hilly section is rated as DOCG. Now, here is a bit about how Prosecco is made, first most Prosecco in the value price range is non-vintage, meaning that several vintages are blended together to maintain a recognizable "House Style", which is very important for Prosecco brands to create an identity. The Glera grapes (the exclusive grape of Prosecco) are kind of an empty canvas, you almost never see a Glera still wine (non-Bubbly) because it does not make a particularly interesting still wine. The Glera grapes are fermented the 1st time, each Prosecco House has its own winemaking tricks at this stage and when they decide the wine is ready it is transferred to huge pressurized tanks. These tanks are large autoclaves and are basically huge versions of the autoclaves used to sterilize surgical equipment and tattoo needles. Sugar and yeast are added to the vats and a 2nd fermentation begins. CO2 is released as a by-product of fermentation, but since the sealed vat is under pressure the CO2 has nowhere to go but back into the wine. This second fermentation can last a few weeks or a few months, the longer time allows the CO2 to better acclimate itself to the wine and become fine Bubbly. The alcohol content with the Kirkland Prosecco is 11%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a platinum yellow with a decent supply of tiny bubbles. The nose is lemon, green apple, melon, and grapefruit, with a hint of ripe juicy peach and a floral edge. This Prosecco has balanced flavors, solid acidity, and a nice dash of minerality. It starts with tart lemon, peach, Bosc pear, and melon. The mid-palate offers a juicy apple, a salty sensation, and not sweet lemon hard candy. The acidity is very persistent, it is not quite a lip-smacking acidity, but it is part of the flavor profile. The finish is strong and long.
The Summary

* This is an extremely solid Prosecco at an amazing price, $6.99.
* There are only so many Prosecco producers from the Asolo region, with a little bit of sleuthing you can probably figure out who made it, but I would imagine all the producers from this area are first rate.
* Keep the Kirkland Prosecco in mind for the Holiday party season, it is a steal at less than $7.
* This is an extra-dry Bubbly which means slightly sweet, but remember solid acidity balances the sweetness, so the sensation is more nectar sweet than sugar sweet.

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CheapWineFinder clean 10:53
Violet House Central Coast Red Blend https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31278/violet-house-central-coast-red-blend/ Thu, 10 Oct 2019 03:11:48 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31278 The Story The Violet House Central Coast Red Blend 2017 is an $8.99 ALDI exclusive wine. And that is about all I know about this wine, there is no mention on the web and ALDI doesn't say a thing. The back label says this is a non-traditional blend and a 2017 vintage is decent age for an $8.99 Red wine. But I have to admit, I bought this bottle for the label, there are furry antler people coming out of the snow in the woods near a cabin on the lake, along with a violet-colored sky, which is probably where the name came from. It turns out the drawing on the label is from John Kenn Mortensen who has a book of illustrations, Sticky Monsters. It is somewhat odd for a store brand contract wine to have a label created by a noted artist or illustrator since the whole idea behind contract wines is to keep the costs down. I love the label, I thought it would be a great wine for Halloween parties, it's creepy and spooky without being too threatening. I have found that wines that have really good labels have good wine inside the bottle, the theory being if they don't care about what is stuck to the outside of a bottle, they didn't care about what is inside the bottle and vice versa. If that theory works on an $8.99 ALDI wine it might move from wine theory to wine law. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is barely see-thru, shiny cherry red. The nose is blackberry, a little chocolate, soft spice, slightly herbal, with a floral edge. This is a medium-bodied red, smooth upfront, slightly rougher on the mid-palate. It tastes of a stew of blackberry, blueberry, and Snickers Chocolate (not sweet), along with sweet spice. The mid-palate offers raspberry, molasses (again not sweet), a salty sensation, and a mix of black pepper and cranberry. I have no idea about what grapes went into this Red blend, but it is good tasting. The finish is soft, not particularly intense, but it does linger. The Summary Buy it for the label, drink it because it's tasty. It is way better than the typical Halloween themed wine, though I don't think the Violet House Red Blend is actually intended as solely a Halloween wine. This is not the same old, same old Red Blend, it is hard to be unique in the value-priced Red category, but the Violet House pulls it off. The Story The Violet House Central Coast Red Blend 2017 is an $8.99 ALDI exclusive wine. And that is about all I know about this wine, there is no mention on the web and ALDI doesn't say a thing. The back label says this is a non-traditional blend and... The Story
The Violet House Central Coast Red Blend 2017 is an $8.99 ALDI exclusive wine. And that is about all I know about this wine, there is no mention on the web and ALDI doesn't say a thing. The back label says this is a non-traditional blend and a 2017 vintage is decent age for an $8.99 Red wine. But I have to admit, I bought this bottle for the label, there are furry antler people coming out of the snow in the woods near a cabin on the lake, along with a violet-colored sky, which is probably where the name came from. It turns out the drawing on the label is from John Kenn Mortensen who has a book of illustrations, Sticky Monsters. It is somewhat odd for a store brand contract wine to have a label created by a noted artist or illustrator since the whole idea behind contract wines is to keep the costs down. I love the label, I thought it would be a great wine for Halloween parties, it's creepy and spooky without being too threatening. I have found that wines that have really good labels have good wine inside the bottle, the theory being if they don't care about what is stuck to the outside of a bottle, they didn't care about what is inside the bottle and vice versa. If that theory works on an $8.99 ALDI wine it might move from wine theory to wine law. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is barely see-thru, shiny cherry red. The nose is blackberry, a little chocolate, soft spice, slightly herbal, with a floral edge. This is a medium-bodied red, smooth upfront, slightly rougher on the mid-palate. It tastes of a stew of blackberry, blueberry, and Snickers Chocolate (not sweet), along with sweet spice. The mid-palate offers raspberry, molasses (again not sweet), a salty sensation, and a mix of black pepper and cranberry. I have no idea about what grapes went into this Red blend, but it is good tasting. The finish is soft, not particularly intense, but it does linger.
The Summary

* Buy it for the label, drink it because it's tasty.
* It is way better than the typical Halloween themed wine, though I don't think the Violet House Red Blend is actually intended as solely a Halloween wine.
* This is not the same old, same old Red Blend, it is hard to be unique in the value-priced Red category, but the Violet House pulls it off.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:20
The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31266/the-federalist-dry-creek-zinfandel-2016/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 03:40:03 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31266 The Story The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is 98% Zinfandel and 2% Carignane primarily sourced from Orsi vineyards in the southern end of Dry Creek Valley about a mile from the Russian River. The Zinfandel grapes came from 6 separate blocks of the vineyard and were fermented separately. The 6 lots were then blended and then aged in oak barrels for 16 months, 20% new oak the rest used barrels. Dry Creek Valley has a climate that is similar to the Bordeaux region in France. It has the classic wine grape growing conditions, warm, but not too hot days, a wide differential between daytime and nighttime temperatures, along with morning fog that limits the amount of time the heat of the sun gets to interact with the grapes. The grapes thrive in the heat up then cool down cycle. Dry Creek is the home of upscale Sonoma Zinfandel and the Federalist sells (according to a search of the web) between $17 and $25. Dry Creek is known for an elegant, balanced style of Zinfandel, a more subdued style than those found in Lodi if you are more familiar with those value-priced ZIns. Estate grown Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley can sell in the $30 to $50 range, so while the grapes didn't come from Terlato's estate they came from a very high-end vineyard at a relatively reasonable price. The alcohol content is a ripe 15.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a fairly see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is delicious, meaty and smokey, with baking spices, chocolate, ripe red berries, black pepper, spicy and lightly herbal. This is a large, but well-balanced Zinfandel, ripe, fresh fruit, with enough of a rough edge to keep things interesting. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, plum, and soft spice. The mid-palate adds chocolate powder, a slight tug from the tannins, orange zest, and late slap of vanilla. This is a wine that engages your palate, you will sensations on the back of your palate, the roof of your mouth, it packs a punch. The finish is soft but lasts. The Summary The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is a very solid Zin, a nice combination of elegance and rustic, which is how I like my Zins. With all the under $15, Lodi Zinfandel on the wine shop shelves a $25 Zin might sound expensive. But Lodi and Dry Creek are different enough to not really compete against each other. The Story The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is 98% Zinfandel and 2% Carignane primarily sourced from Orsi vineyards in the southern end of Dry Creek Valley about a mile from the Russian River. The Zinfandel grapes came from 6 separate blocks of ... The Story
The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is 98% Zinfandel and 2% Carignane primarily sourced from Orsi vineyards in the southern end of Dry Creek Valley about a mile from the Russian River. The Zinfandel grapes came from 6 separate blocks of the vineyard and were fermented separately. The 6 lots were then blended and then aged in oak barrels for 16 months, 20% new oak the rest used barrels. Dry Creek Valley has a climate that is similar to the Bordeaux region in France. It has the classic wine grape growing conditions, warm, but not too hot days, a wide differential between daytime and nighttime temperatures, along with morning fog that limits the amount of time the heat of the sun gets to interact with the grapes. The grapes thrive in the heat up then cool down cycle. Dry Creek is the home of upscale Sonoma Zinfandel and the Federalist sells (according to a search of the web) between $17 and $25. Dry Creek is known for an elegant, balanced style of Zinfandel, a more subdued style than those found in Lodi if you are more familiar with those value-priced ZIns. Estate grown Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley can sell in the $30 to $50 range, so while the grapes didn't come from Terlato's estate they came from a very high-end vineyard at a relatively reasonable price. The alcohol content is a ripe 15.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a fairly see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is delicious, meaty and smokey, with baking spices, chocolate, ripe red berries, black pepper, spicy and lightly herbal. This is a large, but well-balanced Zinfandel, ripe, fresh fruit, with enough of a rough edge to keep things interesting. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, plum, and soft spice. The mid-palate adds chocolate powder, a slight tug from the tannins, orange zest, and late slap of vanilla. This is a wine that engages your palate, you will sensations on the back of your palate, the roof of your mouth, it packs a punch. The finish is soft but lasts.
The Summary

* The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is a very solid Zin, a nice combination of elegance and rustic, which is how I like my Zins.
* With all the under $15, Lodi Zinfandel on the wine shop shelves a $25 Zin might sound expensive. But Lodi and Dry Creek are different enough to not really compete against each other.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:36
Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31251/trader-joes-petit-reserve-russian-river-chardonnay-2018/ Sat, 05 Oct 2019 02:58:21 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31251 The Story The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. And this is an unexpected Chardonnay, the Fearless Flyer didn't have much of anything interesting to say and the front label is the usual Tj's exclusive label. But the back label tells that these grapes came from a single Family-owned estate vineyard, the Stony Point Vineyard owned by the James Family Cellars. The James Family Cellars are a Pinot Noir producer, their website does not show any current vintage of Chardonnay, but they have grown grapes for Schramsburg Winery of Napa, maybe the best Champagne-style Sparkling wine producer in America. So, these are not grapes usually associated with $6.99 Chardonnay. The back label also mentioned this Chardonnay was aged in French oak, again something that is not typically found for under 7 bucks. When I grabbed this bottle I figure it was a Chard produced along the lines of your usual 10 buck Chardonnay, but the single-vineyard estate, Russian River AVA, French oak details have me confused. Is this a regular drink-it-now value-priced White wine, with fancier grapes than normal or is this something else. The alcohol content is a rather precise 13.71%. The Tasting Notes The color is a very pale wheat yellow. The nose is melon, lemon, and apple, along with pineapple, peach, and pear. This is not your typical $6.99 Chardonnay, there is some weight on the body with a solid mix of tart citrus and sweet fruit flavors, the oak is subdued. It starts with creamy lemon, mixed with green apple, followed by grapefruit, and juicy peach. The mid-palate has a salty cashew sensation, along with a touch of vanilla and a late slap of tropical fruit. The acidity is excellent, it allows the flavors to unfold while adding enough lip-smacking acidity to get you to take the next sip. The finish is full and long. The Summary This summary is short and to the point. If you want a single vineyard estate Russian River AVA, French oak-aged Chardonnay for $6.99, then this is it. Buy it. These wines don't come around that often. The Story The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. And this is an unexpected Chardonnay, the Fearless Flyer didn't have much of anything interesting to say and the front label is the usual Tj's ex...
The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. And this is an unexpected Chardonnay, the Fearless Flyer didn't have much of anything interesting to say and the front label is the usual Tj's exclusive label. But the back label tells that these grapes came from a single Family-owned estate vineyard, the Stony Point Vineyard owned by the James Family Cellars. The James Family Cellars are a Pinot Noir producer, their website does not show any current vintage of Chardonnay, but they have grown grapes for Schramsburg Winery of Napa, maybe the best Champagne-style Sparkling wine producer in America. So, these are not grapes usually associated with $6.99 Chardonnay.

The back label also mentioned this Chardonnay was aged in French oak, again something that is not typically found for under 7 bucks. When I grabbed this bottle I figure it was a Chard produced along the lines of your usual 10 buck Chardonnay, but the single-vineyard estate, Russian River AVA, French oak details have me confused. Is this a regular drink-it-now value-priced White wine, with fancier grapes than normal or is this something else. The alcohol content is a rather precise 13.71%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very pale wheat yellow. The nose is melon, lemon, and apple, along with pineapple, peach, and pear. This is not your typical $6.99 Chardonnay, there is some weight on the body with a solid mix of tart citrus and sweet fruit flavors, the oak is subdued. It starts with creamy lemon, mixed with green apple, followed by grapefruit, and juicy peach. The mid-palate has a salty cashew sensation, along with a touch of vanilla and a late slap of tropical fruit. The acidity is excellent, it allows the flavors to unfold while adding enough lip-smacking acidity to get you to take the next sip. The finish is full and long.
The Summary

* This summary is short and to the point. If you want a single vineyard estate Russian River AVA, French oak-aged Chardonnay for $6.99, then this is it. Buy it. These wines don't come around that often.
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CheapWineFinder clean 6:46
Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Lot 89 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31231/trader-joes-platinum-reserve-atlas-peak-cabernet-sauvignon-2017-lot-89/ Thu, 26 Sep 2019 03:38:53 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31231 The Story The Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Lot 89 is a $14.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from grapes, like the title says, farmed in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley in Northern California. Atlas Peak is a unique region inside Napa since it is the highest elevation growing region. When it comes to Northern California vineyards you usually hear the same story, warm to hot afternoons, with much cooler evening followed by cooling morning fog. But Atlas Peak is so high up in the mountains there is no fog, yes there is warm but cooler than the typical Napa sub-AVA afternoon temps and cool evenings, but instead of the morning fog, they get intense sunlight. All this adds up to optimal Cabernet Sauvignon growing conditions that produce wines not typically found in the $14.99 price range. As a Trader Joe's contract exclusive wine, there isn't too much beyond the write-up in the Fearless Flyer about the particulars of the making of this Cab. At first, I thought a 2017 vintage maybe a little bit of an early release for an Atlas Peak Cab. But since I found $50 and $60 2017 Atlas Peak Cabernets on the internet, that stifled that idea. While the typical Atlas Peak Cab has more age when released, 2017 seems to be perfectly fine for a ready-now Red wine. So, is this a legit $25 to $35 Cab selling for TJ's prices or is this a typical drink-it-now Cabernet Sauvignon but with Atlas Peak grapes, something you never ever see in this price range. Either way, it is well worth giving this wine a try. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is ripe and juicy, blackberry, herbs, black pepper, spice, a touch of vanilla, chocolate powder, yup, it's a Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure you give this Cabernet plenty of time to open up because there is plenty of spice and black pepper on hand and it needs all the fruit on hand to balance. That detail right there is something you do not ever find in typical $15 drink-it-now Reds. Once the ripe fruit shows up this is a completely different wine. There is very detailed fruit and spice, the flavors are on-point, blackberry, sharp spice, black pepper, bitter chocolate. The mid-palate adds creamy vanilla, orange zest, tart cranberry mixed with sweet blueberry. The tannins are more dusty than sweet (the way value-priced wine is made nowadays the tannins are rarely worth mentioning, here they are definitely on the menu). The acidity allows the ample flavors to unfold, while not getting in the way. The finish is subtle but lasts. The Summary This is NOT your typical ten dollars, well $15, drink-it-now Cabernet Sauvignon. There are flavors and textures that do not show up in value wine. If you are looking for an entry into the world of Napa Cabs Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Atlas Peak Cab Lot 89 is about as inexpensive and easy an entry as you will find. This wine is an actual bargain. The Story The Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Lot 89 is a $14.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from grapes, like the title says, farmed in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley in Northern California. The Story
The Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Lot 89 is a $14.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from grapes, like the title says, farmed in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley in Northern California. Atlas Peak is a unique region inside Napa since it is the highest elevation growing region. When it comes to Northern California vineyards you usually hear the same story, warm to hot afternoons, with much cooler evening followed by cooling morning fog. But Atlas Peak is so high up in the mountains there is no fog, yes there is warm but cooler than the typical Napa sub-AVA afternoon temps and cool evenings, but instead of the morning fog, they get intense sunlight. All this adds up to optimal Cabernet Sauvignon growing conditions that produce wines not typically found in the $14.99 price range.

As a Trader Joe's contract exclusive wine, there isn't too much beyond the write-up in the Fearless Flyer about the particulars of the making of this Cab. At first, I thought a 2017 vintage maybe a little bit of an early release for an Atlas Peak Cab. But since I found $50 and $60 2017 Atlas Peak Cabernets on the internet, that stifled that idea. While the typical Atlas Peak Cab has more age when released, 2017 seems to be perfectly fine for a ready-now Red wine. So, is this a legit $25 to $35 Cab selling for TJ's prices or is this a typical drink-it-now Cabernet Sauvignon but with Atlas Peak grapes, something you never ever see in this price range. Either way, it is well worth giving this wine a try. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is ripe and juicy, blackberry, herbs, black pepper, spice, a touch of vanilla, chocolate powder, yup, it's a Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure you give this Cabernet plenty of time to open up because there is plenty of spice and black pepper on hand and it needs all the fruit on hand to balance. That detail right there is something you do not ever find in typical $15 drink-it-now Reds. Once the ripe fruit shows up this is a completely different wine. There is very detailed fruit and spice, the flavors are on-point, blackberry, sharp spice, black pepper, bitter chocolate. The mid-palate adds creamy vanilla, orange zest, tart cranberry mixed with sweet blueberry. The tannins are more dusty than sweet (the way value-priced wine is made nowadays the tannins are rarely worth mentioning, here they are definitely on the menu). The acidity allows the ample flavors to unfold, while not getting in the way. The finish is subtle but lasts.
The Summary

* This is NOT your typical ten dollars, well $15, drink-it-now Cabernet Sauvignon. There are flavors and textures that do not show up in value wine.
* If you are looking for an entry into the world of Napa Cabs Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Atlas Peak Cab Lot 89 is about as inexpensive and easy an entry as you will find. This wine is an actual bargain.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:00
Kirkland Napa Valley Red Blend 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31206/kirkland-napa-valley-red-blend-2016/ Sun, 22 Sep 2019 03:56:51 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31206 The Story The Kirkland Napa Valley Red Blend 2016 is a $10.99 Costco exclusive, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. That mix of grapes is a Bordeaux Blend and in California is referred to as a Meritage Blend. There is a Meritage organization that promotes and helps develop these grapes and wineries using the Meritage name on the label pay a license fee and comply with a set of rules and regulations. Since this is a value-priced wine it makes sense that they would skip the licensing. Costco names the winemaker on the back label, Glen Hugo. He makes his own wines and is part of the winemaking team for Vintage Wine Estates. The winery shown on the label is DC Flynt MW Selections who are responsible for many Kirkland wines both import and domestic. Most contract wines don't spend money on things like fancy labels and tasting and technical notes, which is fine with me, it keeps costs down. But some of the information needed to make a knowledgable wine selection is missing. You have to make do with a low price and what you can glean from what info is available. And with Kirkland Napa Red I would say the fact that this is a 2016 vintage is a good sign. While this isn't exactly scientific a Red blend made to sell for around ten bucks is most likely a 2017 vintage, they make the wine to come together as quick as possible so they can sell it sooner. A Red blend that lists in the twenty dollar range usually will have an extra year of aging. The rule of thumb and there are variables so this isn't exact are 1-year aging in barrel needs 1-year aging in bottle. The extra time adds to the price and the wine is produced to take advantage of the additional aging. So it seems this $10.99 Bordeaux-style blend has production techniques closer to a $20 Red. The alcohol content is a very California 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a see-thru cherry jelly red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries, baking spice, nutmeg, chocolate, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and ripe blackberry. This is a Red blend that starts smooth, then has some rustic edges, the flavors have excellent length, they go on and on. It tastes of blackberry and black licorice (I know for wine tasting descriptors all licorice is black licorice, but I grew up on Twizzlers licorice and the red ones were awesome), chocolate powder, pepper, and spice. The mid-palate shows a slight pull from the tannins (in a Bordeaux blend that is a welcome feature), tart cherry, orange zest, and blueberry. The acidity is well-controlled and the finish is respectably full and lengthy. The Summary The Kirkland Napa Valley Red Blend 2016 is a pretty decent Bordeaux Blend, it definitely hits above its price point.  Balanced, full-flavored, solid structure, it does not hide the tannins and any rough edges are a welcome part of the flavor profile. This is an easy to drink wine in the best sense of the term, it has lip-smacking acidity that compels to reach for another sip. The Story The Kirkland Napa Valley Red Blend 2016 is a $10.99 Costco exclusive, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. That mix of grapes is a Bordeaux Blend and in California is referred to as a Meritage Blen... The Story
The Kirkland Napa Valley Red Blend 2016 is a $10.99 Costco exclusive, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. That mix of grapes is a Bordeaux Blend and in California is referred to as a Meritage Blend. There is a Meritage organization that promotes and helps develop these grapes and wineries using the Meritage name on the label pay a license fee and comply with a set of rules and regulations. Since this is a value-priced wine it makes sense that they would skip the licensing. Costco names the winemaker on the back label, Glen Hugo. He makes his own wines and is part of the winemaking team for Vintage Wine Estates. The winery shown on the label is DC Flynt MW Selections who are responsible for many Kirkland wines both import and domestic.

Most contract wines don't spend money on things like fancy labels and tasting and technical notes, which is fine with me, it keeps costs down. But some of the information needed to make a knowledgable wine selection is missing. You have to make do with a low price and what you can glean from what info is available. And with Kirkland Napa Red I would say the fact that this is a 2016 vintage is a good sign. While this isn't exactly scientific a Red blend made to sell for around ten bucks is most likely a 2017 vintage, they make the wine to come together as quick as possible so they can sell it sooner. A Red blend that lists in the twenty dollar range usually will have an extra year of aging. The rule of thumb and there are variables so this isn't exact are 1-year aging in barrel needs 1-year aging in bottle. The extra time adds to the price and the wine is produced to take advantage of the additional aging. So it seems this $10.99 Bordeaux-style blend has production techniques closer to a $20 Red. The alcohol content is a very California 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru cherry jelly red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries, baking spice, nutmeg, chocolate, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and ripe blackberry. This is a Red blend that starts smooth, then has some rustic edges, the flavors have excellent length, they go on and on. It tastes of blackberry and black licorice (I know for wine tasting descriptors all licorice is black licorice, but I grew up on Twizzlers licorice and the red ones were awesome), chocolate powder, pepper, and spice. The mid-palate shows a slight pull from the tannins (in a Bordeaux blend that is a welcome feature), tart cherry, orange zest, and blueberry. The acidity is well-controlled and the finish is respectably full and lengthy.
The Summary

* The Kirkland Napa Valley Red Blend 2016 is a pretty decent Bordeaux Blend, it definitely hits above its price point.
*  Balanced, full-flavored, solid structure, it does not hide the tannins and any rough edges are a welcome part of the flavor profile.
* This is an easy to drink wine in the best sense of the term, it has lip-smacking acidity that compels to reach for another sip.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:45
Kirkland Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31194/kirkland-ti-point-sauvignon-blanc-2018/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 03:48:59 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31194 The Story The Kirkland Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018 seems to be a $6.99 Costco exclusive sourced from grapes grown in the Marlborough region of New Zealand's South Island. Ti Point Vineyards produced and bottled this Sauv Blanc (that technically means they made at least 75% of the wine) and they are a winery that started on Ti Point in the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand. The North Island wineries are mostly low volume "boutique" producers, but Ti Point has branched out to Marlborough and Hawke's Bay on the South Island. What is odd about this wine is that the label sports Costco's Kirkland logo and the Ti Points logo, it is almost always one or the other. When a store has its own brand of wines there are 2 main models. The contract wine, where the store strikes a deal with a wine producer to create a specific wine at a specific price point and a unique brand name and label is designed. The second is the negociant method where the store negotiates with a winery to buy excess existing wine at a lower price than it would sell at retail. Again a new or different brand and label is created and the identity of the original winery is hidden. But not here, maybe the rules are changed since Costco is a membership club and not strictly a retail store. And maybe Ti Point is trying to establish their brand in the US. This is a young Sauvignon Blanc meaning it is best consumed in the first year or two of the vintage release. The Ti Point wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel vats and is intended to be bright, lively, fruit-forward east to drink wine. $6.99 is a very good price for a Marlborough Sauv Blanc, most value-priced NZ Sauvignon Blanc are priced at least a buck or 2 higher. The alcohol is a mild 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a soft creamy yellow. The nose is filled with tropical fruit, pineapple, guava, peach, pear, grapefruit, green apple, and melon, this wine is not aroma challenged. This Sauv Blanc has a very good mouth-feel, a nice balance between ripe citrus and fruit and acidity. It tastes of creamy lemon, grapefruit, a touch of spice, and lime. The mid-palate offers peach, Bosq Pear, a salty sensation, and tart apple. The acidity is good, not quite lip-smacking, but in the pocket. The finish is subtle compared to the bold body of the wine but does linger. The Summary At $6.99., you have to ask yourself, "why pay more for an everyday Sauv Blanc." Yes, the taste is subjective, but I think this Sauvignon Blanc will be in the most folks comfort zone. It tastes great and costs little.     The Story The Kirkland Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018 seems to be a $6.99 Costco exclusive sourced from grapes grown in the Marlborough region of New Zealand's South Island. Ti Point Vineyards produced and bottled this Sauv Blanc (that technically mean... The Story
The Kirkland Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018 seems to be a $6.99 Costco exclusive sourced from grapes grown in the Marlborough region of New Zealand's South Island. Ti Point Vineyards produced and bottled this Sauv Blanc (that technically means they made at least 75% of the wine) and they are a winery that started on Ti Point in the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand. The North Island wineries are mostly low volume "boutique" producers, but Ti Point has branched out to Marlborough and Hawke's Bay on the South Island. What is odd about this wine is that the label sports Costco's Kirkland logo and the Ti Points logo, it is almost always one or the other. When a store has its own brand of wines there are 2 main models. The contract wine, where the store strikes a deal with a wine producer to create a specific wine at a specific price point and a unique brand name and label is designed. The second is the negociant method where the store negotiates with a winery to buy excess existing wine at a lower price than it would sell at retail. Again a new or different brand and label is created and the identity of the original winery is hidden. But not here, maybe the rules are changed since Costco is a membership club and not strictly a retail store. And maybe Ti Point is trying to establish their brand in the US.

This is a young Sauvignon Blanc meaning it is best consumed in the first year or two of the vintage release. The Ti Point wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel vats and is intended to be bright, lively, fruit-forward east to drink wine. $6.99 is a very good price for a Marlborough Sauv Blanc, most value-priced NZ Sauvignon Blanc are priced at least a buck or 2 higher. The alcohol is a mild 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a soft creamy yellow. The nose is filled with tropical fruit, pineapple, guava, peach, pear, grapefruit, green apple, and melon, this wine is not aroma challenged. This Sauv Blanc has a very good mouth-feel, a nice balance between ripe citrus and fruit and acidity. It tastes of creamy lemon, grapefruit, a touch of spice, and lime. The mid-palate offers peach, Bosq Pear, a salty sensation, and tart apple. The acidity is good, not quite lip-smacking, but in the pocket. The finish is subtle compared to the bold body of the wine but does linger.
The Summary

* At $6.99., you have to ask yourself, "why pay more for an everyday Sauv Blanc." Yes, the taste is subjective, but I think this Sauvignon Blanc will be in the most folks comfort zone. It tastes great and costs little.

 

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CheapWineFinder clean 5:34
The Crusher Petite Sirah 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31184/the-crusher-petite-sirah-2016/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 03:22:32 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31184 The Story The Crusher Petite  Sirah is 82% Petite Sirah and then smaller percentages of Syrah, Tempranillo, Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel sourced mainly from 2 vineyards, one in the Clarksburg AVA and another in the Lodi AVA, both areas have good growing conditions for Petite Sirah. The Crusher line of wines is one of Don Sebastiani and Sons brand of wines. The Sebastiani family have been in the wine business in Sonoma for over 100 years, with Don Sebastiani and Sons representing the 3rd generation and Don and Sons being the 4th generation. Petite Sirah is a cross between the Syrah grape and an obscure grape called Peloursin created in the mid-1800s by a French Botanist named Durif. The grape never caught on in France but does quite well in the US and Australia. In California, it is used in countless drink-it-now Red blends and is often added to Zinfandel. Petite Sirah is a rich, spicy, dark-colored, bold wine. With the Crusher, this Red was aged for 10 months in a mix of French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels. French and Hungarian oak is the species, just grown in different areas, American oak is a different species with a wider grain structure and flavor profile. Hungarian oak is less expensive than French oak but offers similar flavors to the wine and is a smart choice for value wine. American oak with its more open grain can give more oak influence in a shorter period of time, which can be useful in wine in this price range (I found it for $9.99 on sale). The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is just barely see-thru raspberry jam red. The nose is slightly smokey, kind of dark and brooding, there are red berries, baking spice, soft herbs, bitter dark chocolate, and ripe strawberry. This is a rich, jammy Red, but still balanced, I think a delicate hand made this wine. It starts with ripe black cherry, spice, chocolate powder, and a light touch of pepper. The mid-palate shows tart cranberry, a little vanilla, sharp orange zest, a salty sensation, and a late hit of sweet blueberry. The wine has tannins (so many don't nowadays), they are sweet and don't bite, but they are part of the mix. The finish is soft but sticks around awhile. The Summary The Crusher Petite Sirah 2016 is a very tasty Red, Wine Enthusiast gave it 90 points and you can find it for around ten bucks. France's loss is California's gain, this Petite Sirah is a solid, delicious wine. The Story The Crusher Petite  Sirah is 82% Petite Sirah and then smaller percentages of Syrah, Tempranillo, Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel sourced mainly from 2 vineyards, one in the Clarksburg AVA and another in the Lodi AVA, The Story
The Crusher Petite  Sirah is 82% Petite Sirah and then smaller percentages of Syrah, Tempranillo, Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel sourced mainly from 2 vineyards, one in the Clarksburg AVA and another in the Lodi AVA, both areas have good growing conditions for Petite Sirah. The Crusher line of wines is one of Don Sebastiani and Sons brand of wines. The Sebastiani family have been in the wine business in Sonoma for over 100 years, with Don Sebastiani and Sons representing the 3rd generation and Don and Sons being the 4th generation. Petite Sirah is a cross between the Syrah grape and an obscure grape called Peloursin created in the mid-1800s by a French Botanist named Durif. The grape never caught on in France but does quite well in the US and Australia. In California, it is used in countless drink-it-now Red blends and is often added to Zinfandel.

