The CheapWineFinder Podcast https://www.cheapwinefinder.com Remarkable wines that pair nicely with your wallet Mon, 06 Apr 2020 05:21:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 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 Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33640/bluebird-monterey-pinot-noir-2016/ Mon, 06 Apr 2020 05:21:14 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33640 The Story The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 seems to be an orphan wine. All the social media for Bluebird Wines and they had everything, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, all stopped posting in 2015. There is a single webpage, for the 2013 vintage of this wine. They seemed to have produced other wines from past vintages, but this is the only wine still for sale. I also found it selling at a local grocery store, Mariano's, which is a Kroger store in the Chicago region. This is not your typical grocery store wine. For one thing, this is a small production, boutique Pinot Noir, the label says only 52 barrels were produced (about 15,000 bottles). Most of the bottles found in supermarkets (not all) tend to be produced in the hundreds of thousands. Mass production keeps the price down. The second thing is the tasting notes name Garys' Vineyard as a/the source. The only source is for the 2013 vintage and this is the 2016 vintage, I am guessing everything stayed the same. Garys' Vineyard is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands not far from the Monterey Bay, it is one of the premier Pinot Noir vineyards in California. Pinots sourced from this vineyard routinely sell in the fifty dollar range. The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 was found for under $15. The Bluebird label only shows Monterey County as a source, maybe they sourced grapes from other parts of Monterey. Their information only lists one vineyard. If it is sourced solely from Garys' Vineyard this is a wildly underpriced Pinot Noir, even if it is only partially sourced from there it is still very well priced. There are many high-end Pinot Noir brands that show Garys' Vineyard and Santa Lucia Highlands on their front label. The Bluebird Pinot Noir seems to be modestly labeled. This is a 2016 vintage which is a good deal of aging for an under $15 Pinot Noir. This wine was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months, with 40% in French oak barrels and the rest in neutral oak barrels. Neutral barrels have been reused to the point that they no longer have any oak flavoring left to impart. The winemaker could use stainless steel tanks, but oak barrels let a tiny amount of air into the barrel. That minuscule amount causes enough of a change for the winemaker to go through the extra trouble and expense of barrels. The Bluebird seems to be a boutique, small production, well-sourced wine that just happens to be selling at a grocery store. There are interesting bargain wines everywhere if you take the time to search for them. The alcohol content is 13.8%. Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 Tasting Notes The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is really good, inexpensive Pinot Noir is usually dominated by fruit on the nose along with the expected herbs and spices. But, here we have an array of exotic scents, herbs, dried fall leaf, unusual spices, cherry, pork cooking on the outdoor grill, a whiff of smoke, this wine has a nose that takes you on a journey. This is a medium-bodied wine with bright acidity and delicate flavors. It starts with tart cherry, a slightly rough edge from the tannins. oak spice, tea, and a hint of chocolate. The mid-palate brings orange zest, sweet blueberry, licorice, herbs, and cranberry. The acidity gives this Pinot a good deal of length. What I enjoy about a good Pinot Noir is that you have to seek out the full display of tastes and textures. Some wines hit you over the head with flavor and that is fine, but I like a wine that does not give up its secrets so easily. The Summary The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 is a very fine Pinot Noir. It has features that are not normally found for under fifteen dollars.I think I am going to take my time next time I am in a grocery store searching for a wine and not just grab whatever is on sale. The Bluebird Pinot shows that there are treasures to be found if you take the time to look. The Story The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 seems to be an orphan wine. All the social media for Bluebird Wines and they had everything, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, all stopped posting in 2015. There is a single webpage, The Story



The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 seems to be an orphan wine. All the social media for Bluebird Wines and they had everything, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, all stopped posting in 2015. There is a single webpage, for the 2013 vintage of this wine.



They seemed to have produced other wines from past vintages, but this is the only wine still for sale. I also found it selling at a local grocery store, Mariano's, which is a Kroger store in the Chicago region. This is not your typical grocery store wine.







For one thing, this is a small production, boutique Pinot Noir, the label says only 52 barrels were produced (about 15,000 bottles). Most of the bottles found in supermarkets (not all) tend to be produced in the hundreds of thousands. Mass production keeps the price down.



The second thing is the tasting notes name Garys' Vineyard as a/the source. The only source is for the 2013 vintage and this is the 2016 vintage, I am guessing everything stayed the same.



Garys' Vineyard is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands not far from the Monterey Bay, it is one of the premier Pinot Noir vineyards in California. Pinots sourced from this vineyard routinely sell in the fifty dollar range. The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 was found for under $15.



The Bluebird label only shows Monterey County as a source, maybe they sourced grapes from other parts of Monterey. Their information only lists one vineyard. If it is sourced solely from Garys' Vineyard this is a wildly underpriced Pinot Noir, even if it is only partially sourced from there it is still very well priced.



There are many high-end Pinot Noir brands that show Garys' Vineyard and Santa Lucia Highlands on their front label. The Bluebird Pinot Noir seems to be modestly labeled. This is a 2016 vintage which is a good deal of aging for an under $15 Pinot Noir.



This wine was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months, with 40% in French oak barrels and the rest in neutral oak barrels. Neutral barrels have been reused to the point that they no longer have any oak flavoring left to impart. The winemaker could use stainless steel tanks, but oak barrels let a tiny amount of air into the barrel. That minuscule amount causes enough of a change for the winemaker to go through the extra trouble and expense of barrels.



The Bluebird seems to be a boutique, small production, well-sourced wine that just happens to be selling at a grocery store. There are interesting bargain wines everywhere if you take the time to search for them. The alcohol content is 13.8%.



Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 Tasting Notes



The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is really good, inexpensive Pinot Noir is usually dominated by fruit on the nose along with the expected herbs and spices. But, here we have an array of exotic scents, herbs, dried fall leaf, unusual spices, cherry, pork cooking on the outdoor grill, a whiff of smoke, this wine has a nose that takes you on a journey.



This is a medium-bodied wine with bright acidity and delicate flavors. It starts with tart cherry, a slightly rough edge from the tannins. oak spice, tea, and a hint of chocolate.



The mid-palate brings orange zest, sweet blueberry, licorice, herbs, and cranberry.]]>
CheapWineFinder 11:45
Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33619/anne-amie-rose-of-pinot-noir-2019/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 04:37:07 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33619 The Story The Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 is an estate farmed, produced, and bottled Rose' sourced from vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton and Chehalem Mountain districts of the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. Anne Amie Vineyards is a privately owned winery founded in 1999. This Rose' is a brand new wine for Anne Amie and they have not gotten around to adding the wine to their website, so I do not have production tidbits to pass along. But this is an interesting wine we will have a fair amount to talk about. Willamette Valley is my favorite Pinot Noir and a Rose' of Pinot Noir is the flip-side of Pinot Noir wine. When a winemaker produces a Red wine they have to take into account the tannins (a chemical compound found in grape skins) and the flavor influence of oak barrels. They concentrate flavors and texture in the wine to seamlessly blend with the oak and tannins, it is a balancing act. Rose' juice only has contact with the grape skins long enough to get the desired pink color (usually a few hours). Rose' wine, especially in this price range (I found it for $14.99) do not have new oak aging. If oak barrels are used they are typically neutral oak, which are barrels that have released all their flavor. Since there are little in the way of tannins and oak influence a winemaker has no need for the same production techniques as regular Red wine (in this case, Pinot Noir). Flavors and textures that can get overpowered in regular red wine are allowed to breathe and come to the forefront. And if you are paying attention, you can pick up flavors in a Rose' that if you look, can now find hidden in a glass of Red wine. If you are a fan of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, a Rose' of Pinot Noir can help you start to find all the interesting nuances in the wine. If you are simply a Rose' fan and Pinot Noir does not really do it for you, then these Rose' wines can be excellent. Another point I want to make is choosing a wine at a wine shop based on the label. Some folks will tell you that that is a bad idea, but I disagree. The label to the Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 is beautiful, very eye-catching. My bottle shot does not capture the entire label it wraps around the bottle. It is a painting of a garden, but not a still-life reproduction. All the elements of a garden are included, but things are placed where the artist chose, not where nature would dictate. The colors are both eye-catching and muted, there are contrasts. At this point, I have the bottle open and a glass poured but I do not know how this Rose' tastes. But if I am right about what the label is signaling to me, this is a bright, fresh Rose', with style and differing contrasts of flavor. It isn't merely a simple almost no manipulation Rose', but has elements the winemaker intended to showcase. The label is a representation of what to expect with your first sip. Now that is my theory on wine bottle labels and it seems to work for me. But then again it may be my imagination fitting square pegs into round holes. The alcohol content is a relatively mild 12.7%. Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 Tasting Notes The color is pink mixed with apricot. The nose is a mix of bright citrus and slightly husky fruit aromas, candy spice (not sweet), cherry, lemon, melon, Anjou pear, and sour hard candy. This is a sleek, very well-balanced Rose', this is no fruit bomb. It starts with sharp cherry, a little lemon/lime, tangerine, and ripe black cherry. The mid-palate adds nectarine, light spice, and a slightly creamy, slightly salty sensation. The acidity lets the flavors unfold and will get you reaching for another sip sooner than you think. The Summary The Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 is delicious, casual, and the same time a little elegant.It is a young wine, vintage 2019, but the flavors have melded together very well in that short period of time.My theory of labels worked with Anne Amie Rose'. The Story The Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 is an estate farmed, produced, and bottled Rose' sourced from vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton and Chehalem Mountain districts of the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. The Story



The Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 is an estate farmed, produced, and bottled Rose' sourced from vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton and Chehalem Mountain districts of the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. Anne Amie Vineyards is a privately owned winery founded in 1999.



This Rose' is a brand new wine for Anne Amie and they have not gotten around to adding the wine to their website, so I do not have production tidbits to pass along. But this is an interesting wine we will have a fair amount to talk about.







Willamette Valley is my favorite Pinot Noir and a Rose' of Pinot Noir is the flip-side of Pinot Noir wine. When a winemaker produces a Red wine they have to take into account the tannins (a chemical compound found in grape skins) and the flavor influence of oak barrels. They concentrate flavors and texture in the wine to seamlessly blend with the oak and tannins, it is a balancing act.



Rose' juice only has contact with the grape skins long enough to get the desired pink color (usually a few hours). Rose' wine, especially in this price range (I found it for $14.99) do not have new oak aging. If oak barrels are used they are typically neutral oak, which are barrels that have released all their flavor.



Since there are little in the way of tannins and oak influence a winemaker has no need for the same production techniques as regular Red wine (in this case, Pinot Noir). Flavors and textures that can get overpowered in regular red wine are allowed to breathe and come to the forefront. And if you are paying attention, you can pick up flavors in a Rose' that if you look, can now find hidden in a glass of Red wine.



If you are a fan of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, a Rose' of Pinot Noir can help you start to find all the interesting nuances in the wine. If you are simply a Rose' fan and Pinot Noir does not really do it for you, then these Rose' wines can be excellent.



Another point I want to make is choosing a wine at a wine shop based on the label. Some folks will tell you that that is a bad idea, but I disagree. The label to the Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 is beautiful, very eye-catching.



My bottle shot does not capture the entire label it wraps around the bottle. It is a painting of a garden, but not a still-life reproduction. All the elements of a garden are included, but things are placed where the artist chose, not where nature would dictate. The colors are both eye-catching and muted, there are contrasts.



At this point, I have the bottle open and a glass poured but I do not know how this Rose' tastes. But if I am right about what the label is signaling to me, this is a bright, fresh Rose', with style and differing contrasts of flavor. It isn't merely a simple almost no manipulation Rose', but has elements the winemaker intended to showcase. The label is a representation of what to expect with your first sip.



Now that is my theory on wine bottle labels and it seems to work for me. But then again it may be my imagination fitting square pegs into round holes. The alcohol content is a relatively mild 12.7%.



Anne Amie Rose of Pinot Noir 2019 Tasting Notes



The color is pink mixed with apricot. The nose is a mix of bright citrus and slightly husky fruit aromas, candy spice (not sweet), cherry, lemon, melon,]]>
CheapWineFinder 9:43
Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33599/bear-bros-cabernet-sauvignon-2017/ Wed, 01 Apr 2020 16:38:00 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33599 The Story The Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is an ALDI $8.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. That is about all the information on the production of this Cab that is available. And that is ok because this is a lockdown wine, if you take a chance and head out to ALDI is grab some provisions can you also pick up a decent wine to help make watching Netflix for the 3rd week a row more palatable. ALDI does not have the most attractively displayed wines around, but there are some wines that are well worth drinking. So what do we know or at least guess about the Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017? First, a 9 buck store-brand wine is usually equivalent to an $11 or $12 wine at a retail wine shop. There are many variables with that assessment, but that is a ballpark guess. This Cabernet Sauvignon is a 2017 vintage, which gives this wine about two years of aging. That is respectable for a sub-$10 drink-it-now wine, they are frequently produced with methods that allow the wine to come together quickly. That is fine, but you do not want shortcuts and two years of aging is a proper length for this style of wine. The notes on the back label mention vanilla as part of the flavor profile and that is something that comes from some sort of oak aging. I would think that some if not all of this Cab Sauv some barrel aging. With a California Cabernet Sauvignon, we have come to expect oak flavoring in the wine, an un-oaked cabernet can seem a little weird. I do not know for certain, but the actual winery that produced this wine (Bear Bros is an ALDI name) is also responsible for several other ALDI wines that I thought delivered some decent bang-for-the_buck. So on to the tasting notes to see if my quick store run purchase was a wise one. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Tasting Notes The color is cherry jelly red with black highlights. The nose ripe jammy red berries, extracted blackberry, mint, vanilla, light spice, and just a hint of dark chocolate. This 9 buck Cabernet Sauvignon has a medium body and chewy sweet tannins. It starts with blackberry, milk chocolate, tart cranberry, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds vanilla creme, plum, and soft spice. The aforementioned chewy tannins added some unexpected character, but do not interfere with the flavor profile. The acidity allows this cabernet to be bright and fresh. I am going to skip writing about a wines finish unless it just happens to be extraordinarily good. For the most part, I do not particularly care about what happens after I quit drinking the wine. If it is really good I am constantly taking another sip, so the finish rarely comes into play. The Summay The Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a worthy lock-down Netflix binging wine.I tend to prefer the style of Cabernet Sauvignon that they make that sells closer to twenty dollars than ten dollars. The more complex winemaking production gives the wine a little more oomph, which I prefer in my Cabernet.But with that said, this is very drinkable wine that delivers beyond its modest price tag. The Story The Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is an ALDI $8.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. That is about all the information on the production of this Cab that is available. The Story







The Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is an ALDI $8.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. That is about all the information on the production of this Cab that is available.



And that is ok because this is a lockdown wine, if you take a chance and head out to ALDI is grab some provisions can you also pick up a decent wine to help make watching Netflix for the 3rd week a row more palatable. ALDI does not have the most attractively displayed wines around, but there are some wines that are well worth drinking.



So what do we know or at least guess about the Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017? First, a 9 buck store-brand wine is usually equivalent to an $11 or $12 wine at a retail wine shop. There are many variables with that assessment, but that is a ballpark guess.



This Cabernet Sauvignon is a 2017 vintage, which gives this wine about two years of aging. That is respectable for a sub-$10 drink-it-now wine, they are frequently produced with methods that allow the wine to come together quickly. That is fine, but you do not want shortcuts and two years of aging is a proper length for this style of wine.



The notes on the back label mention vanilla as part of the flavor profile and that is something that comes from some sort of oak aging. I would think that some if not all of this Cab Sauv some barrel aging. With a California Cabernet Sauvignon, we have come to expect oak flavoring in the wine, an un-oaked cabernet can seem a little weird.



I do not know for certain, but the actual winery that produced this wine (Bear Bros is an ALDI name) is also responsible for several other ALDI wines that I thought delivered some decent bang-for-the_buck. So on to the tasting notes to see if my quick store run purchase was a wise one. The alcohol content is 13.5%.



Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Tasting Notes



The color is cherry jelly red with black highlights. The nose ripe jammy red berries, extracted blackberry, mint, vanilla, light spice, and just a hint of dark chocolate. This 9 buck Cabernet Sauvignon has a medium body and chewy sweet tannins. It starts with blackberry, milk chocolate, tart cranberry, and black pepper.



The mid-palate adds vanilla creme, plum, and soft spice. The aforementioned chewy tannins added some unexpected character, but do not interfere with the flavor profile. The acidity allows this cabernet to be bright and fresh.



I am going to skip writing about a wines finish unless it just happens to be extraordinarily good. For the most part, I do not particularly care about what happens after I quit drinking the wine. If it is really good I am constantly taking another sip, so the finish rarely comes into play.



The Summay



* The Bear Bros Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a worthy lock-down Netflix binging wine.* I tend to prefer the style of Cabernet Sauvignon that they make that sells closer to twenty dollars than ten dollars. The more complex winemaking production gives the wine a little more oomph, which I prefer in my Cabernet.* But with that said, this is very drinkable wine that delivers beyond its modest price tag.




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CheapWineFinder clean 8:48
Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33567/ken-forrester-petit-chenin-blanc-2019/ Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:03:46 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33567 The Story The Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 is a young wine sourced from vineyards in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. Ken Forrester is one of the leading wineries in South Africa, their farm dates back to 1689 with grapevines first planted in 1694. Ken Forrester bought the rundown derelict estate in 1993 and started producing wine in 1994. he is acknowledged as one of the best growers of Chenin Blanc. The Stellenbosch region is situated in the Western Cape not far from Cape Town. It is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in South Africa and is considered to be an elite growing region. The summers are warm and dry and the climate is considered to be similar to the Mediterranean, think Italy or the south of France. Chenin Blanc is a grape that is originally from the Loire Valley in France. But like how now Sauvignon Blanc is well known from New Zealand, South Africa is the place for Chenin Blanc. The Petit is the wine name that means this is a "young" wine that receives little or no aging. These are the real drink-it-now wines, the sooner you drink it from its release date the better. These are wines that are not meant to be put away for a year or two. In 2020 drink the 2019 vintage, next year in 2021 grab the 2020 vintage. South Africa has its seasons the reverse of the US, these grapes were probably picked last May.  Give them a little time to produce the wine, maybe a little bit of aging, a month or two and then the bottles are shipped out. As a young wine, this Chenin should be bright, crisp and fruity/citrus. Chenin Blanc is an extremely versatile grape, it can get the full winemakers treatment with loads of oak barrel aging that will cellar for decades, or made into wonderful sparkling wine, and everything on down to a young drink-it-now wine. That may well be one of the reasons that a delicious wine such as Chenin Blanc is not more popular. It can take on so many personalities that you may love one brand and not be impressed by the next. Chardonnay is also a versatile grape, but most US wine drinkers know what to expect from California Chardonnay in each price range. They are all different, but usually variations on a theme. Chenin is more of a mystery from one bottle to the next. But not with the Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019, a young Chenin Blanc should have reliable characteristics. the alcohol content is 13%. Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 Tasting Notes The color is pale wheat yellow. The nose is pretty, tangerine, peach, pear, apple, lemon/lime, spring flowers, and pink grapefruit. This is a very tasty wine with a more substantial mouthfeel than I was expecting for a young wine. The mouthfeel has a lightly syrupy feel, it tastes of a mix of lime, apricot, orange, and light spice. There are lemon curd and green apple. The mid-palate adds a salty sensation, a little tropical fruit, and tart grapefruit. the acidity is real good, it allows the flavors to unfold and will have you smacking your lips and reaching for the next sip. The Summary The Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 is a delicious, reasonably priced (I found it on sale for $11.99) White wine. Yes, it is a young wine, but there are loads of flavors and a ton of personality. This is a very likable wine. This is one of those wine where you need to buy twice as many bottles that you originally intended to, don't worry there won't be any leftovers.   The Story The Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 is a young wine sourced from vineyards in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. Ken Forrester is one of the leading wineries in South Africa, their farm dates back to 1689 with grapevines first pl... The Story
The Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 is a young wine sourced from vineyards in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. Ken Forrester is one of the leading wineries in South Africa, their farm dates back to 1689 with grapevines first planted in 1694. Ken Forrester bought the rundown derelict estate in 1993 and started producing wine in 1994. he is acknowledged as one of the best growers of Chenin Blanc.

The Stellenbosch region is situated in the Western Cape not far from Cape Town. It is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in South Africa and is considered to be an elite growing region. The summers are warm and dry and the climate is considered to be similar to the Mediterranean, think Italy or the south of France. Chenin Blanc is a grape that is originally from the Loire Valley in France. But like how now Sauvignon Blanc is well known from New Zealand, South Africa is the place for Chenin Blanc.

The Petit is the wine name that means this is a "young" wine that receives little or no aging. These are the real drink-it-now wines, the sooner you drink it from its release date the better. These are wines that are not meant to be put away for a year or two. In 2020 drink the 2019 vintage, next year in 2021 grab the 2020 vintage. South Africa has its seasons the reverse of the US, these grapes were probably picked last May. 

Give them a little time to produce the wine, maybe a little bit of aging, a month or two and then the bottles are shipped out. As a young wine, this Chenin should be bright, crisp and fruity/citrus. Chenin Blanc is an extremely versatile grape, it can get the full winemakers treatment with loads of oak barrel aging that will cellar for decades, or made into wonderful sparkling wine, and everything on down to a young drink-it-now wine.

That may well be one of the reasons that a delicious wine such as Chenin Blanc is not more popular. It can take on so many personalities that you may love one brand and not be impressed by the next. Chardonnay is also a versatile grape, but most US wine drinkers know what to expect from California Chardonnay in each price range. They are all different, but usually variations on a theme. Chenin is more of a mystery from one bottle to the next. But not with the Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019, a young Chenin Blanc should have reliable characteristics. the alcohol content is 13%.
Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is pale wheat yellow. The nose is pretty, tangerine, peach, pear, apple, lemon/lime, spring flowers, and pink grapefruit. This is a very tasty wine with a more substantial mouthfeel than I was expecting for a young wine. The mouthfeel has a lightly syrupy feel, it tastes of a mix of lime, apricot, orange, and light spice. There are lemon curd and green apple.

The mid-palate adds a salty sensation, a little tropical fruit, and tart grapefruit. the acidity is real good, it allows the flavors to unfold and will have you smacking your lips and reaching for the next sip.
The Summary

* The Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2019 is a delicious, reasonably priced (I found it on sale for $11.99) White wine.
* Yes, it is a young wine, but there are loads of flavors and a ton of personality. This is a very likable wine.
* This is one of those wine where you need to buy twice as many bottles that you originally intended to, don't worry there won't be any leftovers.

