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The CheapWineFinder Podcast
8 minutes | a day ago
Don't Mind If I Do Pinot Noir 2019 - ALDI Lo-Cal Low Alcohol No Sugar Wine
Don't Mind If I Do Pinot Noir 2019 - ALDI Lo-Cal Low Alcohol No Sugar Wine.A $7.99, 85 calories, 9% alcohol, no sugar wine from Aldi.Does it taste like diet wine?Not really; if you did not know the alcohol was lower and the sugar was missing, you probably could not tell.The greatest wine ever? Well, no, it is a $7.99 Pinot Noir. That is asking way too much.Is it a wine worth seeking out and drinking?YES!
6 minutes | 4 days ago
19 Crimes Snoop Cali Rosé 2020- The Perfect Mom's Day Wine..No Really
Snoop Dogg wine? It's got to be a gimmick.Wrong.It has 10.5% alcohol; the typical California Rosé is 12.5% to 13.5%.This is old school Rosé, the kind you sip while sitting at a cafe on a plaza while watching the world walk by.Maybe a little more nectar sweet than the old school French stuff, but are not in France.Plus, The Chronic with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg is from 1992, almost 30 years ago.Your Mom probably knows the words to gangster Rap songs.Check out www.cheapwinefinder.com for all the details.
7 minutes | 6 days ago
Trader Joe's Blanc de Blancs Brut - Mothers Day Mimosa
French Bubbly that sells for $5.99 should not be a thing.But it is.And it tastes great and is well-made.You want to work on your Champagne Cocktail skills; this is the Bubbly to choose.Plus, it drinks wonderfully on a Tuesday or any other day. Mother's Day Mimosa's, this is your Bubbly.check out www.cheapwinefinder.com for all the details
6 minutes | 8 days ago
Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Baseball, apple pie, and wine?Well, sure, at Wrigley Feild, home of the Chicago Cubs, Terlato Wines have an array of excellent wines for the fans to enjoy.You can get a carafe of the Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 4 glasses of wine, for about the same price as 4 decent beers.Or you can watch your favorite team at home on TV and pour a nice glass of the Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.Baseball and wine are the new directions.
6 minutes | 11 days ago
Don't Mind If I Do Sauvignon Blanc 2020 -ALDI low-calorie no sugar wine
No sugar, no fat, low carbs, 9% alcohol usually means the wine will taste like something is missing—usually flavor and mouthfeel.But not with is $7.99 ALDI Sauv Blanc from California.It isn't big and bold, more leaner and balanced. But the flavor is still there.The winery that possibly produced this Sauvignon Blanc also makes a bottle of wine with similar details under one of their own brands.Check out www.cheapwinefinder.com for all the details.
6 minutes | 13 days ago
Los Vascos Chardonnay 2020
Barons Domaines de Rothschild (Lafite) sure sounds expensive, but the Los Vascos Chardonnay 2020 sells for $10 or less.It is an estate wine from their project in the Colchagua Valley in Chile.No oak barrels, no malolactic fermentation, just on lees aging.Is that enough to make this Chardonnay taste great?Oh yeah! This is one of those better buy-a-case wines.Check out www. cheapwinefinder.com for all the details
6 minutes | 15 days ago
Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
The Attack of the Clones!!!Not so fast.A grape clone is a grapevine that exhibits excellent characteristics and is grafted onto rootstock to create enough vines to be categorized and indexed.Most wine grape vines today are some type of clone.The Noble Vine 337 Cabernet Sauvignon is a Lodi wine made from a Bordeaux clone. The 337 clone, go figure.Yes, clones are geeky, but they give you insight into the winemakers' thinking when choosing the grapes.So, you get a solid California Cabernet Sauvignon and a lesson in winemaking, all for a value price. I paid around $12.Check out the review on www.cheapwinefinder.com for all the details
6 minutes | 18 days ago
Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019
Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019This is a wine from Charlie Wagner, the son of Chuck Wagner from Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and the head of Wagner Family Wines.Joe Wagner, Charlie's younger brother, did Meiomi Pinot Noir before he sold it for a crazy amount of money.Jenny Wagner has a wine brand that specializes in Merlot.This is A Wine Family.Charlie Wagner is also the winemaker for Mer Soleil, which does Chardonnay wines.Mer Soleil is French for Sea Sun.The Sea Sun Pinot Noir is a new style of California Pinot Noir which Joe Wagner's Meiomi Pinot leads.I am a huge fan of old-school California Pinot Noir, but I really, really like the Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019. 2018 was the first vintage for this wine, but they got their act together in a hurry; this wine rocks!Check out www.cheapwinefinder.com for the review and all the details.
