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May 11, 2010

Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc 2008

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Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: California
Price: $10

This is surely going to be a go-to wine for me this summer. The very pale golden color is somewhat misleading. Though it looks more like a pinot grigio, I can assure you this wine has a lot going on for a mere $10. It is lovely and aromatic with layers of juicy stone fruit and citrus blossom. Bright and crisp yet soft and round, this sipper stimulates all of your senses at once. An array ripe summer fruit will linger on your palate, but this sauv blanc finishes clean. I'm thinking seared scallops and a salad of mache dressed with a simple vinaigrette.


Image from Mason Cellars

Read More in: White Wine | Wine Tasting Notes

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May 5, 2010

Another Day, Another Deal at My Wines Direct

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I typically mock all of the retailers who make a holiday out of everything, Grandparents Day, Administrative Professionals and the like. Secretly though, I love the deals. I am cheap, but a special sort of cheap. I won't buy something just because it is cheap. I like to find real values... things that look and feel and taste like the cost more than they do. So if you're sort-of snickering at the idea of Cinco de Mayo wine--that's right, I said wine for Cinco de Mayo--reserve your mockery for after you check out this fantastic pack of truly interesting wine picks:

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
4 Reds & 2 Whites $69.95
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we are celebrating with a fiesta of wine and savings! For a limited time, take $33 off this premium collection of wines from around the world. Perfect for entertaining with friends and family!
Enjoy the Argentine Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon with traditional Mexican meals or heartier fare. Or try the unique Californian Petit Verdot and Meritage which pair perfectly with red meats, poultry, and bold cheeses. The "Double T" Chardonnay from the award winning Trefethen vineyards, is a smooth, medium-bodied wine with a spicy finish, great with any dish.

via MyWinesDirect

Read More in: Wine Discounts

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April 30, 2010

Fusion Infinity Break-Resistant Glasses - Pretty and Practical

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Don't you hate it when you rinse out a glass and you tap it ever so slightly on the faucet or side of the sink? What ensues is typically a harrowing 1/2 hour of picking shards out of your in-sink-erator. I am not great with glassware. I have a hereditary tendency toward spazzy behavior and as a result, I have resisted the urge to purchase expensive barware that only gets attention while I'm drinking. Recipe for disaster. I've always wanted to invest in a set of tasting glasses that look as great as they taste. Finally, I think I've found the answer... now if I could only afford them:

Fusion Infinity Cabernet Bonus Pack (Set of 6 + 2 Free) $99.95
Taking elegance and strength to the next level. Fusion perfects the latest trend in upscale dining, taking the best qualities of the Fusion Classic line and enhancing them with a sleeker shape, a wider bowl, and a taller stem. Brilliant European crystal is fused with super-strong magnesium to form a break-resistant, lightweight, graceful wine glass. Science meets sophistication, and the result is shatterproof. Shaped to enhance the best qualities of your wine. Lead-free crystal; never clouds or dulls. Dishwasher safe.

Fusion 10-Year Limited Warranty
In the unlikely event your Wine Enthusiast Fusion Glass breaks, we'll replace it FREE, even up to 10 years after purchase!

via WineEnthusiast

Read More in: Swanky Wine Fridays | Wine Glasses

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April 29, 2010

Octavin Home Wine Bar - Artisan Wine in a Box... Sort of

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Okay so it technically isn't a box, but rather an octagon... And of course the wine is housed in a stay-fresh collapsable bag, but you get the idea. I figured since I've been chatting up the boxed wine concept quite a bit lately I should probably prove to you that on occasion, I practice what I preach.

Things I love about the Octavin Wine Bar:


  • The footprint is smaller and takes up less space on my counter or in my fridge

  • The spout is easy to use and doesn't make a mess

  • Great value, you get a whole lot of wine for $20-$25 dollars

  • Most importantly, the wines are GREAT. You get real wines, well established artisan wines, not just left over juice from here and there all thrown in a bag.

Monthaven Chardonnay 2008
I was pretty terrified to try this one. Of all the boxed wines I've tried in the past, I have found the chardonnays the least forgiving, and overall the least appealing. This vibrant central coast chardonnay totally changed my mind. I was blown away by how well balanced, and flavorful it was. Great tropical aromatics and flavors add a little richness and roundness, but just a little. The pineapple quickly gives way to clean crisp golden apple. It is medium bodied and just generally crowd-pleasing and very easy to pair with food. Throw this in your cooler for all of your outdoor gatherings this summer.

Big House Red 2008
What can I say about the Big House that you don't already know? I hadn't tasted this wine in about 10 years, but it is EXACTLY as I remember it and I can tell you it tastes EXACTLY the same from a tap. This wine screams easy going and food friendly. Fruity and super smooth, it is the ultimate party red. Again, you'll want it around for that summer block party or BBQ.