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CheapWineFinder 10:09
Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33542/cotillion-pinot-noir-2017/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 05:11:39 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33542 The Story The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is a Trader Joe's $9.99 exclusive brand sourced from vineyards in 56% Monterey County, 33% Sonoma County, and 11% Santa Barbara County in California. Under usual circumstances, this is a wine that would show 'California' on the front label as a place of origin since 67% of the grapes came from the Central Coast AVA and 33% came from the North Coast AVA. But since each of the AVAs mentioned are excellent Pinot Noir growing regions Cotillion preferred to brag a little. The Cotillion Pinot Noir is one of my favorite Trader Joe's wines, here is a link to the 2016 vintage, not only do I enjoy the Pinot Noir, but I am partial to the label. The label shows animals at a party and each animal is wearing a head mask of another animal, such as the fox is wearing a chicken mask and chicken is wearing a fox mask. It is all very strange. The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is interesting, it is sourced from some of the better Pinot Noir locations in California. Santa Barbara County is only about an hour and a half drive north of Los Angeles. The surrounding area is too hot in the summer to grow grapes, much less finicky Pinot Noir, the vineyards are located on a section of land that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on two sides. That gives the vineyards cool Ocean winds on both sides and plenty of early morning fog. Monterey County is located near a Bay south of San Francisco, there is a deep spot in the ocean just off the coast that concentrates very cold water, that keeps the Monterey vineyards the right temperatures for grape growing. Monterey also has a diverse landscape, coastal mountains, valleys, and benchlands. They successfully grow a wide variety of grapes and there are some excellent Pinot Noir areas. Sonoma County is well known for Pinot Noir, with the Sonoma Coast AVA, the Russian River AVA and the Sonoma side of the Carneros AVA. While Cotillion does not specify where exactly in these quality Pinot Noir growing regions the grapes were sourced, I am crossing my fingers and hoping that they would not be bragging on the front label if they weren't from someplace good. Another detail in the Cotillions favor is that the current vintage is 2017, which gives this Pinot Noir at least 2 years of aging. The back label mentions vanilla and oak undertones, so some sort of oak aging took place. Value priced wines often keep you guessing if oak barrels were used or not, but since this Pinot needed a full two years plus to reach its balance, that does suggest oak barrel is used and not some other more economical method. The alcohol content is 13.8%. Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 Tasting Notes The color is a see-thru cherry jelly red. The nose is pretty decent, it is a little on the ripe fruit side, but still hs plenty of Pinot Noir funk. There is black cherry, herbs, crushed fall leaves, a savory note, vanilla, a little spice, and dusty chocolate powder. This pinot has an excellent silky mouthfeel, the ripe fruit on the nose is much more subdued in the body of the wine. It tastes of tart cherry, soft spice, slightly sharp herbs and plum with vanilla. The mid-palate adds some Altoids spice, cranberry, chewy sweet tannins, and orange zest. The acidity is well-balanced, this is a bright, zesty Pinot Noir. The finish is soft but does stick around for some time. The Summary The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is a throw-back Pinot. There has been a trend lately for more full-bodied Pinots that are blended with Petite Sirah or Syrah. They are very popular the leading brand recently sold for a third of a billion dollars. But the Cotillion is a value-priced version of the best old school California Pinot Noir. It isn't equal to 40 or 50 dollar Pinot, but it does have some of the characteristics of those more fancy Pinot Noirs. AT $9.99 any Pinot Noir that can remind you (if not actual match) of the expensive stuff is ok with me. The Cotillion gives you a real Pinot Noir drinking experience a... The Story The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is a Trader Joe's $9.99 exclusive brand sourced from vineyards in 56% Monterey County, 33% Sonoma County, and 11% Santa Barbara County in California. Under usual circumstances, The Story
The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is a Trader Joe's $9.99 exclusive brand sourced from vineyards in 56% Monterey County, 33% Sonoma County, and 11% Santa Barbara County in California. Under usual circumstances, this is a wine that would show 'California' on the front label as a place of origin since 67% of the grapes came from the Central Coast AVA and 33% came from the North Coast AVA. But since each of the AVAs mentioned are excellent Pinot Noir growing regions Cotillion preferred to brag a little.

The Cotillion Pinot Noir is one of my favorite Trader Joe's wines, here is a link to the 2016 vintage, not only do I enjoy the Pinot Noir, but I am partial to the label. The label shows animals at a party and each animal is wearing a head mask of another animal, such as the fox is wearing a chicken mask and chicken is wearing a fox mask. It is all very strange.

The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is interesting, it is sourced from some of the better Pinot Noir locations in California. Santa Barbara County is only about an hour and a half drive north of Los Angeles. The surrounding area is too hot in the summer to grow grapes, much less finicky Pinot Noir, the vineyards are located on a section of land that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on two sides. That gives the vineyards cool Ocean winds on both sides and plenty of early morning fog.

Monterey County is located near a Bay south of San Francisco, there is a deep spot in the ocean just off the coast that concentrates very cold water, that keeps the Monterey vineyards the right temperatures for grape growing. Monterey also has a diverse landscape, coastal mountains, valleys, and benchlands. They successfully grow a wide variety of grapes and there are some excellent Pinot Noir areas.

Sonoma County is well known for Pinot Noir, with the Sonoma Coast AVA, the Russian River AVA and the Sonoma side of the Carneros AVA. While Cotillion does not specify where exactly in these quality Pinot Noir growing regions the grapes were sourced, I am crossing my fingers and hoping that they would not be bragging on the front label if they weren't from someplace good.

Another detail in the Cotillions favor is that the current vintage is 2017, which gives this Pinot Noir at least 2 years of aging. The back label mentions vanilla and oak undertones, so some sort of oak aging took place. Value priced wines often keep you guessing if oak barrels were used or not, but since this Pinot needed a full two years plus to reach its balance, that does suggest oak barrel is used and not some other more economical method. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru cherry jelly red. The nose is pretty decent, it is a little on the ripe fruit side, but still hs plenty of Pinot Noir funk. There is black cherry, herbs, crushed fall leaves, a savory note, vanilla, a little spice, and dusty chocolate powder. This pinot has an excellent silky mouthfeel, the ripe fruit on the nose is much more subdued in the body of the wine. It tastes of tart cherry, soft spice, slightly sharp herbs and plum with vanilla.

The mid-palate adds some Altoids spice, cranberry, chewy sweet tannins, and orange zest. The acidity is well-balanced, this is a bright,]]>
CheapWineFinder 10:35
Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33530/monique-cellars-sauvignon-blanc-2018/ Wed, 25 Mar 2020 04:41:02 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33530 The Story The Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. This is a wine made for Trader Joe's by the Central Coast Wine Warehouse which is part of  Thornhill Companies. The Central Coast Wine Warehouse has been working with Trader Joe's for years. The Central Coast Wine Warehouse is a winery that produces retail brand wines, store brands, contract wines, you name it and they also own some of the most acclaimed vineyards in the Central Coast AVA. They are a 5th generation wine family with roots going back to the late 1800s. When we first started Cheapwinefinder.com it seemed that every other wine that Trader Joe's sold was either made by Bronco wines (2 Buck Chuck) or the Central Coast Wine Warehouse. Here is a link to a review for another Central Coast Wine Warehouse/Trader Joe's wine, the Flower Keeper Sauvignon Blanc from the Monterey AVA. Which was another well-priced Sauv Blanc from the Central Coast AVA. The Central Coast isn't one of the more well-known Sauvignon Blanc growing regions. Bordeaux, the Loire Valley in France, and New Zealand get more press than the Central Coast, but those locations can't compete when it comes to price. For me, Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that is best when produced with only the winemaking techniques that are absolutely necessary. In Bordeaux, they make Sauvignon Blanc wines (blended with a little Semillon) that can be aged for 25 years. I don't get to drink those wines, but I can get young, bright, fresh Sauv Blanc wines that are Spring-time in a bottle, that is priced very well. And that is what the Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 should be all about, beautiful aromas and crisp, bright citrus and fruit flavors, nothing complicated, but nothing not to like either. Like most Trader Joe's wine, there is no technical information concerning the farming of the grapes or the making of the wine. But after all these years of Central Coast Wine Warehouse producing contract wine for Trader Joe's I know to expect a wine that drinks above its price point. The alcohol content is 13.9%. Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a clean, clear, lemon yellow. The nose is lemon, lime, green apple, orange blossom honey, soft spice, canned peaches, and lightly floral. The nose isn't quite as seductive as Loire Valley Sauv Blanc or as bold as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a nice rounded mouth-feel and a solid mix of flavors. The acidity isn't as bright as some Sauv Blancs which makes the Monique Cellars seem slightly subdued. It tastes of grapefruit, pear, peach, and ripe apple. The mid-palate brings a salty sensation, along with sleek guava, a hint of banana, and a late slap of tangerine. The finish is soft but does stick around for some time. The Summary The Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a wine that grows on you. It is not as big and bold a New Zealand Sauv Blanc and at first sip may seem somewhat lessor. But after a few sips, you start to appreciate it for its own virtues. This is a solid, very drinkable Sauv Blanc that has a bit of personality and sells for a penny less than seven dollars. That is nothing to take lightly. Just the White wine for watching Netflix, plus you can grab it at Trader Joe's while getting other needed supplies. In these days of lock-down getting your wine at a grocery store makes your shopping a little easier. Try to make a wine shop run, they need your business in these strange times.     The Story The Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. This is a wine made for Trader Joe's by the Central Coast Wine Warehouse which is part of  Thornhill Co... The Story
The Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. This is a wine made for Trader Joe's by the Central Coast Wine Warehouse which is part of  Thornhill Companies. The Central Coast Wine Warehouse has been working with Trader Joe's for years.

The Central Coast Wine Warehouse is a winery that produces retail brand wines, store brands, contract wines, you name it and they also own some of the most acclaimed vineyards in the Central Coast AVA. They are a 5th generation wine family with roots going back to the late 1800s. When we first started Cheapwinefinder.com it seemed that every other wine that Trader Joe's sold was either made by Bronco wines (2 Buck Chuck) or the Central Coast Wine Warehouse.

Here is a link to a review for another Central Coast Wine Warehouse/Trader Joe's wine, the Flower Keeper Sauvignon Blanc from the Monterey AVA. Which was another well-priced Sauv Blanc from the Central Coast AVA. The Central Coast isn't one of the more well-known Sauvignon Blanc growing regions. Bordeaux, the Loire Valley in France, and New Zealand get more press than the Central Coast, but those locations can't compete when it comes to price.

For me, Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that is best when produced with only the winemaking techniques that are absolutely necessary. In Bordeaux, they make Sauvignon Blanc wines (blended with a little Semillon) that can be aged for 25 years. I don't get to drink those wines, but I can get young, bright, fresh Sauv Blanc wines that are Spring-time in a bottle, that is priced very well.

And that is what the Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 should be all about, beautiful aromas and crisp, bright citrus and fruit flavors, nothing complicated, but nothing not to like either. Like most Trader Joe's wine, there is no technical information concerning the farming of the grapes or the making of the wine. But after all these years of Central Coast Wine Warehouse producing contract wine for Trader Joe's I know to expect a wine that drinks above its price point. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a clean, clear, lemon yellow. The nose is lemon, lime, green apple, orange blossom honey, soft spice, canned peaches, and lightly floral. The nose isn't quite as seductive as Loire Valley Sauv Blanc or as bold as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a nice rounded mouth-feel and a solid mix of flavors. The acidity isn't as bright as some Sauv Blancs which makes the Monique Cellars seem slightly subdued. It tastes of grapefruit, pear, peach, and ripe apple.

The mid-palate brings a salty sensation, along with sleek guava, a hint of banana, and a late slap of tangerine. The finish is soft but does stick around for some time.
The Summary

* The Monique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a wine that grows on you. It is not as big and bold a New Zealand Sauv Blanc and at first sip may seem somewhat lessor. But after a few sips, you start to appreciate it for its own virtues.
* This is a solid, very drinkable Sauv Blanc that has a bit of personality and sells for a penny le...]]>
CheapWineFinder 10:13
Hopes End Red Blend 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33480/hopes-end-red-blend-2017/ Mon, 23 Mar 2020 04:59:27 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33480 The Story The Hopes End Red Blend 2017 is a blend of 41% Shiraz (also known as Syrah), 39% Grenache, 12% Malbec, and 8% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards in South Australia. Hopes End is one of the Trinchero Family Estates stables of wines, which include some of the more popular wine brands on the market. The South Australia wine region is clustered around coastal areas where the cool Southern Pacific Ocean keeps the climate safe for vines. You need not go too far inland before the temperature gets too hot for grapes. The Hopes End Blend is an interesting blend of the two main Red grapes (Syrah and Grenache) from the Southern Rhone Valley of France along with two blending grapes, Malbec and Petit Verdot from France's Bordeaux district. You take that and filter it through the growing conditions of South Australia and you get a unique and interesting Red blend. In the past Australian, Red blends were super ripe with high alcohol content, but the Hopes End has a reasonable alcohol level of 13.5%. The tasting notes for the Hopes End Red Blend 2017 do not give a great deal of detail, limestone soils may indicate some of the grapes can from the Limestone Coast growing region and a mention of vanilla suggests some sort of oak aging. The residual sugar content show this blend to be categorized as off-dry, meaning it should be a little nectar sweet but not sugar sweet. Another detail in the Hopes End's favor is this is a 2017 vintage selling in the spring of 2020. Australia is on the other side of the equator so their growing season is the reverse of North America's. The grapes for this blend were probably harvested in May 2017, which means this bottling has about two and half years of aging, a combination of some sort of steel vats or oak, along with some bottle aging. That is a solid length of time to age a drink-it-now wine, the Hopes End website says drink by 2022. It takes time for the flavors and textures of a wine blend to balance. Winemakers can design wine to be ready quickly, but sometimes with wine, you just have to wait until the wine is right. Hopes End Red Blend 2017 The color is black cherry red, clean, clear and slightly see-through. The nose is dark and brooding, red berries and spice, dark chocolate, licorice, pepper, light herbs, and blackberry. This is a smooth refined Red blend with pleasing flavors. It tastes of a stew of blackberry, chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla, that sounds like a cake or candy, but the effect is not sweet. The mid-palate adds slightly dusty tannins, sweet blueberry, a little spice, and a salty sensation. The acidity lets the flavors unfold and the finish is a continuation of the body of the wine. The Summary The Hopes End is a tasty wine, loads of flavor and enough structure to get the job done. I found this wine selling for $9.99 at Target, it was one of the least expensive wines in the aisle. These days when shopping can be difficult it is good to know you can hit Target, buy cleaning supplies, some foodstuffs and get a wine that is worth drinking all in one shopping trip.     The Story The Hopes End Red Blend 2017 is a blend of 41% Shiraz (also known as Syrah), 39% Grenache, 12% Malbec, and 8% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards in South Australia. Hopes End is one of the Trinchero Family Estates stables of wines, The Story
The Hopes End Red Blend 2017 is a blend of 41% Shiraz (also known as Syrah), 39% Grenache, 12% Malbec, and 8% Petit Verdot sourced from vineyards in South Australia. Hopes End is one of the Trinchero Family Estates stables of wines, which include some of the more popular wine brands on the market. The South Australia wine region is clustered around coastal areas where the cool Southern Pacific Ocean keeps the climate safe for vines. You need not go too far inland before the temperature gets too hot for grapes.
The Hopes End Blend is an interesting blend of the two main Red grapes (Syrah and Grenache) from the Southern Rhone Valley of France along with two blending grapes, Malbec and Petit Verdot from France's Bordeaux district. You take that and filter it through the growing conditions of South Australia and you get a unique and interesting Red blend. In the past Australian, Red blends were super ripe with high alcohol content, but the Hopes End has a reasonable alcohol level of 13.5%.
The tasting notes for the Hopes End Red Blend 2017 do not give a great deal of detail, limestone soils may indicate some of the grapes can from the Limestone Coast growing region and a mention of vanilla suggests some sort of oak aging. The residual sugar content show this blend to be categorized as off-dry, meaning it should be a little nectar sweet but not sugar sweet.
Another detail in the Hopes End's favor is this is a 2017 vintage selling in the spring of 2020. Australia is on the other side of the equator so their growing season is the reverse of North America's. The grapes for this blend were probably harvested in May 2017, which means this bottling has about two and half years of aging, a combination of some sort of steel vats or oak, along with some bottle aging. That is a solid length of time to age a drink-it-now wine, the Hopes End website says drink by 2022.
It takes time for the flavors and textures of a wine blend to balance. Winemakers can design wine to be ready quickly, but sometimes with wine, you just have to wait until the wine is right.
Hopes End Red Blend 2017
The color is black cherry red, clean, clear and slightly see-through. The nose is dark and brooding, red berries and spice, dark chocolate, licorice, pepper, light herbs, and blackberry. This is a smooth refined Red blend with pleasing flavors. It tastes of a stew of blackberry, chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla, that sounds like a cake or candy, but the effect is not sweet.
The mid-palate adds slightly dusty tannins, sweet blueberry, a little spice, and a salty sensation. The acidity lets the flavors unfold and the finish is a continuation of the body of the wine.
The Summary

* The Hopes End is a tasty wine, loads of flavor and enough structure to get the job done.
* I found this wine selling for $9.99 at Target, it was one of the least expensive wines in the aisle. These days when shopping can be difficult it is good to know you can hit Target, buy cleaning supplies, some foodstuffs and get a wine that is worth drinking all in one shopping trip.

 









 
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CheapWineFinder 9:21
Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI) https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33431/red-cloak-petite-sirah-2017-aldi/ Fri, 20 Mar 2020 04:32:00 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33431 The Story The Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI)is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. ALDI virtually never issues any technical information concerning their wines, they tend to skip anything that will add to the price. But they are upping their label game, the Red Cloak can hold its own with any retail wine in that regard. The label shows someone (Little Red Riding Hood?) entering into a dark shadowy forest, it is a scene of mystery and foreboding. After I brought the bottle home it dawned on me why I was attracted to the label. We are all entering a time of uncertainty and foreboding, except we shouldn't be going to grandmother's house. A phone call or Facetime is probably the wiser healthier choice. Petite Sirah was created in France in 1880 by a man named Durif, he crossed Syrah with another grape (Pelsourin). The story I heard is that France in the 1800s had all sorts of problems with disease and insects in the vineyards. The entire vintages would be decimated. The Syrah grape in southeast France was having difficulties so Durif set out to make a Syrah-like grape that was hardy and disease resistant. The only problem was that by the time he came up with Petite Sirah the issues with Syrah cleared up. The grape never caught on in France but did make its way to California and Australia (where it is known as Durif). In California, the secret ingredient in many Red blends and is routinely used in Zinfandel wines. The Red Cloak Petit Sirah 2017 has a decent amount of aging for a $6.99 wine, you figure the grapes were harvested at the end of September 2017 and this is March 2020, so the wine had close to two and a half years to age. There is no mention of oak barrel aging (there is no mention of anything), but Petite Sirah can be tannic and need time to find its flavor balance. When you have no information concerning the making of wine, things such as the length of the aging process tell you a good deal about the wine. If you are making a bottle of wine to sell for 7 bucks you would design the winemaking process to have the wine come together fairly quickly. The sooner it is ready to sell the sooner the winery can recoup its investment. A $6.99 store brand wine may well indicate that the wine in question might have been intended to sell at a higher price. Without knowing more details it hard to know for sure, but guessing is part of the fun with these value-priced wines. The alcohol content is  13.5%. Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI) Tasting Notes The color is Thanksgiving cranberry red. The nose is really good, ripe red berries, a savory note, bacon fat, smoke, spice, dark chocolate, the nose hits above the wines price point. This is a medium to full-bodied wine with plenty of flavors and decent structure. It tastes of ripe raspberry, a dash of black pepper, spice, bitter dark chocolate, and soft, smooth plum. The mid-palate shows dusty tannins with a slightly rough edge (this is a good thing, the body of the wine can handle it), blueberry with a tiny bit of cream, and a late hit of exotic spice. The acidity is fine, this is a sipping wine, yes it will pair with pizza and burgers and do well. But this is more of a Netflix wine, it is tasty enough to exist on its own. The Summary The Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI) is a well-made tasty wine. It will have you wondering why you don't drink more Petite Sirah. At $6.99 you can't go wrong.   The Story The Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI)is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. ALDI virtually never issues any technical information concerning their wines, The Story
The Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI)is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. ALDI virtually never issues any technical information concerning their wines, they tend to skip anything that will add to the price. But they are upping their label game, the Red Cloak can hold its own with any retail wine in that regard.

The label shows someone (Little Red Riding Hood?) entering into a dark shadowy forest, it is a scene of mystery and foreboding. After I brought the bottle home it dawned on me why I was attracted to the label. We are all entering a time of uncertainty and foreboding, except we shouldn't be going to grandmother's house. A phone call or Facetime is probably the wiser healthier choice.

Petite Sirah was created in France in 1880 by a man named Durif, he crossed Syrah with another grape (Pelsourin). The story I heard is that France in the 1800s had all sorts of problems with disease and insects in the vineyards. The entire vintages would be decimated. The Syrah grape in southeast France was having difficulties so Durif set out to make a Syrah-like grape that was hardy and disease resistant. The only problem was that by the time he came up with Petite Sirah the issues with Syrah cleared up.

The grape never caught on in France but did make its way to California and Australia (where it is known as Durif). In California, the secret ingredient in many Red blends and is routinely used in Zinfandel wines. The Red Cloak Petit Sirah 2017 has a decent amount of aging for a $6.99 wine, you figure the grapes were harvested at the end of September 2017 and this is March 2020, so the wine had close to two and a half years to age. There is no mention of oak barrel aging (there is no mention of anything), but Petite Sirah can be tannic and need time to find its flavor balance.

When you have no information concerning the making of wine, things such as the length of the aging process tell you a good deal about the wine. If you are making a bottle of wine to sell for 7 bucks you would design the winemaking process to have the wine come together fairly quickly. The sooner it is ready to sell the sooner the winery can recoup its investment. A $6.99 store brand wine may well indicate that the wine in question might have been intended to sell at a higher price. Without knowing more details it hard to know for sure, but guessing is part of the fun with these value-priced wines. The alcohol content is  13.5%.
Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI) Tasting Notes
The color is Thanksgiving cranberry red. The nose is really good, ripe red berries, a savory note, bacon fat, smoke, spice, dark chocolate, the nose hits above the wines price point. This is a medium to full-bodied wine with plenty of flavors and decent structure. It tastes of ripe raspberry, a dash of black pepper, spice, bitter dark chocolate, and soft, smooth plum.

