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Beware of Wine Burglars?

BurglarDid you know over a million Americans have wine collections that are considered to be of significant value? Neither did we, at least not until we read about a wine burglary that occurred in Sonoma, CA back at the beginning of January. Apparently a whole mess of wine valued at upwards of half a million dollars was burgled (I've always wanted to use that word) from a home, and police believe it's the work of seasoned connoisseurs since they avoided low-value bottles.

Half a million bucks? If we had more than $40 worth of wine around at any given time we'd just burgle ourselves. So who should be most concerned? Owners of Bordeaux, because it ages well and fetches a high price at auction.

Read the full story at SFGate.

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January 2, 2007

Happy New Year from Cheap Fun Wines

Where does your wine come from?Well, we've been in 2007 for a couple days now, and all we can say is it seems like a pretty darned good year. We know things have been quiet around here for the last little while, and it should do your heart good to know our New Year's resolution is to drink more wine. Well, not exactly, because we already drink a ton - we just need to write about it more. We're constantly scribbling our tasting notes on the back of cocktail napkins and forgetting to write them up later...we know it's bad form. We're thinking about getting a wine journalat Amazon to keep us honest - we'll let you know how it works out. Anyway, here's to a great 2006 and looking forward to a prolific 2007!

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November 17, 2006

More Thirsty Traveler: Australian Wine Videos

Thirsty TravelerA little while back we featured some sake videos shot in Japan as part of a featured called the Thirst Traveler. We thought the videos were interesting and informative, and we've just gotten our hands on a few more videos - these ones from wineries in Australia.

Check out A Taste of Hunter Valley to see more about Australia's Seafood and Semilion festival and check out some oyster shucking to boot. Or, stomp some grapes with the Thirst Traveler as he helps celebrate the harvest in the Coonawarra region in The Mecca of Australian Reds. Finally, throw some kangaroo tail on the barbie (seriously) with aboriginal vintners in Vines in the Outback.

If those videos aren't enough, Travelistic (the home of the Thirsty Traveler) has all sorts of wine videos for you to check out. We recommend watching with a nice little glass of something in your hand - but that's really up to you, isn't it?

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November 15, 2006

New Update on Old Fart Wine

Old Far WineJust in time for the holidays, Old Fart wine has been revamped and relaunched on the market. We've seen this stuff in the stores before but we've never actually tried it, and we think it might just be time to pick up a bottle. There are two varieties, Old Fart Wine, which is a Grenache/Syrah, and Old Fart Wife, which is a Chardonnay. Both retail for somewhere around $10, and they seem like a great gift idea for the crochety wine lover in your life.

The brand which is produced by Boutinot Wines Estates Inc. and distributed through A.V. Imports, Inc., is based on the premise that grapes from old vines make the best wines.

Old Fart Wine and Old Fart's Wife both come from the Southern Rhone region of France using grapes from 40 year old vines.

via Bottle Watch - Old Fart Wine - Reformulated

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October 11, 2006

Cheap Fun Wines in Sonoma

SonomaSo the Cheap Fun Winers (and a couple Liquor Snob interns) went straight to the wine source this weekend when they visited Sonoma, CA for a wedding. We thought we'd talk about some of our experiences while on the Left Coast, and let you know about some of the wines we tried. First of all, it was frickin' beautiful, and if our camera wasn't on the fritz we'd have put up some pictures to prove it. Second of all, we drank some really, really great wine that was less than $20 out there - they had gas stations with better selections of California wines than our local wine stores. See below for the highlights.

Our first stop was at the Gloria Ferrer winery, where we tasted some sparkling wines - a Blanc de Blancs, a Brute Rose, and a Carneros Cuvee. Very tasty, but sparkling wine isn't really our thing, and we were kind of disappointed when we found out they actually had still wines and we were just in the wrong line. On the down side, some of it was kind of spendy - like $10/glass spendy; on the up side they liked our Liquor Snob hoodie.

Next, we went to a gas station across from our hotel and picked up some assorted Blackstone and Kendall Jackson bottles for less than a six pack of good beer at home. The real treasure, however, was the bottle of Reserve Chardonnay we nabbed from the Bonneau Winery for $19. We figure if it tasted as good as it did when we drank it damn near blacked out at 3 AM, it must taste great with a clean palate.

One of the weird down experiences we had whilst in Sonoma was at the Wine Exchange, a little store in the downtown area. Maybe we caught them on a bad day, or maybe they knew we were hung over idiots, but while they were very knowledgeable and helpful, it seemed grudging and on the snooty side. Plus, the guy who served us our beers at the tasting looked like Santa Claus's evil twin. Their beer list is off the charts, however, so we'd go back in a cocaine heartbeat.

The culmination of the weekend was, of course, the wedding, which was held at the Nicholson Ranch. Not only was the scenery absolutely gorgeous as we looked across a serene little pond with grape vines at our backs and mountains in the distance, but they made kickass wine too. Most of their online prices are steeper than we'd normally pay, but we highly recommend you go check the place out and have some dinner and a couple bottles if you find yourself in the area.

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October 4, 2006

FreeRange Wine from JuiceBox

FreeRange Wines LogoThe latest addition to the "wine in a box" trend is FreeRange from JuiceBox. They offer seven varieties of wine in 3 liter boxes for around $30. What does that mean? It means you can get four bottles-worth of wine for a price equivalent to $7.50 per bottle. Not too shabby - see below for a snippet from their press release including the types of wine they're peddling.

Two self-avowed "wine nuts" have combined forces to bring exceptional wines to consumers at reasonable prices. Jonathan Barry and Tom Eddy's JuiceBox Wine Company has released seven different types of premium FreeRange wine, all 2005 vintage, in an innovative three-liter 4BottleBox(TM). They are Pinot Noir, Merlot, Red Bordeaux, White Bordeaux, Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Read more at Snack and Bakery.com

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September 21, 2006

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 Kranks...you get the picture).

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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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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 Telegram.com

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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.

LogABottle.com - 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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