7 minutes | 20 days ago
Honey Moon Viognier 2019. Trader Joe's
Honey Moon Viognier 2019This is a $5.99 Trader Joe's wine.This wine tastes delicious.Should $5.99 wines be enjoyable?In Europe, folks drink wine with every meal, a $5.99 wine is a bit expensive.But wait a minute, only $40 wines can start to be good, according to the wine press.Maybe, just maybe, you should taste the wine first and then decide.Check out www.cheapwinefinder.com for all the details.
6 minutes | 23 days ago
Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020
The Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's Sparkling wine, but it is available at other retailers in different parts of the world. It sells at the Marks and Spencer store in London for the equivalent of 16 dollars US and at a similar price in wine shops in Ireland. A wine that is a store brand that sells for a meager price does not mean that it is a cheap wine. Sometimes, well, most of the time, store brands are bargains. The Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 is a vintage-dated Bubbly and a Rosé, a recent development for Prosecco. Prosecco was easy to define; it is a Sparkling wine made with Glera grapes grown in the Prosecco region using the Charmat Method. Rosé needs grapes with pink to red skin to get its color, and that usually means red grapes, but some White grapes such as Pinot Grigio can have enough color for Rosé. The worldwide popularity of Rosé caused some changes in with the wine authorities in Prosecco. A Rosé Prosecco is rated DOC and can include 10% to 15% Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). It can not be non-vintage; it needs to be vintage-dated. It is basically regular DOC Prosecco with Red wine blended in before bottling. The Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 is an Extra Dry Bubbly. Remember, with Sparkling wine, some of the sweetness ratings are backward. Extra Dry means slightly sweet, which is how most Italians prefer their Prosecco. Sparkling wine has enough acidity to balance the most sugary sweetness in the wine. The effect is more fruit-forward than sweet. A regular non-vintage Prosecco is a blend of several recent vintages to ensure a continuation of flavor from year to year. A Prosecco Rosé is Pinot Nero added to Prosecco grown in the same year, so these wines should see more fluctuation from vintage to vintage. The Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 is a $6.99 Sparkling wine in America, but a $16 Bubbly elsewhere. It is produced by a large Italian wine company that sells its wines under different labels in different countries worldwide. The alcohol content is a mild 11%. Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 Tasting Notes The color is Barbie Doll pink, with a slew of energetic bubbles. The nose is not unlike the typical Prosecco, a blast of sharp grapefruit and assorted citrus, but the Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 also adds black cherry hard candy and faint stone fruit. This is a crisp, clean Sparkling wine, and the addition of Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) adds rounded flavor and some extra structure. It tastes like a tasty and unexpected mix of lemon and cherry, sort of a cherry lemonade sensation but not sweet. Then there is grapefruit, lime, a salty and nutty flavor, soft spice, and dried strawberry bits. The acidity and the extra sugar balance each other. The acidity adds a brightness and shine to all the flavor. The Summary The Conte Priuli Prosecco Rosé 2020 is a tasty Bubbly.I like my Champagne with Pinot Noir added in, and it turns out that I like my Prosecco with a bit of Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir).Do not let the $6.99 price tag put you off. If you think it is too cheap, you can always fly to London and pay $16.