The mid-palate shows dusty tannins with a slightly rough edge (this is a good thing, the body of the wine can handle it), blueberry with a tiny bit of cream, and a late hit of exotic spice. The acidity is fine, this is a sipping wine, yes it will pair with pizza and burgers and do well. But this is more of a Netflix wine,]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 7:09
Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33380/trader-joes-grand-reserve-chalk-hills-cabernet-sauvignon-2018/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 04:37:22 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33380 The Story The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, actually the complete name includes Lot 96 and it is a Trader Joe's $12.99 exclusive wine. This wine is featured in Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, but there is no mention of any technical details, is it 100% Cabernet Sauvignon? What are the rough details of the oak program? Nothing, but they do tell us it is from the Chalk Hill AVA. Chalk Hill is a relatively small sub-AVA located in the northeast corner of the Russian River AVA inside the Sonoma County AVA. While the Russian River AVA is a cool climate region well suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay the Chalk Hill AVA is warmer, harvest can occur several weeks earlier than the surrounding AVAs. This is a very hilly location and the soil is also unique, it is ancient volcanic ash, making this an attractive location for Cabernet Sauvignon. Typical Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon start at around $20 and can go up to two or three times that price. You do not normally see Chalk Hill AVA on the label of discounted contracted store brands. There are only 5 wineries setting up shop in Chalk Hill and the vineyards under cultivation is a fraction of the greater Russian River AVA. A couple of details of note concerning the Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is that the bottle is a full size and weight Napa/Sonoma big boy Cabernet bottle and a real cork are used. I always keep my pulled corks for some unknown reason, I guess I will recycle them, but most are made of corks version of particle board or are some sort of synthetic. Real corks are rare in wine in the CheapWineFinder.com price range. Since $12.99 is a bump up from the usual $9.99 price of Trader Joe's Reserve wines. The cork and the bottle are typical of wine in the twenty dollars plus range, this may be a clue that the Chalk Hill Lot 96 may have been intended to sell for higher than its current price tag. I wouldn't think that Trader Joe's would mandate a real (and more expensive) cork or a heavy glass bottle that also adds to the price tag as an incentive to buy a $12.99 bottle of wine. You expect those details in a twenty-five dollar of wine. So, this is a Cabernet Sauvignon from a region that does not seem to sell off their excess grapes of finished wine to store brands with basic packaging that is above its price point. I am only playing detective here, I have no actual insight into the history of this Cab. But since store brands such as Trader Joe's have price advantages over retail wines, lower distribution costs and paying upfront for the bottles all add up to considerable cost savings. So, maybe this time this is an actual twenty buck wine selling for $12.99. I could easily be wrong and this is a $13 Cabernet Sauvignon selling for $12.99, but the clues left behind do say otherwise. The alcohol content is a ripe 14.5%. Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a jammy, opaque black cherry red. The nose is a combination of ripe blackberries and raspberries, herbs and menthol, followed by chocolate powder and soft vanilla. This is a wine that may be a little bit young, not that it does not have good flavor it just seems a little "tight". This Cabernet starts with smooth, ripe blackberry, black pepper, juicy raspberry, and slightly rough herbs. The mid-palate add tart cherry, orange zest, a lightly rugged edge to the tannins (something welcome in a full-bodied cabernet Sauvignon) and a late hit of cool blueberry. The acidity is nicely balanced and the finish mirrors the body of the wine and sticks around for a while. The Summary The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a tasty classic Califonia Cabernet Sauvignon. My advice is to buy a couple of bottles now (it will sell out and when it is gone it is gone for good) and stick them in a cool, quiet spot at home. Wait until after the 4th of July to pop the top and t... The Story The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, actually the complete name includes Lot 96 and it is a Trader Joe's $12.99 exclusive wine. This wine is featured in Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, The Story
The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, actually the complete name includes Lot 96 and it is a Trader Joe's $12.99 exclusive wine. This wine is featured in Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, but there is no mention of any technical details, is it 100% Cabernet Sauvignon? What are the rough details of the oak program? Nothing, but they do tell us it is from the Chalk Hill AVA.

Chalk Hill is a relatively small sub-AVA located in the northeast corner of the Russian River AVA inside the Sonoma County AVA. While the Russian River AVA is a cool climate region well suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay the Chalk Hill AVA is warmer, harvest can occur several weeks earlier than the surrounding AVAs. This is a very hilly location and the soil is also unique, it is ancient volcanic ash, making this an attractive location for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Typical Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon start at around $20 and can go up to two or three times that price. You do not normally see Chalk Hill AVA on the label of discounted contracted store brands. There are only 5 wineries setting up shop in Chalk Hill and the vineyards under cultivation is a fraction of the greater Russian River AVA.

A couple of details of note concerning the Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is that the bottle is a full size and weight Napa/Sonoma big boy Cabernet bottle and a real cork are used. I always keep my pulled corks for some unknown reason, I guess I will recycle them, but most are made of corks version of particle board or are some sort of synthetic. Real corks are rare in wine in the CheapWineFinder.com price range.

Since $12.99 is a bump up from the usual $9.99 price of Trader Joe's Reserve wines. The cork and the bottle are typical of wine in the twenty dollars plus range, this may be a clue that the Chalk Hill Lot 96 may have been intended to sell for higher than its current price tag. I wouldn't think that Trader Joe's would mandate a real (and more expensive) cork or a heavy glass bottle that also adds to the price tag as an incentive to buy a $12.99 bottle of wine. You expect those details in a twenty-five dollar of wine.

So, this is a Cabernet Sauvignon from a region that does not seem to sell off their excess grapes of finished wine to store brands with basic packaging that is above its price point. I am only playing detective here, I have no actual insight into the history of this Cab. But since store brands such as Trader Joe's have price advantages over retail wines, lower distribution costs and paying upfront for the bottles all add up to considerable cost savings. So, maybe this time this is an actual twenty buck wine selling for $12.99.

I could easily be wrong and this is a $13 Cabernet Sauvignon selling for $12.99, but the clues left behind do say otherwise. The alcohol content is a ripe 14.5%.
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a jammy, opaque black cherry red. The nose is a combination of ripe blackberries and raspberries, herbs and menthol, followed by chocolate powder and soft vanilla. This is a wine that may be a little bit young, not that it does not have good flavor it just seems a little "tight". This Cabernet starts with smooth, ripe blackberry, black pepper, juicy raspberry, and slightly rough herbs.

The mid-palate add tart cherry, orange zest, a lightly rugged edge to the tannins (something welcome in a full-b...]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 9:50
JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33346/jam-butter-chardonnay-2018/ Sat, 14 Mar 2020 03:57:37 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33346 The Story The JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 is a brand that is part of the John Anthony Family of Wines. John Anthony is John A. Touchard out of Napa, California. JaM stands for John and Michelle Truchard. And this is a "lifestyle" brand of wines. This is a wine that I found (on sale( for $12.99 and a quick check of the web shows it selling for between $13 and $15. There is a stiff competition of your Chardonnay dollars at this price point. JaM is big on lifestyle marketing and no so good and where what and when of the winemaking. The JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 is 100% Chardonnay and uses a special blend of oak barrels for aging. The tasting notes do not actually mention oak barrels, just that the Chardonnay is aged "in" oak which I figure means oak barrel aging. But that is kind of my complaint about their marketing materials, they do not really say much of anything on the technical side. They do know their intended market well and I imagine these are not the wine drinkers who get hung up on malolactic fermentation and "on lees"aging. But these are probably not the folks who are reading your technical/tasting notes either, so you can give us wine geeks a little something, too. What we are going to find out about the JaM Chardonnay we are going to get from the tasting experience. This is a very popular Chardonnay and the proof is always in the tasting anyway. The alcohol content is a stout for a Chardonnay 14.8%. JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a clear, shiny, butter yellow, go figure. The nose is apples, melons, peach, pear, lemons, and honey, with a touch of spice and a floral edge. This is a full-flavored Chardonnay and not overly buttery. It has bright fruit (and citrus) flavors and is smooth almost silky. It starts with a stew of peach, apple, French vanilla, and lemon. The mid-palate offers that nutty, salty on lees thing, lime, crème brûlée, and caramel. The JaM Chard has that lip-smacking acidity that I enjoy, you will be reaching for another sip sooner than you think.  14.8% is a fairly high alcohol content for a Chardonnay, but the body of the wine carries it well, this is not a "hot" wine. The finish mirrors the body of the wine and fades before too long, but never completely disappears. The Summary I like big, full-flavored wines that still have balance and nuance and the JaM Butter Chardonnay is one of those wines. This is a very easy wine to like.     The Story The JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 is a brand that is part of the John Anthony Family of Wines. John Anthony is John A. Touchard out of Napa, California. JaM stands for John and Michelle Truchard. And this is a "lifestyle" brand of wines. - The Story
The JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 is a brand that is part of the John Anthony Family of Wines. John Anthony is John A. Touchard out of Napa, California. JaM stands for John and Michelle Truchard. And this is a "lifestyle" brand of wines.

This is a wine that I found (on sale( for $12.99 and a quick check of the web shows it selling for between $13 and $15. There is a stiff competition of your Chardonnay dollars at this price point. JaM is big on lifestyle marketing and no so good and where what and when of the winemaking. The JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 is 100% Chardonnay and uses a special blend of oak barrels for aging.

The tasting notes do not actually mention oak barrels, just that the Chardonnay is aged "in" oak which I figure means oak barrel aging. But that is kind of my complaint about their marketing materials, they do not really say much of anything on the technical side. They do know their intended market well and I imagine these are not the wine drinkers who get hung up on malolactic fermentation and "on lees"aging.

But these are probably not the folks who are reading your technical/tasting notes either, so you can give us wine geeks a little something, too. What we are going to find out about the JaM Chardonnay we are going to get from the tasting experience. This is a very popular Chardonnay and the proof is always in the tasting anyway. The alcohol content is a stout for a Chardonnay 14.8%.
JaM Butter Chardonnay 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, shiny, butter yellow, go figure. The nose is apples, melons, peach, pear, lemons, and honey, with a touch of spice and a floral edge. This is a full-flavored Chardonnay and not overly buttery. It has bright fruit (and citrus) flavors and is smooth almost silky. It starts with a stew of peach, apple, French vanilla, and lemon. The mid-palate offers that nutty, salty on lees thing, lime, crème brûlée, and caramel.

The JaM Chard has that lip-smacking acidity that I enjoy, you will be reaching for another sip sooner than you think.  14.8% is a fairly high alcohol content for a Chardonnay, but the body of the wine carries it well, this is not a "hot" wine. The finish mirrors the body of the wine and fades before too long, but never completely disappears.
The Summary

* I like big, full-flavored wines that still have balance and nuance and the JaM Butter Chardonnay is one of those wines.
* This is a very easy wine to like.

 

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CheapWineFinder 1 7:20
Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33291/corte-rossa-barolo-2015/ Wed, 11 Mar 2020 05:07:10 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33291 The Story The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 is an $11.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive, 100% Nebbiolo grape from vineyards in the Barolo DOCG region of northwest Italy. The Barolo region in Italy bills itself as the King of Italian wine. Barolo wines typical sell for around forty dollars and the best offerings from the best estates can sell for hundreds of dollars. An $11.99 Barolo is extremely rare. The DOCG (the G stands for Guarantee)is the Italian wine governing body, they set and enforce the rules and regulations in the vineyard and wine production. In Barolo they are particularly strict, I went to a Barolo seminar where a winemaker told me that the estates have a limit on the number of bottles they can produce each vintage. If they cheat and surpass their quota the DOCG will make them sell the extra bottles as Table Wine (at a much lower price tag) under a separate label. This ensures that only the vineyard's best grapes are used and the limited quantity of production keeps the demand and the prices high. This means the grapes that are used for Barolo are the best grapes in the region. Most Estates have second and third labels that sell the excess grapes as Nebbiolo from Piedmont. So even grapes in an $11.99 Trader Joe's come from the elite Barolo vineyards. This is a 2015 vintage that is released for sale in 2020. The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 was aged in oak barrels for three years which exceeds the DOCG regulations of a minimum of 18 months. This is a Barolo that came from the best vineyards and was produced with methods above and beyond the DOCG rules. I suspect that this is a negociant wine. A negociant is a wine dealer that buys excess wines from the vineyards in their area. They can either sell the purchased wine under their own label or blend the various vineyards into their own unique blend (still 100% Nebbiolo). Since you do not know a wines particulars a negociant succeeds by building trust with his customer.  The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 is from a heavily regulated premier growing region and has the specification (ones we are aware of, anyway) of a typical far more expensive Barolo so we don't need too big of a leap of faith. Again, I do not know for certain that this Barolo is a negociant wine, but that is my best guess to explain the seriously low price. The Nebbiolo grape and Barolo wines, in general, are known for having a pretty good dose of tannins. Modern winemaking techniques have softened the effects of the tannins to match today's wine drinker. But, be warned the tannins may be a bit more than you are used to and if you regularly drink value-priced wines, three years aging in oak barrels will be a change. Some Barolo wines need an additional 10 years of bottle aging to calm down enough to be at their peak. Modern drink-it-now wines and wines that have seen years of oak barrel aging are two very different styles of wine. The alcohol content is 14%. Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 Tasting Notes The color is a garnet red. The nose is raspberry and oak spice, cinnamon and vanilla, and smoke and cherry. This is a wine with dusty tannins, most modern wines do their best to minimize the tannins, but not here. This is a medium-bodied wine with sleek fruit flavors of black cherry, strawberry, sharp spice, black pepper, extracted blackberry, and tart cranberry. The mid-palate adds chocolate powder, and the tannins get really chewy of the mid-palate (a good thing), along with a late slap of red berries in cream. The acidity is well-balanced and the tannins added to the overall enjoyment of this Barolo if they were not in the mix you would have been cheated. Give this wine extra time to open up and you will be rewarded. It can be a little rough when it is "tight". I pulled the cork a couple of hours earlier and then poured my glass with an aerator and it still needed more time. The Summary The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 is a no-brainer, it is $11.99, these are wines that can retail in the $40 to $60 r... The Story The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 is an $11.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive, 100% Nebbiolo grape from vineyards in the Barolo DOCG region of northwest Italy. The Barolo region in Italy bills itself as the King of Italian wine. The Story
The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 is an $11.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive, 100% Nebbiolo grape from vineyards in the Barolo DOCG region of northwest Italy. The Barolo region in Italy bills itself as the King of Italian wine. Barolo wines typical sell for around forty dollars and the best offerings from the best estates can sell for hundreds of dollars. An $11.99 Barolo is extremely rare.

The DOCG (the G stands for Guarantee)is the Italian wine governing body, they set and enforce the rules and regulations in the vineyard and wine production. In Barolo they are particularly strict, I went to a Barolo seminar where a winemaker told me that the estates have a limit on the number of bottles they can produce each vintage. If they cheat and surpass their quota the DOCG will make them sell the extra bottles as Table Wine (at a much lower price tag) under a separate label.

This ensures that only the vineyard's best grapes are used and the limited quantity of production keeps the demand and the prices high. This means the grapes that are used for Barolo are the best grapes in the region. Most Estates have second and third labels that sell the excess grapes as Nebbiolo from Piedmont. So even grapes in an $11.99 Trader Joe's come from the elite Barolo vineyards.

This is a 2015 vintage that is released for sale in 2020. The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 was aged in oak barrels for three years which exceeds the DOCG regulations of a minimum of 18 months. This is a Barolo that came from the best vineyards and was produced with methods above and beyond the DOCG rules. I suspect that this is a negociant wine. A negociant is a wine dealer that buys excess wines from the vineyards in their area. They can either sell the purchased wine under their own label or blend the various vineyards into their own unique blend (still 100% Nebbiolo).

Since you do not know a wines particulars a negociant succeeds by building trust with his customer.  The Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 is from a heavily regulated premier growing region and has the specification (ones we are aware of, anyway) of a typical far more expensive Barolo so we don't need too big of a leap of faith. Again, I do not know for certain that this Barolo is a negociant wine, but that is my best guess to explain the seriously low price.

The Nebbiolo grape and Barolo wines, in general, are known for having a pretty good dose of tannins. Modern winemaking techniques have softened the effects of the tannins to match today's wine drinker. But, be warned the tannins may be a bit more than you are used to and if you regularly drink value-priced wines, three years aging in oak barrels will be a change. Some Barolo wines need an additional 10 years of bottle aging to calm down enough to be at their peak. Modern drink-it-now wines and wines that have seen years of oak barrel aging are two very different styles of wine. The alcohol content is 14%.
Corte Rossa Barolo 2015 Tasting Notes
The color is a garnet red. The nose is raspberry and oak spice, cinnamon and vanilla, and smoke and cherry. This is a wine with dusty tannins, most modern wines do their best to minimize the tannins, but not here. This is a medium-bodied wine with sleek fruit flavors of black cherry, strawberry, sharp spice, black pepper, extracted blackberry, and tart cranberry. The mid-palate adds chocolate powder, and the tannins get really chewy of the mid-palate (a good thing), along with a late slap of red berries in cream.

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CheapWineFinder 1 10:55
Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33272/domaine-angelliaume-chinon-2018/ Sun, 08 Mar 2020 05:08:25 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33272 The Story The Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 is a $12.99 Costco wine. The winery is Domaine Angelliaume and the name of the wine is Domaine des Falaises which translates to English as Field or Place of the Cliffs which is the name of the estate vineyard that the Cabernet Franc grapes were farmed. The vineyards near the town of Chinon are situated on steep hills leading down to a river that runs through the Loire Valley in France. I mention the name of the winery and the wine name since when I researched this Chinon, most of what is available on the web had the name backward. Since the wine brand name had Domaine in the title most of the writer assumed that had to be the winery. This is a problem for French wines in the United States. In France wine is known by Estate name and location, as in Chinon means that the Red wine is going to be Cabernet Franc or the Right Bank in Bordeaux are going to be Merlot dominated blends near this village and maybe not so much for wine grown near that village. In France, the wine drinkers know this, it is part of their heritage. In the US folks who write about wine and should have a clue can not figure out which is the winery and which is the brand name. Chinon is a town in the Loire Valley that is famous for producing Cabernet Franc single varietal wines, though blending some Cabernet Sauvignon is approved by AOC rules. Chinon and the Loire Valley are located in west-central France, north of Bordeaux and west and south of Champagne. It is a picturesque and historically rich section of France and be on the look-out for the excellent Sauvignon Blanc from the region. The Domaine des Falasises is Domaine Angelliaume "young" Chinon, it is sourced for a vineyard with 40-year old vines and is fermented and aged in cement vats and it is micro oxygenated. Too much oxygen is bad for wine, but this technique adds a controlled dose of air to the wine. It softens the tannins and stabilizes the noes and color and allows the wine to come together quickly. It is a useful technique for drink-it-now wine. Concrete vats are common in France (also Spain) as fermentation and aging vessels. The advantages are that they last a long time and can be used over and over (they are lines to prevent the concrete from leeching into the wine). They are thick enough that the wine inside the vat is kept at a temperature and humidity that is not influenced by the outside air. Wine loves a stable climate and environment and cement vats offer a degree of insolation that steel tanks and wood barrels can not. The alcohol content is 12.5%. Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a dark, bit still see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is bright, juicy, and spicey, there is jammy strawberry, exotic spice, soft herbs, black cherry, cinnamon, and orange zest. This is a flavorful Cabernet Franc that is surprisingly ripe and smooth. It starts with blackberry and licorice, a little sizzle from the spice (just a little), followed by sweet blueberry. The mid-palate adds tart cranberry, a light herbal edge, and ripe plum. The tannins are in the flavor mix, but are sweet and do not bite. The acidity brightens up the overall profile of the wine. The finish is sleek and lengthy. The Summary The Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 is a tasty wine, it isn't too heavy, it is not too anything, it is simply a solid well-made Cabernet Franc. If you are intrigued by the Loire Valley and its wines, the twelve ninety-nine Costco Chinon is a pretty decent place to start. This is a young wine, the winery website says drink within 1 to 5 years, but really why wait 5 years. This is a drink-it-now Chinon, most of the Chinon you find on wineshop shelves are probably going to be the more expensive offerings with more complex winemaking procedures to justify the higher price. Start with the younger more affordable wines and work your way up. You never know, the young affordable wines may well be your favor... The Story The Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 is a $12.99 Costco wine. The winery is Domaine Angelliaume and the name of the wine is Domaine des Falaises which translates to English as Field or Place of the Cliffs which is the name of the estate viney... The Story
The Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 is a $12.99 Costco wine. The winery is Domaine Angelliaume and the name of the wine is Domaine des Falaises which translates to English as Field or Place of the Cliffs which is the name of the estate vineyard that the Cabernet Franc grapes were farmed. The vineyards near the town of Chinon are situated on steep hills leading down to a river that runs through the Loire Valley in France.

I mention the name of the winery and the wine name since when I researched this Chinon, most of what is available on the web had the name backward. Since the wine brand name had Domaine in the title most of the writer assumed that had to be the winery. This is a problem for French wines in the United States.

In France wine is known by Estate name and location, as in Chinon means that the Red wine is going to be Cabernet Franc or the Right Bank in Bordeaux are going to be Merlot dominated blends near this village and maybe not so much for wine grown near that village. In France, the wine drinkers know this, it is part of their heritage. In the US folks who write about wine and should have a clue can not figure out which is the winery and which is the brand name.

Chinon is a town in the Loire Valley that is famous for producing Cabernet Franc single varietal wines, though blending some Cabernet Sauvignon is approved by AOC rules. Chinon and the Loire Valley are located in west-central France, north of Bordeaux and west and south of Champagne. It is a picturesque and historically rich section of France and be on the look-out for the excellent Sauvignon Blanc from the region.

The Domaine des Falasises is Domaine Angelliaume "young" Chinon, it is sourced for a vineyard with 40-year old vines and is fermented and aged in cement vats and it is micro oxygenated. Too much oxygen is bad for wine, but this technique adds a controlled dose of air to the wine. It softens the tannins and stabilizes the noes and color and allows the wine to come together quickly. It is a useful technique for drink-it-now wine.

