September 29, 2006

Wine/Champagne Display Box

wine-champagne-box.jpgGood day, and welcome to Swanky Wine Friday!

Once again, our featured product isn't a wine per se, but instead a wine accessory - a display box, in fact. Squint through your monocle to check it out, and make sure to put on your best Mr. Howell voice when you talk about it. This elegant wine display box is made of teak and maple, and is the perfect way to display or make a gift of your finest bottle of wine or champagne.

Oh, the price?

If you have to ask you probably can't afford it, or at least not as a gift box anyway, but feel free to gaze upon it at Amazon.

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September 28, 2006

Would You Like a Cheeseburger with your Wine?

Wine and Cheese...burgerWe know wine is often perceived as a "drink it with your pinky up" beverage, but that's not always the case. Not everyone does the whole wine and cheese fact, sometimes we want a good old wine and cheeseburger. See below for the wines we found the most intriguing, and click through to the original story to find more. Great, now we're hungry.

2005 Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo-Garnacha Navarro
Price: $10.99
Aroma: Raspberry, jammy fruit, bubblegum-grape smells, lots of wood and floral notes.
Palate: Started out fruity, then wood took over with pepper and spice.
Verdict: This Spanish wine tied for first in our tasting. The burger brought out the pepper and fruit flavors.

Nonvintage Ramblin' Red Cuvee.
Price: $11.99.
Aromas: This blend had a sweet bouquet of ripe fruit, cherry compote and cooked cherries.
Palate: Not as good as the nose, but the wine was round and pretty in the mouth.
Verdict: Tied for first in our tasting, it had good acidity that matched well with the burger, with cherry the flavors diminished.

Read more at Courier News

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September 27, 2006

Wine Tasting in Cyberspace

Woman with Computer and WineSo we've been reading a bit about, an online wine tasting service that sounds pretty interesting. Basically, the concept is that you sign up for an event, go to your local liquor store to pick up some wines, and log on to a virtual wine tasting from the comfort of your home. You can have all the fun of tasting wine with others, without having to share a spit bucket. And that's half the battle.

The next Tastoria event will be on November 4, and will be hosted from New York. Not that it matters to you, since you'll be sitting at your computer in your underwear with six bottles of wine to get through. Go you. Learn more about the service at, with specific event information here.

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September 26, 2006

Kosher Wines for Kosher Folks

L'Chaim!We know Rosh Hashana just slipped by us (Happy New Year!), and Yom Kippur's on its way soon. If you haven't done anything to atone for, we've rounded up some kosher wines for you to celebrate with. Plus, if you drink enough you'll probably be able to come up with something to apologize for.

Ramon Cardova Rioja, Non-vintage, Spain, $11.99. The tempranillo grape, Spain’s answer to cabernet sauvignon, produces a wine with blackberry aromas and dense, purple color.

Ella Valley Vineyards Kinneret Vintner’s Select Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend, 2004, Israel, mevushal, $13.99. This medium-bodied wine with berry and cherry aromas failed to impress. The winery is located on a kibbutz in the Jerusalem mountains.

Chez Gerard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000, France, mevushal, $18.99. This cab made in the Pays d’Oc in Southwest France has an attractive nose of plums and figs with cedar and tobacco nuances.

Benyamina Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000, Israel, $19.99. This Galilee winery dates from 1952 and is the fourth-largest winery in Israel. The wine is pleasant and quaffable with lots of cabernet red fruit character.


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September 25, 2006

BlogPire Podcast - Fall Product News and Guest Russell Neufeld from 09.25.06

Blogpire 144Special guest Russell Neufeld visits from and tells us about the latest shaving products. And of course, we have the latest news and views from around the 'pire including details on the new TiVo Series 3 and where to get great deals on the latest GPS devices. 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).
[MP3] Download the show (MP3).
[LISTEN] Listen to the show in your browser.

