Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ring in Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ringing in National Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

Kicking off National Chardonnay Day with Wente’s Morning Fog Chardonnay

Today is May 21, 2015 which just so happens to be National Chardonnay Day and I’m celebrating with the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay. While you might not be able to get out of work for this particular holiday, National Chardonnay Day is a great reason to kick back and enjoy a glass of Chardonnay – should you need an excuse!

Chardonnay is still by far the most popular white varietal by consumption in the Unites States, with over 65 million cases consumed each year. While I often recommend alternative varietals over always going for the obvious Chardonnay choice, I have always been a big fan of well-made, balanced Chardonnay. Plus there’s an interesting story to be told here…

Why Wente? | California’s First Family of Chardonnay

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Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales

I initially tried the Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 after picking it up during a Wines Til Sold Out flash sale offering and was shocked at the quality considering I paid less than $23. I even brought this to a blind tasting where it competed with a few other Rioja’s from respected producers and it’s victory was unanimous – and quite tasty!

Some time had passed since I had seen this again but WTSO recently offered it and I’ve also seen that it’s available at Total Wine so I thought I’d share this character-laden, well-aged Spanish bargain from Casado Morales with you guys…

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Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!

Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!

Amizetta Winery

The views from Amizetta Winery

The year was 1979 when Amizetta and Spencer Clark discovered the very special parcel of land that was to become Amizetta Vineyards and later house Amizetta’s Estate Winery. With a dream of producing world-class wines in Napa Valley, they searched extensively for the perfect location with hillside exposures like those they had seen during their travels throughout Europe.

Upon arriving on my recent, unexpected and serendipitous visit to the Amizetta Winery it took no time at all to understand why the Clark’s fell in love. With commanding, panoramic views of Lake Hennessy below nestled into the green mountain landscape coupled with promising hillsides soils composed of rocky ‘sobrante loam’, Amizetta Winery came to fruition in 1985.

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Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet | Reviewed

Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2013 | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Cabernet

The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve and Platinum Reserve Wines might vary in the type of wine as well as the AVA specific sub-appellation from which they are produced but a few things remain constant: they are often excellent values, routinely over-delivering for the price and the best ones sell out quickly. The program is not unlike Costco’s own private-label Kirkland Signature one.

The Grand Reserve Meritage ($12.99), Grand Reserve Oakville Merlot and the Platinum Reserve Yountville Cabernet ($14.99) have been personal favorites of mine. While the Grand Reserve Meritage seems to be somewhat more readily available, the latter two offerings sold out really quickly.

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Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco | Value in Obscurity

Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco Review | Uncorking Value in Obscurity

Sagrantino di Montefalco

Sagrantino di Montefalco

The Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco is not exactly a new find. But after a confluence of factors oddly converged I decided I needed to share this relatively obscure yet deeply rewarding wine. It’s one I’ve really enjoyed several times and I have several resting to track its evolution.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me about which bottles I thought might “blow you away” that could be found around the $30 price point. I assured him that it can certainly be done, though it might take some effort to do so. Immediately the Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco came to mind, but I thought it might not be worth sharing due to its scarcity.

I had thought that Sagrantino was only grown in the small town of Montefalco in Umbria, Italy (with a mere 250 acres of vines dedicated to Sagrantino, mind you). That is until I recently came across an offering from Italian-centric winery Bennessere Vineyards in Napa that just so happens to produce a bottling from their tiny half-acre parcel of estate grown Sagrantino.

Intrigued, I ordered a bottle of Benessere’s Sagrantino and decided it was time I share my adoration for wine that introduced me to this interesting varietal: Tabarrini’s Sagrantino di Montefalco.

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Tribunal Wine Review | A Pour to Pass On?

Tribunal Wine Review North Coast Red Blend 2012 | Trader Joe’s Wine

Tribunal Wine

While I was at Trader Joe’s updating my Guide to Trader Joe’s Wine with new additions and updated pricing I decided it was time to pick up a few more bottles to put to the test. When I am there I always make it a point to ask a staff member what they believe the best wine values are and whether or not they have actually had the opportunity to taste them.

Chief amongst those recommendations was today’s subject: The Tribunal Wine North Coast Red Blend 2012. The enthusiastic associate described it as an unusual blend of several varietals resulting in a rich and surprisingly complex wine considering it’s sub $10 price point. Intrigued, I decided to investigate…

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Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc | Don’t Overpay! | Costco Wine

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc | Don’t Overpay! | Costco Wine Review

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Kicking off International Sauvignon Blanc Day with Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc

Well it’s finally Friday and it’s finally warming up after the dreadful Winter we’ve painfully endured here in the Northeast. As if that alone isn’t enough reason to celebrate consider that today, April 24th 2015, also happens to be the 6th annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day! So if your weekend plans didn’t already include some alfresco Sauvignon Blanc sipping, they pretty much have to now, capiche?

How It Came About | International Sauvignon Blanc Day

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Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage 2013 Reviewed

Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage 2013 | Costco Wine

Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage

The Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is one of the most popular offerings in the Kirkland Signature Wine Program, having developed it’s own sort of ‘cult following’. It has almost always over-delivered in a big way complete with Napa flair and real ‘Rutherford dust’ character. It also routinely sells out in a flash. Then you’re waiting another entire year to spot this little gem again, if you’re lucky that is.

The 2011 vintage of the Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage was slightly disappointing to me (it was a pretty challenging vintage) and I never even spotted the 2012, but today Costco had the 2013 in stock! While the price has gone up a few dollars (from $10.99 to $13.89), the 2013 vintage was a knockout for Napa Valley and I can’t wait to see if the 2013 Kirkland Signature Rutherford Meritage is as well.

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Epicuro Nero D’Avola Review | Sicily’s Answer to Malbec?

Epicuro Nero D’Avola Review | Sicily’s Answer to Malbec?

Nero D'Avola

When looking for a bottle of wine, do you seek out something that’s rich in dark fruit yet has soft tannins and a smooth mouthfeel? If so then you’re probably a fan of Argentinian Malbec, but have you tried Nero D’Avola?

Otherwise known as “The Black Grape of Avola” (a small town in Southeast Sicily), it’s quite similar in style to an Argentinian Malbec and just so happens to be Sicily’s most popular and widely planted grape.

Plus, many fine examples can be found under $12. But just how good can Nero D’Avola be at half that price? Today I’m investigating a possible find in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section: The $6 Epicuro Nero D’Avola 2013.

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Bordeaux Wine | The Keys to Unlocking Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux Wine | The Keys to Unlocking Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux Wine

What is Bordeaux Wine?

The name Bordeaux actually refers to the wine producing region, not actually the varietal of wine. Bordeaux is a port city located along the Gironde River in Southwestern France. It is actually considered the major wine industry Capital of the world!

Bordeaux wine is actually almost always a blend of these noble varietals:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Petit Verdot
  • Malbec
  • Carmenere (not very common, though)

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