Concrete vats are common in France (also Spain) as fermentation and aging vessels. The advantages are that they last a long time and can be used over and over (they are lines to prevent the concrete from leeching into the wine). They are thick enough that the wine inside the vat is kept at a temperature and humidity that is not influenced by the outside air. Wine loves a stable climate and environment and cement vats offer a degree of insolation that steel tanks and wood barrels can not. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a dark, bit still see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is bright, juicy, and spicey, there is jammy strawberry, exotic spice, soft herbs, black cherry, cinnamon, and orange zest. This is a flavorful Cabernet Franc that is surprisingly ripe and smooth. It starts with blackberry and licorice, a little sizzle from the spice (just a little), followed by sweet blueberry. The mid-palate adds tart cranberry, a light herbal edge, and ripe plum. The tannins are in the flavor mix, but are sweet and do not bite. The acidity brightens up the overall profile of the wine. The finish is sleek and lengthy.
The Summary

* The Domaine Angelliaume Chinon 2018 is a tasty wine, it isn't too heavy, it is not too anything, it is simply a solid well-made Cabernet Franc.
* If you are intrigued by the Loire Valley and its wines, the twelve ninety-nine Costco Chinon is a pretty decent place to start.
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CheapWineFinder 1 9:19
Henri Gaillard Provence Rose’ 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33239/henri-gaillard-provence-rose-2018/ Fri, 06 Mar 2020 05:34:36 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33239 The Story The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 ($9.99 at Costco) is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre from vineyards in the Cotes de Provence AOC of the Provence region in the south of France. The Cotes de Provence is the largest growing region in Provence. The different regions in Provence tend to feature different grapes or blends in their Rose', so the wines can vary from region to region. This is a $9.99 Costco wine though it does not seem to be a Costco exclusive. I checked the internet and it seems this Rose' is available elsewhere selling for about 15 dollars. I would imagine that most wine shops will not bother to stock a wine that Costco has for 1/3 less. The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 is one of Les Grands Crus labels they have wine from virtually every region in France, Italy, along with wines from Germany and New Zealand. If you want an imported wine they got you covered. Henry Gaillard is an actual person, he is a long time wine broker from Provence with deep ties to the growers of the region. As a wine broker rather than a winery, he purchases the grapes and contracts with wineries to produce the Rose'. With wine who you know is as important as what you know, so a well-connected wine broker can produce excellent wine for a fair price. In past years there has been a Provence wine roadshow that would have a tasting in Chicago. There would be 30 or 40 producers showing two or three wines each. Provence Rose' is uniformly excellent. But the one thing I came with is that the more affordable value-priced Rose' was so enjoyable that there was little reason to drink more up-scale Rose'. Young, bright, fresh, fruit-forward Rose' is extremely appealing, and these inexpensive Provence Rose' tasted of the South of France in summer in a bottle. Not that the more costly bottles were not terrific, they were delicious, it is just that when it comes to Rose' more is not always better. Rose' has had a spike in popularity in the last few years, it seems that everybody brought a Rose' to the market. Many of the newer Rose' was a Rose' of a single grape, such and a Rose' of Pinot Noir or a Rose' of Sangiovese, which is fine. But the Rose' from Provence are blends which can add complexity and depth to the wine. With a blend, the winemaker can pinpoint exactly what they are trying to achieve. Since Rose' is what the winemakers of Provence do, they are skilled at blending and the making of Rose'. The alcohol content is 13%. Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a more amber or maybe apricot shade of pink. The nose is subtle, the aromas do not jump out of the glass, you have to concentrate, there are dried strawberry bits, Anjou pear, delicate spice, oranges, cherry hard candy, and light floral note. This is a medium-bodied Rose' with a nice blend of smooth and tart sensations. It starts with rounded, almost creamy black cherry, then tangerine, melon, lemon, spice, and tart strawberry. The mid-palate offers that salty, nutty "on lees" thing, along with a late hit of unsweetened pineapple. This is a Rose' so there are no tannins to speak of and the acidity is the kind that compels you to take another sip (as if you needed to be prodded). The finish is full and the acidity allows the finish to roll on for some time. The Summary The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 is a tasty, well-made Rose'. I was getting a little over-Rose'd, they were everywhere. I know I lighter-bodied wine is great for the summer, but it isn't too hot for Red wine that often and when the weather gets oppressively hot, I do have airconditioning. It is not like anyone actually needs Rose'. The Henri Gaillard reminded me what I liked about Rose', who cares what the temperature is outside. Drink Rose' because it tastes great. The Story The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 ($9.99 at Costco) is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre from vineyards in the Cotes de Provence AOC of the Provence region in the south of France. The Story
The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 ($9.99 at Costco) is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre from vineyards in the Cotes de Provence AOC of the Provence region in the south of France. The Cotes de Provence is the largest growing region in Provence. The different regions in Provence tend to feature different grapes or blends in their Rose', so the wines can vary from region to region.

This is a $9.99 Costco wine though it does not seem to be a Costco exclusive. I checked the internet and it seems this Rose' is available elsewhere selling for about 15 dollars. I would imagine that most wine shops will not bother to stock a wine that Costco has for 1/3 less.

The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 is one of Les Grands Crus labels they have wine from virtually every region in France, Italy, along with wines from Germany and New Zealand. If you want an imported wine they got you covered.

Henry Gaillard is an actual person, he is a long time wine broker from Provence with deep ties to the growers of the region. As a wine broker rather than a winery, he purchases the grapes and contracts with wineries to produce the Rose'. With wine who you know is as important as what you know, so a well-connected wine broker can produce excellent wine for a fair price.

In past years there has been a Provence wine roadshow that would have a tasting in Chicago. There would be 30 or 40 producers showing two or three wines each. Provence Rose' is uniformly excellent. But the one thing I came with is that the more affordable value-priced Rose' was so enjoyable that there was little reason to drink more up-scale Rose'.

Young, bright, fresh, fruit-forward Rose' is extremely appealing, and these inexpensive Provence Rose' tasted of the South of France in summer in a bottle. Not that the more costly bottles were not terrific, they were delicious, it is just that when it comes to Rose' more is not always better.

Rose' has had a spike in popularity in the last few years, it seems that everybody brought a Rose' to the market. Many of the newer Rose' was a Rose' of a single grape, such and a Rose' of Pinot Noir or a Rose' of Sangiovese, which is fine. But the Rose' from Provence are blends which can add complexity and depth to the wine. With a blend, the winemaker can pinpoint exactly what they are trying to achieve. Since Rose' is what the winemakers of Provence do, they are skilled at blending and the making of Rose'. The alcohol content is 13%.
Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a more amber or maybe apricot shade of pink. The nose is subtle, the aromas do not jump out of the glass, you have to concentrate, there are dried strawberry bits, Anjou pear, delicate spice, oranges, cherry hard candy, and light floral note. This is a medium-bodied Rose' with a nice blend of smooth and tart sensations.

It starts with rounded, almost creamy black cherry, then tangerine, melon, lemon, spice, and tart strawberry. The mid-palate offers that salty, nutty "on lees" thing, along with a late hit of unsweetened pineapple. This is a Rose' so there are no tannins to speak of and the acidity is the kind that compels you to take another sip (as if you needed to be prodded). The finish is full and the acidity allows the finish to roll on for some time.
The Summary

* The Henri Gaillard Provence Rose' 2018 is a tasty, well-made Rose'.
* I was getting a little over-Rose'd, they were everywhere. I know I lighter-bodied wine is great for the summer,]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 10:03
Trader Joe’s Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33180/trader-joes-reserve-monterey-pinot-noir-2018/ Tue, 03 Mar 2020 04:55:37 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33180 The Story The Trader Joe's Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 lot #191 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive produced for them by an unspecified winery from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. The listed producer, Ashford Court, also is the name used for Trader Joe's Cotillion Pinot Noir. If you are familiar with Trader Joe's wines the Cotillion Pinot has the label that is a drawing of what looks like a party from the 1700s only the guests are animals not human and they are wearing masks portraying different animals than themselves. It is one of my favorite Trader Joe's labels and also a very consistent and very drinkable Pinot Noir. This is a wine that is featured in the February Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer and TJ's usually gives a few details on the featured wines, but not for the TJ's Reserve Pinot. The most interesting tidbit that provided is that the wine came from a trusted partner who usually makes more expensive wines. That does not tell us much since Trader Joe's has over the years used many top-notch producers for their wines and basically, all of them typically produce wine that sells for more than TraderJoe's wines. Monterey may not be the first California AVA you think of when you consider Pinot Noir, but it is the largest grower of Pinot Noir in California. There is a spot in the Pacific Ocean not far from the Monterey coast that is the coldest of all Ocean water along the California Coast. That cold water provides many locations in Monterey County with the cool nights and the foggy cool mornings that Pinot Noir vines crave. The tasting notes on the front label mention spice and vanilla, both of those flavors are associated with aging wine in French oak. They make no mention of oak barrels or any other oak aging method, but I wouldn't be surprised if French oak barrels were used. French oak barrels can cost one thousand dollars each and that is a significant cost for value-priced wine to absorb. But store contract wines and especially Trader Joe's who sell a good deal of wine, have a cost advantage over regular retail wine shops. They typically pay for the wine upfront which allows them to negotiate a better price than retail brands. And contract wines do not need all of the services wine distributors provide and that too provides savings, so a $9.99 may be the equal of a retail brand wine selling for several dollars more. Plus these Trader Joe's Reserve and Grand Reserve wines tend to be one-offs, special purchases and not yearly available wines. These one-time purchase wines have been wines that under different circumstances would sell for a good deal more. Not always, sometimes they are wines that should sell for about the price they do, but sometimes you get a wine that may usually sell for twice the price. The alcohol content is a slightly hot 13.8%. Trader Joe's Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a clear, shiny, see-thru garnet red. The nose is very spicy, usually, you get cherries and herbs, but here spice takes the lead. Followed by cherry, faint mushroom, soft herbs. The spices are both baking spice and hot candy spice. This is a Pinot Noir with a smooth silky mouthfeel up front and then a sharp slap of that hot candy spice, this is a Pinot with a unique flavor profile. It starts with smooth black cherry, black pepper, vanilla, and Altoid's spice candy. The mid-palate adds milk chocolate and tart cherry, with a bit of the "on lees" salty cashews after a few sips that thing. The tannins are sweet, and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is full and does not let go. The Summary  Trader Joe's Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 Lot 191 is an interesting Pinot Noir. Well worth trying, it hits above its price tag. After a few sips that major spice thing calms down and the smooth back cherry and milk chocolate thing take over. If you gor ten bucks and are in a Pinot Noir kind of mood give it... The Story The Trader Joe's Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 lot #191 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive produced for them by an unspecified winery from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. The Story
The Trader Joe's Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 lot #191 is a $9.99 Trader Joe's exclusive produced for them by an unspecified winery from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. The listed producer, Ashford Court, also is the name used for Trader Joe's Cotillion Pinot Noir.

If you are familiar with Trader Joe's wines the Cotillion Pinot has the label that is a drawing of what looks like a party from the 1700s only the guests are animals not human and they are wearing masks portraying different animals than themselves. It is one of my favorite Trader Joe's labels and also a very consistent and very drinkable Pinot Noir.

This is a wine that is featured in the February Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer and TJ's usually gives a few details on the featured wines, but not for the TJ's Reserve Pinot. The most interesting tidbit that provided is that the wine came from a trusted partner who usually makes more expensive wines. That does not tell us much since Trader Joe's has over the years used many top-notch producers for their wines and basically, all of them typically produce wine that sells for more than TraderJoe's wines.

Monterey may not be the first California AVA you think of when you consider Pinot Noir, but it is the largest grower of Pinot Noir in California. There is a spot in the Pacific Ocean not far from the Monterey coast that is the coldest of all Ocean water along the California Coast. That cold water provides many locations in Monterey County with the cool nights and the foggy cool mornings that Pinot Noir vines crave.

The tasting notes on the front label mention spice and vanilla, both of those flavors are associated with aging wine in French oak. They make no mention of oak barrels or any other oak aging method, but I wouldn't be surprised if French oak barrels were used. French oak barrels can cost one thousand dollars each and that is a significant cost for value-priced wine to absorb.

But store contract wines and especially Trader Joe's who sell a good deal of wine, have a cost advantage over regular retail wine shops. They typically pay for the wine upfront which allows them to negotiate a better price than retail brands. And contract wines do not need all of the services wine distributors provide and that too provides savings, so a $9.99 may be the equal of a retail brand wine selling for several dollars more.

Plus these Trader Joe's Reserve and Grand Reserve wines tend to be one-offs, special purchases and not yearly available wines. These one-time purchase wines have been wines that under different circumstances would sell for a good deal more. Not always, sometimes they are wines that should sell for about the price they do, but sometimes you get a wine that may usually sell for twice the price. The alcohol content is a slightly hot 13.8%.
Trader Joe's Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, shiny, see-thru garnet red. The nose is very spicy, usually, you get cherries and herbs, but here spice takes the lead. Followed by cherry, faint mushroom, soft herbs. The spices are both baking spice and hot candy spice. This is a Pinot Noir with a smooth silky mouthfeel up front and then a sharp slap of that hot candy spice, this is a Pinot with a unique flavor profile. It starts with smooth black cherry, black pepper, vanilla, and Altoid's spice candy.

The mid-palate adds milk chocolate and tart cherry, with a bit of the "on lees" salty cashews after a few sips that thing. The tannins are sweet,]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 8:00
Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33119/global-adventure-series-chianti-2018/ Sat, 29 Feb 2020 04:41:22 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33119 The Story The Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 is a $4.99ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Chianti DOCG region of Tuscany in Italy. There are two DOCG Chianti regions, Chianti Classico and just plain Chianti (there are sub-regions). The Classico Chianti is the original DOCG region and has a black rooster on the neck of the bottle. Italy has wine governing organizations, DOCG and DOC that are tasked with enforcing rules and regulations to ensure quality and promote the wines. The Global Adventure Series Chianti  2018 is designated a DOCG wine, which is the highest classification and has the strictest rules for farming grapes and wine production. How a wine conformed to the rules and was shipped thousands of miles and still only sells for $4.99, I don't know. But this wine is representative of the wines that Italians drink with each daily. Few people spend more than the equivalent to ten dollars for a bottle to share at their meal. The Italians take their value-priced everyday wine very seriously. ALDI is well regarded in Europe (and Australia, too) as the destination for bang-for-the-buck cheap wine. The term cheap wine around here is not in any way derogatory, we are quite fond of the stuff. As a value-priced wine destination, ALDI has built relationships with some of the best value producers in Europe. ALDI wine wines awards on a regular basis and an ALDI wine going viral and selling out in hours are not unusual. I checked the CheapWineFinder archives and found this is the 4th $4.99 ALDI Chianti DOCG wine we have reviewed over the years. A quick check showed that I thought they were pretty good and hit harder than their price tags. So, it seems ALDI is experienced and getting super value priced DOCG Chianti right. Chianti DOCG needs to be a minimum of 70% Sangiovese, there are several approved blending grapes but the bottle does mention what is in the bottle. The rules call for this level of wine to be aged for at least 6 months and that is about all I know about the technical aspects fo this wine. The alcohol content is a reasonable 12.5%. Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 Tasting Notes The color is clear, see-thru cherry red with some black highlights. The nose is subtle, this wine a little stingy with its aromas, there is cherry, a little spice, herbs, a whiff of smoke, and faint prune. This is a medium-bodied dry red with nice rounded mouthfeel and a solid pull from the tannins. It starts with blackberry, sour cherry, strong black pepper, and a decent slap of spice. The mid-palate adds dusty dark chocolate (not sweet), jammy raspberry, and a sharp edge from the tannins. Most wines today do their best to limit the tannins, but with a rustic Chianti DOCG, tannins are welcome. The acidity is balanced, this isn't a super favorable wine, but it does have decent structure. The finish is fairly soft but does linger. The Summary The Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 is crying out for a pizza, delivery or a good frozen pie, it isn't fussy. This is not a wine that you would peg for a five buck wine. Pair it with almost anything with red sauce and it will do well. My very favorite Chianti is Chianti Classico, the ones with the black rooster on the label. The best ones are delicious, but this little unassuming 5 buck Chianti DOCG has a place. There is nothing wrong with being a go-to pizza wine. You do not want to pair a pizza with a wine that costs more than the pizza. This wine provides a proper entree to wine balance.       The Story The Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 is a $4.99ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Chianti DOCG region of Tuscany in Italy. There are two DOCG Chianti regions, Chianti Classico and just plain Chianti (there are sub-regions). The Story
The Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 is a $4.99ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Chianti DOCG region of Tuscany in Italy. There are two DOCG Chianti regions, Chianti Classico and just plain Chianti (there are sub-regions). The Classico Chianti is the original DOCG region and has a black rooster on the neck of the bottle. Italy has wine governing organizations, DOCG and DOC that are tasked with enforcing rules and regulations to ensure quality and promote the wines.

The Global Adventure Series Chianti  2018 is designated a DOCG wine, which is the highest classification and has the strictest rules for farming grapes and wine production. How a wine conformed to the rules and was shipped thousands of miles and still only sells for $4.99, I don't know. But this wine is representative of the wines that Italians drink with each daily. Few people spend more than the equivalent to ten dollars for a bottle to share at their meal. The Italians take their value-priced everyday wine very seriously.

ALDI is well regarded in Europe (and Australia, too) as the destination for bang-for-the-buck cheap wine. The term cheap wine around here is not in any way derogatory, we are quite fond of the stuff. As a value-priced wine destination, ALDI has built relationships with some of the best value producers in Europe. ALDI wine wines awards on a regular basis and an ALDI wine going viral and selling out in hours are not unusual.

I checked the CheapWineFinder archives and found this is the 4th $4.99 ALDI Chianti DOCG wine we have reviewed over the years. A quick check showed that I thought they were pretty good and hit harder than their price tags. So, it seems ALDI is experienced and getting super value priced DOCG Chianti right.

Chianti DOCG needs to be a minimum of 70% Sangiovese, there are several approved blending grapes but the bottle does mention what is in the bottle. The rules call for this level of wine to be aged for at least 6 months and that is about all I know about the technical aspects fo this wine. The alcohol content is a reasonable 12.5%.
Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is clear, see-thru cherry red with some black highlights. The nose is subtle, this wine a little stingy with its aromas, there is cherry, a little spice, herbs, a whiff of smoke, and faint prune. This is a medium-bodied dry red with nice rounded mouthfeel and a solid pull from the tannins.

It starts with blackberry, sour cherry, strong black pepper, and a decent slap of spice. The mid-palate adds dusty dark chocolate (not sweet), jammy raspberry, and a sharp edge from the tannins. Most wines today do their best to limit the tannins, but with a rustic Chianti DOCG, tannins are welcome. The acidity is balanced, this isn't a super favorable wine, but it does have decent structure. The finish is fairly soft but does linger.
The Summary

* The Global Adventure Series Chianti 2018 is crying out for a pizza, delivery or a good frozen pie, it isn't fussy.
* This is not a wine that you would peg for a five buck wine. Pair it with almost anything with red sauce and it will do well.
* My very favorite Chianti is Chianti Classico, the ones with the black rooster on the label. The best ones are delicious, but this little unassuming 5 buck Chianti DOCG has a place. There is nothing wrong with being a go-to pizza wine. You do not want to pair a pizza with a wine that costs more than the pizza.]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 10:53
Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33088/federalist-lodi-zinfandel-2016/ Wed, 26 Feb 2020 04:59:18 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33088 The Story The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is 100% Zinfandel sourced from three different sub-AVAs of the Lodi AVA which is inside the Central Valley AVA. Most of the California wine you drink comes from the Central Coast AVA (Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, and others) and the North Coast AVA (Sonoma, Napa, etc..) and they are all coastal or mountain growing regions. Lodi is south and east of Napa and would be too far inland to grow grapes, the Bays to the east of San Fransico extend far enough inland that the resulting delta and river valleys allow cool ocean air to reach the vineyards. There are many wineries inside the Central Valley but most are small, boutique size, while Lodi has the weather and the terrain to mass-produce wine. Lodi is warmer than most of the coastal growing regions and their wines tend to be produced in a ripe, fruit-forward style, but nothing too out of place with the rest of California wine. Lodi is well known for the Zinfandel grape (though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are quickly becoming favorites), especially with many "old vine" vineyards. The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is one of the few ZIns you will find without "old vine" on the label. The Federalist line of wines, they have 3 Zinfandels, a couple of Cabs, 2 Red blends and a Chardonnay are part of Terlato Wines. Terlato is the folks who brought you Pinot Grigio with Santa Margarita. Before they broke Pinot Grigio in the United States, it was just another one of Italy's 100s of White grape varietals. So if you are a Pinot Grigio fan, say "Thank you Terlato". I am a fan of Lodi Zinfandel, it's my go-to AVA, Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Paso Robles all make great Zins, but dollar for dollar I will take Lodi. The blocks of grapes from the different vineyards were fermented separately to allow the final blending to be performed with precision. This Zinfandel was aged in American oak barrels for 12 months with 25% new barrels the rest used. With Red wine, you can get some information on how the wine is produced with how long the wine is barrel-aged and how much new oak is used.  A wine that is aged for a full year with a significant amount of new oak has to have the body and the forceful flavor to match up with the oak influence. That would indicate that the winemaker did the techniques to fully extract the tannins, flavors, and aromas from the grapes. A lighter-bodied wine with an extended oak aging period will take a long time to meld the flavors, so the winemaker has to match the grape extraction with the oak aging. Inexpensive Red wines typically have short oak aging periods, if it is oak-aged at all, so a less complicated winemaking style can be used. It keeps costs down and allows the wine to be released for sale sooner. But that is not the case with the Federalist Zinfandel and most of my other favorite Zins. These Zinfandels tend to be made in the same style as expensive wines, but since Zinfandel is popular and Lodi is a less costly growing region and many of these wines are mass-produced the cost is reasonable, a quick check of the web showed prices from $12 to $16. The alcohol content is a stout 14.5%. Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 Tasting Notes The color a clean, clear and still see-through cherry jelly red. The nose is ripe and spicey, there is jammy black cherry, oak spice, herbs, smoke from the BBQ grill, black pepper, faint chocolate, and plum. This is a Zinfandel that evolves on your palate, it starts off simple, then blossoms.  It tastes of strawberry and candy spice, followed by milk chocolate, pepper, tea, and ripe plum. The mid-palate shows licorice, sour cherry, and a salty sensation and adds to along finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and the tannins are sweet. The acidity is hidden by the body of the wine but does give the flavors ample space to unfold. The Summary With George Washington on the label, I should have showcased this Zinfandel on Presidents Day. The Story The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is 100% Zinfandel sourced from three different sub-AVAs of the Lodi AVA which is inside the Central Valley AVA. Most of the California wine you drink comes from the Central Coast AVA (Paso Robles, The Story
The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is 100% Zinfandel sourced from three different sub-AVAs of the Lodi AVA which is inside the Central Valley AVA. Most of the California wine you drink comes from the Central Coast AVA (Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, and others) and the North Coast AVA (Sonoma, Napa, etc..) and they are all coastal or mountain growing regions. Lodi is south and east of Napa and would be too far inland to grow grapes, the Bays to the east of San Fransico extend far enough inland that the resulting delta and river valleys allow cool ocean air to reach the vineyards.

There are many wineries inside the Central Valley but most are small, boutique size, while Lodi has the weather and the terrain to mass-produce wine. Lodi is warmer than most of the coastal growing regions and their wines tend to be produced in a ripe, fruit-forward style, but nothing too out of place with the rest of California wine. Lodi is well known for the Zinfandel grape (though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are quickly becoming favorites), especially with many "old vine" vineyards. The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 is one of the few ZIns you will find without "old vine" on the label.

The Federalist line of wines, they have 3 Zinfandels, a couple of Cabs, 2 Red blends and a Chardonnay are part of Terlato Wines. Terlato is the folks who brought you Pinot Grigio with Santa Margarita. Before they broke Pinot Grigio in the United States, it was just another one of Italy's 100s of White grape varietals. So if you are a Pinot Grigio fan, say "Thank you Terlato".

