Monthly Archives: May 2014

Moiselle Pink Moscato (1 out of 5)

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Image                                                             Yay! The Moiselle Pink Moscato has an image! The red one that I liked a lot does not, as you recall from my review over a month ago. I decided to get the pink moscato since I enjoyed the red one so much. I did not dig the pink as much as the red. I thought I would dig it more, due to the presence of ye olde nectarine (seriously. A nectarine, although I know the phrase “ye old nectarine” likely could describe your elderly neighbors). Not so much.

This beauty was priced at the “steal” of $4.99. I could have gone a whole $1.31 less with the Winking Owl and had more fun.  It has a pleasant aroma, not overpowering and yet also not very much there in way of smelling anything. Not the sort of wine that Vlad the Impaler would have used as smelling salts on any of his victims, but I would have hoped there would be some sort of fragrance coming off the bottle when it was opened. No dice.

It is a nice light pink color, and it does indeed have a nice smattering of nectarine and raspberry. However, together…it gives me great pause. Like someone picking a Jesus and Mary Chain song over “Let’s Go Crazy” in an 80’s bracket. The two together..I guess I expected some sort of liquid Fruit Loops type wine, and instead it was closer to Arbor Mist watered down with Welch’s White Grape juice. WAY TOO SWEET. If this were a Riesling or an Ice Wine, I would completely agree with the sweetness. There’s not any sort of crisp, earthy quality to the wine either. After chilling for over a week, I decided to try to have a glass last night. Blech. Half of a small glass and I dumped the rest down the sink. Seriously, Dylan, if you want the rest of the bottle, it’s yours. Free of charge, but not free of warnings from me. It seriously tastes like glorified fruit juice with a slight nip of alcohol. Thanks, but no thanks.

As I said, if you want something ridiculously sweet to go with a nice, moist slice of lemon cake with vanilla frosting (recipe forthcoming), this is the one. I had a little with the lemonilla cake (my name, my recipe, bitches) and it went perfectly. But I really do not want to have to eat a piece or a whole fucking cake just to make the wine work. It’s a lot of work. I will hold back the wine jury until I try the white moscato they have… watch for that coming soon.

I would not recommend this wine unless you want something really sweet to pair with massive amounts of cake slathered with delicious buttercream frosting. Otherwise, I would pass.

With Love (Modern House Wines) 3 out of 5

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Sunday brought a determination to cook many things… of course, when I get my this in my head, that means I must experiment with new wine as well. This one, I normally would have turned away from, because Oprah’s mega-warrior endorsement empire had a shit-ton of propaganda as a door hanger on the bottle (I’m not joking. Head over to your closest Target and look at the varieties they have and confirm that there are paper hangers on every bottle. Very odd, and off putting). This was new, on sale, and it got my interest, so I invested in a bottle. The wines are put out by Alexis Traina, who is a wife, mom, and vineyard director at Swanson Vineyards. So she knows her way around a wineglass, how fares the wine?

Not too shabby. It didn’t bowl me over with the taste, however. I see that there are several other varieties that you can online and vote for, as your favorite. I can’t do that until I try the others..so that’s going to likely be the next few wines I try. Let’s get to this one. Target is introducing the line, so I’m guessing that’s your first bet for trying the wines. Since I haven’t been in an actual liquor store for the better part of two years, I am betting that it’s easily found at the neighborhood Binny’s or the mom and pop booze stop down the block. The line is all red blends, so I will definitely have to investigate further before delivering a final verdict via a vote on the Internet.

The fragrance when uncorked is heady, to say the least (and I am). I had a noseful of aroma that was so strong it made me sneeze. For my sinuses being congested, I was grateful. For the aroma, not as much. I let it breathe for a few hours while I was baking and cooking different things, and then took a whiff. Still pretty potent. It’s a gorgeous burgundy color. Flavors that I detected are blueberry, a lot of plum, dark cherries, maybe some chocolate notes, and a whole lot of strong. It is not a flavorless wine, it is brimming with flavor. Especially after letting it air out for awhile. Holy mother of manicotti, it is strong (13.5%, for the wondering few). I had it with the gluten-free chicken parmesan and the garlic spinach I made Sunday night, and it was perfect! I would say definitely go for this with pasta dishes- red pasta dishes. Not sure that all of this pungent flavor would go over well with any sort of alfredo-based pasta dishes, however.

