I'm not sure how much more money I would have to make before a $15-20 bottle of wine became financially feasible as an "everyday" wine. If I ever make it there, I would like this to be my wine. That is fun to say. My wine. I do not produce this wine, obviously, but my thanks go out to the good people at the Starry Night Winery for all of the work they do to produce a wine that I love. I have had Starry Night's 2005 Tom Feeney Ranch Zinfandel and that was good, but a little rough around the edges. The Lodi Zin from Starry Night is thick and juicy, the big alcohol that Zin grapes bring was very well balanced.
I did not pick this bottle out, nor do I think I ever would have. I like Pinot Noir, but I typically find it to be a safe pick with guests and generally unremarkable. This wine was picked out for me at a dinner recently and I had an open mind. Delicious. Russian River Pinots, in my experience, have a reputation for minerality. And that quality is something that I feel needs to be handled with care. Robert Stemmler made it easy for me; this wine did not have that Earthy flavor. It was probably a little more "new world," so keep that in mind if you prefer the old style. According to the website this producer has an intense focus on Pinot Noir (they feature 3 different Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay). From that specialization you hope to taste the expertise and I certainly did. A quick google search suggests this is a $40 bottle. On my budget, this is a celebration wine, but maybe I will be more lenient now with what qualifies as a celebration so I can have another bottle of the 2006 Robert Stemmler Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir.
This was the first pinot I have had from New Zealand, a wine country popular primarily for its Sauvignon Blanc. I was excited to try another varietal from the area. This was a very fragrant wine. It smells good and tastes good. My only complaint is that this wine finishes like Jesse Owens -- at Olympic speed. The taste disappears so fast it will play games with your memory -- Did I just have a sip or not? -- but then again this is a $8-9 bottle of wine. You want long-lasting finishes, maybe you should spend a little more. All in all this was a decent effort. At this price point I think this is a fine pick to take a bottle (probably two) to a friend's house for dinner. This would also be a good wine to have on hand one night when it's time to open that third or fourth bottle of pinot noir.
I've had the pleasure to taste (and buy two bottles of) the 2005 Malbec Reserva from Terrazas de los Andes, which I really liked. That wine runs $25-30, so I was excited to see this 2006 (non-Reserva) for less than $15. The wine has a brilliant dark color that you expect from a malbec. It has a fuller flavor, like a cabernet, but without the tannic dryness. This was less complex than the Reserva, but that was expected. I still enjoyed this wine and would buy it again. I think this now means that I will keep an eye out for the other Terrazas de los Andes varietals and vintages.
I had originally seen this listed on some "notable wines under $15" list. I was pleased to find this bottle at my local Kroger for $9.99. I am not normally a big fan of Merlot, but unfortunately I have had a few Merlots that I adored, so I find myself going back from time to time. This wine was not one that I adored. It was a little light on the color, for a Merlot. And it lacked the BIG BOLD flavor you want from a Merlot. It has good fruit on the nose and when it hits your lips it hints at being fruit-forward and then falls apart. I hate to perpetuate the stereotype, but this is very much a "grocery store" wine*. It is under $10 and is drinkable, but not something I would buy again. And it is certainly not something I would suggest to someone who likes Merlot.
*There is often a general bias against the mass-produced wines that are available in almost every grocery/convenience store. The producers opt for quantity over quality which helps keep the prices low.
If you have spent a fair amount of time around wine, Bogle is a name you probably recognize. It's a name even I knew before I bought this wine, but this was the first I've tasted. This wine is very easy to sum up: This wine is my everyday wine. The 2006 Zinfandel from Bogle doesn't rewrite the book on Zinfandel, but it is a very affordable wine that tastes good. You should be able to find this Old Vine Zin for around $10. I'm sorry, that should read like this, "You should be able to find this Old Vine Zin for around $10!!" Don't misunderstand my enthusiasm; this is not the best wine I have ever had. I am excited to have found something that I enjoy at such a great price.
I will admit I am probably still in the honeymoon phase with Zinfandel, a wine varietal that I met on vacation a few months ago and have had a wonderful affair with ever since (I hope Rioja doesn't mind). I have found Zinfandel to be a flavorful, medium-bodied wine.
I have been drinking a lot more Zinfandel lately and I tried this one based on absolutely nothing other than it's the one I grabbed when I was at the store looking for a Zin. I had never heard of it. No one recommended it.
I paid $16 for this (at Papa Joe's in Rochester) and found out a day later that I got pretty-well ripped off. In Michigan, I am told that Meijer stores will carry this at $6/bottle on special. At $6 this is a steal, at $16 I will probably never buy it ever again.
I liked it, but I felt it was unremarkable. It is very drinkable, but this is a wine that I would buy a few bottles at $6/per and keep on hand for one of those evenings where 1...or 2 bottles just aren't enough. So I grab the Rancho Zabaco and I know I'm in capable hands, but it isn't about good wine at that point.
Typically the summer heat lures people into the light body and crisp flavors of white wines, though you can enjoy white wine all year. I do not drink much white wine. I normally find white wine to be too sour. I know they are typically described as too sweet for many palates, but it is the sourness like that of a green apple that I taste in many white wines. And that is the sourness I tasted in this wine specifically. This was my first Orvieto - coming on a recommendation from a friend - and I liked that it seems to be more dry than some other white wine varietals. I would consider Orvieto more on par with a Pinot Gris in that respect. I have had white wines that I liked more than this one, but I've certainly had worse. At around $10, this is a good value if you like green apple.