Wine Review: 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel, Predator

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On yet another trip to the Frederick Wine Ho(use) to get something else (I think it was 19 Crimes), Xavier asked the sales woman if they carried Old Vine Zin from Oakridge Winery. We thought they might have it since they also carried Old Soul. They did not have, and had not even heard of, the Old Vine Zin but she showed us another Lodi grown Old Vine Zinfandel called Predator.

“It’s smoky and tastes like bacon“, she exclaimed with a level of enthusiasm that meant she wasn’t just making it up. ”

“You had me at ladybug”, I replied.

Clearly, I had to try the wine that tastes like bacon so it became the reason for our next trip to the Frederick Wine Ho.

Predator is a sub-brand of Rutherford Wine Company and they are well known for their sustainability practices that include using natural predators such as lady bugs, instead of harmful pesticides, to control grape eating insects in their vineyards.

 

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While privately hoping that the secret ingredient in this bacon brew was not ladybugs, I could hardly wait to get it home and give it a taste.

To say that Predator Old Vine Zinfandel is smoky and tastes like a bacon is an almost comical understatement. The flavors are quite pronounced and, because of that, it’s a love it or hate it concoction.

Xavier did not like it, at all, but I wasn’t dissuaded.

I really liked it!

Just imagine getting a package of super premium bacon from Keller’s Farm Stores and then loading it up on a George Foreman grill. The scent fills the house and even attracts the neighbors. Don’t overcook the bacon, it doesn’t need to be crisp like jerky, just crispy enough that it has a bit of crunch but retains that juicy/fatty quality that sends the taste buds straight into orgasmic euphoria.

Yep, then pour it in a bottle with a ladybug label and call it Zinfandel.

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Wine Review: 2015 Pinot Noir, Old Soul Vineyards – Lodi, CA

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Yesterday, after wrapping up a fun shopping trip for cactus and gardening supplies at Lowe’s, Xavier says, “Hey, we’re really close to the Frederick Wine Ho”, which is husband-speak for, “I want to go there and buy stuff”, so we did.

Now, the place is actually called Frederick Wine House, but it shows up on my bank statement as Frederick Wine Ho so that has become it’s new unofficial name.

Anyway, a while back we were there to fetch some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Devil’s Locker but, upon entering the store, wine magnets moved my feet in a bee-line to this enchanting bottle of Old Soul Pinot Noir.  I didn’t get it that day but I kept it in the memory banks for future reference.

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Serious question: Is that a tree or a grape vine?
Old Soul Vineyards is actually a sub-brand of a larger company known as Oak Ridge Winery. If you scroll down on this page https://shoporw.vintegrate.com/  you can see all of their brands.

Fun fact: A few weeks ago, Xavier and I took a little road trip out to Trader Joe’s in Reston, VA specifically for the purpose of perusing their wine selection. On that trip we found what turned out to be an excellent Lodi based Zinfandel from Old Vine Zin. A bit of research revealed that Old Vine Zin is also a sub-brand of Oak Ridge Winery.

Old Vine Zin (Old Zin Vine?) will be a post for another day but, sufficed to say, the bottle didn’t last long.

Back to the Old Soul Pinot Noir, which is positively excellent, and not just because of the groovy label…

If dark chocolate and an oak tree got drunk on espresso and had a baby, it would be this wine. Boasting a prominent oak flavor (not unlike Red Velvet from Cupcake) and slightly bitter, though very pleasant, tones of dark chocolate and espresso, this is the kind of wine that makes me want to put a straw in the bottle and refer to the whole thing as “one drink”.  As in, “What?? I only had ONE drink…”

For best results, enjoy by candlelight by the patio on a hot summer evening.

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This is not really part of the wine review but these are the new cacti mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Wine Review: RedVolution, Bota Box

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In preparation for the rest of my life, I’ve gone back to school. Starting with this summer semester, I’ve begun course work online from Central New Mexico Community College. This means that, in addition to working full time, I now come home and spend three to four hours doing homework every night. While it also explains why I haven’t been writing very many wine reviews lately, it does not mean that I haven’t been enjoying my fair share of wine and keeping notes in my special wine journal for future blog posts.

One of my recent favorites is RedVolution from Bota Box.

Upon realizing that the wine budget was rivaling my car payment, I knew I had to find a more sustainable alternative.

Enter stage left: the box.

When you buy a bottle of wine, a good percentage of the price is actually the bottle itself, the label and the cork. In other words, you’re paying for packaging, not wine.

