14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH AWARD (JUL 2017)  learn more


 

PICK OF THE WEEK  learn more


14 Hands wines are inspired by the unbridled spirit of the wild horses that once freely roamed eastern Washington.

Though Labelled as a Cab, this one is technically a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% other varieties including Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Syrah

From the Winemaker: “Rich, juicy red that features aromas of dark cherry, black currant, coffee and subtle hints of spice. These flavors are complemented by a touch of spicy oak and emphasized by refined tannins”


LABEL

Bright, fresh, cool and engaging.  Really draws you in.

COLOR

Rich Dark red

AROMA

On the nose I got some nice dark fruits (mainly cherries) and a bit of orange peel

TASTE

On the palate, more dark fruits, cherries, plums and small hint of spice.

PAIRING

Pair with grilled red meats, ribs, meat sauced pastas.

PRICE (VALUE)

At around $9 this is an excellent wine for the money


THE BOTTOM LINE

I really enjoyed this Cab. At around $9 you’ll be hard pressed to find anything as good on the market at this price point.

We are naming it our “Diamond in the Rough” Winner for July.  It will also be our Pick of the Week selection this week and will grace our monthly Best Under $10 List.  Pick one up today.  I heard they only made 850,000 cases!

OVERALL RATING

4stars

EXCELLENT

OPI Score = 90  What’s This?


Vintage: 2014
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Columbia Valley, WA
Country: USA
Winemaker: 14 Hands Winery
Average Price: $9

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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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5 Money Saving Tips for Ordering Wine at Restaurants

We all love to eat out, but that doesn’t mean we have to loose our shirts when it comes to the liquid refreshment part of the evening…

The next time you’re staring down the business end of a wine list, follow these 5 money saving tips and you’re sure to have a few bucks left over in your pocket for dessert.

Play your cards right and there may even be a cheese plate in your future? That’s right, I said “cheese plate” baby!

TIP # 1. Pass on glass

Typically, restaurants price their single glasses high enough to cover the entire cost of a bottle! Does $12-$14 ring a bell? Yes, it’s a business not a charity, but what’s not acceptable is being served old wine that’s been sitting around way too long (happens all the time) and to that we have 1 word: “Booh!” If the idea of buying an entire bottle is a bit daunting, go with a ½ bottle, or carafe. Do the math, it’s worth it!

TIP # 2. Say No, to the second cheapest

Hey, we all know NOT to buy the cheapest wine on the list. But, guess what? Restaurants do too, so they pick and price wines at the second cheapest level with higher profit margins for them because that’s where the money is. Think twice before automatically going for the second cheapest, it’s likely not the best value on the list.

TIP # 3. We’re not drinking $%# Chardonnay!

Chardonnay is arguably America’s favorite wine. It’s easy to drink, versatile and comfortable, like an old shoe. It is for these very reasons that Chardonnay tends to be overpriced on most wine lists. Word to the wise, think twice before ordering that Chardonnay, take a minute to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Preferably from a country, or region you’ve never tried before.

TIP # 4. B.Y.O.B

Make sure you check with the restaurant in advance to figure out if they even allow this and do inquire about the corkage fee. In some States, this practice may even be illegal, so do your homework. If all systems are a go, it’s a great way to enjoy your favorite wine, or two at a restaurant. PS. Make sure you offer a glass to the sommelier, owner, or chef as a gesture of good will!

TIP # 5. Pay tribute to the house

In the US, house wines are typically avoided, largely due to quality perceptions (almost the opposite to the way our friends in Europe roll). In reality, house wines are normally great deals and in most cases, pretty fun and delightful. If you’re dinning at a restaurant that takes pride in their wine list, it’s likely their house wine is a good deal and a fine choice. Make sure you go for a bottle or carafe if you do!

Nikka Yoichi Single Malt Whisky

A single malt from the Yoichi distillery, Nikka’s first distillery built in 1934. The founder Masataka Taketsuru chose Yoichi in Hokkaido because of the similar environmental conditions to Scotland, where he learned whisky making.

Producer’s Notes: Yoichi single malt has pleasant peaty notes and smokiness originating from the traditional direct coal-fired distillation as well as a briny hint delivered by the sea breeze during the aging process.


COLOR

Golden brown

AROMA

Full bodied, peaty with a nice smokiness

TASTE

Very smooth and mature.  Long and well balanced

THE BOTTOM LINE

I really enjoyed this single malt.  Very smooth.  Nice long finish.  A new classic whisky to add to your collection of single malts if you’re luck enough to find one.

OVERALL RATING

4stars

 

EXCELLENT


Varietal: Single Malt
Country: Japan
Winemaker: The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co.
Average Price: $79

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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

Want your wine reviewed on Oakmonkey? Contact Us Now!

5 Easy Tips to Help You Pair Food with Wine

Ever ate something really spicy then washed it down with a nice warm Coke?

I can still painfully remember my first childhood food and drink pairing lesson. Hmm…guess this explains why I hated Chemistry.

Flash forward…

In reality, not everything goes well together, regardless of how much you might love it!

Making an unwise food and drink pairing decision will impact the overall taste and flavor experience of your meal.

