August 29, 2006

Name That Wine Party Game

Name That WineSometimes you need an excuse to get some friends together and slosh some vino around. The Name That Wine party game at Amazon offers you that chance, with bags to hide the bottles so people can do blind taste tests, pre-made comment tablets and even eight wine tasting invitations.

Sounds like a fun evening, and don't forget to send us your tasting notes so we can put them up on the site!

Product Description
This Name That Wine - Wine Party Tasting Kit has everything you need to host a wine tasting party in your home. This Wine Party Tasting Kit makes a perfect hostess, wedding shower, birthday or holiday gift. It's fun, it's easy and offers an enjoyable party experience for the wine novice or the wine connoisseur! Plus it's reuseable so you can use it over and over again! Wine bottles and wine glasses sold separately. Set includes: How to host a wine tasting party brochure, 24 round wine glass markers, 3 numbered cloth wine bags, 8 pencils, 1 wine comment tablet, 1 wine trivia question tablet, 8 wine tasting party invitations, Just add your own wine glasses, 3 bottles of wine and up to 8 friends!
from Amazon

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August 29, 2006

Sideshow Wines or Freakshow Wines?

Sideshow WinesThis weekend we stumbled across some wines at Shaws called Sideshow Wines. They had interesting labels, a cool gimmick (they're all blends, touted as "novelties and oddities from around the world") and a good price - around nine bucks. We picked up a couple bottles and gave them as a gift, one a white called the Juggler (Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay) and the other a red called the Puppetmaster (Syrah/Malbec). Sounded good on paper, and we were bummed we didn't get to check it out.

Then we got a call from our friend, not a wine drinker known for his refined palate (he claims to prefer his wines from a 5-gallon pail), to tell us he'd tried the Puppetmaster. His quote was that it "looked like Koolaid and tasted like shit...but I had another glass when I finished the first one." Not the ringing endorsement we might've hoped for, but we'll try to get our hands on a bottle, and if you want to get a little more info check out the dusty and not-recently-updated Sideshow Wines blog.

Update: We got a call from our friend's wife who was horrified about the above quote. She said the wine was actually quite good, but sweeter and not as full bodied as our friend like his wine to be - he's a dyed in the wool Cabernet drinker. She said she'd also tried the Juggler and quite liked it, saying it tasted like it cost more than nine bucks. So there you have it...we need to review these bad boys!

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August 28, 2006

Woot Wine 8/28/06: Vino Noceto Wines

Vino Noceto WinesOnce again we couldn't get to the Wine Woot until the end of the day. We suck at life.

You get a bottle of Vino Noceto's regular Sangiovese, their Reserva Sangiovese, and two bottles of their Zinfandel. All of these are great wines to have with food, like a Jumbo Jack or Whopper. Or even something fancier, like Italian Food (You know, Olive Garden and stuff).

These all are pretty well-balanced and bring a lot of new flavors to your under-appreciated palate. The only caveat is the regular Sangiovese, don't let it breathe or it'll start tasting like you're licking lollipops.

From Martini Lounge; Verdict = Get There

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August 28, 2006

BlogPire Podcast - Summer WrapUp 08.28.06

Blogpire 144We talk about the summer "best of" from as well as other products and news from around the 'pire. We also answer your questions from the past couple of weeks so keep sending them in to podcast at blogpire dot com.

[iTunes]Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
[RSS] Add the BlogPire Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically (MP3).
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With Hosts: Russell Miner and Jay Brewer


2:30 Best of
3:30 Best Razors
3:55 Best shaving cream
7:20 Best aftershave
8:30 Best shaving oil
10:30 Best shaving online stores

13:30 The Scotch Blog
14:15 Guest Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
16:03 Home Composter
19:14 Organic Beer
21:10 Prefab Sunset Cabin
23:55 Tivo Series 3
28:25 Oppo Digital LCD/DVD TV
29:25 Samsung 70' LCD TV
33:02 Mix and Measure Bowls
34:44 Gourmet Basting Brush
36:01 Electrolux Cyber Fridge
39:27 World of Warcraft Collectible Card Game
43:37 Lost the Game
43:38 Gametap
53:06 Questions
60:00 Ending

Contact the BlogPire Podcast: podcast at blogpire dawt com.