Petite Sirah is a rich, spicy, dark-colored, bold wine. With the Crusher, this Red was aged for 10 months in a mix of French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels. French and Hungarian oak is the species, just grown in different areas, American oak is a different species with a wider grain structure and flavor profile. Hungarian oak is less expensive than French oak but offers similar flavors to the wine and is a smart choice for value wine. American oak with its more open grain can give more oak influence in a shorter period of time, which can be useful in wine in this price range (I found it for $9.99 on sale). The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is just barely see-thru raspberry jam red. The nose is slightly smokey, kind of dark and brooding, there are red berries, baking spice, soft herbs, bitter dark chocolate, and ripe strawberry. This is a rich, jammy Red, but still balanced, I think a delicate hand made this wine. It starts with ripe black cherry, spice, chocolate powder, and a light touch of pepper. The mid-palate shows tart cranberry, a little vanilla, sharp orange zest, a salty sensation, and a late hit of sweet blueberry. The wine has tannins (so many don't nowadays), they are sweet and don't bite, but they are part of the mix. The finish is soft but sticks around awhile.
The Summary

* The Crusher Petite Sirah 2016 is a very tasty Red, Wine Enthusiast gave it 90 points and you can find it for around ten bucks.
* France's loss is California's gain, this Petite Sirah is a solid, delicious wine.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:20
Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon Goutte de Rose’ 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31169/domaine-de-la-noblaie-chinon-goutte-de-rose-2018/ Thu, 12 Sep 2019 03:29:29 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31169 The Story The Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon Goutte de Rose' 2018 is a Rose' of Cabernet Franc sourced from 2 Estate hillside vineyards in the Chinon district of the Loire Valley in west-central France. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2005 and Domaine de La Noblaie has been worked by the family for four generations. Chinon is known for Cabernet Franc for Red wine and Chenin Blanc for White wine. This Rose' is imported by European Cellars, a large and well-respected importer. I found this small production Rose' on-sale for $9.99 and while it probably is not available all over the US similar Estate Rose' should be on the shelves of a store near you. A Rose' is a Red wine with little or no grape skin contact and since the tannins and other chemical components are contained in the skin, flavors that are masked by those elements can be exposed. Most Rose' in this price range is unoaked, so there is little to get in the way of the actual grape juice flavors. Rose', in a sense, is the flip side of Red wine. The grapes used for the Goutte de Rose' are handpicked, they make several passes thru the vineyards to only choose the grapes that are at the ideal ripeness. Natural yeast is used for fermentation meaning that the yeast that floats in the air and sticks to the grape skins is the yeast that starts fermentation. This Rose' is aged for four months in stainless steel tanks and the alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is pink with an orange tint. The nose is fresh, bright, and spicey, dried strawberry, melon, apple, candy spice, and a slight mineral edge. This is a dry Rose', with a solid structure and interesting flavors. It starts with a mix of both sour and ripe red berries, a splash of pepper, a little bit of cream, and spice. The mid-palate offers a salty sensation, between the cream and the salt I would think this Rose' was aged "on-lees" (dead yeast left in the tank with the wine and stirred from time to time), with a finish of soft, but tart cranberry. The acidity is almost lip-smacking (which I like), but not quite. The Summary With everybody in the wine business making Rose' nowadays, it is nice to sample a Rose' from a French area that has long been known for Rose'. This is a Rose' with texture and personality. Cab Franc is dark and intense as red wine and drinking its flipside is a revelation, it is bright, varied, still intense, but in a very different way. For 10 bucks the Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon Goutte de Rose' 2018 is a delight. The Story The Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon Goutte de Rose' 2018 is a Rose' of Cabernet Franc sourced from 2 Estate hillside vineyards in the Chinon district of the Loire Valley in west-central France. The vineyards have been certified organic since 20... The Story
The Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon Goutte de Rose' 2018 is a Rose' of Cabernet Franc sourced from 2 Estate hillside vineyards in the Chinon district of the Loire Valley in west-central France. The vineyards have been certified organic since 2005 and Domaine de La Noblaie has been worked by the family for four generations. Chinon is known for Cabernet Franc for Red wine and Chenin Blanc for White wine. This Rose' is imported by European Cellars, a large and well-respected importer. I found this small production Rose' on-sale for $9.99 and while it probably is not available all over the US similar Estate Rose' should be on the shelves of a store near you.

A Rose' is a Red wine with little or no grape skin contact and since the tannins and other chemical components are contained in the skin, flavors that are masked by those elements can be exposed. Most Rose' in this price range is unoaked, so there is little to get in the way of the actual grape juice flavors. Rose', in a sense, is the flip side of Red wine. The grapes used for the Goutte de Rose' are handpicked, they make several passes thru the vineyards to only choose the grapes that are at the ideal ripeness. Natural yeast is used for fermentation meaning that the yeast that floats in the air and sticks to the grape skins is the yeast that starts fermentation. This Rose' is aged for four months in stainless steel tanks and the alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pink with an orange tint. The nose is fresh, bright, and spicey, dried strawberry, melon, apple, candy spice, and a slight mineral edge. This is a dry Rose', with a solid structure and interesting flavors. It starts with a mix of both sour and ripe red berries, a splash of pepper, a little bit of cream, and spice. The mid-palate offers a salty sensation, between the cream and the salt I would think this Rose' was aged "on-lees" (dead yeast left in the tank with the wine and stirred from time to time), with a finish of soft, but tart cranberry. The acidity is almost lip-smacking (which I like), but not quite.
The Summary

* With everybody in the wine business making Rose' nowadays, it is nice to sample a Rose' from a French area that has long been known for Rose'. This is a Rose' with texture and personality.
* Cab Franc is dark and intense as red wine and drinking its flipside is a revelation, it is bright, varied, still intense, but in a very different way. For 10 bucks the Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon Goutte de Rose' 2018 is a delight.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:07
Caretaker Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31154/caretaker-santa-maria-valley-pinot-noir-2017/ Mon, 09 Sep 2019 02:16:26 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31154 The Story The Caretaker Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive produced for TJ's by the Central Coast Wine Warehouse. They are a full-service wine company that makes contract wine and brand wine, is a certified sustainable facility and own some of the finest vineyards in the Central Coast AVA. The Santa Maria Valley is the northernmost AVA in the Santa Barbara County AVA of Southern California. Santa Barbara is located about 100 miles north of Los Angeles and would have too hot a climate for growing Pinot Noir except for some luck with geography. Santa Barbara is situated on ground that juts out into the Pacific Ocean, so there is Ocean to the north and Ocean to the south. Santa Maria Valley has full access to the Pacific Ocean breezes which bring cool evenings and morning fog. Santa Barbara is also where the movie "Sideways" (which started a Pinot Noir craze) took place. The Central Coast Wine Warehouse has been making wine for TJ's for years, CWF reviewed a 2009 vintage of a Caretaker wine and I am sure they made other brands before that. The back label is exceptional for a contract wine (a contract wine is one that is produced specifically for a store or restaurant) it actually shows useable information. Clones are very important to Pinot Noir, and 9 different Pinot clones were used in the making of this wine, the growing season was long, late February to mid-October and French oak was used. Most contract wines offer no information, but here there are technical notes and tasting notes. The alcohol content is 13.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is bright cherries, herbs, mushroom, pepper, and spice. This is a fruit-forward Pinot Noir with a velvety mouthfeel. It tastes of cherry (of course), a nice rough edge from herbs, a splash of black pepper, and soft exotic spice. The mid-palate adds raspberry, orange zest, and sour cranberry. The tannins are sweet and the acidity is well balanced. The finish is quite lengthy. The Summary The Caretaker Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is a solid value-priced Pinot. Remember when stores such as TJ's contracts a producer to make an exclusive wine, they have price advantages a retail wine does not have. A contract wine reduces the middle-man costs which can lower the price by several dollars. The Caretaker is a fruit-forward Pinot, but not Meiomi fruit-forward and has a nice balance between soft smooth fruit and interesting rough edges. The Story The Caretaker Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive produced for TJ's by the Central Coast Wine Warehouse. They are a full-service wine company that makes contract wine and brand wine, The Story
The Caretaker Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive produced for TJ's by the Central Coast Wine Warehouse. They are a full-service wine company that makes contract wine and brand wine, is a certified sustainable facility and own some of the finest vineyards in the Central Coast AVA. The Santa Maria Valley is the northernmost AVA in the Santa Barbara County AVA of Southern California. Santa Barbara is located about 100 miles north of Los Angeles and would have too hot a climate for growing Pinot Noir except for some luck with geography. Santa Barbara is situated on ground that juts out into the Pacific Ocean, so there is Ocean to the north and Ocean to the south. Santa Maria Valley has full access to the Pacific Ocean breezes which bring cool evenings and morning fog. Santa Barbara is also where the movie "Sideways" (which started a Pinot Noir craze) took place.

The Central Coast Wine Warehouse has been making wine for TJ's for years, CWF reviewed a 2009 vintage of a Caretaker wine and I am sure they made other brands before that. The back label is exceptional for a contract wine (a contract wine is one that is produced specifically for a store or restaurant) it actually shows useable information. Clones are very important to Pinot Noir, and 9 different Pinot clones were used in the making of this wine, the growing season was long, late February to mid-October and French oak was used. Most contract wines offer no information, but here there are technical notes and tasting notes. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is bright cherries, herbs, mushroom, pepper, and spice. This is a fruit-forward Pinot Noir with a velvety mouthfeel. It tastes of cherry (of course), a nice rough edge from herbs, a splash of black pepper, and soft exotic spice. The mid-palate adds raspberry, orange zest, and sour cranberry. The tannins are sweet and the acidity is well balanced. The finish is quite lengthy.
The Summary

* The Caretaker Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is a solid value-priced Pinot. Remember when stores such as TJ's contracts a producer to make an exclusive wine, they have price advantages a retail wine does not have. A contract wine reduces the middle-man costs which can lower the price by several dollars.
* The Caretaker is a fruit-forward Pinot, but not Meiomi fruit-forward and has a nice balance between soft smooth fruit and interesting rough edges.
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Let’s Talk About Cheap Wine – Bubbly Podcast https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31141/lets-talk-about-cheap-wine-bubbly-podcast/ Sat, 07 Sep 2019 03:16:42 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31141 The Story Dave talks about one of his favorite categories of value-priced wines...Bubbly. When folks want to splurge of expensive Bubbles they buy Champagne, that leaves all the other Sparkling wines competing in a more value-oriented price range. Wines from all other the world, that would be glad to charge you more if they could, but no, you only spend top dollar on Champagne. There are Sparkling wines form great growing regions that cost much less than you think and taste far above their selling price.   The Story Dave talks about one of his favorite categories of value-priced wines...Bubbly. When folks want to splurge of expensive Bubbles they buy Champagne, that leaves all the other Sparkling wines competing in a more value-oriented price range. The Story
Dave talks about one of his favorite categories of value-priced wines...Bubbly. When folks want to splurge of expensive Bubbles they buy Champagne, that leaves all the other Sparkling wines competing in a more value-oriented price range. Wines from all other the world, that would be glad to charge you more if they could, but no, you only spend top dollar on Champagne. There are Sparkling wines form great growing regions that cost much less than you think and taste far above their selling price.

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CheapWineFinder clean 10:23
Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31113/cline-estate-sonoma-coast-syrah-2017/ Sun, 01 Sep 2019 02:24:12 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31113 The Story The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 is 100% Syrah sourced from two Cline Estate vineyards in the Petaluma Gap AVA inside the Sonoma Coast Ava that is also located inside the Sonoma County AVA in Northern California. Cline Cellars is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded in 1982 and was one of the original members of the Rhone Rangers. Most California wineries take their inspiration from Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc) or Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The Rhone Rangers were an organization of winemakers following the lead of the Rhone Valley (Syrah, Grenache, and other French grapes). The Petaluma Gap is located just 25 miles north of San Francisco and is a gap in the coastal mountain range that allows cool Pacific Ocean winds flow into the valleys and hillsides. The winds provide the vineyards the condition for a long, steady growing season. This Syrah was fermented with natural yeast, that is the yeast that floats naturally in the air and clings to the grape skins, they don't need commercial processed yeast. The wine was aged on medium toast French oak with 40% of the oak new, 60% used oak. I am not using the word "barrel" here since the technical notes do not mention oak barrels, but the wording strongly suggests oak barrels, rather than other methods. This is a wine that lists for $14 and I found on sale for $9.99. This is interesting since one of the main differences between a $10 wine and a $25 dollar wine is the $25 wine more likely uses estate fruit, most of which are sourced from a well regarded AVA and is produced by a family-owned winery rather than a Brand wine. The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah checks off almost all of the boxes for the more expensive wine, yet is a very affordable price. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a deep, dark, opaque purple. The nose is rich, intense, and spicy, there is black pepper, a generous dose of spice, chocolate brownies, blueberry, smoke off the BBQ grill, and orange zest. This Syrah has smooth fruit and plenty of spice to give a smooth/rough contrast. It starts with blueberry, molasses, licorice, black pepper, and spice, this is not a shy Syrah. The mid-palate brings raspberry, a slight and welcome pull from the tannins, a soothing creamy sensation, and a hint of milk chocolate. The acidity is well-balanced, for pairing the usual BBQ, hamburger, pizza thing comes to mind, but this drinks very well. The Summary This isn't scientific, more observations from 11 years of doing a value-priced wine review website. hen a value-priced wine uses 100% of a certain grape they are telling you that they are using very good grapes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding 5% of this and 10% of that to wine anything to improve the final outcome is much appreciated. But when you see 100% of a single grape varietal, take notice. Shiraz/Syrah from Australia was one of the first wines to catch my notice all those long years ago and when Australian Shiraz started to fade I never found a US Syrah to take its place. I wish I knew about Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 earlier. I think its really good.     The Story The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 is 100% Syrah sourced from two Cline Estate vineyards in the Petaluma Gap AVA inside the Sonoma Coast Ava that is also located inside the Sonoma County AVA in Northern California. The Story
The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 is 100% Syrah sourced from two Cline Estate vineyards in the Petaluma Gap AVA inside the Sonoma Coast Ava that is also located inside the Sonoma County AVA in Northern California. Cline Cellars is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded in 1982 and was one of the original members of the Rhone Rangers. Most California wineries take their inspiration from Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc) or Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The Rhone Rangers were an organization of winemakers following the lead of the Rhone Valley (Syrah, Grenache, and other French grapes). The Petaluma Gap is located just 25 miles north of San Francisco and is a gap in the coastal mountain range that allows cool Pacific Ocean winds flow into the valleys and hillsides. The winds provide the vineyards the condition for a long, steady growing season.

This Syrah was fermented with natural yeast, that is the yeast that floats naturally in the air and clings to the grape skins, they don't need commercial processed yeast. The wine was aged on medium toast French oak with 40% of the oak new, 60% used oak. I am not using the word "barrel" here since the technical notes do not mention oak barrels, but the wording strongly suggests oak barrels, rather than other methods. This is a wine that lists for $14 and I found on sale for $9.99. This is interesting since one of the main differences between a $10 wine and a $25 dollar wine is the $25 wine more likely uses estate fruit, most of which are sourced from a well regarded AVA and is produced by a family-owned winery rather than a Brand wine. The Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah checks off almost all of the boxes for the more expensive wine, yet is a very affordable price. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a deep, dark, opaque purple. The nose is rich, intense, and spicy, there is black pepper, a generous dose of spice, chocolate brownies, blueberry, smoke off the BBQ grill, and orange zest. This Syrah has smooth fruit and plenty of spice to give a smooth/rough contrast. It starts with blueberry, molasses, licorice, black pepper, and spice, this is not a shy Syrah. The mid-palate brings raspberry, a slight and welcome pull from the tannins, a soothing creamy sensation, and a hint of milk chocolate. The acidity is well-balanced, for pairing the usual BBQ, hamburger, pizza thing comes to mind, but this drinks very well.
The Summary

* This isn't scientific, more observations from 11 years of doing a value-priced wine review website. hen a value-priced wine uses 100% of a certain grape they are telling you that they are using very good grapes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding 5% of this and 10% of that to wine anything to improve the final outcome is much appreciated. But when you see 100% of a single grape varietal, take notice.
* Shiraz/Syrah from Australia was one of the first wines to catch my notice all those long years ago and when Australian Shiraz started to fade I never found a US Syrah to take its place. I wish I knew about Cline Estate Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 earlier. I think its really good.

 

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CheapWineFinder clean 7:51
Let’s Talk About Cheap Wine- Rhone Valley https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31104/lets-talk-about-cheap-wine-rhone-valley/ Thu, 29 Aug 2019 03:02:55 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31104 The Story Let's Talk About Cheap Wine- Rhone Valley Podcast Dave talks about the wines of the Southern Rhone Valley in Southeastern France specifically and affordable French wines generally. The Rhone Valley features Red wines that blend Grenache and Syrah together along with a handful of other approved grapes, Mourvedre being the most prominent. While there are expensive wine regions in the Rhone Valley, the regular Rhone VAlley and Rhone Village wines are excellent. If you want to find the best cheap wine learn to love Grenache because there are plenty of Grenache-based value-priced wines in southeast France and northeast Spain that deliver a great of bang for the buck. we talk about finding Rhone wines in your local wine shops and tips for figuring out which wines deliver. The Story Let's Talk About Cheap Wine- Rhone Valley Podcast - Dave talks about the wines of the Southern Rhone Valley in Southeastern France specifically and affordable French wines generally. The Rhone Valley features Red wines that blend Grenache a... The Story
Let's Talk About Cheap Wine- Rhone Valley Podcast

Dave talks about the wines of the Southern Rhone Valley in Southeastern France specifically and affordable French wines generally. The Rhone Valley features Red wines that blend Grenache and Syrah together along with a handful of other approved grapes, Mourvedre being the most prominent. While there are expensive wine regions in the Rhone Valley, the regular Rhone VAlley and Rhone Village wines are excellent. If you want to find the best cheap wine learn to love Grenache because there are plenty of Grenache-based value-priced wines in southeast France and northeast Spain that deliver a great of bang for the buck. we talk about finding Rhone wines in your local wine shops and tips for figuring out which wines deliver.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 17:29
Let’s Talk About Cheap Wine – Chardonnay Podcast https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31063/lets-talk-about-cheap-wine-chardonnay-podcast/ Thu, 22 Aug 2019 03:00:18 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31063 The Story Of The Podcast Dave talks about why Chardonnay is different from other White wine grapes in this price range. Mainly, Chardonnay can be simple or it can be complicated. Chardonnay can go thru varing percentages of several winemaking processes that will greatly affect the overall taste and texture. There is the oak program, or maybe no oak or something inbetween. There is malolactc fermentatation, on lees, and the diiferences in grape selction. No 2 wineries do the exact same process, which makes Chardonnay complicated. The Story Of The Podcast Dave talks about why Chardonnay is different from other White wine grapes in this price range. Mainly, Chardonnay can be simple or it can be complicated. Chardonnay can go thru varing percentages of several winemaking processe... The Story Of The Podcast
Dave talks about why Chardonnay is different from other White wine grapes in this price range. Mainly, Chardonnay can be simple or it can be complicated. Chardonnay can go thru varing percentages of several winemaking processes that will greatly affect the overall taste and texture. There is the oak program, or maybe no oak or something inbetween. There is malolactc fermentatation, on lees, and the diiferences in grape selction. No 2 wineries do the exact same process, which makes Chardonnay complicated.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 14:24
Let’s Talk About Cheap Wine Part #2 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31037/lets-talk-about-cheap-wine-part-2/ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 03:55:34 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31037 Let's Talk About Cheap Wine Part #2 Dave rambles on in the 2nd edition about what the different categories of wine are. Plus, how to get the most out of Box Wine. We talk about cheap, everyday wine from Spain and making Sangria. How to decipher the Trader Joe's Reserve wines, which are great bargains and which are just interesting (they usually are well worth drinking). And do some research, Google the wines you are interested in buying and check out their websites, what they tell about the wines and what they don't tell are important. Learn how to read between the lines. Let's Talk About Cheap Wine Part #2 - Dave rambles on in the 2nd edition about what the different categories of wine are. Plus, how to get the most out of Box Wine. We talk about cheap, everyday wine from Spain and making Sangria. Let's Talk About Cheap Wine Part #2

Dave rambles on in the 2nd edition about what the different categories of wine are. Plus, how to get the most out of Box Wine. We talk about cheap, everyday wine from Spain and making Sangria. How to decipher the Trader Joe's Reserve wines, which are great bargains and which are just interesting (they usually are well worth drinking). And do some research, Google the wines you are interested in buying and check out their websites, what they tell about the wines and what they don't tell are important. Learn how to read between the lines.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 19:55
Let’s Talk About Cheap Wine Part #1 Podcast https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/31017/lets-talk-about-cheap-wine-part-1-podcast/ Thu, 08 Aug 2019 02:47:23 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=31017 Let's Talk About Cheap Wine Part #1 Podcast   Dave talks about what is cheap wine? It is actually or at least was the #3 Google search term for wine. Internet slang, kind of like searching for cheap 4K TVs, or cheap hotel, or cheap airfare. You're looking for the best value, not something shoddy or defective. We lay down the ground rules for what cheap wine is, what are the different categories and what are the differences. Part #1 will be addressing wine in more general terms and the next episode will get into more detail on how to find the best values. Let's Talk About Cheap Wine Part #1 Podcast   - Dave talks about what is cheap wine? It is actually or at least was the #3 Google search term for wine. Internet slang, kind of like searching for cheap 4K TVs, or cheap hotel, or cheap airfare. Let's Talk About Cheap Wine Part #1 Podcast
 

Dave talks about what is cheap wine? It is actually or at least was the #3 Google search term for wine. Internet slang, kind of like searching for cheap 4K TVs, or cheap hotel, or cheap airfare. You're looking for the best value, not something shoddy or defective. We lay down the ground rules for what cheap wine is, what are the different categories and what are the differences. Part #1 will be addressing wine in more general terms and the next episode will get into more detail on how to find the best values.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 17:06
Freakshow Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30987/freakshow-lodi-cabernet-sauvignon-2016/ Fri, 02 Aug 2019 03:10:39 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30987 The Story The Freakshow Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a small amount of Petit Sirah, is sourced from a Michael & David Winery estate vineyard in Lodi AVA of California's Central Valley. Michael and David are the Phillips brothers and their family has farmed in Lodi since the 1850s. Most of the West Coast grape-growing regions are located along the Pacific Coast, from Oregon to California, with Lodi being one of the few exceptions. Lodi is south and east of Napa, with the vineyards located in the river deltas that stem from the San Pablo Bay (the Northern portion of the San Francisco Bay). This unique geographic feature funnels cool air and morning fog into an area that under different conditions would not be suitable to grow wine grapes. That is not to say this is now a cool weather region, the tasting notes indicate it was a great growing vintage because the temperature only went over 100 degrees eight times. It can get hot during the summer if the nights are significantly cooler and the morning fog delays the days soaring temperatures. This Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in 40% new French oak barrels and 60% neutral barrels for 12 months. A typical wine barrel can be used for 4 or 5 vintages before it no longer passes oak influence and flavors into the wine, at that point, it is considered neutral. It is often a complex math problem for the winemaker to achieve the desired amount of oak for a particular wine, 25% new, 30% one use, 40% 3rd use, and 5% neutral is the sort of thing they do to dial in just the right amount. So, if neutral barrels don't impart any flavor, why use them? A winemaker told me that when they age the wine in stainless steel tanks no air (oxygen) can get to the wine, but with an oak barrel a tiny amount of air can seep in and that small amount of air interacts with the wine. The wine aged in a barrel is slightly different than wine aged in stainless steel and with wine, small differences mean a lot. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is garnet red with black highlights. The nose is sweet blueberry, extracted blackberry, light baking spice, black cherry, dark chocolate, menthol, and vanilla. The Cabernet has a soft, but chewy mouthfeel, the rounded flavors are upfront and the tart flavors on the mid-palate. It starts with blackberry, black pepper, licorice, tart cherry, chocolate powder, and plum. The mid-palate adds cranberry, spice (with a little bite), creamy blueberry, orange zest, and cinnamon. The tannins are smooth and the acidity allows all the flavors (and there is a lot of flavors) to unfold. The finish is surprisingly mild and subtle but does last. The Summary Yes, Lodi is primarily known for Zinfandel, but I think it provides great value for drink-it-now Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, it is riper than Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, but Lodi Cabs sure do taste good. The Freakshow Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious estate-grown Cab at a value price. I found it for $15 on sale and that is a bargain for estate fruit, French oak, and a top-quality winery.   The Story The Freakshow Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a small amount of Petit Sirah, is sourced from a Michael & David Winery estate vineyard in Lodi AVA of California's Central Valley. Michael and David are the Phillips brothers and their famil... The Story
The Freakshow Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a small amount of Petit Sirah, is sourced from a Michael & David Winery estate vineyard in Lodi AVA of California's Central Valley. Michael and David are the Phillips brothers and their family has farmed in Lodi since the 1850s. Most of the West Coast grape-growing regions are located along the Pacific Coast, from Oregon to California, with Lodi being one of the few exceptions. Lodi is south and east of Napa, with the vineyards located in the river deltas that stem from the San Pablo Bay (the Northern portion of the San Francisco Bay). This unique geographic feature funnels cool air and morning fog into an area that under different conditions would not be suitable to grow wine grapes. That is not to say this is now a cool weather region, the tasting notes indicate it was a great growing vintage because the temperature only went over 100 degrees eight times. It can get hot during the summer if the nights are significantly cooler and the morning fog delays the days soaring temperatures.

This Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in 40% new French oak barrels and 60% neutral barrels for 12 months. A typical wine barrel can be used for 4 or 5 vintages before it no longer passes oak influence and flavors into the wine, at that point, it is considered neutral. It is often a complex math problem for the winemaker to achieve the desired amount of oak for a particular wine, 25% new, 30% one use, 40% 3rd use, and 5% neutral is the sort of thing they do to dial in just the right amount. So, if neutral barrels don't impart any flavor, why use them? A winemaker told me that when they age the wine in stainless steel tanks no air (oxygen) can get to the wine, but with an oak barrel a tiny amount of air can seep in and that small amount of air interacts with the wine. The wine aged in a barrel is slightly different than wine aged in stainless steel and with wine, small differences mean a lot. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is garnet red with black highlights. The nose is sweet blueberry, extracted blackberry, light baking spice, black cherry, dark chocolate, menthol, and vanilla. The Cabernet has a soft, but chewy mouthfeel, the rounded flavors are upfront and the tart flavors on the mid-palate. It starts with blackberry, black pepper, licorice, tart cherry, chocolate powder, and plum. The mid-palate adds cranberry, spice (with a little bite), creamy blueberry, orange zest, and cinnamon. The tannins are smooth and the acidity allows all the flavors (and there is a lot of flavors) to unfold. The finish is surprisingly mild and subtle but does last.
The Summary

* Yes, Lodi is primarily known for Zinfandel, but I think it provides great value for drink-it-now Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, it is riper than Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, but Lodi Cabs sure do taste good.
* The Freakshow Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious estate-grown Cab at a value price. I found it for $15 on sale and that is a bargain for estate fruit, French oak, and a top-quality winery.

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:06
La Ferme Julien Rose’ 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30975/la-ferme-julien-rose-2018/ Mon, 29 Jul 2019 03:17:52 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30975 The Story The La Ferme Julien Rose' 2018 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's not very exclusive Rose' blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah sourced from vineyards in France. Not very exclusive since the La Ferme (The Farm) is the same wine as Famille Perin's La Vielle Ferme Rose'. Each wine, La Ferme and La Vielle have their own websites that are exactly the same. The Trader Joe's version sells for $5.99 and a quick check of the web shows the La Vielle offered for $7.99. The TJ's has a goat on the label, the Famille Perin has a couple of chickens, other than that it is the same wine. This Rose' is designated a Vin de France wine, which used to be Table Wine, the lowest category of wine. But now it isn't that cut and dry, it is more of a designation that allows French wine to compete with California, Spanish, South African, Australian, and other wines. In the US all wines are table wines, there are no quality classifications. In France, they have strict classifications with tight rules that didn't always allow French wines to compete price-wise with wines from different countries. So, Vin de France enables the winemakers to make the wines they need to compete and not have to follow all the rules and regulations. This Rose' is intended as an everyday drink-it-now wine. It was produced in the Saignée method which is the traditional way they made Rose' before it became popular. With the Saignée method, the grapes are crushed and when the juice takes on the desired color a portion of the juice is sent to its own tank for fermentation and the remaining juice is left to become Red wine. Today, the common way to make Rose' is the Direct Press method. Here the grapes are intended to produce Rose' from the start and after crushing the grapes the skins are removed, at the end of the winemaking process, Red wine is added to the clear juice to give the Rose' uniform color. I can't tell by tasting which method was used and the Direct Press Method is a result of Rose' popularity and the need to produce large quantities. The alcohol content is 13%. The Tasting Notes The color is a clear, pale amber pink. The nose is crisp and lightly floral with notes of red berries, melon, lemon, strawberry, a bit of spice, and white pepper. This is a crisp, bright, delicately fruity Rose', with balanced acidity. It tastes of strawberry, apple, spice, a touch of minerality, and a salty sensation. The mid-palate adds soft cherry and tart cranberry, along with tangerine. The acidity is well balanced, this is a very drinkable Rose'. The Summary The price difference shows exactly the kind of discounts that occur when stores contract for wine directly and pay upfront. Trader Joe's sells the wine for a 25% discount from the advertised price for this Rose' in on-line retail wine shops. This is a very solid, enjoyable Rose', in a blind tasting with Rose' under $20, I doubt if you could pick the La Ferme Julien Rose' 2018 out as the $5.99 wine. The Story The La Ferme Julien Rose' 2018 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's not very exclusive Rose' blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah sourced from vineyards in France. Not very exclusive since the La Ferme (The Farm) is the same wine as Famille Perin's La V... The Story
The La Ferme Julien Rose' 2018 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's not very exclusive Rose' blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah sourced from vineyards in France. Not very exclusive since the La Ferme (The Farm) is the same wine as Famille Perin's La Vielle Ferme Rose'. Each wine, La Ferme and La Vielle have their own websites that are exactly the same. The Trader Joe's version sells for $5.99 and a quick check of the web shows the La Vielle offered for $7.99. The TJ's has a goat on the label, the Famille Perin has a couple of chickens, other than that it is the same wine.

This Rose' is designated a Vin de France wine, which used to be Table Wine, the lowest category of wine. But now it isn't that cut and dry, it is more of a designation that allows French wine to compete with California, Spanish, South African, Australian, and other wines. In the US all wines are table wines, there are no quality classifications. In France, they have strict classifications with tight rules that didn't always allow French wines to compete price-wise with wines from different countries. So, Vin de France enables the winemakers to make the wines they need to compete and not have to follow all the rules and regulations.

