Wine Review: 2014 California Pinot Noir, Prophecy

2014 Prophecy NoirThis bottle was from a trip to Total Wine towards the end of our days in Frederick (circa November 2017)

Life gets hectic when times of transition grow near, especially moves across the country. Days are filled with finding answers to important questions like how to get all of this stuff from point A to point B?, and of course the all important where we will live upon arrival?

There are other important details like what to pack and what not to pack. Deciding what day will be the last day at work and when to say goodbye to all our friends.

As the big day grows closer, the apartment grows more sparse. The U-Box was packed and sent ahead, leaving us to eat on paper plates while sitting on the floor and, after the bed that wasn’t going to make the trip was hauled away, Xavier and I spent the last night in Frederick huddled together on a sleeping bag.

A slumber party with sleeping bags on the floor is fun when you’re eight, sleepless and not as fun when you’re forty-two. In the morning we packed the cars and hit the road to our new life in New Mexico.

So, about the wine…

The picture on the label is the zero card from a Tarot deck, The Fool.

Card 0, The Fool. Radient Rider-Waite Tarot.

Symbolizing new beginnings, freedom, a clean slate, and fearlessness, The Fool sets off on a fresh adventure with all the elements he needs in his pack. Little dogs run along beside him, nipping at his heels as a reminder that a clean slate is only clean momentarily because every decision shapes the road ahead. “Watch your step and choose carefully”, sayeth the dogs.

I have enjoyed every bottle of Prophecy wine that I’ve tried.

They always have cool labels, which is important because, you know, first impressions and all.

This Pinot Noir is medium bodied and has a beautiful ruby red color. It smells and tastes like cherry (but in a good way, not like cough syrup) and oak – gotta love the oak –  with a velvety smooth finish.

13.8% alcohol, pairs well with clearing the way for what lies ahead.

An excellent wine for closing one door and opening another.

 

Wine Review: 2015 Red Blend, Prophecy

2015 Prophecy Red Blend

Always listen to first impressions.

The picture on the label of Prophecy Red Blend is an artist’s interpretation of Tarot card number VI – The Lovers.

VI - The Lovers. Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot

When The Lovers card appears, it means there are decisions to be made. The Fool has set off on his journey, making progress on the path of his choosing when he comes to an unexpected fork in the road. He (or she, of course) has encountered something or someone that they have fallen in love with. In the most literal sense, it may be a person, or it could also be a brilliant idea or inspiration. In any case, there is a sense that the wheel in the sky has just turned and that this new love must be had.

The question though, is at what cost?

This new love presents a divergence from a previously chosen path. Like re-routing the inertia of any river, the ability to follow this new path does not come for free. There is risk and conflict involved but also the possibility to follow one’s destiny when a once in lifetime opportunity comes along.

The Fool could be paralyzed with loss aversion, too afraid to risk what he has to chase what he wants. Standing at the station while the bus pulls away, walking home to a predictable life but with regret in his heart. Or he could risk it all to pursue his love. It may not work out but at least he wouldn’t spend the rest of his life asking the worst question of all; “what if?”.

In the end, only the Fool knows if it was worth it.

Xavier and I have a love story just like this. If you feel so inclined, you can read about it here, here, here, and here. All stories from the time before this blog was about wine.

And about the wine…

Featuring grapes from Washington and California, Prophecy Red Blend is a rich and full wine, full of dark cherry and chocolatey goodness, a bit of oak and a smooth finish. Delicious on a chilly evening.

13.8% alcohol, pairs nicely with a roll of the dice.

Wine Review: California Sweet Red, Sutter Home

 

Sutter Home California Sweet Red WineIn going through my photos and wine tasting notes, I recently found two bottles of Sutter Home wine that I photographed and made notes about but that never made it to this blog. This is the second one.

I think Sutter Home may get a bad rap but I generally find their wines to be drinkable despite the bottom shelf price. Personally, I am a fan the screw top, easy to open and easy to close.

Sutter Home Sweet Red is, well.., sweet. I’m not a huge fan of sweet wine but this one is pleasant, smoky sweet with a smooth finish and a touch of oak. In my opinion, dessert wines are not intended to be consumed at the same pace as dinner wines. One glass is plenty, more than that and the sweetness becomes overwhelming. Plus, don’t forget that sugar plus alcohol = headache.

One glass after dinner is great but don’t go guzzling the whole bottle, no one likes a Kool-Aid wino.

 

Wine Review: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sutter Home

Sutter Home Cabernet SauvignonIf you’re out at a restaurant and see on the wine list that a glass of Sutter Home wine is $5.99, just keep in mind that you could stop on the way home and buy a whole bottle of pretty much any Sutter Home wine for the same price. I’m just sayin’… spend the extra money on dessert.

Coming from a place of expectation management, this Cabernet Sauvignon is not bad. It’s probably not the best Cab you’ll ever have but it’s certainly not the worst.

I found this wine to be very drinkable with lots of toasty oak & vanilla with a smooth finish. Pairs nicely with steak or pasta and red sauce.

13.5% alcohol, no headache after two glasses.

 

Wine Review: California Red Wine Blend, Firefly Ridge

Firefly Ridge California Red Blend, Dry Heat Photography

After drinking Gin for most of the summer, the Fall Equinox seemed a good time to renew my relationship with wine.

Firefly Ridge California Red Blend is normally about $10 but was on sale at Albertson’s in Los Lunas for $5.99. Wine can become an expensive habit, you know, so I say save money were you can.

I was pleased with my half price bottle of wine.

The label doesn’t offer up much information but I would guess the blend to be Cab, Syrah, and Zinfandel.

Very rich and smooth with a nice chocolatey, oaky-ness about it. Before I knew it, I had finished my third glass and went to bed at 9:50pm on a Saturday night because I know how to party like I’m 42.

Other pertinent info: 13.5% alcohol. Before bed, I felt the possible beginnings of a red wine headache but 3 ibuprofen and eight hours of shut-eye later and my head is just fine.

In other news, Los Lunas is overflowing with yellow Clouded Sulphur Butterflies. They love the purple flowers that grow wild in my yard and these are the same flowers that in the photo with the wine above.

Yellow Clouded Sulphur Butterfly.

Yellow Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

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

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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.

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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.