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August 28, 2006

Up and Coming Wines from Colorado

Colorado WinesWe've never really thought of Colorado as a big wine place - vodka maybe, but not wine. Turns out there are a bunch of wineries there and they're starting to make a splash. Apparently they're not quite up to the level of consistency and quality of other North American wines, but they're giving it a try - good luck y'all.

Colorado is not there yet. Save for a handful of producers, the wine isn't on the level of that from Texas, let alone California or France. The owners and winemakers are an eclectic assortment of lawyers, venture capitalists, oilmen and geologists, even a former British army commando. They are still struggling to find the right grapes and methods for Colorado's peculiar weather and soil.

The state has more than 65 wineries, 12 times what it had in the early 1990s (and about two-thirds of Texas' total).

But what the wineries lack in consistency, the owners make up for in enthusiasm and determination. "Yes, we have a long way to go," says Drew, who was a trucking and shipping executive before opening his winery in 1998, with 155 acres on a hay farm. "But we're going to get there.

from Star

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August 25, 2006

Throw a Senseo Single Serve Coffee Party with Your Friends

senseomachine_promotion.jpgWe've gotten a pretty cool opportunity on how to receive a Senseo single serve coffee maker for FREE for readers of

Single Serve Coffee (another site from Blogpire Productions) and the folks that make the Senseo coffee pod system are offering you the opportunity to qualify to receive the Senseo machine, share it with friends, and then provide some feedback on the machine. All you need to do to see if you qualify for the FREE Senseo coffee machine, 18 coffee pods, and get FREE shipping is fill out a short questionnaire.

It's for a limited time only and quantities are limited, so click here to fill out the questionnaire and see if you qualify.

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August 23, 2006

How to Decant Wine

Wine DecanterWe've all heard that there are wines you should let breathe, but it's not always easy to know how to decant wine. We've found a resource that gives you step-by-step tips on how to decant wine, whether it's young or old.

Decanting wine step-by-step

Decanting a young wine is easy -- just pour it into the decanter. Decanting older wine requires a little more finesse. Libbey teaches you how:

  • Stand the unopened bottle upright for a few hours (or a couple of days,if possible), to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle.

  • Screw the corkscrew into the cork, not to push through the bottom of it. Remove the cork, and clean inside the neck of the bottle with a cloth to remove any cork particles.

  • Steadily, slowly and continuously, pour the wine into the decanter until the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle. The remaining wine containing the sediment can be discarded.

  • Never clean your decanter with soap. The soap residue can be difficult to remove due to the shape of the decanter, altering the taste of the wine. Instead, scrub the decanter with a brush, warm water and coarse
from Yahoo! Finance Press Release

Most of the wine we drink is pretty young, but if you're looking to decant and you don't have a decanter, you can buy one at Amazon.

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August 22, 2006

On Online Wine Communities

Wine TastingIf you're anything like us, you're addicted to Netflix. We spend hours on hours rating and re-rating our movies and tweaking our queue. We've often thought it'd be great if there was a similar type of site for wine, where we could keep notes, log bottles of wine we liked and review wines we tried. Turns out there are!

Here are some stats on the online wine clubs we've checked out:

BottleNotes - This site was the inspiration for this post, as we read something about how the site is the "Netflix of wine." The site bills itself as an online sommelier and adds a nice touch of letting you order your favorites right through the site (hence the Netflix tag), which the others we found don't let you do. You can shop by winery or type of wine, and there were a few bottles we found for under $20...we say check them out yourself and let us know what you think.

Cork'd - Cork'd lets you keep a wine journal, put together your own wine cellar, keep a shopping list and make a list of drinking buddies. This was one of our favorites, with a cool look and an easy interface, and it's a nice way to go if you 're not looking to do your actual shopping online.

Similar Sites:

Open Bottles - features consumer-created reviews on over 18,000 wines and 2,100 wineries. The site also offers "rich, easy-to-use tools to help wine lovers organize and manage their wine collections, tasting notes and reviews."