I am a fan of Lodi Zinfandel, it's my go-to AVA, Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Paso Robles all make great Zins, but dollar for dollar I will take Lodi. The blocks of grapes from the different vineyards were fermented separately to allow the final blending to be performed with precision. This Zinfandel was aged in American oak barrels for 12 months with 25% new barrels the rest used. With Red wine, you can get some information on how the wine is produced with how long the wine is barrel-aged and how much new oak is used.

 A wine that is aged for a full year with a significant amount of new oak has to have the body and the forceful flavor to match up with the oak influence. That would indicate that the winemaker did the techniques to fully extract the tannins, flavors, and aromas from the grapes. A lighter-bodied wine with an extended oak aging period will take a long time to meld the flavors, so the winemaker has to match the grape extraction with the oak aging. Inexpensive Red wines typically have short oak aging periods, if it is oak-aged at all, so a less complicated winemaking style can be used.

It keeps costs down and allows the wine to be released for sale sooner. But that is not the case with the Federalist Zinfandel and most of my other favorite Zins. These Zinfandels tend to be made in the same style as expensive wines, but since Zinfandel is popular and Lodi is a less costly growing region and many of these wines are mass-produced the cost is reasonable, a quick check of the web showed prices from $12 to $16. The alcohol content is a stout 14.5%.
Federalist Lodi Zinfandel 2016 Tasting Notes
The color a clean, clear and still see-through cherry jelly red. The nose is ripe and spicey, there is jammy black cherry, oak spice, herbs, smoke from the BBQ grill, black pepper, faint chocolate, and plum. This is a Zinfandel that evolves on your palate, it starts off simple, then blossoms.  It tastes of strawberry and candy spice, followed by milk chocolate,]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 9:05
CasaSmith ViNO Rosso 2016 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33051/casasmith-vino-rosso-2016/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 04:54:23 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33051 The CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 is a 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese blend sourced from seven vineyards located in various AVAs inside the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington State. CasaSmith is one of Charles Smith's Wines of Substance line of wines intended to pay tribute to his favorite wines of Italy. You may know Charles Smith from his line of wines that included Kung Fu Girl Reisling and Boom Boom Syrah, he sold those wine to Constellation Brands and is concentrating on the Wines of Substance. The Vino Rosso is a tribute to the Super Tuscan wines of Tuscany in Italy. In the Chianti region, Chianti is made with the Sangiovese grape, the Chianti wines were in decline from their days of massive popularity. There are governing bodies in Italy (DOC and DOCG) that provide strict rules and regulations for the farming of the grapes and the making of the wine. A few winemakers were looking to modernize their wines and experimented with using French grapes, mostly Bordeaux grapes and Syrah) which were not permitted by the governing body. The business was slowing down, so the winemakers, who were very encouraged by the results of their new blends, decided to release them for sale, anyway. Even though the grapes came from DOCG and DOC designated vineyards they had to show Table Wine on the label. Table wine was the lowest classification of Italian wine, usually used for low-cost bulk wine. The Super Tuscans were an immediate hit and are extremely popular to this day. This caused a problem for the DOCG and DOC who were promoting and protecting the quality of Italian wines. Table wine was outselling the highest designated wines, so the created the IGT (now IGP the European Union standardized terms). An IGT wine is a wine that represents the region it is from but does not conform to the rules. So, Super Tuscans were at one time an outlaw wine. This brings us to CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 which is an interesting wine. I forgot which vintage of this wine I had purchased and downloaded the 2017 tech notes by mistake. When I corrected my mistake a got the 2016 notes I found the vineyards used in 2016 were completely different than 2017 and 2016 was oak barrel-aged and 2017 was aged in stainless steel vats. They actually change the sourcing and production details based on the conditions of each vintage. That is the sort of thing you see in small boutique wineries, not with wines that are available to purchase from coast to coast. So we have vintage selected vineyards, natural yeast, not commercial yeast used in fermentation and oak barrel aging for 9 months with 35% of the barrels new oak. Even though the Super Tuscan wines were from a Sangiovese region the percentage of Sangiovese could vary with each producer or occasionally no Sangiovese was used. A 70% Cabernet Sauvignon to 30% Sangiovese blend is in keeping with the original. The alcohol content is 13.5%.  CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 Tasting Notes The color is a deep, dark, barely see-through black cherry red. The nose is rich and ripe, there is blackberry, exotic spice, cinnamon, plum, bacon frying in the pan (no maple), raspberry, sour cherry, and pepper. This is a chewy Red blend with a nice mix of light and dark flavors. It tastes of a stew of tart cherry, sweet blueberry, and extracted blackberry, followed by interesting spice, and tobacco. The mid-palate adds orange zest. a salty sensation, and dusty chocolate powder. The tannins have a slight edge, you can feel them but do not bite. The acidity is really good, it brings a solid bright edge to the wine. The finish is softer than expected but sticks around. The Summary The CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 is a Super Washington.  This is a well-made, very tasty wine. Give the wine time to open, don't just pop the top and pour. If you wait you will be rewarded with a velvety texture and rich, bright flavors.   The CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 is a 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese blend sourced from seven vineyards located in various AVAs inside the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington State. CasaSmith is one of Charles Smith's Wines of Substance line of w... The CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 is a 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese blend sourced from seven vineyards located in various AVAs inside the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington State. CasaSmith is one of Charles Smith's Wines of Substance line of wines intended to pay tribute to his favorite wines of Italy. You may know Charles Smith from his line of wines that included Kung Fu Girl Reisling and Boom Boom Syrah, he sold those wine to Constellation Brands and is concentrating on the Wines of Substance.

The Vino Rosso is a tribute to the Super Tuscan wines of Tuscany in Italy. In the Chianti region, Chianti is made with the Sangiovese grape, the Chianti wines were in decline from their days of massive popularity. There are governing bodies in Italy (DOC and DOCG) that provide strict rules and regulations for the farming of the grapes and the making of the wine.

A few winemakers were looking to modernize their wines and experimented with using French grapes, mostly Bordeaux grapes and Syrah) which were not permitted by the governing body. The business was slowing down, so the winemakers, who were very encouraged by the results of their new blends, decided to release them for sale, anyway. Even though the grapes came from DOCG and DOC designated vineyards they had to show Table Wine on the label.

Table wine was the lowest classification of Italian wine, usually used for low-cost bulk wine. The Super Tuscans were an immediate hit and are extremely popular to this day. This caused a problem for the DOCG and DOC who were promoting and protecting the quality of Italian wines. Table wine was outselling the highest designated wines, so the created the IGT (now IGP the European Union standardized terms). An IGT wine is a wine that represents the region it is from but does not conform to the rules. So, Super Tuscans were at one time an outlaw wine.

This brings us to CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 which is an interesting wine. I forgot which vintage of this wine I had purchased and downloaded the 2017 tech notes by mistake. When I corrected my mistake a got the 2016 notes I found the vineyards used in 2016 were completely different than 2017 and 2016 was oak barrel-aged and 2017 was aged in stainless steel vats. They actually change the sourcing and production details based on the conditions of each vintage.

That is the sort of thing you see in small boutique wineries, not with wines that are available to purchase from coast to coast. So we have vintage selected vineyards, natural yeast, not commercial yeast used in fermentation and oak barrel aging for 9 months with 35% of the barrels new oak. Even though the Super Tuscan wines were from a Sangiovese region the percentage of Sangiovese could vary with each producer or occasionally no Sangiovese was used. A 70% Cabernet Sauvignon to 30% Sangiovese blend is in keeping with the original. The alcohol content is 13.5%. 
CasaSmith Vino Rosso 2016 Tasting Notes
The color is a deep, dark, barely see-through black cherry red. The nose is rich and ripe, there is blackberry, exotic spice, cinnamon, plum, bacon frying in the pan (no maple), raspberry, sour cherry, and pepper. This is a chewy Red blend with a nice mix of light and dark flavors. It tastes of a stew of tart cherry, sweet blueberry, and extracted blackberry, followed by interesting spice, and tobacco. The mid-palate adds orange zest. a salty sensation, and dusty chocolate powder. The tannins have a slight edge, you can feel them but do not bite. The acidity is really good,]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 11:26
Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/33022/ravenswood-vintners-blend-zinfandel-2017/ Sat, 22 Feb 2020 04:22:55 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=33022 The Story The Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 is 76% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 3% Mixed Blacks (mixed blacks is the old school way of saying various Red wine grapes) sourced from more than one California grape growing AVA. That actually is the tech notes for the 2016 vintage, about a year ago the brand owners, Constellation sold Ravenswood and about 30 other wine brands to E and J Gallo. I imagine that since they no longer owned the brand they didn't go through the expense of doing marketing materials. Before there was Constellation there was Joel Peterson who founded Ravenswood in the 1970s. It was Joel Peterson who came up with the Vintners Blend which at one time was the largest selling ZInfandel in the US. Even though Peterson no longer owned the brand he was still active in the winemaking for Ravenswood. Gallo only bought the brand, not the winery or the tasting room, so Joel Peterson no longer has a relationship with the Ravenswood brand. I do not know what Gallo's plan is for the Ravenswood brand, but it won't and can't be the same. And that is a bit of the end of an era for me because back in 1994 or 1995 Ravenswood Vintners Blend was the first wine that opened up my palate to the possibilities of wine. Before the Vintners Blend, I never went to a liquor store to specifically purchase a wine. It was the wine that started my wine journey that is still unfolding. So let's get on with discussing the Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017. Petite Sirah is the secret weapon in many value-priced Zinfandel wines, it adds Red berry flavors, a different spice profile and good acidity to Zinfandel. This ZIn used natural yeast for fermentation. Natural yeast is the yeast that floats in the air and attaches itself to the grape skin, it is seen as a more perfect match than commercial yeast. Though different commercial yeasts can bring out different elements in wine, so it is basically the winemakers' call. The wine was aged in French oak for 9 months with 35% the oak new. All of these are excellent technical notes for a wine that I found for $9.99. The alcohol content is 13.5%.  Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 Tasting Notes The color is a slightly see-thru cherry red. The nose is a little smokey and spicy, with ripe blackberry, spice, a little toasted vanilla, black pepper, and raspberry. This is a balanced and tasty ZInfandel, slightly rustic, but that's how I like my Zinfandel. It starts with smooth blueberry, blood orange, spice, and black pepper. Followed by blackberry, creamy vanilla, bitter dark chocolate, tart cranberry, and more spice. The tannins are smooth and sweet, the acidity proves a strong backbone. The finish is softer than the body of the wine and does linger on and on. The Summary I am glad to find the Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 a delicious well-made wine. It didn't "WOW" me like the first time back in the 90s, but I have sampled a lot of wine since then and am probably much harder to impress. Though the 1994 or 1995 Ravenswood Vintners Blend was a bottle of really good wine, it sort of went the wine version of viral. I remember going to a wine shop looking for it when most of the vintage had been sold and the wine shop had priced what they had left at around $25 when it was about ten bucks originally. Price gouging was good for me at that point because it reinforced the notion that I liked an excellent bottle of wine. Having confidence in your wine selection is important, especially with value-priced wine since wine marketing leaves the impression that a  bottle isn't good enough unless to sell for a certain price. So, thanks to Ravenswood for teaching me that a good bottle of wine does not need to be expensive, and sometimes a value-priced wine can beat the big boys.       The Story The Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 is 76% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 3% Mixed Blacks (mixed blacks is the old school way of saying various Red wine grapes) sourced from more than one California grape growing AVA. The Story
The Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 is 76% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 3% Mixed Blacks (mixed blacks is the old school way of saying various Red wine grapes) sourced from more than one California grape growing AVA. That actually is the tech notes for the 2016 vintage, about a year ago the brand owners, Constellation sold Ravenswood and about 30 other wine brands to E and J Gallo.

I imagine that since they no longer owned the brand they didn't go through the expense of doing marketing materials. Before there was Constellation there was Joel Peterson who founded Ravenswood in the 1970s. It was Joel Peterson who came up with the Vintners Blend which at one time was the largest selling ZInfandel in the US. Even though Peterson no longer owned the brand he was still active in the winemaking for Ravenswood.

Gallo only bought the brand, not the winery or the tasting room, so Joel Peterson no longer has a relationship with the Ravenswood brand. I do not know what Gallo's plan is for the Ravenswood brand, but it won't and can't be the same. And that is a bit of the end of an era for me because back in 1994 or 1995 Ravenswood Vintners Blend was the first wine that opened up my palate to the possibilities of wine.

Before the Vintners Blend, I never went to a liquor store to specifically purchase a wine. It was the wine that started my wine journey that is still unfolding. So let's get on with discussing the Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017. Petite Sirah is the secret weapon in many value-priced Zinfandel wines, it adds Red berry flavors, a different spice profile and good acidity to Zinfandel. This ZIn used natural yeast for fermentation.

Natural yeast is the yeast that floats in the air and attaches itself to the grape skin, it is seen as a more perfect match than commercial yeast. Though different commercial yeasts can bring out different elements in wine, so it is basically the winemakers' call. The wine was aged in French oak for 9 months with 35% the oak new. All of these are excellent technical notes for a wine that I found for $9.99. The alcohol content is 13.5%. 
Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is a slightly see-thru cherry red. The nose is a little smokey and spicy, with ripe blackberry, spice, a little toasted vanilla, black pepper, and raspberry. This is a balanced and tasty ZInfandel, slightly rustic, but that's how I like my Zinfandel. It starts with smooth blueberry, blood orange, spice, and black pepper. Followed by blackberry, creamy vanilla, bitter dark chocolate, tart cranberry, and more spice. The tannins are smooth and sweet, the acidity proves a strong backbone. The finish is softer than the body of the wine and does linger on and on.
The Summary

* I am glad to find the Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2017 a delicious well-made wine. It didn't "WOW" me like the first time back in the 90s, but I have sampled a lot of wine since then and am probably much harder to impress.
* Though the 1994 or 1995 Ravenswood Vintners Blend was a bottle of really good wine, it sort of went the wine version of viral. I remember going to a wine shop looking for it when most of the vintage had been sold and the wine shop had priced what they had left at around $25 when it was about ten bucks originally.
* Price gouging was good for me at that point because it reinforced the notion that I liked an excellent bottle of wine.]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 10:21
Inverted Red Blend 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32985/inverted-red-blend-2017/ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 04:39:21 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32985 The Story The Inverted Red Blend 2017 is an ALDI $6.99 wine sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. And that is about all I know about this wine. It does not show up on the internet or under COLA name search, except there was an Inverted Red blend out of the Monterey AVA for the 2014 vintage. That version of the Inverted Red blend seems to exist for only one year, does it have any relation to this ALDI Red? I do not know. Again the website for the 2014 Inverted wine was blocked due to a possibly malicious site. That typically occurs when the company goes out of business or shuts down a division and does not terminate the website and unsavory folks move in. So, we have a $6.99 ALDI Red Blend with very nice packaging, it would like right at home at a wine retail shop, ALDI seems to have stepped its game up. The back label is the only information available it says the grapes are estate fruit (possibly a winery from Greenfield, California) and mentions mocha flavors and spice along with cherry and blueberries. So, if I were to guess I would think there is some Zinfandel or Syrah, Petite Sirah, possibly Merlot along with some sort of oak aging and conditioning. You never know, unless they specifically spell it out, if a sub ten dollar Red wine was aged in actual oak barrels or received the flavoring from another method. There is a chemical additive called MOCHA that adds French oak spice and a chocolate/coffee flavor to the wine. I have no idea if something like that was used, but today winemakers have gotten very good at giving inexpensive wine a solid dose of oak flavoring. The tasting/technical notes for these wines almost never explicitly detail which methods are used. Since nobody is spelling out the Inverted Red Blend 2017 details we will have to taste it to gather our information. I am expecting it to be enjoyable, the Central Coast AVA is a great place to source grapes for drink-it-now everyday value-priced wine. And there is not much excuse for a sub-par Red blend since they winemaker gets to pick and choose the grapes that are used. A good winemaker should be able to produce a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Inverted Red Blend 2017 Tasting Notes The color is an opaque black cherry red with an emphasis on black. The nose is dark and slightly smokey, there is black cherry, plum, and spice, followed by toasty vanilla, and dark chocolate. This is a wine that starts out heavy on the palate then lightens up, sort of like it has 2 sides, is this where the Inverted name comes from? It starts with ripe blueberry and black pepper, then jammy raspberry and spice. The mid-palate offers up dusty chocolate powder, and little cherries in cream, and orange zest. The tannins are in the mix but do not bite, the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is strong and lengthy. The Summary I always go into these very inexpensive Red wines expecting one thing and getting another. I usually expect that oak barrels are not used in the making of these wines, barrels are expensive and they add costs to the wine that I don't see how a $6.99 selling price can recoup. But if oak barrels were not used here then they did an excellent job of creating the allusion. This is a worthy Red blend that happens to sell for $6.99. The Story The Inverted Red Blend 2017 is an ALDI $6.99 wine sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. And that is about all I know about this wine. It does not show up on the internet or under COLA name search, The Story
The Inverted Red Blend 2017 is an ALDI $6.99 wine sourced from vineyards in the Central Coast AVA of California. And that is about all I know about this wine. It does not show up on the internet or under COLA name search, except there was an Inverted Red blend out of the Monterey AVA for the 2014 vintage.

That version of the Inverted Red blend seems to exist for only one year, does it have any relation to this ALDI Red? I do not know. Again the website for the 2014 Inverted wine was blocked due to a possibly malicious site. That typically occurs when the company goes out of business or shuts down a division and does not terminate the website and unsavory folks move in.

So, we have a $6.99 ALDI Red Blend with very nice packaging, it would like right at home at a wine retail shop, ALDI seems to have stepped its game up. The back label is the only information available it says the grapes are estate fruit (possibly a winery from Greenfield, California) and mentions mocha flavors and spice along with cherry and blueberries. So, if I were to guess I would think there is some Zinfandel or Syrah, Petite Sirah, possibly Merlot along with some sort of oak aging and conditioning.

You never know, unless they specifically spell it out, if a sub ten dollar Red wine was aged in actual oak barrels or received the flavoring from another method. There is a chemical additive called MOCHA that adds French oak spice and a chocolate/coffee flavor to the wine. I have no idea if something like that was used, but today winemakers have gotten very good at giving inexpensive wine a solid dose of oak flavoring. The tasting/technical notes for these wines almost never explicitly detail which methods are used.

Since nobody is spelling out the Inverted Red Blend 2017 details we will have to taste it to gather our information. I am expecting it to be enjoyable, the Central Coast AVA is a great place to source grapes for drink-it-now everyday value-priced wine. And there is not much excuse for a sub-par Red blend since they winemaker gets to pick and choose the grapes that are used. A good winemaker should be able to produce a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Inverted Red Blend 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is an opaque black cherry red with an emphasis on black. The nose is dark and slightly smokey, there is black cherry, plum, and spice, followed by toasty vanilla, and dark chocolate. This is a wine that starts out heavy on the palate then lightens up, sort of like it has 2 sides, is this where the Inverted name comes from? It starts with ripe blueberry and black pepper, then jammy raspberry and spice. The mid-palate offers up dusty chocolate powder, and little cherries in cream, and orange zest. The tannins are in the mix but do not bite, the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is strong and lengthy.
The Summary

* I always go into these very inexpensive Red wines expecting one thing and getting another.
* I usually expect that oak barrels are not used in the making of these wines, barrels are expensive and they add costs to the wine that I don't see how a $6.99 selling price can recoup. But if oak barrels were not used here then they did an excellent job of creating the allusion.
* This is a worthy Red blend that happens to sell for $6.99.
]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 10:22
Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32940/nikau-point-nz-sauvignon-blanc-2019/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 04:54:30 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32940 The Story The Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from vineyards in Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island. This wine is a bit of a mystery. When I went online to check for information the company that was listed as the producer and seemed to have information concerning the Nikau Point was blocked as a malicious website. There was a Nikau Point Reserve Sauvignon Blanc that was a single vineyards wine, actually a small section of a single vineyard. But that seems to have disappeared a few years ago. Aldi Australia sold a Nikau Point Syrah a few years ago and Nikau Point wines were available in retail wine shops. This wines producer seems to be in business, so maybe their website was temporarily hijacked, but at one-time Nikau wines looked as if they were mid-priced retail wines, along with being store brands. Though it is odd that a winery used the same brand name on a retail and a store brand wine. There is a story on the internet about the parent company selling five vineyard properties in Hawkes Bay and other locations. So is this $5.99 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc part of a distress sale? They have, in the past, sold this label at Aldi, so creating store brands is not unusual. At any rate, the Nikau Point Sauv Blanc seems to be a young wine, it is a 2019 vintage there could not have been too much additional aging. And that is fine with me, young, bright, juicy Sauvignon Blanc can be delicious. I do not have information on the grape sourcing, purchased grapes, estate grapes, both? The bottle says estate-bottled, which means a winery bottled the wine and since wine bottling lines are usually on the winery property, that information is not very telling. How the Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc ended up at Trader Joe's and does it have any relationship to the older Nikau Point Reserve label isn't evident. But that is ok since this is a $5.99 Sauv Blanc from one of the most popular Sauvignon Blanc growing regions in the world, seemingly made in the bright, fresh, and juicy style. The alcohol content is 13%. Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Tasting Notes The color is a pale, clean, clear, wheat yellow. The nose is not shy when I twisted the top off and poured myself a glass the aromas hit me from several feet away. There is grapefruit, guava, peach, pear, ripe apple, and a grassy sensation. This is a dry, rather tasty Sauvignon Blanc with acidity that is well controlled. It tastes of grapefruit mixed with peach juice, just when it starts to get a little too tart the peach smooths things out. followed by rounded lemon, a slap of lime, a light pear. The mid-palate offers that salty, cashew on-lees thing, along with faint banana, and melon. The acidity is balanced, sub ten dollars White wine can sometimes be on the acidic side, but the Nikau Point is fine. The finish is full and long. The Summary The Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a very tasty, no-issues value-priced wine. I do not see a great deal of difference between the Nikau Point and you typical ten or twelve dollar retail store New Zealand Sauv Blanc. Actually, the acidity on the Nikau Point may be better controlled than your average NZ Sauvignon Blanc. The more I sip this wine the more I appreciate it. The base flavors are pleasing, but there are some overtones, flavors above the flavors, that really add a little something to the overall enjoyment.     The Story The Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from vineyards in Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island. This wine is a bit of a mystery. When I went online to check for information the company that was liste... The Story
The Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from vineyards in Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island. This wine is a bit of a mystery. When I went online to check for information the company that was listed as the producer and seemed to have information concerning the Nikau Point was blocked as a malicious website.

