Alexander & Fitch Merlot 2013

Here’s an interesting fact: according to Wikipedia -and who doesn’t rely on Wikipedia these days – Merlot is the third most-grown grape varietal globally.  Take that! Miles Raymond (from the movie Sideways).

Winemaker:  Alexander & Fitch
Varietal:  Merlot
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, CA
Price:  $6.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  Dark burgundy in the glass, this A&F Merlot exhibited earth, moss and berries in the bouquet.  Medium-bodied and with good acidity, it has what I would call “medium-ish” tannins.  Flavors I detected included earth, vanilla, balsamic vinegar (without the vinegar), cherries, and bitters.  Another solid performer from the inexpensive selections at Trader Joe’s.

Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Some wines are so full of flavors and nuance, I almost feel like I can’t do them justice with a description.  In fact, I probably can’t.  Still, I do my best and enjoy trying.  Other wines are so amazingly straightforward, it takes only a word or two to express the essence of their character.  That isn’t a judgement, by the way.  Sometimes the right wine for a particular occasion is the kind that makes a singular impact.

Winemaker:   Santa Rita
Wine:  120 Sauvignon Blanc
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Valle Central DO, Chile
Price: $9.69

Notes:  Grapefruit


Viña Maipo Chardonnay 2015

Some wines I remember for their impact on my senses – their bouquet, their flavors.  Others I remember as part of what I was doing when I drank them – at a birthday party, concert, special restaurant, etc.  When I popped the cork on this bottle, my sweetie and I had decided to catch up on our pop culture and begin watching Season 1 of the show True Detective via HBO Now.  I truly didn’t realize how dark the story line would be, or I might have opted for something else.  The juxtaposition of a light white wine and the grim crimes being investigated on the screen, however, may have made both more memorable.

Winemaker:  Viña Maipo
Wine:  Mi Pueblo
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2015
Appellation:  Central Valley, Chile
Price:  $5.00

Notes:  This light-bodied, light-hued Chardonnay had bright acidity and a bouquet consisting of lemon, pineapple and spice.  Alcohol was at 13%.  On the palate I tasted lemon, pineapple, grass and a very forward kerosene note.  I’d suggest pairing this with food as (for me) the kerosene note was a bit off-putting.  Maybe that’s why it was marked down from $12 to $5.

It’s A Head Snapper Prosecco

I know the bubbles/bubbly wine writing challenge is past, but I wanted to post this anyway.  First, though, many congratulations to Traveling Wine Chick for coming out on top in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #27!  Her entry is quite an enjoyable piece.  If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.  Click HERE to view.  This post won’t be as fullsome or as well phrased, but it will be about bubbles nonetheless.

Winemaker:  It’s A Headsnapper
Varietal:  Prosecco
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Prosecco DOC, Italy
Price:  $12.00

Notes:  At 11% alcohol, this light straw-colored bubbly was a tad sweet.  It had good acidity, a light heft on the palate, and a bouquet of nectarine with floral notes and a hint of cream.  At least that’s what I smelled.  I can only share with you what my nose told me.  Flavors were gentle as was the effervescence.  It seemed like a light citrusade to my taste buds – a mix of citrus.  It was pleasant, and I actually thought the tart flavors balanced the sweetness pretty well.  It’s simple.  It’s easy to drink.

Trader Joe’s Grower’s Reserve Merlot 2014

I picked this Merlot up on a very recent visit to my neighborhood Trader Joe’s.  Sometimes …

Other times “whatcha see” is an illusion, and what lies in store can be either a horrible shock or a pleasant surprise.  Personally, I like pleasant surprises, and this wine turned out to be one of those.

Winemaker:  Trader Joe’s
Wine:  Grower’s Reserve Merlot
Varietal:  Merlot
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  California
Price:  $4.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  A medium-bodied red with good acidity and medium-plus tannins, this inexpensive Merlot had a definite purplish hue which brought to mind big, juicy, ripe plums.  My eyes, however, deceived me.  What I found in the bouquet was a mix of cedar, earth and barnyard with sweet floral notes.  On the tongue it had an almost chalky texture with cola, blackberry, and tea leaf along with some sweet cherry that blossomed after oxidation.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a sweet wine: alcohol is at 13.2%.  Anyway, I liked it.  It’s cheap, and it’s competent – even interesting – as inexpensive wines go.  House red for me?  It’s a possibility.

Blood Red Wine

Oenophilogical_CuriousBeastsBloodRedWineWrapper2013As I said before, it’s never a bad idea to plan ahead for the holidays.  Many of us forget due to our excitement over the “majors”, though, that the spooky holiday comes first.  Let’s face it, I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I went to a party in costume. [OK, I won’t tell you.]  Why has it been so long?  No, it’s not because I’ve completely lost the fun in my life.  Mostly it’s due to a lack of advance prep work.

So, if you’re thinking of having a get-together (with or without costumes) on Halloween, I have another candidate for you to audition for the beverage table.  This one is also for a casual affair not for the wine aficionados.  And this wine, too, has a Halloween-appropriate label.  And name!   In fact, the wrapper that comes with each bottle is even more Halloweeny than the label.  If you serve it at Halloween, make sure your guests get to see and appreciate the wrapper art as well.

Oenophilogical_CuriousBeastsBloodRedWine2013Winemaker:  Curious Beasts (by Truett Hurst)
Wine:  Blood Red Wine
Varietal:  Red Blend
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  California
Price:  $13.00

Notes:  With a name like Blood Red Wine, this selection is appropriately dark ruby in the glass.  On the nose I caught scents of red berries, sous bois, and a hint of caramel.  At 14.7% alcohol, it had little to no tannins that I could detect.  Still, there was plenty of flavor in this light-bodied selection.  I tasted lots of cherry and blackberry with some raisin and caramel along with a touch of eucalyptus.  It was certainly pleasant enough to drink.  Since there’s not much in the way of structure, it is a drink now kind of wine.  I think it would be decent with a pasta dish or with Mexican cuisine.

The wine amateur

Here are some tasting notes from my friend labellestudio. It’s her first wine post! Will have to see if I can find this selection in my area. I hope so.


A few days ago I told a fellow blogger and wine expert Oenophilogical that I intended to write a wine review as a fun addition to this site. I am afraid this is not going to help my reputation as a serious person but why this serious all the time anyway? Let´s give it a try and move somewhat out of our comfort zone for once.🙂

Heuchelberg Weingärtner 2011 Trollinger Rosé ~ Fruchtig süss ~ Württemberg

My husband discovered this wine a few months ago and bought it in a small beverage market. Three weeks ago he retaliated and bought another bottle… Rosés are often labelled as “women´s wines” in Germany, especially when they are on the rather sweeter side like this one but both my husband and I enjoyed it very much.

The color was a pale golden pink and the scent reminded me of wood, plaster, peppermint…

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