Category Archives: Wine Recommendations

Goulish wines for Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching (as in 3 days from now!). The evening is full of spooky revelry for both kids and adults. In my neighborhood, after the kiddos are in bed and the masses have subsided, the adults get together for their own version of candy – wine & cocktails! This is a fun time to choose wines for their label, and we have some spooky – and delicious – picks.

velvetdevil

The Velvet Devil Merlot - with a pitch fork and everything! From eccentric winemaker, Charles Smith, this is a supple red from Washington State.

Ghost Pines -  The winery produces Chardonnay,  Cabernet Sauvignon and a Red Blend. The wines are smooth and supple, with lots of ripe fruit.

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo - “Cellar of the devil” – got to have these wines on hand for any Halloween festivities as they are great value and actually named for a haunted cellar!

Razor’s Edge – Choose from Shiraz or Shiraz-Grenache. The label harks back to movies with Freddy Kruger or Jason from “Halloween.” What’s inside is that ripe Aussie fruit style – easy drinking and good for watching the kiddos go door-to-door.

Perfect Wines for Trying Parenting Times

siblingsWe posted this through our friends at skinnyscoop.com and received a fantastic response! In honor of Mother’s Day, we though we’d re-post. Cheers!

 

The kids won’t. Stop. Fighting.
WINE: Leeuwin Estate Siblings Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
They may not be able to partake with you, but perhaps you can drink in sibling harmony with Leeuwin Estate’s Siblings. A delicious white that may give you strength to referee fighting in the background.

Not one child will fess up to breaking the vase in the living room
WINE: Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir
Someone had to do it, but no one wants the blame… In honor of your childrens’ ability to sidestep taking responsibility, sip on Innocent Bystander’s Pinot Noir (they also many a delicious Pinot Gris).

You have to give your kid candy to even take a bath/nap/get out the door
WINE: Decoy wines by Duckhorn
Some people call it a bribe, we call it a decoy. After all, aren’t we just distracting our child to get them to do something else? Is it really so wrong… ?

Both you and your spouse forget to pick up the kids at school
WINE: Veramonte Ritual Pinot Noir
No kids like to be forgotten at school, but it certainly happens due to miscommuncation at home! Get into a routine and ritual and sip on Veramonte’s Ritual Pinot Noir. Perhaps a few glasses of this will help you forget that you forgot.

Come home to find your husband has let the kids run amok
WINE: Tait “The Ball Buster” Shriaz
Yep, sometimes you’ve got to bust some balls, especially when you come home to a house in chaos. Sip on the “Ball Buster” Shiraz while you knock some sense into your family.

Toddler has a meltdown in grocery store (or other public place)
WINE: Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir (or any of their Pinot Noir)
You leave your cart abandoned in a random aisle as you carry your kicking and screaming 2-year-old out of the store. Time to break out the good stuff. Sip on Domaine Serene Pinot Noir to help melt away the stress.

You’re called into school to discuss your child’s “behavior” issues
WINE: L’Ecole 41 wines
You may be dreading that conference at school, but pop open another schoolhouse treat from L’Ecole Winery in Washington State. Their selection is top-notch and will help you focus less on the “other” school you have to see.

A REALLY bad day of potty training
WINE: Clean Slate Riesling
You don’t want to even remember what you cleaned up that day – you just want to start over. Start a clean slate with this crisp and refreshing dry Riesling.

Club 89

Here’s a re-post of one of our favorites!

90UNDER20_worldsbest_167x110One of the most popular sections on Wine.com is our 90 under 20 list, where we feature wines that are rated 90 points or higher by one of the 10 publications we use for ratings, and priced under $20. We like to call it the list where quality meets value. However, as much as our customers love this list, we often wonder what to do to tout the value and delicious properties of wines rated 89 points, just one point under that magical 90. I mean, it is just one point, after all. But it makes all the difference. A paper that gets an 89 grade is only a B+ while one with 90 gets an A-. With just one point difference, the scoring drastically changes.

But with wine, this is not the case. In most publications, the 86 – 89 score range is described as good, very good, excellent and highly recommended. Heck, I’ll take that for a great everyday wine! Especially at a great price. In fact, I’d personally prefer a wine with multiple 88 and 89 scores than a wine with just one 90 point score. Matt Kramer agrees with me (or perhaps I agree with him, as he has a much more experienced wine history than I) in this article where he says:

“The “gimme a 90-point wine” approach offers, I freely admit, the greatest good-wine-to-least-effort ratio. But you might be surprised to learn that even the folks who hand out points know they’re only one path to wine bliss. (I’m an 88-point buyer myself, as the higher up the point scale you go, the more “drama in the glass” you’re likely to get-and I don’t always want quite so much drama with my dinner.)”

