Monthly Archives: July 2013

Barefoot Refresh Summer Red Wine (4 out of 5)



I’m having a rough week. Blah, blah, blah. No, seriously. Two friends passing away in the last four days, my dad’s newish medical issues, and other less pressing things. So what is to make me feel better? My friend John thought a new bottle of wine for me to try and review. It was a nice thought, and a pleasant surprise.

The wine was a pleasant surprise. I like fizzy, but it’s usually Freixenet Cordon Negro, not wine. This may change my opinion yet. There is a white one that I am trying tomorrow night at the gathering, so I’ll review that one tomorrow. First the red!

It retails for $5.99 most places, so extremely affordable. The label is quite pretty. You can drink it warm, but the label recommends chilling before drinking. I did just that. I aired it for a little bit, but again, because it’s a “fizzy” wine, it’s not necessary to do that. This is a lively, refreshing spritzy blend of Pinot Noir, Rose, and Moscato. It’s not overly sweet, nor is it devoid of flavor. It’s easy to detect notes of raspberry and orange. It is absolutely at its best nearly frozen. I put it in the freezer for a hour and had a glass. You can really taste the wonderful flavors the colder the wine. So chill that sucker and have a glass! It’s absolutely delicious.  I would say this would work well with pasta salads. I had it with grilled chicken and pasta in olive oil, and it was great.  Experiment!


Sutter Home Pink Moscato (3 out of 5)




First post in a while. There’s a reason, but it’s not worth going into. I will say that this blog will likely be moving to another domain soon, and those of you who do follow me and comment on these posts will have to do so again, in a new time and a new bat channel. I apologize in advance. In the meantime, onto the wine.

I did enjoy this crisp pink moscato. It has a somewhat sweet, caramel odor to it once you uncork it, and that is the first thing that jumps off the tongue. There is a nice blend of passionfruit, some melon, and maybe, just maybe, a small bit of apple. The apple isn’t as noticeable, but it’s definitely there, just a little burst of it. It is a really good, light wine without too much sweetness to it. The fruit flavors provide a nice setting for any meal that’s light. I think this wine would go well with light dishes, salads, Hawaiian pizza, and any veal dish that may have a sweet sauce base.  If you’re doing cheese (as I often am with wines I review), it would go great with the dill havarti and also the apple-smoked gruyere. 

Since it’s Sutter Home, you can find it pretty much anywhere, and it retails around $4.00, quite affordable. They also have a bubbly version of this, which I gather is similiar to champagne. I’m sure it’s equally as delicious as this one. 



2012 La Riojana Triada Malbec (4 out of 5)




Well, I found this recently- as in two days ago, at Walgreen’s. I forgot about it, but then I saw it Friday night on my way home from work. This time I bought it. I was not sorry to do so. I wanted a new wine to try so I could review it on the blog. I haven’t had a good Malbec in a bit, so I was thrilled to examine the label and see it was one. Retailing at $5.99, it’s a reasonable price, and a new adventure I’m glad I took. 

A pleasing dark red, purple violet color combination, the smell was slightly acidic in nature when I let it breathe. It tastes strongly of plum, violets, and some spice. It is robust in flavor, this is no shrinking violet wine (despite it coming from Walgreen’s, not a wine store). It’s a 12.5% alcohol rating, but it really tipped my canoe over quickly. I had it with turkey burgers, salad greens, and fava beans. And it worked out well. It greatly complimented my dinner. I would advise all to continue trying it with burgers and perhaps some roasted vegetable kabobs. I think the most excellent flavor would benefit from making do with some grilled vegetables and burgers. This has a long-lasting flavor, high on the tannins, and a medium finish. I really enjoyed this wine. It would be a great weekday dinner with the in-laws wine (Nancy, are you listening?) and it’s quite affordable. There’s no acerbic aftertaste, just mellow plum on the tongue.

Definitely worth a try! 

Don Simon Seleccion Tempranillo(4 out of 5)



This may be love at first sight at Whole Foods. The place, as a whole, not as impressive as Trader Joe’s. But their wine and cheese section kicks ass. I thank whomever took that image above, for that’s all I was seriously digging on. Don Simon Tempranillo rocks!

I’m familiar with Three Wishes; one of the other trademark Whole Foods wine brands. I like it okay enough, but it didn’t take the chrome off my bumper, if you get my drift. This not only took the chrome off the bumper, it took the whole bumper as well! My reasons for choosing this? The name. Don owns the bookstore I work for; Simon is for LeBon. I know, what am I–5? Yes, yes, I am, but with better grammar, spelling, and multiple blogs.

The tempranillo is a Spanish wine. Maybe that’s why I picked this one. Not only the name, but the fact that it is a Spanish wine. Just yesterday morning I posted my blog about the Orangerina Sangria that Aldi sells, and how it claims it’s from Spain(Ohio). I was determined to have one true Spanish wine this month. Va voom! My wish has been granted. Thank you, Whole Foods, for that.

On first uncapping of the wine, you smell fruit. Nice, plump, fruit. Cherries and strawberries foremost, but you can smell(and taste) other berries. The taste doesn’t diminish its fullness of flavor, nor the full effect of the flavor, even when exposed to air for quite a while. It’s a deeply colored purple, so much so that it could be mistaken for a merlot or a port. There may be a little vanilla in there, and wine tasting notes on various sites(because I am curious when I cannot figure out what I’m tasting) say violets. Maybe that’s why the sweet smelling wine–even after hours. No flavor loss here. Very refreshing. Downside? Once you get toward the end of a glass (or two), it gets dry. Fast. Zoom, and then arid. Not horribly so, it’s just that you may need a pitcher of water or iced tea nearby. Don’t do what I did, and have a glass with Dr Pepper 10. Have it with a refreshing beverage- ie water, iced tea, limeade, something water based. You will need it to wash away some of the dryness.

