Light, fresh, limes, easy drinking: Those are the notes I jotted down on my phone before I saw my friends try to cheers and then drop a glass of beer at a bar. It was a birthday after all. Mazel Tov!
Lenz Moser is an Austrian winery and I hadn’t heard of it before. But it was a hot summer day, I was out for a friend’s birthday and I wanted something fresh and crisp. I got what I ordered. This spritzy wine has a bit of creaminess in there, too. Truly was a pleasure to drink.
If you want to order it with a fried chicken sandwich, head on over to Hermosillo in the Highland Park neighborhood of LA.
Nuts & Bolts:
Winery: Lenz Moser
Type: Gruner Vetliner
Price: It was $8 for the glass. A bottle is about that much too, according to wine-searcher.com
Alcohol content: 12%
When to drink: When it’s hot outside and you need something to cool ya down.
I’m not usually a Chardonnay fan. Something about the artificial butter taste turns me off. But we picked up the 2012 Gainey Vineyards Chardonnay at a friend’s party and I’ve had it sitting in my fridge for month. Then came a hot day and I was tired of beer, so I popped open this baby.
“Mmm, that’s pretty good,” were the first words that came out of my mouth. The super yellow–almost pee-colored yellow (sorry, but it’s true)–wine isn’t too buttery…just the right amount of smooth with a hint of vanilla. The wine has a full-mouth feel with longlasting flavor–think apples and melons– that kind of takes over and relaxes your tongue, almost like an anesthetic.
It smells like lemon bars and has a slatey/flinty bite at the end, which gets more pronounced as it warms up.
Nuts & Bolts:
Winery: Gainey Winery
Origin: Santa Rita Hills, California
Price: $38 (Straight from the vineyard, but we picked ours up as a leftover from a party. Score!)
Alcohol content: 14.1%
When to drink: This wine is perfect for picnics in the grass.
So you’ve all seen me write about my other half. He’s my humorous sounding board when I get too metaphorical about the wine I’m drinking. Well, I’ll soon be Mrs. Other Half and we did our engagement photos recently. Since wine is a passion we both share, we decided to incorporate it into our shoot.
The problem was—and not sure this is no much a problem as a dilemma—we picked a bottle that was too good. After we poured some of the 2013 Saucelito Canyon Grenache Blanc for the pictures and started sipping, we couldn’t stop.
We picked up the crisp white on Valentine’s Day while visiting San Luis Obispo, so it was sentimental. But it also came with a screw top, making it practical. Win, win.
The Rhone varietal is fruity, melony, in fact, and zesty.
Nuts and Bolts
Winery: Saucelito Canyon
Type: Grenache Blanc
Origin: San Luis Obispo
Price: $24, but we got a free tasting at the winery when we bought the bottle
Alcohol content: 14.2 %
When to drink: Get a B&B by the beach and open up this baby at sunset while sitting on the deck.
I went to Vegas with some friends for my bachelorette party and rather than drive, we flew, yay! And rather than have to pay for wine, our virgin flight gave us a free drink. Too bad they didn’t have champagne. We opted for the only white option, a chardonnay, because it was 10 a.m. and I felt white was probably more socially-acceptable. If we were camping, I would have been OK with beer for breakfast, but this was my bachelorette celebration!
Now, I’m not usually a fan of Chardonnay, but when in Rome… This wine had a Food Network label on it, so it had to be some sort of partnership. It was meh. Tasted of apples and it was easy-drinking. Wasn’t expecting much—I mean, it didn’t have a vintage on the label— so it was fine for what it was. But since I didn’t have to pay for it, why not?
While in Vegas, I got to see the Beatles show, which was amazing, and even got a delicious Kahlua/ coffee milkshake from BLT. The perfect end to a fun weekend.
Nuts and Bolts
Origin: Dubiously just says California on the bottle, but it’s made by Wente Vineyards, which is in Livermore.
When to drink: I probably wouldn’t pick up a bottle of this, but would drink again on a flight to Vegas.
I tasted the 2011 Dillon Vineyards Chardonnay at Silver Lake Wines weekly Blue Mondays (a great deal!) and it made me melt.
The creamy Chardonnay swims down your tongue like it’s a slip-and-slide of butter. It’s aged in French Oak, and there’s a hint of that in there, too, but the second malolactic fermentation is really the star here and va-va-voomed this yellow beauty.
This peachy wine has a bit of a sour bite, but I thought this tart apple flavor counteracted the butteriness in a good way.
Nuts and Bolts
- Winery: Dillon Vineyards
- Type: Chardonnay
- Origin: Yountville Appellation, Napa Valley
- Price: $21
- Alcohol content: 13.5%
- When to drink: Go crazy with the creaminess and pair this golden Chardonnay with some brie.
