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"De gustibus non est disputandum."

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28th October 2007

bubblesmccoy4:46pm: The Wine Witch
Hello all. I just discovered this community, and have just joined. Actually I joined as soon as I saw what the premise was and that this was not just another wine snob site.

I, too, am a wine lover on a budget and for the past couple of months have been helping my stepmother Suzie start a wine blog that focuses on finding, inexpensive but good quality wines.
It's called The Wine Witch.

I love it so far (and hope you will too.) Anyway glad to join this community and I look forward to reading more wine posts.

18th July 2007

iminurcommz11:41pm: Basil and wine
Hello all. I've just recently begun to appreciate the art of wine drinking and am now beginning the unusually delightful education process - much more fun than math or Spanish. But I'm still very much a novice, and am currently seeking some specific recommendations for a wine to bring to (impress) a date this weekend. :) That's where you folks come in - can you help me?

Here's the context: we're staying in and are making a basil-themed meal (his plant needs harvesting) - homemade pesto over gnocchi and a basil/eggplant/onion/lemon juice cold salad (no meat dish; we are vegetarians). I generally prefer red wines, but it's hot in the city these days and this is a pretty summery meal, so white it is. I'm thinking a pinot gris or chardonnay would be good, but from what I've learned a good chardonnay is hard to come by (I've never gone looking for one before). Can you tell me your favorites of either of those varieties, or, better yet, ones that you think would specifically compliment our very basily meal? (I'm looking to spend around $20-30.)

Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

23rd March 2007

sekhmets_song7:39pm: Last night I made cannelloni with homemade pasta. With it we served a Barton & Guestier Medoc (1997). It's the best bottle of red we've had in recent memory. It was perfect with the cheeses and marinara sauce: Not too acidic, velvety. Nicely fruity, except no sweetness. Stencil described it as reminiscent of pomegranates. The bottle describes it as "forresty" in flavor. That is a perfect description.
Sadly, it has been on the shelf for awhile, so I don't remember what we paid for it. I am pretty sure we picked it up at Costco. And we are cheap, so we wouldn't have paid anything over $20 for the bottle. If you should see this one, definitely, give it a try!

15th August 2006

aomouse2:11pm: Recommendation
My choice for the best Pinot Noir for <$10 is Chalone Vineyard, Monterey County, 2005

15th September 2005

aomouse7:02pm: Bogle chardonnay
chardonnay

My current favorite inexpensive chardonnay.

The back label gives no help. I found it to be pineappley aromatic with oaky aftertaste. Give it a try.

21st August 2005

skellykitten12:23am: I had a Rock Rabbit Syrah with my delicious dinner and Cheese plate tonight. I think it was one of the best Syrahs I've had in a long time.
It was smooth, deep red, and beautifully clear. Not acidic at all, which I like.MMMMmmmm.

14th June 2005

katyageisenhoff11:02am: anyone else love Franzia Boxed Wine??

31st May 2005

aomouse9:35am: Subtitle proposal
Can a LJ-community have a subtitle? If so, I propose:

"De gustibus non est disputandum" - Latin: "About taste there is no argument"

Or would that be too off-putting?

27th May 2005

skellykitten12:30am: I split a bottle of Meridian Cabernet tonight.
Mmmm.
I didn't even spit any out. It was quite smooth.

26th May 2005

skellykitten2:12pm: At Trader Joes the other day I was looking in the tiny little Syrah section, and saw a Syrah Rose. It intrigued me. I bought it. I took it home. I cooked dinner. I opened the bottle. I poure a glass. I took a drink. I spit it out.
Yuck, in a lot of different ways.
It was Fetzer Syrah Rose. I can't get the dumb accent marks to work, so you porbably already know I'm trying to spell Rose-ay.
Anyway, you've been warned- it takes alot to make me spit out booze.

15th April 2005

aomouse9:47am: Cheap cabs
Last night our friends hosted. We arrived to find a line of six cheap cabs:

Seacliff California Cabernet 2001 $6.99
[yellow tail] Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) 2004 $5.99
Atacama Cabernet Sauvugnon (Chile) 2003 $5.99
Fetzer Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) 2002 $6.99
Rex Goliath California Cabernet (NV) $7.99
Ravenswood Vintner's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 $7.99

Impressions: All were very drinkable reds. As a house red in a restaurant, I'd be happy with any of them However, none of them showed much varietal character. In fact, my pick of the lot, the Rex Goliath, tasted like a Merlot to me. The guys preferred the more full-bodied which, besides the RexG, included the Atacama and [yellow tail]. The Fetzer was the least-liked.

Conclusion: If you want Cabernet Sauvignon, you'll have to look further than these and probably spend more than $8 too.

