Wine Review: Pink Moscato, Beringer

Not everything cheap is bad…

At this point in our wine experimentation careers, Xavier and I have tried just about all of the cheap Moscato wines from our neighborhood liquor store. We’ve run the gamut of yellowtail, Fish Eye and Barefoot and we’ve also tried some of the less cheap varieties such as Cupcake and Sea Glass. Incidentally, from this list, you’ll want to avoid the Fish Eye and the Barefoot. If they’re the only options on the shelf, save the $6 and just buy yourself a packet of Kool-Aid.

I’ve always lumped Beringer in with what I considered to be “the cheap wines”, mostly because of the $7 price tag, but I must say that I found this Moscato to be notably better than the others in the same price range.

If I were a guerilla that only knew 1000 words in sign language, I would name this wine Oak Nectar for it’s pleasantly sweet and surprisingly woody taste. It is currently my favorite Moscato and hummingbirds would stab each other in the eye to claim the feeder filled with this wine.

img_7964
Editors note: Never feed wine to hummingbirds, it kills them.

While I have no idea how to pair wine with food, I do recommend having wine with food because drinking wine without food looks a lot like being an alcoholic.

This particular evening we enjoyed our wine with my favorite dinner. This post is not about cooking but I am a damn fine cook if I do say so myself. Pictured below is my baked/broiled chicken with Brussels sprouts, tiny potatoes and red onion.

img_8397
Dinner Of Champions

In summary, Pink Moscato from Beringer is quite tasty and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to bring it to a party or to serve it to my friends.  Additionally, it did not give me a headache and, at 11.5% alcohol, it delivers a bit more bang for the buck than most of its similarly priced competitors.

Advertisements

2014 Chardonnay, A Visit To Linganore Winecellars

img_8448
Wine barn. Linganore Winecellars. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent

2014 Chardonnay from Linganore Winecellars

“It has a looonnnnggg buttery finish”. The bartender pursed her lips while making a socket puppet shape with her hand.

I would feel like an idiot saying that, with accompanying gesticulation, but what I will say is that if grapes and butter had a baby, it would be this wine.

 

Linganore Winecellars is located in Mt. Airy, Maryland.

Xavier and I drove out for a visit this past Sunday. We wanted to taste the dry wine list; specifically looking for a Chardonnay and a Cabernet-esque dry red.

I wanted to like the one called White Raven because the name is cool, and I expected to like the Chardonnay Reserve 2015 because it’s expensive. Neither of these things came to pass.

Apparently cool names and high prices do not necessarily mean better. As far as I’m concerned they hit us with their best shot right out of the gate. The Chardonnay 2014 is everything they claim it to be.  It has zero percent residual sugar and is quite literally smooth like butta’, which makes it deliciously dangerous because it is also 11.5% alcohol.

We bought a bottle and, at check out, they asked if we would like for them to open it for us so we could enjoy it there.  I said, “Only if we can stay the night.”

Lightweights…

Pro tip: If you put a straw in the bottle, you can claim to have had “only one drink.”

img_8414
Linganore Winecellars. Mt. Airy, MD

I specialize in making nice places look like run down abandoned buildings but Linganore Winecellars is, in fact, quite lovely.

Lucky for me, the weather was cold and there were not many people milling around outside but, inside on a Sunday afternoon, the scene is warm and bustling with thirsty wine connoisseurs.

img_8419
Linganore Winecellars. Mt. Airy, MD

As previously mentioned, I was looking for a Chardonnay and a dry red. We didn’t buy a red but the one I liked the most was the Chambourcin. It’s very dry, with zero percent residual sugar, super smooth, pleasantly oaky, and likely the topic of a separate blog post. 🙂

img_8451
Xavier in his new Mini Cooper Clubman. Linganore Winecellars. Mt. Airy, MD
img_8439
Sleeping baby grape vines. Linganore Winecellars. Mt. Airy, MD

Wine Review: Sofia Rose’, Francis Ford Coppola Winery

img_8361

Sofia is Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter and she now has her very own line of pink wine with her name on it. Lucky her.

