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Tag Archives: Cheap Wine

This Bird is of a Different Feather: 2010 Little Penguin Pinot Noir

The only good thing about this week is that I have a wine glass full of the sweet, alcoholic nectar made by my newest, bestest friends in the entire world…the winemakers.

Yes, I realize it’s only Monday, but it already feels like an ETERNITY of Mondays have slipped the proverbial doom and gloom noose around my neck and are threatening to let me drop at any moment.

I figured the best way to make the world go away was to uncork the bottle and empty it, one delicious glass at a time. It certainly beats throwing in a full box of Calgon bubble bath and screaming, “Take me away, dammit!!!” (Do they even MAKE Calgon anymore? Did I just inadvertently date myself and will need to drink more to forget my blunder?)

At any rate, I wanted cheap and easy…and cute…but I didn’t want the trouble of a ‘date’, so I grabbed a $4.99 bottle of 2010 Little Penguin Pinot Noir from SouthEastern Australia. Australia isn’t exactly known for their Pinots…they’re known for big, jammy Shiraz, but I thought, ‘What the heck? We’re getting close to the holidays, I need to find a lovely little Pinot to go with turkey and cranberries, plus, my family will be celebrating with me…I need mass quantities of cheap wine that will not taste like the swill my mother pours out of the box.”

It’s a little darker in the glass than I would have expected from a Pinot Noir- dark garnet in color- which is a little concerning, but the nose is pretty heavenly. Strawberries…not necessarily like fresh strawberries…something sweeter, but definitely profuse aromas of strawberry. Okay, the smell definitely balanced out the questionable dark color of the wine. I could smell this glass all day long.

The taste left me a little flat, however.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad taste. It’s just not the taste of a Pinot Noir. It’s also not anything terribly special to take me away to that far away, exotic place I was longing for in my mind after being bombarded by the slave drivers I affectionately call my family all day long.

Upon first sip, you drown in fruit. That same sweet strawberry you couldn’t get enough of on the nose is there putting a death grip on your tongue. There might be the slightest hint of vanilla in there, but it gets body slammed by more strawberry. Fruit bomb…that’s what I would call this. None of the nuances or complexity you’d look for in a Pinot Noir. On the finish, it goes from sweet to almost a little sour. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take away from the wine. Everything is balanced and all…no pucker factor, no oversweet cloying effect. It’s balanced…it’s just…lacking something. The finish doesn’t last long. You get that quick hint of sour, and then everything just sort of disappears. No lingering finish whatsoever.

Definitely not a favorite Pinot Noir.

With that said though, it’s not a bad little wine, ESPECIALLY when you’re picking it up under $5. It’s an easy sipper, perfect to stock up on and serve when you just want something quick and easy sitting on the deck, or hanging out for movie night. If you’re going to pair it with food, I’d recommend pairing it with the same types of stuff you’d pair with a Shiraz. Don’t pair it with salmon or fish or any of the stuff you’d match up with a Pinot Noir. Think bbq sauce with this one..or even venison…something to offset the big fruit in this wine.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Why Did the Chicken Grace My Wine Glass? Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon

As I hunker down inside the house, listening to the cold winds whip and the pellets of sleet hitting the window, my ‘Cheap Summer Wine Tour’ seems like a sad distant memory. Did I mention I hate the winter, and I hate being holed up like a prisoner to the cold?

With defiance, I grab a pair of fuzzy slippers and my wine glass, and, come hell or high snow drifts, I’m going to find a way to enjoy the season. It will be with copious amounts of wine.

And so begins my Winter Wine Adventure, where, with the change leftover from spending too much on Christmas gifts for people I may or may not even like, I will purchase and explore bargain wines with the same character and depth you’d find in the knit scarf and mittens your Aunt Clara would make.

The first wine of the season is a non-vintage wine out of California called HRM Rex~Goliath Free Range Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottle immediately caught my attention as it sports artwork reflecting a 47 lb Giant Rooster of circus fame that held the name of Rex Goliath. Yes…a 47lb giant circus rooster.

This wine is either going to have tons of character or be bad beyond belief. At $6.99, I’m praying for a miracle.

Pouring into the glass, the big bad liquid bird struts out in a deep, inky purple-ish red in color. The nose is equally boisterous with heavy notes of cedar and smoky oak. A second sniff also reveals scents of plum and mocha as well, but the cedar takes the center ring overall.

And now for the main event..will it be a showstopper for the right reasons?

On the initial sip, I thought it was too much. This big bird definitely has some bite, but, after letting it breathe for about 40 minutes, I tried it again.

