Wine Review: Pink Moscato, Gallo Family Vineyards


It tastes just like… pink.

It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve had any Moscato wine. Once upon a time it was the only varietal that I liked.

I call it the gateway wine.  Believe it not, there used to be a time when I thought I didn’t like wine. I call it the time before wine, or B.W. for short.

Truly, this whole wine infatuation is Xavier’s fault. I learned it by watching him.

I said, “I don’t like wine”, and he said, “here, try this.”

See there, that’s how it started, but at the time I thought I only liked wine that was pink and sweet because I was naive and silly.

Last summer our idea of a good time was a bottle of white or pink Moscato in our wine glasses from Goodwill that had green cactus stems. I bought them because they were campy. We would sit out on the patio at night and kill a bottle of Moscato in our campy wine glasses and all was right with the world.

Then one of my personal training clients bought me a real bottle of wine for Christmas and, upon tasting it for the first time, I was like “Holy f*&king shit! How have I lived this long without wine?”

So anyway, about the Gallo Family Pink Moscato, it’s a simple, light and sweet, pink wine. It’s tasty. No oak to speak of, but pleasant notes of citrus and peach. 9% alcohol. For $5.99 it sure beats the hell out of a 2L bottle of Pineapple Fanta.

This is not the wine to turn to for solving life’s more significant dilemmas, but not all wine needs to be that heavy duty. Like making small talk with strangers, sometimes the situation calls for something light and casual.


Wine Review: Red Blend, Vin Vault Premium Wines


I’m all about the boxes lately. I’ve found some excellent specimens and it’s so much more cost effective than bottled wine. What’s not to love?

I was a little concerned about the lack of vintage on this Vin Vault Red Blend although I did find some small print at the bottom that read boxed on 12/04/16.

Xavier said he thought this wine was bland. I kinda thought so too, at first, but then it started to grow on me.

I wouldn’t call it bland, it’s subtle. Their website describes it as being full-bodied and I would not agree with that. Vin Vault Red Blend is not a big, bold, in your face, kind of wine. Rather, it has an excellent flavor but it’s laid back and mild. I think this makes it pair well with a wider variety of food and Xavier says that that is the definition of bland.

Well, you know, tomato, to-maw-toe, whatever.

I say it’s subtle, maybe not super exciting, but it’s tasty and has a smooth finish. It’s also 13% alcohol and did not give me a headache. $18.99 for a three liter box, which is equivalent to four 750mL bottles Not bad… not bad at all.

Wine Review: 2015 Nighthawk Black, Bota Box

They’re not kidding about the black part.

Bota Box Nighthawk Black is thick and jammy and remains black even when help up to the light.

One issue with box wine is that it can’t really be decanted. Well, I guess it could be but with that would come an obligation to drink all of what was poured because boxed wine is a lot like a tube of toothpaste; once it’s out, there’s no putting it back in.

I find this wine benefits from having a few minutes to breathe but it’s well worth the wait as it opens up very nicely. Smooth, lots of oak, jammy to boot, dark chocolate and black as the night. Needless to say, I liked it, a lot.  And, not for nothin’, but it goes pretty well with a Little (filter tip) Swisher Sweet.

Another thing I appreciate about Bota Box is their concern for not trashing the earth with their packaging. The boxes are made from unbleached recycled material and are themselves recyclable. Inside, the bag is BPA free and it, along with the spout, are also recyclable. (So, recycle them!)

Other pertinent details: 13.5% alcohol and no red wine headache 😀


Wine Review: 2014 California Rose’, Menage A Trois


Way back in the beginning of all this wine business, I bought a bottle of really bad Rose’, then I tried a few more at various local wineries and didn’t like them either so naturally I assumed that all Rose’ was terrible.

As it turns out, not all Rose’ is terrible.

Just some of it.

Rose’ is wildly popular right now. Its the feel-good wine of the summer. I can’t peruse my wine feed on Twitter and not see dozens of posts featuring frosty glasses of alluring pink wine.

Am I missing something?

I started to wonder if all these folks had awful taste in wine or if I had just experienced a bit of bad luck. Suspecting that the latter was the truth, I decided to give Rose’ one more try.

If there’s one winemaker who can be relied upon to get something right, it’s Menage A Trois. I have yet to try a wine from them that wasn’t delicious so off to my local state regulated liquor store I went.

Here’s what I learned:

Rose’ should be chilled but not ice cold. It’s not  beer or soda and ice cold is too cold, bringing out the less pleasant tart and bitter notes. 60-70 degrees (Fahrenheit, obviously) is ideal. At this temperature, Menage A Trois Rose is smooth like buttah, lightly sweet and just barely tart. Most importantly, it’s smooth. Life is too short to choke down wine that punches you in the throat.


I paired it with chicken tiki Masala, which was excellent, but I also think it would go nicely with a mandarin and strawberry spinach salad topped with vinaigrette dressing and Gorgonzola cheese.

Menage A Trois creates their Rose’ blend from Merlot, Syrah, and Gewurztraminer.

The label describes it as, “raspberries, strawberries, lychee nuts, and flowers.” I have no idea what lychee nuts taste like and have yet to make a habit of eating flowers but this Rose is quite delectable nonetheless. It’s also 13.5% alcohol so there is nothing weak or foo-foo about it.

Menage A Trois Rose’ is the grown up, feel good, beverage of summer 🙂


Xavier recommends accompanying your Rose’ with Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”.