I had no idea that Francis Ford Coppola had time to stomp grapes in between all the gangster flicks but apparently he is a skilled multitask-er, which means that he himself does no actual wine making but that’s cool and all so long as whoever does the actual work gets paid actual money.

I say the verdict is still out as to whether or not I like this wine, though I’m leaning towards the latter. Xavier tapped out after the first glass leaving me to ponder the rest of the bottle.  His exact words were “It punched me in the jaw with tartness. I don’t think I’m going to have a 2nd glass.”

It is indeed a tart wine.  I believe the grapes were fed a steady diet of vinegar and Warheads sour candy, which caused insanity and birth defects, but the glowing pink color is just enticing enough to make you think it’s good.

That doesn’t mean it’s not good but it’s out there in a no-man’s land of foreign flavors. Not bold enough to be red and it’s not sweet or crisp enough to be Moscato.

Wine snobs drawl with superiority, “That’s because it’s Rose’, Dumbass” 

Yes, of course, the Rose’ of The Godfather’s daughter no less. This poor girl has her name plastered all over the bottle and now everyone is blaming her for leaving them puckered and bug-eyed.

I’ve long made a practice of selecting wine based on the color of the juice and the appearance of the label and, while this often doesn’t work out in my favor, I can say…

My cat likes it.

img_8373

Wine Reviews: Cabernet Sauvignon, [yellow tail]

img_8355
Cheap wine in a dirty kitchen. No counter tops were cleaned in the making of this photograph.

I suppose I should’ve know better but I decided to live cheap and dangerously.

This is Cabernet Sauvignon from yellow tail.

The price: $6.59.

That means no Mircale Gro for the grapes.

Now, to be honest, it’s not terrible, not pond water by any means, and it does start to taste better by the 2nd glass.

That first glass though.. it punches you in the throat on the way down which means it’s not very smooth and I figured out that this characteristic is what determines whether or not I like the wine.

It’s 13% alcohol so after the first glass, with the throat numb anyway, the punch is nearly painless.

While my review of this wine could double as zen wisdom for surviving a bar fight, it’s not all bad. If expendable income is tight and this is what you brought home to have with dinner, drink it fast, the pain is short lived.

Wine Reviews: Cabernet Sauvignon, Tarara Winery

img_8220

Since when am I a wine critic?

Since I decided that I need something new to talk about, a fresh project to take on, and an excuse to get out and visit new places.

This idea was born today at lunch. I said to Xavier, “I want to visit wineries, take creepy pictures of their vines and talk about their wine.”

I had him at “wine”.

We were in Leesburg, VA with a car full of groceries when this happened so a winery trip has yet to occur but I do have a wine to review!

I received this bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Tarara Winery for Christmas.

Being absolutely candid, this is the best wine I’ve ever had……ever.

That being said, I’m hardly an educated wine connoisseur but what I can tell you is that it’s silky, rich, and smooth; lacking that feeling of being punched in the throat right at the moment of swallowing. It is very good when paired with dark chocolate.

Prior to this, I believed that I did not like red wine and mostly drank $7 bottles of Moscato.

Adam Conover claimed on his show, Adam Ruins Everything, that there is no difference in taste between cheap wine and expensive wine and, to be clear, Adam is wrong.

The Cabernet Sauvignon from Tarara Winery is a $45 investment and, take it from me – a drinker of cheap wine, you can absolutely tell where the extra money goes.  I mean, I can’t say precisely where it goes; fatter grapes, Miracle Gro, aged longer in better barrels, more fairy dust and magic beans for all I know, but the difference in quality is undeniable.

In fact, it was this wine that peaked my interest in doing something creative on this blog that involved wine and writing and photography.

So stay tuned, more wine reviews are coming and very soon we’ll get out to visit a local winery!