May 19, 2006
We don't cover a lot of wine on our site, leaving the bulk of wine coverage to our sister site, Cheap Fun Wines. In fact, we don't know a whole lot about wine, though we do know two things - we're really liking South American wines, and we're not afraid of inexpensive bottles. That's why we're so excited about two Chilean wines we've discovered - Melania and Taborga. We've sampled a couple different bottles, and not only do they taste great, but we're in love with the price tags too - everything hovers around $10 for some fine-tasting wines. We recommend picking up a bottle the next time you're in the wine aisle.
Check out the write-ups below from International Beverage Network for more information.
Taborga Table Wine
($5 suggested retail)
Red (12.9% ABV)
White (13.4% ABV)
An economical Chilean Table wine made with the same care as our varietals but at significant savings. These medium-bodies vintages exhibit fresh and aromatic hints of wild flowers with exceptionally fruity flavors.
($8 suggested retail)
Chardonnay (2004; 13.3% ABV)
Cabernet Sauvignon (2004; 13.3% ABV)
Melania is the result of meticulous selection from among the best grape varieties produced in the region. From the hand-picking of the grapes to the 12 months of aging in Chilean Oak, we have created what may be the best Chile has to offer in an every day varietal.
MELANIA “Coleccion Especial”
($13 suggested retail)
Chardonnay (2004; 13.7%ABV)
Cabernet Sauvignon (2003; 13.0%ABV)
Merlot (2004; 13.9% ABV)
Elaborating on the idea of choosing only the most exceptional varieties, we have expanded one step further to bring you the “Coleccion Especial”. These 3 varietals are the absolute finest, non-reserve, wines we could bring you from Chile’s best vines. These exceptionally priced values are sure to win your affection.
Learn more about these tasty wines at MelaniaWines.com.
January 17, 2006
We'll admit it...we don't cover a lot of wine on this site. It probably has something to do with the fact that we've always felt that wine comes in two flavors - red and white. We're overwhelmed with trying to choose wine for other people, and don't even get us started about trying to pair wine with food...looking at a wine list usually leaves us in a fetal position under the table.
That's part of why, in our minds, there's nothing that goes with a slice of pizza like a cold beer. But at the same time, we can see the allure of having a glass of wine with your slice. There's something about the way the flavors of the grape mingle with pizza flavors on your tongue that makes us say "viva Italia.” That’s why we're interested in Pizza Vino...they idiot-proof the pairing, because their wine is designed to go with pizza. And we need all the idiot-proofing we can get.
Made specifically for the pizza afficionado, Pizza Vino is a new California wine formulated to accompany pizza.
Available in Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties, Pizza Vino is blended to be "fruit forward" without being masked by a strong oak presence, making it a perfect compliment to tomatoey pepperoni cheese pies.
The label features a pepperoni pizza and a red & white checker pattern reminiscent of an italian pizzeria.
Pizza Vino costs $8.99 per bottle, and is available at PizzaVino.com
via Strange New Products - Pizza Wine
November 9, 2005
We Americans don't really ask much from our celebrities. All we really want is to be able to trust them implicitly when we send our kids to their massive and creepy ranches for a sleep over. For a brief time, we thought we weren't going to be able to trust Michael Jackson with our young'uns anymore, but luckily he was let off the hook for that whole pederast thing. But just when Jacko thought he could breathe a sigh of relief, here comes Jesus Juice wine.
The wine, which bears a label featuring a Jackson-like man in a Christ-like pose wearing a sequined glove, was trademarked by an actress and the producer of CBS Evening News coverage of Jackson's trial.
Westlake and Rheins filed to trademark the "Jesus Juice" name in January 2004, two months after the entertainer was arrested and days after news outlets first reported that Jackson used the term "Jesus Juice" when referring to wine he allegedly gave minors. On October 1, Westlake and Rheins provided USPTO officials--who are still reviewing the trademark application--with a copy of the proposed "Jesus Juice" logo, which features a photo of a barely clad man with a sequined glove, shiny loafers, stringy hair, and a black fedora that obscures his face. While carrying the name "Rheins-Westlake Winery," it appears that the wannabe winemakers's merlot production has, so far, been rather limited. In fact, two Westlake web sites seek a partner (preferably "a vintner with a sense of humor, but a seriously good line of wines") or someone to purchase the "Jesus Juice" trademark rights.