As for what grapes/varietals go into this blend, good question! Ms Traina and the powers that be have not published what grapes go into this. I am going to guess 40% merlot, 20% syrah, 20% cabernet, 20% pinotage. I don’t recognize the grape blend at all, and there’s something about the fullness of the flavor that brings me to guess a pinotage is somehow involved. I haven’t had one of those in years, and the flavor of one mimics some strong percentage of this. But again, guesswork is never fun, and something tells me that we’ll never quite get an answer from the creator as to what’s in the wine, because who doesn’t love a good mystery? Especially in a red wine blend. I did like this wine very much, but it was way too much in general. Meaning so much going on that you don’t know where to begin, what to concentrate on, what to not pair with it. I love the overall flavor, but it was overwhelming to everything- meaning the meal, the dessert, the water that I was drinking with the wine. And one glass brought about enough flavor that the rest of the bottle is sitting there, not a sip drank since that meal. The wine retails for $12.99 at Target, they have it on sale for $8.99, so if you do want a new experience, this is the week to pick up a bottle and give it a shot. I think the wine is way busy, meaning you’re best off just drinking a glass with a small dessert or a small meal. In my case, it was a full three course meal for one, so it kind of went to waste. I will definitely give her other wines a shot and vote.

 

Flirty Bird Sauvignon Blanc (2 out of 5)

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There was a case of mistaken identity with this one. Monday, the day I felt less like shit, I ended up at Aldi buying more of their gluten-free items. I needed some fortification for that night’s season finale of Castle. Had I known what that was going to fucking end up like, well, I would have bought something a hell of a lot stronger. I was in the aisle at Aldi talking to myself saying “What sort of name is Filthy Bird for a wine?” The lady behind me started laughing and told me that it was FLIRTY Bird, not FILTHY Bird. Phew, I was worried for a moment..someone with my high moral ground making a mistake like that with the name??? Balderdash! (laugh, snicker, have a drink, you somber bastard). 

I hadn’t had a sauvignon blanc in a long time. I do like it because it’s less fruity than pinot grigio, and also more crisp, less sweet. There is, of course, more of the demon bastard grapefruit, so we’ll call it a draw overall. This wine had no real discernible bouquet when I uncorked it. It had an almost non-existent “clean” smell, not unlike that of detergent wafting through the spring air. Not the sort of thing you want when you are going to DRINK that bottle from which this sort of odor is coming, but again, I am embellishing my thoughts on this wine. It’s just my take. I taste some melon, grape, some apple… and despite the presence of any grapefruit mentioned on the label, I swear I taste a motherfucking grapefruit. Nothing could make me unhappier (besides the video for Olivia Newton John’s song “Physical.” That’s pretty much guaranteed to make me radically displeased). However, it’s a sauvignon blanc, so you’re almost guaranteed some form of grapefruit (sour puss of the fruit family.) 

I had this with a salad and with shrimp—guaranteed to be the sort of meal a wine like this pairs well with. Well, it did, but so much blah-vouz was present here that not a lot of anything happened. One glass, nothing. Two glasses, nothing. Three, still nothing. In slang terms, it’s weak sauce. Very light, almost non-existent in its flavor and range, and smelling oh so slightly of Tide. Not a winning formula, Aldi. I do like the label. That bird looks, well, colorful and oh so flamboyant. As if he is the Ricky Martin of the bird kingdom. It’s a steal at $3.99. By that, I mean have someone steal a bottle, don’t spend $3.99 on it. You can get their signature Winking Owl for LESS and probably be more pleased (although they do not have a sauvignon blanc for white, so it’s either pinot grigio or the chardonnay canal in that case). 

All in all, the only thing I like is the label and the light flavors do blend well, no aftertaste, but that’s pretty hard to accomplish when there’s no taste whatsoever to speak of. I would avoid like the plague (and Camus’ The Plague also, while you’re at it). Cheers!

Coopers Hawk Syrah Grenache (2 out of 5)

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I love Coopers Hawk winery and restaurant. I usually love all of their wines. Of course, as in all other things, there is always an exception. This is the exception. The last Coopers Hawk wine I tried was the bottle Nicole got me for Christmas, and that was probably one of my all-time favorites from that winery. This is the bottle she got me for my birthday. I did sample a little beforehand, but was distracted in matters of the mind, so I don’t think the focus was all there. Regardless, it’s a gift, who am I to turn my sniffer up at it?

As you can guess, this was Coopers Hawk’s red wine of the month for April, 2014. It is a straight down the middle mix of syrah and grenache. Grenache is a scary proposition for me; I always feel as if there should be a chocolate grenache cake sitting nearby for me when I’m done tasting the wine. Not the case, unfortunately. Grenache is a spicy, berry-flavored wine that mixes well with other varietals; hence this blend. It also has a higher alcohol content; so if not prepared, the shit will knock the bricks out of your chimney. (Psst…one glass did me in… wait, that’s not unusual with any wine. Nevermind!) Syrah is normally a full-bodied grape. It has flavors of spice, blackberry, and pepper notes. It’s high in tannins, whereas the grenache not as much. The problem is that sometimes the dominant flavor of the individual wines take over and it’s all out warfare between the two blends. It’s almost as if you aren’t sure what you’re tasting because there’s way too much going on. That’s what it felt like here…a lot going on, almost too much high acidity and tannin levels that cancel out the flavors the wines were bringing to the blend.

