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Good Vineyards, Good Wines in Tough Times?

December 28, 2010



There are many good ‘cheap’ wines in the Market these days and not just from Napa Valley or across the Big Pond. Washington State, South America, NZ and Aussie wines are all appealing to these tough economic times with whites, reds, rose and sparkling varieties … and at a good price.

Here’s a great idea from “this guy I know” to educate yourself and your friends. Have a wine tasting happy hour. Invite a group of 6-8 friends, preselect the wine to compare… you could try a domestic or imported Riesling; I hear the Pacific Rim has some really great Riesling blends [domestic and imported grapes]. Everyone bring a different bottle or vineyard say for $10. But make sure there aren’t any doubles; as the host you can track this by asking your guests.

It doesn’t have to be fancy at all. Set up some bottled water, small clear plastic cups, Block of cheese, maybe some crackers. Open each bottle and pour 2 ozs per guest for each wine… do two runs, only taking 1 oz each time. After you try all the wines, talk about them, the taste, mouthfeel, aroma… take notes or not. But in the end you only spent 10 bucks trying 8 different wines. Then pick a new host and different wine for the next time.  Hopefully you will come away with new wines and good times with good friends.

Then head out to dinner… because the people who work in restaurants also need to make some cash during this economic ‘down turn’.

To stimulate a little dialogue… tell me about your favorite wine for $10 or even $15.

Lets get educated about wine!

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7 Responses to “Good Vineyards, Good Wines in Tough Times?”

  1. John Says:

    Red Guitar – Tempranillo
    “Red Guitar is a tribute to the incredible Spanish lifestyle,” says Nick Withers, Brand Manager for Red Guitar. “It captures the vibrant soul of Spain, as exemplified in such great modern artists and musicians as Picasso, Miro and Andres Segovia. The Spanish are credited with inventing what we now know as the modern guitar back in the 16th century.”

  2. Carolyn Says:

    I love Barefoot Chardonnay! No surprise it is a Gallo wine. It features peach, apple and some vanilla flavors. Its not too dry and not too sweet.
    And a great wine to have on hand.

  3. Melody Says:

    I really like Spellbound – Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s my favorite type of red wine, but I was recently introduced to Spellbound. It’s not sweet by any means, but it doesn’t have that harsh bitter taste that the cheap red wines sometimes have.

  4. admin0 Says:

    Ive heard of this Cab, Spellbound… it is produced by “Folio Fine Wines” a company own by none other than Robert Mondavi Jr. Folio Fine Wines was created after the sale of Robert Mondavi Winery in 2004.
    “The wine, a dark ruby color with a deep purple center, immediately delivers a snootful of dusty plums and black currents permeated by lavender and licorice, cloves and sandalwood”… retails at $15.
    I have always loved Mondavi Wines, good choice Mel!

  5. Carolyn Says:

    I also like Robert Mondavi wine – and have visited their winey in CA. That is a good choice and also a really nice winery to visit.

  6. Ry Says:

    Where to start?

    Here’s some in the $10-15 range

    McManis Cabernet Sauvignon – This California Cab comes from the valley between San Joaquin & Stanislaus Rivers. It is a deep garnet colored Cabernet with aromas and flavors of fresh berry with a medium-bodied wine with a smooth finish.

    J Lohr Cabernet Sauvgnon – J Lohe Vineyards have three vineyard locations: Paso Robles, Monterey and Napa Valley, California. At the nose notes dark cherry, black currant with hints of spicy cedar, vanilla. On the palate flavors of fruit with full-body and well balanced.

    Lolonis “Ladybug Red” (named after the ladybugs used instead of pesticides) – This Redwood Valley, California wine has a blackberry and raspberry bouquet with hints of plum, cherry. The flavors of these many fruits along with lightly toasted oak and spices make this a complex wine.

    Louis Jadot Beaujalais – This French wine is dark reddish in color having fruit-filled aromas with a touch of violets. Flavors of ripe raspberries and strawberries, with earthy notes of mushrooms and clove spice… a very classic Beaujolais.

    Blackstone Merlot – A Sonoma Valley California Merlot has a flavor profile of ripe plums and blackberries with a hint of vanilla.

    Torbreck “Juveniles” – This vineyard is located in the Barossa Valley, southern Australia. At the nose a damp earth, leather aroma and on the palate flavors of spicy cranberry, raspberry, and black cherry. An unoaked wine has depth and a long finish.

    Goats Do Roam – This South African wine label is the largest to sell in the US. The range of wines are mostly reds, a few selected whites and a rose. The grapes are selected based on the basis of inherent fruit quality and flavor. The style is modern, fruit-rich, with the use of wood for either fermentation and/or maturation in small French and American oak barrels.