Not bad!

It doesn’t taste like some cheap, one-dimensional, rot-gut fruit punch trying to capitalize on the California Cabernet Sauvignon craze. This actually has some good things going on here. Lots of dark, ripe fruit in here laced with the smoky oak flavor and cedar that was on the nose. Soft, smooth tannins and a nice, lingering finish. For $7.00, this could EASILY be an every day ‘go to’ wine. Yes, we’re having chicken yet again.

But the only place you want the ‘chicken’ is poured in your glass. It’s too bold to pair with poultry. This wine DEFINITELY needs a big, hearty beef dish…a thick steak or a hearty beef stew is in order.

Pluck this bird from your local liquor store and sip it often.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Summer’s Last Hurrah: Flip Flop Moscato

The kids have been back in school for a bit now, I’ve been enjoying several nights of roasting s’mores over the fire pit in the back yard, there’s a chill in the air in the evenings and mornings…and yet I haven’t been quite able to let go of summer as I jaunt about in my flip-flops.

So with that mindset, and the fact that several of my Corked Cowgirl followers on Facebook have mentioned a certain cheap Moscato from FlipFlop wines that I needed to try, I caved and picked up a bottle.

The first thing I noticed was the screw top cap. Back in the day, that might have made me cringe and back away, but no longer. Lots of quality wines are now found in bottles adorned with a screw cap top. I moved forward.

Next I noticed where it was from: California. No specific region, no lauded appellation; simply California. Still, I was not dissuaded. There’s a lot of decent table wine out there that isn’t from a specific AVA…especially in California.

Then I looked at the price…$4.49 with my Price Chopper grocery card. I paused. Thoughts of countless cheap Moscatos that I’ve poured, all like liquid cotton candy in a glass with little other discerning qualities came to mind. My life is enough of a circus without adding a cloying beverage to my itinerary. I set the bottle back down.

Then I thought about the Corkies who INSISTED it was a great bottle of wine at an even better price. I sighed, brought it home, and decided to try it just because I have always told them I’m open to new adventures, and wine is NEVER supposed to be a snooty thing.

As I poured it into my glass, the pale, straw colored wine almost skipped into my glass…much like the summer sun skipping along the waters of the lake I love to hang out on.

On the nose, honeysuckle, pineapple, hints of lemon, and peaches…definitely summertime smells. So far so good, but now, I braced for what inevitably would be that syrupy, sickeningly sweet taste that would stick in my throat.

Except it didn’t happen.

At first taste, it’s like biting into a ginormous honeyed peach. Mid-palate comes a refreshing zing of pineapple. The finish, is a wonderfully creamy taste of lemon curd. But the surprising thing about this wine is that it is crisp and refreshing! There is enough acidity in it to keep it balanced…it isn’t the cotton candy sugar bomb I expected.

All in a screw cap topped bottle for $4.49. Who’d a thunk it?

Excited by the prospect, I paired it up with a slightly spicy Thom Yum soup with seafood for lunch. Absolutely perfect! This little number would work well with mildly spicy dishes, pad thai, General Tso’s chicken, or just as a fun little sipper.

It definitely deserves to be in my ‘summer’ portfolio.

And with the weatherman promising 80 degree weather and sunshine tomorrow, I think I’ll find it paired up with one last cruise on the boat…in my flip flops no less.

FlipFlop Winery has also paired up with Soles4Soles and is donating a pair of shoes to those in need for every bottle of wine sold. They have several other varietals available as well, and I am certain I will be trying them in the near future…you should do the same!

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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A Star Has Fallen: 2009 Newman’s Own Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ll admit, Mommy’s frazzled and she needs…I mean NEEDS her ‘sippie cup’ of wine. Between marching band practice, flute lessons, and Girl Scouts, how is a woman supposed to properly study for her Certified Specialist of Wine exam that is happening in only three days?

Well, you pray a lot to God, Bacchus, your pets, anyone that might listen, you cut corners for time in any way you can think of, and you drink whatever wine you can get your hands on.

I decided to combine the last two options and asked my daughters’ father to not only grab dinner options from the grocery store around the corner from me, but asked if he would please pick me up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to help calm my frazzled nerves. I did not think that request through, fully, as he knows wines about as well as Lady Gaga knows how to be subdued.

Along with a variety of frozen pizzas, sandwich meats, bags of pre-made salad, and Newman’s Own Ranch dressing, he also presented me with a bottle of 2009 Newman’s Own Cabernet Sauvignon.

Another ‘celebrity’ wine…just what I needed.

