2005_OakvilleRanch_6L Recently I was fortunate enough to try wine from a pretty large bottle. The wine was a 6L (holds 8 bottles) 2005 Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was bursting of red/black fruit, especially cassis, had an excellent mid-palate and a long ROUND finish. I couldn’t believe how soft this wine tasted. I then asked the owner how long the bottle had been open. “Two days”, he replied “and it is finally drinking really well”. “Very tannic when we first opened it”.

So what is it with BIG bottles of wine? They are very hard to store. They are generally difficult to find. They almost ALWAYS cost more than if you had bought the single bottles, separately.

There are obvious fun factors- they are cool to break out at parties and it is entertaining to watch someone pour from the really large ones. However there are some very important reasons to go big…

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2001_CVNE_GranReserveThis is the short list of wines, from the annual Wine Spectator Top 100 List, that are under $20.

Last years list contained 27 wines under $20, this years, only 16.

You know the drill…

Ranking/wine/price. Red wines are colored red. If I have tried the wine, and would recommend purchasing, it is TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

 #100- Badia a Coltibuono Toscana Cancelli- $10 TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

#69- Boutari Naoussa-$18

#68- Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills Horse Heaven Vineyard- $15 TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

#56- Robert Eymael (Mönchhof) Riesling QbA Mosel- $17

#55- A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir Oregon- $18 TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

#53-Domäne Wachau Riesling Federspiel Trocken Wachau Terrassen- $13

#52- Paringa Shiraz South Australia- $11

#51- Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen- $12 TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

#43- Godelia Godello Bierzo Selección- $14

#41-Red Heads Studio Shiraz McLaren Vale Barrel Monkeys

#39- Viña Herminia Rioja Excelsus- $18

#36- Bodega Norton Malbec Mendoza Reserva- $20 TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

#35- Château du Retout Haut-Médoc- $18

#34- Bodegas Valdemar Rioja Inspiración Selección- $20

#33- Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry- $17 TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED.

#32- Bodegas Hidalgo Gitana Manzanilla Jerez La Gitana- $19

 

The #1 wine of the year (2004 Cune Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva) at $63  is no bargain. However I discovered the 2001 vintage (pictured above)- which is probably drinking better right now, for under $40! Score. TOLERANT TASTER APPROVED. 

Please let me know if you have tried any of these and give your opinion.

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Tomatoes shriveled on the vine

Thanksgiving is one of the toughest meals to pair with a single wine. At a traditional meal you have savory elements (stuffing/gravy), and sweet elements (cranberry dressing), as well as a good amount of fat (flavor) but also delicate white meat.

In addition, throw in some items that are hard to pair with anything (Brussels sprouts, turnips) and you have a challenge on your hand.

 Challenge accepted!

First off, Thanksgiving is really about your loved ones, around the table, and you should serve wines that your family/friends enjoy drinking.  Secondly, the food is really the star, and in my opinion wines should take a backseat.

 Safe Bets for Thanksgiving if you can only serve ONE wine… [read more…]

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Wines of Uruguay- Not just Tannat

I was invited to a wine/food pairing dinner at Barlees  showcasing the wines of Uruguay. Going into the dinner I knew very little of this wine producing country other than it’s “signature” grape was an extremely tannic grape called Tannat. Tannat is originally from the Southwest of France (Madiran and Irouléguy) but, like Malbec, it […]

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Around the World QPR Chardonnay+ a Ringer

Memorial Day Blind Wine Tasting There is a term “ABC”- short for Anything But Chardonnay. But when it comes to Chardonnay it is not about the grape but rather the style of wine.  Chardonnay is a chameleon, not very distinctive on it’s own, but easily changed by soil composition, growing conditions (hot or cold), use […]

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The Best Margherita Pizza- “Secret” Recipe

Living in New York we are very fortunate to have an excellent selection of places to enjoy food and wine. Recently I had some delicious (Neapolitan) pizza-click on the photo for NYC location. Not everyone is as lucky, so I am passing along a “secret” recipe for Margherita Pizza that you can try to perfect […]

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In Pursuit of Balance Wines 2013

I virtually “attended” In Pursuit of Balance Wines which was held in San Francisco. Basically this is a group of California winegrowers who aim to produce great wines (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir only, for now) in the vineyard and in the cellar by keeping all of the components of a wine (acidity, alcohol, fruit) in […]

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