Under $20

Review: Arrogant Frog Syrah Rose

Twist off!

I am a cork lover through and through, but I’ve been seeing more screw caps as I browse wine store shelves and honestly, they have their benefits. Think of all those times you headed to a picnic with a beautiful bottle of wine only to get there and uh-oh, you forgot the cork screw! This has happened to me many times and I have tried to life hack, unsuccessfully…more on that in another post.

I was scavenging for a rose at BevMo the other day during their 5 cent wine sale. They don’t have a lot of Roses covered by the discount, but Arrogant Frog Syrah Rose fit the bill.

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I unscrewed the bright pink cap earlier this week and poured the translucent pink liquid into a glass. The bottle calls it “Lily Pad Pink”–how cute! I was busy shooting off emails and picking out new glasses as I sipped. The wine smelled like cherry blossoms and tasted like them too, at least what I think they’d taste like. Very flowery; the taste of candied fruit lingered on my tongue.

It reminded me of cherry blossom season in DC, my favorite time of year when I used to live in the capitol. Look how pretty the trees are! I have this first picture hanging in my living room.

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I tried the Syrah Rose again a couple of days later at dinner and it got tarter with time, but for me, that was a good thing.

It’s creator, Jean-Claude Mas, is known as the “humble winemaker” and he harvests grapes from the five main valleys in the South of France: Aude, Orb, Herault, Peyne and Uzes valleys. How fun are those names!

I’d buy this again for a picnic or as a gift to a floral wine lover, but I probably wouldn’t get it again to keep around the house.

Nuts and Bolts

courtesy of food.com

courtesy of food.com

Review: 2011 Baileyana Pinot Noir

A friend of mine hosted a fancy fundraising event with wine and naturally, since she’s a good friend, she gave me a whole case of the leftovers, which included Baileyana’s “Firepeak” Pinot Noir. Free wine, and lots of it can’t be beat! She gave another friend a case, too and I wasn’t surprised to see it out on the refreshment table at a pumpkin carving party I went to this week.

Despite having several glasses of the easy-to-drink red, I still managed to carve a pretty good pumpkin. It’s a Cockateil! Alright, alright, it was supposed to be a cat, but I mistakenly cut off its tail. Luckily for me, I know how to problem solve. Sometimes it looks like a bunny, sometimes it looks like my bird, Pepe, but I’ve decided to just describe this jack-o-lantern a bird.

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The Baileyana tastes chocalatey and fruity and is easy to drink, but it’s not for me. I tend to like Pinot Noirs smoky and this, to me, didn’t have that essence. However, it was a crowd pleaser at the pumpkin party. Hey, everyone–and their tastebuds–are different.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Baileyana
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Edna Valley
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: I got it for free, but it seems to range from $17-$20
  • Alcohol content:13%
  • When to drink: While entertaining friends who come over early before going out to dinner.

 

 

Review: Luisi Barbera d’Asti

Barbera’s not a wine grape you hear about everyday. In fact, before I drank the 2011 Luisi Barbera d’Asti, I had only had Barbera in blends before.

So what is Barbera all about?

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Barbera is one of the most popular grapes planted in Italy. You can also find it in Australia, thanks to UC Davis. It’s also grown in California.

Barbera wines run the gamut from fruity to medium-bodied to concentrated and intense. Often, they have a high acidity level.

When I drank the Luisi, it was ruby red and tanngyyy. After letting it sit in mouth for a bit, it felt like pop rocks. Who knew an Italian wine would bring me back to the schoolyard days?

There are two kinds of Barbera: Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba, which signify the region in Italy where the grapes come from. Asti is drier and Alba tends to be rainier and the climates impact the flavor of the wine. Luca Currado Vietti, owner of Vietti Winery, told Wine Spectator that Asti and Alba are like Napa and Sonoma, in the sense that they are two wonderful, neighboring wine regions. Some say d’Albas are fruitier and d’Asti’s are more intense, but I haven’t tried the former myself, so I can’t confirm.

I’ll add a Barbera d’Alba to my list of wines I have to try, but I won’t be getting a Vietti wine. They cost upwards of $80, which is way out of my budget, I mean out of this universe, out. If you have a suggestion for a Barbera d’Alba under $20–under $15, even better–let me know in the comments.

I wouldn’t recommend the Luisi Barbera d’Asti to everyone–especially not to those who prefer smooth wines that aren’t explosive on the taste buds.

However, if you like thick and bold, you’d probably enjoy this Barbera.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Luisi
  • Type: Barbera d’Asti
  • Origin: Italy
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: $16.95
  • Alcohol content:13%
  • When to drink: Bring this to dinner with the in-laws, not to your friend’s house party.

Review: Peachy Canyon Zinfandel

When Peachy Canyon Winery gave me a hat tip on Twitter for my handle, which is the same as my blog name,  I knew we’d get along. Then when they told me they they made luscious reds, I really knew we’d get along.

I picked up a bottle of their 2008 “Incredible Red” Zinfandel recently and it was the last in stock! It had a different label than the more recent vintages, so I assume the winery went through some sort of rebranding. Sometimes it pays off to pick one of the things that’s not like the others.

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I poured my boyfriend and I each a glass as we were cooking dinner last week. I almost always start sipping while stirring and chopping, well before dinner is actually served. A deep ruby, the wine envelops your tongue with its peppery, but fruity flavor. This is an easy drinking wine and great to have around for a mid-week sip.

It got along swimmingly with the chimichurri chicken and paprika brussel sprouts we had for dinner. According to foodandwinepairing.org, it’s not ideal to mix chicken with Zinfandel, but it tasted fine to me!

Sometimes I pay attention to food pairings, but usually by the rule of thumb: whites with fish, reds with meat. I usually drink what I want to drink and eat what I want to eat. If someone wants to make me a delicious six course meal paired with matching wines and blow me away with the pairings, maybe I’ll change my tune.

So who’s ready to cook me dinner?

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Peachy Canyon
  • Type: “Incredible Red” Zinfandel
  • Origin: Paso Robles, Calif.
  • Vintage: 2008
  • Price: $13.99
  • Alcohol content: 13.9%
  • When to drink: Mid-week, relaxing on the couch with your iPad, Yo La Tengo playing on Pandora