The Velvet Devil 2014

Picked this one up on sale the other day at my local wine store completly on a whim.  I’m always fascinated by wines from this part of the country.

From the winemaker:  “Balanced, rich and explosive. Think red plums and bittersweet cocoa with hints of smoke and cedar. So smooth, so naughty, and so very, very nice.”


LABEL

Fun and eye catching.  Simple design yet with the big bold fonts and the pitch fork draws you in for a look

COLOR

Nice rich purple

AROMA

Lots of dark fruit on the nose very faint hint of chocolate

TASTE

I’d call this one medium bodied and not full as the wine maker may suggest.  Decently rounded with a medium finish

PAIRING

Good with rich tomato based dishes, stews, pizza, pastas, bbq

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $12 a well enough constructed Merlot for your dollar.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It’s a respectable Merlot but not a brilliant Merlot.  At around $12, it’s a good value. If you’re in the Market for a Merlot from Washington State give this one a try!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 63  What’s This?


Vintage: 2014
Varietal: Merlot
Region: Columbia Valley, WA
Country: USA
Winemaker: Charles Smith Wines
Average Price: $12

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Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2014

A wonderful little Malbec sourced from the grapes of 200 independent producers throughout Mendoza, Argentina.

From the winemaker:  Purple-colored, the nose offers up plum and black cherry notes with a touch of black pepper. The palate is soft and round with ripe, saturated berry flavors. Finishes spicy and full with chewy tannins.


LABEL

Clean, elegant and understated.

COLOR

Deep Purple

AROMA

Nose of plum and black cherry with a touch of pepper

TASTE

Round and ripe.  Lots of great dark berry flavors with some pepper notes

PAIRING

Cheese, red meats, stews

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $9, this one is another great value buy

THE BOTTOM LINE

I enjoyed this Malbec.  Round and ripe, lots of nice dark fruits and pepper notes. Quite smooth. At around $9 a bottle, this one is a tremendous value.  We’re adding it to our Best Under $10 list!  Salut!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

 

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 76.5  What’s This?


Vintage: 2014
Varietal: Malbec
Region: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Winemaker: Trapiche Wines
Average Price: $9

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Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay 2015

From one of the premier winemakers in the Columbia Valley.  This wonderfully crafted Chardonnay blends grapes from vineyards throughout Washington’s Columbia Valley to make this a complex, interesting wine. The sur lie aging gives it an appealing richness.


LABEL

Clean, simple and understated.

COLOR

Clean, golden yellow

AROMA

Nice nose, lots of apple and pear and little bit of spice

TASTE

Very smooth on the palate.  Nice clean finish.  Well balanced.

PAIRING

Pair with chicken, seafood and other lighter fare.

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $8, this Chardonnay is a big value and solid bang for your buck

THE BOTTOM LINE

Smooth, creamy nice clean finish.  At an average price point of around $8 this Chardonnay is a great value.   I’m not usually a Chardonnay drinker but was pleasantly surprised by this one.  We’re adding it to our Best Under $10 list!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

 

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 76.5  What’s This?


Vintage: 2015
Varietal: Chardonnay
Region: Columbia Valley, WA
Country: USA
Winemaker: Chateau Ste. Michelle
Average Price: $8

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Laurent-Perrier Brut Rose

The Cuvée Rosé Brut from Laurent-Perrier is one of the most recognized rosé champagne in the world, often considered the benchmark for rosé champagne.  We were lucky to get our hands on this one.  Here’s what we thought:


LABEL

Traditional, elegant, simple, clean.  What you would expect from a classic champagne

COLOR

Clean and light pink gold

AROMA

This one was berryliscious: strawberries, cherries, black currants and raspberries.

TASTE

Fruity flavors, clean and slightly sharp.  The finish is supple and rounded.

PRICE (VALUE)

At around a $79, it’s a splurge, but definitely worth trying next time you’re celebrating something and are looking for a less traditional type of champagne.

PAIRING

Light foods, seafood, chicken, light pastas

THE BOTTOM LINE

Fresh, fruity, sophisticated, enjoyable.  A classic in it’s own right.  Pick one up next time you’re celebrating.  Lot’s of fun.

OVERALL RATING

3stars

 

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 71  What’s This?


Varietal: Cuvée Rosé
Region: Champagne
Country: France
Winemaker: Laurent-Perrier
Average Price: $70

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Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2011

Smoking Loon wines are crafted on the premise that good wine shouldn’t have to take themselves so seriously.   Per the winemaker, they get their name from Don Sebastiani’s love of cigars and his father August’s passion for water fowl (I believe loons/ducks fall into this category)


This one happens to be one of my wife’s favorites under $10.  She used to call it Smokin’ Lion (long story)  No wonder I could never find this thing in the aisles.  Screams value buy!

LABEL

Simple, clean looking.  Love the cool looking smoking loon somewhat hidden in the design.

COLOR

Nice Ligh Purple.

AROMA

Brigh fruity aroma of raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries.

TASTE

Light finish, red fruit with a little spice.

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $9, this one screams value.

PAIRING

It’s a casual, light everyday wine.  Pair it with everyday fare like Pizza, Burgers, Pastas, BBQ, Chinese Food (Yea I said it)

THE BOTTOM LINE

At a price point of about $9 per bottle you really can’t go wrong with this medium bodied wine. It’s consistant and goes with almost anything you throw at it!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

 

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 67  What’s This?


Vintage: 2011
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Region: N/A
State: California
Winemaker: Smoking Loon Wine Co.
Average Price: $9

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Cupcake Red Velvet 2011

Pleasantly surprised by this wine. Lot’s of big aroma and flavor in this quiet, conservative, unassuming bottle.

LABEL

Elegant, understated, clean.

COLOR

Dark Purple.

TASTE

Nice prominent nose of Chocolate, Blackberry and Raspberry.

PRICE

At around $12, this is a great all around value.

PAIRING

Experiment and have fun with this everyday, casual wine. Try it with BBQ, Pizza, Burgers.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Red velvet indeed. Wonderfully smooth, soft, everyday wine and a tremendous value. Pick one up today, you’ll enjoy it!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

OPI Score = 77  What’s This?


Wine: Cupcake Red Velvet
Vintage: 2011
Varietal: Red Blend (Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah)
Region: Central Coast
State: California
Winemaker: Cupcake Vineyards
Average Price: $12

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2011

 

PICK OF THE WEEK


So what exactly are ancient vines anyways? According to the winemaker Cline Cellars they are vines on their estate that are between 80-100 years old.

92% of this blend is sourced from grapes from these vines. The general belief is that older vines, when properly handled will produce a better wine.


LABEL

Clean, minimalistic. Doesn’t exactly scream “buy me!” There’s also a cool little recipe flip on the back for a PF Chang Ginger Plum Zin sauce.

COLOR

Ruby red.

AROMA

Cherry, vanilla and strawberry on the nose.

TASTE

Full bodied, elegant and smooth with a nice long finish.

PRICE (VALUE)

I’ve seen this wine retail for up to $16. At around $13 here in Miami, you can’t go wrong.

PAIRING

Roasted Meats, light tomato sauced based dishes.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Tremendous value and quality. Pick one up today, you will enjoy it!

OVERALL RATING

3stars

VERY GOOD

OPI Score = 69  What’s This?


Vintage: 2011
Varietal: Zinfandel
Region: Contra Costa County
State: California
Winemaker: Cline Cellars
Average Price: $13

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