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: 2012 Bistro Red, St. Clair Winery

St. Clair Bistro Red

St. Clair Winery is located in Deming, New Mexico but they have bistros located around the state including one in Albuquerque. St. Clair wine is also sold at local grocery stores. I bought this bottle of 2012 Bistro Red at Albertson’s in Los Lunas.

Xavier and I had this wine on New Year’s Eve and I had hoped it would be better. I mean, it wasn’t terrible by any means but the flavor just didn’t appeal to me. Similar to 14 Hands Hot To Trot Red Blend, St. Clair Bisto Red has a minerality to it that tastes slightly like way rancid cooking oil smells. It just hits me in the wrong place.

In general, not particularly tasty or smooth. Tastes more like a homemade science experiment than a carefully handcrafted wine.

I have hopes that their other varietals are better but I won’t be buying Bistro Red again.

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.

Wine Review: Sangiovese di Toscana, Il Bastardo

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I see other people giving Il Bastardo good reviews but I do not concur. Granted, I don’t actually know what Sangiovese wine is supposed to taste like but I’m assuming this is not it.

Generally speaking, Il Bastardo Sangiovese is a waste of $7.99.

My advice is don’t. Just don’t.

Wine Review: 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel, Zen Of The Zin

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This bottle was one of the goodies from our trip to Total Wine yesterday.

Now, to be fair, Xavier and I opened the Zen Of The Zin on the heels of the Carnivor Zinfandel, which leaves it staring up at a might high bar. That being said, it was still pretty good. I’d drink it again.

Smokey with undertones of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. Vaguely reminiscent of expensive leather. Pleasant finish. Pairs well with multiple episodes of Supernatural.

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Additionally, it’s the way to Zinlightenment, so there’s that.

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13.5% alcohol, no red wine headache. Overall, a very pleasant Zinfandel!

Wine Review: 2015 California Zinfandel, Carnivor

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Carnivor makes some seriously good wine.

They only produce two varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. I tried the Cab over the summer and it was stupendous so naturally, when the Zinfandel appeared on the shelf, I had to to bring it home.

This is a deep, dark, complex Zin that will make you fill your glass more than once. It’s also 14.5% alcohol so hallucinations are possible, likely even.

Chocolate, vanilla, oak, toasted almond (and grapes, don’t forget grapes) this wine is sooo good, I literally did not care that I was seeing double and probably slurring my words while attempting to maintain an intelligent conversation with our house guest.

Carnivor Zinfandel is $12.99 and worth every penny. My advice: buy two.

Unrelated side note: This afternoon Xavier and I took a field trip to Total Wine in Leesburg, VA. I’ve never been to a Total Wine before and now I see what all the fuss is about. Total Wine is the most dangerous store ever…ever.

With unprecedented restraint, we left with only four bottles and, as a special bonus, we found a super cool abandoned house on the way home!

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I REALLY wanted to get closer to this house but the fence with the big No Trespassing sign advised against it.

Wine Review: Pinot Noir, Hob Nob

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After more than a month of hurry-up-and-wait uncertainty, Xavier and I finally closed on our house this week.

To celebrate, we went to Cacique (Naturally. Where else would we go?)

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Xavier was smart and ordered the Cab from the Devil’s Locker but I wanted to try something different so I ordered the Hob Nob Pinot Noir.

Not the best choice.

I mean, it wasn’t terrible, I still drank it but I won’t be ordering it again. What they call an “elegant bouquet of cherries”, I would refer to “reminiscent of cough syrup” but, you know, tomato / ta-maw-toe. Not much oak either which, for me, is a drawback because I do like the oak.

The glass was $7.99 but the whole bottle is only $8.99 at Total Wine and Hob Nob Pinot Noir is probably not the best representation of French wine.

My advice, spend a few more dollars on something better.

 

Wine Review: 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Loft

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Well friends, the time has come to explore some new boxes. Enter, 2013 Loft Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi, California. Loft is the most expensive boxed wine at my neighborhood shop, weighing in at $22.00 and 13.8% alcohol.

While the website is a little vague as to which Lodi vineyards the Loft grapes are coming from, the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is good.

This is a jammy Cabernet Sauvignon, lots of fruit and not much oak. Despite the fact that I capital “L” Love oak, I still thought this Cabernet was pretty good. The product of cool temperature wine-making, Loft has produced a nicely balanced Cab featuring black fruit, vanilla, and spice.

Make no mistake, there is no other single bottle of wine that could be bought for $5.50 that would rival this 4 bottle box of wine for $22. Environmental and pocket book friendly, this is why I love the boxes.

When you’re just trying to get through the week, it’s boxed wine to the rescue!

Wine Review: 2015 California Shiraz, Black Box

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I was starting to get sad, thinking that there were no more Black Box reds for me to blog about and then a miner wine miracle occurred when this California Shiraz appeared on the shelf at my neighborhood shop. An unforeseen challenge of writing a wine blog is never buying the same wine twice; sooner or later the remaining options start to dwindle.

I have never tried any of the Black Box whites or the Rose but I do believe I have now officially sampled every one of their reds and, as boxes go, Black Box does not disappoint. They deliver consistently flavorful and pleasantly tasty red wines that would be suitable for any occasion.

First impression of Black Box Shiraz: buttery. That’s usually a description reserved for Chardonnay but this Shiraz really is buttery. Vanilla, licorice, oak, and cherry round out the flavor set and many episodes of Supernatural make it disappear without a trace. (What blows away, or is hidden in the recycle bin, need not be explained)

Other info: 13.5% alcohol, no headache, dulls flashbacks from a day in the copy center. Drink well, buy often, enjoy the fall weather while it lasts.

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