7 minutes | a month ago
William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018
The William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 is a $9.99 Aldi exclusive. It is exclusive to Aldi in the United States but a quick check of the internet saw this wine selling for $34 (Canadian) and for the equivalent of $25 in Denmark. I am not sure as to what to make of the price differences. Aldi typically holds the trademark on the wine labels they sell, but the William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 is one of Scheid Family Vineyards' family of wines. They offer photos of the bottle and label, along with technical notes. I have found their wines for sale under Trader Joe's and Aldi labels and have come to trust store brand wines from Monterey County AVA. Along with a few other Monterey producers, Scheid has found the key to making excellent wine at an attractive price. Monterey County AVA is an interesting location to farm grapevines. The Pacific Ocean near the Monterey shoreline is particularly deep and cold and the winds coming ashore have a start impact on the climate. The coastal mountains both shield the interior from the winds and funnel the cold air to other locals. Giving Monterey a wide variety of micro-climates that are suitable to the various grape varietals. The William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 uses open-top fermentation, which takes place in small vats. Winemakers strive to control contact with the air and bacteria with their wines, so open-top fermentation has its risks. It is a highly skilled way of producing Pinot Noir, and great care needs to be maintained to achieve the desired results. This fermentation type is labor-intensive and not the usual method used in producing ten-buck Pinot Noir; maybe Canada and Denmark know something we don't know. After the Pinot Noir exits the fermentation process, it is aged "on" French oak for 12 months. I never know what exactly aged "on" French oak means. Does it mean the wine was transferred to wine barrels, or does it mean something else? With the William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018, we have a $9.99 Pinot Noir from an excellent growing region that a skilled high-end winery produced. So far, so good, so onto the tasting portion. The alcohol content is 13.%. William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a pale, see-thru garnet red. In the age where popular brands on Pinot Noir are mixed with Petite Sirah and Syrah, it is excellent to see a Pinot Noir with "real-deal" Pinot Noir coloring. The nose is ripe cherry, along with those earthy, funky Pinot Noir scents that are only found with Pinot Noir wines. There are herbs, exotic spices, pepper, vanilla, grilled meat, a whiff of smoke, tea, and black cherry. The William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 is light to medium-bodied, sleek, with a firm texture. It tastes of slightly sour, ripe cherry, followed by stringent tea, faint dark chocolate, spice, and plum. The mid-palate adds a jolt of orange zest, rounded black cherry, dusty chocolate powder, faint sharp black pepper, and cranberry. Good Pinot Noir is not easy; it challenges you to find its charms. Too fruit-forward is not good; too obtuse is just as bad. The William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 makes you focus on what is happening with your palate, and that alone is worth $9.99. The Summary The William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 is a legit, old-school, California Pinot Noir that happens to sell in a budget-priced grocery store chain for $9.99. I guess Canada and Denmark did know what they were doing.There is a trend for full-bodied, untraditional Pinot Noir wines. They are hugely popular, and while they do taste good and are exceptionally easy to drink. That is not what I want from a Pinot Noir.I want may Pinot to slightly difficult and unique, and the William Wright Monterey Pinot Noir 2018 fits the bill.
6 minutes | a month ago
Apothic Red 2018
The Apothic Red 2018 is one of E & J Gallo's multitude of wine and spirits brands. Gallo was founded in 1933 and is the largest winery in the United States, and is still family-owned. They offer around 80 different wine brands, from Andre's Sparkling wines to single-vineyards high-end wines. Gallo also owns some of the best vineyards in California and routinely wins awards for vineyard management advances. I couldn't find tech notes for the Apothic Red 2018, but notes for the 2016 vintage are available, and the winemaking should be similar. They said Zinfandel leads the blend, then Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. I suspect the "led by" indicates that other red grapes can be added as needed depending on vintage conditions. I know some wine aficionados give Gallo wines a bad rap since Thunderbird, Bartles and James, and inexpensive jug wines are part of their history. But in my opinion, they are masters in creating quality, value-priced wine. The Apothic Red 2018 is available in just about every place that wine is sold. Gallo excels at producing quality wine in large quantities. The Apothic line of wine is a 101 level class in how oak influences the flavor of the wine. The oak flavors for the Apothic Red 2018 are vanilla and mocha. Adding exact oak flavor to wine is not easy; the species of oak matter, such as French or American oak. How the wood is cut makes a difference, I am unsure if the Apothic wines are aged in oak barrels or get the oak by other means. The technotes indicate that the Red blend is aged "on" oak. I have found that when the winery says the wine is aged "in" oak, that means oak barrels are used. "On" oak seems to mean that the winemaker added oak stave or oak chips to the stainless steel vats. An oak barrel gives about 300 bottles of wine, so that high-volume wines need a huge number of barrels. Value-priced wines that use oak as a flavor and not a part of long-term aging do not always have the budget for oak barrels. Maybe the Apothic wines use oak barrels, and maybe they don't; what is important in budget wines is how does it taste, does the oak influence seem real, does it fit the wine. The Apothic Red 2018 has a meticulous winemaking regime to ensure the extraction of flavor from the grapes. This is a rich, fruit-forward wine, but it is not a high alcohol wine. 13.5% alcohol is on the low end of California red wine, so they are getting the rich personality of the wine from extraction and not very ripe grapes. The Apothic wines are everywhere, to the point that I quit noticing them. We have featured wine from the Apothic line over the years, but Apothic Red 2011 is the last time the Red blend made our pages. I think we are past due in checking out what this trendy Red blend has to offer. Apothic Red 2018 Tasting Notes The color is a deep dark red with black highlights; the front label is an accurate representation of what is in the bottle. The nose is rich and dark; there are red berries, blackberries, ripe, but not too ripe, dusty chocolate, black pepper, oak spice, and toasty vanilla. The Apothic Red 2018 has a very smooth mouthfeel with mixed fruit flavors and interesting textures. It starts with a mix of extracted blackberry and sweet blueberry, followed by Starbucks mocha, a spice hit, and raspberry. The mid-palate brings creamy vanilla, dark chocolate, plum, and sweet cherry. The Apothic Red 2018 is a comfort wine, it has the flavors you want and none you do not want. The tannins are sweet and stay out of the way. The acidity is balanced and allows the flavors to unfold properly. The Summary The Apothic Red 2018 is a crowd-pleaser of wine at a very pleasing price. I found it on sale for $8.99.I think of this type of wine as a recipe wine, not a document of what happened in the vineyard that year, but a carefully crafted creation.Terrior driven high-priced wines seem to get all the press, but this is the sort of wine that regular people drink.
