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July 31, 2006

Woot Wine 7/31/06: S. Anderson Sparkling Wine

S Anderson Sparkling Wine QuartetWe know there are a couple things amiss with us covering the wine discounts over at Woot Wine - one, the total price usually falls well out of our "under $20" price range and two, Rick over at Martini Lounge already covers it more than adequately every week.

Still, we've had very good experiences with the wines we've gotten through Woot, the total discounts can be pretty damned substantial if you don't mind shelling out up front to buy your wine in a quartet. Plus, we'll check in on Rick each week to see if his recommendation matches up with ours and let you know.

Anyway, this week's wine Woot is for 4 bottles of sparkling wine from S. Anderson - 2 bottles of Blanc de Blanc and 2 bottles of Blanc de Noir for $84.99 plus $5 shipping. The wines and the winery get pretty good reviews over at Epinions, and the Noir is typically priced at $28 while the Blanc is usually $38. Some quick math by a Woot poster says now the average retail price is $33, for 35.6% savings overall. Not too shabby.

Recommendation: We say go for it if the following apply to you: you plan to go to a lot of chic parties this year, you plan to give them as gifts, you just LOVE sparkling wine because the bubbles tickle your nose. And don't forget since these wines came out fairly recently you can cellar these bad boys too if you don't need them quite yet.

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July 31, 2006

Help Create a Winery B&B with Wine Charmer

More Wine Charmers to SellY'know those little wine charmer doohickeys you can hang from the stem of your wine glass so you don't get them mixed up? Well Wine Charmers, one of the companies that makes them, wants to sell a million of them. Big surprise, right? But here's the catch - if they sell a million of those little suckers they're going to build a Bed & Breakfast in San Diego with a winery right on the premises. Pretty cool right? So get to buying some Wine Charmers - maybe if you buy like 100,000 they'll let you stay at the Winery B&B for free.

Read the full press release after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Help Create a Winery B&B with Wine Charmer"

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July 30, 2006

10 Wines for Under $10

Cheap Wine ShoppingDon't believe what your wine snob friends tell you - there's no shame in paying under $10 for your wine. Believe us...we stopped wearing the glasses and fake mustache to the liquor store years ago. We've found an interesting story with a list of 10 good wines for under 10 smackers and while the listed prices are for what this guy paid in Indiana, you should be able to find most of these wines in your area for a more or less similar price.

  1. CA' DEL SOLO BIG HOUSE RED, $8.97
    Long before the screw cap got sexy, this Santa Cruz, Calif., wine came cork-free. If you're still wary, read the bottle's label, which makes a good case for the cap.

  2. CHATEAU GRANDE CASSAGNE ROSE COSTIERES DE NIMES, $9.99
    Don't let the pink fool you. This refreshing wine from southern France is surprisingly not sweet.

  3. CRANE LAKE MERLOT, $3.08
    Don't be afraid of the price tag - this red is a great table wine because it's not too robust for the white zinfandel crowd or too weak for the dark red crowd.

  4. DONA PAULA LOS CARDOS MALBEC, $7.49
    "South American wines are hot," said Boise Co-op wine buyer Christian Robertson. Plus, malbec, made from black grapes, is Argentina's most popular red.

  5. FAT BASTARD CHARDONNAY, $8.28
    Three summers ago, some friends served this white wine at their afternoon outdoor wedding, and it worked well with everything from the buffet to the ice cream sundae bar.
Get the Full list at FortWayne.com

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July 28, 2006

Under New Management

New ManagementFor those of you who are paying attention, you might notice the tone around here has changed a bit. That's because we've gotten some fresh new blood into the Cheap Fun Wines stable, and we hope you'll like the direction we take. We used to intern over at Liquor Snob, but we got sick of bowing and scraping to the egomaniacal Editor in Chief, so we're really looking forward to making our mark over here in the wine world.

We plan to let you know about great wines you might not have heard of for under $20, give you some tasting notes and most of all let you know whether you're getting a good value for your hard-earned bucks. We'd love it if you'd drop us an email at news at cheapfunwines.com, especially if you've got wine suggestions, know of good wineries to visit or even if you want to send us a bottle for review. You keep reading and we'll keep drinking wine. We thank you for your support.

