Monthly Archives: April 2013

2011 FIREFLY Ridge Merlot (3 out of 5)

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I have spent a hour trying to get one image of the bottle to upload and voila! now that I’m writing the blog post- there is the image. I picked this because of the name- FIREFLY. Since it is Fillion Friday, it seemed appropriate. What is Firefly Ridge like? Well, it’s a mellow blend. Not much to it in way of vivaciousness, but it’s solid. It’s light, doesn’t pack a heady bouquet at all, it’s just kind of…there. I knew it wouldn’t be dynamite, but since it usually retails for around $18, I thought it would be much more—aromatic and breathtaking on the tongue. Not really, unfortunately, I can’t give it more than 3 stars. There’s a little bit of nutty flavor and aroma, and some light berry taste. Nothing overpowering, but nothing overwhelming either. I taste some cherry, but that’s really it. This wine normally retailing for that much is a cardinal overcharge. It should be price around the $7-8 mark, which is what it  cost when Nancy got it on sale at Dominick’s. I made a small, gluten-free pizza for dinner,and it was PERFECT with that. In fact, I think that pizza might be the best match for this. After I was done(a while ago, to be honest), with my two glasses, there is a slight soap-like taste. Since I am drinking out of a plastic margarita glass(loads of class here at Casa C, kids) Imageit isn’t the dish soap not having been washed out type of thing…so not sure if that’s normal or not, but kind of weird. 

Three stars because I did enjoy the wine overall, plus it pairs very well with pizza- my favorite dish of all time. The label is also very nice, like something out of a painting at an art gallery in Funkytown. I subtracted a point because of the normal retail price of the wine- I WOULD pay $16-$17 for Mondavi, or Little Black Dress, but not this. Capt Mal would not be digging too much on this vintage. 

Door Peninsula Chocolate Cherry(3 out of 5)

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Well, this was a gift from J that was obtained on a Door County trip last year. Apparently my friend became a wine-appreciator on this trip. Not sure if they’re a wine lover yet, but they definitely dig it more than they used to. I’m not big on dessert wine, and from it being chocolate cherry, you would think that means it’s a dessert wine. Not so much. It is sweet, yes. In fact the label says it is a 5 on a sweetness scale in which 5 is the sweetest. I do not think this is the sweetest wine I’ve had- that designation would be to the Halloween wine that                 Dylan had me try last fall. Which I also liked, but that was so sweet I think I only finished one  glass. Again, Dylan would have to confirm that. It made me loopy, though. This is designated as a sipping wine. Not sure what that means as I have never sipped a wine in my life. Don’t think I’m about to start now, either. I’m also, remember, not a fan of chocolate and fruit together in solid form-ie candy, etc. In liquid form? I can much easier adjust to that. The wine does have a great taste to it, however. I do really dig it. The only problem is I’m not a huge fan of sweet wine. I’ve had other Wisconsin wine- courtesy of Dylan, Lillian, and Erin. 

Overall, the taste is very smooth- as if you had a chocolate cherry milkshake with alcohol added. No aftertaste, but there is a LOT of chocolate flavor. It almost overpowers the cherry wine, but again, loving chocolate, I haven’t really got complaints with it. The label is nice, mellow, makes you want to visit Door County. For a “sipping wine”, not bad at all. Just not my usual, but again, I like to mix it up and this was a good start. 

Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon(3 out of 5)

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ImageI was just posting about the importance of a light easy to drink red that goes with just about anything. I think I may have found it. Or my wine-clone may have found it. Or to be more accurate, Nancy found it. I would completely classify this as an “everyday wine”. 

I have tried Three Wishes Merlot and that was too much…too funky. This is also funky, but an easier to take(and taste) funky. There’s good funk(Prince and Parliament) and there’s bad(crotch rot and stanky ass feet). This is good. Just good. Not phenomenal. I can’t really detect much of a taste here, except that it’s not overly oaky and it’s not downright vinegar city. I just honestly can’t figure out what it tastes like- what the tasting notes are. If I didn’t know better, I’d say lima beans, but that’s impossible(It is, right? Right???). It does remind me of Sutter Home a bit, but Sutter Home, I can detect what wisps of what I’m drinking and smelling. Not the case here. I think if you need an easy wine to just have for a relaxing meal, this is great. I could easily pair this with Hamburger Helper or with chicken wings, and it would work. There aren’t a lot of durable wines in ways of matching up okay with multiple dishes- this is so light and indiscernible that it works. 