6 minutes | a month ago
Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019
The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is 87% Sauvignon Blanc and 13% Semillon. The Sauv Blanc sourced from the Hudson Vineyard, located on the Napa side of the Carneros AVA. The Semillion was taken from the Bavarian Lion Vineyard in the Knights Valley AVA of northeast Sonoma County. The Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend is inspired by the Bordeaux Blanc wines of France. Most modern Sauvignon Blanc wines, especially in the under $20 category, are modeled on the Sauv Blanc wines of the Loire Valley or New Zealand, crisp, bright wines. The Semillon softens and rounds off some of Sauvignon Blancs sharper flavors and changes the mouth-feel. This wine is titled "Dissonance" because Blackbird Vineyards specializes in Right Bank Bordeaux Red wines, and this White wine is the wine in their line-up that is different from the others. With a fun fact, Merlot's French slang word translates to "Blackbird," and that is where the name of the vineyard comes from. The grapes for the Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 come from two different climates. The Sauvignon Blanc from Carneros has a cool climate that the San Pablo Bay heavily influences. The Semillon from Knights Valley is located in one of the warmer growing areas in Sonoma, though it does have the cool to cold nighttime temps that grapevines crave. Most value-priced Sauvignon Blanc is produced as a young wine, meaning that basic winemaking techniques were used, and the wine is not meant for aging. The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019, while still young wine the winery suggests drinking by 2024, has unique and interesting production tools. The addition of Semillon sets it apart from most of the wee-priced Sauv Blancs, but the Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was aged "on lees" for 4 months. The lees are the dead, spent yeast and grape residue that falls to the bottom of the tank after fermentation. When stirred and the winemaker stirred the lees with this wine, they can add a creamy texture and a salty, slightly nutty flavor depending on how often it is stirred. The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was aged 30% new French oak; here is the cool part. Oak aging is rare in value Sauv Blanc, and the remaining 70% were aged in clay amphorae jugs. Just like the Romans and the Greeks used to store their wines thousands of years ago. Not only are we getting French oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc, but we are also experiencing wine in a very similar way that Plato and Julius Caesar would have known. The Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 lists for $20 (I found it for $17), and only 36 barrels (about 300 bottles to a barrel) were produced for the 2019 vintage. Each grape was farmed in a single high-end vineyard, and the winemaking includes details rarely seen at this price point. This is looking to be a fascinating wine. The alcohol content is 14.1%. Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Tasting Notes The color is a pale wheat yellow with maybe a slight green tint. This wine may be less filtered than the typical SAuv Blanc under $20. The nose is crisp and clean; there is melon, lemon, green apple, grapefruit, slightly grassy, with scents of pear and lime. Blackbird Vineyards Dissonance Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has a rounded mouthfeel, along with flavors that continue to unfold with each sip. It starts with lemon curd and tart grapefruit, followed by lime, Anjou pear, a faint mineral taste, and spice. The mid-palate adds a salty sensation, apricot, ripe peach, and guava. The flavors are bright but balanced. There are no sharp peaks like the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Even though this Sauvignon Blanc is produced with Bordeaux in mind, I am tasting a very California wine. There is a ripe freshness to the flavors that is very attractive. The Summary If you are into Sauvignon Blanc,
6 minutes | a month ago
Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018
The Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 is a $7.99 Trader Joe's wine made for them by Riboli Family Wines, who have been producing wine since 1917 and have been in Paso Robles since the early 2000s. The typical Trader Joe's wine conceals the producer, but the winery name and the winemakers' name are on the label. Riboli Family Wines has a pretty good webpage, but the Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 is not among the wines listed. This is the 2018 vintage, and this wine has been available at TJ's since the 2013 vintage. There are no current technical details, but past Red blends have been a mix of Syrah and Petite Sirah. Petite Sirah was created in the mid-1800s by a man named Durif. At the time, France was undergoing all sorts of serious problems in its vineyards. Durif crossed the Syrah grapevine with a grape called Peloursin to create a hardy version of Syrah. The problem was that by the time the new grape was perfected, the issue plaguing Syrah grapes subsided and Petite Sirah was no longer needed. It somehow made its way to Australia, called Durif, and to California, where it thrives with the warmer temps and is the secret ingredient in countless