The one thing you may (or may not) find fault with is the claim that these wines last for 4-6 weeks. Ahem, well I am here to tell you that 20 glasses of wine do not last 4-6 weeks in this household. They did last about 2 weeks--and they did remain as fresh as the day I popped the tap.

Read More in: Chardonnay | Red Wine | Wine Tasting Notes

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April 28, 2010

Spring Blowout Pack

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My Wines Direct always has great deals on wine packs with FREE SHIPPING, but this week they have a crazy good deal going on:

Spring Blowout $65.95
3 Reds & 3 Whites
Put your feet up, relax and enjoy six delicious wines at an incredible price. Our lowest price of the season saves you $23! Plus, we deliver your wine at no charge.
This pack has three refreshing California whites - two lush Chardonnays and and one fruity Sauvignon Blanc, and three International reds - a hearty Shiraz from Australia, a bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina and a delicious Syrah-Grenache from France!
Six Great Wines, One Great Price and $0 Shipping!

Read More in: Wine Discounts

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April 26, 2010

RIP Thomas Angrove, Father of Franzia

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Here at CFW, we'd like to pay a belated tribute to wine packaging visionary, Thomas Angrove who passed away at the end of March. Click on the link below to check out the full piece and an oddly entertaining video on Asylum:

Box Wine Inventor Dies, ATI Wants You to Celebrate His Boozy Creation
By Ryan McKee


The inventor of boxed wine, Australian genius Thomas Angove, passed away last week at 92 years old. Asylum would like to honor his contribution to our reckless abandon (aka "Slap the Bag") by proposing a National Box Wine Day, which will be held, well, today.

So wherever you are right now -- whether it be work, school or watching the baby -- walk outside and buy a box of wine. Immediately chug one-third (equal to one standard bottle), then let another third pour out on the ground for Angove. Finally share the rest with the winos slowly surrounding you. Don't feel trashy or ashamed. Drinking box wine is not nearly as low-class as some would have you believe.

via Asylum.com

Read More in: Wine News

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April 23, 2010

PureVineWines - Organic and Biodynamic Wine Club

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There are certainly other organic wine clubs... in fact I probably mention one each year at about this time. But PureVineWines adds swank and swagger, where other clubs exhibit a decidedly more, how shall I put it--crunchy--bent? For $45 to $60 per month (depending on the selections) you get two artfully crafted boutique wines:

PUREVINEWINES deals almost exclusively with Biodynamic and Organic wines in the belief that they are an honest and true expression of the soil and climate from which they came. These wines deliver the purest sense of "terroir" from vine to glass, without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals. Our Wine of the Month Club delivers two hand-crafted and selected wines to your door every month. Our selections are unique, rare and hard to find.

Featured Wines for the April Club:
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Volker Eisele Cabernet
A blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc from the Chiles Valley district of Napa Valley. This property has been in the family for three generations and is an excellent example of good land stewardship., practicing organic viticulture for thirty five years. This full bodied, predominently cab blend is plush, velvelty, with dark cherry and tobacco notes and moderate tannins on the palate.

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Lemelson Dry Riesling
Hailing from Carlton, Oregon this dry Riesling has plenty of acidity and minerality with a touch of sweetness but not enough to challenge the "dry". Plush meyer lemon on the top notesbut then it evolves into a melon bouquet on the palate. Citrus, fruit, floral and mineral: great characteristics in this classic style riesling.

via PureVineWines

Read More in: Swanky Wine Fridays

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April 22, 2010

Cheap, Fun And Green All Over

story.jpgYou don't have to be a tree-hugger to show your appreciation for Mother Earth. The fact is, going green, or being green is just a simpler way to live. Our Earth Day Green Guide focuses on the four basic principles of eco-consciousness: buy organic or sustainable, buy local and make less waste. No problem.

Choose Organic Wine or Wine Made From Organic Grapes
I suppose this seems like a no-brainer. Want to drink green, buy green. When in doubt, look for certified organic wines or wines made from certified organic grapes.

yalumbaVio.jpgYalumba Organic Viognier 2009
The wine is lemon straw in colour with green hues. Lifted honeysuckle, lemon rind, apricot and peach mixed with hints of cashew and freshly turned earth deliver a complex and funky aroma. The palate is rich and textured. A luscious wine with layers of spice, citrus and apricot, showing the distinct characters of varietal Viognier which persist through to a lovely fresh finish. Enjoy with spicy Asian cuisine. (from Yalumba.com)


Find Biodynamic or Sustainably Produced Picks
I know sometimes its tough to find a really good organic wine, especially on a budget. If you haven't yet found options to your liking, check out wines that are biodynamically farmed or sustainably produced.

edge PN.jpgEscarpment Over the Edge Pinot Noir 2008
100% Martinborough Pinot Noir, grown on the alluvial gravel terraces for which the district has become famous. The season was exceptionally warm allowing high quality, fully ripe fruit to be harvested early with brilliant ripe cherry/plum flavours. A full-bodied style with great backbone and a long lingering finish. An immediately accessible wine, which will improve over the next 2 years. Enjoy with full flavoured fish dishes, lamb or vegetarian dishes. (from Escarpment Vineyards)