This Rose' is intended as an everyday drink-it-now wine. It was produced in the Saignée method which is the traditional way they made Rose' before it became popular. With the Saignée method, the grapes are crushed and when the juice takes on the desired color a portion of the juice is sent to its own tank for fermentation and the remaining juice is left to become Red wine. Today, the common way to make Rose' is the Direct Press method. Here the grapes are intended to produce Rose' from the start and after crushing the grapes the skins are removed, at the end of the winemaking process, Red wine is added to the clear juice to give the Rose' uniform color. I can't tell by tasting which method was used and the Direct Press Method is a result of Rose' popularity and the need to produce large quantities. The alcohol content is 13%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, pale amber pink. The nose is crisp and lightly floral with notes of red berries, melon, lemon, strawberry, a bit of spice, and white pepper. This is a crisp, bright, delicately fruity Rose', with balanced acidity. It tastes of strawberry, apple, spice, a touch of minerality, and a salty sensation. The mid-palate adds soft cherry and tart cranberry, along with tangerine. The acidity is well balanced, this is a very drinkable Rose'.
The Summary

* The price difference shows exactly the kind of discounts that occur when stores contract for wine directly and pay upfront. Trader Joe's sells the wine for a 25% discount from the advertised price for this Rose' in on-line retail wine shops.
* This is a very solid, enjoyable Rose', in a blind tasting with Rose' under $20, I doubt if you could pick the La Ferme Julien Rose' 2018 out as the $5.99 wine.
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CheapWineFinder clean 4:03
Purple Moon Chardonnay https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30964/purple-moon-chardonnay/ Fri, 26 Jul 2019 02:28:30 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30964 The Story The Purple Moon Chardonnay is a non-vintage $3.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in more than one California grape growing AVA. There is not going to be much of a story here, I am pretty sure which winery produced this wine, and they are a quality winery. But other than that there isn't much information to go on. They don't spend a great deal of time writing technical notes for 4 bucks non-vintage White wine. The details are not going to "wow" you, the worth of the Purple Moon Chardonnay will be found in the tasting notes. If it does not taste good, a cheap price doesn't mean anything. The alcohol content is 13%. The Tasting Notes The color is a very clear, clean, pale, wheat yellow. The nose is not bad, apple, lemon, soft spice, a little peach, some pear, a hint of lime. The Purple Moon has a decent mouth-feel, not watery, not complicated, but has good flavor. It starts with grapefruit and lemon, followed by tart apple, and pear. The mid-palate shows white pepper, a touch of cream (this $3.99 Chard was aged "on lees"?), dried apricot and a salty, nutty sensation. The acidity is balanced, especially considering the price. The finish is full and lingers. The Summary Well, I was expecting nothing from this $3.99, non-vintage Chardonnay and instead, I got a tasty, very usable, very drinkable wine. In Europe, in places where they drink wine with every lunch and every dinner, they typically don't spend more for a bottle than the Purple Moon. The Purple Moon Chardonnay would fit into that scenario, with the right menu, this Chardonnay would work well. Don't judge it until you drink it. Wine is not priced on how it tastes. Cheap wines can thrill you and pricey wine can disappoint you. The Story The Purple Moon Chardonnay is a non-vintage $3.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in more than one California grape growing AVA. There is not going to be much of a story here, I am pretty sure which winery produced this wine, The Story
The Purple Moon Chardonnay is a non-vintage $3.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in more than one California grape growing AVA. There is not going to be much of a story here, I am pretty sure which winery produced this wine, and they are a quality winery. But other than that there isn't much information to go on. They don't spend a great deal of time writing technical notes for 4 bucks non-vintage White wine. The details are not going to "wow" you, the worth of the Purple Moon Chardonnay will be found in the tasting notes. If it does not taste good, a cheap price doesn't mean anything. The alcohol content is 13%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very clear, clean, pale, wheat yellow. The nose is not bad, apple, lemon, soft spice, a little peach, some pear, a hint of lime. The Purple Moon has a decent mouth-feel, not watery, not complicated, but has good flavor. It starts with grapefruit and lemon, followed by tart apple, and pear. The mid-palate shows white pepper, a touch of cream (this $3.99 Chard was aged "on lees"?), dried apricot and a salty, nutty sensation. The acidity is balanced, especially considering the price. The finish is full and lingers.
The Summary

* Well, I was expecting nothing from this $3.99, non-vintage Chardonnay and instead, I got a tasty, very usable, very drinkable wine.
* In Europe, in places where they drink wine with every lunch and every dinner, they typically don't spend more for a bottle than the Purple Moon. The Purple Moon Chardonnay would fit into that scenario, with the right menu, this Chardonnay would work well.
* Don't judge it until you drink it. Wine is not priced on how it tastes. Cheap wines can thrill you and pricey wine can disappoint you.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:17
Federalist Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Blend https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30951/federalist-bourbon-barrel-aged-red-blend/ Tue, 23 Jul 2019 03:16:06 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30951 The Story The Federalist Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Blend 2016 is 76% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Carignane sourced from vineyards in the Mendocino County AVA of Northern California. This blend is aged in American oak casks for 6 months (35% new oak) and then transferred to Bourbon barrels (they do not specify the whiskey brand) for another 6 months. American oak has a more open grain than French oak and can impart more oak seasoning to wine, wine purists say it adds too much oak flavor. They say French oak is more subtle and nuanced and easier to control and is almost always used with wines that are meant to be aged. For drink-it-now wines, American oak, especially wines that are aged in oak for a shorter period of time, can add more flavor in less time. Which leads us to wine barrels versus bourbon barrels. When wine oak barrels are produced the cooperage flames the inside to toast the interior of the barrel. Different levels of toast impart different flavors according to the winemaker's specification. Bourbon barrels are charred, whiskey has stronger flavors and higher alcohol content and more aggressive flavors are needed to add complementary notes. So lightly toasted American oak is too much for "fine wine drinkers", charred whiskey barrels is about 10 steps too far. Since the barrel previously contained Bourbon, those whiskey flavors have seeped into the oak and they too will be imparted into the wine. The flavor profile for Bourbon Barrel-Aged should have flavors added that are not typically present in regular bottlings. If the winemaker has a delicate hand in putting these elements together this should be an interesting experience. The alcohol is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is dark, but see-thru garnet reb with black highlights. The nose is more subdued than I expected, toasty vanilla, baking spices, red berries, a touch of smoke, bacon fat, blackberry, there is a lot going on, but the aromas are laid-back. The Bourbon flavors are well integrated with the Red wine flavors, this is a big, bold Red, but not over the top. It tastes of blackberry, mocha coffee, pepper, spice, coconut cream, vanilla, and orange zest. The mid-palate offers tart cranberry, tea, milk chocolate, and exotic, slightly rough spice. There are many flavors to find in this Red blend. Considering all the American oak and the Bourbon influence this still tastes like a Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The finish is large and long. The Summary Bourbon Barrel-Aged red wine is an acquired taste, not everyone will enjoy the added flavor. I enjoy it, it is a nice change of pace, a fun experiment. I don't think I would place it in the regular rotation, but it does have a place on my wine schedule. There seem to be several Bourbon Barrel wine brands on the market at the moment. My advice is don't go too inexpensive, there are several offerings around or under $10. These wine usually don't have a budget for regular oak wine barrels and get their oak influence by alternative means, which probably indicates they get their bourbon barrel influence by other means (staves, oak chips, flavored oak powder). Stick with wine in a price range that uses decent oak barrels, around $15 is a good start. The Story The Federalist Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Blend 2016 is 76% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Carignane sourced from vineyards in the Mendocino County AVA of Northern California. This blend is aged in American oak casks for 6 months (35% n... The Story
The Federalist Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Blend 2016 is 76% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Carignane sourced from vineyards in the Mendocino County AVA of Northern California. This blend is aged in American oak casks for 6 months (35% new oak) and then transferred to Bourbon barrels (they do not specify the whiskey brand) for another 6 months. American oak has a more open grain than French oak and can impart more oak seasoning to wine, wine purists say it adds too much oak flavor. They say French oak is more subtle and nuanced and easier to control and is almost always used with wines that are meant to be aged. For drink-it-now wines, American oak, especially wines that are aged in oak for a shorter period of time, can add more flavor in less time.

Which leads us to wine barrels versus bourbon barrels. When wine oak barrels are produced the cooperage flames the inside to toast the interior of the barrel. Different levels of toast impart different flavors according to the winemaker's specification. Bourbon barrels are charred, whiskey has stronger flavors and higher alcohol content and more aggressive flavors are needed to add complementary notes. So lightly toasted American oak is too much for "fine wine drinkers", charred whiskey barrels is about 10 steps too far. Since the barrel previously contained Bourbon, those whiskey flavors have seeped into the oak and they too will be imparted into the wine. The flavor profile for Bourbon Barrel-Aged should have flavors added that are not typically present in regular bottlings. If the winemaker has a delicate hand in putting these elements together this should be an interesting experience. The alcohol is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is dark, but see-thru garnet reb with black highlights. The nose is more subdued than I expected, toasty vanilla, baking spices, red berries, a touch of smoke, bacon fat, blackberry, there is a lot going on, but the aromas are laid-back. The Bourbon flavors are well integrated with the Red wine flavors, this is a big, bold Red, but not over the top. It tastes of blackberry, mocha coffee, pepper, spice, coconut cream, vanilla, and orange zest. The mid-palate offers tart cranberry, tea, milk chocolate, and exotic, slightly rough spice. There are many flavors to find in this Red blend. Considering all the American oak and the Bourbon influence this still tastes like a Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The finish is large and long.
The Summary

* Bourbon Barrel-Aged red wine is an acquired taste, not everyone will enjoy the added flavor. I enjoy it, it is a nice change of pace, a fun experiment. I don't think I would place it in the regular rotation, but it does have a place on my wine schedule.
* There seem to be several Bourbon Barrel wine brands on the market at the moment. My advice is don't go too inexpensive, there are several offerings around or under $10. These wine usually don't have a budget for regular oak wine barrels and get their oak influence by alternative means, which probably indicates they get their bourbon barrel influence by other means (staves, oak chips, flavored oak powder). Stick with wine in a price range that uses decent oak barrels, around $15 is a good start.
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CheapWineFinder clean 9:52
Hopes End Red Wine Blend 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30943/hopes-end-red-wine-blend-2016/ Sat, 20 Jul 2019 03:11:14 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30943 The Story The Hopes End Red Wine Blend 2016 is a blend of 42% Shiraz/Syrah, 38% Grenache, 13% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards in South Australia (near Adelaide). Hopes End is one of Trinchero Family Estates line of wines, other brands include, Joel Gott, Menage a Trois, Folie s Deux, Charles & Charles, along with many others. South Australia is in the southern coast of central Australia, this is where the most well-known growing areas, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and the Limestone Coast reside. This is a blend of 2 Rhone grapes, Syrah/Shiraz and Grenache, and 2 Bordeaux grapes, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The Hopes End is a Brand wine that is available at Target for 10 bucks. Most value-priced Brand wines don't go into great detail concerning the wine production and this blend is no exception. The technical notes mention "earthy vanilla" and chocolate which can be flavors derived from oak conditioning but make no mention of how the oak flavors got there. This is an off-dry wine, it has a little too much residual sugar to be classified a dry wine. But little sugar isn't unusual for an inexpensive, ripe red blend. The alcohol content is a laidback for Australia, 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a raspberry jelly red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries, and spice, dark chocolate, licorice, and extracted blackberry. This is a full-bodied blend with a good mix of softly rounded flavors and tart ones. It starts with black cherry, tart cranberry, ripe plum, and spice. Most of the flavor action is upfront, but the mid-palate does offer licorice, a little milk chocolate, and blackberry.  The tannins stay out of the way, Grenache-based wines are often light on tannins and the acidity is balanced by the body of the wine. The finish lasts a long time. The Summary The Hopes End Red Wine Blend 2016 is a crowd-pleaser, it may not wine accolades with the fine wine crowd, but it sure is tasty. I didn't get the interplay between Grenache and Syrah that makes the Red blends of the Cotes du Rhone so enticing, but the Hopes End worked as a Red blend just the same. The Story The Hopes End Red Wine Blend 2016 is a blend of 42% Shiraz/Syrah, 38% Grenache, 13% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards in South Australia (near Adelaide). Hopes End is one of Trinchero Family Estates line of wines, The Story
The Hopes End Red Wine Blend 2016 is a blend of 42% Shiraz/Syrah, 38% Grenache, 13% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards in South Australia (near Adelaide). Hopes End is one of Trinchero Family Estates line of wines, other brands include, Joel Gott, Menage a Trois, Folie s Deux, Charles & Charles, along with many others. South Australia is in the southern coast of central Australia, this is where the most well-known growing areas, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and the Limestone Coast reside. This is a blend of 2 Rhone grapes, Syrah/Shiraz and Grenache, and 2 Bordeaux grapes, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

The Hopes End is a Brand wine that is available at Target for 10 bucks. Most value-priced Brand wines don't go into great detail concerning the wine production and this blend is no exception. The technical notes mention "earthy vanilla" and chocolate which can be flavors derived from oak conditioning but make no mention of how the oak flavors got there. This is an off-dry wine, it has a little too much residual sugar to be classified a dry wine. But little sugar isn't unusual for an inexpensive, ripe red blend. The alcohol content is a laidback for Australia, 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a raspberry jelly red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries, and spice, dark chocolate, licorice, and extracted blackberry. This is a full-bodied blend with a good mix of softly rounded flavors and tart ones. It starts with black cherry, tart cranberry, ripe plum, and spice. Most of the flavor action is upfront, but the mid-palate does offer licorice, a little milk chocolate, and blackberry.  The tannins stay out of the way, Grenache-based wines are often light on tannins and the acidity is balanced by the body of the wine. The finish lasts a long time.
The Summary

* The Hopes End Red Wine Blend 2016 is a crowd-pleaser, it may not wine accolades with the fine wine crowd, but it sure is tasty.
* I didn't get the interplay between Grenache and Syrah that makes the Red blends of the Cotes du Rhone so enticing, but the Hopes End worked as a Red blend just the same.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:36
Federalist Mendocino Chardonnay 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30924/federalist-mendocino-chardonnay-2017/ Tue, 16 Jul 2019 03:13:17 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30924 The Story The Federalist Mendocino Chardonnay 2017 is like the name says, 100% Chardonnay made from grapes farmed in Mendocino County in Northern California. Mendocino has all of the grape growing advantages of Sonoma, it is directly north of Sonoma, but does not have the name recognition of Sonoma. There are top-notch vineyards and wineries, that fly under the radar of the average wine drinker. One of the reason may be that for a long time Mendocino was the outlaw marijuana capital of California and marijuana is/was more profitable than wine. Just the same, excellent grapes are grown in Mendocino. The Federalist Mendocino Chardonnay is produced with a nod to old-school California Chardonnays of Napa Valley and Sonoma, rich with creamy oak influence. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and is aged "on lees", with the lees being stirred. The more you stir the lees the more the wine takes on a creamy texture. It is aged in oak 35% new, the rest used barrels, mostly Hungarian and American, with a little French oak. Hungarian oak and French oak are the same species, the forests are a few hundred miles apart. American oak is a different species of oak and while it is used in winemaking, but is more likely used in aging whiskey. The different types of oak impart different flavors into the wine during aging with the Hungarian and French oak adding spice, while the American oak adds vanilla. The alcohol content is a rich 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a clean, clear, golden wheat yellow. The nose is apple, peach, pear, lemon chiffon, sweet vanilla, a whiff of spice, and a little cookie batter.  This is a full-flavored Chardonnay, with rich smooth tastes and ample acidity. It starts with a stew of apple, grapefruit, and vanilla cream, followed by peach and butter. The mid-palate offers exotic spice, a little tropical fruit, lime, orange zest, pear, and lemon. The acidity makes its presence known but does not bite. The finish is full and lengthy. The Summary The Federalist Mendocino County Chardonnay 2017 is a modern take on old-school Chardonnay. Yes, there is the oak influence, but it is there to add flavor, not dominate the wine. This is a Chardonnay with all the production tricks yet is affordable, a check of the web saw prices from above $10 to around $15. Chardonnay fads seem to swing between no oak to too much oak, but the Federalist finds a sweet spot in the middle (ok, maybe a little on the oak side), where the oak just adds to the flavor. The Story The Federalist Mendocino Chardonnay 2017 is like the name says, 100% Chardonnay made from grapes farmed in Mendocino County in Northern California. Mendocino has all of the grape growing advantages of Sonoma, it is directly north of Sonoma, The Story
The Federalist Mendocino Chardonnay 2017 is like the name says, 100% Chardonnay made from grapes farmed in Mendocino County in Northern California. Mendocino has all of the grape growing advantages of Sonoma, it is directly north of Sonoma, but does not have the name recognition of Sonoma. There are top-notch vineyards and wineries, that fly under the radar of the average wine drinker. One of the reason may be that for a long time Mendocino was the outlaw marijuana capital of California and marijuana is/was more profitable than wine. Just the same, excellent grapes are grown in Mendocino.

The Federalist Mendocino Chardonnay is produced with a nod to old-school California Chardonnays of Napa Valley and Sonoma, rich with creamy oak influence. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and is aged "on lees", with the lees being stirred. The more you stir the lees the more the wine takes on a creamy texture. It is aged in oak 35% new, the rest used barrels, mostly Hungarian and American, with a little French oak. Hungarian oak and French oak are the same species, the forests are a few hundred miles apart. American oak is a different species of oak and while it is used in winemaking, but is more likely used in aging whiskey. The different types of oak impart different flavors into the wine during aging with the Hungarian and French oak adding spice, while the American oak adds vanilla. The alcohol content is a rich 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a clean, clear, golden wheat yellow. The nose is apple, peach, pear, lemon chiffon, sweet vanilla, a whiff of spice, and a little cookie batter.  This is a full-flavored Chardonnay, with rich smooth tastes and ample acidity. It starts with a stew of apple, grapefruit, and vanilla cream, followed by peach and butter. The mid-palate offers exotic spice, a little tropical fruit, lime, orange zest, pear, and lemon. The acidity makes its presence known but does not bite. The finish is full and lengthy.
The Summary

* The Federalist Mendocino County Chardonnay 2017 is a modern take on old-school Chardonnay. Yes, there is the oak influence, but it is there to add flavor, not dominate the wine.
* This is a Chardonnay with all the production tricks yet is affordable, a check of the web saw prices from above $10 to around $15.
* Chardonnay fads seem to swing between no oak to too much oak, but the Federalist finds a sweet spot in the middle (ok, maybe a little on the oak side), where the oak just adds to the flavor.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:33
Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30906/domaine-lafage-bastide-miraflors-2016/ Sat, 13 Jul 2019 03:14:44 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30906 The Story The Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors 2016 is a blend of Syrah and old-vine Grenache farmed in estate vineyards in the Roussillon growing area of southeast France, just above the border with Spain. The Roussillon is the Catalonian district of France, to the south in Spain, the Catalonian area includes Barcelona and is the home of Cava Sparkling wine. The Bastide Miraflors (translates roughly to a country cottage with a view of flowers) is a project between Domaine Lafage and Eric Solomon of European Cellars imports. One trick to buying wine imported from Europe, or anywhere actually, is follow the Importer. If you like a certain wine of theirs in your price range there is an excellent chance you will enjoy other wines in their portfolio, since they tend to have a "house style". This vintage of the Bastide Miraflors received 94 points in a leading wine publication and I found it, on sale, for $11.99. The grapes are sourced from several vineyards, either near the coast of the Mediterranean or in the foothills of the Pyrenees, with the average age of the vines being 55 years old. The Syrah/Grenache blend is popularized by the Red wines of the southern Rhone Valley. This blend was fermented in stainless steel vats and was aged for 12 months. The Grenache in concrete vats and the Syrah in large oak barrels, roughly 2 1/2 times the size of typical Bordeaux barrels. Concrete vats are commonly used in the south of France and are starting to catch on in California. Syrah often sees oak aging, but Grenache often does not need it to shine. Domaine Lafage is practicing organic but is not certified organic. You see that a lot, it costs a small fortune and takes several years to be certified organic, but wine drinkers tend not to pay extra for organic wine. So they use organic techniques because it is right for the vineyards and skip the certification. Even though this is a fancy 94 point wine, it is a drink-it-now wine that is meant to be enjoyed in the next 2 or 3 years. The alcohol content is a rich 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a dark, opaque black cherry red, more black than red. The nose is ripe dark berries, a whiff of smoke, a touch of spice, lightly herbal, with toasty vanilla. The mouthfeel is plush, the tannins give the wine a nice edge, and the flavors are booth rich and smooth and tart. It tastes of super-smooth cherry, black pepper, licorice, exotic spice, and soft plum. The mid-palate offers Dr. Pepper, tart cranberry, and ripe raspberry. The tannins have an edge to them but in a good way, they sort of sharpen the flavors. The acidity is balanced by the body of the wine, it lets the flavors unfold, but does not draw attention to itself. The finish mirrors the mid-palate and does last. The Summary 94 points? Yeah, I can see it. When they give out points for wines they aren't grading purely on taste. The score is based on the vineyard, the winemaking techniques, the wine's balance and structure, and also the flavor. If you are a casual wine drinker your #1 concern may well be "how does it taste". The 94 point wine and your 87 points favorite wine may taste fairly similar. It is the details that make all the difference. That is why the point system for value-priced wines don't have the same impact as it does for expensive wine. The Bastide Miraflors is an excellent Syrah/Grenache blend. The interplay between the plump,  juicy Syrah and the sleek, intense Grenache make for a delicious Red blend.   The Story The Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors 2016 is a blend of Syrah and old-vine Grenache farmed in estate vineyards in the Roussillon growing area of southeast France, just above the border with Spain. The Story
The Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors 2016 is a blend of Syrah and old-vine Grenache farmed in estate vineyards in the Roussillon growing area of southeast France, just above the border with Spain. The Roussillon is the Catalonian district of France, to the south in Spain, the Catalonian area includes Barcelona and is the home of Cava Sparkling wine. The Bastide Miraflors (translates roughly to a country cottage with a view of flowers) is a project between Domaine Lafage and Eric Solomon of European Cellars imports. One trick to buying wine imported from Europe, or anywhere actually, is follow the Importer. If you like a certain wine of theirs in your price range there is an excellent chance you will enjoy other wines in their portfolio, since they tend to have a "house style". This vintage of the Bastide Miraflors received 94 points in a leading wine publication and I found it, on sale, for $11.99.

The grapes are sourced from several vineyards, either near the coast of the Mediterranean or in the foothills of the Pyrenees, with the average age of the vines being 55 years old. The Syrah/Grenache blend is popularized by the Red wines of the southern Rhone Valley. This blend was fermented in stainless steel vats and was aged for 12 months. The Grenache in concrete vats and the Syrah in large oak barrels, roughly 2 1/2 times the size of typical Bordeaux barrels. Concrete vats are commonly used in the south of France and are starting to catch on in California. Syrah often sees oak aging, but Grenache often does not need it to shine. Domaine Lafage is practicing organic but is not certified organic. You see that a lot, it costs a small fortune and takes several years to be certified organic, but wine drinkers tend not to pay extra for organic wine. So they use organic techniques because it is right for the vineyards and skip the certification. Even though this is a fancy 94 point wine, it is a drink-it-now wine that is meant to be enjoyed in the next 2 or 3 years. The alcohol content is a rich 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a dark, opaque black cherry red, more black than red. The nose is ripe dark berries, a whiff of smoke, a touch of spice, lightly herbal, with toasty vanilla. The mouthfeel is plush, the tannins give the wine a nice edge, and the flavors are booth rich and smooth and tart. It tastes of super-smooth cherry, black pepper, licorice, exotic spice, and soft plum. The mid-palate offers Dr. Pepper, tart cranberry, and ripe raspberry. The tannins have an edge to them but in a good way, they sort of sharpen the flavors. The acidity is balanced by the body of the wine, it lets the flavors unfold, but does not draw attention to itself. The finish mirrors the mid-palate and does last.
The Summary

* 94 points? Yeah, I can see it. When they give out points for wines they aren't grading purely on taste. The score is based on the vineyard, the winemaking techniques, the wine's balance and structure, and also the flavor. If you are a casual wine drinker your #1 concern may well be "how does it taste". The 94 point wine and your 87 points favorite wine may taste fairly similar. It is the details that make all the difference. That is why the point system for value-priced wines don't have the same impact as it does for expensive wine.
* The Bastide Miraflors is an excellent Syrah/Grenache blend. The interplay between the plump,  juicy Syrah and the sleek, intense Grenache make for a delicious Red blend.

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CheapWineFinder clean 11:18
Plus and Plus Cava Brut https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30888/plus-and-plus-cava-brut/ Thu, 11 Jul 2019 03:05:18 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30888 The Story The Plus and Plus Brut (or +&+ on the label) is a non-vintage blend of 3 indigenous Catalonian grapes, 30% Xarello, 50% Macabeo, and 20% Parellada has grown on the Penedes region of eastern Spain, near Barcelona. The +&+ is produced by Bodegas Pinord a family-run winery that was founded over 150 years ago. Cava is produced with the same production methods as Champagne, the 2nd fermentation occurs inside each and every bottle. This is a non-reserve Cava and the regulations say second fermentation has to last a minimum of 9 months, each winery may choose to go longer if they wish. Bodegas Pinord says this Bubbly was in bottle for more than 12 months. While Cava is made in the same manner as Champagne it is priced closer to Prosecco. I found this Bubbly for $9.99 and there are several well-distributed Cavas selling for under 10 dollars. Reserve Cava and Grand Reserve Cava can get pricey, but you seldom see them on store shelves. It seems that when folks want to spend big bucks on Bubbly they go with Champagne. But Cava provides a great deal of value in the budget-friendly category. Brut indicates that this is a dry (not sweet) Bubbly and the alcohol content is 11.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is pale gold with a flurry of tiny bubbles. The nose is melon, dried stone fruit, lemon hard candy peach, lemon, apple, a little brioche bread, and lime. This is a tart flavorful Cava with a good slap of acidity. It starts with not sweetened grapefruit, sour apple, dried pear, and lemon curd. The mid-palate offers smooth peach, a little minerality, and a touch of cream. The acidity is ample, but not bothersome to the palate. Which is a fancy way of saying it isn't sharp and doesn't bite. The finish is subtle but lengthy. The Summary Here is the thing to remember about budget Bubbly, especially non-vintage Sparkling wine. The wine-maker knows what the wine will taste like before they start. The wine is heavily manipulated, they ferment it twice, then at the end, they blend it with previous vintages to get the exact blend right. Who made the Bubbly is the most important information a wine drinker needs. Each producer has their own house style, that applies to the most expensive Champagne to the cheapest Cremant. Sparkling wine producers from the same village can taste completely different. Don't just but a Cava, Prosecco, or Champagne. Take the time to find the producers that please you, this is easier with Cava and Prosecco where the prices almost always fall under 20 bucks.   The Story The Plus and Plus Brut (or +&+ on the label) is a non-vintage blend of 3 indigenous Catalonian grapes, 30% Xarello, 50% Macabeo, and 20% Parellada has grown on the Penedes region of eastern Spain, near Barcelona. The Story
The Plus and Plus Brut (or +&+ on the label) is a non-vintage blend of 3 indigenous Catalonian grapes, 30% Xarello, 50% Macabeo, and 20% Parellada has grown on the Penedes region of eastern Spain, near Barcelona. The +&+ is produced by Bodegas Pinord a family-run winery that was founded over 150 years ago. Cava is produced with the same production methods as Champagne, the 2nd fermentation occurs inside each and every bottle. This is a non-reserve Cava and the regulations say second fermentation has to last a minimum of 9 months, each winery may choose to go longer if they wish. Bodegas Pinord says this Bubbly was in bottle for more than 12 months. While Cava is made in the same manner as Champagne it is priced closer to Prosecco. I found this Bubbly for $9.99 and there are several well-distributed Cavas selling for under 10 dollars. Reserve Cava and Grand Reserve Cava can get pricey, but you seldom see them on store shelves. It seems that when folks want to spend big bucks on Bubbly they go with Champagne. But Cava provides a great deal of value in the budget-friendly category. Brut indicates that this is a dry (not sweet) Bubbly and the alcohol content is 11.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pale gold with a flurry of tiny bubbles. The nose is melon, dried stone fruit, lemon hard candy peach, lemon, apple, a little brioche bread, and lime. This is a tart flavorful Cava with a good slap of acidity. It starts with not sweetened grapefruit, sour apple, dried pear, and lemon curd. The mid-palate offers smooth peach, a little minerality, and a touch of cream. The acidity is ample, but not bothersome to the palate. Which is a fancy way of saying it isn't sharp and doesn't bite. The finish is subtle but lengthy.
The Summary

* Here is the thing to remember about budget Bubbly, especially non-vintage Sparkling wine. The wine-maker knows what the wine will taste like before they start. The wine is heavily manipulated, they ferment it twice, then at the end, they blend it with previous vintages to get the exact blend right. Who made the Bubbly is the most important information a wine drinker needs. Each producer has their own house style, that applies to the most expensive Champagne to the cheapest Cremant. Sparkling wine producers from the same village can taste completely different. Don't just but a Cava, Prosecco, or Champagne. Take the time to find the producers that please you, this is easier with Cava and Prosecco where the prices almost always fall under 20 bucks.

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:21
Sphere Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30881/sphere-central-coast-chardonnay-2017/ Tue, 09 Jul 2019 03:17:35 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30881 The Story The Sphere Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. The Central Coast AVA runs along California coast just north of Los Angeles to San Francisco. The only information we have on this Chardonnay is what is written on the back label, which luckily is informative. It says there is a decadent amount of cream and butter along with baked apple.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation, and was then aged in oak barrels. Those are all things you do not normally find in $6.99 Chardonnay. Oak barrels add a significant cost to the wine production and while Trader Joe's contract wines have cost savings from regular retail wines, you just don't see sub-$10 wines talking about decadent cream in butter for the flavor profile. The alcohol content is 13.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is butter yellow. The nose is melon, lemon, peach, pear, apple, a little vanilla, a touch of spice, and a floral edge, it certainly isn't aroma challenged. This Chardonnay is medium-bodied with a mix of soft fruit and tart citrus. It tastes of peach, lemon, and vanilla. The mid-palate adds grapefruit, creamery butter, a salty cashew sensation, apple, and Anjou pear. The acidity is well-balanced, you don't get all that flavor without the structure that lets the various tastes unfold. The finish is fairly full and does last awhile. The Summary The Sphere Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 has flavor and structure that belies it's 7 buck price point. Yes, Trader Joe's and other shops that deal in contract wine can sell wine several dollars cheaper than retail shops. But, this is a solid drink-it-now everyday wine, regardless of the price. I am not fond of Chardonnay that is top-heavy with cream and butter, but with the Sphere, the cream and butter are applied with a light touch, it is one of the flavors but never overpowers. The Story The Sphere Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. The Central Coast AVA runs along California coast just north of Los Angeles to San Francisco. The only information we have on this Chardonnay is what is written on t... The Story
The Sphere Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. The Central Coast AVA runs along California coast just north of Los Angeles to San Francisco. The only information we have on this Chardonnay is what is written on the back label, which luckily is informative. It says there is a decadent amount of cream and butter along with baked apple.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation, and was then aged in oak barrels. Those are all things you do not normally find in $6.99 Chardonnay. Oak barrels add a significant cost to the wine production and while Trader Joe's contract wines have cost savings from regular retail wines, you just don't see sub-$10 wines talking about decadent cream in butter for the flavor profile. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is butter yellow. The nose is melon, lemon, peach, pear, apple, a little vanilla, a touch of spice, and a floral edge, it certainly isn't aroma challenged. This Chardonnay is medium-bodied with a mix of soft fruit and tart citrus. It tastes of peach, lemon, and vanilla. The mid-palate adds grapefruit, creamery butter, a salty cashew sensation, apple, and Anjou pear. The acidity is well-balanced, you don't get all that flavor without the structure that lets the various tastes unfold. The finish is fairly full and does last awhile.
The Summary

* The Sphere Central Coast Chardonnay 2017 has flavor and structure that belies it's 7 buck price point.
* Yes, Trader Joe's and other shops that deal in contract wine can sell wine several dollars cheaper than retail shops. But, this is a solid drink-it-now everyday wine, regardless of the price.
* I am not fond of Chardonnay that is top-heavy with cream and butter, but with the Sphere, the cream and butter are applied with a light touch, it is one of the flavors but never overpowers.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:21
TJ’s Reserve Amador County Zinfandel https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30869/tjs-reserve-amador-county-zinfandel/ Fri, 05 Jul 2019 03:47:50 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30869 The Story The Trader Joe's Reserve Amador County Zinfandel Lot 185 2016 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. Amador County is 100 miles east of San Francisco, as far north as Napa County, but on the other side of Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is the California Gold Rush country. Amador County is a comparatively small AVA with 40 wineries, most of which are the small, family-owned boutique variety. Even though is well inland from most California grape growing regions, the higher altitude (1,000 to 2,000 feet) and the cool mountain air at night allow grapes to thrive. As a Trader Joe's Reserve wine, there is only the information the Fearless Flyer gives us and in this case, it is a couple of tasting notes and little else. But there is information we can deduce. Most Amador County wineries are small family-owned limited production facilities and are probably priced out of Trader Joe's reach, but the larger wineries are first-class operations. I wouldn't mind a Zinfandel from any of them. The second clue is this is a 2016 vintage which in the summer of 2019 gives it 3 years of barrel and bottle age. That is a quality amount of aging time for a $10 drink-it-now Zinfandel, it's a step or two above entry-level wine production. The alcohol content is a stout 14.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is a barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is jammy red and dark berries and spice, along with toasty vanilla, light herbs, and dark chocolate. This is a full-bodied, smooth Zinfandel, good fruit and spice, but balanced, not over the top. It starts with black cherry, black pepper, raspberry, dusty chocolate powder, and spice. The mid-palate offers plum, vanilla, tart cranberry, herbs, and a touch of cream. The tannins are smooth and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is full and lengthy. The Summary At 10 bucks this is a solid entry into Amador County Zinfandel. There are some seriously good wineries there and if the Lot 185 piques your interest there is plenty to explore.  At $10 this is an excellent, drink-it-now, no issues Zinfandel. It is not a wine you would cellar (though you could if you wish put it down for a few years), but it drinks well, as is. The Story The Trader Joe's Reserve Amador County Zinfandel Lot 185 2016 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. Amador County is 100 miles east of San Francisco, as far north as Napa County, but on the other side of Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierr... The Story
The Trader Joe's Reserve Amador County Zinfandel Lot 185 2016 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. Amador County is 100 miles east of San Francisco, as far north as Napa County, but on the other side of Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is the California Gold Rush country. Amador County is a comparatively small AVA with 40 wineries, most of which are the small, family-owned boutique variety. Even though is well inland from most California grape growing regions, the higher altitude (1,000 to 2,000 feet) and the cool mountain air at night allow grapes to thrive.

