Wine Review: 2016 California Red Blend, Primal Roots

Primal Roots Red Blend

This turned out to be a good experiment.

On sale at Walgreens for about $8.99, Primal Roots California Red Blend is packed full of toasty oak, vanilla, and chocolaty goodness. Although not a “chocolate-flavored” wine, I thought the chocolate-ness was particularly pronounced. Xavier and I paired it garlic-rosemary burgers and steamed vegetables.

Primal Roots Red Blend is comprised of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Merlot and you can’t go wrong there.  While it seems that Primal Roots only makes this one blend (according to their one page website), this would be a perfectly good choice to bring to dinner party or to give as house warming gift, or a birthday present, or a Christmas present, or a Valentine’s Day gift, or for an anniversary, or….well, you get the point.

If you’re on your way to my house, best be stopping off at Walgreen’s on the way.

New Mexico Full Moon
Gratuitous image of this week’s Werewolf Full Moon over the Manzano Mountains.

Wine Review: 2015 California Red Blend, Witching Hour


Shelly and her husband brought this bottle of wine with them to our house last night and the four of us made short work of it. She said she got it on sale from Total Wine for about $5.00.

I say it’s an excellent value for the price. Nice notes of vanilla and chocolate with a touch of oak, very drinkable.  I can’t find much information about Witching Hour wines because their website is defunct but I would guess there is definitely Zinfandel and Syrah in this red blend, it kind of reminds me of Apothic Red Blend.

We paired it with chips and salsa but the poor bottle didn’t make it until dinner. No joke, with four people this bottle disappeared in less than half an hour. I would certainly buy one of my very own if I saw it on the shelf.

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi

Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Don’t judge, it was on sale at Albertson’s for $5.99.

I had been wanting to try Woodbridge for a long time but in Maryland I could only find it in the big magnum size bottles. Even though the price was right, I was afraid to end up with a huge bottle of what might be terrible wine so I never bought it.

A couple weeks ago I found this cute 4-pack at Albertson’s in Los Lunas and brought it home.

I’m all about the expectation management but this Cabernet Sauvignon from Woodbridge turned out to be pretty darn good, tasting well above it’s pay grade.

Buttery and chocolatey, pleasant oak base and smooth finish. Nice at any price but especially pleasing for a budget priced wine. Paired great with pork chops, steamed okra and sautéed onions.

Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon delivers the usual 13.5% alcohol. I didn’t get a headache but Xavier said he woke up with one. Then again, it may have been the altitude.

Wine Review: 2015 Central Coast Pinot Noir, Cupcake Vineyards

Cupcake Vineyards Pinot Noir

My #1 favorite quality about this wine is the screw top cap. Not that I’m lazier than I am thirsty but, you know, sometimes it’s a close call.

My #2 favorite quality about 2015 Central Coast Pinot Noir from Cupcake Vineyards is that it makes an excellent companion to the new remake of Stephen King’s “IT”.

On a side note, should you happen to be cast in a movie and your character’s name is Georgie, it’s a safe bet that your total screen time will be less than five minutes, three of which will be minus an arm. Additionally, don’t talk to clowns in gutters.

There is a predictable amount of oak in Cupcake wines and their Pinot Noir delivers although it is not as oaky as Red Velvet or Black Forest Decadent Red. Still delicious though. Smooth drinking with a nice cherry finish. Cupcake claims it is the alternating bright sun and cool maritime fog of the Central Coast that delivers the skillz to pay the billz.  Between you and me, I think it’s the Miracle Gro.

13.5% alcohol and no headache.

Wine Review: 2009 Presshouse Red, Farrier Wine Co.


Xavier and I had dinner next door at my dad’s house last night and, as a surprise, he breaks out this bottle of 2009 Farrier Presshouse Red. He says he received it as a gift, no doubt because of the name “Farrier”. My dad has been known to do things to a horse’s feet from time to time.

I had never heard of the Farrier Wine Co. and didn’t necessarily have high expectations.  As it turns out, Presshouse Red is surprisingly good. It reminds me of Bogle Essential Red, which is one of my all time favorites.

Presshouse Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, and Merlot. A smooth drinking wine with black currants, mocha and exceptionally well balanced acidity; I thought it was terrific.

Xavier said it tasted like vinegar and then proceeded to kill half a bottle of Chivas Regal scotch with my dad. That’s fine because, while they were having man drinks, I had the Presshouse Red all to myself.

Other pertinent facts: 14.6% alcohol, no headache.

Sadly, I’m pretty sure the Farrier Wine Company is out of business. When I tried to visit their website I ended up on what appeared to be a WordPress Blog written in Korean. If you happen to see a bottle of 2009 Presshouse Red for sale, buy it because it’s probably the last of it’s kind.


Wine Review: 2014 Black Forest Decadent Red, Cupcake Vineyards


All wine tastes better in New Mexico, that’s just a given.

In typical Cupcake fashion, this wine has a lot of oak and bears little resemblance to cake.

Dark Cherry, mocha, and oak. Lots of oak. Jammy finish.  If you like Cupcake Red Velvet, the Decadent Red is similar but just a little deeper and darker. I wouldn’t describe Red Velvet as jammy but Decadent Red certainly is.

13.5% alcohol. No headache. My only complaint is that the bottle is too small, disappearing at an alarming rate at the end of a stressful week.

My advice: buy two bottles, you’re gonna need them.


Wine Review: Dark Red Blend, Franzia

Franzia Dark Red Blend

Admittedly, I worried that this purchase would be a regrettable decision. I’ve read many questionable reviews but a couple weeks ago I was at Monique’s house and she gave me a glass of Franzia Sunset Blush. I raised an eyebrow but accepted the glass anyway and it actually wasn’t bad; much smoother and more pleasant than I expected.

This is a 5 liter box and it was on sale at Albertson’s for $13.99 so obviously the price is right.

My rating is a solid “not terrible”.  While Franzia wine may very well be made with the backwash of wrung-out rags used to clean another winery’s barrels, I’ve tried two of their blends now and both were better than I thought they might be. I’ve certainly had worse wine from more swanky winemakers and paid more for it too!

The Dark Red Blend gets pretty darn not terrible about half way through the second glass. Nice flavors of vanilla and oak garnished with cherry and pepper. 13.5% alcohol, no headache or sour stomach the next morning.

Is it anything to get your panties all in a bundle about? No, but it’ll getcha through until payday.