Whole Foods sells this. It goes for around $3.00 a bottle, so quite affordable. The label is very simple and very nicely done. I would recommend this as an everyday wine. If you need a good simply priced wine for dinner, this is a good choice. I wouldn’t serve it for New Year’s Eve or at someone’s wedding reception. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t serve it to Meatloaf either, but it’s sublime and simplistic, and there aren’t a lot of wines like that. Mucho star points for the easy to obtain, easy to pay for, and easy to pair with anything. 

Bolla Chianti 2010(1 out of 5)

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ImageBolla 2010 Chianti was a surprise, from Dylan. It was his kindhearted attempt to bring me a new wine(yes, it was on sale, that always helps!) to enjoy and blog about. I have had Bolla before, and I don’t think my first experience was an altogether pleasant one. I don’t think it was unpleasant either; I was just indifferent. It’s the same with me and Gallo wines- no matter how many I try, I’m just not wanting to buy. It’s like Boone’s Farm, except Bolla is a more pungent wine. By pungent, I don’t mean the smell of mutton in the rain, or pot roast simmering in the countryside, I mean wine that would do a great job removing the paint off of someone’s car. It’s just very bitter. Even for the bitter(moi), too much bitter and not enough better.

I uncorked the sucker and let it breathe for a good two hours. When I smelled it, it smelled like disinfectant. That should have been my first clue. However, one does not judge by how one smells(unless you’re working with a stinkbeast in close proximity, then that credo gets tossed out the window like GaGa in church)- it’s in the taste. Well, I detect the taste of what I believe would be violets or some heady flower that’s been sitting out in that sun too long(this wine does NOT need a holiday in the sun). I also taste some sort of fruit- possibly blackberries, but left out too long. In this case, melded together and bottled. I paired it with my Amy’s Gluten Free Black Beans and Enchilada bowl, and oh boy, it did work with that dish. However, that may be where it ends. I had to eat a whole sleeve of gluten-free crackers to get the rancid taste out of my mouth. A whole sleeve. Have you ever had gluten-free products? If they’re bread based, they’re very- how shall I say this?- cement-like! The crackers were like unsalted cement, but at least they killed the taste of this wine.

If you’re looking to give a high schooler wanting to drink cheap wine and play video games, and they’re not old enough, this is the wine. If you want to see a flannel-wearing Neanderthalic Saxon fan drink a whole bottle and pass out in a wheelbarrow in the middle of cornfield country, this is the wine. This is the kind of wine I’m glad I didn’t drink in high school- although if I had, I likely would not drink at all now. It’s just not good. I do give it one star, however, for pairing so well with the tortilla bowl. I didn’t expect that. I’m glad I had my delicious dish to balance out the paint remover I was chugging. 

Avoid, kids, avoid. 

Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend 2009 (4 out of 5)

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ImageHow did Apothic Red drift into my universe? Originially, on my 38th birthday. Shannon and Cheryl had taken me to an expensive seafood place for my birthday(The Reel Club–OakBrook, I think?). Cheryl’s gift to me was a bottle of Apothic Red. We hadn’t drank much at the restaurant because the gift card basically only covered the quite expensive seafood dishes, so there wasn’t a normal amount of drinking going on. The second they dropped me off at home, the bottle was opened. Love at first smell. Love at first taste. Once I opened it to breathe(although, in those days, there wasn’t a lot of that, it was open and down the hatch almost immediately), I was greeted with a smell of rhubarb and black cherry. I wasn’t a big fan of rhubarb, as it brought back memories of my mom beating my ass when I ripped it off the vines growing in the backyard of the Hill Street house . Throw it with black cherry, and hints of mocha and vanilla(slight those are, but you taste it in the overall dryness of the wine.) and I have a newfound appreciation for it. It didn’t taste as good eating it raw from the vine, but it shouldn’t! In a blend like this, a whole different story emerges. 

This isn’t a light and fruity blend like some I have reviewed lately. It is a heartier wine, it’s got more of a velvet finish and therefore you will likely have a glass and go “Whoa”. or in my case, have a second glass. I was reintroduced to it Monday. Monday was a weird day and I was facing a visitation with the alien orb of skank, not to mention Castle Monday, so I needed wine. Felicia, as usual, asked if I wanted her to go to Brookhaven and rustle up some wine. I told her to surprise me, and she called and mentioned Apothic. I had a brief flashback to that 38th birthday night drinking the bottle, and I told her go for it. I had 2 glasses during Castle(should have only been one, but damn that man in camoflauge!), and now I’m having a glass to try to relax after a craptastic day. And review it properly. It still holds up splendidly. I would recommend pairing it with pizza, actually. And also pork. I think it would work really well with peppercorn pork tenderloin, flourless chocolate cake(thanks Dylan), or steak milanesa. Do not go the hamburger, BBQ ribs, or straight up steak with this one. 