TastyDrop - "TastyDrop is a wine rating website for the self proclaimed wine aficionado, i.e. you and me. With, TastyDrop members can submit wine reviews, rate wines, compile an online wine cellar and share their cellar with friends."

WineLog - WineLog allows you to search for wines by name, variety, winery, region, or tag, and it also lets you add your own wines and tags to the database. - Lets you store as much or as little information as you want about the wines you drink, and most importantly your own grade and opinion of each. Share your bottle log and browse other user's logs if they've kept them public. Discuss wines and explore our wine guide. Find new bottles to try and save them to wish lists. You can even automatically watch for new bottles that meet criteria you specify.

Added Bonus: Read an article we found on solutions for community wine tasting note sites, in case you're thinking about starting your own.

Update: Other Sites to Check Out:
Cellar Tracker - Offers cellar tracking and valuation capabilities, as well as the ability to create wine lists, read community tasting notes and join forums. Thanks Josh!

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August 21, 2006

Woot Wine 8/21/06: Little Vineyards Sonoma Valley Trio

Little Vineyards SonomaThis week's Wine Woot seems like a pretty good deal, even though it only comes with a trio of bottles rather than the quartets we normally see (for the math-tards out there, trio=three and quartet=four). Once again Rick over at Martini Lounge has beaten us to the punch, so we'll let him do the heavy lifting. What the hell - it's Monday and we're tired.

I had the Cabernet at a wine bar last year and it's a damned good one. The trio would normally cost you US$80 or so, so the price of US$49.99 plus $5 shipping is a good deal and you'll be glad you got these ones.

Verdict: Grab it.

from Martini Lounge; pull the trigger on this deal at Woot Wine and learn more at the Woot Wine blog.

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August 16, 2006

Erath Pinot Gris 2005 Tasting Notes

Erath 2005 Oregon Pinot Gris
13.5% ABV
We Paid: $14.99 (MSRP $13)
Erath Pinot Gris Page

Erath Pinot GrisFrom the screw-top cap to the "Earth, Hearth, Erath" slogan, there's something a bit different about Erath Pinot Gris. We don't usually spend this much for a white wine, tending to stay under $10, but this one's definitely going on our list as a must-have for the summer months.

Tasting Notes: They say "Melon, pear and minerals in the nose; ripe, juicy fruit flavors on the palate that are clean, lingering, and delicious."

We say they're right on the money. The nose was light and clean and crisp with a hint of pears, while the taste was equally lively, full of pears, citrus and other fruits.

Food Pairings: According to the Erath site, this wine is "Beautiful with all kinds of seafood, especially shell fish, mollusks and trout; turkey; pork; Asian dishes; and light to medium spicy foods." We can only imagine they're right - we only tried it solo.

Bottom Line: We recommend Erath's Pinot Gris highly, and all of our reviewers were equally impressed. Worth every penny we paid for it, and we'll be scooping up some other Erath varietals as soon as we can.

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August 15, 2006

Woot Wine 8/14/06: Merryvale Napa Valley Medley

Merryvale Wine QuartetDue to circumstances outside our control, we missed the proverbial boat on the Wine Woot yesterday. Luckily, not everyone is falling down on the job and Rick over at Martini Lounge took care of things. Good thing he's around.

Four bottles of popular Merryvale brand are the subject of this week's fine Woot! You get a Merlot, a Chardonnay, a Syrah, and a Savignon Blank. Most experts seem to agree that you have a few years to wait on these wines (Except for the Savignon Blanc, DRINK IT NOW!) so you can throw them in your vast cellar ( I know you have one) and enjoy them when your 5 year old kid 8 or 9.
From Martini Lounge

From the looks of things, the $85 you'll spend including shipping makes this a good deal, but nothing to roll your eyes back in your head. Seems like a pretty good idea if you're a Napa enthusiast, if you've been looking for these wines, or if you have some kind of OCD where you HAVE to buy every single Woot that comes down the pike. Head on over to Wine Woot to read more on each varietal and pull the trigger if you must.

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August 14, 2006

Women with Wine

Woman with WineReason #457 why we love the Martini Lounge - Rick found us Women with Wine.

