Category Archives: Under $30

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Review | Top Costco Wines

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Review | Top Costco Wines

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Goodbye Winter, hello Spring! The first day of March was sun-drenched and 65 degrees here in the nation’s capital, so I seized the opportunity to thaw out with a wholly therapeutic run along the waterfront in beautiful historic Georgetown. As someone who strongly dislikes the cold and loves the outdoors, you could say I have a case of Spring fever!

With the days getting longer and temperatures steadily increasing, I know many of you will be heading to your local Costco Wine Section to stock up on crisp white wines like the popular Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, which is surprisingly now even available by the glass at many Starbucks locations. Having not tried it yet myself, I thought it might be appropriate to finally give the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc a shot.

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Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon | Embracing Sustainability

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon | Embracing Sustainability

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon

In the late 1980’s, Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon became the first ‘premium’ wine to be exported from Chile. It was a runaway success for Montes, and despite being one of the more expensive Chilean wines in the marketplace it now sees distribution in over 100 countries.

A vanguard in the nascent stages of the Chilean wine industry, Montes was determined to lead the way for the world to one day associate Chilean wines with quality. Fast Forward twenty years, and they are attempting to raise the bar for Chilean wines again – this time by focusing their efforts to incorporate sustainability measures into their winemaking practices.

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Terrenal Seleccionado | A Kosher Trader Joe’s Find?

Terrenal Seleccionado | A Kosher Trader Joe’s Wine Find?

Terrenal Seleccionado

The Trader Joe’s Wine Section has developed a loyal, cult-like following for its eclectic, value-oriented selections. Not surprisingly, while picking up this bottle of 2014 Terrenal Seleccionado, I overheard an excited customer remark “Wow, this is great! These wines are so cheap!” Your first time is always exciting.

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Looking to Oregon for Quality Sub $30 Pinot Noir

Looking to Oregon for Quality Pinot Noir Under $30 | Finding The Best Oregon Pinot Noir

Best Oregon Pinot Noir

Perhaps no other varietal can be as rewarding and challenging at the same time as Pinot Noir. Fans of the fickle grape are intimately aware that when it’s bad, it can be thin, lifeless and devoid of character. But when it’s good, it can be downright transcendental.

But transcendental is expensive. For example, a bottle of recently-released Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru Burgundy will set you back nearly $2000, with prized vintages fetching considerably more. For that kind of money, shouldn’t it do more than just move you?!

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Banfi Centine Rosso | Super Tuscan at a Super Price?

Banfi Centine Rosso | Super Tuscan at a Super Price?

Banfi Centine

When I hear the term “Super Tuscan”, a flurry of vaunted, high-priced names like Tignanello and Sassicaia immediately come to mind . These wines were responsible for creating and defining the genre, and with such celebrated reputations they fetch consistently high prices. But not all Super Tuscan’s are expensive. Take the Banfi Centine Rosso for example, widely available at under $12.

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Regusci Winery Merlot | Best Merlot Under $20?

Regusci Winery Stags Leap District Merlot Review | Best Merlot Under $20?

Regusci Winery

The 2011 growing season in Napa yielded a bounty of challenges for grape growers and winemakers alike. The cold and wet conditions made it tough to achieve full ripeness, and significant portions of the crop were lost to mold and rot.

Only making matters worse? The resulting widespread consumer perception that all of the 2011 wines out of Napa are awful. While there are quite a few poor wines, many good to excellent wines were made in 2011.

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Kirkland Signature Reserva Rioja | A $7 Costco Rioja?

Kirkland Signature Reserva Rioja | A $7 Costco Rioja?

Costco Rioja

I’ve been Shopping for Wine at Costco for years now, and by now I’ve enjoyed more than few examples of Costco’s own private-label Kirkland Signature wines. While not always home-runs, more often than not they are compelling values – much like many of the under-priced wines coming out of Spain at the moment.

Spanish wines are often my go-to when I want something interesting, with a true sense of place, at an affordable price point. So imaging my excitement when I see two of my reliable go-to’s combined in one bottle: Costco Rioja, and a Reserva level at under $7 no less!

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Sara Bee Moscato | Sweet Wine at a Sweet Price?

Sara Bee Moscato | Kosher Moscato Wine – Trader Joe’s Wine

Sara Bee Moscato

I have received quite a few e-mails for Kosher wine recommendations lately, so I will make an effort to include a few more Kosher wine reviews when possible. Taking into consideration the surging popularity of Moscato wine at the moment, I thought it might make sense to try out an affordable Kosher Moscato wine option. Meeting both requirements is the Sara Bee Moscato, economically priced at just under $6 in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section.

At 5.5% ABV, I fully expect that the Sara Bee Moscato will fall on the sweeter side of the spectrum (during fermentation, yeasts convert alcohol to sugar, so a higher alcohol rating translates to lower sugar levels). While sweet wines aren’t exactly my cup of tea, my goal is to help readers determine if this is indeed a Moscato Kosher wine bargain or one to avoid altogether.

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Castello di Amorosa | Wines as Impressive as the Tour?

Castello di Amorosa | Wines as Impressive as the Tour?

Castello di Amorosa

A visit to Castello di Amorosa, or “The Castle” as it is often referred, is a must when visiting Napa Valley. Sure, it’s can be crowded and quite touristy, but it’s nothing short of spectacular to tour this sprawling, 121,000 square foot, 13th century era medieval Tuscan-inspired architectural masterpiece crafted from handmade materials, many of which were actually imported from Italy.

But what about the quality of the wines Castello di Amorosa produces? Today I’m on a mission to determine whether Castello di Amorosa’s wines are as medieval as the towering castle in which they’re made! You can check out more from my previous visit to Castello di Amorosa here.

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Apothic Dark Versus the Popular Apothic Red

Apothic Dark Red Blend | How Does it Compare to the Apothic Red?

apothic dark

My recent review of the immensely popular Apothic Red Blend was met with an interesting response. On one side, many readers reacted positively and remarked that it was one of their favorite inexpensive red blends on the market. On the other hand, several readers commented that the Apothic Red was more of a ‘wine cocktail’ loaded with residual sugar and tainted with wine additives.

While I can’t speak to the issue of wine additives in either the Apothic Red or Apothic Dark wines, I completely agree that the Apothic Red tastes somewhat confected and like a ‘wine cocktail’ to a degree. I wrote that it tasted more like a wine that was made in a laboratory than a vineyard, but that its uncomplicated and approachable sweet, ripe fruit flavors would be quite popular amongst many consumers.

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