Saturday, October 31, 2009

Have You Seen The Naked Wine Show?

This online minute-long review of wine isn't limited to wines under $10, but it's still fun to watch, educational and don't worry it's safe for the whole family. Check out

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cycles Gladiator Is Like Bike Ride on a Beautiful Day

Ok. I know the headline is silly, but Cycles Gladiator Central Coast Syrah is the real deal. Fruit forward, smooth, spice on the finish. You can find it at New Seasons for under $8. Let me know what you think...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Papio Cabernet Sauvignon is Drinkable

Finally, another red wine under $7 that is drinkable! Truthfully, I was about to give up hope.

I'm not going to pontificate about all Papio 2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon's various flavors. There aren't many, it tastes like a miraculously balanced red wine for under $7. Not a lot of nuance, alcohol, tannin or fruit. However it is missing that icky sour taste!

So if Goldilocks were to try this next to the Chariot Gypsy Red or Concanon Cabernet Sauvignon she would say it was "just right - for a $7 wine".

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Funny Wine Word: Quaff

There are lots of words that vinophiles use that are outside of my regular vocabulary. One that I've been hearing a lot lately is quaff. It seems like something a 13-year-old would make up as part of a dirty joke, but I looked it up and it's completely appropriate. According to Webster's dictionary it simply means to drink deeply.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?

While hand-selling yesterday I talked with an older gentleman who doesn't drink but said he often wanders in to the wine department to marvel at the price tags. Naturally, he asked me what makes one wine worth more money than the next. I told him that several factors play into it:
  • The way the wine is produced: For example if the grapes are hand-picked and the wine is aged in oak-barrels that may increase the cost.
  • The origin of the grapes: Grapes from a particular region or a particularly unique vineyard may be worth more money.
  • The demand for the varietal: Pinot Noir is really popular right now, but it's not that easy to grow so the base prices tend to be higher than Merlot.
  • The year a wine was harvested: I'm told 2006 was a good year for Oregon Pinot Noir, but 2007 was not so great.
  • The branding: Just like any marketable product or service, the reputation of the wine label, winery or wine maker can make a huge difference in the price.

But the real question is does price make a huge difference in the taste? According to a working paper from the American Association of Wine Economists, for most people it doesn't. The economists reviewed results from approximately 6,000 blind tastings and found that "unless they are experts, individuals who are unaware of the price enjoy more expensive wines slightly less."

However, most wine enthusiasts do not drink their wine blind on a regular basis. According to the economists, in a traditional wine tasting "the pleasure we get from consuming wine depends both on its intrinsic qualities such as taste and smell and external attributes such as price and presentation." But the results of their study suggest that "both price tags and expert recommendations may be poor guides for non-expert wine consumers who care about the intrinsic qualities of the wine."

Like most novice wine drinkers, I tend to pick wine based on the price and the label, but I just had my first blind tasting a couple of weeks ago and I really enjoyed the experience of focusing on the smell and taste completely.

Find out for yourself:
  1. Invite a variety of your friends over and ask them to each bring a bottle of wine to try. (Note: You might want to have a specific focus for your tasting like Merlot so you're not bouncing all around the spectrum.)
  2. Cover the wines in tin foil or brown paper bags so no one can see the labels.
  3. Mark each bottle covering with a letter or number to identify it.
  4. Make sure everyone has a way to take notes.
  5. Taste and rate.
  6. Compare notes at the end.
Let me know how it goes!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

House Wine = Fine

I've been hearing a lot about House Wine red blend from Magnificent Wine out of Washington and at Safeway it's on sale for $9.98. I love the label! But I was honestly, not a huge fan of the wine. It smelled nice like red raspberries and tasted a little like sour cherries. I found it to have a smooth, flat finish.

However, their wines have been well received by Wine Spectator, so I'm curious to find out what you think. Have you tried it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Full Disclosure: I'm Selling Delicious Budget Wine

I apologize for neglecting this blog for so long, but I'm back and as some of you know, I'm actually selling wine part time. I promote a brand called Insatiable which is delicious (the Chardonnay was voted Best Buy by Wine Enthusiast) and costs under $10!

FYI...I'm drinking the Red Blend from the Columbia Valley now and it's really good. It's smooth and velvety and tastes kinda like a dark chocolate raspberry truffle. I actually prefer it to Menage a Trois which is in the same price point and is a best seller at Safeway these days.

Don't worry, I won't be talking about Insatiable exclusively (I've been tasting lots of other budget wines these days), I just wanted to let you know what I've been doing instead of blogging.