Women with wine is a fairly new blog of (mostly) hot girls holding wine. Along with raindrops on roses, these are a few of my favorite things.

The only thing they need is some MajikWidget in order to easily rate posts, then it may very well be the most perfect blog on the planet OR THAT EVER EXISTED!

from Martini Lounge

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August 11, 2006

Throw a Senseo Single Serve Coffee Party with Your Friends

senseomachine_promotion.jpgWe've gotten a pretty cool opportunity on how to receive a Senseo single serve coffee maker for FREE for readers of

Single Serve Coffee (another site from Blogpire Productions) and the folks that make the Senseo coffee pod system are offering you the opportunity to qualify to receive the Senseo machine, share it with friends, and then provide some feedback on the machine. All you need to do to see if you qualify for the FREE Senseo coffee machine, 18 coffee pods, and get FREE shipping is fill out a short questionnaire.

It's for a limited time only and quantities are limited, so click here to fill out the questionnaire and see if you qualify.

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10 Most Expensive Wines from

Wine SwankerThis week's Swanky Wine Friday comes from, who did some digging to find the most expensive 750ml bottles available from retailers. You'd be surprised what you could pay for a single bottle of wine - but we're happy to stay in our own little "Under $20" price range. Unless, of course, someone wants to send us a few bottles of these...that'd be fine too.

Yes, it's true that you don't have to pay a fortune for a bottle of wine, but keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for. If you really want to impress that special lady, show her your cellar of fine wines -- or at least display your knowledge of them. Read on to discover the ten most expensive wines available on the market. Note that all prices are in US dollars and were evaluated on the basis of a 750 ml bottle from a retailer.

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August 9, 2006

Wine X Weekly Email Blast is 'Da Bomb'

Wine X CoverA little while back we covered a story about not judging wine by its label, which we found over at Wine X magazine. Until then we hadn't been familiar with the publication and we liked what we'd seen so far, so we jumped on the mailing list for their weekly email blast to see if it was any good. Turns out we're glad we did, and we think you'll dig it too.

Some of the blast is pretty standard, with stories they've covered recently and all that, and that's cool. But where we found the most value was in the X-Rated Wines section, which has the tagline "Wines that normal, grocery-store going folk can actually find, buy and drink." Sounds like us, right?

They review five wines they've found in a week, rating them on a scale of X (Gets it Done), XX (Fo' Shizzle) and XXX (Da Bomb), and offering short tasting notes as well as the ability to save the information for later. Plus, every single wine they blasted about this week was $15 or less. We'll include a couple of this week's picks below so you can get the drift, and we recommend you sign up ASAP (check for "Blast X Me" at the top right of the page).

XXX. York Mountain
2003 Pinot Noir
San Luis Obispo County $15
Liquid love.

XXX. Babcock
2005 Pinot Grigio
Santa Rita Hills $15
Tastier than a food fight at the Playboy Mansion... and the best part is lickin' it clean.

XX. Courtney Benham (Martin Ray)
2004 Sauvignon Blanc
Napa Valley $14
On a hayride with the short shorts girls - crisp, smooth and long on the legs. Close to XXX.

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Cooper Rapid Wine Chiller

Cooper Wine Chiller - WhiteIt's common knowledge that white wine should be served chilled, but did you know the "room temperature" that is best for red wines might be lower than the temp of your house? If you can't keep your wine in a cellar (we're in the process of digging a hobbit hole under our apartment), chill it quickly without having to wait for the fridge or risk it in the freezer with the Cooper Wine Chiller from Amazon. Oh, and it chills other beverages too, but who cares really?

Product Description
Experience the new generation of beverage and wine cooling. When you run out of refrigerator space or forget to put your wine in the refrigerator ahead of time, this handy device is ready to chill your drink in minutes. Our Rapid Beverage and Wine chiller chills cans in 1 minute and bottles in 3.5 minutes to standard refrigerator cold or if you prefer an ice-cold beverage (33F), this wonderful bit of engineering can do it in double the time. Thats only 2 minutes a can and 6 minutes a bottle for an ice-cold beverage!