With Hosts: Russell Miner and Jay Brewer and guest Russell Neufeld

Program Details:

00:00:58 Introductions and Welcome to Russell Neufeld from
00:02:10 Excalibur Wine on Cheap Fun Wines
00:03:00 HD Tivo series 3
00:05:30 Upgrades for the Tivo Series 3
00:09:09 CBS shows in advance on all Tivos
00:11:00 with Russell Neufeld
00:13:00 Zirh Preshave Products
00:15:22 Zirh Scrub
00:17:05 Zirh Clean
00:19:17 Drink Liquor make more Money
00:22:48 The BeerClip
00:26:14 with Russell Neufeld
00:26:35 Shaving with Zirh Profucts
00:28:53 Zirh Prepare
00:30:57 Zirh Shave Gel
00:34:17 Zirh Defend
00:36:19 All about Keurig Including the B70
00:41:26 with Russell Neufeld
00:41:31 Menscience
00:43:03 Daily Face Wash with Brush
00:44:48 Menscience Shaving Cream
00:47:11 Menscience Post Shave Repair
00:48:52 Menscience Advanced Face Lotion
00:49:56 Spinach and You
00:52:28 Bamboo Dinner Plates
00:54:06 Edible Handmade Bracelets
00:55:12 Questions
00:55:21 Good Prices on GPSs
00:57:28 Non Shaving Products on
00:57:50 BY142 scar remover
01:02:20 Closing

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September 22, 2006

Silver and Glass Wine Decanter

Masini Gioielli Silver and Glass DecanterHoly crap. This Swanky Wine Friday, that's all we can say. We're not going to tell you how expensive the Masini Gioielli Silver and Glass Decanter pictured to the right is. We're just going to say if you were to buy it you'd probably spend as much as you would if you bought 20 or so bottles of wine.

You'd think for that kind of money they could throw a product description up on Amazon, but we guess that's out of the question so we'll tell you what we know.

It's made of silver and glass, it weighs two and a half pounds, and it's designed to hold wine. So there you have it.

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September 21, 2006

Elephant on a Tightrope French Wines

Elephant on a Tightrope Wine BottlesIf you looked at the wines we've been covering lately, you'd think we were biased against European wines because most of what we've covered lately has been from the US West Coast or the southern hemisphere. For the record, we have nothing against wines from across the pond, and we just got a press release about an interesting French brand called Elephant on a Tightrope.

We're not sure what the significance of the name is, but the packaging is decidedly un-stuffy and they position themselves as a "friendly" French wine. It basically seems to be a conglomerate of different wineries coming together under one brand, which might explain the whole elephant thing.

See below for a snippet from their press release; we wrote this whole story before we realized it was about Elephant on a Tightrope being released in Canada. Not sure what the stats are for a US release, but the wines are expected to retail for $8-$10 so it might be worth a trip north.

An “Elephant on a Tightrope” Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Languedoc region are expected to be launched in Canada this Fall to be followed later in the year by a Grenache and a Syrah. The line are a selection of wines from Bordeaux, the Southwest, and Beaujolais, including a Beaujolais Nouveau 2006.
Find out more at the Elephant on a Tightrope site.

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Dan Aykroyd to Release Wine in 2007

The AykroydFirst it was Marilyn Merlot and Elvis wine, and now we have...Dan Aykrod? If you ask us, and we know you didn't, Dan Aykroyd is a man who gave us some very funny movies 20 or 30 years ago, and has left us with some not so funny flicks in recent years. Now we've found out there may be a reason for the recent suckitude - he's focusing his attention on wine.

Less than one year after announcing his $1 million investment into the four wineries owned by Diamond Estates - Lakeview Cellars, EastDell Estates, Birchwood Estates and Thomas & Vaughan - Aykroyd will further solidify his position in the Canadian wine business by launching two ranges of Canadian wines, the Dan Aykroyd Signature Reserve Series of super-premium offerings and the Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series of mid-priced wines.

The first wine to be released under the Dan Aykroyd label will be his Signature Reserve VQA Niagara Peninsula Vidal Icewine 2005, which will be available in 2007.

from Market Wire

We kid you not when we first read the name of his new wine we thought it said "Viagra," which would be an interesting way to put a little punch in your vino. Anyway, we wish him all the luck and hope his wines don't suck as much as Blues Brothers 2000 (or Nothing But Trouble...or Loser...or Evolution...or Christmas With the get the picture).

