Archive for Wines Under $20

Wine Review: Campo Viejo Tempranillo 2013

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Campo Viejo is the leading brand in Spain’s famous Rioja wine region renowned for its vibrant and expressive wines. Campo Viejo is the top-seller in its category and the world’s number one Spanish premium brand.

The wine spends four months in American oak casks before rounding off its aging in the bottle. Named after the Spanish word for ‘early,’ or ‘temprano,’ this grape ripens earlier than most grapes.

This wine was featured at a Spanish themed event with members of  the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association and everyone thought it was excellent.  And at $10 a bottle,  you’re getting a great value for a Tempranillo crafted with care by one of the top brands in Spain.

Winemakers Tasting Notes 

Aroma

Powerful aromas of ripe red fruit, wood nuances with gently sweet notes of vanilla to finish with other sweet spices

Taste

Soft and fresh with a long finish that leaves memories of red fruit, vanilla and cocoa

Pairing

Perfect with pasta, poultry and fresh light cheeses, pairs excellently with fresh salads and small bites

Availability 

Local wine merchants and chain stores such as Total Wine

 

 

Spanish Quarter Cabernet Tempranillo 2012

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Producer:  The Spanish Quarter 

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Tempranillo (35%) 

Region: Spain 

Avg. Price:  $10-$11 

Tasting Notes:

Deep, purple color with blackberries, cherries and fruit rollups with a hint of chocolate and vanilla on the nose. A medium to full bodied wine that starts with juicy berry fruits from the Cabernet, warm spices from the Tempranillo at mid palette and ends with a silky, oak finish.  

Food Pairing:

Pairs well with soft cheeses,  lamb, beef and tomato based pasta dishes.

Conclusion:

Great introduction to Spanish wines at an excellent value. Everyday drinking wine, with or without food!

 

 

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Categories : Wine, Wines Under $20

Geyser Peak Uncensored Red Blend 2011

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Winery:  Geyser Peak

Varietal: Red Blend 

Region: Sonoma County

Avg. Price: $ 11

This Red Blend is truly “Uncensored” with a combination of  Merlot,  Syrah, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Petit Verdot and Zinfandel. Is there room for any other red varietals?

Tasting Notes:

Deep purple color with a fruit bomb on the nose of cherry, plum, raspberry, and blackberry. 

On the palette, medium-bodied with soft tennis. No mystery with the fruity tastes but offers different flavors with each sip. A little black licorice, hint of chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and slight vegetal on the finish which isn’t long, but pleasant.

Food Pairing:

Because of the different varietals, this wine will pair with almost everything but will pair well with pizza, pasta or burgers. It also tastes great on its own. 

Conclusion:

This “kitchen sink” blend has so much going on it will be easy to please, almost everyone and the perfect wine for novice wine drinkers. Good value,  everyday drinking wine. 

A burger and a beer is the usual summertime pairing, but if you’re in the mood for something different, try trading in that can for a glass … of wine.

The best burger wines have enough structure and tannins to handle the savory beef but are full of fruit to balance all those wonderful flavors. A Zinfandel, Cabernet, Malbec or Garnacha are all good choices for pairing.

As this burger has pancetta, gorgonzola cheese, and fried shallots, Zinfandel was my choice for pairing, with a spicier and more robust flavor to stand up to the flavors of the burger.

I picked up 4 different valued priced zinfandels available at Bev Mo, Total Wine or grocery stores as they are easily accessible for most.

 

2011 Zinthesis Zinfandel $20 (Bev Mo)

Tasting Notes: Fruity and spicy with notes of red currants. If you like fruit forward zinfandels, then this is the wine for you. I purchased this one with the 5 cent sale so it was worth $10 each but not sure if I would pay $20.

2012 Unruly Zinfandel $12 (Bev Mo)

Tasting Notes: Cherry, red currants and plum with a hint of spice. Subtle tannins, not as big and bold for a Zinfandel. Easy to drink with or without food.

2012 Cline Cellars Lodi Zinfandel: $12

Tasting Notes: Plum, blackberries, strawberries, spice and vanilla. Medium-bodied with a dry finish and soft tannins. This is a great everyday wine with lots of food flexibility (beef, pizza or pasta with red sauce)

2010 Four Vines Truant – Old Vine ZinfandelI $9 ( Total Wine)

Tasting Notes: Fruity and spicy with blueberry, plums and toasty oak.  Not bad for the price.

Of the four wines, Cline Cellars Zinfandel was my favorite for overall pairing, structure and taste. 

 Burger with Pancetta, Gorgonzola and Fried Shallots

pic.burger

Makes 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped (or bacon)
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large shallots, thinly sliced (can substitute with 2 onions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground chuck or sirloin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • Hamburger buns or rolls, toasted
  • Toppings such as: lettuce, tomato, avocado, etc

Directions

Heat oil in small skillet. Cook pancetta until almost crispy. (Diced pancetta available at Trader Joe’s) Transfer to a large bowl.

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In the same skillet, add more oil to a depth of about 1 inch of the skillet. Once oil is hot, add shallots and fry until brown about 10- 12 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain oil. Sprinkle with some salt while still warm.

( If using onions, coat bottom of the skillet with oil and cook ( not fry) onions until caramelized, 20-30 minutes)

In the bowl with the pancetta, add ground beef, salt, pepper and garlic powder  and mix until just combined. Do not over mix as the meat will be tough.

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Shape into 4 disks. In the center of each patty, add gorgonzola cheese and wrap beef around cheese, pinching to seal. Form each ball shape into patties.

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(Alternative: shape into 8 thin patties. Add cheese over 4 patties; top with remaining 4 patties and press edges firmly to seal.)

Grill or pan fry burgers until desired doneness.

Place hamburger and toppings on toasted buns. Top with fried shallots and more cheese, if desired.

