I find myself saying this more often than not to my friends who buy two-buck chuck, which is actually three-buck chuck, spend the extra $1.49 and just get a Trader Joe’s Coastal wine instead.
The Coastal brand never seems to disappoint for $4.49. The Sauvignon Blanc smells and tastes like a traditional Sauvignon Blanc: You’ve got your grassy, tropical fruit scent and your crisp, citrus taste. This wine will leave a bubbly feeling on your tongue as you taste the subtle lime and pear and green apples. It’s just a fresh wine, perfect for a lazy summer night.
Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a winery, really. The Coastal brand is bottled and vinted by Castoro Cellars, a well-liked winery in Paso Robles (I say that based on their Yelp review; I haven’t visited myself). Trader Joe’s puts its name on the bottle, but Castoro does the work, getting the grapes from throughout the Central Coast.
Nuts & Bolts:
Winery: Trader Joe’s Coastal
Type: Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: Central Coast
Alcohol content: 13%
When to drink: No need to drink this with dinner! Pop open a bottle on a hot, summer night (but then keep it in a cooler to stay chilled!) and enjoy a moment on the porch, or in your yard, or wherever you can see some nature. Alternatively, pop this baby open while watching the latest Bridget Jones movie or whatever so-bad-it’s-good movie you are craving.
While weekend getawaying in San Luis Obispo with three lovely ladies, I imbibed the 2011 Saucelito Canyon Cotes de Blanc.
This blend smells of peaches and melon and lays heavy on the tongue, lingering for awhile, in a good way. It has a pleasant hint of butteriness and its light minerality gives it a dash of crisp bubbly. The blend of Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne is a drier white and it’s sweet, but not too sweet, a perfect match for the thai salad I ate with it for dinner at Big Sky Cafe, a wonderful foody haunt in SLO.
The next day we drove by the winery as we headed to the wine trail. Sadly, we didn’t make it there in time, but I heard they have stand-out Zinfandel. For another visit!
Nuts and Bolts
- Winery: Saucelito Canyon
- Type: White Blend (62% Grenache Blanc, 16% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Viognier, 8% Marsanne, 6% Roussanne)
- Origin: Central Coast
- Vintage: 2011
- Price: $22 (at the restaurant, probably less in stores)
- Alcohol content: Whoops, forgot to jot it down!
- When to drink: This would be lovely for a midmorning brunch/lunch featuring something with a little spiccccy.
Sweet and spritzy, this wine is a good alternative for Muscat lovers. From Mendoza, Argentina, this white is a blend of Torrontes and Sauvignon Blanc (10%), so it’s easy to understand the floral and peachy flavors emanating from this syrupy drink.
The artsy bottle suggests pouring the wine over ice and adding a bit of lime. That made me do a double take. Wine over ice? Reminds me too much of my aunt, who I would never ask for a wine recommendation, but those who’ve done this are giving it rave reviews.
Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this sweet blend, although it did remind me of lazy summer days by the pool in Palm Springs. I’ve got about half a bottle left after drinking it at dinner with the boyf and I’m thinking of mixing the rest with Orange Juice, giving a twist to the traditional Mimosa.
We got this bottle for free, so no harm done since we didn’t like it. Although my other half described it (half-jokingly) as an appropriate torture tool, I took a more balanced approach. While it didn’t do well with our spaghetti squash and pesto dinner, I could see how some sweet wine lovers would enjoy it on its own.
Nuts and Bolts
- Winery: New Age
- Type: Torrontes (90%) and Sauvignon Blanc (10%)
- Origin: Mendoza
- Vintage: Not listed on bottle.
- Price: Gifted
- Alcohol content: 9%
- When to drink: Drink this on a hot day, lounging by the pool, or pour a bit into some orange juice for a twist on the traditional Mimosa.
I trotted through the Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara after a friend suggested the route when I told her my boyfriend and I were celebrating our anniversary on the American Riviera. While on the trail–which has the feel of a bar hop swapping cocktails for wine–the lovely people at Oreana Winery suggested we check out Area 5.1 across the street.
It’s a small tasting room, tucked into what seems like a business plaza, much different than other wineries on the trail that actually make wine on the premises. Rather than looking like a traditional tasting room, the winery felt like a classy sports bar. Football was playing on TV–which I usually dislike in wine tasting rooms, but it went with the vibe– and a large scoreboard-like marquee noted who made what wine and who was on duty.
Area 5.1 is owned by two Australian guys who decided to play off their resident alien statuses. All their wines are blends and cheeky takes on secret government investigations of the other worldly.
I bought two bottles of wine from them, a white blend called White Light and a red blend called Majestic 12, although they were over my typical price limit. I was on vacation! It was my anniversary! I was getting tipsy!
This review is about the White Light. I’ll tell you about the Majestic 12 another time.
White Light was crisp and refreshing, fruity–think tropical tastes– without being sticky on the tongue. I uncorked it at a dinner party we had with some friends. We made shrimp strifry, cookies made from the spent grain left over after we home brewed pumpkin beer, and toasted with glasses of White Light.
I would definitely drink it again!
Nuts and Bolts
- Winery: Area 5.1
- Type: Blend of Savignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Semillon
- Origin: Santa Ynez
- Vintage: 2011
- Price: $22
- Alcohol content: 13.5%
- When to drink: At a bachelorette party dinner, before the shots.