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Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Excelsior 2004
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origination: South Africa
14.5% ABV
We Paid: $9 (MSRP: $9)
More Info

Excelsior Cabernet SauvignonWe picked up a bottle of Cabernet last night as we headed over to game night with our friends. We weren't looking for anything too high shelf - in fact we set a price cap of ten bucks. We were there to play games, not review wine, so we didn't want to take over the focus. We figured we'd share a bottle, get some notes from our friends, and share them with you. Turned out the bottle got more attention than we'd expected, and people were pleasantly surprised with what they found in this South African red.

Tasting Notes:
They Say: We found some tasting notes that describe Excelsior Cabernet as "dark plum red in color with a nose of black currant, plum, earth and spice. Medium-full in body, it is dry with moderate acidity and soft, ripe tannins. It offers rich, intense flavors of plums, black currant and toasty oak."

We Say: After the requisite calls of "Excelsior" from our nerdy brethren at game night (y'know, from when Bart joins the nerd club) we sat down to sipping. We all were struck by how the high alcohol content came through in the nose, followed by plum and berries. The initial taste was a tart plum, with berries and cherries and a slightly bitter finish. After it sat in the glass for a few minutes it definitely mellowed out and lost the bitterness, replacing it with a smokey flavor that impressed us.

Bottom Line: For nine bucks, this was a great deal. You don't have to worry about decanting it but you'll do well to let it sit in the glass for a few minutes. Everyone was shocked that it cost less than ten dollars, and we all thought it was a great value for what we paid. If you can find it, we recommend you pick up a couple bottles.

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September 20, 2006

All Shook Up Over Elvis Presley Wine

Elvis WinesWe have to admit we're not the hugest fans of the King. That's not to say we don't like his music, or that we couldn't watch him "act" his way through a couple movies...we're just saying we're not the rabid, drooly, "Oh my God he's so DREAMY" kind of fans. That doesn't mean we'd be against sipping some Elvis wine, however. After all, they wouldn't attach a celebrity's name to a shoddy product, right?

There are three main varieties, detailed below, which are available from Graceland Cellars. They're available by the case individually, or you can pick up a three pack that includes a bottle of each for around $40 (assuming they ship to your state). We'll try to get more info for you; check below for the winery's notes on each wine type. Pick up a few bottles and you'll be shaking your hips in no time.

Graceland Cellars 2004 Blue Suede Chardonnay
This bright California Chardonnay has attractive floral, citrus, pear and appley aromas followed by a rich, complex beam of apple pie, fig, apricot and peach flavors. Light toasty oak and hints of butter and vanilla on the finish round out this nicely balanced wine.

Graceland Cellars 2003 The King Cabernet Sauvignon
A typical new world Cabernet with a vibrant, ruby red color. This wine is lush, ripe and juicy, with intense black cherry, current and blackberry fruit that's smooth and focused. Subtle toasty oak flavors are accented by modest but dry tannins and a hint of spice. A soft and well-rounded wine with a smooth finish.

Graceland Cellars 2004 Jailhouse Red Merlot
This California Merlot is young and vibrant. Aromas of berries and fresh herbs are followed by the varietal characteristics of red currant, green olives, sage and wild berries. French barrel aging contributes notes of toasty vanilla and creates the soft, supple tannins typical of Merlot. An easy drinking medium bodied wine that your sure to enjoy.

Find out more or get your hands on some Elvis wines at Graceland Cellars.

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Cabernet Could Help Fight Alzheimer's

Cabernet vs Alzheimer'sReports have gone out recently that drinking as little as a glass or two a day of Cabernet Sauvignon could help fight Alzheimer's Disease. No report on how high quality the wine has to be so we'll stick to our cheap fun ones, but we'll definitely be upping our intake.

The authors of the study said, "This study supports epidemiological evidence indicating that moderate wine consumption, within the range recommended by the FDA dietary guidelines of one drink per day for women and two for men, may help reduce the relative risk for AD clinical dementia."

The researchers used 11-month-old transgenic mice with AD-type в-amyloid (Aв) neuropathology, to look for improvements in cognitive loss and AD-type neuropathology after red wine consumption.

from All Headline News

OK, so they did their research on mice - at least you have an excuse for a couple glasses of wine a day right?