Red blends. The back label of the Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 suggests that the grapes came from Riboli Estate vineyards, and the name says the vineyards are located in the foothills of the Coastal Mountains. At 1250 feet, the Pacific Ocean's breezes should be less intense, providing for a warmer growing season that suits the grapes. One of the things I try to stress about Trader Joe's wines is that even though a major winery may have produced the wine, that does not mean that it is a wine that the winery would put their own name on. Often, store brands will contract a winery to make wine in popular wine and for a certain price point. The winery is creating a wine to its customers' wishes. But the Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 looks to be a Riboli Family Wine using Riboli grapes. A Red blend from a well-regarded AVA, with estate vineyards from a Family owned winery that sells for $7.99, is a bargain. So let's head to the tasting portion and see just how big of a bargain. The alcohol content is 14.9%. Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 Tasting Notes The color is clean, barely see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is jammy red berries, oak spice, mocha, black pepper, light herbs, and a good dose of spice. The Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 smooth, rich wine upfront, with loads of spice on the mid-palate. It tastes of black cherry, ripe raspberry, a light chocolate, black pepper, and juicy plum. The mid-palate adds a sharp slap of spice, there is enough fruit to balance the spice, but it does stand out. Then there is some chewy tannins, along with blueberry and vanilla. With all the ripe fruit and spice, this wine will pair well with BBQ and grilled meats. It has strong, bold flavors that can compete and enhance these comfort foods. The Summary The Elevation 1250 Paso Robles Red 2018 is an excellent $7.99 Red blend. It can compete with wines at twice the price.This is a spicy red wine; the spice is one of the main flavor components. It reminds me of the Australian Shiraz from ten years ago. I like Australian Shiraz.A $7.99 wine that has a personality and makes a flavor statement is an excellent thing.
6 minutes | a month ago
Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018
Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from vineyards in the Edna Valley AVA inside San Luis Obispo County, inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Edna Valley is to the east of the Santa Lucia Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean provides a cool climate ideal for Chardonnay vines. As a Trader Joe's wine, there is no technical information available for the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018. I can guess which winery facilities were used to produce this Chardonnay, since one of the largest American wineries owns property in the area. I don't know they made it, but it would seem to be a good guess. The front label says "Estate bottled", which means there was an estate involved. The back label offers no info other than the stuff that California mandates have to show up on a label. No general tasting notes that may indicate oak treatment, no hints at all. The good thing is that Trader Joe's has a history with Edna Valley Chardonnay at value prices. The Edna Valley AVA has a high-quality reputation as a source for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, and several well-respected wineries are residing here. I thought that the Riddle name, along with the puzzle maze on the label, offered clues as to the source of this wine. But the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 does not offer any clues or hints that I can decipher. All the clues we will get will have to come in the tasting portion of the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 review. The alcohol content is ripe but typical for today's California Chardonnay, 14.1%. Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 Tasting Notes The color is butter yellow with a hint of gold. Sometimes the color of Chardonnay can indicate if the wine saw oak aging, and the color says, maybe. The nose is melon, apple, honey, vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, stone fruit, and spring flowers. The honey, vanilla, and rounded fruit aroma would point to some malolactic fermentation and oak use. The Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 is a bright fruit-forward Chardonnay with bright acidity and oak flavoring. It tastes like a mix of lemon curd and vanilla, followed by brown butter and tart grapefruit. The mid-palate brings dried apricot, exotic spice, a touch of cream, and a nutty, salty taste. I sometimes think you can pop the top a pour a $6.99 Chardonnay, but the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 needed a little time to open up. The oak influence needed to settle down before this wine started to show its best. The Summary The Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 is a solid Chardonnay. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was delicious, but it was an interesting wine that was well worth drinking and hit above its price tag.It may not be the most seamless and balanced wine, but it does have its charms and has more depth than the typical value-priced Chardonnay.