The No Spin option allows for chilling delicate wines. This patented process is 90 times faster than a refrigerator yet is perfectly safe for carbonated drinks like beer soda ensuring that your carbonated beverage will not foam over upon opening. Great for parties or get-togethers, this wonderful Rapid Beverage and Wine Chiller guarantees that you will never have to worry about running out of cold drinks again. To use, merely add ice cubes and water, plug in, and choose your setting on the electronic touch-padstops automatically when done. No dangerous chemicals, no harm done, just perfectly chilled beverages in minutes!

from Amazon

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August 8, 2006

Deluxe Leather 2 Bottle Wine Carrier

Leather Wine ToteThere are some days when it's fine to be swinging your bottles around in a nylon wine tote, but sometimes you need to class things up a bit. Enter the leather wine carrier from Wine Enthusiast, available at Amazon - it holds two bottles and your opening gear, and it makes you look a little less K-Mart and a little more J. Peterman.

Product Description

When an invitation restaurant or learned palate requires you to 'bring your own' you can do so at last with classic style and good taste. Our two-bottle wine tote is crafted of beautifully thick and supple nubuck with a warm brown finish that is smooth natural and surprisingly rugged. Features a zippered compartment to keep your corkscrew and antique-finished brass hardware for a handsome conclusion to this superior piece. Also holds champagne.

from Amazon

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August 7, 2006

Woot Wine 8/7/06: Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay

Wine Woot: Vina RoblesThis week's Wine Woot consists of a quartet of Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (two bottles of each) for $44.99 plus $5 shipping. Before you start poo-pooing the deal because they're whites, keep in mind that not all whites are the sicky sweet ones you remember.

Some digging by the Wooters shows the Sauvignon retailing for about $12 while the Chardonnay was found for $17 (or $58 for two bottles of each) , so Woot's price of $50 including shipping isn't anything breathtaking. OK, go ahead and mock now.

Recommendation: We say skip it and wait a week unless you really love whites or these wines in particular. If you're raring to go, check out the comments and put in your order at Woot Wine.

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Professional Wine Bouquet Kit

Wine Bouquet KitWe suppose it's more important for us to be able to describe the smells associated with wine than it is for most, but we thought this Wine Bouquet Kit was a pretty cool find. Seems like a great tool to help you or the wino in your life train sense memory and isolate all the nasal differences associated with wine, and it'd be a fun party activity for you and your wine nerd friends.

Product Description

Introducing the new Wine Enthusiast Wine Bouquet Kit, the fun learning tool you've been waiting for to help you to recognize and describe wines like a professional. With Wine Bouquet you'll train your scent memory and learn to accurately identify a wide array of aromas in any wine. Youâll learn to quickly and easily identify wine varietals and types just by smelling them. Kit includes 36 vials of the most common aromas found in wine 36 aroma cards and complete instructions. All enclosed in a stunning gift box. Wine knowledge made easy. Great for parties. Includes 36 aroma cards explaining each aroma. Includes 36 vials of the most common wine aromas.

from Amazon

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August 6, 2006

California Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris

Pinot GrigioDon't be surprised if you drink a glass of Pinot Grigio and a glass of Pinot Gris and you find them to be strikingly similar. Turns out the Grigio is what Italians call it, while the French call it Gris. All we know is it's generally a nice, light inexpensive wine, and its popularity is on the rise.

We found a nice article outlining a bunch of California Pinots for you to try. Included below is a partial list with prices; click through to find tasting notes on other examples of this varietal.

2005 Balletto Sonoma Coast Pinot Grigio ($14) 13.5%

2005 Estancia California Pinot Grigio ($13) 12.5%

2004 Guenoc California Pinot Grigio ($9) 12.5%

2005 Palmina Santa Barbara County Pinot Grigio ($16) 13.5%

2004 Van Ruiten Family Vineyards Lodi Pinot Gris ($12) 12.5%


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August 5, 2006

BlogPire Podcast - The Pilot 08.05.2006

Blogpire 144We've been working hard to get it together on the podcast front and can now officially say - we've got a podcast for the entire BlogPire! Hosts Jay Brewer and Russell Miner will take you through the best news and reviews from around the BlogPire. If you're not familiar with podcasts - they're basically a web based radio show and you can read more about them here.