There was a Nikau Point Reserve Sauvignon Blanc that was a single vineyards wine, actually a small section of a single vineyard. But that seems to have disappeared a few years ago. Aldi Australia sold a Nikau Point Syrah a few years ago and Nikau Point wines were available in retail wine shops. This wines producer seems to be in business, so maybe their website was temporarily hijacked, but at one-time Nikau wines looked as if they were mid-priced retail wines, along with being store brands.

Though it is odd that a winery used the same brand name on a retail and a store brand wine. There is a story on the internet about the parent company selling five vineyard properties in Hawkes Bay and other locations. So is this $5.99 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc part of a distress sale? They have, in the past, sold this label at Aldi, so creating store brands is not unusual.

At any rate, the Nikau Point Sauv Blanc seems to be a young wine, it is a 2019 vintage there could not have been too much additional aging. And that is fine with me, young, bright, juicy Sauvignon Blanc can be delicious. I do not have information on the grape sourcing, purchased grapes, estate grapes, both? The bottle says estate-bottled, which means a winery bottled the wine and since wine bottling lines are usually on the winery property, that information is not very telling.

How the Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc ended up at Trader Joe's and does it have any relationship to the older Nikau Point Reserve label isn't evident. But that is ok since this is a $5.99 Sauv Blanc from one of the most popular Sauvignon Blanc growing regions in the world, seemingly made in the bright, fresh, and juicy style. The alcohol content is 13%.
Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is a pale, clean, clear, wheat yellow. The nose is not shy when I twisted the top off and poured myself a glass the aromas hit me from several feet away. There is grapefruit, guava, peach, pear, ripe apple, and a grassy sensation. This is a dry, rather tasty Sauvignon Blanc with acidity that is well controlled. It tastes of grapefruit mixed with peach juice, just when it starts to get a little too tart the peach smooths things out. followed by rounded lemon, a slap of lime, a light pear. The mid-palate offers that salty, cashew on-lees thing, along with faint banana, and melon. The acidity is balanced, sub ten dollars White wine can sometimes be on the acidic side, but the Nikau Point is fine. The finish is full and long.
The Summary

* The Nikau Point NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a very tasty, no-issues value-priced wine.
* I do not see a great deal of difference between the Nikau Point and you typical ten or twelve dollar retail store New Zealand Sauv Blanc.
* Actually, the acidity on the Nikau Point may be better controlled than your average NZ Sauvignon Blanc.
* The more I sip this wine the more I appreciate it.
* The base flavors are pleasing, but there are some overtones, flavors above the flavors, that really add a little something to the overall enjoyment.

 

 ]]>
CheapWineFinder 8:28
Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32907/wind-song-chardonnay-2018-aldi/ Sun, 16 Feb 2020 05:35:49 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32907 Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI The Story The Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI is a $7.99 Aldi exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Margaret River district of Western Australia. Most Australian wines in the under twenty dollar price range come from South Australia or Southeast Australia. Margaret River is on the other side of the country, near the city of Perth and has a very different climate from the rest of the Australian grape growing areas. Margaret River is a cooler grape growing area with some of the lowest rainfall totals in Australia, cool and dry is exactly what grapes need. The wineries around here tend to be low production and boutique. They are getting a reputation in high-end wine circles for Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion blends (Bordeaux White style) and Chardonnay. Not the region that you would typically find producing $7.99 grocery store brand wines. The statistic I read in several publications is Margaret River produces 2% or 3% of Australian wine production, but 20% of its high-end wines. So in its own way this Western Australian Chardonnay is an anomaly in the same way the occasional twelve dollars Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is when featured at Trader Joe's or Costco. Aldi does not give tasting or technical notes for its wines, but since the climate is more in keeping with Burgundy in France (if not necessarily the soil), this is a Chardonnay that may be produced in the French style as opposed to Eastern Australia or the familiar California Chardonnay. This is one of the things I love by the exclusive brands from the Aldi, Trader Joe's, Costco, etc., there are wines that would not exist at this price range if not for store brands. If the wineries here can easily sell there Chardonnay for $35 or $40 there isn't much incentive to make one for eight bucks. That makes the Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI an interesting wine well worth trying. Is it the same as the usual more pricey wines from the region? Probably not, it may be made in a more drink-it-now style, which is fine because I am going to drink it, like right now. But  I thoroughly expect the Wind Song to be a somewhat new experience. I have tasted Western Australian wines at Trade Tastings, but never a value-priced one. I am looking forward to what the tasting experience offers. The alcohol content is 13.2%. Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI Tasting Notes The color is clean, clear, pale wheat yellow. The nose is not shy, there is lemon curd, green apple, melon, peach, Anjou pear, light spice, a little vanilla, coconut milk, and spring flowers. It has a great nose.  The Wind Song Chardonnay is dry with a firm mouthfeel and rich flavor. It starts with a stew of grapefruit, melon, and very tart apple, followed by dried apricot pieces, and soft spice. The mid-palate shows a touch of cream, a little of that salty, cashew thing, and tangerine. There is good well-balanced acidity, you know the usual, the acidity allows the flavors to unfold and adds enough of sizzle on your palate to get you reaching for another sip. The finish is full and of reasonable length. The Summary I have found in my years of writing CheapWineFinder.com that I often find very good Chardonnay, but rarely find great Chardonnay. The Wind Song Margaret River Chardonnay 2018 is a very good Chardonnay and you have to give it extra points for not only being valued priced but being value-priced from a region that does not do value-priced wine. Finding greatness in sub ten dollar Chardonnay isn't realistic, but I am very happy that very good Chardonnay is only a few dollars away.       Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI The Story The Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI is a $7.99 Aldi exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Margaret River district of Western Australia. Most Australian wines in the under twenty dollar price range come from S... Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI
The Story
The Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI is a $7.99 Aldi exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Margaret River district of Western Australia. Most Australian wines in the under twenty dollar price range come from South Australia or Southeast Australia. Margaret River is on the other side of the country, near the city of Perth and has a very different climate from the rest of the Australian grape growing areas.

Margaret River is a cooler grape growing area with some of the lowest rainfall totals in Australia, cool and dry is exactly what grapes need. The wineries around here tend to be low production and boutique. They are getting a reputation in high-end wine circles for Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion blends (Bordeaux White style) and Chardonnay. Not the region that you would typically find producing $7.99 grocery store brand wines.

The statistic I read in several publications is Margaret River produces 2% or 3% of Australian wine production, but 20% of its high-end wines. So in its own way this Western Australian Chardonnay is an anomaly in the same way the occasional twelve dollars Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is when featured at Trader Joe's or Costco.

Aldi does not give tasting or technical notes for its wines, but since the climate is more in keeping with Burgundy in France (if not necessarily the soil), this is a Chardonnay that may be produced in the French style as opposed to Eastern Australia or the familiar California Chardonnay. This is one of the things I love by the exclusive brands from the Aldi, Trader Joe's, Costco, etc., there are wines that would not exist at this price range if not for store brands.

If the wineries here can easily sell there Chardonnay for $35 or $40 there isn't much incentive to make one for eight bucks. That makes the Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI an interesting wine well worth trying. Is it the same as the usual more pricey wines from the region? Probably not, it may be made in a more drink-it-now style, which is fine because I am going to drink it, like right now.

But  I thoroughly expect the Wind Song to be a somewhat new experience. I have tasted Western Australian wines at Trade Tastings, but never a value-priced one. I am looking forward to what the tasting experience offers. The alcohol content is 13.2%.
Wind Song Chardonnay 2018 ALDI Tasting Notes
The color is clean, clear, pale wheat yellow. The nose is not shy, there is lemon curd, green apple, melon, peach, Anjou pear, light spice, a little vanilla, coconut milk, and spring flowers. It has a great nose.  The Wind Song Chardonnay is dry with a firm mouthfeel and rich flavor. It starts with a stew of grapefruit, melon, and very tart apple, followed by dried apricot pieces, and soft spice. The mid-palate shows a touch of cream, a little of that salty, cashew thing, and tangerine. There is good well-balanced acidity, you know the usual, the acidity allows the flavors to unfold and adds enough of sizzle on your palate to get you reaching for another sip. The finish is full and of reasonable length.
The Summary

* I have found in my years of writing CheapWineFinder.com that I often find very good Chardonnay, but rarely find great Chardonnay.
* The Wind Song Margaret River Chardonnay 2018 is a very good Chardonnay and you have to give it extra points for not only being valued priced but being value-priced from a region that does not do value-priced wine.
* Finding greatness in sub ten dollar Chardonnay isn't realistic,]]>
CheapWineFinder 10:15
Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32847/poppy-paso-robles-cabernet-sauvignon-2017/ Thu, 13 Feb 2020 05:13:22 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32847 Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 The Story The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is sourced from the Sunny Slope and the San Juan vineyards inside the Paso Robles AVA which is also inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Poppy (which is the state flower of California) is a brand started in 2003 by the Silva Family who has 45 years' experience in the wine trade. I chose to write about this wine for a couple of reasons, first, the Paso Robles AVA is a terrific place to find quality Cabernet Sauvignon. You can find rather pricey bottles there, but they also showcase excellent value-priced drink-it-now, no aging required Cabernet Sauvignon. Paso Robles, along with Lodi and Columbia Valley are great places to look for bang for the buck Cabs. The second reason for this review is the innovative and complex techniques used to produce the Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a wine that I found for about twelve dollars and my usual explanation of the differences between value-priced wine and more expensive wine is that value wine is made with simpler processes that allow the wines to come together quickly. The faster the wine becomes ready for release and sale the sooner the winery can start to recoup their investment. The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 does not follow that example. Before they even get to fermentation they use thermovinification and maceration on the crushed grapes and juice. Thermovinification is a fairly new technique where the crushed grapes are either heated to almost boiling or chilled to fully extract all the color and the desired compounds from the grapes, This process allows you to maximize the desired characteristics of the grapes and minimize the qualities that are not needed. A portion of the Poppy Cab see thermovinification and the rest undergoes maceration which is where the crushed grapes, seeds, and stems are left to stew with the crushed juice (either before fermentation or during fermentation). Maceration takes longer to complete than thermovinification and does not do as complete a job. My point to highlight thermovinification and maceration is not to definitively explain the process, it is way more complicated than I spelled out. The winemaking techniques, even in value-priced wines make a huge difference. You don't need to know exactly how these winemaking tools actually work but if wine X was made with certain techniques and wine Y wasn't, but wine Z was, wine Z may be the wine to choose. The Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels. Aging wine for a year and a half in French oak is a detail seen consistently in wine selling in the twenty-five dollar plus price range. So we have a wine sourced from 2 named vineyards (most wines in the $12 range do not list the actual vineyard, just the general AVA if you're lucky) in Paso Robles and underwent new and innovative winemaking techniques and was aged in the same manner as expensive wine. I like wines that have websites that provide technical notes into the making of their wines. Way too often the tech notes are some fluffy lifestyle blatherings and almost no useful information to get to know the wine. I don't need too much information, I only semi-understand what all the terms mean. But knowing which of the major, important processes are used gives you insight into what went into the making of the wine, and maybe explain why you like the wine. The alcohol content is 13.9%. Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Tasting Notes The color is opaque cherry red with black highlights. The nose is bright ripe blackberry, raisin, baking spice, black licorice, cedar, vanilla, faint chocolate powder, and a light floral edge. The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has a full flavor and a sleek, lean body. It starts with blackberry, dark chocolate, ripe plum, ripe black cherry, and black pepper. The mid-palate shows blueberries in cream, a little Altoid's spice, Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 The Story The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is sourced from the Sunny Slope and the San Juan vineyards inside the Paso Robles AVA which is also inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
The Story
The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is sourced from the Sunny Slope and the San Juan vineyards inside the Paso Robles AVA which is also inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Poppy (which is the state flower of California) is a brand started in 2003 by the Silva Family who has 45 years' experience in the wine trade.

I chose to write about this wine for a couple of reasons, first, the Paso Robles AVA is a terrific place to find quality Cabernet Sauvignon. You can find rather pricey bottles there, but they also showcase excellent value-priced drink-it-now, no aging required Cabernet Sauvignon. Paso Robles, along with Lodi and Columbia Valley are great places to look for bang for the buck Cabs.

The second reason for this review is the innovative and complex techniques used to produce the Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a wine that I found for about twelve dollars and my usual explanation of the differences between value-priced wine and more expensive wine is that value wine is made with simpler processes that allow the wines to come together quickly. The faster the wine becomes ready for release and sale the sooner the winery can start to recoup their investment.

The Poppy Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 does not follow that example. Before they even get to fermentation they use thermovinification and maceration on the crushed grapes and juice. Thermovinification is a fairly new technique where the crushed grapes are either heated to almost boiling or chilled to fully extract all the color and the desired compounds from the grapes, This process allows you to maximize the desired characteristics of the grapes and minimize the qualities that are not needed.

A portion of the Poppy Cab see thermovinification and the rest undergoes maceration which is where the crushed grapes, seeds, and stems are left to stew with the crushed juice (either before fermentation or during fermentation). Maceration takes longer to complete than thermovinification and does not do as complete a job.

My point to highlight thermovinification and maceration is not to definitively explain the process, it is way more complicated than I spelled out. The winemaking techniques, even in value-priced wines make a huge difference. You don't need to know exactly how these winemaking tools actually work but if wine X was made with certain techniques and wine Y wasn't, but wine Z was, wine Z may be the wine to choose.

The Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels. Aging wine for a year and a half in French oak is a detail seen consistently in wine selling in the twenty-five dollar plus price range. So we have a wine sourced from 2 named vineyards (most wines in the $12 range do not list the actual vineyard, just the general AVA if you're lucky) in Paso Robles and underwent new and innovative winemaking techniques and was aged in the same manner as expensive wine.

I like wines that have websites that provide technical notes into the making of their wines. Way too often the tech notes are some fluffy lifestyle blatherings and almost no useful information to get to know the wine. I don't need too much information, I only semi-understand what all the terms mean. But knowing which of the major, important processes are used gives you insight into what went into the making of the wine, and maybe explain why you like the wine.]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 12:03
Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32798/anna-de-codorniu-brut-rose-cava/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 05:37:20 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32798 Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé The Story The Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay sourced from estate vineyards near the town of Lleida in the Cava D.O. of northeast Spain (near Barcelona). A typical Cava uses the three indigenous grapes, Macabeo, Xarello, and Parelada, but since this is a Rose' and Red grapes skins are needed to get the pink coloration so traditional Champagne grapes are substituted. The Cordorniu company has a great tradition. They are the oldest company in Spain and the 17th oldest company in the world. They have been in business for over 500 years and they are the first winery to produce Cava in 1872. Cava is produced with the same techniques used in Champagne, France. The second fermentation (where the bubbles are formed) occurs inside each bottle. In Champagne second fermentation has to last a minimum of 18 months, with Cava the second fermentation lasts a minimum of 12 months. The Cordorniu family started the winery as early as 1551 and in 1659 Anna de Codorniu married Miquel Raventós. And in 1872 it was Josep Raventós who pioneered Cava, so there is a lot of history and knowledge behind this $11 (on sale) Spanish Bubbly. While the Cava D.O. borders on the Mediterranean Ocean the Codorniu vineyards for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are more inland section. The grapes are always harvested at night when the weather is cooler and the grapes are relaxing. If you want to know where the pink color comes from the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes are left with the crushed grapes juice for 3 to 4 hours. Then the skins are removed and the first fermentation begins. What is the difference between Champagne and Cava? The climate is an obvious difference, Champagne is much farther north in France, the climate there is cool or cold enough that grapes growing to produce still wines (no Bubbles) frequently didn't get ripe enough to be useable. Sparkling wine grapes are picked earlier than still wine grapes, so they suit Champagne's climate. In the Cava region, it is warmer so the growing season is shorter. So the climate makes a difference. Champagne ages their Sparkling wine (second fermentation) much longer, on average than Cava wines typically are aged. The Bubbly with extended aging is the Bubbly that is of the most interest and demands the highest prices. There are Cava's that have very long aging, 3,4 years or more, but they are usually small production wines and not that common. Bubbly aged a shorter period of time tend to be crisp and with a long time can get creamy. The internal pressure from the carbonation (atmospheres) is greater with Champagne wines, it is one of Champagne's unique features. There is typically less pressure inside a Cava bottle, though you may not notice unless you pop the top on a Champagne and a Cava side by side. The 3 traditional Cava White grapes will taste different than Champagne Chardonnay grapes. There is a noticeable flavor difference between the two Sparkling wines. But with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay used in the Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava, a comparison of flavors is possible. This Cava is 25% less expensive than entry-level Champagne, is Champagne four times better, let's find out. Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava Tasting Notes The color is a salmon pink and there are plenty of bubbles. The nose is tart cherry, pink lemonade, stone fruit, soft spice, and a touch of crusty bakery bread. This is a dry, crisp Sparkling wine with flavor. It starts with ripe strawberry, lemon/lime (not sweet), tart cherry, and a salty sensation. The mid-palate offers a slap of minerality, dried strawberry bits, and lime. The acidity is really good, it is the type of acidity in the wine that lets the flavors unfold and also gets you reaching for another sip. The finish is fairly full and lengthy. The Summary I said, is Champagne four times better than the Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava and that was kind of a trick question. Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé The Story The Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay sourced from estate vineyards near the town of Lleida in the Cava D.O. of northeast Spain (near Barcelona). Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé
The Story
The Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay sourced from estate vineyards near the town of Lleida in the Cava D.O. of northeast Spain (near Barcelona). A typical Cava uses the three indigenous grapes, Macabeo, Xarello, and Parelada, but since this is a Rose' and Red grapes skins are needed to get the pink coloration so traditional Champagne grapes are substituted.

The Cordorniu company has a great tradition. They are the oldest company in Spain and the 17th oldest company in the world. They have been in business for over 500 years and they are the first winery to produce Cava in 1872. Cava is produced with the same techniques used in Champagne, France. The second fermentation (where the bubbles are formed) occurs inside each bottle. In Champagne second fermentation has to last a minimum of 18 months, with Cava the second fermentation lasts a minimum of 12 months.

The Cordorniu family started the winery as early as 1551 and in 1659 Anna de Codorniu married Miquel Raventós. And in 1872 it was Josep Raventós who pioneered Cava, so there is a lot of history and knowledge behind this $11 (on sale) Spanish Bubbly.

While the Cava D.O. borders on the Mediterranean Ocean the Codorniu vineyards for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are more inland section. The grapes are always harvested at night when the weather is cooler and the grapes are relaxing. If you want to know where the pink color comes from the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes are left with the crushed grapes juice for 3 to 4 hours. Then the skins are removed and the first fermentation begins.

What is the difference between Champagne and Cava? The climate is an obvious difference, Champagne is much farther north in France, the climate there is cool or cold enough that grapes growing to produce still wines (no Bubbles) frequently didn't get ripe enough to be useable. Sparkling wine grapes are picked earlier than still wine grapes, so they suit Champagne's climate. In the Cava region, it is warmer so the growing season is shorter. So the climate makes a difference.

Champagne ages their Sparkling wine (second fermentation) much longer, on average than Cava wines typically are aged. The Bubbly with extended aging is the Bubbly that is of the most interest and demands the highest prices. There are Cava's that have very long aging, 3,4 years or more, but they are usually small production wines and not that common. Bubbly aged a shorter period of time tend to be crisp and with a long time can get creamy.

The internal pressure from the carbonation (atmospheres) is greater with Champagne wines, it is one of Champagne's unique features. There is typically less pressure inside a Cava bottle, though you may not notice unless you pop the top on a Champagne and a Cava side by side.

The 3 traditional Cava White grapes will taste different than Champagne Chardonnay grapes. There is a noticeable flavor difference between the two Sparkling wines. But with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay used in the Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava, a comparison of flavors is possible. This Cava is 25% less expensive than entry-level Champagne, is Champagne four times better, let's find out.
Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava Tasting Notes
The color is a salmon pink and there are plenty of bubbles. The nose is tart cherry, pink lemonade, stone fruit, soft spice, and a touch of crusty bakery bread. This is a dry, crisp Sparkling wine with flavor. It starts with ripe strawberry, lemon/lime (not sweet), tart cherry,]]>
CheapWineFinder 1 Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava clean 10:28
Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32744/meringue-chardonnay-edna-valley-2018/ Sat, 08 Feb 2020 04:29:59 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32744 Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 The Story The Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from the Edna Valley AVA which is located south of Paso Robles along the Pacific Ocean coast inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Edna Valley may not be the best known AVA in California but it has an excellent reputation for producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Single AVA wines rarely sell in regular retail wine shops for under ten bucks or maybe more like under twenty bucks. This is one of the reasons I enjoy Trader Joe's wines. You can explore somewhat off the beaten path growing areas or wines from upscale growing regions and not risk a great deal of money. Most folks wouldn't know to look for Edna Valley Chardonnay, but for $7.99 they can give it a try. Most Trader Joe's exclusive wines don't have much to offer in the way of technical notes, but the Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 was featured in this month's Fearless Flyer. Their tasting notes give us some indication of what winemaking techniques were used. What the winemaker did to produce this Chardonnay is very important, since it seems that no 2 Chardonnays are exactly alike. Similarities, yes, alike, no. Processes such as malolactic fermentation and on lees, along with whether they conditioned the wine with oak are extremely important. Did all the Chardonnay undergo malolactic fermentation or just a percentage, did any of the Chard see oak barrel conditioning. New barrels, used barrels, oak chips or no oak? The winemakers can use any of these techniques in any proportion they choose and each decision makes a difference in the flavor of the wine. And we didn't discuss grape selection or other more technical methods, Chardonnay is complicated. Trader Joe's says the Meringue has green apple, lemon and pineapple flavors along with crème brulée and vanilla. All those tastes lead me to think at least partial malolactic fermentation with a good bit of some sort of oak aging. The flavors that come from oak(vanilla) seem to be pronounced, so a decent amount of time in oak barrels or oak staves in stainless steel vats are suggested. The flavors seemed to be rounded rather than tart so a certain percentage of malolactic fermentation probably was used. The crème brulée may have come from "on lees" aging, since the more the lees are stirred the creamier the wine becomes. These are all guesses on my part and made to demonstrate that Chardonnay is complicated, even value-priced Chardonnay. Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a wheat yellow with an amber tint. The nose is ripe apples and melon, lemon and vanilla, soft spice and orange blossom honey, and light floral edge. This is a Chardonnay dry, with a firm mouthfeel and rich flavors. It tastes of Golden Delicious apple, grapefruit (not too tart), oak spice, a little French vanilla, and nectarine. The mid-palate adds a light halo of pineapple (that was part of the Fearless Flyer tasting notes, so I don't know if getting that flavor is the power of suggestion, but it's faint but it is there), tart blood orange, and just a hint of cream. The acidity is well-balanced, it allows the flavors to unfold and will get you reaching for another sip. The finish is soft but lasts a long time. The Summary It is $7.99, but the Meringue Edna Valley can hold its own with Chardonnay selling for a good five dollars more. It has complexity and flavor that no sub-ten dollar Chardonnay would be expected to have as little as 5 years ago. This is a Chardonnay that punches above its weight class.       Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 The Story The Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from the Edna Valley AVA which is located south of Paso Robles along the Pacific Ocean coast inside the Central Coast AV... Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018
The Story
The Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from the Edna Valley AVA which is located south of Paso Robles along the Pacific Ocean coast inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Edna Valley may not be the best known AVA in California but it has an excellent reputation for producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.