6 minutes | a month ago
Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016
The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 is a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah sourced from a single vineyard near the Templeton Gap and on the westside of Paso Robles city. The vineyard has the classic vineyard climate, warm days, cool nights, morning fog, and low rainfall. This is not the usual CheapWineFinder value-priced wine; it sells for somewhere between $40 and $50; it is a splurge wine. We are going outside our usual comfort zone because sometimes spending a little more fits the occasion. Easter is a few days away, and this may be the first time in a year that family and friends can join together. Older folks have their Covid shot or both. Younger Americans are not far from their turn at the vaccine. Maybe this holiday calls for something out of the ordinary. The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 is one of Terlato Wines' family of brands. You may not be familiar with the wine company, but are the ones that brought Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio to the U.S., nobody knew what Pinot Grigio was. Today it is one of the staple White wines. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah is unusual, and this blend should come from Paso Robles. Their reputation is that Paso is a place that does not conform to the old rules; the winemakers do things the way they see fit. The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 is a boutique wine and a brand wine from a large wine company. A single-vineyard wine that is aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. 30% of the barrels are new oak, with the rest used 2 or 3 times. Getting the right amount of oak aging and influence in wine is basically a math problem. X amount of new oak barrels for Y amount a time, when used along with Z amount of used barrels, equals a specified amount of oak influence. These wines are intended to be drinkable upon release; no extra aging is needed, so getting the oak right is immensely important. Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon has an excellent and growing reputation. Petite Sirah is the secret ingredient used in countless California Red blends. The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 marriage of these two grapes should be an interesting match. The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 is made to be a bold but balanced wine. The alcohol content of 14% is almost restrained for modern California red blends. Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 Tasting Notes The color is a mix of black cherry, and purple. The nose is large I was getting scents from a foot away; there are ripe black and blueberry, sour cherry, spice, toasted vanilla, BBQ in the grill, and light herbs. Every time I go in for another whiff, another aroma reveals itself. The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 is a juicy, well-structured wine with layers of flavors. It tastes blackberry and brown sugar (not sweet), blueberry and licorice, spice, a jolt of black pepper, and tart cherry. The mid-palate adds chewy tannins, raspberry, a rough splash of orange zest, a faint mix of chocolate. The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 has a silky smooth mouth-feel but with loads of flavor occurring along the way. The acidity is balanced; it provides enough structure for the flavors to unfold while setting your palate up for the next sip. The Summary The Dueling Pistols Paso Robles Red 2016 is an excellent modern California Red blend.It does remind me of a wine such as The Prisoner, but not as extracted and ripe. The focus is on silkiness and depth.If you are looking for a "splurge" wine and you are a fan of interesting, well-made California Red blends, then this is a wine to consider.
8 minutes | a month ago
Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019
The Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019 is sourced from Domaines Baron de Rothschild (Lafite) vineyards located in the foothills of the Coastal Mountains in the Colchagua Valley of Chile, twenty-five miles from the Pacific Ocean. The Rothschild (Lafite) vineyards and winery were founded in Chile in 1988. Carménère was once one of the main grapes in the classic Bordeaux blend Red wines. In the middle 1800s, vine diseases and pests plagued French vineyards. Entire vintages were lost. Carménère was on the grapes with the most difficulties, to the point that vineyards pulled up the vines and planted other grapes. When the problems eventually passed, they found that Carménère was virtually extinct in Bordeaux, the main growing region. So, the Bordeaux blend continued with Carménère. At some point in the 1800s, someone from Chile bought grapevines from Bordeaux. I have heard they pirated the vines or were sold the vines by less than scrupulous sellers. But those vines grew in Chile for the next one hundred years plus. The problem was that the grapevines were misidentified as Merlot. Carménère and Merlot have different growing seasons. The vineyards of Chile were harvesting the grapes on the Merlot schedule, and the resulting wine was not so great Merlot. Chile wanted to expand its wine sales to the international market, so they brought in experts to figure out what was wrong with its Merlot. What