The Pilot show features exclusive chat and banter about the launch of our new blog, a run down of the latest from,, and many others. We take a look at the latest in BBQ, Poker Drinkware, and of course high definition TV stuff. We hope you enjoy the BlogPire Podcast and expect it to show up on whatever BlogPire weblog you read every 2 weeks!

[RSS] Add the BlogPire Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically (MP3).

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Riedel Vinum Wine Tasting Glasses

Riedel Vinum Wine Tasting GlassesThese are some fancy little glasses we dug up at Amazon that are specially designed to make wine tasting easier and more enjoyable. They come in a set of six, so they're specifically packaged for a wine tasting party of some sort...or maybe so you can do an unbiased tasting of multiple wines without having to wash up the glasses.

Product Description

he Vinum series of glasses are made of over 24-percent lead crystal and were the first machine-made glasses to be specifically designed for a particular grape varietal. The six tasting glasses in this set are intended for evaluating a variety of wines at a professional tasting. The unique hollow stem design acts as a measurer and holds 5/8 ounce or two sips of wine (one to judge the taste and one to confirm)--the ideal amount for tasting. The bowls of these glasses have a wider opening for comfortable sipping without tilting the head all the way back.

The bowls also offer completely balanced sipping by simultaneously sending wine to the front of the tongue to highlight the fruit and toward the back and sides of the mouth to emphasize the wine's acidity. The bowl's larger volume provides more space for wine to aerate, making aromas more intense than in a differently shaped glass. Tilting the glasses to a horizontal position provides the best aeration, and the design stops wine 1/2-inch from the rims to keep it from spilling.

Each glass stands 6-3/8 inches tall and holds a maximum capacity of 14-7/8 ounces of wine. Currently awaiting a patent, these glasses are sure to be the new standard for unbiased wine judging.

from Amazon

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We Never Met a Malbec We Didn't Like

malbecLooking for a good, solid inexpensive red wine to try? Get out of the California section of your local wine shop and head on over to South America, where you'll find a varietal that's quickly becoming our favorite. We've been delving into more and more Malbec, a grape primarily grown in Argentina that tends to make wines with a plummy, berry flavor. The bottles we've bought have been between $10 and $15, and we haven't been disappointed yet.

Q: I am really enjoying Malbec from Argentina. What can you tell me about the wine?

A: Back in the middle ages, long before the emergence of Bordeaux Malbec, there was a wine known as the Black Wine of Cahors -- a staple throughout Europe. In time this grape became a significant component in Bordeaux blends.

That changed with the arrival of phylloxera and the replanting that followed, as Malbec became a minor blending partner. It was a Frenchman who brought the grape to Argentina where it flourished in both quality and quantity.

Read more at the Monterey Herald.

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August 4, 2006

Don't Judge a Wine by its Label?

Choosing WinesPicture yourself wandering up and down the aisles of your local liquor store, having been sent there to "pick out a nice bottle for dinner." Maybe you know everything about wine and you know EXACTLY what to pair with the chicken pot pie.

Not everyone has that skill, however, and most people are relegated to choosing their wines based on three factors - price, varietal and label. While it's often easiest to go for the prettiest bottle on the shelf, we've found an interesting article at Wine X magazine that says that might not net you the best of wines. In fact, they even offer the following motto: "choose ugly- drink lovely and if more has been spent on design than wine, decline."

It is a sad fact and a perplexing paradox. The look of a bottle is of no importance but also the utmost. It has no bearing on the taste but is the main reason for purchasing. Visual appeal is one way a wine drinker can be tricked into buying something that is not as good as it should be. Consequently it is incumbent on an enthusiast to hone their senses of taste and smell and totally ignore their sense of style. It's crucial, especially for the fiscally challenged. Some of Australia's best wines and best bargains lurk under some of the most god awful labels. Boutique wine labels are like people's houses - there's plenty that's quirky and gaudy but for plain ugly bargains the big companies rule.
from Wine X

Note - We're fans of Wine X online; if you're a bigger fan of reading on ink and paper you can get a subscription at Amazon for $15 for 6 issues.