As a Trader Joe's Reserve wine, there is only the information the Fearless Flyer gives us and in this case, it is a couple of tasting notes and little else. But there is information we can deduce. Most Amador County wineries are small family-owned limited production facilities and are probably priced out of Trader Joe's reach, but the larger wineries are first-class operations. I wouldn't mind a Zinfandel from any of them. The second clue is this is a 2016 vintage which in the summer of 2019 gives it 3 years of barrel and bottle age. That is a quality amount of aging time for a $10 drink-it-now Zinfandel, it's a step or two above entry-level wine production. The alcohol content is a stout 14.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is jammy red and dark berries and spice, along with toasty vanilla, light herbs, and dark chocolate. This is a full-bodied, smooth Zinfandel, good fruit and spice, but balanced, not over the top. It starts with black cherry, black pepper, raspberry, dusty chocolate powder, and spice. The mid-palate offers plum, vanilla, tart cranberry, herbs, and a touch of cream. The tannins are smooth and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is full and lengthy.
The Summary

* At 10 bucks this is a solid entry into Amador County Zinfandel. There are some seriously good wineries there and if the Lot 185 piques your interest there is plenty to explore.
*  At $10 this is an excellent, drink-it-now, no issues Zinfandel. It is not a wine you would cellar (though you could if you wish put it down for a few years), but it drinks well, as is.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:55
Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30847/riondo-prosecco-spago-nero/ Tue, 02 Jul 2019 02:53:53 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30847 The Story The Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is 100% Glera grape from the DOC portion of the Prosecco region of Veneto in Northern Italy. The Spago Nero differs from the usual Prosecco in that this is Frizzante which refers to the pressure (atmospheres) inside the bottle. A typical Prosecco will have about 3 atmospheres of pressure (Champagne has 6 or 7) and a Frizzante Bubbly will have 1 or 2, in other words, light bubbles. The name Spago Nero translates to a black string. It refers to the original enclosure, which is still available, where the top is tied with a black string, this particular bottle had a screw cap. Bubbly with hefty atmospheres in the bottle need a big cork and cage, Frizzante can get away with a modest cap. The Spago Nero is also the #1 selling Prosecco is Italy. The Riondo is a medium sweet Bubbly, but with Sparkling wine, solid acidity can balance the sugar so it doesn't seem quite so sweet. Riondo is a huge winery with almost 16,000 acres of vineyards, but they have only been in business for 11 years. As per usual, Prosecco gets its bubbles from the Charmat Method, pressurized stainless steel vats. Not only are the bubbles less fizzy, but the alcohol content is also a rather modest 10.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale golden yellow, with plenty of energetic bubbles. The nose is delicate and light, lemon, melon, green apple, light spice, and pear. This is a medium-bodied Bubbly, fruit forward and the acidity does balance the sugar. It tastes of green apple, pear, dried apricot bits, and lemon chiffon. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty sensation, and juicy peach. The acidity is just below lip-smacking good, but it does an admirable job of keeping the sugar/sweetness balanced. The finish is subtle and lengthy. The Summary I can see why the Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is the #1 Prosecco in Italy, it is super easy to drink. It goes down easy, the light bubbles and the low alcohol can keep you going for a long time without ill effects. This is an excellent party Bubbly, where you want your guests to have a nice Bubbly, but you need low alcohol so they can get home safely. A light and delicate Bubbly, with enough flavor to keep you interested and asking for more. The Story The Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is 100% Glera grape from the DOC portion of the Prosecco region of Veneto in Northern Italy. The Spago Nero differs from the usual Prosecco in that this is Frizzante which refers to the pressure (atmospheres) i... The Story
The Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is 100% Glera grape from the DOC portion of the Prosecco region of Veneto in Northern Italy. The Spago Nero differs from the usual Prosecco in that this is Frizzante which refers to the pressure (atmospheres) inside the bottle. A typical Prosecco will have about 3 atmospheres of pressure (Champagne has 6 or 7) and a Frizzante Bubbly will have 1 or 2, in other words, light bubbles. The name Spago Nero translates to a black string. It refers to the original enclosure, which is still available, where the top is tied with a black string, this particular bottle had a screw cap. Bubbly with hefty atmospheres in the bottle need a big cork and cage, Frizzante can get away with a modest cap. The Spago Nero is also the #1 selling Prosecco is Italy.

The Riondo is a medium sweet Bubbly, but with Sparkling wine, solid acidity can balance the sugar so it doesn't seem quite so sweet. Riondo is a huge winery with almost 16,000 acres of vineyards, but they have only been in business for 11 years. As per usual, Prosecco gets its bubbles from the Charmat Method, pressurized stainless steel vats. Not only are the bubbles less fizzy, but the alcohol content is also a rather modest 10.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale golden yellow, with plenty of energetic bubbles. The nose is delicate and light, lemon, melon, green apple, light spice, and pear. This is a medium-bodied Bubbly, fruit forward and the acidity does balance the sugar. It tastes of green apple, pear, dried apricot bits, and lemon chiffon. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty sensation, and juicy peach. The acidity is just below lip-smacking good, but it does an admirable job of keeping the sugar/sweetness balanced. The finish is subtle and lengthy.
The Summary

* I can see why the Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is the #1 Prosecco in Italy, it is super easy to drink. It goes down easy, the light bubbles and the low alcohol can keep you going for a long time without ill effects.
* This is an excellent party Bubbly, where you want your guests to have a nice Bubbly, but you need low alcohol so they can get home safely.
* A light and delicate Bubbly, with enough flavor to keep you interested and asking for more.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:36
Federalist Honest Red Blend 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30840/federalist-honest-red-blend-2016/ Sun, 30 Jun 2019 00:58:23 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30840 The Podcast This is a Quake And Dave Podcast about the Federalist Honest Red Blend 2016 a wine that they first got to sample while at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The game didn't work as a welcoming place to do wine reviews, so we retreated to the rooftop Cheapwinefinder Podcast Studios high above Sears Tower to give this Red blend a spin. The Honest Red is a blend of 46.4% Merlot, 24% Zinfandel, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7.5% Malbec. Farmed in vineyards in 76% Mendocino County AVA, 16% Napa County AVA, and 7.6% Sonoma County AVA. I tried to match the % up to see if I could figure out which grapes came from each AVA but couldn't. make sense of it. Malbec and Sonoma almost fit, but there is an extra .1% left over. The Federalist Honest Red Blend is an appropriate Red for the 4th of July, they have a Cabernet with George Washington on the label that would work, too. All you have to add is red, white, and blue decorations and you have the perfect wines to catch the parade and watch fireworks. And since this a Quake and Dave Podcast, there are obscure references and a meandering train of thought to get where they are going. So hit play and come along for the ride! The Podcast This is a Quake And Dave Podcast about the Federalist Honest Red Blend 2016 a wine that they first got to sample while at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The game didn't work as a welcoming place to do wine reviews, This is a Quake And Dave Podcast about the Federalist Honest Red Blend 2016 a wine that they first got to sample while at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The game didn't work as a welcoming place to do wine reviews, so we retreated to the rooftop Cheapwinefinder Podcast Studios high above Sears Tower to give this Red blend a spin. The Honest Red is a blend of 46.4% Merlot, 24% Zinfandel, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7.5% Malbec. Farmed in vineyards in 76% Mendocino County AVA, 16% Napa County AVA, and 7.6% Sonoma County AVA. I tried to match the % up to see if I could figure out which grapes came from each AVA but couldn't. make sense of it. Malbec and Sonoma almost fit, but there is an extra .1% left over. The Federalist Honest Red Blend is an appropriate Red for the 4th of July, they have a Cabernet with George Washington on the label that would work, too. All you have to add is red, white, and blue decorations and you have the perfect wines to catch the parade and watch fireworks.

And since this a Quake and Dave Podcast, there are obscure references and a meandering train of thought to get where they are going. So hit play and come along for the ride!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 16:00
Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30825/petiole-willamette-valley-pinot-noir-2017/ Fri, 28 Jun 2019 02:47:40 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30825 The Story The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is an $8.99 Trader Joe's exclusive, we reviewed 2015 Petiole and that vintage sold for $9.99. The 2015 version had a Fearless Flyer write-up which indicated the Pinot was made by a large Oregon producer and the Pinot was aged in oak barrels for 14 months. I don't know if the 2017 and the 2015 vintages are related, it could well be sourced from different vineyards with different production techniques. Either way, a sub-$10 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is highly unusual, even with Trader Joe's contract wine label price advantages. The 2015 Petiole Pinot was an enjoyable wine, so if the past is an indicator 2017 should bring great value. The petiole is the part of the plant where the leaf meets the stem. With grapevines in the vineyard, this is the part of the vine that is tested to determine the health of the plant. The petiole indicates if the nutrients are efficiently being distributed.  There are no technical notes for this wine, so the back label is all we have to go by. It says this Pinot is "delectably charming" which is nice to know, and it also says there are vanilla and spice which indicates some sort of oak aging. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is see-thru garnet red. The nose is a legitimate Pinot nose, herbal, with cherry, mushroom, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and a whiff of spice. This Pinot Noir starts with a silky mouth-feel, then takes on a rougher edge on the mid-palate. It tastes of ripe black cherry, cola, licorice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds sharp exotic spice, orange peel, vanilla, and plum. The acidity gives this pinot length and the tannins are sweet and out of the way. The finish is fairly full and flows for quite some time. The Summary The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is better than any $8.99 Pinot has a right to be. With the expensive Oregon Pinots, maybe they are a little more ethereal, more complex and maybe the spice in the Petiole could be better integrated, but that's nitpicking.  If you offered a friend a glass and didn't let them know the price, just that it is a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, they will be shocked when you tell them it's $8.99.   The Story The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is an $8.99 Trader Joe's exclusive, we reviewed 2015 Petiole and that vintage sold for $9.99. The 2015 version had a Fearless Flyer write-up which indicated the Pinot was made by a large Oregon p... The Story
The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is an $8.99 Trader Joe's exclusive, we reviewed 2015 Petiole and that vintage sold for $9.99. The 2015 version had a Fearless Flyer write-up which indicated the Pinot was made by a large Oregon producer and the Pinot was aged in oak barrels for 14 months. I don't know if the 2017 and the 2015 vintages are related, it could well be sourced from different vineyards with different production techniques. Either way, a sub-$10 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is highly unusual, even with Trader Joe's contract wine label price advantages. The 2015 Petiole Pinot was an enjoyable wine, so if the past is an indicator 2017 should bring great value.

The petiole is the part of the plant where the leaf meets the stem. With grapevines in the vineyard, this is the part of the vine that is tested to determine the health of the plant. The petiole indicates if the nutrients are efficiently being distributed.  There are no technical notes for this wine, so the back label is all we have to go by. It says this Pinot is "delectably charming" which is nice to know, and it also says there are vanilla and spice which indicates some sort of oak aging. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is see-thru garnet red. The nose is a legitimate Pinot nose, herbal, with cherry, mushroom, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and a whiff of spice. This Pinot Noir starts with a silky mouth-feel, then takes on a rougher edge on the mid-palate. It tastes of ripe black cherry, cola, licorice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds sharp exotic spice, orange peel, vanilla, and plum. The acidity gives this pinot length and the tannins are sweet and out of the way. The finish is fairly full and flows for quite some time.
The Summary

* The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is better than any $8.99 Pinot has a right to be.
* With the expensive Oregon Pinots, maybe they are a little more ethereal, more complex and maybe the spice in the Petiole could be better integrated, but that's nitpicking. 
* If you offered a friend a glass and didn't let them know the price, just that it is a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, they will be shocked when you tell them it's $8.99.

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:27
Belleruche Rose’ 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30812/belleruche-rose-2018/ Tue, 25 Jun 2019 02:45:43 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30812 The Story The Belleruche Rose' 2016 is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault sourced from vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone region of France. This Rose' is made by M. Chapoutier Winery, they have been producing wine in the Rhone for over 200 years. One very interesting thing concerning the label, is they have included braille to identify the vintage, the type of wine, the region, and the color. It's very low key, you have to know it's there to find it, at first I thought it was some imperfection on the label, but kudos to M. Chapoutier. Grenache and Syrah are the 2 main Red grapes of the Southern Rhone Valley, while Cinsault is a blending grape that is often used in Provence Rose'. This may be more information than a Rose' drinker needs to know, but the Belleruche was produced using the Direct Press Method. The are 2 main Rose' production methods, Direct Press and Saignée. With the Saignée Method part of the juice is diverted to make a Red wine and the other portion to make Rose', this worked back when Rose' wasn't very popular. The Direct Press technique makes Rose' and only Rose' and is the main production method now that Rose' is extremely popular. This Rose' is aged in concrete and stainless steel vats, both are used extensively for Rhone wines. The alcohol content is a ripe 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is almost pale copper. The nose is clean and floral, not overpowering, but pretty scents of apple, peach, pear, spring flowers, grapefruit, red berries, with a little candy spice. This Rose' has a crisp mouthfeel, with bright acidity and solid fruit flavor. It starts with raspberry, the minerality similar to the taste of mineral water, peach, lime/lemon, and dried strawberry. The mid-palate brings grapefruit and orange zest, along with a juicy apple. The acidity is well-balanced, it gives some oomph to the flavors. The finish is full and lingers for a long time. The Summary The Belleruche Rose' 2018 is a well-made, tasty Rose'. The Cote du Rhone is maybe the best region for French wine values and Belleruche upholds that tradition. Rose' is a French word, they are experts at making the stuff. If you want to explore Rose' wines France is a good place to start. On a side note, if you are in Chicago they serve the Belleruche Rose' at Wrigley Field. So what do you want, A couple of Buds, or a tasty French Rose'? The Story The Belleruche Rose' 2016 is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault sourced from vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone region of France. This Rose' is made by M. Chapoutier Winery, they have been producing wine in the Rhone for over ... The Story
The Belleruche Rose' 2016 is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault sourced from vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone region of France. This Rose' is made by M. Chapoutier Winery, they have been producing wine in the Rhone for over 200 years. One very interesting thing concerning the label, is they have included braille to identify the vintage, the type of wine, the region, and the color. It's very low key, you have to know it's there to find it, at first I thought it was some imperfection on the label, but kudos to M. Chapoutier. Grenache and Syrah are the 2 main Red grapes of the Southern Rhone Valley, while Cinsault is a blending grape that is often used in Provence Rose'.

This may be more information than a Rose' drinker needs to know, but the Belleruche was produced using the Direct Press Method. The are 2 main Rose' production methods, Direct Press and Saignée. With the Saignée Method part of the juice is diverted to make a Red wine and the other portion to make Rose', this worked back when Rose' wasn't very popular. The Direct Press technique makes Rose' and only Rose' and is the main production method now that Rose' is extremely popular. This Rose' is aged in concrete and stainless steel vats, both are used extensively for Rhone wines. The alcohol content is a ripe 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is almost pale copper. The nose is clean and floral, not overpowering, but pretty scents of apple, peach, pear, spring flowers, grapefruit, red berries, with a little candy spice. This Rose' has a crisp mouthfeel, with bright acidity and solid fruit flavor. It starts with raspberry, the minerality similar to the taste of mineral water, peach, lime/lemon, and dried strawberry. The mid-palate brings grapefruit and orange zest, along with a juicy apple. The acidity is well-balanced, it gives some oomph to the flavors. The finish is full and lingers for a long time.
The Summary

* The Belleruche Rose' 2018 is a well-made, tasty Rose'. The Cote du Rhone is maybe the best region for French wine values and Belleruche upholds that tradition.
* Rose' is a French word, they are experts at making the stuff. If you want to explore Rose' wines France is a good place to start.
* On a side note, if you are in Chicago they serve the Belleruche Rose' at Wrigley Field. So what do you want, A couple of Buds, or a tasty French Rose'?
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CheapWineFinder clean 6:31
Capela Santa Margarida Red 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30804/capela-santa-margarida-red-2016/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 15:21:59 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30804 The Story The Capela Santa Margarida Red 2016 is a blend of 40% Aragonez (Tempranillo), 40% Trincadeira (a local varietal) and 20% Alicante Bouschet (a hybrid grape mostly used in blends) farmed in vineyards in the Alentejano region of southern Portugal. Capa Santa Margarida is an ancient 15th-century chapel and the vineyards located on what was the chapels property. Alentejano is also known for cork production and while most value-priced wines have a recycled cork or some plastic-like thing, the Capela has a real, honest cork. If you notice, Portuguese wines use grape names that you may be unfamiliar with, even when they use an international varietal they still use the Portuguese name. That is mainly because for most of Portugal wine history, Portuguese wine was made for and consumed by the Portuguese. It wasn't until the economic downturn of 2008 when the Portuguese government needed an infusion of cash, that exporting Portuguese wine became a priority. Since the Portuguese wine industry was insular they were immune to wine fads and trends. There is a lot of talk about New World wines vs Old World wines, but Portuguese wines are neither, they are their own category. This blend was aged in stainless steel tanks for 9 months, the wine saw no oak conditioning, and was then aged an additional 3 months in the bottle. The wine is certified organic, vegan-friendly, but does have sulfites. The alcohol content is 14%. The Tasting Notes The color is a strawberry jelly red with dark highlights. The nose is dark berries and spice, a little orange zest, and a little chocolate. This is a tasty Red blend, solid fruit, bright acidity, and solid old school structure. It tastes of black cherry, there is a menthol cigarette component (more menthol than tobacco), soft plum, and black pepper spice. The mid-palate shows sharp spice, tart cherry, and dusty tannins. The acidity is bright, it gives some oomph to the flavors, but does not bite. The finish follows the main body of the wine and does last. The Summary The Capela Santa Margarida Red 2016 is a tasty, pleasing Red Blend. Since it is from Portugal it isn't the same old, same old, but it isn't completely exotic either. A value-price, organic, good tasting Red blend The Story The Capela Santa Margarida Red 2016 is a blend of 40% Aragonez (Tempranillo), 40% Trincadeira (a local varietal) and 20% Alicante Bouschet (a hybrid grape mostly used in blends) farmed in vineyards in the Alentejano region of southern Portug... The Story
The Capela Santa Margarida Red 2016 is a blend of 40% Aragonez (Tempranillo), 40% Trincadeira (a local varietal) and 20% Alicante Bouschet (a hybrid grape mostly used in blends) farmed in vineyards in the Alentejano region of southern Portugal. Capa Santa Margarida is an ancient 15th-century chapel and the vineyards located on what was the chapels property. Alentejano is also known for cork production and while most value-priced wines have a recycled cork or some plastic-like thing, the Capela has a real, honest cork.

If you notice, Portuguese wines use grape names that you may be unfamiliar with, even when they use an international varietal they still use the Portuguese name. That is mainly because for most of Portugal wine history, Portuguese wine was made for and consumed by the Portuguese. It wasn't until the economic downturn of 2008 when the Portuguese government needed an infusion of cash, that exporting Portuguese wine became a priority. Since the Portuguese wine industry was insular they were immune to wine fads and trends. There is a lot of talk about New World wines vs Old World wines, but Portuguese wines are neither, they are their own category.

This blend was aged in stainless steel tanks for 9 months, the wine saw no oak conditioning, and was then aged an additional 3 months in the bottle. The wine is certified organic, vegan-friendly, but does have sulfites. The alcohol content is 14%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a strawberry jelly red with dark highlights. The nose is dark berries and spice, a little orange zest, and a little chocolate. This is a tasty Red blend, solid fruit, bright acidity, and solid old school structure. It tastes of black cherry, there is a menthol cigarette component (more menthol than tobacco), soft plum, and black pepper spice. The mid-palate shows sharp spice, tart cherry, and dusty tannins. The acidity is bright, it gives some oomph to the flavors, but does not bite. The finish follows the main body of the wine and does last.
The Summary

* The Capela Santa Margarida Red 2016 is a tasty, pleasing Red Blend.
* Since it is from Portugal it isn't the same old, same old, but it isn't completely exotic either.
* A value-price, organic, good tasting Red blend
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:27
The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30796/the-federalist-cabernet-sauvignon-2016/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 17:31:26 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30796 The Story The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Zinfandel, and 2% Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc farmed in vineyards in the Lodi AVA in California. Lodi is located in California's Central Valley, in the delta region of the San Pablo Bay, which is the northernmost inland region of the San Francisco Bay. Even though Lodi is inland compared to most California growing regions, the delta and the network of river valleys cool the nights and moderate daytime temperatures.  Lodi is best known for Zinfandel, especially Old Vine Zinfandel, but Lodi is increasingly recognized for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Federalist Cab (along with additional grapes) was fermented in separate lots. Even when a wine is a single varietal, the grapes are often picked from different vineyards or different sections of a vineyard. These individual sections often possess slightly different characteristics and often the lots will undergo different oak barrel treatment. So a single grape wine (in this case a mostly single grape wine) is actually a blend of many individual lots of the grape. The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 was aged in oak barrels for 15 months, 35% new barrels, the rest used. Barrels are used for 4 to 5 years before they are considered to be neutral and no longer impart oak flavoring. Something I thought was interesting is they left the juice in with the grape skins for 18 days, by contrast, we just reviewed a Rose' that left the juice on skins for 24 to 48 hours. That is why a Cabernet Sauvignon is dark red in color and a Rose' is pink. The alcohol content is 14%. The Tasting Notes The color is a barely see-thru cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is ripe, fresh red berries, blackberry, cinnamon spice, black pepper, oaky vanilla, and chocolate chip cookies. This is a smooth, fruit-forward Cabernet with a really solid flavor profile, my immediate impression was, "this tastes like the expensive stuff". It starts with extracted blackberry and black licorice, a slap of tart cranberry, and dusty chocolate powder. The mid-palate brings strawberry, orange zest, sharp spice and a late soft hit of plum. The tannins are smooth and the acidity is very good, put a steak on the grill or sip for pleasure. The finish is full and strong. The Summary The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value priced Cab (about $15 in Chicago, I got it as a sample). Tons of flavor plus solid structure. When it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon, you most likely hear about Bordeaux or Napa and that's fine. But that mostly pertains to restaurants and collectors. But when regular people are drinking wine (Cabernet) for no special occasions, then places like Lodi, Columbia Valley, Argentina, and Chile should come to mind. This is a crowd pleaser wine.   The Story The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Zinfandel, and 2% Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc farmed in vineyards in the Lodi AVA in California. Lodi is located in California's Central Valley, The Story
The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Zinfandel, and 2% Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc farmed in vineyards in the Lodi AVA in California. Lodi is located in California's Central Valley, in the delta region of the San Pablo Bay, which is the northernmost inland region of the San Francisco Bay. Even though Lodi is inland compared to most California growing regions, the delta and the network of river valleys cool the nights and moderate daytime temperatures.  Lodi is best known for Zinfandel, especially Old Vine Zinfandel, but Lodi is increasingly recognized for Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Federalist Cab (along with additional grapes) was fermented in separate lots. Even when a wine is a single varietal, the grapes are often picked from different vineyards or different sections of a vineyard. These individual sections often possess slightly different characteristics and often the lots will undergo different oak barrel treatment. So a single grape wine (in this case a mostly single grape wine) is actually a blend of many individual lots of the grape. The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 was aged in oak barrels for 15 months, 35% new barrels, the rest used. Barrels are used for 4 to 5 years before they are considered to be neutral and no longer impart oak flavoring. Something I thought was interesting is they left the juice in with the grape skins for 18 days, by contrast, we just reviewed a Rose' that left the juice on skins for 24 to 48 hours. That is why a Cabernet Sauvignon is dark red in color and a Rose' is pink. The alcohol content is 14%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a barely see-thru cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is ripe, fresh red berries, blackberry, cinnamon spice, black pepper, oaky vanilla, and chocolate chip cookies. This is a smooth, fruit-forward Cabernet with a really solid flavor profile, my immediate impression was, "this tastes like the expensive stuff". It starts with extracted blackberry and black licorice, a slap of tart cranberry, and dusty chocolate powder. The mid-palate brings strawberry, orange zest, sharp spice and a late soft hit of plum. The tannins are smooth and the acidity is very good, put a steak on the grill or sip for pleasure. The finish is full and strong.
The Summary

* The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value priced Cab (about $15 in Chicago, I got it as a sample). Tons of flavor plus solid structure.
* When it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon, you most likely hear about Bordeaux or Napa and that's fine. But that mostly pertains to restaurants and collectors. But when regular people are drinking wine (Cabernet) for no special occasions, then places like Lodi, Columbia Valley, Argentina, and Chile should come to mind.
* This is a crowd pleaser wine.

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CheapWineFinder clean 7:20
Band Of Roses Rose’ 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30777/band-of-roses-rose-2018/ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 00:49:55 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30777 The Story Quake & Dave talk about the Band of Roses Rose' 2018, a Rose' that is made from a White grape, Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris can have red grape skins, so, therefore, it can be turned into a Rose' wine. I love Charles Smith Wines online tasting notes, these are value-priced wines, the Band Of Roses lists for $12, but the detail on how the wine is made rivals $30+ wines. They detail the 3 vineyards that farmed the grapes (Art Den Hoed, Shaw Vineyards, and Evergreen by Milbrandt). The strains of yeast used (NT 116 and VIN 13). The length of time the grape skins were in contact with the juice (24 to 48 hours, this is where the shade of pink comes from). And that the Rose' was aged for 2 months on lees (dead yeast left in the tank with the wine) and stirred (the more you stir the more the wine gets a creamy mouthfeel). They don't try to hide what they did to make the Band of Roses, you would be surprised how rare that is with value-priced wine. Wine is chemistry, not magic, it's ok to let us know the major production details that differentiate one wine from another. These details matter, kudos to Charles Smith Wines for laying out the basic details wine drinkers should know about the wines they drink. Well, anyway, Quake and Dave drink the Band of Roses Rose' 2018, tell you what they think... we like it and talk about whatever else pops into our heads. Cheers!   The Story Quake & Dave talk about the Band of Roses Rose' 2018, a Rose' that is made from a White grape, Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris can have red grape skins, so, therefore, it can be turned into a Rose' wine. I love Charles Smith Wines online tasting note... The Story
Quake & Dave talk about the Band of Roses Rose' 2018, a Rose' that is made from a White grape, Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris can have red grape skins, so, therefore, it can be turned into a Rose' wine. I love Charles Smith Wines online tasting notes, these are value-priced wines, the Band Of Roses lists for $12, but the detail on how the wine is made rivals $30+ wines. They detail the 3 vineyards that farmed the grapes (Art Den Hoed, Shaw Vineyards, and Evergreen by Milbrandt). The strains of yeast used (NT 116 and VIN 13). The length of time the grape skins were in contact with the juice (24 to 48 hours, this is where the shade of pink comes from). And that the Rose' was aged for 2 months on lees (dead yeast left in the tank with the wine) and stirred (the more you stir the more the wine gets a creamy mouthfeel). They don't try to hide what they did to make the Band of Roses, you would be surprised how rare that is with value-priced wine. Wine is chemistry, not magic, it's ok to let us know the major production details that differentiate one wine from another. These details matter, kudos to Charles Smith Wines for laying out the basic details wine drinkers should know about the wines they drink.

Well, anyway, Quake and Dave drink the Band of Roses Rose' 2018, tell you what they think... we like it and talk about whatever else pops into our heads. Cheers!

 ]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 13:44
Simpler Wines Too Canny Rose’ https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30766/simpler-wines-too-canny-rose/ Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:34:15 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30766 The Story  The Simpler Wines Too Canny Rose' is a $2.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from grapes from Australia. That is about all I know about the juice that is in the can, so this will be a story about canned wine. The can 375 ml. which is about 12 1/2 oz. in American, so that figures out to 2 healthy 6 oz. pours for a buck and a half each. I poured half the can into a wine stem and kept the other half in the can. I happened to have wine cozy (just like a beer cozy, only this one has Coppola's logo) so the can will be insolated. A wine can that is too cold will mask the flavors, wine is finicky it can't be too cold and it definitely can't get too warm, so use a beer or wine cozy if possible. When box wine first came out, I would hear people talking about how they must be putting inferior wine in the boxes, because they don't taste right. But it wasn't the quality of the wine (well, most of the time it wasn't) it was the wine in the bladder inside the box was kept from oxygen. To allow the box of wine to last for weeks, the internal bladder had to be airtight and therefore the wine inside came out of the spigot "tight". WIne needs oxygen to taste its best, but exposure to oxygen will, with time, destroy the wine. To allow the poured glass of box wine to "open up" letting it sit for several minutes and giving the glass a good swirl. Something that most box wine users never did. To combat the problem some producers stuck some sort of inexpensive aerator in the spigot, which helped, but box wine still has a "tight" wine problem. A can of wine has the same problem as a box wine. There is no oxygen getting thru the can, a cork allows a minuscule amount of air thru as does the seal in the cap of twist top bottles. Bottled wine needs to "breathe" for at least a few minutes to hit its peak and big Red wines often need to be opened an hour or more before drinking. To get the most out of a can of wine you need to pour it into a glass, it does not need to be a stem, a plastic red cup will do. But if the glass isn't available? Some wines open up quicker than others, Bubbly because of the carbonation is basically pre-opened, a Rose' does not have tannins and has light flavors, they should come together quickly, young, un-oaked White wines should be ready to go. Chardonnay that underwent malolactic fermentation was aged "on lees", in oak barrels probably need a glass as will most Red wines that see oak aging. When complex wine is not given time to "open", the fruit is diminished while the tannins, spice, and pepper are strong, that usually is not pleasant to drink. So, you need to match the style of wine to the container The Tasting Notes I am going to have 2 tasting notes, 1 for the wine in the can and the other for the Rose' poured into the wine glass. Wine Can Rose' The color, don't know, it's dark in there. The nose is lightly floral, with melon, pear, and lemon. This is a light bodied Rose', pleasant, but not complex. It tastes of soft strawberry, light and not too tart grapefruit, and a little lemon/lime. There is a salty sensation on the mid-palate along with cranberry. Rose' in a Glass The color is more pale apricot than pink. The nose is floral, with faint citrus and fruit, I think the nose was stronger with the can. The mouth-feel is better in the glass, it is still a soft, light Rose'. It tastes of tart cherry lemonade, melon, a salty, nutty sensation, and crisp, juicy apple. The Summary The glass provided a better drinking experience, a quality mouthfeel and a larger array of flavors. The can was Ok, this isn't a Rose' that is going to win any awards. When possible pour the can of wine into a glass if it's the flavor you are looking for. If you want stealth and the convenience you need, then the can should get the job done. The Story  The Simpler Wines Too Canny Rose' is a $2.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from grapes from Australia. That is about all I know about the juice that is in the can, so this will be a story about canned wine. The can 375 ml. The Story
 The Simpler Wines Too Canny Rose' is a $2.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from grapes from Australia. That is about all I know about the juice that is in the can, so this will be a story about canned wine. The can 375 ml. which is about 12 1/2 oz. in American, so that figures out to 2 healthy 6 oz. pours for a buck and a half each. I poured half the can into a wine stem and kept the other half in the can. I happened to have wine cozy (just like a beer cozy, only this one has Coppola's logo) so the can will be insolated. A wine can that is too cold will mask the flavors, wine is finicky it can't be too cold and it definitely can't get too warm, so use a beer or wine cozy if possible.