was wrong with the Merlot is that it was actually Carménère. Not only was it Carménère, but it was also the extinct Bordeaux varietal. It is fitting that a premier Bordeaux producer now offers the Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019; the wine has come full circle. The name Cromas refers to how nature "colors" the wine. The soil, the climate, and location all put their stamp on this Carménère. What was once bad Merlot makes excellent Carménère. The grapes were hand-picked at just the right time and then fermented in stainless steel vats. After fermentation, 50% of the Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019 was left to age in stainless steel vats for a year. The other 50% was transferred to French oak barrels, 20% new barrels for 12 months. If I remember my presentation with the winery's head, the barrels came from the Rothschild (Lafite) cooperage in Bordeaux. Those barrels are typically reserved for Bordeaux wines. The once lost classic grape of Bordeaux lives and thrives in Chile. The alcohol content is a ripe 14.5%. Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019 Tasting Notes The color is a dark and intense black cherry with black highlights. The nose is ripe red and blackberries, green pepper, spice, black pepper, light herbs, and cold coffee. The Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019 is a firm, full-bodied red wine with an interesting flavor profile. It tastes of extracted blackberry, licorice, bell pepper, exotic spice, and plum. The mid-palate adds a nice pull from the tannins, dark chocolate, Altoid's spice (not candy sweet, but sharp), blueberry, and a soft herbal hit. The Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019 has excellent structure along with rich, interesting flavors. The bell/green peppers add a nice touch. The Summary If you are interested in experiencing Carménère, the Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Gran Reserva 2019 is a good place to start.This wine should find it between $15 and $20, and at that price, you can get a serious wine from a winery, not a brand wine. Nothing wrong with brand wines; I drink a lot of them. It is just that when you are sampling the signature wine of a country, a solid example from an established winery is a safe choice.If it weren't for some pests in 18th century France, Carménère would be a house-hold name regularly found in Napa and Sonoma. Fate brought Carménère to Chile, and that is a good thing for value wine drinkers.
6 minutes | a month ago
Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020
The Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020 is a $6.99 ALDI wine sourced from vineyards in the Monterey County AVA inside California's Central Coast AVA. ALDI does not offer any information on the making of this Rosé, so which grapes are used, and the production methods are a mystery. Lomasi WInes is a trademark owned by a large Monterey winery that often produces wine for ALDI and Trader Joe's. If you Google Lomasi, you will find them. I'm not particularly eager to name the producing winery since if their name is not on the label, it may not be a wine they would sell to retail shops. These store brand wines are often created to the customer's (ALDI) specifications and price-point and may not represent the winery's own line of wines. ALDI typically owns the trademark for their wine brands; that way, they can change producers if the need arises and still keep a popular label going. The producing winery owns the Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020, not ALDI, so that this wine may be slightly different from the usual ALDI fare. The wine packaging is first-rate, and this bottle would look good on your table at Easter. A young Rosé should pair well with ham, so do not let the $6.99 price tag hold you back. The alcohol content is 12.5% on the low side for modern California wines, so this should not be an overly ripe and fruity Rosé. The front label proclaims the Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020 is sustainably farmed, and the producing winery is a leader in sustainably farmed and made wines. Their 12 estate vineyards are all certified sustainable, so maybe there is a possibility that this sub-seven buck wine may be partly estate grown. There are some positives about the Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020, attractive label, an excellent producing winery, and certified sustainable production. Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020 Tasting Notes The color is more coral than pink. The nose is good; it reminds me of French Rosé, cherry, strawberry mixed with tangerine, a slightly creamy scent, soft spice, and a light floral bouquet. This is a dry Rosé with firm flavors and balanced acidity. It starts with dried strawberry and slightly sour cherry, followed by candy spice. The mid-palate adds orange juice, light herbs, orange zest, and apricot. The flavors are nice and chewy; this is not a light and fluffy Rosé. The acidity gets you licking your lips and reaching for the next sip. The Summary The Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020 can hold its own with most under $20 Rosé.This is not a dumbed-down, cookie-cutter Rosé; the Lomasi Bee Well Rosé 2020 is a wine well worth drinking.This is an excellent wine to pair with the Easter meal.