Try A Boxed Wine
Ignore the stigma, there really are some great options out there. I'm sure you've noticed than many organic, biodynamic, and sustainable wines often come with a heftier price tag. It stands to reason that the more individual TLC any product gets, the more expensive it will be. Now that there are tasty boxed options available, you can fearlessly embrace the enormous savings advantage of buying 3-4 bottles all conveniently squished into a collapsable bag, with a tap at your fingertips. And the eco bonus, less packaging = less weight = less shipping = significantly reduced carbon footprint.

seven531.jpgOctavin Wine Bar - Seven, Red Wine of Spain
Our artisan winemaker selected seven red wine varietals to craft an energetic, engaging wine blend. Bodegas Osborne has longstanding, deep roots in the Spanish wine industry, and uses its traditions as a starting point for Seven, not as a constraint. Our "Nuevo Vino" approach was the inspiration for this wine - it is a fantastic blend of the best of Old World Spain's wine structure, soft tannins and earthy complexity, combined with New World fruit flavors and approachability. Jose has an ambitious goal for Seven: "To create a very distinctive, flavorful modern Spanish wine that still reflects the traditional characteristics of our Spanish roots." (from Octavin Home Wine Bar)


Buy Local
If you live green, you buy local produce, right? Well, you may be surprised to learn that there are wineries in each of the fifty United States--and just about every country around the world. From Israel to India, the Ukraine and Japan, just about everyone has a wine region in their back yard. If you live in the U.S.A., check out WineriesByState.com to find a winery near you.

Main title image from Salon.com

Read More in: Wine Advice | Wine Recommendations

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April 21, 2010

Live-a-Little Rather Revealing Rosé

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VARIETAL: Shiraz
REGION: Western Cape, South Africa
PRICE: $9.99

This is a first for me. I have long been a fan of shiraz (and syrah) and once those winter winds shift to spring breezes I seldom refuse a rose--unless of course it reads "white" something on the label--but was never inclined to marry those tastes. So in honor of Earth Day I thought I'd go totally mad and try a certified organic-no sulfites added-fair trade-shiraz-rose. Phew, I need a glass of something after that. This one happens to be a lovely pick from the value label from Stellar Winery, the largest producer of organic wines in South Africa.

Definitely dry (13% alcohol), the Rather Revealing Rose is also quite the fruit bomb. It is, after all, a new world shiraz and doesn't stray far from its roots. But rather than the fresh berry flavors you might get in a full blown red, this fruit is tighter... more like dried cherries and dried strawberries trying to reconstitute in kirsch. Very easy on the palate and sure to be a crowd pleaser throughout the summer with just about anything. I served it with grilled vegetable and goat cheese paninis made on rosemary foccacia and it was a great complement to the earthiness off the veggies and rosemary and the creaminess of the chevre. But it has enough oomph that next time I'm thinking ancho-rubbed, grilled something-or-other.

If you find yourself in the Really Resistant to Rose category, Stellar makes half a dozen different organic labels that include reds, whites, dessert and sparklers in every price range.

Read More in: Rose Wine | Shiraz | Wine Tasting Notes

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April 19, 2010

Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2008

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VARIETAL: Sauvignon Blanc
REGION: Mendocino County (Russian River Valley), CA
PRICE: $9.99

Earth Day will be quickly upon us and as I have been perusing new and interesting organic and biodynamic beauties to try, I stumbled upon this Sauvignon Blanc amidst a tower of choices at my local Whole Foods. I've always been a fan of Frey wines, though I had never tried the SB and oddly enough, it never really registered in my somewhat wine-addled noggin, that Frey was the first organic winery in the US and the first certified biodynamic as well. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to give it another go, because something truly funky was going on with this bottle. As soon as the wine began its fine golden cascade into the glass, I knew something was up. It didn't have the aromatic expression of a sauvignon blanc... in fact it didn't smell like wine at all. Quite oddly, it smelled like beer. Specifically like a Belgian white beer. Very weird. Seriously off-putting, and not particularly tasty... unless of course you want a white wine that tastes like beer. Something must have gone awry with the non-GMO yeasts... Must have been super-yeasts because this was super yeasty.

So according to the back of the bottle (and the Frey site) this is what I should have tasted:
The ultimate food friendly wine. Tropical flavors of pineapple and passion fruit married with delicate French oak will complement spicy ethnic cuisine. This wine is a pleasing blend of fruit from Lake and Mendocino counties, California. Try it with goat cheese rolled in an endive leaf, topped with fresh minced herbs.

I'll definitely have to try it again. Frey offers so many wonderful award-winning wines that I have to believe this was just a little freak of nature.

Image and content from Frey Vineyards

Read More in: White Wine | Wine Tasting Notes

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