We're not sure if it'll ever be made, but can you imagine what an amazing conversation piece it would be if you served it with dinner.That's assuming that everyone at the table was over 21, of course.
Read more about Jesus Juice wine at the Smoking Gun.
October 21, 2005
Wine snobs used to look down their noses at wine from a box, but wineries are getting creative with their packaging and wine drinkers are loving the convenience.
We've never understood people's aversion to wine from a box. Sure, it doesn't fit in your wine rack, but it's much easier to stack in your shopping cart. Plus, you can take that little tin foil baggie right out of the box and squeeze a long-distance stream when you're in a wine fight. Wait, what do you mean you don't have wine fights?
Anyway, apparently there are other benefits to boxed wine other than turning it into a ranged weapon.
Jon Fredrikson, an industry consultant based in the San Francisco Bay area, said boxed wines appeal to the growing number of Americans drinking wine more regularly. They want something that doesn't need uncorking and will last longer than just a few days.
"The advantage of boxed wines is just one of extreme convenience," Fredrikson said. "Once they're open, it's just so easy to draw a nice glass of wine. It's ideal for working couples, people that are kind of passing in the night."
Learn more about the upswing in boxed wine sales from the Associated Press
September 15, 2005
OK, so maybe that needs a little bit of explanation...It was announced this week that Brown-Forman, the company that owns Jack Daniels, will partner with billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin brand to create a new line of wines. Virgin, which is already known for its young and hip attitude in the cell phone, music and airline industries, will use its cool image to try to lure younger drinkers into wine country.
The new line, called "Virgin Vines," will feature screw tops for the cork-ophobic, and slogans like "Unscrew it, let's do it." Not only will the wines move away from the typical image of uptight sippers spitting perfectly good wine into buckets, the wine will also have an attractive price. Full 750 ml bottles will most likely range from $8-$10, and four-packs of smaller 187 ml bottles will also cost about $9. With such low prices and the ability to sell the smaller bottles at concerts and stadiums, Virgin hopes to take the youth market by storm.
Read more about Virgin Vines at courier-journal.com.
September 10, 2005
New Study Reveals Wine Industry Suffers 'Curse of Orson Welles'
"A national survey of U.S. wine consumers released today shows that most people who enjoy wine don't know what the vintage date on a wine label means, and many cling to the belief that older is always better when it comes to wine.
The study of 429 wine drinkers was commissioned by the California Association of Winegrape Growers and performed by Wine Opinions, a research provider to the U.S. wine industry. A principal finding of the survey was that while 71 percent of U.S. wine drinkers feel that vintage dating of wine is important, few understand it. Only 33 percent of wine drinkers correctly believe that a vintage date on a wine label refers to the year the grapes were harvested."
Read the full press release from Wine Opinions at prweb.com.
We're not sure what the "Curse of Orson Welles" means in terms of wine, but we did find more information on what's involved in a wine vintage at decanter.com.
September 4, 2005
Stemmed glasses have long been a mainstay of wine tastings, because wine snobs say holding the glass by the stem keeps your pesky body heat from changing the taste of your wine. According to a recent article in Time magazine, however, "the hippest new wineglasses, like the O series from Riedel, leave the stems on the vine. Stemless glasses are sturdier, can be stacked in your cupboard, and fit in a dishwasher. Purists say the stem keeps the hand from warming the wine, but most palates don't notice."
Read the full article, The Story of O
, at Time (Subscription Needed)
If you're looking to get your hands on this next generation of wine drink ware, Amazon carries a full line of the aforementioned stemless "tumblers" from the Riedel O series, with different types for various wine varietals, plus assorted colors. Prices start at around $14.95 for a set of two.