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September 19, 2006

Metrokane Rabbit Wine Opener Gift Set

Rabbit Wine OpenerWhen it comes to opening wine simply and with a minimum of forearm strength, the Rabbit is the way to go. It's a bit bulkier than your typical corkscrew or wine opener, but at least you don't have to wrestle the damned cork out of the bottle.

We've found one at Amazon that is a flashy-looking silver, plus it's marked down pretty considerably from the full price at the time of posting ($43.50 from $110). Plus, the gift set comes with a foil cutter, drip-stop ring, bottle sealer, wax remover, and an extra corkscrew worm. Review
This model of the Rabbit has a velvety, silver finish, as do the four tools accompanying it. The tools include a squeeze-and-twist foil cutter to strip away the foil covering a cork, a drip-stop ring that fits onto any size wine bottle to prevent stains on table linen, a sealer that twists so tightly into any size bottle's neck it preserves even Champagne bubbles, and a "wax whacker" that flips the wax tablet off a wine cork. Also included is a replacement worm--the installed worm wears out after 20,000 or so corks. The Rabbit and tools all fit snugly into a padded storage case with a hinged lid. The cork puller carries a 10-year warranty against failure.
Available at

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Wynns "Coonawarra Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon

Wynn Coonawarra CabernetWe've had Coonawarra Estate wines before, and we really liked them. We found a flattering write up of their 2003 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon - the MSRP on the stuff is $14, but apparently it tastes far more expensive than it is. Check out some tasting notes about the wine below.

For decades, literally, "Wynns" has been an advertisement for Cabernet that overperforms. There's no way you can mistake the aroma: blackberry jam, currant jelly, creme de cassis, pipe tobacco, warm oak spice. This is Cab with a capital "C." No blockbuster, it still has enough heft and length to wrestle a big juicy steak to the floor. Its length and complexity are false testimony to a much more expensive wine, a lie we can happily live with!
from; check out the official Wynn's site

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September 18, 2006

How to Order Wine in a Restaurant

Wine OrderingOrdering wine in a restaurant can be a daunting task. Which label do you choose? How do you pair it with food? What price point do you hit? We've always heard never to order the second-least expensive bottle on the menu because it's the one restaurants mark up the most.

Check out the tips we found below, focusing on pairing, as well as other tips you'll find helpful when the sommelier is looking at you with that crooked smile, waiting for you to make your choice.

When pairing a wine with food, think about the weight and texture of both. Pair light wines with light foods, full-bodied or heavy wines with heavy foods. Think about it – the reason that steak and Cabernet Sauvignon are a classic pairing is because both are full-bodied and hearty, and therefore won't compete with each other for control of your taste buds. By that same token, if you're eating something light, oysters or cheese, for example, you'll want a lighter style wine to complement it.

Here's a quick crash course on light and heavy grape varietals that you'll see on a lot of wine lists:

Light whites – Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
Heavy whites – Chardonnay
Light reds – Pinot Noir, Gamay
Heavy reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache


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September 17, 2006

Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnay 2004

Franciscan Oakville Estate
Varietal: Chardonnay
13.5% ABV
We Paid: N/A (MSRP: $18)

franciscan-chardonnay.jpgWe haven't paid much attention to Chardonnays lately, but this bottle reminded us why it's the most popular grape going right now. Light and white and not too sweet, we were extremely happy with every sip. Of course, considering this just falls inside our "Under $20" mission statement, we're not too shocked that we liked it so much. We know a bigger price tag doesn't necessarily mean a better wine, but sometimes it does give you a nice little boost.

Tasting Notes: They say the Oakville Estate contains "notes of peach, pear and apple" in the nose, while the taste is "lively and lengthy on the palate with a great body and structure. Mineral notes linger and the finish is crisp, creamy and clean with apple and citrus flavors."

We definitely picked up on pears and apples, and we thought the nose had a good body once this one lost its chill from the fridge. The flavor was crisp and tart, carrying on the orchard fruit theme and kicking us with a nice rich, creamy finish.