5 minutes | 2 months ago
Los Vascos Rose 2020
The Los Vascos Rose 2020 is a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite)'s Los Vascos estate vineyards in the Colchagua Valley in Chile, located about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Rothschild (Lafite) found this 5,000-acre wine estate in 1988. The Colchagua Valley is in the Coastal Mountain range's foothills; the Andes are to the east. This region is in a high enough elevation to be free from pollution and pests and has cool Pacific Ocean breezes providing the ideal temperature to grow grapes. One of the advantages of having estate-grown grapes is that the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Syrah were grown to produce Rose's wine. It is common for wineries to take some of the juice of the crushed grapes for the production of Rose' when the bulk of the juice going to red wine production. The grapes are purpose-grown. The Los Vascos Rose 2020 grapes were subjected to an early frost and warm to hot temperatures for the spring and summer. The Rose' grapes were ready for harvest twenty days earlier than the rest of the estate grapes. At harvest, the grapes were picked in the early morning hours. Vineyards always strive to pick the grapes at the coolest temperature of the day. As the day becomes warmer, the juice inside the grapes can evaporate, and the winery wants all the juice possible. Night harvest or early morning harvest is essential in warm climate vineyards. The Los Vascos Rose 2020 was made with the Direct Press Method; here is a link to more information on how Rose' wine is made. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel vats. As a 2020 vintage wine released in early spring of 2021, this is a young wine meant to drink now and not be aged. With this category of wine, the sooner you drink it, the better. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Los Vascos Rose 2020 Tasting Notes The color is a pale mix of apricot and Barbie Doll pink. The nose is fresh and inviting; there is nothing light and fluffy about the aromas. The scent of melon, lemon, ripe juicy apple, spice, strawberry, and faint spring flowers. The Los Vascos Rose 2020 has an edge; there is a good firm body to this Rose'. It tastes strawberry (slightly sour, not sweet), melon, lemonade, a soft herbal slap, and black cherry. The mid-palate mirrors the body of the wine but does add a little cranberry and a salty sensation. The acidity is well-balanced, the flavors have plenty of room to unfold, but the acidity never bites. The Summary The Los Vascos Rose 2020 is a delightful drinking experience.With seemingly every winery and brand offering a Rose' wine, I started seeing Rose' wines as interchangeable.The Los Vascos Rose 2020 is not interchangeable; it makes its own statement.
7 minutes | 2 months ago
Grower’s Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019
The Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 is sourced from select vineyards throughout Oregon. Grower's Guild is the affordable line of wines from Owen Roe Winery, which David O'Reilly owned. And that is why the Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 is chosen as CheapWineFinders St Patrick's Day wine. Owen Roe was an Irish Rebel commander from the 1500s and 1600s, and David O'Reilly has an Irish name. I am sure there are other affordable Irish-related wines available, but I couldn't find one at local shops. Ireland has more of a beer and whiskey history. Vintage Wine Estates purchased Owen Roe Winery in 1999, which has a whole portfolio of wines, and David O'Reilly now serves as the head of winemaking for the Northwest coast. Owen Roe's value-priced wines had been the Sharecropper line of wine, and that brand seems to be replaced by the Grower's Guild wines. Owen Roe wines featured vineyards in Yakima Valley in Washington and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The Grower's Guild wines do not seem to be exclusively sourced from Willamette Valley but from "dedicated growers up and down the state’s best regions." Willamette Valley gets all the wine writers' attention, but there are grape-growing regions all along Oregon's coast. I always like Owen Roe Winery because even though they are a producer of excellent, splurge-worthy, they always also produced top-quality affordable (under $20, the Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 was found for $16). Not every high-end winery has paid attention to value-priced wine drinkers. An interesting feature of Oregon Pinot Noir is that wines selling for about $40 and under have screw-cap enclosures, and the $40 plus wine have corks. I think more wine regions should follow this example; a typical $40 and under wine is not going to be cellared, and a screw-top is far easier to deal with. Most value-priced wines have inexpensive corks or cork substitutes. They are nothing to get excited about; give me a decent screw cap. The technical notes for the Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 do not give much information. They mention that the spring and fall had cool weather and the summer was warm, and that is exactly what you look for when growing Pinot Noir grapes. The wine was aged in oak, but other details are given. The alcohol content is 13%. Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 Tasting Notes The color is a very see-thru garnet red. The nose is bright, ripe cherry, sharp spice, vanilla, herbs, crushed dried fall leaves, strong black coffee, and tea. It is full of interesting aromas; if I kept my nose in the glass, it would offer up additional scents, but on to the taste portion. Often with value-priced Pinot Noir, you would describe them as soft, silky, and smooth, but the Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 has that and another dark side and brooding. It tastes black cherry, exotic spice, bitter dark chocolate, licorice, and ripe plum. The mid-palate adds non-sweet Dr. Pepper, a sharp slap of rougher-edged spice, raspberry, and a salty, cashew sensation. The tannins are sweet, and the acidity gives this Pinot Noir a bright, lively appeal. The Summary The Grower's Guild Oregon Pinot Noir 2019 is a solid example of an Oregon Pinot Noir.I know the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir gets all the press, but in this price range except growers and a talented winemaker matter more.
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