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July 27, 2006

The Weekend Wine Bag

Wine ToteGoing away for the weekend and loathe to leave behind your favorite wines? Or maybe you're going to visit friends and you want to show off your good taste by showing up their wine cellar with a few choice bottles of your own. Or if you're like us you want to take a few bottles of wine to the park and drink until you fall asleep under a tree. Any way you slice it you'll need a tote to bring those bottles along and we've found a nice one at Amazon.

Product Description

This is the wine tote that really packs it in. Carry up to 6 bottles of wine or champagne wherever you go. Keep bottles cool with included chiller pack. There's also a two-way lock ready zipper carry handles and an adjustable shoulder strap. Insulated durable black nylon. Six adjustable bottle pouches. Holds up to 6 standard size wine bottles. Can hold up to 3 magnum size bottles with 3 standard size bottles. Wine Bag can not hold more than 3 magnum size bottles at one time. Size: 12'H x 7'W x 12'D

Buy it at Amazon for $49.95, and we'll see you at the park.

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Good Organic Wines for Under $10?

Full CirclePeople are paying more attention to what they put in their bodies these days, turning more and more to organic products. The only problem we typically have with going organic is the cost - it usually costs way more to be conscientious about how you make your food, and those "savings" are usually passed along to the consumer. That's why we were blown away when we heard about Full Circle wines, which are made entirely from organically-grown grapes and available at Whole Foods for under $10.

2003 Full Circle Merlot, California ($7.99) - This is not a soft, lush and juicy Merlot, but good as a light dry red. The color is a muted ruby. The aroma is also muted, of dark cherry. The taste is dry and surrounded by simple dark red fruit. 84 points.

2002 Full Circle Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($7.99) - The color is ruby with a little gray-blue on the rim. The aroma has some earthiness and some black pepper spice. The taste is mostly dry from some light wood tannin, with a little black raspberry. If you like dry reds, it's a solid little everyday sipping Cabernet. 84 points.

2003 Full Circle Zinfandel, California ($7.99) - The color is light red with a tinge of orange on the rim. The aroma is muted. The taste is rich for the price, with juicy ripe red fruit and a little dryness to balance it all out. It's missing the big spice of a Zin, but it's very approachable. 85 points.

2003 Full Circle Chardonnay, California ($7.99) - The color is a nice pale yellow gold. The aroma has some pear and apple notes with a little wet cardboard. The taste has good tartness and fruit character; mostly ripe green apple mixed with a little smoky, nutty warmth in the finish. Surprisingly drinkable for the price, and I'd have no problem making this the everyday Chardonnay. 85 points.

from AZCentral.com (Also check out WholeFoods.com to dig up more information)

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July 26, 2006

Winesceptre Wine Cooling System

Wine SceptreWe're always looking for better ways to chill our white wine - we usually don't go so far as to drop ice cubes in there, but it's been close a few times. Rick over at Martini Lounge has found a cool product designed to end your wine-chilling woes...it's kind of expensive (around $120) but it seems like a cool idea if it really works and it'd make a great gift for the wino in your life.

So, you shove this thing in your freezer for 3 hours, then you pour your first glass of chilled wine and then shove this thing in the bottle. It's supposed to keep the wine at the proper serving temperature for a few hours. It seals the wine as well and has an easy-to-use pour spout thanks to the o-rings.
from Martini Lounge (pick one up at HSN.com)

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July 25, 2006

Zork Wine Bottle Enclosure

Zork Wine StopperWe just found a product review that combines two of our favorite things - wine and text-based video gaming. Glad to know we're not the only ones out there in the wine world with a penchant for nerdery. Oh, and the Zork wine stopper thingy sounds pretty interesting too...

You are standing in a small room. There is a table and two chairs here. On the table there is a wine bottle with a very odd stopper.

LOOK STOPPER

It is a pink plastic blob. It is attached to a plastic ribbon that circles the bottle neck three times.

PULL RIBBON

The ribbon unwinds and falls off. You are holding a wine bottle with a pink cap.