Buy Riedel stemless wine tumblers
If you're like me and you want to be on the forefront without breaking the bank, Amazon also carries a suspiciously similar line of stemless "goblets" from a company called Libbey. They only have two varieties, a narrow one for whites and a wider one for reds, but you can get sets of four glasses for $14.99.
Buy Libbey stemless goblets
Believe it or not, a recent Gallup poll shows that more people claim to favor wine over beer when they're looking for a drink. While this may seem very surprising at first glance, beer drinkers probably don't have to worry much about their liquor store's coolers being ripped out in favor of wine racks. As usual, of course, what the numbers mean completely depends on where you get your information.
If you listen to wine people, you can take the news at face value:
According to the recent poll, some 63% of American adults say they drink alcohol. According to news reports, 39% of those prefer wine while 36% opt for beer.
This is an amazing turnaround from the situation in 1992, when beer was the choice of 47% of drinkers and 27% chose wine. Further, beer consumption is down among young adults, ages 21-to-29, but still holds about half of that group's loyalty. Among those over 50, the poll showed wine a clear leader.
There is a split in the demographic by gender, with women opting for a glass of wine and men for a pint of beer -- but it is a bias that is decreasing as more men take up wine.
"There has been virtually no change in preference for liquor among men and women, but the percentage naming beer has declined since 1992/1994 by 12 points among men, and by 6 points among women," Gallup said.
Read the full article at winesandvines.com
Beer people have a slightly different take, however. They agree that the data shows an upswing in people claiming to like wine, but point out that "on the flip side, consumers spent $82 billion on beer in 2004, $49 billion on distilled spirits and $23 billion on wine."
Learn more at Realbeer.com
Oregon won't begin harvesting its wine grapes for at another month, but all signs point to a supply that is far less than the rising demand. Blame whomever you want, whether it's Mother Nature for being stingy with the grapes, or the producers of Sideways for reminding everyone how great wine is. Whatever it is, industry types are saying that it's "an industrywide phenomenon and you're going to see upward price pressures as a result." Might be time to stock up on your Oregon wines before the mad stampede for the liquor store...
Full Story: Wine inventories low and demand is up in Oregon
September 3, 2005
Matt Hopkins at washingtonpost.com has hit on a combination I can really get behind with his article Pick Wine for Fast Food. He recommends the pairing of the grape and the french fry (among other things) and offers suggestions for perfect combinations.
Even though I'm an avid reader of wine magazines, a veteran of wine club tastings and known among my friends for my improper thoughts, it still took time for me to concoct the odd idea to combine my two vices: A wonderfully deep fruity zinfandel would be just about perfect with my new favorite mushroom Swiss burger (I'm a sucker for those "limited time" sandwiches, too). The wine's peppery plums, hints of herb and a strong currant nose fit so well with the rich mushroom reduction, subtle creamy Swiss paste and firm sesame bun that for a moment I could not remember the reason they weren't delivered through the window of my car as a packaged meal deal.
A couple of his recommended pairings include:
Meal: HARDEE'S MUSHROOM 'N' SWISS BURGER
Wine: 2000 Ravenswood Zinfandel Vintners Blend
Why it works: This fruity wine is good at cutting through the fat and adding a little punch to the sandwich. Another option: A simple bordeaux, which would serve the same function with a bit more herb and a lot less fruit.
Meal:TACO BELL BURRITO SUPREME
Wine: 2003 Vina MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Reserva
Why it works: This blend, which would go nicely with just about any food with a bit of kick, seems especially designed for the spicy grilled smack-in-the-taste-buds that this wrap's hot sauce provides.
Meal: WENDY'S SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICH
Wine: 2003 Domaine Puech Cocut Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Why it works: The acerbic, earthy table wine is a perfect pair for the dry spice on the chicken. Most syrahs and some Italian wines would also partner well, but the Puech Cocut tends to be a better bargain.
Maybe it's time for us here at Liquor Snob to team up with the folks over at Fast Food Fever and find some great combinations of our own.