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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September 19, 2006

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 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 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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August 29, 2006

Sideshow Wines or Freakshow Wines?

Sideshow WinesThis weekend we stumbled across some wines at Shaws called Sideshow Wines. They had interesting labels, a cool gimmick (they're all blends, touted as "novelties and oddities from around the world") and a good price - around nine bucks. We picked up a couple bottles and gave them as a gift, one a white called the Juggler (Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay) and the other a red called the Puppetmaster (Syrah/Malbec). Sounded good on paper, and we were bummed we didn't get to check it out.

Then we got a call from our friend, not a wine drinker known for his refined palate (he claims to prefer his wines from a 5-gallon pail), to tell us he'd tried the Puppetmaster. His quote was that it "looked like Koolaid and tasted like shit...but I had another glass when I finished the first one." Not the ringing endorsement we might've hoped for, but we'll try to get our hands on a bottle, and if you want to get a little more info check out the dusty and not-recently-updated Sideshow Wines blog.

Update: We got a call from our friend's wife who was horrified about the above quote. She said the wine was actually quite good, but sweeter and not as full bodied as our friend like his wine to be - he's a dyed in the wool Cabernet drinker. She said she'd also tried the Juggler and quite liked it, saying it tasted like it cost more than nine bucks. So there you have it...we need to review these bad boys!

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August 23, 2006

How to Decant Wine

Wine DecanterWe've all heard that there are wines you should let breathe, but it's not always easy to know how to decant wine. We've found a resource that gives you step-by-step tips on how to decant wine, whether it's young or old.

Decanting wine step-by-step

Decanting a young wine is easy -- just pour it into the decanter. Decanting older wine requires a little more finesse. Libbey teaches you how:

  • Stand the unopened bottle upright for a few hours (or a couple of days,if possible), to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle.

  • Screw the corkscrew into the cork, not to push through the bottom of it. Remove the cork, and clean inside the neck of the bottle with a cloth to remove any cork particles.

  • Steadily, slowly and continuously, pour the wine into the decanter until the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle. The remaining wine containing the sediment can be discarded.

  • Never clean your decanter with soap. The soap residue can be difficult to remove due to the shape of the decanter, altering the taste of the wine. Instead, scrub the decanter with a brush, warm water and coarse
from Yahoo! Finance Press Release

Most of the wine we drink is pretty young, but if you're looking to decant and you don't have a decanter, you can buy one at Amazon.

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August 9, 2006

Wine X Weekly Email Blast is 'Da Bomb'

Wine X CoverA little while back we covered a story about not judging wine by its label, which we found over at Wine X magazine. Until then we hadn't been familiar with the publication and we liked what we'd seen so far, so we jumped on the mailing list for their weekly email blast to see if it was any good. Turns out we're glad we did, and we think you'll dig it too.

Some of the blast is pretty standard, with stories they've covered recently and all that, and that's cool. But where we found the most value was in the X-Rated Wines section, which has the tagline "Wines that normal, grocery-store going folk can actually find, buy and drink." Sounds like us, right?

They review five wines they've found in a week, rating them on a scale of X (Gets it Done), XX (Fo' Shizzle) and XXX (Da Bomb), and offering short tasting notes as well as the ability to save the information for later. Plus, every single wine they blasted about this week was $15 or less. We'll include a couple of this week's picks below so you can get the drift, and we recommend you sign up ASAP (check for "Blast X Me" at the top right of the page).

XXX. York Mountain
2003 Pinot Noir
San Luis Obispo County $15
Liquid love.

XXX. Babcock
2005 Pinot Grigio
Santa Rita Hills $15
Tastier than a food fight at the Playboy Mansion... and the best part is lickin' it clean.

XX. Courtney Benham (Martin Ray)
2004 Sauvignon Blanc
Napa Valley $14
On a hayride with the short shorts girls - crisp, smooth and long on the legs. Close to XXX.

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August 6, 2006

California Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris

Pinot GrigioDon't be surprised if you drink a glass of Pinot Grigio and a glass of Pinot Gris and you find them to be strikingly similar. Turns out the Grigio is what Italians call it, while the French call it Gris. All we know is it's generally a nice, light inexpensive wine, and its popularity is on the rise.

We found a nice article outlining a bunch of California Pinots for you to try. Included below is a partial list with prices; click through to find tasting notes on other examples of this varietal.

2005 Balletto Sonoma Coast Pinot Grigio ($14) 13.5%

2005 Estancia California Pinot Grigio ($13) 12.5%

2004 Guenoc California Pinot Grigio ($9) 12.5%

2005 Palmina Santa Barbara County Pinot Grigio ($16) 13.5%

2004 Van Ruiten Family Vineyards Lodi Pinot Gris ($12) 12.5%


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