My dad loves when he finds kosher wines, even though he doesn’t keep kosher. He brought this kosher Chardonnay to meet my other half’s parents for a brunch we hosted at our apartment–like three years after we’ve been dating. I know, I know, weprocrastinated. We ended up sticking to mimosas, so this bottle was left over.
We cracked it open this week when we finished another bottle of white, but wanted one more glass. We needed a bottle we could sacrifice, one that it would be OK if we didn’t finish and we could toss later.
I pulled the 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay out of the fridge. Now, don’t call me mean. 1) I don’t like chardonnays much. It has to be a special chardonnay for me to enjoy it (And I actually do have a good one chilling right now) and 2) I’ve had meh luck with Terrenals in the past. Although the 2010 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon was good enough to bring to a Passover Seder.
All I can really say is that the wine tasted watery. It’s made from grapes harvested at the foothills of the Andes mountains, according to the bottle. I already had low expectations, but I thought there would be some traditional tenets of chardonnays. But where was my malolactic buttery taste? Where was my full body? Where was the apple flavor?
So what zinger did my other half give when I asked if he liked it after I turned up my nose? “It reminds me of sticking my tongue on a Duracell battery. The aftertaste is just not good.”
He was referring to the wine’s acidity.
So thanks for the sacrifice, but we’re saying sayonara to the 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay.
Nuts & Bolts:
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s
Alcohol content: 12.5%
When to drink: I’d highly recommend you don’t drink this wine, even if it is kosher and that’s an important factor.
The first thing I thought of when taking a sip of the 2013 Kenwood Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was: Spritzy! I felt a surprise party in my mouth! No, really.
This very bright wine, that has a little oily nature, was unexpectedly acidic. It was stored in stainless steel tanks, so that could have been the reason for the extra bubble. It’s fruit-forward and tangy, the lemony/sour notes were honestly a bit overwhelming.
What did my other half have to say about this Sauvignon Blanc? Our exchange below:
Me: “So love, what do you think? It’s lemony right?”
My boy: “It reminds me of cough syrup.”
Me: “So it’s bad then.”
My boy: “No, cough syrup is delicious.”
I’m still not sure if he was being sarcastic…
Nuts & Bolts:
Winery: Kenwood Vineyards
Type: Sauvignon Blanc
Price: $19.99. Purchased during BevMo 5 cent wine sale, so got two for one!
Alcohol content: 13.5%
When to drink: This Sauvignon is a good everyday drinker, if you like Lemon Drops! Actually, that’s a good idea, pair this wine with some sour patch kids and watch a funny movie on Netflix.
Gervertminer. Guhvetzmeener. Guvoortztrameener. Ahhh, always so hard to pronounce, but the last transliteration is the way to go.
Anyhow, this German grape makes for some sweet, fruity wine and this Temecula Valley version is no different.
The 2012 Danza del Sol Gewürztraminer is a bit creamy, with hints of melon. It leaves a tingly feeling on your tongue, not quite like sparkling water, but there’s some spritiness there.
I visited this winery with my cousin for her bachelorette outing. It looked like a traditional Temecula winery, all fake Tuscany, but the wine was mostly OK and you get a free glass with your tasting, plus it’s waiver when you buy a bottle, a pretty typical offering in Temecula. However, I think for $26, this Gewürztraminer is overpriced.
Nuts & Bolts:
- Winery: Danza del Sol
- Type: Gewürztraminer
- Origin: Temecula
- Vintage: 2012
- Price: $26
- Alcohol content: 12.5%
- When to drink: On a drunken winery tour. Finish this bottle at the winery. If you take it home to drink the luster may wear off and you’ll be scratching your head as to why you spent $26 on wine.
I was tired of not having white wine in the fridge when I was hankering for a refreshing sip on a hot summer night, so I went to Trader Joe’s and stacked up on whites.
I picked up this Les Portes de Bordeaux Savignon Blanc that I hadn’t tried before. Savignon Blanc, in my mind, evokes memories of a wine that is usually crisp, citrusy, melony, sometimes grassy, and dry. This one was citrusy, but more in the grapefruit-camp, kind of like a Viognier. It was really tangy, like in your face tangy, and that caught me off guard.
To me it smelled like Pine Sol and to my drinking partner it smelled like white grape juice, so there wasn’t a lot of depth here. It did have some acidity, which gave it a redeeming bubbliness, but I wouldn’t buy it again.
Nuts & Bolts:
- Winery: Les Portes de Bordeaux
- Type: Savignon Blanc
- Origin: Bordeaux, France
- Vintage: 2013
- Price: $4.99
- Alcohol content: 12%
- When to drink: I’d skip this bottle if you’re wandering through Trader Joe’s.
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.