When box wine first came out, I would hear people talking about how they must be putting inferior wine in the boxes, because they don't taste right. But it wasn't the quality of the wine (well, most of the time it wasn't) it was the wine in the bladder inside the box was kept from oxygen. To allow the box of wine to last for weeks, the internal bladder had to be airtight and therefore the wine inside came out of the spigot "tight". WIne needs oxygen to taste its best, but exposure to oxygen will, with time, destroy the wine. To allow the poured glass of box wine to "open up" letting it sit for several minutes and giving the glass a good swirl. Something that most box wine users never did. To combat the problem some producers stuck some sort of inexpensive aerator in the spigot, which helped, but box wine still has a "tight" wine problem.

A can of wine has the same problem as a box wine. There is no oxygen getting thru the can, a cork allows a minuscule amount of air thru as does the seal in the cap of twist top bottles. Bottled wine needs to "breathe" for at least a few minutes to hit its peak and big Red wines often need to be opened an hour or more before drinking. To get the most out of a can of wine you need to pour it into a glass, it does not need to be a stem, a plastic red cup will do. But if the glass isn't available? Some wines open up quicker than others, Bubbly because of the carbonation is basically pre-opened, a Rose' does not have tannins and has light flavors, they should come together quickly, young, un-oaked White wines should be ready to go. Chardonnay that underwent malolactic fermentation was aged "on lees", in oak barrels probably need a glass as will most Red wines that see oak aging. When complex wine is not given time to "open", the fruit is diminished while the tannins, spice, and pepper are strong, that usually is not pleasant to drink. So, you need to match the style of wine to the container
The Tasting Notes
I am going to have 2 tasting notes, 1 for the wine in the can and the other for the Rose' poured into the wine glass.

Wine Can Rose'

The color, don't know, it's dark in there. The nose is lightly floral, with melon, pear, and lemon. This is a light bodied Rose', pleasant, but not complex. It tastes of soft strawberry, light and not too tart grapefruit, and a little lemon/lime. There is a salty sensation on the mid-palate along with cranberry.

Rose' in a Glass

The color is more pale apricot than pink. The nose is floral, with faint citrus and fruit, I think the nose was stronger with the can. The mouth-feel is better in the glass, it is still a soft, light Rose'. It tastes of tart cherry lemonade, melon, a salty, nutty sensation, and crisp, juicy apple.
The Summary

* The glass provided a better drinking experience, a quality mouthfeel and a larger array of flavors. The can was Ok, this isn't a Rose' that is going to win any awards.
* When possible pour the can of wine into a glass if it's the flavor you are looking for.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 8:30
Tenacity Winemaker’s Blend 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30749/tenacity-winemakers-blend-2016/ Thu, 13 Jun 2019 02:40:00 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30749 The Story The Tenacity Winemaker's Blend 2016 is made by Two Hands Wines from old vine Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mourvedre farmed on vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Two Hands produced the WInemaker's Blend, but it is not listed on their website. There isn't any information about Tenacity anywhere, not from the winery or the distributor, it seems it is an orphan wine. Which can be why I found a wine that sells online for $16 to $18 on an end-of-the-bin-sale for under $10. Which is the beauty of end-of-the-bin-sales, they are interesting wines that you are not interested in at their old selling price but are absolute gems at 40% to 50% off. Two Hands Wines is a top-notch winery producing wines from the McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley regions of South Australia. McLaren Vale is located near the city of Adelaide and is known as an outstanding growing region for all 4 of the grapes in the blend. McLaren Vale has had vineyards sine 1838 and has an abundance of old vine vineyards. There is no legal definition of old vines, the informal standard is typically 40 years or more. Old grapevines, because of their advanced age struggle to get the nutrients from the roots to the grapes. They produce fewer grapes and the struggle produced complexity in the grapes that few younger vineyards can match. The alcohol content is 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is opaque black cherry red. The nose is rich and smokey, there is ripe red berries, port wine, baking spice, fudge brownies, blackberry, licorice, and a hint of BBQ smoke. The Tenacity Winemaker's blend starts with a smooth mouthfeel, then shows some rough and ready edges as the flavors unfold. it starts with jammy raspberry and plum, along with a chocolate-covered cherry. The mid-palate adds the rough edges some orange zest, a slap of herbs, a slight pull from the tannins, and non-sweet Dr. Pepper. There is a lot of rich fruit flavors in this blend. The tannins make their presence known but don't get in the way. The acidity is ample enough to allow the flavors to unfold. As for pairing, this is a big Red wine, steaks, stews, BBQ, it has the horsepower to stand-up to big, meaty dishes. The finish is full, but surprisingly soft, and does last. The Summary  The Tenacity Winemaker's Blend 2016 reminds of those popular Australian wines from 10 years ago, only this blend is not as over-the-top as many of those wines. This Red blend shows some solid control and restraint, while still being delicious. Watch for end-of-the-bin-sales, I don't know if you can easily find this wine in the shops, but there are bargains to be had for the smart shopper. The Story The Tenacity Winemaker's Blend 2016 is made by Two Hands Wines from old vine Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mourvedre farmed on vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Two Hands produced the WInemaker's Blend, The Story
The Tenacity Winemaker's Blend 2016 is made by Two Hands Wines from old vine Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mourvedre farmed on vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Two Hands produced the WInemaker's Blend, but it is not listed on their website. There isn't any information about Tenacity anywhere, not from the winery or the distributor, it seems it is an orphan wine. Which can be why I found a wine that sells online for $16 to $18 on an end-of-the-bin-sale for under $10. Which is the beauty of end-of-the-bin-sales, they are interesting wines that you are not interested in at their old selling price but are absolute gems at 40% to 50% off.

Two Hands Wines is a top-notch winery producing wines from the McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley regions of South Australia. McLaren Vale is located near the city of Adelaide and is known as an outstanding growing region for all 4 of the grapes in the blend. McLaren Vale has had vineyards sine 1838 and has an abundance of old vine vineyards. There is no legal definition of old vines, the informal standard is typically 40 years or more. Old grapevines, because of their advanced age struggle to get the nutrients from the roots to the grapes. They produce fewer grapes and the struggle produced complexity in the grapes that few younger vineyards can match. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is opaque black cherry red. The nose is rich and smokey, there is ripe red berries, port wine, baking spice, fudge brownies, blackberry, licorice, and a hint of BBQ smoke. The Tenacity Winemaker's blend starts with a smooth mouthfeel, then shows some rough and ready edges as the flavors unfold. it starts with jammy raspberry and plum, along with a chocolate-covered cherry. The mid-palate adds the rough edges some orange zest, a slap of herbs, a slight pull from the tannins, and non-sweet Dr. Pepper. There is a lot of rich fruit flavors in this blend. The tannins make their presence known but don't get in the way. The acidity is ample enough to allow the flavors to unfold. As for pairing, this is a big Red wine, steaks, stews, BBQ, it has the horsepower to stand-up to big, meaty dishes. The finish is full, but surprisingly soft, and does last.
The Summary

*  The Tenacity Winemaker's Blend 2016 reminds of those popular Australian wines from 10 years ago, only this blend is not as over-the-top as many of those wines. This Red blend shows some solid control and restraint, while still being delicious.
* Watch for end-of-the-bin-sales, I don't know if you can easily find this wine in the shops, but there are bargains to be had for the smart shopper.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:09
Underwood Oregon Bubbly In A Can https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30715/underwood-oregon-bubbly-in-a-can/ Mon, 10 Jun 2019 18:19:46 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30715 The Podcast Story Quake and Dave drink canned wine, actually not just any can of wine, but Underwood Oregon Bubbly In A Can, "The Bubbles". The grapes come from 78% Willamette Valley and 22% Applegate Valley of Oregon. I imagine you have heard of the Willamette Valley, but the Applegate Valley is located inside the Rogue Valley AVA of southern Oregon (Willamette is the northern most AVA of Oregon). The blend is 40% Pinot Gris, 32% Pinot Noir, and 28% Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape, when one is produced in the French style its "Gris" and in the Italian style its "Grigio". When Bubbly is produced in the Traditional Method, such as Champagne is, the 2nd fermentation occurs in each and every bottle of wine. Since this is a can of Sparkling wine and a can and a bottle are 2 very different containers, The Bubbles is produced in the Charmat Method, the same production technique as Prosecco. This is a vintage dated Bubbly, 2018, you will not see it printed on the can. With canned wine the label needs to preprinted on the can and to get the best price on the cans Underwood buys them preprinted in bulk, so you need to check their website to find the current vintage. So, this is a rather unique take on Bubbly, Oregon, Pinot Gris, and a 12 oz can, so tune into Quake and Dave and find out what they think! The Podcast Story Quake and Dave drink canned wine, actually not just any can of wine, but Underwood Oregon Bubbly In A Can, "The Bubbles". The grapes come from 78% Willamette Valley and 22% Applegate Valley of Oregon. The Podcast Story
Quake and Dave drink canned wine, actually not just any can of wine, but Underwood Oregon Bubbly In A Can, "The Bubbles". The grapes come from 78% Willamette Valley and 22% Applegate Valley of Oregon. I imagine you have heard of the Willamette Valley, but the Applegate Valley is located inside the Rogue Valley AVA of southern Oregon (Willamette is the northern most AVA of Oregon). The blend is 40% Pinot Gris, 32% Pinot Noir, and 28% Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape, when one is produced in the French style its "Gris" and in the Italian style its "Grigio". When Bubbly is produced in the Traditional Method, such as Champagne is, the 2nd fermentation occurs in each and every bottle of wine. Since this is a can of Sparkling wine and a can and a bottle are 2 very different containers, The Bubbles is produced in the Charmat Method, the same production technique as Prosecco. This is a vintage dated Bubbly, 2018, you will not see it printed on the can. With canned wine the label needs to preprinted on the can and to get the best price on the cans Underwood buys them preprinted in bulk, so you need to check their website to find the current vintage. So, this is a rather unique take on Bubbly, Oregon, Pinot Gris, and a 12 oz can, so tune into Quake and Dave and find out what they think!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 12:42
Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30730/susana-balbo-crios-torrontes-2017/ Sat, 08 Jun 2019 02:33:25 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30730 The Story The Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 2 regions of Argentina, the Uco Valley in Mendoza (the middle of Argentina) and Cafayate in Salta (Northwest Argentina). Both regions are high up in the foothills (1,700 meters or almost 5,600 feet above sea-level). The high altitude is inhospitable to almost all grapevine pests and disease and gives the vines intense sunlight. Torrontés is an Argentinean grape, it seems to be related to other grape varietals, but is found only in Argentina. Susana Balbo is a world class winemaker, in 2018 she was voted one of the 10 most influential women in wine. The Crios brand is her entry-level  line of wines. I always have great respect for winemakers who not only produced very fine, very expensive wines, but could also deliver on affordable wine. Her Crios wines routinely receive 90+ points from leading publications. The Crios Torrontés is a young wine, it sees no oak aging and after fermentation is aged for 3 month "on lees". On Lees is when the dead yeast and grape residue leftover from fermentation is kept in with the wine during aging. It adds structure, it often adds nutty, salty sensation and when stirred often enough can offer a creamy flavor and texture. The alcohol content is 13.5%.  As a side note the back label shows the time and the date the wine was bottled, that is good information to know with a young wine, where the sooner you drink it the better. Though, you really have a couple of years before these wines lose their "shine". The Tasting Notes The color is a very clean, clear, wheat yellow. The nose is very floral and perfumed. there is lemon chiffon, citrus hard candies, very ripe peach and pear, pungent flowers, tropical fruit, this is not a shy wine. This is a dry wine, not sweet at all, but it has some flavors that you would associate with sweeter wines. It tastes of dried apricots and the syrup from canned pears (not sweet), peach, grapefruit, and lemon/lime. The mid-palate adds guava, crisp apple, and tangerine, with a late slap of salty cashew. The acidity is well-balanced, enough to let the flavors unfold, but not enough to bite. The finish is full and long. The Summary If you are in a White wine rut, too much Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés just may be the cure. The Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2017 is a well-made wine, if you have never sampled Torrontés before, this is a good place to start. ThisTorrontés has a great deal of flavor, but also good body and structure, maybe not a summer afternoon wine, but definitely a summer evening wine. The Story The Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 2 regions of Argentina, the Uco Valley in Mendoza (the middle of Argentina) and Cafayate in Salta (Northwest Argentina). Both regions are high up in the foothills (1, The Story
The Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 2 regions of Argentina, the Uco Valley in Mendoza (the middle of Argentina) and Cafayate in Salta (Northwest Argentina). Both regions are high up in the foothills (1,700 meters or almost 5,600 feet above sea-level). The high altitude is inhospitable to almost all grapevine pests and disease and gives the vines intense sunlight. Torrontés is an Argentinean grape, it seems to be related to other grape varietals, but is found only in Argentina.

Susana Balbo is a world class winemaker, in 2018 she was voted one of the 10 most influential women in wine. The Crios brand is her entry-level  line of wines. I always have great respect for winemakers who not only produced very fine, very expensive wines, but could also deliver on affordable wine. Her Crios wines routinely receive 90+ points from leading publications. The Crios Torrontés is a young wine, it sees no oak aging and after fermentation is aged for 3 month "on lees". On Lees is when the dead yeast and grape residue leftover from fermentation is kept in with the wine during aging. It adds structure, it often adds nutty, salty sensation and when stirred often enough can offer a creamy flavor and texture. The alcohol content is 13.5%.  As a side note the back label shows the time and the date the wine was bottled, that is good information to know with a young wine, where the sooner you drink it the better. Though, you really have a couple of years before these wines lose their "shine".
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very clean, clear, wheat yellow. The nose is very floral and perfumed. there is lemon chiffon, citrus hard candies, very ripe peach and pear, pungent flowers, tropical fruit, this is not a shy wine. This is a dry wine, not sweet at all, but it has some flavors that you would associate with sweeter wines. It tastes of dried apricots and the syrup from canned pears (not sweet), peach, grapefruit, and lemon/lime. The mid-palate adds guava, crisp apple, and tangerine, with a late slap of salty cashew. The acidity is well-balanced, enough to let the flavors unfold, but not enough to bite. The finish is full and long.
The Summary

* If you are in a White wine rut, too much Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés just may be the cure.
* The Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2017 is a well-made wine, if you have never sampled Torrontés before, this is a good place to start.
* ThisTorrontés has a great deal of flavor, but also good body and structure, maybe not a summer afternoon wine, but definitely a summer evening wine.
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CheapWineFinder clean 6:20
Wine at Wrigley Field & Chicago Gourmet https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30700/wine-at-wrigley-field-chicago-gourmet/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 03:32:29 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30700 The Story This podcast has Quake and Dave talking about, Wine @ Wrigley Field and a food and wine festival, Chicago Gourmet at Millennium Park. 1)Terlato and Federalist Wines took us to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field to drink wine. They serve a whole bottle wine in a plastic carafe, the price is right on par with having a couple of Buds. And a pretty good wine selection, Prosecco, French Rose' and the Federalist wines. 2) Next we talk about our favorite outdoor Chicago Food and Wine Extravaganza, Chicago Gourmet. An adult carnival of fun, great food, outstanding beverages in an iconic Chicago setting. All of this in a podcast that Quake and Dave recorded on a rooftop on a beautiful spring day. The Story This podcast has Quake and Dave talking about, Wine @ Wrigley Field and a food and wine festival, Chicago Gourmet at Millennium Park. - 1)Terlato and Federalist Wines took us to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field to drink wine. This podcast has Quake and Dave talking about, Wine @ Wrigley Field and a food and wine festival, Chicago Gourmet at Millennium Park.

1)Terlato and Federalist Wines took us to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field to drink wine. They serve a whole bottle wine in a plastic carafe, the price is right on par with having a couple of Buds. And a pretty good wine selection, Prosecco, French Rose' and the Federalist wines.

2) Next we talk about our favorite outdoor Chicago Food and Wine Extravaganza, Chicago Gourmet. An adult carnival of fun, great food, outstanding beverages in an iconic Chicago setting.

All of this in a podcast that Quake and Dave recorded on a rooftop on a beautiful spring day.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 20:01
Overlake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30684/overlake-sauvignon-blanc-2018/ Fri, 31 May 2019 03:06:24 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30684  The Story The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a $4.99 Trader Joe's exclusive, produced by the Nice Wine Company from vineyards in the Lake County AVA of Northern California. There actually was a Nice Wine Company, it was located in the town of Nice and they had been making wine for Trader Joe's since at least 2009, the wine was 6 bucks then. In 2018, Shannon Ridge purchased the Nice Wine Company, I don't know if that will affect future Overlake Wines for Trader Joe's. Lake County is just north of Napa Valley. There is a large lake and a mountain dominating the grape growing areas and have significant climate effects on the vineyards. Most of Lake Counties vineyards are planted at fairly high altitude, 1,000 feet+, which helps keep the pests that bedevil the vines at bay. The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a young wine, meaning that it is produced with fairly simple production techniques and undergoes little aging. It is intended to be consumed young, these wines are at their best in the first two years of release and really, the sooner you drink them the better. The Lake County AVA has a wine history that goes back 140 years and is known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The alcohol content is a ripe 13.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is, well, kind of clear, just a hint of butter yellow. The nose is pretty and perfumed, loads of ripe, peach, pear, apple, lemon, lime, grapefruit and spring flowers. This Sauv Blanc has a full mouthfeel, with solid acidity, this is no wishy-washy 5 buck wine. It tastes of melon, lemon, and grapefruit, slightly sweet, but this isn't a sweet wine, then ripe peach. The mid-palate offers dried apricot, a little cream, that grassy sensation that is so prominent in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and a touch of spice. The acidity is solid, it will pair will with food, but I think it does it's best as a patio sipper. The finish starts off strong then fades. The Summary Young wines need not be expensive, they are a thing, a particular style. Bright, fruit-forward, good acidity and with Sauvignon Blanc, when done right, they are summer-time in a bottle The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc is a $4.99 wine, but if asked, your guests will never guess five bucks. This is a well-made, tasty wine that costs 5 bucks, need I say more?  The Story The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a $4.99 Trader Joe's exclusive, produced by the Nice Wine Company from vineyards in the Lake County AVA of Northern California. There actually was a Nice Wine Company,  The Story
The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a $4.99 Trader Joe's exclusive, produced by the Nice Wine Company from vineyards in the Lake County AVA of Northern California. There actually was a Nice Wine Company, it was located in the town of Nice and they had been making wine for Trader Joe's since at least 2009, the wine was 6 bucks then. In 2018, Shannon Ridge purchased the Nice Wine Company, I don't know if that will affect future Overlake Wines for Trader Joe's.

Lake County is just north of Napa Valley. There is a large lake and a mountain dominating the grape growing areas and have significant climate effects on the vineyards. Most of Lake Counties vineyards are planted at fairly high altitude, 1,000 feet+, which helps keep the pests that bedevil the vines at bay. The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a young wine, meaning that it is produced with fairly simple production techniques and undergoes little aging. It is intended to be consumed young, these wines are at their best in the first two years of release and really, the sooner you drink them the better. The Lake County AVA has a wine history that goes back 140 years and is known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The alcohol content is a ripe 13.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is, well, kind of clear, just a hint of butter yellow. The nose is pretty and perfumed, loads of ripe, peach, pear, apple, lemon, lime, grapefruit and spring flowers. This Sauv Blanc has a full mouthfeel, with solid acidity, this is no wishy-washy 5 buck wine. It tastes of melon, lemon, and grapefruit, slightly sweet, but this isn't a sweet wine, then ripe peach. The mid-palate offers dried apricot, a little cream, that grassy sensation that is so prominent in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and a touch of spice. The acidity is solid, it will pair will with food, but I think it does it's best as a patio sipper. The finish starts off strong then fades.
The Summary

* Young wines need not be expensive, they are a thing, a particular style. Bright, fruit-forward, good acidity and with Sauvignon Blanc, when done right, they are summer-time in a bottle
* The Overlake Sauvignon Blanc is a $4.99 wine, but if asked, your guests will never guess five bucks.
* This is a well-made, tasty wine that costs 5 bucks, need I say more?
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:21
Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30661/maison-de-joie-brut-sparkling-wine/ Tue, 28 May 2019 03:01:25 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30661 The Story The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a non-vintage $11.49 ALDI wine produced in New Mexico from mostly New Mexico vineyards, but also grapes from California and Washington. The name translates to "House of Joy". The label says American Sparkling wine because grapes come from more than one State. Before you say, "New Mexico Bubbly, what's up with that?". Remember that one of the very best Sparkling Wine producers in the country is headquartered in Albuquerque. Gruet has produced Bubbly in New Mexico since the early 80's and have owned a winery in Champagne, France since the early 50's. It just so happens that the high elevation vineyards are an ideal place to grow Champagne-style grapes. This Sparkling wine is produced with the Traditional Method, the wine is fermented twice. The 1st time occurs pretty much the same way as still wine (the regular, non-Bubbly wine), but the 2nd fermentation happens inside each and every bottle. The wine is bottled, but not filled all the way up, they need to leave a little room, then a measured amount of yeast and sugar are added to each bottle. And then the magic happens and the bubbles appear, actually it's science, the CO2 released from fermentation is released, but since it is captured in the bottle is incorporated into the wine over time, forming the bubbles. The individual bottles are slightly rotated on a regular basis so the dead yeast doesn't stick to the inside of the bottle. In a side note, this is where the yeasty, bread flavors and aromas come from. After many months and sometimes several years the dead yeast is remove and the dosage is added to each bottle. The dosage can be sugar and additional wine, this tops the bottle off and can bring the Bubbly up to the desired sweetness level. And this inexpensive ALDI Bubbly is produced by a winery that knows how to make Champagne and Champagne-style wines. Often value priced Bubbles are made by folks who are not known for their Sparkling Wine, that doesn't mean their efforts are not up to par, it is just better to sometimes leave it to the professionals. The alcohol content is a proper 12%. The Tasting Notes The color is golden yellow, with tons of teeny-tiny energetic bubbles. The nose subtle, lemon, melon, apple, brioche, a little peach, some pear, and lightly floral. The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a crisp, clean Sparkling wine, with solid balanced acidity. It starts with with non-sweet lemon/lime, green apple, and grapefruit. The mid-palate adds peach and pear, a hit of gentle spice, a salty, nutty sensation, and light yeasty/bready flavor. The acidity is perfectly suited for sipping and as for pairing Bubbly goes with almost everything (within reason). The finish is delicate and lengthy.  The Summary The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a legit Traditional Method Champagne-style Bubbly. And it sells for $11.49. The flavors are light, crisp, and delicate, but it is fruit-forward and tasty. The yeasty, bready flavors are subdued. I doubt that this is a Gruet Sparkling Wine that is simply relabeled, but is most likely a whole new wine created especially for ALDI. At this price, there is no reason not to have a fine Bubbly on your wine rotation. The Maison de Joie Brut is highly affordable and highly recommended. The Story The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a non-vintage $11.49 ALDI wine produced in New Mexico from mostly New Mexico vineyards, but also grapes from California and Washington. The name translates to "House of Joy". The Story
The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a non-vintage $11.49 ALDI wine produced in New Mexico from mostly New Mexico vineyards, but also grapes from California and Washington. The name translates to "House of Joy". The label says American Sparkling wine because grapes come from more than one State. Before you say, "New Mexico Bubbly, what's up with that?". Remember that one of the very best Sparkling Wine producers in the country is headquartered in Albuquerque. Gruet has produced Bubbly in New Mexico since the early 80's and have owned a winery in Champagne, France since the early 50's. It just so happens that the high elevation vineyards are an ideal place to grow Champagne-style grapes.

This Sparkling wine is produced with the Traditional Method, the wine is fermented twice. The 1st time occurs pretty much the same way as still wine (the regular, non-Bubbly wine), but the 2nd fermentation happens inside each and every bottle. The wine is bottled, but not filled all the way up, they need to leave a little room, then a measured amount of yeast and sugar are added to each bottle. And then the magic happens and the bubbles appear, actually it's science, the CO2 released from fermentation is released, but since it is captured in the bottle is incorporated into the wine over time, forming the bubbles. The individual bottles are slightly rotated on a regular basis so the dead yeast doesn't stick to the inside of the bottle. In a side note, this is where the yeasty, bread flavors and aromas come from. After many months and sometimes several years the dead yeast is remove and the dosage is added to each bottle. The dosage can be sugar and additional wine, this tops the bottle off and can bring the Bubbly up to the desired sweetness level. And this inexpensive ALDI Bubbly is produced by a winery that knows how to make Champagne and Champagne-style wines. Often value priced Bubbles are made by folks who are not known for their Sparkling Wine, that doesn't mean their efforts are not up to par, it is just better to sometimes leave it to the professionals. The alcohol content is a proper 12%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is golden yellow, with tons of teeny-tiny energetic bubbles. The nose subtle, lemon, melon, apple, brioche, a little peach, some pear, and lightly floral. The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a crisp, clean Sparkling wine, with solid balanced acidity. It starts with with non-sweet lemon/lime, green apple, and grapefruit. The mid-palate adds peach and pear, a hit of gentle spice, a salty, nutty sensation, and light yeasty/bready flavor. The acidity is perfectly suited for sipping and as for pairing Bubbly goes with almost everything (within reason). The finish is delicate and lengthy. 
The Summary

* The Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling Wine is a legit Traditional Method Champagne-style Bubbly. And it sells for $11.49.
* The flavors are light, crisp, and delicate, but it is fruit-forward and tasty. The yeasty, bready flavors are subdued.
* I doubt that this is a Gruet Sparkling Wine that is simply relabeled, but is most likely a whole new wine created especially for ALDI.
* At this price, there is no reason not to have a fine Bubbly on your wine rotation. The Maison de Joie Brut is highly affordable and highly recommended.
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CheapWineFinder clean 10:07
Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30650/angeline-reserve-pinot-noir-2017/ Fri, 24 May 2019 03:43:11 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30650 The Story The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is produced from vineyards in coastal Mendocino County, along with a smaller portion of grapes from the Russian River AVA and the Carneros AVA. Angelina is a family owned and operated winery and vineyards headquartered in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma. They produce another Pinot Noir, the California Pinot Noir, which is a mix of Central Coast and North Coast grapes. Mendocino County is located just north of Sonoma and has many of the vineyard advantages as coastal Sonoma County. But Mendocino County is not as well known to the average everyday wine enthusiast because even though Mendocino has great vineyards and fantastic wineries, it was California's outlaw marijuana growing capital. It seems the same out of the way hills and valleys that grapevines love so much are also ideal locations for the weed industry. Instead, Mendocino isn't known as Burgundy on the California coast, but for Mendocino Greeno. Angeline was founded 29 years ago, and here is a quote which is maybe their founding statement, "I love the challenge of creating incredible wines that over deliver. That’s where I like to play." Angeline's wines are affordable but they are not ordinary. Their website shows a list price of $20, but I found it on sale for $12.99. (Winery websites often show a list price that is higher than what you would find on store shelves because they do not want to directly compete with the wine shops that sell their wine.) The 2017 vintage in California was the first vintage after the extended drought and had a growing season lasting from mid-March to Mid-August. This Pinot Noir is aged in French oak barrels for 9 months, 40% of the barrels are new. The alcohol content is a robust 13.9%. The Tasting Notes The color is garnet red with black highlights, see-thru, but on the darker side for Pinot Noir. The nose is dark and brooding, there is cherry, but also herbs, spices, smoke from burning autumn leaves, followed by sweet strawberry and vanilla. The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is a smooth, but intense Pinot with solid acidity. It tastes of black cherry, Dr. Pepper, black pepper, and spice. The mid-palate offer dusty tannins, orange zest, strawberry and a cooling hit of vanilla. The acidity is very well controlled and the finish is full (especially for a well priced Pinot) and long. The Summary The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is an excellent, slightly higher alcohol, Pinot Noir. It has a sense of place, it isn't a pale version of the more expensive stuff. In the past there was high priced Pinot Noir and whatever the heck they were doing with the value-priced wine. Cheap Pinot Noir did't really have any relation to the pricey stuff. Today, value priced or more affordable Pinots are delicious and unique in their own right. So, light up or drink up, Mendocino has it going on. The Story The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is produced from vineyards in coastal Mendocino County, along with a smaller portion of grapes from the Russian River AVA and the Carneros AVA. Angelina is a family owned and operated winery and vineyards... The Story
The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is produced from vineyards in coastal Mendocino County, along with a smaller portion of grapes from the Russian River AVA and the Carneros AVA. Angelina is a family owned and operated winery and vineyards headquartered in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma. They produce another Pinot Noir, the California Pinot Noir, which is a mix of Central Coast and North Coast grapes. Mendocino County is located just north of Sonoma and has many of the vineyard advantages as coastal Sonoma County. But Mendocino County is not as well known to the average everyday wine enthusiast because even though Mendocino has great vineyards and fantastic wineries, it was California's outlaw marijuana growing capital. It seems the same out of the way hills and valleys that grapevines love so much are also ideal locations for the weed industry. Instead, Mendocino isn't known as Burgundy on the California coast, but for Mendocino Greeno.