    Wishing Tree Shiraz -Syrah or Shiraz is a dark-skinned variety of grapes used to produce powerful red wines. This Australian wine has a blend of red and black fruit characters, rich spices and black pepper notes. Look for a big Oak Tree on the label.

    Conquista Malbec – Inspired by the Spanish Conquistas who brought their vines to Argentina, this Malbec comes from the dry foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina. At the nose a pleasant blend of ripe berries and leather. On the palate berries, plums with oak notes with a medium-body wine.

    Chalone Pinot Noir Monterey Harvest – This wine’s grapes are grown on the coastal foothill regions of the Salinas Valley, California. aromas and flavors of tart black cherries, raspberries with hints of clove and nutmeg with a full-body wine.

    Echelon Pinot Noir – Another Salinas Valley Vineyard which provides optimum conditions for Pinot Noir. This wine has an intense ruby color with aromas and flavors of cherries, strawberries, cloves and rose petals with sweet oak notes that lingers. This wine is a light-bodied wine with no lingering after taste.

    Concannon Petite Syrah – A San Francisco Bay area Winery, Concannon was the first Livermore Winery that still survives today. This Petite Syrah starts at the nose with hints of vanilla, berry and cedar. On your palate dark berry flavors and spice notes and then an earthy taste, mocha and some espresso notes with a medium-body. It is recommended to decant this wine.

    Bogle Petite Syrah – The Bogle Vineyard is located in a small farming community nestled along the Sacramento River in Clarksburg, California. At the nose aromas of chocolate, tobacco and violets with toasty oak. Powerful fruit flavors of plum and boysenberrywith a medium-body and a soft finish.

    Ravenswood Vineyard (I like the Zin) – Ravenswood Winery in Sonoma, California is famous for a commitment to quality wines. Their Zinfandel features aromas and flavors of cherry and raspberry with vanilla bean, some spices like cinnamon, allspice and black pepper with full-body.

    Cline Red Truck – Just north of the San Francisco bay, the Cline Cellars is one of the first wineries on Hwy 121 at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley Wine Country. At the nose lots of blueberries, on the palate look for chocolate, cherries and a hint of licorice, mint and black pepper. This is a medium-body wine.

    Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc – Oyster Bay Vineyard is located in the heart of Marlborough, New Zealand, one of the world’s most recognized wine-growing regions. This wine is pale in color. At the nose aromas of grapefruit, oregano and curry powder, on the palate delicate soft citrus flavors with a light-body.

    Giesen Sauvignon Blanc – The vineyards of the Geisen Wine Estate is south of Christchurch and in Marlborough, New Zealand. This Sauvignon Blanc has grassy aroma at the nose and very light with fruit notes of nectarine and plum.

    Morgan Sauvignon Blanc – A Monteray California Vineyard this wine at the nose a light floral aroma with sweet grassy undertones. On the palate flavors of green apples, citrus, and that are characteristic of Sauvignon Blancs. It is a medium-body wine with oak aging that adds to the elegant texture.

    Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio -Surrounded on three sides by the Alps Piedmont, Italy is the home to Mezzacorona Vineyards. Green apple and pineapple are the first aromas at your nose. Then flavors of hazelnut, other nutty notes and tropical fruit. This wine is well balanced, especially for such an inexpensive wine.

    Steele Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc – Steele Vineyard is located in Santa Barbara, California. This maritime desert climate provides just the right combination of tropical and apple notes. Pinot Blanc is a good alternate to Chardonnay. The fruit from the coastal & lower elevation area tends to produce tropical fruits, along with green apple, peach and melon aromas and flavors.

    Chateau St. Michelle Riesling – This winery is located east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington’s Columbia Valley and Horse Heaven Hills. If you are a fan of Chateau St. Michelle this wine will not disappoint you. This wine is light with nectar and honeydew aromas at the nose. On the palate flavors of citrus, honeysuckle and simple syrup are noted with a clean snap.

    Crios Torrentes – Crios Torrontes comes from Salta, Northern Argentina, grown on the slopes of the Andes at 5,000 ft. elevation. Crios is Pale straw color, flowers, peach and honey at the nose. On the palate this wine has strong pear, apricot flavors and then a long clean finish of green apple. This wine has a light to medium-body.

    Let’s start with those… I could go on all night.

  7. Jess Says:

    Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile! 10 bucks – Chile’s oldest wine estates owned by one of the foremost families in the wine world: the Rothschild family. This Cab is a deep semi-opaque plum-red in color. On the nose, you can sense aromas of black cherries, loganberries and soft sweet currants, followed by licorice-laced plums, hint of oak, spices and earth-driven minerals. On the palate, this wine is full flavored of spiced black currant… true to the Cabernet wine with a full-body and a long finish that lingers.

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