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March 12, 2007

Ken's Practical Party Case

We're always on the lookout for a good, satisfying, cheap wine, but sometimes it can be tough to figure out which bottle of plonk we should plunk down our money for. We got an email from a gentleman named Ken who is on the same quest, plus he seems to be much more organized than we are - he has a section of his site called the "Practical Party Case."

In it you'll find all sorts of great information about wines from the lower end of the price spectrum - he gives his own reviews and consolidates the ratings of others, all to find wines that are Very Good to Excellent for a reasonable price. Go Ken! Check it out at Ken'sWineGuide.com.

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February 9, 2007

Wines for Valentines

Romantic WinesThe time is almost here - the big V-Day '07. It's time to get all romantical with your chosen animal, vegetable, or mineral, and if we're talking romance, we should be talking wine. We've found some recommendations for romantic wines this year that will hopefully get you some romantic attention, or at least keep you out of the doghouse.

Seduction is a wine that was suggested by two people — Mike Smith, of Napa, and Bart O’Brien, of O’Brien Cellars, who produced the wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and comes in a red and black box that emphasizes the words, “Lovers, Friends and You.” The wine itself is enclosed in a red see-through bag, which was described by a colleague in the newsroom as “the only wine I’ve ever seen that comes in a negligee.”
St. Helena Star

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January 15, 2007

4 More Rules for Pairing Wine with Food

Wine and FoodIf you ask most people for tips on how to pair wine and food, they'll mumble something vague about red wine going with meat and white wine going with fish, and not have much more to offer. We're starting to become very interested in this kind of pairing, and we stumbled over an article from Ask Men offering some more in-depth information on the subject, and we even forgive their use of the word "oenophile." One detail we found interesting was the rule of thumb that you shouldn't pair a sweeter food with a less-sweet wine.

AskMen's 4 rules are:

1- Match flavors and tastes

2- Take your cues from the kitchen

3- Offset tastes

4- Start light and build up

Read the full explanations of these guidelines at AskMen.com
[via The Cooking News]

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November 1, 2006

Five Celebrity Wines Worth Trying Out?

Fleetwood WineWe've covered a bit of celebrity wine news in our time, from Elvis Presley wine to Dan Aykroyd's, but Slashfood has found five more brands you might want to try. From rock stars to race car drivers, they've dredged up the best of the best celebrity wine.

We're not sure how well they pair with food, but we're sure they'll go great with your night vision goggles on your nightly outing to Lorraine Bracco's house.

Best Cabernet By A Super Bowl MVP: Joe Montana's 2001 Montagia Cabernet Sauvignon.

Best Sauvignon Blanc By A Formula One Race Car Driver: Mario Andretti's 2005 Sauvignon Blanc.

Best Austrailian Shiraz By A British Open Winner: Greg Norman's 2003 Limestone Coast Shiraz.

Best Chardonnay By A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer: Mick Fleetwood's Private Cellar 2001 Chardonnay.

Best Brunello By A Sopranos Cast Member: Lorraine Bracco's 2000 Brunello di Montalcino.

Head on over to Slashfood for more info and links.

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October 31, 2006

Lord of the Wines

Legolas in Drinking Contest

We've made no secret of the fact that we're geeks. On top of being wine geeks, we also read comic books and trade in other Nerdly arts - though we must say we don't go as far as our Editor in Chief, with his LOTR 4EVA tattoo. We do like to throw him a bone every once in a while, however, and we've found a great roundup of Lord of the Rings wines to send you on a nerdly drunk. We're only going to include the introduction and the shopping list here, however - you'll have to go to SFGate.com for the full text and story.

One thing that always strikes me about Tolkien's mythical Middle Earth is the pleasure taken in drinking: Each race has its own tipple, from the hobbits' beer to the ents' growth-inducing drafts. Even the evil orcs carried flasks of a liquor that caused hobbits' pain to vanish.
Find the shopping list for your own Middle Earth excursion after the jump. Oh, and one thing - we'll support you in your Lord of the Rings love Mr. Editor in Chief, but we'll never understand your obsession with The Nanny fan fic. ArrowContinue reading: "Lord of the Wines"

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October 24, 2006

Un-Americanized Wines for Under $20

'MericanA while ago we posted a story about people complaining about too much alcohol in wine, and from what we can tell it's becoming a real epidemic. We never thought it was that big of a deal, and in fact we welcomed some additional booze in our plonk, but people really don't like the "Americanization" of wine. Yep, that's right, we're seen as the bull in the china shop that's making everyone focus on chardonnay and cabernet grapes and make big fruity wines with high alcohol content. Sue us.

We've found a great article that will let you find some other, non-Americanized wines to make sure your palate is always properly challenged. See below for the ones we want to try most and click through to Miami.com for more:

2006 Simonsig Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa: Lightly sweet, bursting with tropical fruit aromas and flavors, excellent as an aperitif or with salads or sandwiches; $11. This used to be popular in California, but it declined rapidly as growers found their vineyards made much better quality chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. It comes into its own in the shale soils of southwestern South Africa.

2004 Concannon Assemblage Red, Central Coast, California: Big, red and robust, with firm tannins, it's an excellent steak wine; $14. For some years, California winemakers have been making ''meritage'' wines that copy the wine varieties in France's great Bordeaux wines -- cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec. But some winemakers find that too limiting, so they're adding grapes from other areas. Assemblage Red has cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petite verdot, but also a bit of petite sirah, a grape from France's Rhne Valley, for some extra backbone.

2004 Shenandoah Vineyards Reserve Tempranillo, Amador County, California: Big and rich and concentrated, with black cherry and black coffee flavors; $24. Tempranillo, of course, is the grape of Spain's famous Rioja wines. When it's grown in California's sunny climate, it becomes bigger, fuller bodied. This one has 20 percent cabernet sauvignon to make it even bigger and rounder.

2003 Forest Glen Malbec, California: Dark and sturdy, with black cherry and cinnamon flavors; $10 (recommended). Malbec began in France, as a blending grape used to add color to Bordeaux wines. It was black as ink and powerfully tannic. Then it migrated to Argentina, where it turns out smooth, ripe, chocolate-and-cherry flavors. Now it's being planted in California, where it turns out somewhere in between.

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October 16, 2006

Dracula Wine: Great for Halloween Parties

dracula-wine.jpgOK, so Dracula wine might be a bit of a misnomer, but we've found some Romanian wines that will make your Halloween party the talk of the town. Also mentioned are a bunch of other good wines for less than $20, and as an added bonus they also give some advice for picking out Scotch, especially if you're going to give it as a gift. We're always looking out for our readers, no matter what the holiday.

Newly staking out old territory in Romania are Vampire wines. Perfect for your mock Goth party, or even to help protect yourself from the hordes of candy-plundering children on Halloween. The white, Vampire 2004 Pinot Grigio ($10.95, 87) shows nice spicy apple, lime and lemon peel accents, and the red Vampire 2003 Pinot Noir ($10.95, 87) displays strawberry, candied cherry and vanilla notes, bloody good for the price.
read on at the Toronto Star

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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 thing...in 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 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.

Read more at FortWayne.com

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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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