I love the label- it is definitely in my Top 10 wine labels list. Yes, there will be a blog posting. That might even be tomorrow, come to think of it. It’s gorgeous. Almost as good as the wine. I couldn’t do 5 stars only because it’s not hearty enough to mess my shit up. Seriously, it’s a delicious wine to be savored, but it won’t get me drunk. It might relax me(I definitely need that today), but it won’t make me stupid drunk. It also has a slightly bitter aftertaste, despite drinking a lot of water with it and after finishing it. I’m not a fan of wine with aftertastes, so that took off another half a point. Overall, though, an excellent wine. I highly recommend it. 

Beaulieu Vineyards 2009 Red Blend(5 out of 5)

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Image Holy Mother of Toast, what a great wine this is. Dylan got me a bottle after I had a bad Sunday and a Monday morning filled with urine jugs thrown at me, among other fun things. I had this vineyard once many years ago when the Mehczaja brought a bottle over and Erin and I demolished a good portion of the bottle. I believe that was a cab. Whatever it was, it messed me up right and royal. Those days were filled with wine just to have something alcoholic flowing through my veins. These days, I savor the wine. And write about it. Handily and badly. Worship at the altar of this wine, it is fabulous. Also fabulous enough for me to advise you NOT to drink it if you’re obsessed with a certain TV show and drink it during that show, when any second an unwelcome(yeah right) shirtless scene could cause you to kick over this excellent wine onto your beige carpet. I do NOT advise that being cool(or in my case, a clumsy klutz). 

This wine is a combo of zinfandel, merlot, Petite Sirah, and something indefinable(meaning a grape I have not yet danced with). It tastes of blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry. Berries abound! It has a rich taste, but not overly oaky, not overly strong. It’s a solid red blend filled with just the right amount of sweetness. Upon opening, it has such a pleasant bouquet, it’s hard to find any fault with it. It’s superb. Definitely another fantastic blend that I cannot wait to drink again soon. I had it with peppercorn pork tenderloin, and it was the perfect combination! It likely would also pair well with steak, lamb, and other pork dishes. I do think if you paired it with fish, it would be a tremendous waste of a great wine. Definitely rich enough in flavor that it needs a hearty meat dish beside it to let it flourish. 

Firecracker Wine—1 out of 5 stars

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ImageOK, this was quite a discovery. By that, I mean one that I likely won’t have again anytime soon. I was off and having a damned atrocious day while on vacation last October. I should preface this by saying that Dylan did an incredibly nice thing buying me this wine. He wasn’t sure what to get me and I told him to surprise me. Surprise it did. Again- he did me a huge favor. I feel obliged to disclose that before I trash the wine. He didn’t dislike it, the bit he had. I don’t recall if Felicia tried it or not, but I do think she did and gagged. Or smelled it and gagged. It wasn’t just me.

This wine is best described as having slight fruit flavors but those subtle tannins are overwhelmed by what can best be described as an overload of Aunt Jemima’s syrup. I felt like I should be at an I-Hop pancake-a-thon with this stuff. I did my usual trick- I shouldn’t say that, it sounds wrong!— I chilled the wine. Well, kids, that helped. Slightly. It turned from  an overly maple-based wine to an overly maple-based wine gel. It got very thick- like freaking pancake syrup!!! I give it this- prior to drinking it, I had no appetite. It did make me want to scarf down pancakes, bacon, and eggs. I had been eating a sub, which it did NOT work with well at all. If you are pairing it with anything, pair it with breakfast! Then you’ll have a winner.

The label- I actually liked the label on this wine. The price- according to Dylan- was pretty freaking reasonable. If you like log cabin goodness in a bottle, this is it! If you are looking for a luscious red wine, well, I don’t think this is it. If you’re the type of person who downs Riesling like Lewinsky downed Clinton, well, you’ll dig this wine. if not(and I am NOT a sweet wine lover), then you’ll be disappointed. I would not give this a huge pat on the back. I would, however, give it a huge pat of butter- right on top of the pancakes that I am using the wine to cover.