Angeline was founded 29 years ago, and here is a quote which is maybe their founding statement, "I love the challenge of creating incredible wines that over deliver. That’s where I like to play." Angeline's wines are affordable but they are not ordinary. Their website shows a list price of $20, but I found it on sale for $12.99. (Winery websites often show a list price that is higher than what you would find on store shelves because they do not want to directly compete with the wine shops that sell their wine.) The 2017 vintage in California was the first vintage after the extended drought and had a growing season lasting from mid-March to Mid-August. This Pinot Noir is aged in French oak barrels for 9 months, 40% of the barrels are new. The alcohol content is a robust 13.9%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is garnet red with black highlights, see-thru, but on the darker side for Pinot Noir. The nose is dark and brooding, there is cherry, but also herbs, spices, smoke from burning autumn leaves, followed by sweet strawberry and vanilla. The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is a smooth, but intense Pinot with solid acidity. It tastes of black cherry, Dr. Pepper, black pepper, and spice. The mid-palate offer dusty tannins, orange zest, strawberry and a cooling hit of vanilla. The acidity is very well controlled and the finish is full (especially for a well priced Pinot) and long.
The Summary

* The Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 is an excellent, slightly higher alcohol, Pinot Noir. It has a sense of place, it isn't a pale version of the more expensive stuff.
* In the past there was high priced Pinot Noir and whatever the heck they were doing with the value-priced wine. Cheap Pinot Noir did't really have any relation to the pricey stuff.
* Today, value priced or more affordable Pinots are delicious and unique in their own right.
* So, light up or drink up, Mendocino has it going on.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:52
90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose’ Lot 33 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30641/90-cellars-languedoc-rose-lot-33/ Wed, 22 May 2019 02:54:33 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30641 The Story The 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 2018 is an AOC designated wine sourced from grapes from several vineyards located in the foothills of the Cevennes Mountains in the Languedoc region of south central France. The grapes used in the blend are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault, which are some of the best Red grapes from the area. You often see French wines in this price range classified as IGP or Vin de Pays wines, which are wines from this local that didn't adhere to all the rules and regulations of the governing commission, those are AOC wines. There is nothing wrong or unusual about IGP/Vin de Pays wines, there are a hundred legitimate reasons for not conforming to the rules, especially with value priced wine. But it is a good sign to see AOC on the label, it does insure a certain level of quality. 90+ Cellars are negotiants, that is a French term for a wine merchant who purchases wine from established wineries and sells the wine under their own label. The wine in question is usually excess or left-over wine, the negociant can negotiate (so that is where the name comes from) a good price. Because they pay cash, up front, and since the negotiants wine is less expensive and under a completely different label, the wine does not directly complete with the original bottling. When 90+ Cellars first started they only purchased excess wine that had recently been awarded 90 plus points by a major wine publication. While they still do that to some level they are now more concerned with good wine than good points. The concept is that you are buying an excellent wine from a reputable winery at a greatly reduced price, you just don't know which winery. The alcohol content is a mild 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is pink with an apricot tint. The nose is very floral, with ripe apple, lime, Meyer lemon, Bosc pear, faint pineapple, tropical fruit, and vanilla. This Rose' is dry, with good structure, it has a bit of weight on the palate, with a  mix of tart and fruit flavors. It starts with tart, slightly acidic melon, lemon, green apple, and peach. The mid-palate offers soft spice, strawberry, black cherry, a salty sensation and sweetened lemonade. The acidity is slightly subdued, it does not bite and allows the 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 to be an excellent patio sipper. The finish is full for a Rose' and does stick around for awhile. The Summary The 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 2018 is a grown-up adult Rose', no fluffy cotton candy flavors, the structure is as solid as the flavors. Just like a good respectable French wine should. When looking for an excellent value-priced Rose', it is hard to go wrong with Rose' from southern France. They have been making Rose' long enough to really know what they are doing. The more I sip this Rose', the more I like it, it pulls you in. The Story The 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 2018 is an AOC designated wine sourced from grapes from several vineyards located in the foothills of the Cevennes Mountains in the Languedoc region of south central France. The Story
The 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 2018 is an AOC designated wine sourced from grapes from several vineyards located in the foothills of the Cevennes Mountains in the Languedoc region of south central France. The grapes used in the blend are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault, which are some of the best Red grapes from the area. You often see French wines in this price range classified as IGP or Vin de Pays wines, which are wines from this local that didn't adhere to all the rules and regulations of the governing commission, those are AOC wines. There is nothing wrong or unusual about IGP/Vin de Pays wines, there are a hundred legitimate reasons for not conforming to the rules, especially with value priced wine. But it is a good sign to see AOC on the label, it does insure a certain level of quality.

90+ Cellars are negotiants, that is a French term for a wine merchant who purchases wine from established wineries and sells the wine under their own label. The wine in question is usually excess or left-over wine, the negociant can negotiate (so that is where the name comes from) a good price. Because they pay cash, up front, and since the negotiants wine is less expensive and under a completely different label, the wine does not directly complete with the original bottling. When 90+ Cellars first started they only purchased excess wine that had recently been awarded 90 plus points by a major wine publication. While they still do that to some level they are now more concerned with good wine than good points. The concept is that you are buying an excellent wine from a reputable winery at a greatly reduced price, you just don't know which winery. The alcohol content is a mild 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pink with an apricot tint. The nose is very floral, with ripe apple, lime, Meyer lemon, Bosc pear, faint pineapple, tropical fruit, and vanilla. This Rose' is dry, with good structure, it has a bit of weight on the palate, with a  mix of tart and fruit flavors. It starts with tart, slightly acidic melon, lemon, green apple, and peach. The mid-palate offers soft spice, strawberry, black cherry, a salty sensation and sweetened lemonade. The acidity is slightly subdued, it does not bite and allows the 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 to be an excellent patio sipper. The finish is full for a Rose' and does stick around for awhile.
The Summary

* The 90+ Cellars Languedoc Rose' Lot 33 2018 is a grown-up adult Rose', no fluffy cotton candy flavors, the structure is as solid as the flavors. Just like a good respectable French wine should.
* When looking for an excellent value-priced Rose', it is hard to go wrong with Rose' from southern France. They have been making Rose' long enough to really know what they are doing.
* The more I sip this Rose', the more I like it, it pulls you in.
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CheapWineFinder clean 9:59
Exquisite Collection NZ Sauvignon Blanc https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30629/exquisite-collection-nz-sauvignon-blanc/ Mon, 20 May 2019 03:04:32 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30629 The Story The Exquisite Collection Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is an $8.49 ALDI import exclusive. Marlborough is located on the Northwest tip of New Zealand's South Island, most of the nationally distributed NZ Sauvignon Blanc comes from this region. There is a pecking order for the pricing of New Zealand Sauv Blancs. The wines sourced from several contacted (not Estate) vineyards somewhere inside Marlborough sell for around ten bucks. The Estate wines, meaning the producing winery owned the vineyard, sell in the $15 to $20 range, and the single vineyard Estate wines go up from there. So, as a single vineyard wine the Exquisite Collection NZ Sauvignon Blanc is priced at a level that you seldom see. But, the location and the ownership of the vineyard does not tell the whole story. The $10 Sauv Blancs are produced in a style that allows the wine to come together quickly and is a bright, breezy, young wine. The mid-range Sauvignon Blanc will undergo more complicated winemaking procedures and the expensive stuff gets all the bells and whistles. Style and production methods have as much to do and probably more with the wines price tag than purely the vineyard specifications. The Exquisite Collection may be a Sauv Blanc that went thru the full array of winemaking techniques and is sold off at a low price. Or it could be a single vineyard wine produced in the light and breezy $10 style, just with more expensive grapes than usual. The alcohol content is a subdued 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is typical New Zealand Sauv Blanc, the aromas jump out of the glass, there is tropical fruit, peach, pear, flowers, melon, guava, ripe apple, and lemon. The Exquisite Collection starts like a typical fresh, bright, and bold New Zealand wine, then mellows out on the mid-palate. It is a really nice effect. It tastes of guava, melon, limes, green apple and peach, along with pink grapefruit. The mid-palate adds papaya, soft lemon, and a nutty, salty sensation. The acidity is the lip-smacking kind I like so much, it is hard not to take another sip. The finish is reasonable full and reasonably long. The Summary I'm not completely positive, but I think this may well be a more expensive wine, maybe leftovers, selling at a bargain price. There seems to be some "on lees" fermentation and aging you don't see in sub-$10 wine, along with a nice transition on the mid-palate. There also seems to be a little more weight to this Sauv Blanc than you see in the young, fruitier wines. Either way, it's $8.49, it's a single vineyard, it's New Zealand, and it tastes real good. The Story The Exquisite Collection Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is an $8.49 ALDI import exclusive. Marlborough is located on the Northwest tip of New Zealand's South Island, most of the nationally distributed NZ Sauvignon Blanc com... The Story
The Exquisite Collection Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is an $8.49 ALDI import exclusive. Marlborough is located on the Northwest tip of New Zealand's South Island, most of the nationally distributed NZ Sauvignon Blanc comes from this region. There is a pecking order for the pricing of New Zealand Sauv Blancs. The wines sourced from several contacted (not Estate) vineyards somewhere inside Marlborough sell for around ten bucks. The Estate wines, meaning the producing winery owned the vineyard, sell in the $15 to $20 range, and the single vineyard Estate wines go up from there. So, as a single vineyard wine the Exquisite Collection NZ Sauvignon Blanc is priced at a level that you seldom see.

But, the location and the ownership of the vineyard does not tell the whole story. The $10 Sauv Blancs are produced in a style that allows the wine to come together quickly and is a bright, breezy, young wine. The mid-range Sauvignon Blanc will undergo more complicated winemaking procedures and the expensive stuff gets all the bells and whistles. Style and production methods have as much to do and probably more with the wines price tag than purely the vineyard specifications. The Exquisite Collection may be a Sauv Blanc that went thru the full array of winemaking techniques and is sold off at a low price. Or it could be a single vineyard wine produced in the light and breezy $10 style, just with more expensive grapes than usual. The alcohol content is a subdued 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is typical New Zealand Sauv Blanc, the aromas jump out of the glass, there is tropical fruit, peach, pear, flowers, melon, guava, ripe apple, and lemon. The Exquisite Collection starts like a typical fresh, bright, and bold New Zealand wine, then mellows out on the mid-palate. It is a really nice effect. It tastes of guava, melon, limes, green apple and peach, along with pink grapefruit. The mid-palate adds papaya, soft lemon, and a nutty, salty sensation. The acidity is the lip-smacking kind I like so much, it is hard not to take another sip. The finish is reasonable full and reasonably long.
The Summary

* I'm not completely positive, but I think this may well be a more expensive wine, maybe leftovers, selling at a bargain price.
* There seems to be some "on lees" fermentation and aging you don't see in sub-$10 wine, along with a nice transition on the mid-palate.
* There also seems to be a little more weight to this Sauv Blanc than you see in the young, fruitier wines.
* Either way, it's $8.49, it's a single vineyard, it's New Zealand, and it tastes real good.
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CheapWineFinder clean 9:41
Cachai Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30601/cachai-chardonnay-2018/ Fri, 17 May 2019 03:00:23 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30601 The Story The Cachai Chardonnay 2018 is a $3.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from vineyards in Chile.  Normally when you see wine from Chile the label will show the Central Valley or some smaller valley as place of origin, but the Chacai (translates to "catch") just says Chile. That would lead you to believe that the grapes are sourced from several regions. But the Trader Joe's wine notes indicates the grapes were picked at night and quickly pressed, that is rather specific and seems to indicate a more singular location for the grapes. At $3.99 the Cachai comes close to 2 Buck Chuck territory, especially when you factor in the cost of shipping this Chardonnay from Chile to your local TJ's. According to the Fearless Flyer, this is a young, fresh Chardonnay, fermented and aged (at least for a short period of time) in stainless steel vats. No mention of malolactic fermentations or on lees, but they did mention something that I rarely see wineries talk about. They added toasted oak chips to the stainless steel tanks. This is a technique that delivers oak flavoring to the wine in a cost effective manner that still allows the Chardonnay to come together quickly and be ready for sale. An oak barrel can cost $1,000 and that is an expensive that will make inexpensive wines far more expensive. They use chips, staves, powder, all toasted to a specific flavor to add to the aging wine and winemakers have gotten very good at mixing just the right amount of oak seasoning to add interest to the wine and to give the allusion of a higher priced wine. But, you never see them admit to doing it in the tasting notes, its always "aged on oak", like they poured the wine on the barrel not in it or they say "oak aging" not oak barrel aging. If they leave out any mention of a barrel you can surmise they used ships, staves, or powder. Not that any of this is wrong or bad, if it improves the flavor and the drinkability of inexpensive wine, then I am all for it. The alcohol content is 13%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale butter yellow. The nose is husky, melons, green apples, and lemons with a floral gardenia edge, so far so good for a 4 buck Chardonnay. This is a medium bodied, crisp, fruit/citrus forward Chard with well-balanced acidity, a $3.99 food wine? It tastes of lemon/lime, ripe green apple, juicy pear, a little melon. It isn't super complicated and it does not transition to a mid-palate (no secondary flavors), but what it does offer is tasty. The acidity is wonderful, it has the balance of far more expensive Chardonnay. I realize that folks don't buy value priced Chardonnay for the acidity, but that the structure is solid is a very good sign. The acidity allows the finish to hang around for a good length of time. The Summary Is the Cachai Chardonnay a 2 Buck Chuck Killer? Well this tastes like an honest to goodness Chardonnay to me, the real deal and I almost never get that feeling from the Charles Shaw stuff. The Cachai is a very drinkable $3.99 Chardonnay, the nose shows a bit more melon than I prefer (I'm being picky), but it drinks fine and is perfectly suited for a warm summers night. Plus the acidity makes this a food wine, cold seafood, cheese, tapas, fancy salads will work well.   The Story The Cachai Chardonnay 2018 is a $3.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from vineyards in Chile.  Normally when you see wine from Chile the label will show the Central Valley or some smaller valley as place of origin, The Story
The Cachai Chardonnay 2018 is a $3.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from vineyards in Chile.  Normally when you see wine from Chile the label will show the Central Valley or some smaller valley as place of origin, but the Chacai (translates to "catch") just says Chile. That would lead you to believe that the grapes are sourced from several regions. But the Trader Joe's wine notes indicates the grapes were picked at night and quickly pressed, that is rather specific and seems to indicate a more singular location for the grapes. At $3.99 the Cachai comes close to 2 Buck Chuck territory, especially when you factor in the cost of shipping this Chardonnay from Chile to your local TJ's.

According to the Fearless Flyer, this is a young, fresh Chardonnay, fermented and aged (at least for a short period of time) in stainless steel vats. No mention of malolactic fermentations or on lees, but they did mention something that I rarely see wineries talk about. They added toasted oak chips to the stainless steel tanks. This is a technique that delivers oak flavoring to the wine in a cost effective manner that still allows the Chardonnay to come together quickly and be ready for sale. An oak barrel can cost $1,000 and that is an expensive that will make inexpensive wines far more expensive. They use chips, staves, powder, all toasted to a specific flavor to add to the aging wine and winemakers have gotten very good at mixing just the right amount of oak seasoning to add interest to the wine and to give the allusion of a higher priced wine. But, you never see them admit to doing it in the tasting notes, its always "aged on oak", like they poured the wine on the barrel not in it or they say "oak aging" not oak barrel aging. If they leave out any mention of a barrel you can surmise they used ships, staves, or powder. Not that any of this is wrong or bad, if it improves the flavor and the drinkability of inexpensive wine, then I am all for it. The alcohol content is 13%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale butter yellow. The nose is husky, melons, green apples, and lemons with a floral gardenia edge, so far so good for a 4 buck Chardonnay. This is a medium bodied, crisp, fruit/citrus forward Chard with well-balanced acidity, a $3.99 food wine? It tastes of lemon/lime, ripe green apple, juicy pear, a little melon. It isn't super complicated and it does not transition to a mid-palate (no secondary flavors), but what it does offer is tasty. The acidity is wonderful, it has the balance of far more expensive Chardonnay. I realize that folks don't buy value priced Chardonnay for the acidity, but that the structure is solid is a very good sign. The acidity allows the finish to hang around for a good length of time.
The Summary

* Is the Cachai Chardonnay a 2 Buck Chuck Killer? Well this tastes like an honest to goodness Chardonnay to me, the real deal and I almost never get that feeling from the Charles Shaw stuff.
* The Cachai is a very drinkable $3.99 Chardonnay, the nose shows a bit more melon than I prefer (I'm being picky), but it drinks fine and is perfectly suited for a warm summers night.
* Plus the acidity makes this a food wine, cold seafood, cheese, tapas, fancy salads will work well.

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:43
TJ’s Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30585/tjs-grand-reserve-sonoma-meritage-2013/ Wed, 15 May 2019 02:34:00 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30585 The Story The TJ's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013-Lot 92 is a Trader Joe's limited edition $12.99 Bordeaux Blend comprised of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A 12.99 Sonoma Meritage Red Blend isn't all that unusual, but where the Tj's Grand Reserve separates itself from the other $12.99 wines, is this blend is aged in French oak barrels for 26 months. Trader Joe's says wines with this pedigree sell in the $25 to $50 range and I believe them. Even back in 2013 taking a Sonoma Red blend and aging it in oak for over 2 years then adding an additional 4 years bottle age and then giving it a sub-$13 price tag wasn't a solid business plan. This is not a wine you see at this price very often. Back in 2008 when the economy tanked, this type of deal popped up fairly often, there was always some winery that needed to generate cash and sold off wine at bargain prices. But today, not so much. So, What is the story behind this limited edition wine? Trader Joe's ain't telling. A wine is aged in oak barrels for a long period of time when it is intended to be cellar worthy and last 10, 15 years, maybe more. The general rule of thumb with oak aging is that if it is aged in barrel of 1 year it needs to bottle aged for 1 additional year, aged in barrel 2 years, then 2 years additional in bottle. There are variables, it is not an exact 1 to 1 ratio, but wines that are aged in oak barrels for an extended period of time take at least that amount of time to become ready for sale. These are not drink-it-now wines, they tend not to use the vineyards as drink-it-now wines, the grapes have different characteristics that allow them to age successfully. These are not $12.99 wines. The word Meritage indicates that the TJ's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013 is a Bordeaux blend. There is a organization in California that is dedicated to the study and advancement of Bordeaux grapes and the wineries pay them a fee to use the word Meritage on the label. That is another clue of sorts, when you are selling a wine for $12.99 you may skip the Meritage fee and just call your wine a Red Blend. Something else I noticed is the cork is new, you would figure a 2013 vintage cork would be stained significantly red, but this cork looks new. The bottle is a legitimate big, heavy California Red bottle suitable for aging, maybe it is the original bottle, but did the original cork have the producing wineries name on it? I guess at $12.99 for a wine that should sell for $25 to $50 a little mystery is ok. The alcohol content is 14.3%. The Tasting Notes The color is some serious purple. The nose is complex and dark, dark berries and oak spice, vanilla, pepper, brownies baking in the oven, nutmeg and cinnamon. The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013-Lot 92 is the real deal, it is a solid Sonoma Red blend, there is plenty of oak seasoning but it is well integrated into the flavor profile, this is a wine that can be put away and cellared for several more years. It tastes of blackberry, strong tea, herbs, pepper, black licorice, and spice. The mid-palate offers cherry, tangerine zest, a hint of cream, and exotic spice. The tannins are there, but they don't bite. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold, but do not get in the way of sipping pleasure. The finish is big and long. The Summary This is a no-brainer, how often do you get an age-worthy Sonoma Bordeaux Blend for $12.99? Once your local Trader Joe's sells out, this wine is gone for good, so buy accordingly. I thought going into this review, that The Grand reserve was a $40 Red blend that didn't match up to its competition, so it was being sold off. But, I don't think that is the case, this is a solid, tasty Red Blend. The Story The TJ's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013-Lot 92 is a Trader Joe's limited edition $12.99 Bordeaux Blend comprised of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A 12.99 Sonoma Meritage Red Blend isn't all that unusual, The Story
The TJ's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013-Lot 92 is a Trader Joe's limited edition $12.99 Bordeaux Blend comprised of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A 12.99 Sonoma Meritage Red Blend isn't all that unusual, but where the Tj's Grand Reserve separates itself from the other $12.99 wines, is this blend is aged in French oak barrels for 26 months. Trader Joe's says wines with this pedigree sell in the $25 to $50 range and I believe them. Even back in 2013 taking a Sonoma Red blend and aging it in oak for over 2 years then adding an additional 4 years bottle age and then giving it a sub-$13 price tag wasn't a solid business plan. This is not a wine you see at this price very often. Back in 2008 when the economy tanked, this type of deal popped up fairly often, there was always some winery that needed to generate cash and sold off wine at bargain prices. But today, not so much.

So, What is the story behind this limited edition wine? Trader Joe's ain't telling. A wine is aged in oak barrels for a long period of time when it is intended to be cellar worthy and last 10, 15 years, maybe more. The general rule of thumb with oak aging is that if it is aged in barrel of 1 year it needs to bottle aged for 1 additional year, aged in barrel 2 years, then 2 years additional in bottle. There are variables, it is not an exact 1 to 1 ratio, but wines that are aged in oak barrels for an extended period of time take at least that amount of time to become ready for sale. These are not drink-it-now wines, they tend not to use the vineyards as drink-it-now wines, the grapes have different characteristics that allow them to age successfully. These are not $12.99 wines.

The word Meritage indicates that the TJ's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013 is a Bordeaux blend. There is a organization in California that is dedicated to the study and advancement of Bordeaux grapes and the wineries pay them a fee to use the word Meritage on the label. That is another clue of sorts, when you are selling a wine for $12.99 you may skip the Meritage fee and just call your wine a Red Blend. Something else I noticed is the cork is new, you would figure a 2013 vintage cork would be stained significantly red, but this cork looks new. The bottle is a legitimate big, heavy California Red bottle suitable for aging, maybe it is the original bottle, but did the original cork have the producing wineries name on it? I guess at $12.99 for a wine that should sell for $25 to $50 a little mystery is ok. The alcohol content is 14.3%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is some serious purple. The nose is complex and dark, dark berries and oak spice, vanilla, pepper, brownies baking in the oven, nutmeg and cinnamon. The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Sonoma Meritage 2013-Lot 92 is the real deal, it is a solid Sonoma Red blend, there is plenty of oak seasoning but it is well integrated into the flavor profile, this is a wine that can be put away and cellared for several more years. It tastes of blackberry, strong tea, herbs, pepper, black licorice, and spice. The mid-palate offers cherry, tangerine zest, a hint of cream, and exotic spice. The tannins are there, but they don't bite. The acidity allows the flavors to unfold, but do not get in the way of sipping pleasure. The finish is big and long.
The Summary

* This is a no-brainer, how often do you get an age-worthy Sonoma Bordeaux Blend for $12.99?
* Once your local Trader Joe's sells out, this wine is gone for good, so buy accordingly.
* I thought going into this review, that The Grand reserve was a $40 Red blend that didn't match up to its competition, so it was being sold off. But, I don't think that is the case, this is a solid, tasty Red Blend.
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CheapWineFinder clean 10:06
Burlwood Extra-Dry Sparkling Wine (ALDI) https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30553/burlwood-extra-dry-sparkling-wine-aldi/ Sun, 12 May 2019 02:57:28 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30553 The Story The Burlwood Extra-Dry Sparkling Wine (ALDI) is a $4.99 non-vintage ALDI exclusive made for them by a winery located in Modesto, California. ALDI does not tell us what grapes are used, at $4.99 there is no money left over for niceties like technical sheets. But an under 5 buck Sparkling wine is probably judged for how it tastes, rather than the combination of grapes used. This is a Bubbly produced with the Charmat Method, which is the production technique used in Prosecco. Champagne-Style Bubbly uses the Traditional Method. A $4.99 Bubbly may seem to be too inexpensive, but remember stores that sell custom label wine, such as ALDI, Costco, Trader Joe's, supermarket chains, and national restaurant chains have cost advantages that retail wine shops don't have. They reduce middleman costs, eliminate advertising expenditures, and since the are buying directly from the producer (usual paying upfront) a lower selling price can be negotiated. A five dollar wine at ALDI would probably sell for several dollars more at a retail shop. Modesto, California is home to the largest family owned winery in the US and if they actually did make this Bubbly that does not mean that this is a wine that they would ever put their own brand name on. These custom label wines are made in conjunction with the buyers desired wine and price point. So, while you may be a fan of the producers line of wines don't read to much into them making contract wines. All you can be sure of is their state of the art equipment, knowledge and expertise. The Burlwood Bubbly is rated Extra Dry which indicted that this Sparkling wine is slightly on the sweet side. Bubbly made with the Charmat Method can have a solid dose of acidity which will offset perceived sweetness in wine, so do not expect a sweet wine. The alcohol content is a mild 10.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is golden yellow and there are plenty of bubbles. The nose is crisp, grapefruit, apple, peach, pear, a little lime, along with lemon cough drops. This is a light, delicate, crisp Bubbly, the acidity does do a good job of balancing the sweetness. It tastes of citrus hard candy, but not the candy sugar sweetness, ripe peach, tart grapefruit, and juicy apple. There isn't a transition to the mid-palate, the initial flavors motor right along. The flavor profile wants to go to the sweet side but the acidity won't let it. It seems to have some Moscato grapes in the mix, maybe some Riesling, I getting those types of flavors. The finish is subtle, but the acidity keeps it going for a good while. The Summary Burlwood Extra-Dry Sparkling Wine (ALDI) tastes better than any $4.99 Bubbly has a right to. The acidity is very good, it keeps the wine together and does not bite when sipping. The Burlwood Extra-Dry Bubbly is a party wine, nobody will complain if you use red plastic cups, fancy crystal flutes are not necessary The Story The Burlwood Extra-Dry Sparkling Wine (ALDI) is a $4.99 non-vintage ALDI exclusive made for them by a winery located in Modesto, California. ALDI does not tell us what grapes are used, at $4.99 there is no money left over for niceties like t... The Story
The Burlwood Extra-Dry Sparkling Wine (ALDI) is a $4.99 non-vintage ALDI exclusive made for them by a winery located in Modesto, California. ALDI does not tell us what grapes are used, at $4.99 there is no money left over for niceties like technical sheets. But an under 5 buck Sparkling wine is probably judged for how it tastes, rather than the combination of grapes used. This is a Bubbly produced with the Charmat Method, which is the production technique used in Prosecco. Champagne-Style Bubbly uses the Traditional Method.

A $4.99 Bubbly may seem to be too inexpensive, but remember stores that sell custom label wine, such as ALDI, Costco, Trader Joe's, supermarket chains, and national restaurant chains have cost advantages that retail wine shops don't have. They reduce middleman costs, eliminate advertising expenditures, and since the are buying directly from the producer (usual paying upfront) a lower selling price can be negotiated. A five dollar wine at ALDI would probably sell for several dollars more at a retail shop.

Modesto, California is home to the largest family owned winery in the US and if they actually did make this Bubbly that does not mean that this is a wine that they would ever put their own brand name on. These custom label wines are made in conjunction with the buyers desired wine and price point. So, while you may be a fan of the producers line of wines don't read to much into them making contract wines. All you can be sure of is their state of the art equipment, knowledge and expertise.

The Burlwood Bubbly is rated Extra Dry which indicted that this Sparkling wine is slightly on the sweet side. Bubbly made with the Charmat Method can have a solid dose of acidity which will offset perceived sweetness in wine, so do not expect a sweet wine. The alcohol content is a mild 10.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is golden yellow and there are plenty of bubbles. The nose is crisp, grapefruit, apple, peach, pear, a little lime, along with lemon cough drops. This is a light, delicate, crisp Bubbly, the acidity does do a good job of balancing the sweetness. It tastes of citrus hard candy, but not the candy sugar sweetness, ripe peach, tart grapefruit, and juicy apple. There isn't a transition to the mid-palate, the initial flavors motor right along. The flavor profile wants to go to the sweet side but the acidity won't let it. It seems to have some Moscato grapes in the mix, maybe some Riesling, I getting those types of flavors. The finish is subtle, but the acidity keeps it going for a good while.
The Summary

* Burlwood Extra-Dry Sparkling Wine (ALDI) tastes better than any $4.99 Bubbly has a right to.
* The acidity is very good, it keeps the wine together and does not bite when sipping.
* The Burlwood Extra-Dry Bubbly is a party wine, nobody will complain if you use red plastic cups, fancy crystal flutes are not necessary
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CheapWineFinder clean 9:06
Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30486/sierra-de-viento-garnacha-2016/ Thu, 09 May 2019 17:37:12 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30486 The Story The Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is sourced from vineyards in the Cariñena region of the Aragon DO in Northeast Spain. Cariñena is an old wine producing region, it was founded by the Romans. Its funny that virtually every wine producing area in Europe has a heritage that is connected to Rome and some along the Mediterranean reach back to ancient Greece. The name Sierra de Viento translated roughly to mountain wind. It refers to the winds that sweep across the plains a get trapped by the  mountains. Most the the vineyards around here are planted in the foothills or along river valleys. Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is produced by Bodegas San Valero which is a coop or commune of 700 small farmers/vineyard owners. Each farmer is too small to produce wine on their own and the cost of equipment is prohibitive. But, banded together they can build a state of the art winery and produce enough grapes to have a world wide distribution. Aragon DO and Cariñena are prime Garnacha growing regions, it is common to find sub-$15 Garnacha receiving 90+ points on the shelves of your local wine shop. Good Garnacha does not have to be expensive, it doesn't need oak and it doesn't need long-term aging to shine. Young, fresh, and fruit-forward usually does the trick. Just to the north in the Rhone Valley of France, Grenache (the French spelling of Garnacha) is blended with Syrah, and they make terrific value priced Red blends. If you want to learn about value-priced (cheap) Red wines, you need to explore Garnacha/Grenache. For some reason, Grenache from California tends to be small production, boutique wines and it is rare to see a value-priced Grenache (I can't think of one). But Northeast Spain and Southeast France produce many fine examples. I found this wine at a local big box wine shop selling for $5.99, the same price as those private label wines you find at Costco, Trader Joe's, ALDI, etc... .The private label wines have price advantages that retail store wines don't have, so I was curious how the Sierra se Viento could compete. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is raspberry red with inky black highlights. The nose is dark, almost smokey, ripe blackberry, a touch of herbs, black pepper, and spice. This is a tight, focused Garnacha, lean, but with ripe fruit. It starts with extracted blackberry and licorice, soft pepper, and spice. The mid-palate shows cherry with a touch of cream and citrus zest. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity is well-balanced. As a side note, lately value priced wine, as a whole, has shown very solid acidity, very inexpensive wine have shown enough acidity to be good food wines and pleasurable sippers. The finish is subtle and mirrors the body of the wine. The Summary The Sierra de Viento is probably a better food wine than a back porch sipper. It drinks fine, but would shine with small plate Tapas The dark flavors and the lip-smacking acidity are seductive, just bring some Asiago cheese The Story The Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is sourced from vineyards in the Cariñena region of the Aragon DO in Northeast Spain. Cariñena is an old wine producing region, it was founded by the Romans. Its funny that virtually every wine producing ar... The Story
The Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is sourced from vineyards in the Cariñena region of the Aragon DO in Northeast Spain. Cariñena is an old wine producing region, it was founded by the Romans. Its funny that virtually every wine producing area in Europe has a heritage that is connected to Rome and some along the Mediterranean reach back to ancient Greece. The name Sierra de Viento translated roughly to mountain wind. It refers to the winds that sweep across the plains a get trapped by the  mountains. Most the the vineyards around here are planted in the foothills or along river valleys.

Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is produced by Bodegas San Valero which is a coop or commune of 700 small farmers/vineyard owners. Each farmer is too small to produce wine on their own and the cost of equipment is prohibitive. But, banded together they can build a state of the art winery and produce enough grapes to have a world wide distribution. Aragon DO and Cariñena are prime Garnacha growing regions, it is common to find sub-$15 Garnacha receiving 90+ points on the shelves of your local wine shop. Good Garnacha does not have to be expensive, it doesn't need oak and it doesn't need long-term aging to shine. Young, fresh, and fruit-forward usually does the trick. Just to the north in the Rhone Valley of France, Grenache (the French spelling of Garnacha) is blended with Syrah, and they make terrific value priced Red blends.

