June 23, 2010

Taste Live with Fresh & Easy Tonight!

tasting pour.jpg
Normally I'd break up my Fresh&Easy coverage, but as I was perusing their blog for wine recommendations (taking advantage of the big sale this week) I came across an invite to participate in a Twitter tasting. It is tonight so if you're interested, RSVP ASAP. Here are the basics:

To join
1. Sign up at Taste Live using Twitter, Facebook or creating a new account on the top right corner
2. RSVP here
3. Pick up the wines below at your local Fresh & Easy store
4. Log in to Taste Live on June 23rd starting at 7:00PM (PST) - Hashtag: #FreshEasyWines

The wines in question are all Fresh & Easy exclusives:
Napa Family Vineyards Chardonnay - Under $12
The Vine Yard Late Harvest Riesling - Under $8
Re del Castello Chianti Classico - Under $10

Check out full details of the tasting on the Fresh & Easy blog.

Noël Wallace Permalink social bookmarking

June 22, 2010

Cheap Fun Fresh&Easy

For those of you graced with a Fresh & Easy in your neighborhood, check your local flyer. I just found out mine is having a fabulous wine sale and though I don't frequently buy wine there, this sale is so good I'm using as an excuse to try (and review of course) some of their private label selections:

f and e winesale.jpg

In addition to the unheard of discount--the best I can usually find is 10% off 6 bottles--if you spend $25 you also get a free canvas wine bag. So go, buy some wine, save some money, get a bag... and then check back here for the F & E Selections reviews and let me know your thoughts.

Noël Wallace Permalink social bookmarking

June 18, 2010

Shall I Drink it or Wear it? Essence of IX - Swanky Eau de Vin

My curiosity is seriously piqued from this one. High end, uber swanky perfume that just happens to be made from distilled grape essence, with the earthy touch of French oak:

Essence of IX $320
A limited edition pure perfume. Brambly. Floral. Stirring. White sage, roses, black currant, California lavender, French oak & wild honey. Inspired by Colgin Cellars' winery, the exquisite terroir of their Napa Valley vineyards, and the famed IX Estate (

Essence of IX Ingredients - 100% certified organic grape alcohol (beverage-grade), A proprietary blend of ethically sourced essential oils*
*Certified Organic, Wildcrafted, Biodynamic, or Pesticide-free

via Strange Invisible Perfumes

Noël Wallace Permalink social bookmarking

June 14, 2010

Stonecap Riesling 2007

VARIETAL: Riesling
REGION: Columbia Valley, Washington
PRICE: $7.99

I would venture to guess that some of you just saw the word "riesling" and are already mentally moving on... Don't go! This is not your granny's Blue Nun. The only thing you should fear from this wine is polishing it off yourself in one short sitting. In fact, why don't you just put your forefinger over the "R" word and imagine it says, "Stonecap White 2007." Are we ready to move on?

If you've been turned off by old world rieslings--which can be syrupy and redolent of kerosene and nectar--you must give a new world version the chance to wow you. This one does have a hint of nectar, but more of a whiff, like you've just come across a wild honeysuckle bush while playing capture the flag. One drop of honey on the tongue and the rest is all orange and grapefruit peel, almost ripe peach, juicy nectarine, and enough citrusy acidity for a clean crisp finish. Infinitely interesting and surprisingly well balanced, the Stonecap is also dirt cheap. I was not aware of the price point when I first tasted it and I would have guessed it fetched somewhere in the $14-$18 range.

Rieslings are by nature very food friendly. Pair this one with asian or the recommended seafood. Next time, I'll enjoy it with a little St. Andre smeared across some Jacob's cream crackers.

Find it here.

Noël Wallace Permalink social bookmarking

June 11, 2010

Swanky Table Wines are Good to the Last Drop

I don't know about you, but when I think of "table wine" I certainly do not think swanky. But the following two gems are just that.

If you've never checked it out, go to Wine Express and sign up for their Deal of the Day Newsletter. Every day you'll receive an offer for a discounted wine and 99 cent shipping. And periodically, they do a little housecleaning and offer some deeply discounted Last Drops:

colsolare.jpgCol Solare 2002 Red Mountain Estate, Columbia Valley
A "Dream Team" of winemakers come together to produce what has been called Washington State's best Cabernet-based wine. Marcus Notaro and Renzo Cotarella from Tenuta Antinori and Doug Gore of Ste, Michelle source grapes from a 30-acre estate vineyard in the Red Mountain appellation, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The 2002 scored 94 points from Robert Parker and is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah. The wine is aged 26 months in a mix of French and American oak, 92% new. It shows depth and concentration with layers of dark chocolate, black pepper, black plum and vanilla. Supple tannins linger on a lengthy finish. Very Limited! $49 (originally $74.95)

branon.jpgChateau Branon 2001 Pessac-Leognan
The Origins of Garage Wine
What exactly is garage wine? The term refers to great wines made in very meager facilities and it's not the winemaking facility, but the commitment of the vintner that makes these wines so impressive. Jean-Luc Thunevin led the movement and by the 2000 vintage, there were at least 25 of these wines being made in Saint-Emilion. Now, they affect areas that were previously untouched, such as the Graves and the Médoc.

Purchased by the owners of Chateau Haut-Bergey, the Garcin family, they sought the help of Jean-Luc Thunevin to make their 2000 vintage a Garagiste style luxury cuvee. This estate, which was very famous in the 18th century, was abandoned and then partly left to the urbanization of the 20th century. The vineyard is located between Haut-Bailly and Malartic-Lagravière on gravelly soil and planted with 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. In 2001 Michel Rolland took over as winemaker and produced this extraordinarily rich, powerful wine. $81 (originally $159.95)

via Wine Express

Noël Wallace Permalink social bookmarking

June 9, 2010

Bodegas Volver Tempranillo La Mancha 2007

volver.jpgVARIETAL: Tempranillo
REGION: La Mancha, Spain
PRICE: $14

This wine is a lovely and luscious surprise in so many ways. I bought it out of spite really. I was picking up a few lamb racks for my mother's birthday dinner and realized that I since she ONLY drinks white, I needed only one bottle of red for my uncle and I to share. Since he drinks mostly California pinot noir and cab, and he insists that it is impossible to find a decent bottle of anything for less than $20, I just had to find something totally out of his comfort zone. He was taunting me and I was determined to prove him wrong. So I grabbed this tempranillo thinking it would be a good match for my lamb--and that's exactly how I would spin it for him--and I just wouldn't mention the price.

At first whiff, the Volver tempranillo is completely mesmerizing. Warm aromas of saddle leather and coffee go straight to your head where they mingle for a while with the intense fruit notes you get from macerated red berries and dried currants. It is ever-so-slightly floral, but a more dried, dusty floral--just a hint of dried violet, or maybe lavender. First sips quickly turn into an empty glass. Sharing is definitely a problem with this one. The rich, round fruit notes are layered with subtle spice, sweet tobacco, and supple tannins. This tempranillo has wow. I think I could have polished off the bottle before the lamb racks hit the grill.

This wine so completely blew me away. My uncle was even impressed and thought I spent $25 or $30 on it. Check your local Whole Foods or get it online here.

Find it. Get it. Drink it. Thank me later.

Noël Wallace Permalink social bookmarking
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