Thursday, September 28, 2023

Belhara Estate Single Vineyard Malbec 2021

Deep dark purple nearly black hue with aromas of ripe plum, luscious sweet black berry, sweet smoked dark berry fruit, 

Palate--Incredibly intense, dense flavors of rich, ripe dark berry fruit with tar, rich sweet spice, textured thick structure, and a finish that won't stop.

Another Trader Joe's show stopper at $10 that will blow your socks off! I only bought one bottle but will definitely be buying MANY more!   Raise a glass!  

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Restaurant Wine Menu Challenge

Hints for an upscale restaurant with a voluminous wine list:

The wine "catalogue" is brought to your table and your first thought is, "Is there a Cliff's Notes version of this encyclopedia of fruit of the vine? You pass trying to figure it all out by choosing a $10 glass of wine you "think" you may have heard of.

Trying to keep this brief but meaningful here are some rules of thumb:

1. decide--if you can--whether you might want, red, white, rosé or sparkling.

2.  If you have a preference for a particular country, look for such a highlight. 

                                    --You're narrowing the mysteries down--

3.  *In a list of wines, the better "value" wines tend to be listed in the middle!

                        --Better value means the markup is less than on other wines.--

4.  I have found that most "nicer" restaurants that have a "designated wine person" are excited to make a recommendation for you base on what you tell them. Be honest about your wine IQ, tell them your price range (speaking of by the bottle here) and I have always been impressed how well they do! 

Hints for a routine, limited wine list in a "normal" restaurant:  

Look at the price of your wine by the bottle versus by the glass (if offered).  Wine by the glass is PRICEY! A bottle (750ml) of wine yields 5- 4 ounce pours        or 4-5 ounce pours. So if you are planning to have two glasses of wine each for you and your company, do the math!  A $32 bottle of wine, is cheaper than buying 4 glasses of the same wine for $9 a glass.

Another rule of thumb is that a bottle of wine that costs double what you could buy the wine for in a store is a pretty decent value! Restaurants make big money off their alcohol sales sometimes pushing their markup to 150% over retail.  

Needless to say, I rarely buy wine when I go out to eat. I can't stand being gouged, paying for 1 glass of wine for what I KNOW I could buy the whole bottle for from my local supermarket!

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Storm Point Chenin Blanc 2022


Very pale straw hue with aromas of gentle lime, vanilla, and green apple.

Palate--Off dry, with fruity core and creamy beams of vanilla bean, lime, citrus and a peppy finish that lingers.

I grabbed this at a local wine shop for $14. I have not had a Chenin Blanc in ages and now I wonder why not.  I LOVE Chenin Blanc! This is a South African version which they do very well. 

Chenin Blanc had a metamorphosis about 20 years ago going from a crappy, cloying jug wine to an admirable white wine pairing well with lobster, seafood, some white cheesy pastas, and even some Asian fare. Give it a shot and raise a glass!

Ice in your wine???

You've probably seen it if not even requested it, you order a white wine and you have a couple cubes put in it.        Warning--Professional opinion only: Drinking anything is a personal choice. Every person likes what they like! There is NO authoritative "right or wrong" when it comes to matters of personal preference. 

I have seen people push away a glass of very pricey wine saying, "I don't care for it." That's fair! But that doesn't equal, "it is an inferior wine." So what about adding some ice to a glass of bubbly or Prosecco, or Chardonnay?  Well, there have been a few times--very few--when a wine was served so warm that it was hardly potable. No time to throw it in the freezer for 20 minutes so in goes the ice. 

You have just altered what you actually purchased by watering it down and all the "master" and craft that went into the production of that wine is now destroyed.  BUT--YOU like what you like, so drink up.

Let me use this as an illustration: Living in Maine we enjoy lobster and we served our children lobster when they old enough to make decisions about such matters. Our daughter put ketchup on hers; a lot of ketchup... so we never served her lobster again. She is an adult now and I don't think she has ever bought lobster for herself. But if she did and she paid for it, have it at! But not on my dime. 

One last tip--if you order a bottle of wine at a restaurant ask them how the wine is being stored. Both red and white and rosé should be temperature controlled but that costs money. (Good restaurants will do this but honestly I go to very few "good" restaurants where this would be the practise.) So I rarely order wine when dining out.  

Stay tuned for more information about buying wine when you're out! 

Friday, September 01, 2023

Torre Zambra Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2017

Very nice dark, garnet with intensity, aromas of beautiful seet red and dark berries above the rim, the slightest suggestion of mint, and savory spices.

Palate--Full bodied, delicious berry flavors in balance with savory spices and a ristic note.  The finish lingers for a good while with surprising heft.

I reviewed this wine just a couple months ago and I don't remember it this way but I know I liked it.  

Here is my quote from my initial review--"I'll reserve my assessment for another bottle which I have laid down for a bit. Even at $9 the jury is still out."  Well I LOVE this wine and it is absolutely the 92 points Mr. Suckling gave it when he reviewed it.  I paid $9 for it and will grab more if I have the chance.  Raise a glass!