Single AVA wines rarely sell in regular retail wine shops for under ten bucks or maybe more like under twenty bucks. This is one of the reasons I enjoy Trader Joe's wines. You can explore somewhat off the beaten path growing areas or wines from upscale growing regions and not risk a great deal of money. Most folks wouldn't know to look for Edna Valley Chardonnay, but for $7.99 they can give it a try.

Most Trader Joe's exclusive wines don't have much to offer in the way of technical notes, but the Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 was featured in this month's Fearless Flyer. Their tasting notes give us some indication of what winemaking techniques were used. What the winemaker did to produce this Chardonnay is very important, since it seems that no 2 Chardonnays are exactly alike. Similarities, yes, alike, no.

Processes such as malolactic fermentation and on lees, along with whether they conditioned the wine with oak are extremely important. Did all the Chardonnay undergo malolactic fermentation or just a percentage, did any of the Chard see oak barrel conditioning. New barrels, used barrels, oak chips or no oak? The winemakers can use any of these techniques in any proportion they choose and each decision makes a difference in the flavor of the wine. And we didn't discuss grape selection or other more technical methods, Chardonnay is complicated.

Trader Joe's says the Meringue has green apple, lemon and pineapple flavors along with crème brulée and vanilla. All those tastes lead me to think at least partial malolactic fermentation with a good bit of some sort of oak aging. The flavors that come from oak(vanilla) seem to be pronounced, so a decent amount of time in oak barrels or oak staves in stainless steel vats are suggested. The flavors seemed to be rounded rather than tart so a certain percentage of malolactic fermentation probably was used. The crème brulée may have come from "on lees" aging, since the more the lees are stirred the creamier the wine becomes. These are all guesses on my part and made to demonstrate that Chardonnay is complicated, even value-priced Chardonnay.
Meringue Chardonnay Edna Valley 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a wheat yellow with an amber tint. The nose is ripe apples and melon, lemon and vanilla, soft spice and orange blossom honey, and light floral edge. This is a Chardonnay dry, with a firm mouthfeel and rich flavors. It tastes of Golden Delicious apple, grapefruit (not too tart), oak spice, a little French vanilla, and nectarine. The mid-palate adds a light halo of pineapple (that was part of the Fearless Flyer tasting notes, so I don't know if getting that flavor is the power of suggestion, but it's faint but it is there), tart blood orange, and just a hint of cream. The acidity is well-balanced, it allows the flavors to unfold and will get you reaching for another sip. The finish is soft but lasts a long time.
The Summary

* It is $7.99, but the Meringue Edna Valley can hold its own with Chardonnay selling for a good five dollars more.
* It has complexity and flavor that no sub-ten dollar Chardonnay would be expected to have as little as 5 years ago.
]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 10:20
Révélation Pinot Noir 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32701/revelation-pinot-noir-2018/ Thu, 06 Feb 2020 05:00:44 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32701 Révélation Pinot Noir 2018 The Story The Révélation Pinot Noir 2018 is a Trader Joe's $7.99 American exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Languedoc region of southeastern France. The Languedoc growing area borders the Mediterranean on the east, the Pyrenees Mountains to the west and Spain to the south. This is a Pays d'Oc (IGP) designated wine which is rated a step below AOC wines. Pays d'Oc is wines that are representative of the region but don't follow the AOC wine rules and regulations or are grown in vineyards outside the AOC boundaries. This Pinot Noir is produced by Badet Clément which is a winery founded in the 1990s by two winemakers from the Burgundy region. They produce Estate wines and Brand wines and create 15,000,000 bottles a year. The Révélation does not seem to be a Brand made exclusively for Trader Joe's since the full line of Révélation wines are available in Great Britan and possibly elsewhere. The Languedoc region is the largest growing region in France producing about a third of all French wine. This is the region were everyday French wine is produced. There are several winemaking regions in France with more acclaim, but this is where the affordable wines are produced. Pinot Noir isn't the first wine you think of when you consider Languedoc wines. They grow a wide variety of grapes in the region and most are grapes associated with slightly warmer growing conditions, but the Mediterranean Ocean does offer cooler coastal growing areas. This brand has been in Trader Joe's for several years, we reviewed the 2010 vintage of the Révélation Cabernet-Merlot blend and thought it was a solid bang for the buck wine, in those days the wine sold for $4.99. There aren't any technical notes for the Révélation Pinot Noir 2018, so I don't have any winemaking details. But I will be interested in how this differs from inexpensive California Pinot Noir, which has undergone a large improvement in quality in the last several years. There was a time when value-priced French Pinot Noir would have outdistanced the California value wine, but at this point, I am not so sure. So the tasting will tell. The alcohol content is 13%. The Révélation Pinot Noir Tasting Notes The color is garnet red. The nose is black cherry, herbs, black pepper, spice, and a little mushroom. This is a balanced Pinot Noir, with a silky side and a little bit rougher edge. It starts with tart cherry and slightly sharp spice, followed by plum and herbs. The mid-palate adds ripe black cherry and orange zest, and a surprise salty sensation, and a slightly rough brush of the tannins. This is not the most complicated Pinot Noir, but it is interesting, the balance of fruit and structure is attractive. The finish is lively and while it does fade it lingers for some time. The Summary I liked the Révélation Pinot Noir 2018, while California cheap Pinot Noir has made great strides it was fun to match those up to the cheap French stuff. This is a tasty wine, good fruit, good structure. The price has increased by three dollars since we first reviewed the 2010 Révélation wine and even with the upcharge it is still a bargain.   Check Out The Companion Podcast Below !!!!!! Révélation Pinot Noir 2018 The Story The Révélation Pinot Noir 2018 is a Trader Joe's $7.99 American exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Languedoc region of southeastern France. The Languedoc growing area borders the Mediterranean on the east, Révélation Pinot Noir 2018
The Story
The Révélation Pinot Noir 2018 is a Trader Joe's $7.99 American exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Languedoc region of southeastern France. The Languedoc growing area borders the Mediterranean on the east, the Pyrenees Mountains to the west and Spain to the south. This is a Pays d'Oc (IGP) designated wine which is rated a step below AOC wines. Pays d'Oc is wines that are representative of the region but don't follow the AOC wine rules and regulations or are grown in vineyards outside the AOC boundaries.

This Pinot Noir is produced by Badet Clément which is a winery founded in the 1990s by two winemakers from the Burgundy region. They produce Estate wines and Brand wines and create 15,000,000 bottles a year. The Révélation does not seem to be a Brand made exclusively for Trader Joe's since the full line of Révélation wines are available in Great Britan and possibly elsewhere. The Languedoc region is the largest growing region in France producing about a third of all French wine. This is the region were everyday French wine is produced. There are several winemaking regions in France with more acclaim, but this is where the affordable wines are produced.

Pinot Noir isn't the first wine you think of when you consider Languedoc wines. They grow a wide variety of grapes in the region and most are grapes associated with slightly warmer growing conditions, but the Mediterranean Ocean does offer cooler coastal growing areas. This brand has been in Trader Joe's for several years, we reviewed the 2010 vintage of the Révélation Cabernet-Merlot blend and thought it was a solid bang for the buck wine, in those days the wine sold for $4.99.

There aren't any technical notes for the Révélation Pinot Noir 2018, so I don't have any winemaking details. But I will be interested in how this differs from inexpensive California Pinot Noir, which has undergone a large improvement in quality in the last several years. There was a time when value-priced French Pinot Noir would have outdistanced the California value wine, but at this point, I am not so sure. So the tasting will tell. The alcohol content is 13%.
The Révélation Pinot Noir Tasting Notes
The color is garnet red. The nose is black cherry, herbs, black pepper, spice, and a little mushroom. This is a balanced Pinot Noir, with a silky side and a little bit rougher edge. It starts with tart cherry and slightly sharp spice, followed by plum and herbs. The mid-palate adds ripe black cherry and orange zest, and a surprise salty sensation, and a slightly rough brush of the tannins. This is not the most complicated Pinot Noir, but it is interesting, the balance of fruit and structure is attractive. The finish is lively and while it does fade it lingers for some time.
The Summary

* I liked the Révélation Pinot Noir 2018, while California cheap Pinot Noir has made great strides it was fun to match those up to the cheap French stuff.
* This is a tasty wine, good fruit, good structure.
* The price has increased by three dollars since we first reviewed the 2010 Révélation wine and even with the upcharge it is still a bargain.

 
Check Out The Companion Podcast Below !!!!!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 8:18
J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32657/j-lohr-seven-oaks-cabernet-sauvignon-2017/ Tue, 04 Feb 2020 05:28:01 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32657 The Story The J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah sourced mainly from J. Lohr's 7 Oaks vineyard as well as other estate vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA of the Central Coast AVA in California. J. Lohr is a family-owned winery founded in the Monterey AVA in the early 1970s. In the 1980s they expanded into the Paso Robles AVA (south of Monterey AVA) and have a property in the St. Helena AVA inside of Napa Valley. I have been a fan of J. Lohr wines for some time, not only because they taste great, but how they go about their business. This may be something that appeals to only me, but in writing the Cheap Wine Finder website I come across a plethora of wine company websites and their corresponding wine technical notes. Most wine company websites, while attractive to the eye, say almost nothing. I think the key is being positive, promote an upscale lifestyle but do not say anything that can turn folks off. J. Lohr has an attractive website, just like you would expect, but their technical notes go into terrific detail. They compare the growing season to previous vintages and give details on exactly which procedures were used in winemaking that few wine companies bother to tell. I actually learned more about malolactic fermentation from their tech notes than I knew before I read it. Gleaming actual knowledge form a wine website and technical notes are very rare, trust me, I know all too well. So, what did I learn, well for one there was a heatwave in early September where temperatures hit 115 degrees. This could have been troublesome, but since temps went back to normal and the harvest wasn't until October the vines had plenty of time to de-stress and the vintage turned out well. I also learned a few things about malolactic fermentation. This Cabernet was fermented in stainless steel tanks, but for malolactic 20% was transferred to small oak barrels. Then Viniflora Oenos (dried bacteria) is added to the wine and that process changes the natural tart acid in the wine to rounded acid. Almost all Red wines receive this process, but J. Lohr is the first winery to shed a little light on the subject. This Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in American oak barrels for 12 months, 22% new barrels with the rest used barrels. Another first is the tech notes said the oak came from Missouri and Minnesota. When French oak is used it isn't uncommon to list which French forest the oak came from. American oak is usually mentioned as an afterthought, but not here. I get the impression that J. Lohr is proud of their wines and what went into the making of their wines. I get it that most wine drinkers do not geek out on the tasting and tech notes as I do. It is just that wineries should be more transparent with their winemaking. Lifestyle marketing is fine, but being more open with their processes would probably lead to better wine. So kudos to J. Lohr. The alcohol content is 14%. Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes The color is ripe black cherry red with a clear halo. The nose is subtle and balanced, blackberry, vanilla, dark chocolate, soft spice, black pepper, lightly herbal, with a faint floral edge. This is a sleek, refined Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice stew of flavors. It starts with a mix of extracted blackberry and sweet blueberry, licorice, vanilla, and pepper. The mid-palate offers milk chocolate, orange zest, ripe raspberry, and a slap of Altoid's spice. The flavors are well-balanced, no one taste overpowers the next. The tannins are sweet and the acidity lets the flavors unfold. Pair this Cabernet Sauvignon with a steak on the grill or drink it on its own. The finish mirrors the body of the wine and has good length. The Summary The J.Lohr Seven Oaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a very good California Cabernet. This is an interesting Cab, it is mass-produced, they make a fair amount of this wine, The Story The J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah sourced mainly from J. Lohr's 7 Oaks vineyard as well as other estate vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA of the... The Story
The J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah sourced mainly from J. Lohr's 7 Oaks vineyard as well as other estate vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA of the Central Coast AVA in California. J. Lohr is a family-owned winery founded in the Monterey AVA in the early 1970s. In the 1980s they expanded into the Paso Robles AVA (south of Monterey AVA) and have a property in the St. Helena AVA inside of Napa Valley.

I have been a fan of J. Lohr wines for some time, not only because they taste great, but how they go about their business. This may be something that appeals to only me, but in writing the Cheap Wine Finder website I come across a plethora of wine company websites and their corresponding wine technical notes. Most wine company websites, while attractive to the eye, say almost nothing. I think the key is being positive, promote an upscale lifestyle but do not say anything that can turn folks off.

J. Lohr has an attractive website, just like you would expect, but their technical notes go into terrific detail. They compare the growing season to previous vintages and give details on exactly which procedures were used in winemaking that few wine companies bother to tell. I actually learned more about malolactic fermentation from their tech notes than I knew before I read it. Gleaming actual knowledge form a wine website and technical notes are very rare, trust me, I know all too well.

So, what did I learn, well for one there was a heatwave in early September where temperatures hit 115 degrees. This could have been troublesome, but since temps went back to normal and the harvest wasn't until October the vines had plenty of time to de-stress and the vintage turned out well. I also learned a few things about malolactic fermentation. This Cabernet was fermented in stainless steel tanks, but for malolactic 20% was transferred to small oak barrels. Then Viniflora Oenos (dried bacteria) is added to the wine and that process changes the natural tart acid in the wine to rounded acid.

Almost all Red wines receive this process, but J. Lohr is the first winery to shed a little light on the subject. This Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in American oak barrels for 12 months, 22% new barrels with the rest used barrels. Another first is the tech notes said the oak came from Missouri and Minnesota. When French oak is used it isn't uncommon to list which French forest the oak came from. American oak is usually mentioned as an afterthought, but not here. I get the impression that J. Lohr is proud of their wines and what went into the making of their wines.

I get it that most wine drinkers do not geek out on the tasting and tech notes as I do. It is just that wineries should be more transparent with their winemaking. Lifestyle marketing is fine, but being more open with their processes would probably lead to better wine. So kudos to J. Lohr. The alcohol content is 14%.
Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes
The color is ripe black cherry red with a clear halo. The nose is subtle and balanced, blackberry, vanilla, dark chocolate, soft spice, black pepper, lightly herbal, with a faint floral edge. This is a sleek, refined Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice stew of flavors. It starts with a mix of extracted blackberry and sweet blueberry, licorice, vanilla, and pepper. The mid-palate offers milk chocolate, orange zest, ripe raspberry, and a slap of Altoid's spice. The flavors are well-balanced, no one taste overpowers the next.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:37
Sean Minor 4B Chardonnay 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32614/sean-minor-4b-chardonnay-2018/ Sun, 02 Feb 2020 04:59:43 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32614 The Story  The Sean Minor 4B Chardonnay 2018 is 100% Chardonnay sourced from several contracted vineyards in California's Central Coast AVA. Sean Minor Wines do not have their vineyards but have long term contracts with selected vineyards. They have a full line-up of wines from affordable White and Red wines to single-vineyard Pinot Noir, though they concentrate more value-priced wine.  You may remember this wine from when they were 4 Bears Wines, there is still a 4B on the label. The 4 Bears name came about when the Minors were tasting different blends of their wines. Something along the lines of one was too big, one was too small, and another was just right and their four-year-old thought the process reminded him of the story of the 3 Bears. Well, they had four kids and they couldn't leave one kid out, so the wines became 4 Bears wine. The 4B Chardonnay is made the way I usually like my Chardonnay, a little oak barrel, a little malolactic fermentation. A percentage of this Chardonnay was fermented in smaller French oak barrels with the rest fermented in stainless steel tanks. Oak barrels are of course watertight but they do allow a tiny amount of air transfer with the Chardonnay. Stainless steel tanks are watertight and airtight. Everything you do to the wine causes some sort of change, so the Chardonnay that had a tad bit of air contact will be different from the Chardonnay that was kept from oxygen exposure, And then there is the difference from a small barrel and a huge stainless steel tank. That brings us to malolactic fermentation which is something that almost always occurs in Red wine. This is a process or a fermentation that takes the tart-tasting naturally occurring acid in the wine and converts it to a more rounded tasting acid. Most White wines want to keep the tart acidity, but Chardonnay that sees a bit of oak barrel conditioning responds well to Malolactic fermentation. Since only a portion of the wine saw oak barrels only a portion undergoes malolactic. Producing a Chardonnay this way gives the wine varied flavors and complexity. Both tart and rounded flavors, some of that butter and vanilla that French oak brings to Chardonnay, but not too much. It is a style that gives a little bit of something for everybody. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Chardonnay Tasting Notes The color is bright and shiny butter yellow. The nose is ripe and juicy, there is apple, lemon, pear, peach lime, honey, apricot, and a floral edge. This wine has a nice rounded mouth-feel along with an interesting flavor profile. It tastes of melon and lemon mix, followed by grapefruit, a little honey, and pear. The mid-palate brings apple, a dash of butter, a little vanilla cream, and lime. There is also that salty, nutty thing from "on-lees", but the tech notes didn't mention "on lees". The acidity is solid, enough to allow all the flavors to develop, but not enough to be sharp on the palate. The finish is full and lasts a decent length of time. The Summary The Sean Minor 4B Chardonnay 2018 is a tasty, well-priced Chardonnay (I found it on sale for $9.99). It is a well-made classic California Chardonnay. The Central Coast is a great place to find delicious value-priced wines. Yes, you can find Chardonnay from fancy well-known AVAs, but there is typically an additional price to pay for the famous growing regions. And these places do produce great Chardonnay, but when you need a tasty, well-priced, everyday Chardonnay the Central Coast AVA matches up well. This is one of those wines that get you reaching for your glass without actually thinking about it. Your brain just says MORE.   Check out the companion Podcast below!!!!!! The Story  The Sean Minor 4B Chardonnay 2018 is 100% Chardonnay sourced from several contracted vineyards in California's Central Coast AVA. Sean Minor Wines do not have their vineyards but have long term contracts with selected vineyards. The Story
 The Sean Minor 4B Chardonnay 2018 is 100% Chardonnay sourced from several contracted vineyards in California's Central Coast AVA. Sean Minor Wines do not have their vineyards but have long term contracts with selected vineyards. They have a full line-up of wines from affordable White and Red wines to single-vineyard Pinot Noir, though they concentrate more value-priced wine.

 You may remember this wine from when they were 4 Bears Wines, there is still a 4B on the label. The 4 Bears name came about when the Minors were tasting different blends of their wines. Something along the lines of one was too big, one was too small, and another was just right and their four-year-old thought the process reminded him of the story of the 3 Bears. Well, they had four kids and they couldn't leave one kid out, so the wines became 4 Bears wine.

The 4B Chardonnay is made the way I usually like my Chardonnay, a little oak barrel, a little malolactic fermentation. A percentage of this Chardonnay was fermented in smaller French oak barrels with the rest fermented in stainless steel tanks. Oak barrels are of course watertight but they do allow a tiny amount of air transfer with the Chardonnay. Stainless steel tanks are watertight and airtight. Everything you do to the wine causes some sort of change, so the Chardonnay that had a tad bit of air contact will be different from the Chardonnay that was kept from oxygen exposure, And then there is the difference from a small barrel and a huge stainless steel tank.

That brings us to malolactic fermentation which is something that almost always occurs in Red wine. This is a process or a fermentation that takes the tart-tasting naturally occurring acid in the wine and converts it to a more rounded tasting acid. Most White wines want to keep the tart acidity, but Chardonnay that sees a bit of oak barrel conditioning responds well to Malolactic fermentation. Since only a portion of the wine saw oak barrels only a portion undergoes malolactic.

Producing a Chardonnay this way gives the wine varied flavors and complexity. Both tart and rounded flavors, some of that butter and vanilla that French oak brings to Chardonnay, but not too much. It is a style that gives a little bit of something for everybody. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Chardonnay Tasting Notes
The color is bright and shiny butter yellow. The nose is ripe and juicy, there is apple, lemon, pear, peach lime, honey, apricot, and a floral edge. This wine has a nice rounded mouth-feel along with an interesting flavor profile. It tastes of melon and lemon mix, followed by grapefruit, a little honey, and pear. The mid-palate brings apple, a dash of butter, a little vanilla cream, and lime. There is also that salty, nutty thing from "on-lees", but the tech notes didn't mention "on lees". The acidity is solid, enough to allow all the flavors to develop, but not enough to be sharp on the palate. The finish is full and lasts a decent length of time.
The Summary

* The Sean Minor 4B Chardonnay 2018 is a tasty, well-priced Chardonnay (I found it on sale for $9.99). It is a well-made classic California Chardonnay.
* The Central Coast is a great place to find delicious value-priced wines. Yes, you can find Chardonnay from fancy well-known AVAs, but there is typically an additional price to pay for the famous growing regions. And these places do produce great Chardonnay, but when you need a tasty, well-priced, everyday Chardonnay the Central Coast AVA matches up well.
* This is one of those wines that get you reaching for your glass without actually thinking about it.]]>
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Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve GSM 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32570/trader-joes-petit-reserve-gsm-2018/ Thu, 30 Jan 2020 04:34:45 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32570 Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018 The Story The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive. A GSM is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend in this case sourced from vineyards in the Arroyo Seco AVA inside the Monterey AVA which in turn is inside the Central Coast AVA of California. This is a wine made exclusively for Trader Joe's by ASV Wines. ASV Wines, the ASV stands for Arroyo Seco Vineyards, is a custom wine producer (they also make their own wines} and has been in business for almost 40 years. They can be contracted to produce a wide variety of wines, either using their own vineyards or contracting with other vineyard owners. The Arroyo Seco AVA is home to several well-regarded wineries that specialize in producing Rhone Valley-style wines. A GSM Blend is one of the great Red wine blends of France and is found in the Southern Rhone Valley and in particular the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region. Grenache and Syrah are often blended together in southeastern France and eastern Spain (here Grenache is spelled Garnacha). Grenache wines are often sleek and lean and Syrah wines can be plump and juicy with a little spice. Each one has what the other doesn't have and they work well together. The Mourvedre adds color, a floral nose, and structure. Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey is a cool-weather growing region. There is a deep ocean trench off the coast of Monterey that concentrates the already cold Pacific Ocean waters. Monterey has a variety of climates for vines, some areas are blocked from ocean influence by coastal mountains, some areas are high ground and windswept, and other valleys are well-tailored to cooler weather grape varieties. The Ocean not only provides the climate for a long growing season it also protects the vineyards from temperatures ever falling too low for vine safety. There is a certain order to California wine pricing, wines that show California on the label as a place of origin tend to be the least expensive since a wide variety of locations are available for grape sourcing. When you get to the main AVA on the label, in this case, Central Coast the bottle price can rise a few bucks, then when a sub-AVA is used like here the Monterey AVA the number of available vineyards lessens and the price tag can rise. When you get a wine sourced from a sub-AVA of a sub-AVA and the vineyard selection significantly lowers the wines can get pricey. Except at Trader Joe's where these wines can be seriously cheap, this Arroyo Seco GSM is $6.99. The GSM Tasting Notes The color is dark cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is bright and spicey, there is blackberry, black pepper, exotic spice, black licorice, lightly herbal, and slightly floral. This is a red wine with a bit of complexity, it has a smooth side and a  rough side.  This GSM tastes of blackberry, rich and extracted, along with rounded black cherry, raisin spice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds blood orange, tea, and raspberry. The tannins are dusty and provide a nice texture. The acidity is balanced, this is a $6.99 GSM food wine. Pair with stews, burgers, roasts, and pizza with all the toppings. The finish is subtle and fades before too long, but never really goes away. The Summary What's there not to like about a 7 buck GSM from a small AVA? It does not taste inexpensive, there is a good yin/yang between sweet and tart, smooth and rough textures and flavors. I would not call this GSM delicious, it is more challenging and interesting which is actual praise for a sub-$10 wine. This wine will perform very well with food.   Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018 The Story The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive. A GSM is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend in this case sourced from vineyards in the Arroyo Seco AVA inside the Monterey AVA whic... Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018
The Story
The Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive. A GSM is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend in this case sourced from vineyards in the Arroyo Seco AVA inside the Monterey AVA which in turn is inside the Central Coast AVA of California. This is a wine made exclusively for Trader Joe's by ASV Wines.