You’re supposed to have chocolate-covered cherry accents, along with a bunch of fruit flavors, some licorice and a slight vanilla finish. This is what the label promise. I taste nothing more than some slight chocolate notes, very dark fruit (blackberry? jam?), and a lot of what tastes like tobacco. I thought I was nuts or inhaling cigar smoke trapped within my kitchen’s walls, but a quick check of the Coopers Hawk wine blog does confirm that there are notes of tobacco. YUCK. I did not care for that aspect, and as I said, too many individual fruits and entities competing for the singular taste here. I didn’t get any vanilla finish from the wine at all. I let it sit for a full week before I ventured another glass. I will still unimpressed by the overall taste. 

The wine goes well with burgers- it went over very well with my black bean burgers with the caramelized red onions and spinach salad. I had it the second time with turkey burgers and jalapeno cheddar cheese. That, in particular, set off something in the wine. It reacted very well to the jalapeno cheese. I would say if you’re doing burgers with the wine, try a spicier cheese; if not jalapeno, maybe habanero or pepper jack. This wine would probably go real well with pot roast. 

Not sure what the wine retails for, as it was a gift. Usually their wines go for around $13 a pop, often more, depending upon the strength of the wine and whether it’s one of the “Luxe” blends….obviously, the only place you can get a bottle of this is at your closest Coopers Hawk winery, or go to CoopersHawkWinery.com to order a bottle for yourself. As I said, definitely not in my favorites list. I can’t wait to try my next Coopers Hawk vintage, however. This one was just a little bit too high in acidity and overall fruit overload so it was hard to distinguish one wine flavoring from 13 others. I’m sure this will be right up someone’s alley, just not mine. 

 

Wine Sisterhood Ravishing Red Blend (5 out of 5)

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I went back and forth with this one- four or five stars? I loved it. But did I love it to distraction, earning it a high five? Or did I love it the way I would love a second child, earning it four? I decided since it’s the first wine in the past month that I had more than one glass of (different nights, for the record. The gallbladder has ruined my drinking one night a week fun, for the time being) without keeling over and whimpering from. There were others that did that (they will be reviewed after this one). This one was a true pleasure to indulge in.

I saw Wine Sisterhood for the first time that Sunday night in January when Nancy and I hit Target up in face of the incoming deep freeze that saw temps drop to 60 below zero. I did not get it then, choosing some other swill instead. I saw it again about a month ago, and picked up a bottle after a long day at work. I was also making turkey tetrazzini, gluten free style for dinner, so I wanted some wine to try with it. I would NOT recommend this wine with turkey tetrazzini, or with anything less than a steak or pasta. Or a piece of flourless chocolate cake. I will have to try the other wines now, in terms of fairness and dying to know if they’re as good as this one was.

You all know I love blends. It’s that same character trait that has me drinking two or three drinks at a time, for variety. Or perhaps I’m just insane. I also loved the label and the marketing of it as “Ravishing Red Blend.” To me that means it will make my face a ravishing shade of red, it will make my hair ravishing red, or it’s just savvy marketing. It was a day I was feeling decidedly NOT ravishing, so I went for it and bought. I was not disappointed in this wine in the least. Upon opening and letting it air out for better part of a hour, it had such a pleasant, cherry aroma to it, without the sometimes overly strong vinegary bouquet that often comes with a red blend after letting it air out for a prolonged period of time. It was as if someone had spiked my favorite Hi-C flavor with delicious fruits and some evilly tempting liquor. It is a Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Merlot blend, tasting strongly of cherries, vanilla, and a little bit of spice. Unlike some blends I’ve had in the past year and reviewed here, this one did not have so much spice you felt as if someone dumped a fucking pepper shake in that bitch. Just a little dash here for a whole bottle-perfection. I think I might have enjoyed this one almost as much as Kendall-Jackson’s Summation, which was my favorite red blend for the past year. It’s strong on tannins, but not so much that your fucking head will explode from it. No nasty headache after the two glasses I had. No nasty aftertastes, and still good on the palette when I had a glass a week later. Well worth the price of admission. 

This one retails for $11.99, although Target frequently has it on sale for around $9.99. You can probably get it pretty reasonable on their website, if you’re looking at cases of it: WineSisterhood.com. I can’t wait to try their other wines!