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December 7, 2006

The Right States for Shipping Wine

Wine Shipping BoxesWith the holiday season upon us, now is the time when a lot of people are looking to ship presents to friends and loved ones in other states. Of course, we think the best gift you could give anyone is wine, so that got us to thinking - what states can you ship wine to? As you probably know, individual states have their own rules and regulations about who can ship wine to their residents, and there are different categories.

Shipping between some states is perfectly simple and legal, while shipping to others is a felony. That's right...we said felony. We've compiled a list of each state's status after the jump, just to make sure you don't celebrate the holidays with a trip to the Big House.

[Update: So we thought this would be a useful little story for people looking to have wine shipped to another state, but it looks like the whole thing is too complex for our tender little minds. First we put up a list of laws and states, but it looks like the resource we used for this story was a bit out of date - or a lot out of date based on the number of comments we got. The other thing we noticed is that it's a fairly emotional issue, based on the number of people who called us idiots.

This just goes to show how confusing it can all be. So, in honor of us being idiots, we give up. If we include shipping info in our story, it seems like it'll just change in a week anyway. So, instead of giving you the list, we're going to tell you where to look for wine shipping info.

First, check out the Wine Institute's Who Ships Where? page for more up-to-date info. If that's not up to date enough for you, give the Ship Compliant blog a try...they know way more about this stuff than we do. Of course, most of the info is aimed at wineries that do wine shipping, so they probably know all this stuff anyway. Also, if you're trying to order from somewhere like Wine.com, check their shipping policies before you get out your credit card.

Oh, and if you're living in one of those banned states for wine shipping and you just can't take it anymore, Free the Grapes is a grassroots coalition to try to lift bans and regulations on wine shipping.

Sorry about all the confusion. We hope this has been as much of a learning experience for you as it has for us.]

ArrowContinue reading: "The Right States for Shipping Wine"

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December 5, 2006

Lamborghini Wine on Sale at WinesTilSoldOut

lamborghini-wine.jpgWe just got a hot tip that you can get a great deal on a great wine, but you have to act fast.

The Wine: Lamborghini Umbria Campoleone La Fiorita 2002 Sangiovese Blend - got 91 points from Wine Spectator Magazine, blended by the people who make the cars. If they know half as much about grapes as they do about vehicles, what more could you ask for?

The Deal: This stuff usually retails for close to $65 per bottle, and they're offering it for $23...plus there's free shipping if you buy 2 or more bottles. Not too shabby if you ask us, even though it's three bucks more than our typical price cap.

The Location: WinesTilSoldOut.com.

We've reported on Wines Til Sold Out before, but if you're unfamiliar, they run crazy low prices on wine but they only last for 24 hours. That means you have to get your arse in gear if you want to get your hands on the deal.

Like we said above, they offer deals every single day, but this one struck us as one of the better ones so we thought we'd give a shout out. We check them regularly, and if you're looking for expensive wines for cheaper prices, you should too.

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November 28, 2006

Wine for Dummies

Wine for DummiesY'know, there's nothing wrong with saying you don't know anything about wine. Don't be shy. There are plenty of people in the same boat. And sometimes all it takes is the admission of ignorance to start you down the path to enlightenment (did we really just say that?) Anyway, If you're too embarrassed to get Wine for Dummies for yourself, or you take umbrage at being called a dummy, just buy it for a gift for someone else. It's a win/win/win.

Amazon - Wine for Dummies

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November 9, 2006

The Appeal of South African Pinotage

South African Grape HarvestingWe've always been fans of the notion that not all wine comes from California and Europe, and we've been noticing a lot of nice inexpensive wines coming out of Africa. We've found an article singing the praises of Pinotage, a graft of pinot noir and cinsault grapes invented in the 20th century in South Africa.

The tasting notes we read appealed to our adventurous side, and while there are mentions of everything from rotten fruit to salsa in the tasting notes, it always seems to be "in a good way." Plus, prices seem to range from $8.50 to $15, so we're up to give it a try since it won't hit the wallet too hard.

Check out our choices below, and head over to Philadelphia Citypaper.net for a full rundown and more selections.

Cathedral Cellar 1999 ($13)

Here is proof positive that pinotage can age. This fascinating oddball stood out from the pack. A huge nose, with anise, beets, pepper, blue cheese, plums and, oh hell, throw the whole fridge in. Don't waste any time getting to this; one taster detected a fade, while another declared that the time to drink this is now.

Simonsig 2002 ($15)

More than a few tasters commented on the elegance of this wine. A beautiful balance of sweet and tart mouth feel, with vibrant red fruit tones on the nose. Seductive purple color. Lovely finish. Some found this a bit forward, even metallic, but the consensus was that this is a classically pretty quaff.

Fairview 2005 ($13)

This came across as a racy young thing, with a tartness that crossed the line into sourness for some. Flowers lurking in the nose. The host detected rotten fruit on the back of the tongue, but in a good way. Screw top enclosure is a hip touch.

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October 30, 2006

Pairing Halloween Candy with Wine

Halloween CandyHalloween is a time to gorge on so much candy your arteries turn to chocolate and your teeth dissolve like those Nazis' faces at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you're looking for a little extra zing with your diabetic shock this year, Wine Enthusiast has put together pairing recommendations for everything from candy corn to jujubes. We've included their recommendation for chocolate, our favorite, but head over to their site for more recommendations.

Port is perhaps the most classic pairing for chocolate, but pour anything in the red-wine family such as Banyuls or Shiraz alongside handfuls of M&M’s, pint-sized candy bars, or other chocolate Halloween treats. Baby Ruth, Snickers, or other nutty candy bars in your bag? Select a Sherry or Madeira to complement rich nut flavors.
Wine Enthusiast (via Chow)

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October 2, 2006

Meet the Wine Diva

Wine Diva Goes ShoppingAs the name implies, it's our mission here at Cheap Fun Wines to find cheap wines for the masses, but we also like to offer other kinds of information as well. Just because you put a $20 spending cap on your wine purchases doesn't mean you don't need good solid advice on how to choose it wisely. That's why it's sometimes nice for you to have access to an honest-to-goodness wine professional instead of amateurs with big aspirations.

That's where Christine Ansbacher comes in. She's one of only 180 Certified Wine Educators in the states, she's forgotten more about wine than we'll ever know, and she's known around town as the Wine Diva. Sounds pretty intimidating, but we found this snippet from the newly started Wine Diva blog that we thought was very down to earth - "her credentials are daunting but her ethic is simple: people just want to know how to select and enjoy a good bottle of wine." The blog offers lots of great tips, from Christine's POV on corks vs screw caps to pairing wine with savory foods. She has also recently released a book called Secrets from The Wine Diva (available at Amazon), which we'll be receiving soon, so expect a review.

Also, we've been in touch with Christine and we're hoping to set up something in the 20 questions format, so if you have any questions you'd like to ask a Certified Wine Educator, shoot them to us at:
news [at] cheapfunwines [dot] com.

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September 20, 2006

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 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

from Richmond.com

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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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