ASV Wines, the ASV stands for Arroyo Seco Vineyards, is a custom wine producer (they also make their own wines} and has been in business for almost 40 years. They can be contracted to produce a wide variety of wines, either using their own vineyards or contracting with other vineyard owners. The Arroyo Seco AVA is home to several well-regarded wineries that specialize in producing Rhone Valley-style wines.

A GSM Blend is one of the great Red wine blends of France and is found in the Southern Rhone Valley and in particular the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region. Grenache and Syrah are often blended together in southeastern France and eastern Spain (here Grenache is spelled Garnacha). Grenache wines are often sleek and lean and Syrah wines can be plump and juicy with a little spice. Each one has what the other doesn't have and they work well together. The Mourvedre adds color, a floral nose, and structure.

Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey is a cool-weather growing region. There is a deep ocean trench off the coast of Monterey that concentrates the already cold Pacific Ocean waters. Monterey has a variety of climates for vines, some areas are blocked from ocean influence by coastal mountains, some areas are high ground and windswept, and other valleys are well-tailored to cooler weather grape varieties. The Ocean not only provides the climate for a long growing season it also protects the vineyards from temperatures ever falling too low for vine safety.

There is a certain order to California wine pricing, wines that show California on the label as a place of origin tend to be the least expensive since a wide variety of locations are available for grape sourcing. When you get to the main AVA on the label, in this case, Central Coast the bottle price can rise a few bucks, then when a sub-AVA is used like here the Monterey AVA the number of available vineyards lessens and the price tag can rise. When you get a wine sourced from a sub-AVA of a sub-AVA and the vineyard selection significantly lowers the wines can get pricey. Except at Trader Joe's where these wines can be seriously cheap, this Arroyo Seco GSM is $6.99.
The GSM Tasting Notes
The color is dark cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is bright and spicey, there is blackberry, black pepper, exotic spice, black licorice, lightly herbal, and slightly floral. This is a red wine with a bit of complexity, it has a smooth side and a  rough side.  This GSM tastes of blackberry, rich and extracted, along with rounded black cherry, raisin spice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds blood orange, tea, and raspberry. The tannins are dusty and provide a nice texture. The acidity is balanced, this is a $6.99 GSM food wine. Pair with stews, burgers, roasts, and pizza with all the toppings. The finish is subtle and fades before too long, but never really goes away.
The Summary

* What's there not to like about a 7 buck GSM from a small AVA?
* It does not taste inexpensive, there is a good yin/yang between sweet and tart, smooth and rough textures and flavors.
* I would not call this GSM delicious, it is more challenging and interesting which is actual praise for a sub-$10 wine.
* This wine will perform very well with food.

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:42
Lagranja 360 Verdejo Viura 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32534/lagranja-360-verdejo-viura-2018/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 04:52:32 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32534 The Story The Lagranja 360 Verdejo Viura 2018 is a $4.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Castilla y Leon region of northeast Spain. The Verdejo grape is indigenous to Spain and widely planted and the Viura grape is also known as Macabeo which is one of the 3 grapes traditionally used to make Cava. Trader Joe's carries a whole line of Lagranja 360 wines which are very representative of the types of wine that average Spaniards drink every day. The Castilla y Leon region wraps around the northeast corner of Portugal but does not extend to the Ocean either north or west. The wines of this region are Vino de la Tierra wines which are one step below the DO wines and are roughly the same as IGP wines of Italy and France. The grapes come local communes. A commune is a group of small farmers who band together to pool their resources and produce wine on a scale much larger than they could provide individually. Lagranja 360 seems to have tapped into these communes in different regions of Spain to produce their wines. In the ranking order of wine, a commune is seen as a step or two below wineries with their own estate vineyards. But when dealing with value-priced wine a commune is a great way to get a good wine at a good price. This is the type of wine that folks in Spain who drink wine with lunch and dinner drink. The crazy thing about this Trader Joe's import wine is that it is sold in the US for about the same price it would be in Spain. The majority of people who use wine for their daily meal never spend more than ten bucks for a wine. Wines selling for a few Euros routinely are paired with the meal. One thing you need to remember with wines that are produced particularly for food consumption is that they are designed to reach their balance when sipped with food, they may seem a little too acidic when sipping alone. The Lagranja 360 is produced for export so concessions are made for how Americans drink wine. It will probably be a little more fruit-forward than its Spanish equivalent to better appeal to the American palate. This White wine is Vegan-friendly and uses natural yeast for fermentation. Natural yeast is the yeast that floats in the air and is naturally attached to the grapes' skins. It is thought these yeasts are better suited for the grapes, though I doubt if most people could tell the difference between natural yeast and commercial yeast. Then again natural is usually the way to go when possible. The alcohol content is a mild 12.5%. The Verdejo Viura Tasting Notes The color is barely there, just a little pale wheat yellow. The nose is ripe and fresh, sort of reminds me of California Chardonnay, there is apple, peach, apricots, pears, lemon, lime, and orange blossom honey. This is a flavorful, crisp wine with just a hint of sweetness (nectar sweet, not sugar sweet). It tastes of grapefruit, peach, green apple, soft spice, and dried apricot. The mid-palate offers lime, the tasting notes mentioned banana and I don't know if it the power of suggestion, but I tasted banana cream. The acidity is solid, this $4.99 wine will make a very good food wine. The finish is strong and sticks around. The Summary Four ninety-nine never tasted so good. In a blind tasting with regular ten bucks White wines you would never pick out the Lagranja 360 as the five buck wine. Cheap and delicious is a very good thing.   The Story The Lagranja 360 Verdejo Viura 2018 is a $4.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Castilla y Leon region of northeast Spain. The Verdejo grape is indigenous to Spain and widely planted and the Viura grape is also kno... The Story
The Lagranja 360 Verdejo Viura 2018 is a $4.99 Trader Joe's import exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Castilla y Leon region of northeast Spain. The Verdejo grape is indigenous to Spain and widely planted and the Viura grape is also known as Macabeo which is one of the 3 grapes traditionally used to make Cava. Trader Joe's carries a whole line of Lagranja 360 wines which are very representative of the types of wine that average Spaniards drink every day.

The Castilla y Leon region wraps around the northeast corner of Portugal but does not extend to the Ocean either north or west. The wines of this region are Vino de la Tierra wines which are one step below the DO wines and are roughly the same as IGP wines of Italy and France. The grapes come local communes.

A commune is a group of small farmers who band together to pool their resources and produce wine on a scale much larger than they could provide individually. Lagranja 360 seems to have tapped into these communes in different regions of Spain to produce their wines. In the ranking order of wine, a commune is seen as a step or two below wineries with their own estate vineyards. But when dealing with value-priced wine a commune is a great way to get a good wine at a good price.

This is the type of wine that folks in Spain who drink wine with lunch and dinner drink. The crazy thing about this Trader Joe's import wine is that it is sold in the US for about the same price it would be in Spain. The majority of people who use wine for their daily meal never spend more than ten bucks for a wine. Wines selling for a few Euros routinely are paired with the meal.

One thing you need to remember with wines that are produced particularly for food consumption is that they are designed to reach their balance when sipped with food, they may seem a little too acidic when sipping alone. The Lagranja 360 is produced for export so concessions are made for how Americans drink wine. It will probably be a little more fruit-forward than its Spanish equivalent to better appeal to the American palate.

This White wine is Vegan-friendly and uses natural yeast for fermentation. Natural yeast is the yeast that floats in the air and is naturally attached to the grapes' skins. It is thought these yeasts are better suited for the grapes, though I doubt if most people could tell the difference between natural yeast and commercial yeast. Then again natural is usually the way to go when possible. The alcohol content is a mild 12.5%.
The Verdejo Viura Tasting Notes
The color is barely there, just a little pale wheat yellow. The nose is ripe and fresh, sort of reminds me of California Chardonnay, there is apple, peach, apricots, pears, lemon, lime, and orange blossom honey. This is a flavorful, crisp wine with just a hint of sweetness (nectar sweet, not sugar sweet). It tastes of grapefruit, peach, green apple, soft spice, and dried apricot. The mid-palate offers lime, the tasting notes mentioned banana and I don't know if it the power of suggestion, but I tasted banana cream. The acidity is solid, this $4.99 wine will make a very good food wine. The finish is strong and sticks around.
The Summary

* Four ninety-nine never tasted so good.
* In a blind tasting with regular ten bucks White wines you would never pick out the Lagranja 360 as the five buck wine.
* Cheap and delicious is a very good thing.

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CheapWineFinder clean 8:08
Source and Sink Red Field Blend 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32486/source-and-sink-red-field-blend-2018/ Sat, 25 Jan 2020 05:32:29 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32486 The Story The Source and Sink Red Field Blend 2018 is a blend of 65% Petite Sirah, 25% Alicante Bouschet, and 10% Carignan sourced from the Dunbar Ranch vineyard located near Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley region of California. Source and Sink is a new wine company, I think this is their first vintage. The company was formed by 2 Chicago guys who met during the 2017 harvest in Sonoma and decided to put together a wine project. When you have a new, small wine company such as Source and Sink it is hard to compete directly with the big corporate wine behemoths, so you need to do your homework and be clever. They search out small overlooked, almost forgotten Sonoma vineyards to source their grapes. Some of these vineyards come from Hobby farms others were going concerns years ago but have had parcels sold off due to urban sprawl. The Dunbar Ranch is situated in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, but it isn't a large commercial vineyard. The parcel of grapes that Source and Sink purchased had been planted to be a Field Blend. A Field Blend is when specific varietals of grapes are planted in the same section of the vineyard. I was told that back in the day farmers would plant many different grapes to see which varieties would thrive and which wouldn't. They would pick the grapes when the majority were of proper ripeness and then crush the grapes and ferment them all together. The proportions of the blend were decided by Mother Nature. If one grape had a big yield and another didn't, well, that was what the vineyard gave them. The Source and Sink website mentioned that Dunbar Ranch Field Blend section was planted to also include Zinfandel grapes in the blend, but the Zinfandel grapes seem to have gone elsewhere. Sometimes wines with Field Blend on the label are not actual Field Blends, but more of a homage to the old ways to blend wine. While Source and Sink do not get specific with the technical details they seem to be dedicated to letting the vineyards lead the way. They use the least evasive winemaking techniques that can get away with. These are not wines that use a focus group to get the blend right, this is Old School California winemaking. Petite Sirah is originally from France but now is found mainly in California and Australia. It is used in countless Red blends and is often used to add a little something to Zinfandel wines. Alicante Bouschet is also a French grape that again is rarely seen in France but is widely used in Portugal and Spain. And Carignan is a grape widely used in southeast France and Spain. So this blend will not be your typical North Coast Blend, but something a little different. One of the reasons Field Blend fell out of style was that it was difficult to get the different grapes to ripen at the same time. With some vintages, the timing might be perfect and other vintages more problematic. The wines could vary in flavor and quality from year to year, and if you notice vintage variations are often not very noticeable with todays California wine. The Source and Sink Field Blend has an alcohol content of 12.8% and it isn't uncommon for a Sonoma Red wine to see 14.5% alcohol. I'm guessing here, but is 12.8% the point where most of the grapes reached their ideal ripeness? Anyway, I am looking forward to a taste of how California Red Blend used to be. Field Blend Tasting Notes The color is seriously deep and dark. The nose is rich and spicy, there is blackberry, plum, black pepper, spice, a hint of smoke and sweet raspberry. This is a wine that hits all areas of your palate with bright fruit and spice, nothing out of balance, but definitely not shy. It starts with ripe blackberry, a slap of not sweet licorice and Altoids spice, black pepper, and a meaty mushroom thing. The mid-palate adds a creamy texture, along with strawberry, and orange zest. This is a long and lean Red blend with loads of flavor. The tannins are sweet that acidity gives solid length and the finish is full and keeps rolling... The Story The Source and Sink Red Field Blend 2018 is a blend of 65% Petite Sirah, 25% Alicante Bouschet, and 10% Carignan sourced from the Dunbar Ranch vineyard located near Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley region of California. The Story
The Source and Sink Red Field Blend 2018 is a blend of 65% Petite Sirah, 25% Alicante Bouschet, and 10% Carignan sourced from the Dunbar Ranch vineyard located near Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley region of California. Source and Sink is a new wine company, I think this is their first vintage. The company was formed by 2 Chicago guys who met during the 2017 harvest in Sonoma and decided to put together a wine project.

When you have a new, small wine company such as Source and Sink it is hard to compete directly with the big corporate wine behemoths, so you need to do your homework and be clever. They search out small overlooked, almost forgotten Sonoma vineyards to source their grapes. Some of these vineyards come from Hobby farms others were going concerns years ago but have had parcels sold off due to urban sprawl. The Dunbar Ranch is situated in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, but it isn't a large commercial vineyard.

The parcel of grapes that Source and Sink purchased had been planted to be a Field Blend. A Field Blend is when specific varietals of grapes are planted in the same section of the vineyard. I was told that back in the day farmers would plant many different grapes to see which varieties would thrive and which wouldn't. They would pick the grapes when the majority were of proper ripeness and then crush the grapes and ferment them all together. The proportions of the blend were decided by Mother Nature. If one grape had a big yield and another didn't, well, that was what the vineyard gave them.

The Source and Sink website mentioned that Dunbar Ranch Field Blend section was planted to also include Zinfandel grapes in the blend, but the Zinfandel grapes seem to have gone elsewhere. Sometimes wines with Field Blend on the label are not actual Field Blends, but more of a homage to the old ways to blend wine. While Source and Sink do not get specific with the technical details they seem to be dedicated to letting the vineyards lead the way. They use the least evasive winemaking techniques that can get away with. These are not wines that use a focus group to get the blend right, this is Old School California winemaking.

Petite Sirah is originally from France but now is found mainly in California and Australia. It is used in countless Red blends and is often used to add a little something to Zinfandel wines. Alicante Bouschet is also a French grape that again is rarely seen in France but is widely used in Portugal and Spain. And Carignan is a grape widely used in southeast France and Spain. So this blend will not be your typical North Coast Blend, but something a little different.

One of the reasons Field Blend fell out of style was that it was difficult to get the different grapes to ripen at the same time. With some vintages, the timing might be perfect and other vintages more problematic. The wines could vary in flavor and quality from year to year, and if you notice vintage variations are often not very noticeable with todays California wine. The Source and Sink Field Blend has an alcohol content of 12.8% and it isn't uncommon for a Sonoma Red wine to see 14.5% alcohol. I'm guessing here, but is 12.8% the point where most of the grapes reached their ideal ripeness? Anyway, I am looking forward to a taste of how California Red Blend used to be.
Field Blend Tasting Notes
The color is seriously deep and dark. The nose is rich and spicy, there is blackberry, plum, black pepper, spice, a hint of smoke and sweet raspberry. This is a wine that hits all areas of your palate with bright fruit and spice, nothing out of balance, but definitely not shy.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:11
90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/32396/90-cellars-pinot-noir-lot-179-2018/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 05:39:27 +0000 https://www.cheapwinefinder.com/?p=32396 The Story The 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018 is sourced from vineyards in more than one California Coastal grape growing AVA. And that is about all I know about where the grapes were grown and who made the wine since 90+ Cellars are Negociants. A Negociant is a French term and it refers to a wine business that buys excess wine from a winery and distributes it under its own label. 90+ Cellars was founded in 2009 during the last economic meltdown which created an environment where there were plenty of wineries looking to sell them to generate much-needed cash. There were so many wineries offering surplus wine that 90+ Cellars came up with the idea of only buying wines that had recently scored 90 plus points in one of the leading wine magazines. It was a brilliant idea since negociants buy the surplus wine at a discounted price they can sell the wine retail at a lower price than the original winery. So you were able to purchase wine with a top wine score for a bargain price when compared to the original wine. Often the 90+ Cellars wine would be on the store shelve just a few feet away from the exact same wine that sold for several dollars more. This system, which has a very long history in France, only works if the customer never knows who the original winery is. The producing winery will never sell its wine if the public knows they can but the exact same wine for less. And since a negociant, in this case, 90+ Cellars, does not make their own wine, the wine drinkers have to trust that the negociants are offering the best wine for the lowest price. I don't think 90+ Cellars still only buys and then resells wines that received 90 or more points, that was always limiting. They were stuck dealing only with wines that received high recent scores and not with excellent wineries that either didn't get their wines into the magazines or only got 89 points. Because after all, that is the difference between a wine that gets 89 points and wine that got 90 points, can you taste that extra point? You will follow 90+ Cellars not by the wines they make, but by the wines they choose. A Negociant succeeds by offering you a good wine at a fair price, but you have to take a leap of faith. Since you don't know the all-important details concerning the wine, a wine drinker must be satisfied that 90+ has you covered. If you search for 90+ Cellars wines on CheapWineFinder you will see that we have been reviewing their wines for years and we were usually impressed. So, this is the seventh paragraph and I have not mentioned one technical detail about Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018, well because I don't know any of the details. The one thing I do know is this Pinot Noir that I found on sale for $8.99 was probably in another bin under a different label selling for several dollars more. And that is the allure of negociant wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Plus I have been hearing a buzz about this bottling from reputable sources saying that this is one of the best value wines from the vintage. Pinot Noir Tasting Notes The color is clear, see-thru garnet red. The nose is a combination of cherry and those funky Pinot Noir aromas, herbs, dried autumn leaves, spice, bacon fat, a hint of smoke, and spearmint chewing gum. This is a dry, medium-bodied Pinot Noir, fruit-forward, but still possessing balance. It starts with cherry, Dr. Pepper, licorice, spice, and tea. The mid-palate brings soft herbs, ripe plum, black pepper, and faint dark chocolate. The tannins are sweet, they are there, but there is no Tannin "grip". The acidity did its job, this Pinot has a good deal of flavor and the acidity gave the wine the length for the flavors to unfold. There is a nice silky mouth-feel and the finish is full and lingers on for a good length of time. The Summary I have always said a bottle of wine with a good background story tastes better and of course, a negociant wine has no story. So it seems a great tasting wine and an excellent price doe... The Story The 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018 is sourced from vineyards in more than one California Coastal grape growing AVA. And that is about all I know about where the grapes were grown and who made the wine since 90+ Cellars are Negociants.
The Story
The 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018 is sourced from vineyards in more than one California Coastal grape growing AVA. And that is about all I know about where the grapes were grown and who made the wine since 90+ Cellars are Negociants. A Negociant is a French term and it refers to a wine business that buys excess wine from a winery and distributes it under its own label.

90+ Cellars was founded in 2009 during the last economic meltdown which created an environment where there were plenty of wineries looking to sell them to generate much-needed cash. There were so many wineries offering surplus wine that 90+ Cellars came up with the idea of only buying wines that had recently scored 90 plus points in one of the leading wine magazines.

It was a brilliant idea since negociants buy the surplus wine at a discounted price they can sell the wine retail at a lower price than the original winery. So you were able to purchase wine with a top wine score for a bargain price when compared to the original wine. Often the 90+ Cellars wine would be on the store shelve just a few feet away from the exact same wine that sold for several dollars more.

This system, which has a very long history in France, only works if the customer never knows who the original winery is. The producing winery will never sell its wine if the public knows they can but the exact same wine for less. And since a negociant, in this case, 90+ Cellars, does not make their own wine, the wine drinkers have to trust that the negociants are offering the best wine for the lowest price.

I don't think 90+ Cellars still only buys and then resells wines that received 90 or more points, that was always limiting. They were stuck dealing only with wines that received high recent scores and not with excellent wineries that either didn't get their wines into the magazines or only got 89 points. Because after all, that is the difference between a wine that gets 89 points and wine that got 90 points, can you taste that extra point?

You will follow 90+ Cellars not by the wines they make, but by the wines they choose. A Negociant succeeds by offering you a good wine at a fair price, but you have to take a leap of faith. Since you don't know the all-important details concerning the wine, a wine drinker must be satisfied that 90+ has you covered. If you search for 90+ Cellars wines on CheapWineFinder you will see that we have been reviewing their wines for years and we were usually impressed.

So, this is the seventh paragraph and I have not mentioned one technical detail about Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018, well because I don't know any of the details. The one thing I do know is this Pinot Noir that I found on sale for $8.99 was probably in another bin under a different label selling for several dollars more. And that is the allure of negociant wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Plus I have been hearing a buzz about this bottling from reputable sources saying that this is one of the best value wines from the vintage.
Pinot Noir Tasting Notes
The color is clear, see-thru garnet red. The nose is a combination of cherry and those funky Pinot Noir aromas, herbs, dried autumn leaves, spice, bacon fat, a hint of smoke, and spearmint chewing gum. This is a dry, medium-bodied Pinot Noir, fruit-forward, but still possessing balance. It starts with cherry, Dr. Pepper, licorice, spice, and tea. The mid-palate brings soft herbs, ripe plum, black pepper, and faint dark chocolate. The tannins are sweet, they are there,]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:23
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 !!!!!!]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 9:46
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.]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:50
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 cheap or value-priced wine. Since Champagne had a grip on all the expensive Bubbly all the o...]]>
CheapWineFinder clean 11:03
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.

 ]]>
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
 ]]>
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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.]]>
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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.]]>
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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.]]>
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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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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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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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