Bottom Line: Like we said we haven't been drinking a whole lot of Chardonnay lately but this is one we'll sip again. We thought it'd be equally great drinking on the back porch on a warm summer day or next to a fireplace on a crisp autumn one. We'll definitely be adding a couple more bottles to our cellar (OK...closet) and we'll let you know what's up when we actually try during the late fall.

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September 15, 2006

Riedel Sommeliers 30th Anniversary Wine Tasting Glasses

sommeliers-wine-glasses.jpgWow. This week's Swanky Wine Friday is centered on wine glasses. Not just any wine glasses, either - they're Sommelier glasses from Riedel. What does that mean?

It means they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 for a set of three glasses. Does it make the wine taste that much better? We're not sure, but definitely check out the full review on Amazon - we don't have enough space for it but there's a TON of information on the benefits of the glasses and how to choose wisely. Read on for some more details on each glass.

ArrowContinue reading: "Riedel Sommeliers 30th Anniversary Wine Tasting Glasses"

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September 14, 2006

Avoid Wine Headaches by Choosing Wisely

Wine HeadacheWe have more than one friend who has sworn off wine because they get blinding headaches when they drink it. Not necessarily a hangover even - like right after they take a sip. A lot of times people blame sulfites and other chemicals in the wine, but it turns out it's probably a sensitivity to phenolics.

According to the article we found, phenolics are compounds "found in the skins, stems and pips of grapes," to which a lot of people have bad reactions. Most people with the sensitivity will avoid red wines, but some white wines contain them too. Others avoid cheaper wines, thinking the lower price tag is to blame, but it turns out that's not the case:

But here's some unexpected cheer: it's not actually the cheap reds that will give you problems! The wines with more extracts from the grapes and that spend more time in the barrel are more likely to be the pricier, labour-intensive blockbusters. Embrace your new wine preferences and enjoy the savings.

If these red wines still cause headaches, stick to unoaked whites (typically any white but a chardonnay). Avoid fortified wines (such as port and Rutherglen muscat) like the plague.

from The Sydney Morning Herald

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September 13, 2006

Too Much Booze in Your Wine?

Rocket FuelBack when we worked at Liquor Snob we would have scoffed at you if you ever told us there was such thing as too much booze in your drink. After all, it's all about the buzz right?

Maybe not. Wine guy Hugh Johnson is launching a campaign against wine makers, sayiing they're making wine with an alcohol content that is too high, thus ruining the flavor.

Hugh Johnson, who has won a string of awards in a career spanning four decades, compares today's new higher-strength wines to steroid-packed bodybuilders.

His attack is echoed by other critics, who say new wine-making techniques and the tastes of US judges have combined to make "dull-tasting rocket fuel", at the expense of more enjoyable tipples.

The rise in alcohol levels began with the arrival of Australian and other New World wines on the British market. Unlike traditional cool-climate French winemakers, who sought subtlety rather than strength, Australian mass producers used fully ripe grapes from high-temperature vineyards.

from The Australian

For the record, Mr. Johnson is staging his attack to coincide with the release of the 30th Anniversary edition of his Pocket Wine Guide (available at Amazon). The book is highly respected, but is it cynical on our part to say we smell tasteful publicity stunt in the air?

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September 12, 2006

Woot Wine 09/11/06: Jepson Mendocino Mix

Jepson Mendocino MixHow is it that we keep forgetting to cover the weekly Woot wine deal? It's not like they change the day they release it or anything. Every Monday - how tough is that to remember? Anyway, this week's deal seems like a pretty good one for $35.99 (plus $5 for shipping), so we'll hand the microphone over to Rick at Martini Lounge to give you the details.

All the wines are pretty good ones and Jepson also makes a nice Brandy if I remember correctly. Plus there's just something so pleasant about Mendocino wines. The cost normally is around US$58 before shipping, so you're getting a deal.
from Martini Lounge; order the wine from Wine Woot.