As I stared at the bottle, I started thinking to myself, ‘well, the pasta sauces and salad dressings are good, and Paul Newman was an absolute winner, how bad can this be?’

So I started to do my homework. $10 for the bottle; I’ve had pretty decent wines for that price, actually. Like his other products, all the profits, after taxes, are donated to charity. I love that! Looked at the winery that produced it. Rebel Winery…hmmmm…I knew nothing about them.
Turns out they’re from Napa, California. That’s always a good sign as Napa is KNOWN for their Cabernet Sauvignons. Also owned by Trinchero Estates, pretty big name in wine. I figured that was another great sign. So, I opened the bottle and poured.

The color was a bit of a purplish red…pretty in the glass…definitely looked like a young wine. As I shoved my nose into the glass to take that first perfumed whiff, I was almost overwhelmed by the smell of cherries. Once I backed off and took another sniff, I caught vanilla and oak, with a peppery smell to it. Thought it smelled a little TOO fruity to be a Cabernet, but hey, I’m stressed, maybe my nose is off.

So, the most important part finally arrived (especially after the past few days of kids, studying, and work). I took that first sip and…

…it wasn’t ‘Butch and Sundance’ quality to me.

It’s really not a bad wine. You taste exactly what you get on the nose: an overwhelming profusion of cherries, maybe a touch of blackberry, a hint of vanilla and oak, and almost TOO much black pepper at the end. OH…the end. What happened to the end? It just sort of disappeared…rode off into the sunset without so much as a word…at a full gallop, no less. There really was no finish. Just the initial wallop of cherry and pepper flavors then…’poof’…gone.

I have kept tasting it over and over, because I SO wanted this wine to be a favorite…I really did. I admit it (and I know this dates me), I wanted it to have all of the sex appeal that Paul Newman had…even at 83. I wanted this wine to cause me to melt like the gaze from Newman’s blue eyes, but sadly, it didn’t.

This wine reminds me more of a big fruit bomb Shiraz with lots of pepper thrown in an attempt to make it interesting. It doesn’t remind me of a California Cabernet at all; especially a Napa Cab.

I know, I shouldn’t have expected much from a $10 bottle of Cabernet. Except I did. And I’ve had some lovely cheap priced Cabernets. The Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet immediately pops into my mind. In fact, it is still in my mind. I’m thinking I may have to go down into my mini wine-cellar (I’m a mom, not a wine collector) and grab it just to get my fix.

Like I said, this really isn’t a bad wine. It sure beats anything in a box, I’ll tell you that! But even at a $10 price, I think I can do better.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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When it’s Hot, Go Tropical! Summer Cheap Wine Tour: 2009 Staete Landt Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

The summer has been brutal! Even the tropics look like a cool spot compared to a few spots around here locally in the Kansas City area. I decided I could either put on my best Brazilian bikini and pretend I was on an island paradise, or just open up something tropical and pour it in my glass…fortunately for YOU, I opted for the latter choice.

The 2009 Staete Landt Sauvignon Blanc out of the Marlborough wine region of New Zealand will definitely make you think of that perfect tropical get away. As you pour, you’ll see bright sunshine in your glass with that bright, pale-colored straw hue it possesses. Take a sniff and find yourself basking away in the aromas of citrus fruits, lush melon, nectarines, and…chalk? Okay, so the chalk isn’t very tropical, but it’s a light smell, and it certainly works with the other smells…let’s just go with it.

Quenching your thirst (it’s the ‘tropics’…you’re bound to be thirsty), your taste buds ‘sizzle’ with flavors of melon, lime, green apples, a refreshing minerality and…chalk again? Not something I’m used to tasting in a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but it worked! Nice acidity, nice balance…not too tart and not too sweet.

What IS sweet, is how well it paired up with my grilled Ahi Tuna steaks with peach/jalapeno jelly. This would work sooo well with a nice Waldorf Salad…or even that Mandarin orange salad at Wendy’s if you’re busy taking the kids to practice somewhere.

It’s a nice sipper alone as well…especially on the deck when it’s this hot. And the price is right too…got this blonde beauty for just under $14.

So do me a favor, forego the Speedo, and take a dive into this lovely Sauvignon Blanc.

Cheers!- CC

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Could Wine Be Your Best Sunscreen

According to a study published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, wine could be your best defense against sunburn or skin cancer. Read the article here, then pick a recommendation from my “Summer Cheap Wine Tour” for your next bout of sun and fun!- CC

http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/01/7218394-drink-wine-dont-get-sunburned

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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