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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