Box wine, on the other hand, does not come in a bottle that looks sophisticated sitting on the coffee table for one night, but the difference is that it sits on the kitchen counter for at least a week. This 3 liter box is equivalent in volume to four 750ml (regular size) bottles of wine and costs about $20. Say what you will but there is no $5 bottle of wine that is going to rival the yumminess of RedVolution so, you know, math wins.

RedVolution is one of those ideal red blends. They don’t say what’s in it but it’s very smooth and exhibits a subtle smoky quality. The box says cherries and cocoa and I would agree with that claim. I’ve never gotten a headache from RedVolution and even though it’s packs a wallop at 13.5% alcohol, it doesn’t hit me very hard. The perfect end to a 14+ hour day of dealing with stressful idiots and then trying to teach myself to be smart is a delicious and calming glass of RedVolution.

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Wine Review: 2014 Red Velvet, Cupcake Vineyards

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Oak and alcohol.

N’uff said.

Yes. It is smooth like buttah, or velvet, as the case may be.

No. It does not taste like cake, not even a little bit.

I like this wine quite a bit though I don’t really agree with Cupcake’s description of it. Perhaps I have unsophisticated taste buds but anyone who thinks this wine tastes like coconut is probably high on something else besides wine.

Red Velvet is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Petite Sirah. They ferment each varietal before blending and then add a whole lot of oak. This is actually my 2nd bottle of Red Velvet and both bottles were pretty consistent; strong on the oak and more subtle with the fruit. It has a nice, smooth finish and is positively outstanding with chips and salsa. Blue corn tortilla chips with organic black bean and corn salsa from Aldi, to be specific.

Some people like to pair wine with chocolate but I like to pair it with salsa. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

Cupcake Red Velvet is a tasty, easy drinking wine. I plan to enjoy more of it.

Other pertinent facts.

13.5% alcohol

Around $10.

NO headache 🙂

Wine Review: 2016 Dark Red, 19 Crimes

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Xavier bought me a fantastic wine decanter and that is the best part of this review.

A wine decanter helps the wine to open up faster by exposing more of the surface area to oxygen. Aside from that, it looks cool.

Of course you then have to hurry up and drink it before it gets too oxidized, grows bacteria, and turns into an unsavory science project.

The Banished is 19 Crimes’ Dark Red Blend. Once again, no info on the bottle and I can’t get the website to work because, for some inexplicable reason, my computer will not allow me to check the box certifying that I am of legal drinking age.  No checky box, no loady website.

In any case, I can tell you that 19 Crimes is located in south eastern Australia and the wine in this bottle was indeed dark red.

I think it tasted alright but I kinda don’t remember because it gave me a red wine headache that lasted for two days.

Two. Days.

If you’re prone to red wine headaches, I recommend skipping this one.

Wine Review: 2016 Red Wine Blend, 19 Crimes

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The label is curiously devoid of any words to describe the contents and the website won’t load so your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what’s in the bottle.

It’s definitely wine and it’s definitely red.

So there you have it.

19 Crimes is from Australia, home of Shiraz, and so far as I can tell Shiraz seems to be the main ingredient in this blend. I’m guessing the other ingredient to be Cabernet Sauvignon but that is purely a guess.

According to Xavier it, “smells like a whole lotta wood in there”, and it does indeed.

Despite the lack of information, I really liked this wine. It had a unique flavor that I had not tasted before; jammy but not heavy with the oak falling in exactly the right part of the flavor spectrum. Additionally, it tastes exactly the way it smells so the sipping experience is a harmonious and happy one.

I would absolutely buy it again.

Wine Review: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Casillero del Diablo

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Straight from the Devil’s locker.

The direct translation of Casillero is “pigeon hole” or “locker”.

From their website, I would guess that they are making reference to the Devil’s personal collection but let’s not get caught up on semantics.

It’s no secret that Xavier and I eat at  Cacique a lot. I mean a lot.

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I’ve had this Cabernet Sauvignon twice at Cacique and still liked it enough to get a bottle of my very own.

Caserillo del Diablo doesn’t mess around.  This is the best Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve had. It’s got just the right amount of everything: right amount of oak, right amount of fruit, right amount of smooth finish, and generally the right amount of awesome.

I often find Cab to be a little full bodied, too bold, too much upper cut to the upper palate, but Caserillo del Diablo is not like that at all.  It’s silky smooth and seriously dangerous. The bottle disappears very easily.

Other pertinent facts: NO red wine headache.

This is the first wine from Chile that I’ve had and I have to say that maybe Kricket is onto something.  Chile tastes good.  

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