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Learn the Art of Easy Espresso at

B00004Rbre.01. Ss400 Sclzzzzzzz V1099448119 Easy Ad-1Blogpire Productions is pleased to announce the addition of to its growing family of product and especially kitchen focused Web logs. will provide news, insights and reviews of espresso coffee, and espresso machines, especially the newer easy to use ESE Pod espresso machines and Super Automatic Espresso machines, both of which make espresso at the touch of a button that rivals the corner café.

" is the natural out-growth of that has seen great success in the Web log world," says Jay Brewer, founder of Blogpire Productions and editor of "While covering the explosive growth of single serve coffees, our readers kept asking us to cover the growing trend of espresso, and the newer easy to use E.S.E. machines that are becoming a lot more popular. With, we’ll be able to do a better job of helping our readers sort through the new espresso coffee market and help them enjoy great tasting espresso at home."

Please visit and also sign up for the mailing list.

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Riedel Amadeo Lyra Decanter

Riedel Amadeo Wine DecanterOur first stab at Swanky Wine Friday isn't centered on an actual wine, but instead a wine decanter. We found this crazy little sucker over at Amazon and we were instantly impressed by the flowing lines, the unique design and the hefty price tag.

Product Description

Limited Edition Riedel Amadeo Lyra Decanter Created to commemorate Riedel's 250th Birthday the Riedel Amadeo Lyra Decanter is a masterpiece of glass blowing art in 24% lead crystal.

This limited edition Riedel decanter boasts a unique shape and design that is so challenging only the most experienced master glass blowers can produce it...hence only a limited quantity will be made available. Be one of the first and one of the few to own this gorgeous Riedel lead crystal wine decanter. Size: 15'H 59-1/8 oz.

from Amazon

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August 3, 2006

Clear Your Palate With Budget Summer Whites

Summer White WinesWe've been focusing on a lot of red wines lately, but we don't think you should neglect whites, especially during summer's heat. Chill them down and sip away - and we've found an interesting list of budget-conscious whites you should try. See some of our favorites below and click through to the story for more.

2005 Francis Coppola Bianco Pinot Grigio, California ($10.99) - The label is classy and cool but understated. The looks are pale yellow and silver, indicating youth and lightness of flavor. The aroma is mild citrus and kumquat. The taste is light, crisp and refreshing; just what it should be. This is no monster, but a good summer quaffer. 83 points.

2005 Zenato Pinot Grigio, Delle Venezie, Italy ($9.99) - This wine is from Winebow, who was an early importer of Italian wine and can be counted on for great selections. If you're waffling in a wine shop, check the back label for Winebow or Leonardd Locassci Selections. If either of those names turns up, it's OK - buy it. This wine is a bright light gold. The aroma is mineral with lime and lemon oil. The taste is full of good fruit, citrus and warmth, with a clean refreshing finish. 86 points.

2004 Kenwood Vintage White Wine, California ($5.99) - The color is golden and shiny. The aroma has melons and soft ripe fruit with a little oxidation. The taste is soft and simple with a lingering creaminess. It's a good alternative to an inexpensive Chardonnay and better to serve at cocktail hour than with a meal. 81 points.

2004 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California ($9.99) - This is a great price for a Sonoma Appellation Chardonnay from a reputable winery. The color is white gold. The aroma is wooded and toast with lush pear. The taste is crisp pear with structure from the oak and a smoky finish. It's a lot of taste for the money. 85 points.

from AZCentral

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Our Inner Hobo Loves Wine Boxes and Jugs

Wine Boxes Rule!Conventional wisdom has long said that wine from a box isn't worth the foil it's bagged in, and jug wine is equally bad. Luckily, we pay no attention to conventional wisdom and we just found a great article about jugs and wine boxes. Brands include Dtour, Three Thieves, Banrock Station and Black Box; we have a feeling we'll be doing some research of our own if we can find these.

Stick around after the intro to find tasting notes and prices for wines ranging from $10.99 per liter jug to $37 per 3 liter tube (which may sound like a lot but breaks down to be less than $10 per 750ml).