PULL CAP

The cap comes out with a soft "pop."

POUR WINE

Don't mind it I do!

Please pardon the parody, but it was an almost irresistible impulse upon my first encounter with a wacky new Australian wine-bottle closure called, well, Zork.

From Wine Lover's Page. (Zork.com.au)

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Skip the Chardonnay and Get Some Austrian White Wines

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Want to get a nice peppery wine or two instead of the same old oak-bombed chardonnays you get from California? It looks like Austrian wines are rising in prominence in the world of crisp refreshing wines. They apparently even have some interesting desert wines.

At New York Times

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July 24, 2006

Visit the Wine Shack on the Oregon Coast

Wine Wshack

We've never been to the Oregon coast but now we want to go. Not only does Oregon have some great wines - they've got some great coast and wines. GO FIGURE. Where else could you visit the Wine Shack?

It's a sure sign the Oregon coast is no longer a rugged place: sipping your way down the Oregon coast has become so huge it's now hard to imagine the region without a glass of vino being close at hand. A new wine bar recently opened in Yachats, and another is being planned for Rockaway later next year - all proof that wine tourism is encroaching on not just Oregon farm country, but the Oregon coast as well.

At Oregon Coast Beach Connection News

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July 21, 2006

World Wildlife Fund calls on Winemakers to Choose Cork

Natural-CorkWe thought the new screw caps were a ton of fun and now this? Cork is back? WHAT? Well the World Wildlife Fund has called on the wine industry to 'choose cork' in order to save the environment. Why do they think we should support cork and not alternatives? Cork forests. Yep. CORK FORESTS. More forests - more trees and more wildlife - makes sense to us.

Read More at decanter.com

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July 20, 2006

Witness The Trainwreck of an Online Wine Community

If you want to read a rant about how bad forums can get when people get pissed off about bad wine or bad wine customer service read on. We love Vinography and we think they're right. Chill out and kick back with something a little more mellow than rants and just drink some wine.

I don't know a lot of things, but during my short time on this earth, I have observed what I believe to be some predictable tendencies of the particular animal we call human beings. The males of the species are arrogant and proud, yet they have the most tender of egos. They swell with self importance, and rage when insulted. Both males and females are born defensive and only become less so through careful conditioning. When they collect in the groups we know as communities they have a tendency to squabble, opine, piss off, and otherwise make fools of themselves with occasional utter abandon.

At Vinography: A Wine Blog

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July 19, 2006

The Little Penguin Blush Wine Personality Test

Landing Accent

We can answer that - blush wine. We're not big fans but we are big fans of the Little Penguin. We love their wine and love the fact it's good, cheap, and well - it has a penguin on it. Now the Little Penguin wants you to rethink pink or blush wine. So he's introducing a rosy new addition to the collection: the Little Penguin's new Pink Penguin.

Sporting an oh-so-fashionable new look, the Little Penguin is blushing with pride. To set the stage for your own encounter with the newest Little Penguin, you are invited to reveal just what makes you blush.

Currently their site has a quiz you can take that's a bit of fun. And heck - we might even try their blush wine.

At Little Penguin

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July 18, 2006

Ravenscroft All Purpose Crystal Stemmed Wine Glass

Draft 227 Big

We love the stem and love the look. It's billed as an all-purpose glass but according to productdose.com this Ravenscroft Tasting Glass is equally as appropriate for water as it is for beer. The glass holds 14 ozs of your favorite wine and is 6 3/8” tall.

Via productdose.com

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July 14, 2006

It's Swanky Wine Friday with "The World's Most Expensive Wine"

1119Feat Click 225X417 What's not to love about a wine that costs $160,000? Not having the guts to drink it. Forbes.com has an interesting article on the World's Most Expensive Wines.

What is the most expensive bottle of wine we've heard about after reading this article? A Bordeaux. Specifically a 1787 Chateau Lafite, and, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, 18 years later it still is the world's most expensive bottle of wine.