This being said, who am I to tell you which wine to pair with your meal?? Drink what you like, when you like, is probably the first lesson you’ll learn from anyone that knows anything about wine. Can’t say I disagree, but like with anything in life, a few common sense guidelines never hurt. Hey, it’s why we don’t wear our pajamas to work…right? Right?

SO HELP ME ALREADY?!

Firstly, start thinking about wine like food…

Still with me?

Enter Acids and Tannins…

What are Acids?

Acids are important components of winemaking that influence: color, balance, taste and preservation. They add sharpness to a wine’s flavor and can be described as that prickly, mouthwatering sensation you feel on your tongue whenever you drink wine. Kinda zingy and tart, like sucking on lemon, or lime.

A wine with too much acidity will taste excessively sour and sharp. A wine with too little acidity will taste flabby and flat, with less defined flavor.

What are Tannins?

In winemaking, tannins are natural chemical compounds found in grape skins, stems, seeds and even the wine barrel itself, particularly if it’s a new one. Tannins affect the color, texture, structure and preservation of a wine. How can you identify them? Think that pleasantly bitter, drying, puckering feeling that rolls down the middle of your tongue almost coating your mouth when you drink wine. Similar in sensation to what you experience when drinking tea that’s been steeped for way too long.

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT TANNINS AND ACIDS IN WINE PAIRING?

Pairing Tip #1: Acids love Acid

When it comes to pairing, try the ‘Acids love acid’ theory as a first rule of thumb. If you think a squeeze of lemon, or lime would take a dish to the next level i.e. Roasted snapper – it’s very likely that dish will pair well with a wine that is more on the acidic side. Again, acids love acid.

Pairing Tip #2: Tannins love fat

As a second rule of thumb, try the ‘Tannins love fat’ theory. If a dish has some fat i.e. Rib-eye steak, it’s very likely it will pair well with a wine that is more on the tannic side. Why? Because fats help balance and soften tannins. Easy right?

So, if you’ve got fat – pair with wines that have higher tannic levels!

Want more?

Here are some other great pairing rules of thumb!

OTHER PAIRING RULES OF THUMB

Pairing Tip #3: Dominant Flavor is King

Whites with fish; reds with meat? We’ve all heard this at some point. It’s not a great tip. Why? Because we rarely just eat meat, or fish without some form of preparation: sauces, stews, stir-fries, casseroles etc…You need to factor in the overall dominant flavor of the dish as a whole, and not just it’s main meat, or vegetable component.

Pairing Tip #4: Spicy loves Sugar

For anyone that knows food and loves to cook, this one is a bit of a no-brainer. When something is spicy, we can temper and mellow those flames with sugar. Same principle would apply to wine pairing. Go for a slightly sweeter wine with those hot and spicy dishes.

Pairing Tip #5: Sweet loves Sweeter

Lastly, when it comes to deserts, which are generally sweet, go for a wine that is even sweeter. It will greatly enhance the richness and flavor of the dish and the wine!

5 Tips for Finding Great Wine on a Budget

The US wine market is literally overflowing with great product. A buyer’s paradise, where tremendous value can be had, especially if you know where and how to look and aren’t shy about asking for a great deal!

The following 5 tips should earn you value-hound status before you can say “Charge it!” Just make sure you have enough room in your home for all the sweet deals you’re gonna sniff out!

TIP #1 – SECOND LABELS

Most premier wine makers have what they call second labels. The idea is similar in concept to clothing designer second labels i.e. Armani / Armani Exchange.

The big difference however, is that these premier winemakers produce these second labels themselves, applying the same winemaking principles, methods and quality assurance that went into their premier first-label wines, whereas in the fashion industry second labels are likely farmed out under lesser production standards to other manufactures in favor of quantity not quality.

The upshot for us, the consumer, is an excellent wine at an affordable price. Great deals and quality wines can be had from second labels such as 90 + Cellars (buying surplus wines from anonymous premier wineries and in turn rebranding them), Allegrini Palazzo della Torre (second label for Allegrini Amarone Classico, Catena Malbec (second label for Catena Malbec Adrianna)

TIP #2 – SHOP AT WAREHOUSE CLUBS

 I love warehouse clubs, like Costco. They’re are always great deals to be had and some interesting varietals from all over the world. Granted, the individual selection may not be as vast as a large retail wine store, but the deals available certainly make up for it! Don’t have a membership? No problem, go with a friend as a guest.

TIP #3 – TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RETAIL SALES

Most large retailers designate a day per week, or month to place certain inventory on sale. Here you could grab savings of 15% per bottle if the pickings are good.

TIP #4 – SEEK OUT BIN END SELECTIONS

Bin end selections are generally bottles of wine that a retailer was not able to sell. Now this doesn’t mean that these wines are no good, it could be anything, from a damaged label, to the arrival of a new vintage. Generally, always a great find! If it’s not prominently displayed in a store – ask!

TIP #5 BUY BY THE CASE AND NOT THE BOTTLE

May sound a bit daunting if you’ve never done this, but do the math and you’ll see that it just makes sense – particularly if you’re a weekly wine drinker.

Most wine retailers will even let you mix the case (can’t beat that for variety). Generally, going by the case as opposed to the bottle will save you around 10-15%. If a retailer is not offering a discount on a case, don’t by shy – ask for it!

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