More recently, he wrote an article called “The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Wine People,” where he listed Habit #5 as: Never buy anything with a score lower than 90 points. He says, “Wine consumers of the world, you know you’re doing this, so ‘fess up. Really, it’s ridiculous. You can fuss about the rightness or wrongness of scoring wines, but the fetishistic fussiness of the 90-point barrier has become absurd. Effectively, it creates a 10-point scale, which doesn’t leave a lot of leeway, does it?

My own experience is that the best deals (and often the best wines for my palate) are those that get 86 to 88 points. There’s nothing magical about 90 points. If you’re one of those “90 points or nothing” sorts, let me give it to you straight: You’re missing out on some great wines and some amazing values.”

Well said Mr. Kramer, as always.

Some wines are underrated – Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc and 89 pointers. That’s just my opinion, but I ask you to taste for yourself. Stock up on some 89 and even 88 pointers for your everyday drinking wines and see if you don’t find some amazing winners. You’ll join Club 89 before you know it.

Celebrities & Wine

They say to make a small fortune in wine, you must start with a large one. So it makes sense that celebrities buy and own wineries.  We’ve been getting news across the board about celebrity wines, and we’ve been stocking up on a few as they become available. Most recently, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt released their Miraval rose, produced on their own property in France and crafted by the Perrin family of Beaucastel fame. Given the serious and artisan nature of their acting, one can hope that they have put the same passion behind their wine. We encourage you to try some, as well as others from your favorite celebrities!

Miraval Rose: On pre-sale for now, this beautiful bottle hails from the Provence estate recently purchased by the Jolie-Pitt clan. They’re not messing around. With help from the Rhone-based Perrin family, proprietors of Chateau Beaucastel, the Jolie-Pitts are using the best of the region to release this rose, showcasing a beautiful package and what we hope to be a delicious wine.

Barrymore Pinot Grigio: This is a wine produced by Drew Barrymore. Seems that Drew was inspired by the journey wine takes – from grape to bottle – and wanted to create a wine that reflected her taste and style – fresh, dynamic, fun. Well, we agree, wine IS all about the journey and we think Drew is definitely all those things. The wine is from the northeast corner of Italy, and the label is done by Shepard Fairey, the same artist behind the Obama “Hope” poster.

Dreaming Tree: Dave Matthews is not only a talented crooner, but also a lover of wine. His Dreaming Tree label makes three wines from the North Coast – a Chardonnay, a Cabernet and a red blend. Give them a try while listening to some mellow music…

Top Chef Quickfire: A line of wines created by the Top Chef enterprise. They produce Zinfandel,  Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio.

Top Underrated Wine Regions

There are a plethora of underrated wine regions and grapes in the world. That is to say that the wine geeks know and love them, but the general wine public do not. Could be because they are hard to pronounce, or the labels are confusing, or they are not as hyped up or available in stores. Whatever the reason, the wine geeks will continually try to push these underrated wines onto the everyday wine drinkers until they become popular, and then we will move onto something else. So, in the effort to educate, here are my top picks for underrated regions in the wine world:

Alsace: Hands down, one of the best regions for white wine ever. Pinot Blanc is refreshing trimbachin its simplicity, Pinot Gris is rich and round, blends are unique and complex, and the Cremants (sparkling) from Alsace are devine. Not to mention affordable. In all, a region producing an array of whites – from sparkling to dry to sweet – that are ideal for food and easy on the wallet.

Loire: Wait, did I say Alsace was hands down best for whites. Hmmm… I take it back. Because there is also the Loire. Another French region so often overlooked, the Loire produces food-friendly whites, reds, rose, sparkling and sweet wines, with a huge range of flavors, from refreshing Muscadet to steely Sancerre to off-dry Vouvray to light and fresh Chinon (a red wine).  And it’s all so damn good, with one underlying aspect: acidity! These wines are all crisp and perfect with food. So if you love acid, buy a bottle (of anything!) from the Loire. Your palate will thank you.

Western Australia: Australia gets lots of love, but Baroassa Shiraz, Clare Valley Rieslings and Yarra Valley Pinot are diverse and all, but you have to try Margaret River wines to leeuwin vineyardstruly understand the depth of Australian wine. All the way across the country, Margaret River is a region with a climate similar to Bordeaux, which results in incredible Cabernet and Cabernet blends. For whites, they make some of the best Chardonnay I’ve had, definitely the best in Australia. Just give Leeuwin Artist Series or Cullen a try. You’ll be in heaven.

Austria: I’m hesitant to even put this on here because Austria is gaining some ground in hype and availability of its wines. Gruner Veltliner is obviously the top white to try (one of the best to pair with those vegetables that never pair well with foods), and then you have a whole line up of hard-to-pronounce reds like Zweigelt and Blaufrankish. They won’t be your typical Cab/Merlot/Pinot flavor profile, but they are interesting and.. you guessed it. Food friendly (do you see my theme here?).

So give some of these wines a try – for the ones you can find – and broaden that palate. You’ll be well on your way to wine geekdom.