If you want to learn about value-priced (cheap) Red wines, you need to explore Garnacha/Grenache. For some reason, Grenache from California tends to be small production, boutique wines and it is rare to see a value-priced Grenache (I can't think of one). But Northeast Spain and Southeast France produce many fine examples. I found this wine at a local big box wine shop selling for $5.99, the same price as those private label wines you find at Costco, Trader Joe's, ALDI, etc... .The private label wines have price advantages that retail store wines don't have, so I was curious how the Sierra se Viento could compete. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is raspberry red with inky black highlights. The nose is dark, almost smokey, ripe blackberry, a touch of herbs, black pepper, and spice. This is a tight, focused Garnacha, lean, but with ripe fruit. It starts with extracted blackberry and licorice, soft pepper, and spice. The mid-palate shows cherry with a touch of cream and citrus zest. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity is well-balanced. As a side note, lately value priced wine, as a whole, has shown very solid acidity, very inexpensive wine have shown enough acidity to be good food wines and pleasurable sippers. The finish is subtle and mirrors the body of the wine.
The Summary

* The Sierra de Viento is probably a better food wine than a back porch sipper. It drinks fine, but would shine with small plate Tapas
* The dark flavors and the lip-smacking acidity are seductive, just bring some Asiago cheese
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CheapWineFinder clean 6:52
Prayers of Sinners Red https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30406/prayers-of-sinners-red/ Tue, 07 May 2019 15:03:47 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30406 The Podcast The Prayers of Sinners Red is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Merlot sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington. This Red Blend is a companion wine to Prayers of Saints Chardonnay. They share a label concept. Chardonnay equals Saints, Red blend equals Sinners. But in the end everyone ends up the same. The label is half the fun. When exposed to bright light and when the lights are extinguished the label transforms completely. None of this new fangled augmented reality for the Prayers of Sinners. Glow in the Dark gets the job done. Quake and Dave talk Prayers of Sinners Red along with anything else that pops into their heads. Not much impulse control, if you ask me. So listen to hear about a tasty, interesting and loads of fun Red Blend from Chateau Ste Michelle. The Podcast The Prayers of Sinners Red is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Merlot sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington. This Red Blend is a companion wine to Prayers of Saints Chardonnay. They share a label concept. The Podcast
The Prayers of Sinners Red is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Merlot sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington. This Red Blend is a companion wine to Prayers of Saints Chardonnay. They share a label concept. Chardonnay equals Saints, Red blend equals Sinners. But in the end everyone ends up the same.

The label is half the fun. When exposed to bright light and when the lights are extinguished the label transforms completely. None of this new fangled augmented reality for the Prayers of Sinners. Glow in the Dark gets the job done.

Quake and Dave talk Prayers of Sinners Red along with anything else that pops into their heads. Not much impulse control, if you ask me. So listen to hear about a tasty, interesting and loads of fun Red Blend from Chateau Ste Michelle.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 18:02
Trader Joe’s Provence Rosé https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30465/trader-joes-provence-rose/ Sun, 05 May 2019 17:09:18 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30465 The Story The Moonlight & Roses Coteau d’Aix en Provence Rosé 2018 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from the Aix region of Provence in the south of France. The Coteau d'Aix AOC is located in the northwest side of Provence and is 2nd in wine production to Côtes de Provence. Not only is this region known for wonderful Rose' wines, this is where Van Gogh, Renoir, and the other Impressionists found inspiration for their paintings. Rose' wines are typically blends and while TJ's does not say what grapes are used, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre are often included in the blend. There have been vineyards in Provence for over 2,500 years. The name Provence comes from the Romans referring to as their Province, it has been an important wine-producing region for basically, forever. Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer does not spend much time talking about the Moonlight & Roses, but they do take time to mention that the bottle is very similar to Miraval the Rose' that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (I think she got it in the divorce settlement) own. The wines are not related, Miraval isn't from the Aix AOC. Provence Rose' wine bottles often have interesting shapes, but the shapes don't have a meaning, they do not note a style or a region. They are meant to catch your eye as you walk down the isle of your local wine shop. Rose' wines are extremely popular and if you are curious about Rose', the #1 Rose' region in France is an excellent place to look. The alcohol content is 13%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale amber pink. The nose is bright, fresh, and floral, there are scents of peach, pear, apple, lemon, a hint of grapefruit, lime, and hard cherry candies.  The Trader Joe's Provence Rosé has excellent acidity and a solid mix of sweet and tart flavors. It starts with tart cherry, sour cranberry, raspberry and candy spice. The mid-palate shows a bit of minerality, a little cream, and orange zest. The acidity is right on the edge of lip smacking good, it does not go overboard, it stays controlled. The finish tingles from the tart flavors and lasts and lasts. The Summary The Moonlight & Roses Coteau d’Aix en Provence Rosé 2018 is an excellent $10 Rose'. It provides everything you want from a Provence Rose', sunshine in a bottle, while still being an interesting wine. This Rose' has flavor, structure, and personality, all while coming in at $9.99. The Story The Moonlight & Roses Coteau d’Aix en Provence Rosé 2018 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from the Aix region of Provence in the south of France. The Coteau d'Aix AOC is located in the northwest side of Provence and is 2nd in... The Story
The Moonlight & Roses Coteau d’Aix en Provence Rosé 2018 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from the Aix region of Provence in the south of France. The Coteau d'Aix AOC is located in the northwest side of Provence and is 2nd in wine production to Côtes de Provence. Not only is this region known for wonderful Rose' wines, this is where Van Gogh, Renoir, and the other Impressionists found inspiration for their paintings. Rose' wines are typically blends and while TJ's does not say what grapes are used, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre are often included in the blend.

There have been vineyards in Provence for over 2,500 years. The name Provence comes from the Romans referring to as their Province, it has been an important wine-producing region for basically, forever. Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer does not spend much time talking about the Moonlight & Roses, but they do take time to mention that the bottle is very similar to Miraval the Rose' that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (I think she got it in the divorce settlement) own. The wines are not related, Miraval isn't from the Aix AOC.

Provence Rose' wine bottles often have interesting shapes, but the shapes don't have a meaning, they do not note a style or a region. They are meant to catch your eye as you walk down the isle of your local wine shop. Rose' wines are extremely popular and if you are curious about Rose', the #1 Rose' region in France is an excellent place to look. The alcohol content is 13%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale amber pink. The nose is bright, fresh, and floral, there are scents of peach, pear, apple, lemon, a hint of grapefruit, lime, and hard cherry candies.  The Trader Joe's Provence Rosé has excellent acidity and a solid mix of sweet and tart flavors. It starts with tart cherry, sour cranberry, raspberry and candy spice. The mid-palate shows a bit of minerality, a little cream, and orange zest. The acidity is right on the edge of lip smacking good, it does not go overboard, it stays controlled. The finish tingles from the tart flavors and lasts and lasts.
The Summary

* The Moonlight & Roses Coteau d’Aix en Provence Rosé 2018 is an excellent $10 Rose'.
* It provides everything you want from a Provence Rose', sunshine in a bottle, while still being an interesting wine.
* This Rose' has flavor, structure, and personality, all while coming in at $9.99.
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CheapWineFinder clean 5:45
Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30446/jezebel-oregon-pinot-noir-2017/ Fri, 03 May 2019 03:06:06 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30446 The Story The Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir 2017 is a blend of 52% Willamette Valley and 48% Southern Oregon grapes. There are 5 AVAs due south of Willamette Valley. While most of these areas tend to be warmer and dry, there are still plenty of cool locations to grow Pinot Noir. Jezebel is the 2nd label for Willful Wine Company, Pam Walden owner and winemaker. Her 2017 Jezebel Blanc Blend made Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Wine Buys of 2017. The Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir is fermented in small batches, using  a large variety of yeasts. Each wine yeast has its own characteristics and flavors that it imparts into the wine. The technical notes do not mention oak barrels, but the small lot fermentation suggests that maybe neutral oak barrels were used. This is a drink-it-now Pinot Noir. Fruit-forward and easy to drink, but still very much a real Oregon Pinot Noir. At less than 2,500 cases produced, the Jezebel Pinot is as close to a boutique as you get for well under $20. I found it on sale for $15. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a shiny, see-thru garnet red. The nose is black cherry, herbs, spice, crushed autumn leaves, pepper, and bread pudding. This is a light to medium Pinot, with excellent acidity, the first sip is very promising. It tastes of ripe, tart cherries, a slap of herbs, a dash of pepper spice, and a hint of vanilla. The mid-palate offers slightly sour cranberry, a brush of chocolate powder, orange zest, and light exotic spice. The acidity is solid and gives the flavors time to unfold. The finish is delicate and lengthy. The Summary The Jezebel is both an easy to drink, fruit forward Pinot and a real-deal example of Oregon Pinot Noir. Good job! Though not as ghostly and ethereal as the pricey Oregon Pinot Noir, it is a solid Pinot at a value price. At the moment, I think my favorite wines are Oregon Pinot Noirs. I am known to be subject to change, but the Jezebel Pinot Noir is drinking especially well for a sub $20 Oregon Pinot Noir. The Story The Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir 2017 is a blend of 52% Willamette Valley and 48% Southern Oregon grapes. There are 5 AVAs due south of Willamette Valley. While most of these areas tend to be warmer and dry, The Story
The Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir 2017 is a blend of 52% Willamette Valley and 48% Southern Oregon grapes. There are 5 AVAs due south of Willamette Valley. While most of these areas tend to be warmer and dry, there are still plenty of cool locations to grow Pinot Noir. Jezebel is the 2nd label for Willful Wine Company, Pam Walden owner and winemaker.

Her 2017 Jezebel Blanc Blend made Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Wine Buys of 2017. The Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir is fermented in small batches, using  a large variety of yeasts. Each wine yeast has its own characteristics and flavors that it imparts into the wine. The technical notes do not mention oak barrels, but the small lot fermentation suggests that maybe neutral oak barrels were used.

This is a drink-it-now Pinot Noir. Fruit-forward and easy to drink, but still very much a real Oregon Pinot Noir. At less than 2,500 cases produced, the Jezebel Pinot is as close to a boutique as you get for well under $20. I found it on sale for $15. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a shiny, see-thru garnet red. The nose is black cherry, herbs, spice, crushed autumn leaves, pepper, and bread pudding. This is a light to medium Pinot, with excellent acidity, the first sip is very promising. It tastes of ripe, tart cherries, a slap of herbs, a dash of pepper spice, and a hint of vanilla. The mid-palate offers slightly sour cranberry, a brush of chocolate powder, orange zest, and light exotic spice. The acidity is solid and gives the flavors time to unfold. The finish is delicate and lengthy.
The Summary

* The Jezebel is both an easy to drink, fruit forward Pinot and a real-deal example of Oregon Pinot Noir. Good job!
* Though not as ghostly and ethereal as the pricey Oregon Pinot Noir, it is a solid Pinot at a value price.
* At the moment, I think my favorite wines are Oregon Pinot Noirs. I am known to be subject to change, but the Jezebel Pinot Noir is drinking especially well for a sub $20 Oregon Pinot Noir.
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CheapWineFinder clean 6:24
Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Chardonnay https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30404/matanzas-creek-alexander-valley-chardonnay/ Tue, 30 Apr 2019 18:56:33 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30404 The Podcast The Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2018 is one of the Jackson Family Wines stable of labels. Matanzas Creek Winery has produced wine for over 4 decades. The grapes are sourced from Estate vines using Clone 4, Clone 76, 72, Wente, and Upper Barn. With most Chardonnay in the value price range, the winemaker gets grape variations from sourcing grapes from a hillside in this AVA, from a coastal vineyard in that AVA, so and so on. But with the Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Chardonnay, since the grapes are grown in their own Alexander Valley AVA vineyards, the variations come from the careful selection of Chardonnay clones. This Chardonnay under went full malolactic fermentation and was aged in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new barrels. That's the Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley details and in the course of this Podcast Quake and Dave discuss this Chardonnay, make obtuse references, and have fun drinking really good wine. The Podcast The Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2018 is one of the Jackson Family Wines stable of labels. Matanzas Creek Winery has produced wine for over 4 decades. The grapes are sourced from Estate vines using Clone 4, Clone 76, 72, The Podcast
The Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2018 is one of the Jackson Family Wines stable of labels. Matanzas Creek Winery has produced wine for over 4 decades. The grapes are sourced from Estate vines using Clone 4, Clone 76, 72, Wente, and Upper Barn. With most Chardonnay in the value price range, the winemaker gets grape variations from sourcing grapes from a hillside in this AVA, from a coastal vineyard in that AVA, so and so on.

But with the Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley Chardonnay, since the grapes are grown in their own Alexander Valley AVA vineyards, the variations come from the careful selection of Chardonnay clones. This Chardonnay under went full malolactic fermentation and was aged in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new barrels.

That's the Matanzas Creek Alexander Valley details and in the course of this Podcast Quake and Dave discuss this Chardonnay, make obtuse references, and have fun drinking really good wine.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 17:10
Giretto Pinot Grigio 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30391/giretto-pinot-grigio-2018/ Mon, 29 Apr 2019 03:03:05 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30391 The Story The Giretto Pinot Grigio 2018 is a $5.49 ALDI exclusive sourced from the Dell Venezie region of Northeast Italy. The 2018 version of the Giretto seems to be something of an upgrade. Past vintages of this Pinot Grigio were designated IGP wines, while the 2018 is a DOC wine. An IGP wine in this price range is perfectly fine, but a DOC wine is fairly rare. IGP wines do not conform to all the rules and regulations of the DOC. There are a multitude of reasons for non-compliance and at this low price most of them are nothing to worry about for a wine consumer. But, it is nice to see a full-fledged DOC Pinot Grigio selling for $5.49. The name Giretto translates to a short bike ride. The Delle Venezie region is located in the Northeast corner of Italy and is known for Pinot Grigio. The Alto Adige region, the leading Pinot Grigio growing region in Italy, is just to the north. ALDI has a strong reputation in Europe as the leading bang-for-the-buck wine seller and they are the go-to value wine destination. ALDI's wine reputation in the US does not match its European acclaim, but they have great contacts with European value wine producers. The alcohol content is a reasonable 12%. The Tasting Notes The color is a very pale wheat yellow. The nose is bright with loads of grapefruit, lemon/lime, peach, pear, a light floral note. The Giretto Pinot Grigio 2018 is a medium to light-bodied wine, with a balanced dose of acidity. It tastes of lemonade, crisp Golden delicious apple, and soft pear. The mid-palate mostly mirrors the body of the wine, but does add a hint of melon and light spice. The acidity allows this Pinot Grigio to work well with light dishes and also sip well. Some Pinot Grigio's from Northeast Italy can be acid bombs and only do well with a meal. The finish is subtle, but does last. The Summary $5.49 gets you a very drinkable, food-ready Pinot Grigio. Who Knew? Actually I did. The average person in Italy, someone who serves wine with every lunch and dinner. Drinks wine in this price range. To spend more on wine for each meal would break the budget of most Italians. A simple, every-day wine, with a salad or plate of seafood or pasta, gets the job done and done well.   The Story The Giretto Pinot Grigio 2018 is a $5.49 ALDI exclusive sourced from the Dell Venezie region of Northeast Italy. The 2018 version of the Giretto seems to be something of an upgrade. Past vintages of this Pinot Grigio were designated IGP wine... The Story
The Giretto Pinot Grigio 2018 is a $5.49 ALDI exclusive sourced from the Dell Venezie region of Northeast Italy. The 2018 version of the Giretto seems to be something of an upgrade. Past vintages of this Pinot Grigio were designated IGP wines, while the 2018 is a DOC wine. An IGP wine in this price range is perfectly fine, but a DOC wine is fairly rare. IGP wines do not conform to all the rules and regulations of the DOC. There are a multitude of reasons for non-compliance and at this low price most of them are nothing to worry about for a wine consumer. But, it is nice to see a full-fledged DOC Pinot Grigio selling for $5.49.

The name Giretto translates to a short bike ride. The Delle Venezie region is located in the Northeast corner of Italy and is known for Pinot Grigio. The Alto Adige region, the leading Pinot Grigio growing region in Italy, is just to the north. ALDI has a strong reputation in Europe as the leading bang-for-the-buck wine seller and they are the go-to value wine destination. ALDI's wine reputation in the US does not match its European acclaim, but they have great contacts with European value wine producers. The alcohol content is a reasonable 12%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very pale wheat yellow. The nose is bright with loads of grapefruit, lemon/lime, peach, pear, a light floral note. The Giretto Pinot Grigio 2018 is a medium to light-bodied wine, with a balanced dose of acidity. It tastes of lemonade, crisp Golden delicious apple, and soft pear. The mid-palate mostly mirrors the body of the wine, but does add a hint of melon and light spice. The acidity allows this Pinot Grigio to work well with light dishes and also sip well. Some Pinot Grigio's from Northeast Italy can be acid bombs and only do well with a meal. The finish is subtle, but does last.
The Summary

* $5.49 gets you a very drinkable, food-ready Pinot Grigio. Who Knew?
* Actually I did. The average person in Italy, someone who serves wine with every lunch and dinner. Drinks wine in this price range. To spend more on wine for each meal would break the budget of most Italians.
* A simple, every-day wine, with a salad or plate of seafood or pasta, gets the job done and done well.

 ]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 6:40
Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30357/grifone-1967-toscana-2014/ Wed, 24 Apr 2019 02:54:06 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30357  The Story The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine, sourced from grapes from the Tuscany region of Italy. This wine is also known as a "Super Tuscan", which is Sangiovese blended with French varietal grapes, in this case 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah. There is a story about how these IGP blends became "Super Tuscan" which I will explain in the companion podcast. The 1967 in the name refers to the first year the family behind Grifone wines first produced a Toscana "Super Tuscan" wine. Though back then it didn't have a cool nickname. The 2nd number of note is 2014, which refers to the vintage and is a remarkable amount of aging for a $5.99 wine. Five years of aging for a 6 buck wine is unheard of. Time is money with wine and 5 years is a long time to wait to release such an inexpensive Red wine. Cheapwinefinder reviewed the Grifone 1967 Toscana 2008 back in 2011 when we were little baby wine reviewers. We seemed to think that version was pretty good. And this was back when sub-$10 wines were a crap shoot, you never knew what you were going to get. Today, cheap wines are almost always drinkable, if not surprisingly good. The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 has an alcohol content of a very reasonable 12.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is a little spicy, blackberry, pepper, slightly herbal, with a hit of ripe cherry. The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a soft, smooth Red with bright flavors. It starts with ripe black cherry and raspberry, then vanilla and blueberry. The mid-palate mirrors the main body of the wine but does add tart cranberry and a soft slap of spice. The tannins don't interfere with the flavors and the acidity allows this Red to be an excellent back porch sipper. The finish is light, but hangs around for a while. The Summary The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a $5.99 Super Tuscan that is very easy to drink. An excellent everyday wine. How do they hold a wine back for 5 years, then sell it for $5.99 and still make money? If you decide you love Super Tuscan wines, be careful. The next price point is about $25 to $60. Which makes this cheap Super Tuscan all the more remarkable.  The Story The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine, sourced from grapes from the Tuscany region of Italy. This wine is also known as a "Super Tuscan", which is Sangiovese blended with French varietal grapes,  The Story
The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine, sourced from grapes from the Tuscany region of Italy. This wine is also known as a "Super Tuscan", which is Sangiovese blended with French varietal grapes, in this case 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah. There is a story about how these IGP blends became "Super Tuscan" which I will explain in the companion podcast.

The 1967 in the name refers to the first year the family behind Grifone wines first produced a Toscana "Super Tuscan" wine. Though back then it didn't have a cool nickname. The 2nd number of note is 2014, which refers to the vintage and is a remarkable amount of aging for a $5.99 wine. Five years of aging for a 6 buck wine is unheard of. Time is money with wine and 5 years is a long time to wait to release such an inexpensive Red wine.

Cheapwinefinder reviewed the Grifone 1967 Toscana 2008 back in 2011 when we were little baby wine reviewers. We seemed to think that version was pretty good. And this was back when sub-$10 wines were a crap shoot, you never knew what you were going to get. Today, cheap wines are almost always drinkable, if not surprisingly good. The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 has an alcohol content of a very reasonable 12.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is a little spicy, blackberry, pepper, slightly herbal, with a hit of ripe cherry. The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a soft, smooth Red with bright flavors. It starts with ripe black cherry and raspberry, then vanilla and blueberry. The mid-palate mirrors the main body of the wine but does add tart cranberry and a soft slap of spice. The tannins don't interfere with the flavors and the acidity allows this Red to be an excellent back porch sipper. The finish is light, but hangs around for a while.
The Summary

* The Grifone 1967 Toscana 2014 is a $5.99 Super Tuscan that is very easy to drink. An excellent everyday wine.
* How do they hold a wine back for 5 years, then sell it for $5.99 and still make money?
* If you decide you love Super Tuscan wines, be careful. The next price point is about $25 to $60. Which makes this cheap Super Tuscan all the more remarkable.
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CheapWineFinder clean 9:06
M.Chevallier Brut Cava (Trader Joe’s) https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30335/m-chevallier-brut-cava-trader-joes/ Sat, 20 Apr 2019 02:57:10 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30335 The Story The M.Chevallier Brut Cava is a Trader Joe's $5.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards near Barcelona in northeast Spain. The trademark for this Cava is owned by the oldest and 2nd largest Cava producer in Spain. It is also imported by their own wine importation company, so they are not hiding anything. Trader Joe's does not provide technical information for this Cava. So, will go over some details usually found in value-priced Spanish Bubbly. The traditional grapes used in Cava are Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada. These are the local indigenous Catalonian grapes found in most Cava's, though occasionally Chardonnay is used. Cava is produced with the Traditional Method, the same method used to produce Champagne. I will discuss the Traditional Method, Champagne & Cava, vs. the Charmat Method, Prosecco, in the companion podcast. Most regular, not Reserve Cava's, are not expensive. But a $5.99 Cava, from a leading winery, is an extremely good price. There are not many reasons to not give it a try. A 6 buck Bubbly that is average is still a bargain. The alcohol content is a reasonable 11.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a clear, clean, pale gold, with teeny, tiny bubbles. The nose is slightly floral, citrus notes, a hint of honey, and crisp apple.  The M.Chevallier Brut Cava (Trader Joe's) bright, crisp Cava, with solid, but balanced acidity. It tastes of tart grapefruit, green apple, lemon/lime, and Bosc pear. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty flavor and apricot. The acidity is balanced, which is excellent at this price point. I can think of a few budget Cava's that are acid bombs, they are ok with food, but hard to sip on their own. The finish is subtle, but lingers. The Summary The M.Chevallier Brut Cava (Trader Joe's) isn't just an everyday Bubbly, at this price it is a twice a day Bubbly. While not the most detailed and complex Bubbly, it does taste very good. A $5.99 Cava/ Bubbly that is worth drinking, is something to behold. The Story The M.Chevallier Brut Cava is a Trader Joe's $5.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards near Barcelona in northeast Spain. The trademark for this Cava is owned by the oldest and 2nd largest Cava producer in Spain. The Story
The M.Chevallier Brut Cava is a Trader Joe's $5.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards near Barcelona in northeast Spain. The trademark for this Cava is owned by the oldest and 2nd largest Cava producer in Spain. It is also imported by their own wine importation company, so they are not hiding anything. Trader Joe's does not provide technical information for this Cava. So, will go over some details usually found in value-priced Spanish Bubbly.

The traditional grapes used in Cava are Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada. These are the local indigenous Catalonian grapes found in most Cava's, though occasionally Chardonnay is used. Cava is produced with the Traditional Method, the same method used to produce Champagne. I will discuss the Traditional Method, Champagne & Cava, vs. the Charmat Method, Prosecco, in the companion podcast.

Most regular, not Reserve Cava's, are not expensive. But a $5.99 Cava, from a leading winery, is an extremely good price. There are not many reasons to not give it a try. A 6 buck Bubbly that is average is still a bargain. The alcohol content is a reasonable 11.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, clean, pale gold, with teeny, tiny bubbles. The nose is slightly floral, citrus notes, a hint of honey, and crisp apple.  The M.Chevallier Brut Cava (Trader Joe's) bright, crisp Cava, with solid, but balanced acidity. It tastes of tart grapefruit, green apple, lemon/lime, and Bosc pear. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty flavor and apricot. The acidity is balanced, which is excellent at this price point. I can think of a few budget Cava's that are acid bombs, they are ok with food, but hard to sip on their own. The finish is subtle, but lingers.
The Summary

* The M.Chevallier Brut Cava (Trader Joe's) isn't just an everyday Bubbly, at this price it is a twice a day Bubbly.
* While not the most detailed and complex Bubbly, it does taste very good.
* A $5.99 Cava/ Bubbly that is worth drinking, is something to behold.
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CheapWineFinder clean 8:39
Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30322/franciscan-napa-monterey-chardonnay-2017/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 03:00:17 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30322 The Story The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 63% Napa County (mostly Carneros and Southern Napa) and 37% Monterey County (including Arroyo Secco and San Bernabe). These are excellent Chardonnay growing regions where the average Chardonnay is far more expensive than the Franciscan's $14.99 list price. The list price for a wine and the price that you see on a wine shop shelf are rarely the same. Wines in this price range are often discounted. I actually found it in Chicago for $7.99, but that is something I will touch on in the companion podcast. This is a value priced Chardonnay with boutique-like technical details. The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 under went malolactic fermentation and was aged "on lees". Portions of the Chardonnay was fermented with native yeast. That is the yeast that naturally floats in the air and also attached itself to the grape skin. 76% of the wine was fermented in oak barrels, 24% in stainless steel tanks. The barrel fermented portion was aged an additional 7 months in small French and American oak barrels. 30% of the barrels are new, the rest used. They even name the cooperage (the company that made the barrels) in the tasting notes. I can't remember ever seeing that detail in a wine in this price range. The Franciscan Chardonnay 2017 is a wine sourced from top-notch Chardonnay growing areas. Has production techniques that are common in far more expensive Chardonnay. But is priced with the value wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is husky melon and lemon, with sweet peach and pear, green apple and lime, spring flowers and a little spice. This is a medium-bodied Chardonnay, full flavored, with nice viscous mouth-feel. It tastes of a mix of peach and lemon, ripe Golden delicious apple, candy spice (not sweet), and Bosc pear. The mid-palate rocks, French vanilla, guava and custard, with a light slap of butterscotch. The acidity is well-balanced, though I think this is more of a sipping wine. Mainly because of the strong and distinct flavors, it may not balance well with all foods. But if you can get inspired and match up the flavors you should be well rewarded. The finish lingers for quite some time. The Summary The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is an extremely well priced Chardonnay at its list price, it is a "think about buying a case" wine at the $7.99 price I found it at. If you are worried about all the oak with barrels being used for both fermentation and aging, don't worry too much. This is "new" California Chardonnay, not the "old school" butter bombs of a decade ago. This Chardonnay will stack up well with most Chardonnay under $25. Of course, preferring certain wines is subjective, but this is a quality Chardonnay. The Story The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 63% Napa County (mostly Carneros and Southern Napa) and 37% Monterey County (including Arroyo Secco and San Bernabe). These are excellent Chardonnay growing regions ... The Story
The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is sourced from vineyards in 63% Napa County (mostly Carneros and Southern Napa) and 37% Monterey County (including Arroyo Secco and San Bernabe). These are excellent Chardonnay growing regions where the average Chardonnay is far more expensive than the Franciscan's $14.99 list price. The list price for a wine and the price that you see on a wine shop shelf are rarely the same. Wines in this price range are often discounted. I actually found it in Chicago for $7.99, but that is something I will touch on in the companion podcast.

This is a value priced Chardonnay with boutique-like technical details. The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 under went malolactic fermentation and was aged "on lees". Portions of the Chardonnay was fermented with native yeast. That is the yeast that naturally floats in the air and also attached itself to the grape skin. 76% of the wine was fermented in oak barrels, 24% in stainless steel tanks. The barrel fermented portion was aged an additional 7 months in small French and American oak barrels. 30% of the barrels are new, the rest used. They even name the cooperage (the company that made the barrels) in the tasting notes. I can't remember ever seeing that detail in a wine in this price range.

The Franciscan Chardonnay 2017 is a wine sourced from top-notch Chardonnay growing areas. Has production techniques that are common in far more expensive Chardonnay. But is priced with the value wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is husky melon and lemon, with sweet peach and pear, green apple and lime, spring flowers and a little spice. This is a medium-bodied Chardonnay, full flavored, with nice viscous mouth-feel. It tastes of a mix of peach and lemon, ripe Golden delicious apple, candy spice (not sweet), and Bosc pear. The mid-palate rocks, French vanilla, guava and custard, with a light slap of butterscotch. The acidity is well-balanced, though I think this is more of a sipping wine. Mainly because of the strong and distinct flavors, it may not balance well with all foods. But if you can get inspired and match up the flavors you should be well rewarded. The finish lingers for quite some time.
The Summary

* The Franciscan Napa & Monterey Chardonnay 2017 is an extremely well priced Chardonnay at its list price, it is a "think about buying a case" wine at the $7.99 price I found it at.
* If you are worried about all the oak with barrels being used for both fermentation and aging, don't worry too much. This is "new" California Chardonnay, not the "old school" butter bombs of a decade ago.
* This Chardonnay will stack up well with most Chardonnay under $25. Of course, preferring certain wines is subjective, but this is a quality Chardonnay.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:44
Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30288/domaine-de-la-prebende-beaujolais-2017/ Sat, 13 Apr 2019 03:44:30 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30288 The Story The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais 2017 is a AOP Beaujolais Villages designated Gamay Red wine. The actual name of this bottling is the Anna Asmaquer Beaujolais Villages 2017, but you will only find this in small print on the back label. Anna is the Great Grandmother of the winemaker, Ghislaine Dupeuble, of Domaine Dupeuble of Beaujolais. The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais is from the Kermit Lynch Wine Collection. Kermit Lynch is a very well-respected wine importer and one of the things to remember about import wine is "follow the importer". If you find a wine from that importer that you love there is a good chance you will find others in their collection that speak to you. The Domaine Prébende Beaujolais is a cuvee, not because it is a blend of different grapes, it's 100% Gamay. But because it is a blend of vineyards, the grapes come from 89 year old vines, 79 year old vines, and 39 year old vines. If this were a California wine there would be "old vines" written in large letters on the label, but that is not how they do things in France. This Beaujolais is produced the traditional way, natural yeasts, no added sugar and the wine is unfiltered, meaning there may be some grape sediment in your glass. There are records of Gamay being grown in this region since the 1300s. Beaujolais has a couple of categories to keep in mind. The first is wines simply called Beaujolais, these are wines produced from villages (about 100) thru-out the region. The next category is Beaujolais Villages, these wines are produced from grapes grown near 38 designated villages. And finally the top category, Beaujolais Cru, which are sourced from a vineyard near one of 10 villages. The Domaine Prébende is a Villages wine, but that does not mean the grapes came from all 38 villages, it looks like no more than 3. If a Villages wine comes from grapes grown near only 1 village, they can put the village name on the label. So, you have one grape, Gamay, and only a hand full of classifications to figure out. That makes Beaujolais one of the easier growing areas to get a handle on. The Gamay grape will remind you of Pinot Noir. Beaujolais is located on the southern side of Burgundy, the top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing district in the world. Champagne is on the north side of Burgundy, they use Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, too. Since Burgundian wines and Champagne are seen as Premium growing regions, Beaujolais and Gamay wines are comparatively under the radar and far more affordable. I found this wine for $12.99 and excellent Beaujolais wines are available for under $25. The Cru Beaujolais tend to be age worthy wines and can get pricey, but the rest are relative bargains. Tasting Notes The color is garnet with black highlights. The nose is ripe red berries and a savory note, a touch of spice, a little pepper, with a light floral edge. The Domaine Prébende Beaujolais has an interesting mix of New World fruit and Old World structure. Yes, it is fruit-forward, but it is still very French. It tastes of tart cherry, a touch of herbs, a slap of black pepper, plums and spice. There is a nice "edge" to this Gamay, that you rarely encounter in $12.99 American wines. This is a versatile food wine, there is enough structure to do well this roasts and grilled meats and would do equally well with Easter ham. This is a wine where the acidity engages your palate, while the finish isn't particularly strong, it doesn't fade. The Summary When buying European wines follow the Importer. They tend to have "house styles", if you like one there is a good chance you will like others. The actual name of this wine is in small print on the back label. Kermit Lynch's name is on the front label on top. Don't be afraid to explore Beaujolais wines. They only produced 3,500 cases of this wine, a fairly small production for a $12.99 wine. You will not find it at very wine shop in every town in the US. Take a chance, grab a wine you don't know. The Story The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais 2017 is a AOP Beaujolais Villages designated Gamay Red wine. The actual name of this bottling is the Anna Asmaquer Beaujolais Villages 2017, but you will only find this in small print on the back label. The Story
The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais 2017 is a AOP Beaujolais Villages designated Gamay Red wine. The actual name of this bottling is the Anna Asmaquer Beaujolais Villages 2017, but you will only find this in small print on the back label. Anna is the Great Grandmother of the winemaker, Ghislaine Dupeuble, of Domaine Dupeuble of Beaujolais. The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais is from the Kermit Lynch Wine Collection. Kermit Lynch is a very well-respected wine importer and one of the things to remember about import wine is "follow the importer". If you find a wine from that importer that you love there is a good chance you will find others in their collection that speak to you.