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September 11, 2006

Wine Rack Essentials from AskMen

Wine has put together a nice list of what they consider to be "essential" wines in a bunch of different varietals, both red and white. What drew us to it was the fact that they didn't throw out a bunch of $50 wine as essential - every single one of them is under $20. Plus, they also offer general tips about the different varietals, pairing suggestions, and tasting notes about the suggestions so you can sound like you know what you're talking about. Well done, boys!

The world of wine is a complex and daunting place for the uninitiated. The combination of tastes (freshly cut grass, are you kidding?) and smells, as well as varietals, vineyards and vintages, can be intimidating for anyone who does not know. The truth is that the world of wine doesn’t have to be a complex place, and it can be very rewarding with the understanding of a few basics.

This handy guide lists some varietals that will help you build an impressive wine rack and will certainly give you a sound understanding of the nuances of different types of wine.


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September 9, 2006

Thermo-Electric Wine Refrigerator

Thermo Electric Wine FridgeLast week on Swanky Wine Friday we covered a built-in wine cellar for your house. This week on Swanky Wine Saturday (yeah, we're a day late...wanna make something out of it?) we realize not everyone can swing the full cellar, but you still want to keep your wine in conditions as optimal as possible. Enter the Thermo-Electric Wine Refrigerator we found at Amazon.

This fridge will hold 20 bottles of your best wine, keep them between 55 and 60 degrees, and still leave you with enough money to actually buy wine. Brilliant!

Product Description
This wine cooler is perfect for all wine lovers! This 20 bottle wine refrigerator has the ideal environment for storing red, white, rosé, or sparkling wines, or for ready-to-serve occasions! Thermo-electric motor features no moving parts, making it completely silent and without vibration. Zero-clearance built-in capabilities. Full-view, double-paned tempered safety glass door. Includes thermometer. Five anti-tip pull out racks. Adjustable temperature range from 55°F to 66°F. Please allow unit to stand in upright position for 24 hours before plugging in.
from Amazon

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September 7, 2006

New York Times on Cheap Wines

cheap-wine-nyt.jpgThe New York Times isn't the first place you think of when we think of cheap wines, but they've just put out a story where they evaluated 24 bottles of red and white wines for $10 or less per bottle. We've included our favorites, the ones we want to try, along with their tasting notes. We know there's some stigma attached to bottles of wine that cost less than ten bucks, but if the Times can do it, so can you!


E & M Berger Austria Kremstal Gruner Veltliner 2005
1 liter
Crisp, clean and fresh with distinct floral, citrus and mineral flavors. (Importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y.)

Domaine Delaye France Saint-Veran Les Pierres Grises 2004
Grassy and floral with a lively, inviting texture. (Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y.)

Pascual Toso Argentina Mendoza Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Crisp, lively and refreshing. (TGIC Importers, Woodland Hills, Calif.)


Perrin Reserve Cotes-du-Rhone 2004
Direct, balanced and refreshing with aromas of earth, raspberries and dark fruit. (Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, Ala.)

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Central Coast Pinot Noir 2005
Straightforward and balanced with flavors of raspberry and anise.

Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2004
Dry and lively with cherry and earth flavors and a nice bitter edge.(Winebow, New York)

from The New York Times (subscription)

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On Single Serve Wines

Single Serving WinesSometimes you don't want to open up a full bottle of wine - maybe you're cooking with it, or maybe you just want a taste of wine without the possibility of smacking down an entire bottle. We've found reviews of some single serving wines that should serve if you're looking for your wine bottles to be on the petite side.

We pulled our favorite, the one we want to try most; click through for tasting notes on a few more brands.

Sofia Blanc de Blancs by Francis Ford Coppola, California (about $17 for a four-pack). This surprisingly good wine comes in cans, with straws attached. It's a sparkling white wine, yellow-gold with the aroma of warm cantaloupe and white grapes. The flavor offers good mousse, acidity and freshness, and tastes of clean fruit with a little golden apple. So far, this is the winner of the miniwines. 85 points.
from AZCentral

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September 6, 2006

Cheap Fun Bum Wines

WinoIt has just dawned on us that in terms of what we cover on this site, our thinking has become really uptight. Yeah, we cover wine, but we've been so focused on finding nice, safe little Chardonnays and Merlots for under $20 we forgot our Liquor Snob heritage. What does that mean? That we totally forgot about a completely underappreciated segment - fortified wines.