8th April 2005

aomouse8:21am: Smugness 101

We had one of our blind tastings last night. We get together with another couple whom we have known (and shared dinner and wine with) for over 25 years, open a few bottles and start the conversation at local politics and proceed to Bush and religion as the alcohol takes effect.

We tasted 3 chardonnays, priced at $26, $13, and $6 that I had selected from my personal list of favorites.
As I said, this was a blind tasting - for the other three tasters - I poured in the kitchen and served in the living room. I served the wines in ascending order of cost. Again, the order was known only to me.

After trying all three, we took a vote. The $6 wine won unanimously!

Here's what they were:

Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2002, $26.50 Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator. Described here.

West Slope Chardonnay 2002, $13. Also rated 91 pts by Wine Spectator. Described here.

[yellow tail] Chardonnay, 2003 $5.99. No reviewer points found by Google search. Described here.

Note: the length and tone of the descriptions match the price tags more closely than the relative quality of the wines.

Conclusion: We four can order [yellow tail] confidently, and smile all the way to the... dessert.

28th March 2005

profane_stencil10:57pm: Big Daddy Vineyards Syrah- March 2002 (Argentina)
A terrific buy at $8. Leathery nose. Smooth and fruity with a thick, long finish. For my taste, it was a touch too syrupy on its own, but it went perfectly with our Italian-styled dinner. If you like a hearty wine without a strong alcohol note, consider it highly recommended.

12th March 2005

skellykitten9:23pm: I had a Cab tonight with dinner, Woodsbridge by Robert Mondavi ( not a great selection at the restaraunt we ate at) and I wouldn't recomend it. It had a very acidic after taste.

4th March 2005

aomouse5:30pm: Gallo merlot is as good as any I have tasted so far
As I have reported here and in my own LJ, I have been tasting the merlots on the current market. I haven't tasted many of them in the past. If I wanted that taste I would ordinarily take a cabernet. So I have tasted about a half dozen different, ranging in price from $3.99 to $29.99 per bottle. Today I am tasting Gallo Sonoma merlot, 2002 and, as the subject line says, it's as good as any of them in my opinion.

Since merlot is currently so popular, I order it in strange places that I suspect don't sell much wine. In such a case, I figure its the most likely full-bodied red that hasn't been sitting around in a half-empty bottle for a few days.

The tastings continue.

23rd February 2005

leopards_spots10:58pm: My favorite wines are pretty much all red. I like Yellowtail Chardonnay but don't have a taste for the other whites. I like mainly the Southeastern Austrailian ones:

~ Yellowtail
~ Little Penguin
~ Jindale
~ Black Swan
~ Little Boomie
~ Jackaroo

From California:
~ Barefoot (except didn't care much for the Syrah)
~ Papio

There's also a red (Italian I believe) called Papa Joe's that is pretty good.

Out of all my favorite is probably the Yellowtail Shiraz-Cab mix (purple label).
Current Mood: content
sekhmets_song9:12pm: Buyer beware
Another marginal wine to report, alas. We got a bottle of Zarafa Sauvingon Blanc (2004) from Trader Joe's ($5) the other night. We started with a cheese and fruit appetizer. The wine has a lovely nose (citrus, very fresh, nice). The taste was light. Very light. Way too light. It was like drinking wine-flavored water. Smooth start, light finish. There was no middle note. Nothing. There was nothing objectionable to the taste, but there was enough there. Which eventually became objectionable. It's hard to feel like you were ripped off when you had only paid $5 for a bottle, but, well, it should taste like something. We nearly abandoned the bottle, but decided to give it another shot, with the entree os fish. It actually improved the wine a great eal. I think if we had started the bottle with the main course, it would be getting a much higher review, here. I can't explain it, but somehow, the heavily seasoned fish actually filled in the missing middle note of the wine. Problem is that, when we had finished the fish and were lingering over the last glass, the wine went back to tasting like nothing again. Oh well. Save your $5.
Current Mood: I should taste something, here

20th February 2005

aomouse5:50am: My Favorite Inexpensive wines

White
:
Red:

Favorite Inexpensive wine stores: Wine Discount Center, World Market

27th January 2005

sekhmets_song9:18pm: Yeah, so we got drunk at lunch. What of it?
And there is nothing about this label that would make you think this was a good wine. Heck, I can't even figure out what caused p_s to bring the bottle home from Meijer. Being on sale for $6 bucks a bottle may have helped. But the scottish redneck on the bottle just doesn't inspire confidence, you know.
Neither did the fact that the wine was a Malbec (2002), a varietal with which I am completely unfamiliar. And that the bottle describes the wine as having a sweet taste really had me thinking the wine wouldn't be the best I've ever had.
So that is why we had it at lunch. I figured, if it sucked bathwater we just wouldn't drink that much.
But, well expectations were exceeded. Completely. That big scottish red neck guy makes a damned fine wine. The bottle describes it as having a "full yet soft flavor" (that is very true, especially when it had a chance to breathe) with a "sweet madiera taste." While the wine is full of fruit flavors, it is not sweet. In fact, upon opening, it could almost be described as dusty. Once it breathed, it shook off the coat of dust to reveal a complex, smooth flavor, heavy on the oaks, with just a hint of spice in the mix. Lovely.
We paired it with meatless meatballs with provolone and marinara on ciabatta. Very lovely.
And proceeded to pretty much drain the bottle.
Yummy.
A great way to spend the afternoon, if you don't have anywhere in particular to be!