All in all? Awesome, awesome wine. I took a star down because the dryness, once it hit, was pretty encompassing and it really brought down the vivacious flavor of this vintage. It works incredibly well with gluten-free pizza and cheeses(Red Dragon, Colby Jack, and Rum Runner Bella Vitano). I’m sure delicious bison and turkey burgers with bacon would work really well here.

As far as I know, Don Simon is an exclusive Whole Foods wine(thank you, Felicia, for correction). It retails for $3.99 and is a steal. Go get yourself a bottle

Sangriana Sangria (1 out of 5)




I had given Aldi one last chance with their wines that are NOT Winking Owl(which I love, in case you haven’t read my previous reviews). I figured, I should try the Sangria. The fact that I kept mangling the name should have been a sign, but I thought I was mispronouncing like normal. Sangriana Sangria- sounds like a Duran Duran salsa tribute band that would play at Salt Creek Wine Bar. No, it’s the Aldi sponsored sangria. They should seek sponsorship elsewhere.

Your label says it’s imported from Spain. I have had Spanish Sangria. If this is from Spain, it’s Spain, Iowa. Sangria is typically reddish in color. This is orangeish with a dash of red for color(likely). I’m not sure if this is supposed to be alcoholic Tang substitute, or what liquor is supposed to be in here, but I cannot identify the wine. I can identify the taste- weak. Gross. Intangible, unless you want a liquid form of Old Milwaukee’s Best mixed with orangey wine. That’s what this tastes like. A whompful of yuck. According to the label, black currant, orange, and citrus. I don’t taste black currant anywhere in this mess. If I did, it may have saved it somewhat. If this is citrus, it would be like what you would imagine if Juicy Juice tried to go alcoholic, minus the alcohol. That’s what this is. My blood sugar tripled just looking at the bottle.

Speaking of which, that’s why I gave it one star. The label is hilarious- number one, the chica in question looks to be murdering a citrus grove–and believe me, that’s what the wine tastes like. The Violence of Vino, but pretending to be vino. Secondly, but more cool, is the fact that one of her arms appears to be a prosthetic. Terminator Chica making the wine. Sounds like a new sketch for the severely untalented Chris Kattan. A quick glance makes it look like she has her back turned on the menagerie of citrus. I would not blame her for turning her back on this. If you imagine she’s facing the mess, then it appears she has no face. Sangria sucked so bad her face vaporized????COOL. 

So a star for the cool images that the label brought forth. But that’s all from this wine blogger, because it is truly awful otherwise. 



Barefoot Merlot (4.5 out of 5)




I reviewed the Barefoot Cabernet a few months back. It’s time for me to give the Barefoot Merlot its due. I like the Barefoot line of wine, it’s quite affordable and the taste isn’t a musty, fumigated stink-infested foot insole. That would apply to some moderately priced wine (all of the Aldi wines that aren’t Winking Owl, for example.). They are easily located and carried just about everywhere, from your Safeway to your corner drugstore Walgreen’s. 

After letting the merlot breathe for about 45 minutes, you’re greeted with a moderate bouquet- not too much, not quite enough. It doesn’t affect the wine, however, once you get drinking. Flavor is adequate but not overwhelming, basically what you would expect from an everyday wine. Taste is quickly established; flavors of cherry, boysenberry, plum, and chocolate meld together in a ripe and flavorful wine. Overall impression is great flavor and not a long finish. Smooth and flavorful, but not too much fruit. There is a somewhat sweet, tart flavor but it’s well worth it. 

I think this merlot is best with burgers and grilled BBQ chicken. It would also work well with flourless chocolate cake or chocolate fondue; it’s the perfect mixture of fruit and balance without being so fruity that it kills the taste of anything you’re having with it. This wine normally retails between $4.99-$6.99. Great simple value; easily locatable; and not sucking in flavor. 

2009 Red Diamond Merlot (5 out of 5)




I am not sure if I remember correctly how I first came into contact with Red Diamond Merlot. I think it may have been a wine listed at either Houlihans, or TGI Friday’s. I always get this vintage mixed up with Little Black Dress Merlot. I think the similarity of the bottles, the color in the names, and the fact that I cannot remember where I tried either for the first time, all combine to add to my cabinet of confusion. Dylan would likely remember. Anyway, definitely in my top 10 merlot list. I almost typed lust, but that wouldn’t have been too far from the truth either…..

After letting it breathe, you’re immediately greeted with a good whiff of fruit. Tasty fruit, not vinegar fruit(see Walker’s Red Wine review for details). First taste is heaven. The more you drink, the less you think. Meaning it’s a hell of a great tasting wine, and it’s close to 9 on the GBS(G Buzz Scale, nowhere near as life-altering as the Fujita Scale, but it can be a close call when wine is involved!). 

This merlot tastes of blackberry, cherry, and spice(not sure, maybe cardamon, nutmeg?). Some oak, but not overwhelming. The merlot tastes of delicious, not pencil shavings. It’s a medium boded wine, but the flavor is firm throughout. Even the finish is smooth, fruity, and long. The wine does not let up at all, even after a number of glasses have been had. Pair it with beef, tenderloin, a lean cut steak, even pasta. It’s the type of merlot that goes with just about any meat based dish. I wouldn’t recommend it with ribs, for the simple fact that the sauce you’re eating on the ribs may clash somewhat with the odorous fruit flavors in this wine, and it may be too much. One may cancel out the other. 

The label is fantastic. The wine normally retails for $11.99-$13.99. Wine alcohol level is 13.5%, so it has some pop. It’s a 92% Merlot with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I do know it makes one hell of an awesome wine.