Thanksgiving Wines for $10

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Thanksgiving can be a high pressured event for a host. From menu selection, preparation, cooking the perfect turkey,  to guest preferences…

Choosing the right wine can also cause some stress when the price of turkey and everything else starts to stack up. So how do you save a few dollars in the wine department but still serve something worthy? And on top of that every family member has their own opinions and preferences…from your uncle who thinks he’s a wine connoisseur…to your aunt who prefers wine from a box over ice.

Paring wine on Thanksgiving can be tricky. Not because turkey is difficult to match wine to, but because of the diversity of side dishes that are present- from salty to sweet and  from hot to cold. So forget about pairing wine to a specific dish but provide a few wines to accent different components of the meal and to cater to a variety of your guests’ palates.

Since the star of Thanksgiving is about the food anyway, you might as well spend less on the wine and just get more of it!  So here are some picks for value wines under $10.

I originally stopped at Total Wine to pick up the release of Beaujolais Nouveau, a wine released from France on the 3rd Thursday of November each year. The price was $10 so I thought I would stay with the theme and provide some suggestions on value  wines  to serve on Thanksgiving. The wines featured can be found at Total Wine for $10.

 

Riesling

Riesling wines are a top pick white wine for Thanksgiving.  There are different styles of Rieslings from bone dry to sweet and great with dishes that are spicy, salty or sweet.  Rieslings flavor profile of apple and honey and with its crisp, bright acidity pairs well with almost anything on your Thanksgiving table from sweet potatoes, maple glazed turkey, spice/herb stuffing to apple pie.

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Wine:  Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Riesling 2013

Region: Germany > Mosel

This is a dry white wine (not your typical sweet style). Easy to drink, crisp, acidic, medium bodied with notes of citrus, apricots and peaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wine: Rockview Riesling 2102

Region: Washington State > Columbia Valley

This is a sweeter style of Riesling wine.  Light bodied and smooth with notes of peaches, apples and honeysuckle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is similar to Pinot Gris or Sauvingnon Blanc but unique in its ability to be dry or sweet.  With its bright flavors, acidicity and notes of spice, honey and apple, pairs well with just about everything on the table from turkey, stuffing, cranberries to vegetables.

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Wine: Famille Bougrier Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2013

Region: France > Loire

Medium bodied wine with floral aromas and notes of ripe pears and peaches and honey undertones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaujolais Nouveau

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Wine: Jean-Claude Debeaune Beaujolas Nouveau 2014

The wine is made from grapes picked in the Beaujolais region of France and is released the same year of its harvest.  Bottles of the current year’s Beaujolais Nouveau are officially released on the third Thursday of November (perfect for Thanksgiving) with a festive celebration by many around the world.  This red wine is light, fruity, low in alcohol,  easy to drink and pairs well with turkey and all of the fixings.  This wine is great for white  wine drinkers wanting to explore the world of red wine.

(But just don’t expect the wine snobs to drink this wine as it’s not a wine to sniff, swirl and contemplate over).

 

 

 

Pinot Noir

A traditional favorite for Thanksgiving. Pinot Noir is food friendly with soft tannins, herbal notes, and earthy undertones that brings out flavors of herbs, mushroom gravy, stuffing and turkey. In addition, its acidity and fruity tartness helps cut through rich and heavy dishes.

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Wine: Ropiteau Pinot Noir 2013

Region: France > Vins de Pays d’Oc

This wine is well-balanced and light bodied with notes of cherry, red fruits and earthy undertones with light tannins and a smooth finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Not your typical turkey and wine pairing but pairs well if you’re serving beef or lamb dishes or for guests who may prefer full bodied wines.

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Wine: Luc Pirlet Les Barriques Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon2013

Region: France > Languedoc- Roussillon

This wine is  full bodied and well-balanced with aromas of blackberries and clove on the nose and notes of blackcurrants and spices on the palette.

 

River Road Pinot Noir 2012

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Winery:  River Road Vineyards

Varietal: Pinot Noir

Region: Sonoma Valley > Russian River

Price: $15

 

Tasting Notes: 

Fruit forward with notes of  cherry and raspberry. Hints of vanilla and oak flavors balanced with a soft spicy finish.

Food Pairing:

Pinot Noir  is the most flexible red wine  in terms of  food pairing. Matches most meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes and even seafood such as tuna and salmon.

Conclusion:

Good Pinot for the price. (just don’t be put off by the twist off cap).  It’s a great choice to serve at  your holiday dinner or party as it pairs well with most dishes.

Courtney Benham Napa Cabernet 2011

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Winery:  Courtney Benham

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Napa Valley

Price: $19.99

 

Tasting Notes:

Well balanced and full-bodied as expected for a Napa Cab.  Notes of black plum, dark cherry and vanilla oak with dark chocolate on the finish.   Tannins, earthy, with a hint  tobacco.

Food Pairing:

Great with steak, burger or hearty beef dishes.

Conclusion:

Good value for a Napa Cab.  It’s good on its own, but better when paired with food due to its intensity and richness.

Tertre du Moulin 2011 Grand Cru

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Winery: Tertre du Moulin

Varieta: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot

Alcohol: 14.5%

Region: Bordeaux > Libournais> St. Emilion

Price: $15 – Trader Joes

 

Tasting Notes: 

Full bodied with earthy and mineral notes.   Hints of black cherry, plum, black berry and vanilla. The body was medium and dry,  with high alcohol, acid and tannins.

Food Pairing:

Due to high tannins and acid, pair with meats that can stand up to it such as beef and lamb.

Conclusion:

Excellent value wine.  You won’t find too many at this price  for a Grand Cru so grab a few bottles for the holidays as your guests will not be disappointed. Ready to drink now but will likely become better over time.