The Domaine Prébende Beaujolais is a cuvee, not because it is a blend of different grapes, it's 100% Gamay. But because it is a blend of vineyards, the grapes come from 89 year old vines, 79 year old vines, and 39 year old vines. If this were a California wine there would be "old vines" written in large letters on the label, but that is not how they do things in France. This Beaujolais is produced the traditional way, natural yeasts, no added sugar and the wine is unfiltered, meaning there may be some grape sediment in your glass. There are records of Gamay being grown in this region since the 1300s.

Beaujolais has a couple of categories to keep in mind. The first is wines simply called Beaujolais, these are wines produced from villages (about 100) thru-out the region. The next category is Beaujolais Villages, these wines are produced from grapes grown near 38 designated villages. And finally the top category, Beaujolais Cru, which are sourced from a vineyard near one of 10 villages. The Domaine Prébende is a Villages wine, but that does not mean the grapes came from all 38 villages, it looks like no more than 3. If a Villages wine comes from grapes grown near only 1 village, they can put the village name on the label.

So, you have one grape, Gamay, and only a hand full of classifications to figure out. That makes Beaujolais one of the easier growing areas to get a handle on. The Gamay grape will remind you of Pinot Noir. Beaujolais is located on the southern side of Burgundy, the top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing district in the world. Champagne is on the north side of Burgundy, they use Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, too. Since Burgundian wines and Champagne are seen as Premium growing regions, Beaujolais and Gamay wines are comparatively under the radar and far more affordable. I found this wine for $12.99 and excellent Beaujolais wines are available for under $25. The Cru Beaujolais tend to be age worthy wines and can get pricey, but the rest are relative bargains.
Tasting Notes
The color is garnet with black highlights. The nose is ripe red berries and a savory note, a touch of spice, a little pepper, with a light floral edge. The Domaine Prébende Beaujolais has an interesting mix of New World fruit and Old World structure. Yes, it is fruit-forward, but it is still very French. It tastes of tart cherry, a touch of herbs, a slap of black pepper, plums and spice. There is a nice "edge" to this Gamay, that you rarely encounter in $12.99 American wines. This is a versatile food wine, there is enough structure to do well this roasts and grilled meats and would do equally well with Easter ham. This is a wine where the acidity engages your palate, while the finish isn't particularly strong, it doesn't fade.
The Summary

* When buying European wines follow the Importer. They tend to have "house styles", if you like one there is a good chance you will like others. The actual name of this wine is in small print on the back label. Kermit Lynch's name is on the front label on top.
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CheapWineFinder clean 7:45
King Rabbit Rose’ 2018 (Whole Foods) https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30262/king-rabbit-rose-2018-whole-foods/ Wed, 10 Apr 2019 03:02:58 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30262 The Story The King Rabbit Rose' 2018 seems to be a Whole Foods $9.99 exclusive sourced from the Languedoc in southwestern France. The King Rabbit Rose' is made with the Cinsault grape, which is one of the main blending grapes of the region. Cinsault is also one of the grapes featured in the Rose' wines of Provence. This Rose' is designated an IGP wine, which is one step below AOC wines. IGP indicates the wine exhibits the characteristics of the region, but for some reason didn't conform to AOC rules and regulations. The King Rabbit Rose' is one of 10 Rose' wines that Whole Foods is featuring for the spring and summer. All 10 Rose' wines are selling for less than $20, with most closer to $10. For some reason, the only products for sale at Whole Foods that are reasonably priced are the wine. I choose King Rabbit Rose' 2018 for the label. With Easter dinners coming up, this is a wine that will pair with baked ham, and double as decoration. The label shows a bunny, not an Easter Bunny, but close enough for the occasion. I am usually skeptical of wines with labels specifically designed for special occasions. Even young wines can last a year or two, so why offer a wine that can only sell for 1 month? The King Rabbit Rose' is a passable stand-in the Easter Bunny. The alcohol content is 12%. The Tasting Notes The color is on the apricot side of pink. The nose is pretty, there is a real spring-time in a bottle sensation happening. There are aromas of peach, pear, ripe, juicy apple, fresh lime, soft lemon, with a light floral edge. This is a dry, fruit forward, not particularly complex, but tasty Rose'. It tastes of strawberry, a touch of cream, and a slightly harder slap of spice. The mid-palate shows black cherry, a salty sensation, and dried cranberry. The acidity is very good, this is a backyard sipping Rose' and a versatile Rose' with the meal. The finish is mild but does last awhile. The Summary The King Rabbit Rose' will pair well with an Easter ham, and work nicely as a summer sipper This is one of those wines that more you sip the better it tastes, it grows on you When you shop Whole Foods, buy the wine, but avoid the $14 frozen pizzas and the $12 bunch of grapes     The Story The King Rabbit Rose' 2018 seems to be a Whole Foods $9.99 exclusive sourced from the Languedoc in southwestern France. The King Rabbit Rose' is made with the Cinsault grape, which is one of the main blending grapes of the region. The Story
The King Rabbit Rose' 2018 seems to be a Whole Foods $9.99 exclusive sourced from the Languedoc in southwestern France. The King Rabbit Rose' is made with the Cinsault grape, which is one of the main blending grapes of the region. Cinsault is also one of the grapes featured in the Rose' wines of Provence. This Rose' is designated an IGP wine, which is one step below AOC wines. IGP indicates the wine exhibits the characteristics of the region, but for some reason didn't conform to AOC rules and regulations.

The King Rabbit Rose' is one of 10 Rose' wines that Whole Foods is featuring for the spring and summer. All 10 Rose' wines are selling for less than $20, with most closer to $10. For some reason, the only products for sale at Whole Foods that are reasonably priced are the wine. I choose King Rabbit Rose' 2018 for the label. With Easter dinners coming up, this is a wine that will pair with baked ham, and double as decoration. The label shows a bunny, not an Easter Bunny, but close enough for the occasion. I am usually skeptical of wines with labels specifically designed for special occasions. Even young wines can last a year or two, so why offer a wine that can only sell for 1 month? The King Rabbit Rose' is a passable stand-in the Easter Bunny. The alcohol content is 12%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is on the apricot side of pink. The nose is pretty, there is a real spring-time in a bottle sensation happening. There are aromas of peach, pear, ripe, juicy apple, fresh lime, soft lemon, with a light floral edge. This is a dry, fruit forward, not particularly complex, but tasty Rose'. It tastes of strawberry, a touch of cream, and a slightly harder slap of spice. The mid-palate shows black cherry, a salty sensation, and dried cranberry. The acidity is very good, this is a backyard sipping Rose' and a versatile Rose' with the meal. The finish is mild but does last awhile.
The Summary

* The King Rabbit Rose' will pair well with an Easter ham, and work nicely as a summer sipper
* This is one of those wines that more you sip the better it tastes, it grows on you
* When you shop Whole Foods, buy the wine, but avoid the $14 frozen pizzas and the $12 bunch of grapes

 

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CheapWineFinder clean 6:57
Fidelity Alexander Valley Zinfandel 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30249/fidelity-alexander-valley-zinfandel-2017/ Sun, 07 Apr 2019 03:38:48 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30249 The Story The Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Railroad Estate Zinfandel 2017 is 88% Zinfandel and 12% Petite Sirah sourced from the Railroad Estate vineyard in Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California. Nick Goldschmidt is the head of a vineyard and winemaking family, everyone get involved, including the children. They have vineyards and wineries in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Alexander Valley, California. Goldschmidt Vineyards is mainly a Cabernet Sauvignon House and they have several different lines of wine. The Fidelity label is almost their entry-level line of wines. But when I go into the details you will see there isn't much entry-level about them, except for the reasonable price. The Fidelity Zinfandel is sourced from a single vineyard, the Railroad Estate, the wine is aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, 15% new barrels the rest used, and only 2,000 cases are produced. There are 12 bottles to a case, so that's 24,000 bottles, which for California, is small production, boutique wine. So there, a single vineyard, 16 months barrel aging, small production red wine that I found in Chicago for $14.99. I would expect the Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Zinfandel to be found closer to $20 in most parts of the US. It is very well priced, even at the higher price. Alexander Valley is east of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and it is the largest growing region in Sonoma. To the west is the Russian River and the Sonoma Cost AVAs, which are cool weather growing areas and well suited for Pinot Noir. The Alexander Valley is more inland and warmer and does very well with more full-bodied Red grapes. The alcohol content is a rather stout 15.1%. Tasting Notes The color, well there is some serious purple going on in my glass. The nose is ripe dark berries, a little vanilla, some spice, black pepper, raspberry, and a hint of raisin. This is a medium to full-bodied Zinfandel and is definitely not flavor shy. It starts with ripe blackberry mixed with black cherry, spice, vanilla crème, and pepper. The mid-palate offers blueberry in cream, orange zest, and tart cranberry. The tannins don't bite and the acidity is well-integrated into the body of the wine. The finish starts off strong and slowly fades away. The Summary If your experience with Zinfandel is mainly the value-priced Zins from Lodi, Sonoma Zinfandel tend to be more refined and elegant and the Fidelity Zin is no exception. A single vineyard, well-made, boutique Zinfandel in the under $20 price range is a must try. The Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Zinfandel is an excellent Zin at an outstanding price.   The Story The Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Railroad Estate Zinfandel 2017 is 88% Zinfandel and 12% Petite Sirah sourced from the Railroad Estate vineyard in Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California. The Story
The Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Railroad Estate Zinfandel 2017 is 88% Zinfandel and 12% Petite Sirah sourced from the Railroad Estate vineyard in Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California. Nick Goldschmidt is the head of a vineyard and winemaking family, everyone get involved, including the children. They have vineyards and wineries in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Alexander Valley, California. Goldschmidt Vineyards is mainly a Cabernet Sauvignon House and they have several different lines of wine. The Fidelity label is almost their entry-level line of wines. But when I go into the details you will see there isn't much entry-level about them, except for the reasonable price.

The Fidelity Zinfandel is sourced from a single vineyard, the Railroad Estate, the wine is aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, 15% new barrels the rest used, and only 2,000 cases are produced. There are 12 bottles to a case, so that's 24,000 bottles, which for California, is small production, boutique wine. So there, a single vineyard, 16 months barrel aging, small production red wine that I found in Chicago for $14.99. I would expect the Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Zinfandel to be found closer to $20 in most parts of the US. It is very well priced, even at the higher price.

Alexander Valley is east of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and it is the largest growing region in Sonoma. To the west is the Russian River and the Sonoma Cost AVAs, which are cool weather growing areas and well suited for Pinot Noir. The Alexander Valley is more inland and warmer and does very well with more full-bodied Red grapes. The alcohol content is a rather stout 15.1%.
Tasting Notes
The color, well there is some serious purple going on in my glass. The nose is ripe dark berries, a little vanilla, some spice, black pepper, raspberry, and a hint of raisin. This is a medium to full-bodied Zinfandel and is definitely not flavor shy. It starts with ripe blackberry mixed with black cherry, spice, vanilla crème, and pepper. The mid-palate offers blueberry in cream, orange zest, and tart cranberry. The tannins don't bite and the acidity is well-integrated into the body of the wine. The finish starts off strong and slowly fades away.
The Summary

* If your experience with Zinfandel is mainly the value-priced Zins from Lodi, Sonoma Zinfandel tend to be more refined and elegant and the Fidelity Zin is no exception.
* A single vineyard, well-made, boutique Zinfandel in the under $20 price range is a must try.
* The Nick Goldschmidt Fidelity Alexander Valley Zinfandel is an excellent Zin at an outstanding price.

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CheapWineFinder clean 5:26
Rain Cloud Red Blend 2016 (Trader Joe’s) https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30208/rain-cloud-red-blend-2016-trader-joes/ Wed, 03 Apr 2019 03:11:19 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30208 The Story The Rain Cloud Red Blend 2016 is a $5.99 wine from Trader Joe's. This is a bit of a mystery wine, there is no official information for it on the web. The Rain Cloud Red won a Silver Medal in the Cabernet Sauvignon based Red blend category at the San Fransisco Chronicle Wine Competition, it was the least expensive ($9.99) wine in the category. There was also no mention of this wine being affiliated with Trader Joe's. So, what can we tell from the bottle? The bottle is a heavy, this is no light weight eco-bottle, which you would expect for a $5.99 wine. Light weight bottle means less bottle cost and lower shipping costs since shipping is determined by weight. The label is two colors, which helps with reducing printing costs, but is well done and attractive, the black and gold looks good. It is a 2016 vintage, which gives the Rain Cloud a fair amount of bottle age. A Cabernet Sauvignon based Red wine will need time to come together to reach its peak. It looks like the Rain Cloud Red was given the proper time. The winery listed on the back is a faux-winery, probably created just for this wine. The wine competition tells us that the Rain Cloud Red Blend was not produced to sell for $5.99, but $9.99. How it became a Trader Joe's wine, I don't know. But it is an award-winning (Silver Medal) wine that originally sold for almost ten bucks. The alcohol content is a typical for California, 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is an opaque cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries and spice, with dusty chocolate powder, and a slightly herbal edge. This Red blend has medium+ body and a flavor profile that hits way harder than $5.99. It tastes of ripe black cherry, a slap of exotic, slightly sharp spice, tart cranberry, and chocolate bar chocolate. The mid-palate offers blackberry and cream, and a late hit of black licorice. The tannins are smooth and so is the acidity. This is a smooth wine with an occasion slap of sharp flavors, which gives the wine a little personality. The finish is full and lasts a respectable time. The Summary This is a killer Red Blend at $5.99. At closer to $10 the Rain Cloud Red Blend will have some competition, but at $5.99 it is a standout. Don't be afraid of trying very cheap Trader Joe's wines. Five years ago a $5.99 probably was not going to be a pleasant experience. Today, more often than not they deliver way above their price tag. With very inexpensive wine, the bottle itself will give you clues. Learn how to read what to read what the bottle is telling you. An eco-bottle and a boring label should indicate a wine where they cut corners to reach a price-point. Heavy bottle and an artistic label may mean a wine that somehow fell into the lower price range. The Story The Rain Cloud Red Blend 2016 is a $5.99 wine from Trader Joe's. This is a bit of a mystery wine, there is no official information for it on the web. The Rain Cloud Red won a Silver Medal in the Cabernet Sauvignon based Red blend category at... The Story
The Rain Cloud Red Blend 2016 is a $5.99 wine from Trader Joe's. This is a bit of a mystery wine, there is no official information for it on the web. The Rain Cloud Red won a Silver Medal in the Cabernet Sauvignon based Red blend category at the San Fransisco Chronicle Wine Competition, it was the least expensive ($9.99) wine in the category. There was also no mention of this wine being affiliated with Trader Joe's. So, what can we tell from the bottle?

The bottle is a heavy, this is no light weight eco-bottle, which you would expect for a $5.99 wine. Light weight bottle means less bottle cost and lower shipping costs since shipping is determined by weight. The label is two colors, which helps with reducing printing costs, but is well done and attractive, the black and gold looks good. It is a 2016 vintage, which gives the Rain Cloud a fair amount of bottle age. A Cabernet Sauvignon based Red wine will need time to come together to reach its peak. It looks like the Rain Cloud Red was given the proper time.

The winery listed on the back is a faux-winery, probably created just for this wine. The wine competition tells us that the Rain Cloud Red Blend was not produced to sell for $5.99, but $9.99. How it became a Trader Joe's wine, I don't know. But it is an award-winning (Silver Medal) wine that originally sold for almost ten bucks. The alcohol content is a typical for California, 14.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is an opaque cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries and spice, with dusty chocolate powder, and a slightly herbal edge. This Red blend has medium+ body and a flavor profile that hits way harder than $5.99. It tastes of ripe black cherry, a slap of exotic, slightly sharp spice, tart cranberry, and chocolate bar chocolate. The mid-palate offers blackberry and cream, and a late hit of black licorice. The tannins are smooth and so is the acidity. This is a smooth wine with an occasion slap of sharp flavors, which gives the wine a little personality. The finish is full and lasts a respectable time.
The Summary

* This is a killer Red Blend at $5.99. At closer to $10 the Rain Cloud Red Blend will have some competition, but at $5.99 it is a standout.
* Don't be afraid of trying very cheap Trader Joe's wines. Five years ago a $5.99 probably was not going to be a pleasant experience. Today, more often than not they deliver way above their price tag.
* With very inexpensive wine, the bottle itself will give you clues. Learn how to read what to read what the bottle is telling you. An eco-bottle and a boring label should indicate a wine where they cut corners to reach a price-point. Heavy bottle and an artistic label may mean a wine that somehow fell into the lower price range.







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CheapWineFinder clean 6:43
The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Target) https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30178/the-collection-cabernet-sauvignon-2016-target/ Sun, 31 Mar 2019 03:19:45 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30178 The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Target) is a $9.99 Target exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. Target also offers their California Roots  line of $5.00 wines, which I thought were "ok" but not anything special. It is hard to be too critical of a decent five buck wine. Should we expect a wine twice as good for ten dollars? Target doesn't give a great deal of information on The Collection, so lets see what we can figure out from the bottle. The back label shows a winery from Manteca, California (Lodi), the winery name was created just for these particular wines. There is a large and very good, family owned vineyards and winery in Manteca, they have produced custom wines for Trader Joe's and I think, ALDIs. They also produce many retail wine labels on their own that are excellent value wines. I can't be completely sure that they produced The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, but if they did that is a good sign. This is a 2016 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives a wine released in March of 2019 some decent bottle age. Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that takes some time to come together, you expect some sort of oak conditioning to be well-integrated into the flavor profile and the tannins to reasonably smooth. That takes some aging to complete and The Collection Cab doesn't skimp. The alcohol content is a very California, 14.5%. Tasting Notes The color is a dark, but still see-thru black cherry red. The nose is blackberries, a touch of herbs, a little spice, a little chocolate and a little vanilla. This wine has medium + body, with balanced flavors and decent structure. It tastes of blackberries, French vanilla, tart cranberry, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds a little Altoids spice, raspberry, and a touch of milk chocolate. The tannins do not bite, but provide solid structure, many value-priced Red wines try to hide their tannins, not here. The acidity is balanced, this can be a food wine, steaks on the grill anyone? The finish starts off strong, but is a little short. Summary The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is very competitive with Cabs in the value price category Exclusive store brands have price advantages over regular retail wines, this $9.99 Cab Sauv is equal to Cabs in the $13 to $14 range The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon is $9.99 and, yes, it is twice as good as the $5.00 Target California Roots Cab Sauvignon The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Target) is a $9.99 Target exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. Target also offers their California Roots  line of $5.00 wines, which I thought were "ok" but not anything special. The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Target) is a $9.99 Target exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. Target also offers their California Roots  line of $5.00 wines, which I thought were "ok" but not anything special. It is hard to be too critical of a decent five buck wine. Should we expect a wine twice as good for ten dollars?

Target doesn't give a great deal of information on The Collection, so lets see what we can figure out from the bottle. The back label shows a winery from Manteca, California (Lodi), the winery name was created just for these particular wines. There is a large and very good, family owned vineyards and winery in Manteca, they have produced custom wines for Trader Joe's and I think, ALDIs. They also produce many retail wine labels on their own that are excellent value wines. I can't be completely sure that they produced The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, but if they did that is a good sign.

This is a 2016 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives a wine released in March of 2019 some decent bottle age. Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that takes some time to come together, you expect some sort of oak conditioning to be well-integrated into the flavor profile and the tannins to reasonably smooth. That takes some aging to complete and The Collection Cab doesn't skimp. The alcohol content is a very California, 14.5%.
Tasting Notes
The color is a dark, but still see-thru black cherry red. The nose is blackberries, a touch of herbs, a little spice, a little chocolate and a little vanilla. This wine has medium + body, with balanced flavors and decent structure. It tastes of blackberries, French vanilla, tart cranberry, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds a little Altoids spice, raspberry, and a touch of milk chocolate. The tannins do not bite, but provide solid structure, many value-priced Red wines try to hide their tannins, not here. The acidity is balanced, this can be a food wine, steaks on the grill anyone? The finish starts off strong, but is a little short.
Summary

* The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is very competitive with Cabs in the value price category
* Exclusive store brands have price advantages over regular retail wines, this $9.99 Cab Sauv is equal to Cabs in the $13 to $14 range
* The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon is $9.99 and, yes, it is twice as good as the $5.00 Target California Roots Cab Sauvignon
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d’Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30147/darenberg-stump-jump-gsm-2014/ Wed, 27 Mar 2019 02:39:11 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30147 d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014 The d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014 is a blend of 38% Grenache, 32% Shiraz/Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre sourced from vineyards in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. McLaren Vale is one of the premier winemaking regions in Australia, it is located near the city of Adelaide, near a bay on land that juts out into the Ocean. Inland Australia can get extremely hot and dry, but the proximity to the Ocean gives McLaren Vale a Mediterranean climate well suited for grape vines. Stump Jump (the name refers to a plow) is d'Arenberg's value priced line of wines. A GSM is one of France's 2 great Red wine blends. The Bordeaux blend, Cabernet Sauvignon plus Merlot, with a couple of other blending grapes is the best known, mainly since this blend is popular with winemakers in Northern California. The GSM blend is mage popular by the wines of the Southern Rhone Valley and especially in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  The grapes came from olde bush vines, the grapes were crushed with a basket press, which is the old way the crushing grapes, they now often use huge hydraulic presses, and was fermented in open-top vats. Again, open-top vats are an older method of grape fermentation, it runs the rick of allowing too much oxygen interact with the juice if not done right. But if performed correctly it gives the wine bright juicy flavors and allows the wine to come together in a shorter period of time. Tasting Notes The color is dark, but still see-thru raspberry jam red with black highlights. The nose is jammy berries, with savory aromas and mint, a little tea, a little spice, and a hint of baking fudge brownies. This is a flavorful smooth wine, with a bit of spice on the mid-palate. The current vintage of the Stump Jump GSM is 2016, these wines aren't made to last forever, so drink the 2014 before too long. It tastes of extracted blackberry, tart cranberry, licorice, tea, and herbs. The mid-palate adds a solid dose of spice, including orange zest, soft blueberry, and dusty chocolate powder. The acidity is nicely balanced and the finish vibrates in your mouth for quite some time. Summary The d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM is a very solid value priced red. The 3 grapes in the blend bring out the best in each other If you are getting a little bored with the usual California red blends, try a GSM, it will jump start your palate, tons of flavors, texture and bright acidity I found Jump Stump GSM on sale for $9.99 and it is a very satisfying, tasty ten buck Red Here are a couple of links to Stump Jump wines that we have featured in the past: Stump Jump GSM 2011  and the Stump JumpShiraz 2010 d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014 - The d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014 is a blend of 38% Grenache, 32% Shiraz/Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre sourced from vineyards in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. McLaren Vale is one of the premier winemaking reg... d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014

The d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2014 is a blend of 38% Grenache, 32% Shiraz/Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre sourced from vineyards in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. McLaren Vale is one of the premier winemaking regions in Australia, it is located near the city of Adelaide, near a bay on land that juts out into the Ocean. Inland Australia can get extremely hot and dry, but the proximity to the Ocean gives McLaren Vale a Mediterranean climate well suited for grape vines.

Stump Jump (the name refers to a plow) is d'Arenberg's value priced line of wines. A GSM is one of France's 2 great Red wine blends. The Bordeaux blend, Cabernet Sauvignon plus Merlot, with a couple of other blending grapes is the best known, mainly since this blend is popular with winemakers in Northern California. The GSM blend is mage popular by the wines of the Southern Rhone Valley and especially in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. 

The grapes came from olde bush vines, the grapes were crushed with a basket press, which is the old way the crushing grapes, they now often use huge hydraulic presses, and was fermented in open-top vats. Again, open-top vats are an older method of grape fermentation, it runs the rick of allowing too much oxygen interact with the juice if not done right. But if performed correctly it gives the wine bright juicy flavors and allows the wine to come together in a shorter period of time.
Tasting Notes
The color is dark, but still see-thru raspberry jam red with black highlights. The nose is jammy berries, with savory aromas and mint, a little tea, a little spice, and a hint of baking fudge brownies. This is a flavorful smooth wine, with a bit of spice on the mid-palate. The current vintage of the Stump Jump GSM is 2016, these wines aren't made to last forever, so drink the 2014 before too long. It tastes of extracted blackberry, tart cranberry, licorice, tea, and herbs. The mid-palate adds a solid dose of spice, including orange zest, soft blueberry, and dusty chocolate powder. The acidity is nicely balanced and the finish vibrates in your mouth for quite some time.
Summary

* The d'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM is a very solid value priced red. The 3 grapes in the blend bring out the best in each other
* If you are getting a little bored with the usual California red blends, try a GSM, it will jump start your palate, tons of flavors, texture and bright acidity
* I found Jump Stump GSM on sale for $9.99 and it is a very satisfying, tasty ten buck Red
* Here are a couple of links to Stump Jump wines that we have featured in the past: Stump Jump GSM 2011  and the Stump JumpShiraz 2010
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CheapWineFinder clean 5:09
Villa Sandi il Fresco Brut Prosecco https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/30133/villa-sandi-ill-fresco-brut-prosecco/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 03:11:11 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=30133 Villa Sandi ill Fresco Brut Prosecco bottle The Villa Sandi ilFresco Brut Prosecco is a DOC classified non-vintage Bubbly, 85% Glera, 15% Chardonnay & Pinot Blanc sourced from the Treviso region of Veneto (Venice) in Northeast Italy. Villa Sandi has been a wine estate since 1622, though Prosecco, as we know it today, has only been around for a little over 100 years. The il Fresco in the name translates to "fresh" and that refers to their production technique of refrigerating the crushed juice until it is needed. Then they ferment the juice a first time and then transfer the wine to a huge autoclave (a pressurized tank, it keeps the CO2 gasses released during fermentation from escaping) to ferment the wine a 2nd time (this is where the bubbles are formed), this method is called the Charmat Method. The wine is fermented in the autoclave (a much larger version of the machine that sterilized surgical and tattoo equipment) for 2 months "on lees". On lees indicated the dead yeast is left in the tank with the juice, it will add flavor and structure. By waiting to produce the Bubbly until needed for sale, it is always fresh and lively. As a non-vintage wine, the Villa Sandi Brut Prosecco is blended each year with juice from earlier vintages to insure the final outcome always reflects the "house style". With Sparkling wine, all the producers (in Prosecco and Champagne) use the same grapes, from the same general local, and use the same production methods. The important differences come from the small details, in the vineyard and during the wine production that allows the Bubbly to have its own unique personality. The alcohol content is 11%. The color is a mix of gold and platinum, with loads of highly energetic bubbles. The nose is crisp and clean, slightly yeasty, with aromas of lemons, limes, apples, pear, and a soft floral edge. This is a soft, rounded Bubbly, with an excellent dose of acidity. It starts with crisp Green apple, Meyer lemon, not too tart grapefruit, the "on lees" adds a salty nutty sensation. The mid-palate adds fresh lime and not sweet peach. The flavors are all well-balanced and the acidity will activate your palate. You will find yourself reaching for another sip without actively thinking about. The finish is crisp, clean and fairly lengthy. Summary Second fermentation lasted 2 months, which is a solid length of time for an entry-level Italian Sparkling wine. The longer the time the better the integration of the bubbles. The addition of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc adds contrast to the usual Glera grape Prosecco flavor profile The House Style, with all Bubbly, is a very important consideration. I used to buy which ever Prosecco was on sale. I think it is time to start thinking about the Prosecco that is "right" for me. The difference between the price of the "sale" Prosecco and what will be my favorite Prosecco isn't that large. So buy your favorite. Villa Sandi ill Fresco Brut Prosecco bottle - The Villa Sandi ilFresco Brut Prosecco is a DOC classified non-vintage Bubbly, 85% Glera, 15% Chardonnay & Pinot Blanc sourced from the Treviso region of Veneto (Venice) in Northeast Italy. Villa Sandi ill Fresco Brut Prosecco bottle

The Villa Sandi ilFresco Brut Prosecco is a DOC classified non-vintage Bubbly, 85% Glera, 15% Chardonnay & Pinot Blanc sourced from the Treviso region of Veneto (Venice) in Northeast Italy. Villa Sandi has been a wine estate since 1622, though Prosecco, as we know it today, has only been around for a little over 100 years.

The il Fresco in the name translates to "fresh" and that refers to their production technique of refrigerating the crushed juice until it is needed. Then they ferment the juice a first time and then transfer the wine to a huge autoclave (a pressurized tank, it keeps the CO2 gasses released during fermentation from escaping) to ferment the wine a 2nd time (this is where the bubbles are formed), this method is called the Charmat Method. The wine is fermented in the autoclave (a much larger version of the machine that sterilized surgical and tattoo equipment) for 2 months "on lees". On lees indicated the dead yeast is left in the tank with the juice, it will add flavor and structure. By waiting to produce the Bubbly until needed for sale, it is always fresh and lively.

As a non-vintage wine, the Villa Sandi Brut Prosecco is blended each year with juice from earlier vintages to insure the final outcome always reflects the "house style". With Sparkling wine, all the producers (in Prosecco and Champagne) use the same grapes, from the same general local, and use the same production methods. The important differences come from the small details, in the vineyard and during the wine production that allows the Bubbly to have its own unique personality. The alcohol content is 11%.

The color is a mix of gold and platinum, with loads of highly energetic bubbles. The nose is crisp and clean, slightly yeasty, with aromas of lemons, limes, apples, pear, and a soft floral edge. This is a soft, rounded Bubbly, with an excellent dose of acidity. It starts with crisp Green apple, Meyer lemon, not too tart grapefruit, the "on lees" adds a salty nutty sensation. The mid-palate adds fresh lime and not sweet peach. The flavors are all well-balanced and the acidity will activate your palate. You will find yourself reaching for another sip without actively thinking about. The finish is crisp, clean and fairly lengthy.
Summary

* Second fermentation lasted 2 months, which is a solid length of time for an entry-level Italian Sparkling wine. The longer the time the better the integration of the bubbles.
* The addition of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc adds contrast to the usual Glera grape Prosecco flavor profile
* The House Style, with all Bubbly, is a very important consideration. I used to buy which ever Prosecco was on sale. I think it is time to start thinking about the Prosecco that is "right" for me. The difference between the price of the "sale" Prosecco and what will be my favorite Prosecco isn't that large. So buy your favorite.
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