12th January 2005

profane_stencil12:59am: If you like California wine...
...you'll probably love the San Andres 2004 chardonnay, from Chile, which we got at Trader Joe's for under five dollars. "Marked by superbly concentrated, simple, floral flavors that ride smoothly to a polished finish." I thought it was so smooth as to be boring- it very much reminded me of a ten-to-fifteen dollar California chardonnay. If that sounds good to you, give it a try.

11th January 2005

sekhmets_song11:33pm: Long Neck
We had a bottle of Long Neck Chardonnay (2004) with dinner tonight. Picked it up at Meijer, for about $6, I think (look for the giraffe on the bottle. Get it? Long Neck, giraffe? Har). It lacked a nice finish, when drunk entirely on its own, but hugely improved with the cheese course (I think that was when it was at its best. Both the cheeses and the chardonnay were improved by the association) and was very pleasant with the Chilean Sea Bass entree.
Long Neck is a "wine of the western cape," South Africa. I think this is the first South African wine I have had, and I am fairly impressed. I like more aggressive wines than tend to be produced in California and France; this one was right up my alley. The flavor was fairly bright, but well balanced. Alone, as I mentioned, it just lacked much of a finish, but when paired with fairly light foods, that wasn't a problem. I have to say, it had the nicest nose I've found in a white wine, recently.
Overall, very good.
Current Mood: pleased

29th December 2004

keph11:03am: If you are looking for an inexpensive champagne or sparkling wine, look for Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blancs. Should be pretty widely available for about $10. it is a very good chardonnay based sparkler and much better than the usual fare at the price (Korbel).

27th December 2004

sekhmets_song12:40am: Vinho Verde
I thought I had posted about this one before, but I couldn't find it, so maybe I haven't.
We had another bottle of Vinho Verde (2004) from Espiral. At $3.99, I wouldn't expect much, but this is actually a great wine. It is a very light, crisp medium dry white wine and pairs very well with the fish we had tonight for dinner. I had a bit left over when I had my dessert of mango ice cream and the two went together smashingly. Makes me think it would be a divine wine with which to enjoy a summer fresh fruit salad. Alas, we will have to wait until it gets to be less arctic around here to find out!
The bottle doesn't say what the varieties of the blend are, other than that they are native grape varieties of the Vinho Verde region of northern Potugal.

25th December 2004

sekhmets_song12:20am: If you like them dry...
We picked up a fantastic bottle of wine at Trader Joe's, today: Abrazo Del Toro 1999 Reserva for $4.99. It is a blend of grapes that I am not familiar with, Granacha and Tempranillo. But, if you like dry reds, this one is superb. The bottle describes it as a delicious and velvety wine, soft and dry. Rich with flavours of black cherries, dark chocolate, and raspberries. I didn't taste the raspberries, but the rest of the description is very accurate.
We had it with p_s's eggplant parmigiana and it was a nice compliment. I think, though, that it would have gone better with less subtly-herbed fare. It is aggressive (albeit in a smooth and velvety way) and complex enough that it almost became too involved next to such complex food. I could see this going really well with a steak or a gourmet hamburger. Of course, we eat neither of those things. But it would be great next to a pizza. And I mean that not to suggest that it is some throw-away cheap wine; more that it would elevate those foods to a much classier meal, without being too dazzling to the tastebuds.
We finished our meal with a dessert of dark chocolates. Let me tell you the wine and the chocolates made each other better exponentially.
When p_s and I open a bottle of red with dinner, we rarely finish it. Tonight, we lingered at the table long after the food was gone, just to keep enjoying the rest of the wine.
This is one we will be picking up again!
Current Mood: sublime

23rd December 2004

sekhmets_song12:23am: Crane Lake, part II
So, we got the Crane Lake chardonnay (2003), like I said we would. It was very drinkable. Not nearly as interesting asz the cabernet, but not a bad wine. If you have a largish holiday gathering, where you don't need to knock anybody's socks off, but would rather not serve wine-by-the-box, this one would do very well. But I don't think we will go out of our way for it.
BTW, it's being carried, in the Metro Detroit area, at Oakridge markets, at the 3 for $9 price.
Current Mood: calm
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