Full article at: Forbes.com

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Get the Latest Each Week from BlogPire Productions

Criticalgamers Blogad-1We know you have a busy life and a busy schedule, and that's why everyone here at BlogPire Productions wants to make it easier for you to get the latest news from any of our sites. It's really easy - just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email each week.

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July 12, 2006

Don't Buy Into the Future of Wine

Wine-1

Who knew that Bordeaux futures are being offered by local wine shops and some national retailers at prices that can top $660 bucks! At Cheap Fun Wines we like to keep it under $20 and the whole wine futures games seems a bit extreme - however we could see enjoying a $600 bottle of wine or even the future of wine for $600 if you'd pay for it. :-)

Not that there aren't plenty of buyers lined up to plunk down thousands of dollars for wines that won't even arrive for another two or three years — the reviews have been that good. ("Futures" are paid for and ordered now but not delivered until the wines have been blended, barreled and bottled.) But still, I had to scratch my head when I saw, for example, that the 2005 Mouton is being offered locally for $660! For a bottle, not a case!!

Full Article at: The Seattle Times

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July 11, 2006

Riedel O Cabernet/Merlot Wine Tumblers

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We love these stemless glasses from Reidel. Elegant and simple, they'll be perfect for a wine party where you tasting a cab or merlot might be a bit more casual and kicked back.

At Reidel

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Chill Wine Fast with Cooper Cooler

If you're looking to chill some wine fast and on the cheaper side of wine cooling, the $99 Revolutionary Cooling Systems' Cooper Cooler quickly chills room temperature beverages for a cold, refreshing drink. Just pour ice and water into the Cooper Cooler, select the container setting, and the cooler does the rest.

The appliance will cool a 12 ounce beverage can from 77 degrees to 43 degrees in about 1 minute. An "extra" chill setting chills beverages to 34 degrees.

At Cooper Cooler

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July 10, 2006

Zonin Prosecco Sparkling Wine


So this empty bottle of Zonin "Brut" Prosecco has been sitting on my desk for days....begging me to write about it or dispose of it because it's just taking up space and making me look like a crazy bathrobe-wearing drunk when the UPS guy drops by.

It took me so long to get around to writing that I've almost forgotten what this sparkling Italian wine -- made from the prosecco grape -- tastes like and when we drank it. (Last week? Last month?) Then the Italians won the World Cup (Did you SEE that head butt? To quote Ben Fong-Torres: CRAAAAAZY), jarring my attention back to the Italian wines. As I recall this Zonin, not to be confused with the masterless samurai Ronin, was a floral, dry and bubbly wine that I and the PIT (partner in tasting) both enjoyed lots. I would serve this wine with confidence instead of true champagne during a wedding toast and save lots of $$$ in the process of offending no one. It's funky and different from champagne in a good way and, in my opinion, more expensive than the $5.99 I paid for the bottle.

So a little about Prosecco from our trusted Wikipedia: Prosecco is a variety of white grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy, and also gives its name to the sparkling wine made from the grape.

The grape is grown in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene wine-growing regions north of Venice. Its late ripening has led to its use in dry sparkling (spumante) and semi-sparkling (frizzante) wines, with their characteristic bitter aftertaste.

This wine definitely had the bitter aftertaste, but it was a good bitter and it was SO easy going down.
Cheers Italia!

Grade: 3 stars! Just so good. Read this review for a laugh. Wilder on Wine says Zonin tastes like a "pretty girl dancing and sweaty." Really sweaty. I hate to admit it, but I kind of get where he's coming from with the sweaty thing. And it's not a bad thing.

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July 7, 2006

2005 Santa Rita Reserva Chardonnay


This 2005 Santa Rita Reserva Chardonnay seems to come by the truckloads from Chile's Casablance Valley to the Trader Joe's shelves. I always see it there, but had never tried it. This time I picked up a bottle for $8.99. The verdict? It's not bad. The Santa Rita is a pit-fruity, pear-tasting wine -- little to no oak on the palate at all, as I typically prefer. But I liked it anyhow.

This wine was a Wine Spectator pick, described as "fresh pear and fig flavors with modest toast on the finish. Clean, fresh and nicely done."

Grade: solid two star wine. Definitely finished this bottle.

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