Fortified wines are wines that have had some kind of other alcohol (brandy, for example) added to up the buzz factor. Some fortified wines can be classy - that would be your ports, your sherries, etc. But those aren't the ones we're talking about here today.

We're talking about the fetid liquids you think of when you think of winos - Cisco, Mad Dog 20/20, Night Train, Thunderbird, and Wild Irish Rose. We've had every single one of these wines, though not since college (or high school), but each has its own special kind of magic. Read on for pics of the bottles and full descriptions thanks to, along with notes about our own experiences with them, and feel free to chime in with your own.

ArrowContinue reading: "Cheap Fun Bum Wines"

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September 5, 2006

Woot Wine 09/05/06: La Famiglia Pinot Grigio

La Famiglia Pinot GrigioWe've been loving a lot of Pinot Grigio around here lately, so we're all fired up about this week's Wine Woot. You're getting four bottles for $45 (like $11 apiece), and the lowest prices we found for this wine otherwise are around $15-$20 each.

That means the discount isn't incredibly deep but it's definitely not bad, plus we're intrigued by the tasting notes: "Enticing apple, citrus and lemon zest character with mineral, floral and spice nuances. Burst of tangerine on the finish. Crisp and dry, with silky texture." We say get there, especially if you like dry white wines.

But as always, make sure you check the list of delivery states at Wine.Woot as well as the Woot Wine blog before you get too pumped up; we found out Massachusetts isn't on the list so we can't partake this week.

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Make Homemade Wine with WinePod

Winepod Micro WinerySick and tired of having to truck all the way to a store to get your wine? Have an overabundance of grapes lying around the house? Got a couple grand to spend? Then it sounds like you're the target market for Winepod, a home winery system.

See below for more details; we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

The WinePod is a new domestic device for artisan winemaking – a micro winery just being readied for launch and seeking international distributors and we see this as a winner because it is just sooooo sophisticated. The insulated, self-cleaning, fully computerised, three foot tall, metallic urn-shaped appliance includes everything required to make 75 litres of the wine of your choice and is above all, easy to use. It wirelessly connects to your PC/Mac, which monitors Brix, pH and temperature to keep things happening exactly as they should and the WineCoach software mentors you through the wine-making process to obtain the best results for the particular variety of grapes you choose.
From Gizmag; more details at

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September 1, 2006

Spiral Wine Cellar

spiral-wine-cellar.jpgIn this world there are Haves and Have Nots. Some people Have the means to install an expensive wine cellar and stock it with multiple bottles of crazy expensive wine. Some people Have Not.

This Swanky Wine Friday we're taking a look at the Spiral Wine Cellar, a compact wine cellar you can install pretty much anywhere in your house (except - and we're guessing here - upstairs).

Not everyone can have it but the Spiral Cellar allows some people to come that much closer. If you can dig a hole in the middle of your house, then you can have your own 1,000 bottle cellar.

The door handily pulls up out of the floor and gives you steps down in to the cellar. Though it seems some complaints are of it being rather cramped, it beats that wire wine rack you have sitting on top of your refrigerator.

Innovation like this doesn't come cheap though, you'll end up spending about US10,000 to get it up and running.

from Martini Lounge; more info at Spiral Cellars

There are two size options - the Spiral Cellar, which holds up to 1,600 bottles depending on which size you take, and the Mini Cellar, which holds up to 770 bottles. That's a lot of wine! It's too bad we like to drink our wine so much - we'd probably install one in our apartment. You don't think the landlord would mind do you?

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CFW Monthly Roundup: August 2006

Wine PicnicWe've just wrapped up our first month of tenure here at Cheap Fun Wines and the first thing we noticed as we compiled the month's stories is that we didn't do enough tastings and reviews. Believe us, that will end soon enough. What we did do was find all sorts of stories about cool wine products, lay some sweet ideas for discounted wines on you, and write a little expose on Sideshow Wines. That'll have to do you for August. Read on to see the full list of August's stories and we're looking forward to seeing more in September.

ArrowContinue reading: "CFW Monthly Roundup: August 2006"

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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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