Nothing grates on casual wine drinkers quite like wine snobbery. There is, however, one form of wine snootiness that has long been not just accepted but encouraged: disdain for jug and box wines. Newcomers to oenophilia quickly learn that it is not enough merely to eschew wines like Almaden Mountain chablis and Inglenook white zinfandel—you must trumpet your contempt for them. Suddenly, though, this once-surefire way of exhibiting discriminating taste is no longer such a gimme. That's because something new has arrived at the wine shop: jug and box wines that are actually pleasant to drink.
from Slate

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August 2, 2006

Wine for Later Decanter Set

Wine for Later DecanterWhen we open a bottle of wine there's not usually much left over, but we're sure there are those of you out there trying to figure out what to do with your leftover half and quarter bottles. Lo and behold, thank you Amazon for hooking us up with the Wine for Later Decanter.

You needn't interrupt your enjoyment of the wine now to fuss with pumps and dispensers. Deliberately low tech our Wine For Later Set eschews pumps spray cans nitrogen gas canisters and complicated dispenser systems for the graceful time-honored process of decanting. When you uncork a bottle simply pour off the wine you wish to save for later using an elegant glass funnel. Top off either the 1/2 bottle or the 1/4-bottle decanter and seal it with our airtight glass stopper. Since no air comes in contact with your wine it remains unoxidized and unspoiled. Adorn the decanter with our ornate silverplated grape-cluster cork pin for easy identification. Only from The Wine Enthusiast.

Gift-boxed 6-piece set includes:

  • 2 Wine For Later glass decanters 1/2 bottle size and 1/4 bottle size
  • 2 airtight glass stoppers
  • A beautiful glass funnel
  • A silverplated cork pin
Get it at Amazon for $49.95

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August 1, 2006

Big Tattoo Red (2004) Review

Big Tattoo RedBig Tattoo Red
Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon/50% Syrah
Imported From Chile
13.7% Alcohol By Volume (ABV)
We Paid: $9.99
Big Tattoo Red Website

We picked up our bottle of Big Tattoo Red on our way to a barbecue. We were looking for something big enough to stand up against the sausages that were being grilled so we were poking around the South American wines looking for a Malbec. Big Tattoo's distinctive label caught our eye, we liked the price, and there was one more factor we'll tell you about below that lead to the final purchase.

We read the label, which uses words like "powerhouse of fruit" and "an explosion of fruit in the mouth" so we figured it would get the job done. Plus, we've had good experiences with Syrahs and Cabs in the past, so we were on point.

The other thing that pushed us over the edge to buy it was when we read on the label that the wine was created by two sons who lost their mother to breast cancer, and they're donating 50 cents from every bottle sold to breast cancer research. Depending on what figure you pay attention to they've raised as much as 3/4 of a million dollars, and that was enough to make us want to buy, especially since we have a loved one who's battling cancer. Who can't use a little peace of mind with their drink?

Tasting Notes: As the label promised, this wine is big and full of berries. We tasted blackberries and plums in the glass from the first to the final sip and it's a big, robust roundhouse to the taste buds. It might be a touch sweeter than some wines we usually go for, but that didn't detract from our overall enjoyment. One reviewer called Big Tattoo a "meat wine" because it paired so well with the spicy sausages we ate with it, but we recommend it for any flavorful foods, like pasta with red sauce. We'll definitely be buying Big Tattoo Red again, and we're hoping to get our hands on their other varieties (Big Tattoo White and Big Tattoo Syrah) ASAP.

Have tasting notes of your own for this wine? Have you tried this wine and know something comparable we should try? Let us know by shooting us an email at news at

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CFW Monthly Roundup: July 2006

Uncorking a BottleWe're uncorking a new era here at Cheap Fun Wines, and as we try to round up the stories that were posted to the site in July, it gives us time to look ahead to the future. Of course we think the biggest news of the past month is that we're now under new management, but we're not letting that get to our heads. Instead, we're thinking about all the great wine products, news, advice and reviews we're going to be able to bring you in the coming months, and we hope you like the new twists and turns we take on the site.

Let us know how we're doing, give us advice, send us story ideas or tell us about your favorite cheap fun wine at news at

ArrowContinue reading: "CFW Monthly Roundup: July 2006"

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