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Wine: Once Upon A Vine 2010 “Big Bad Red Blend”

once upon a vine red

A blend of several red varietals, The Big Bad Red blend appeases our inner dark side, satisfying that craving for the bold and daring. The wine leads with a bramble of berries, dark black plum and root beer flavors, framed by toasted spices. Fleshy and ripe, the palate delivers layers of black fruit with a savory and spicy character. Supple tannins hold flavors into a long, lasting finish. A perfect pairing for a dark and stormy night.

Made primarily from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel, The Big Bad Red blend pulls together the best of each varietal for a wine of complexity and depth. We began with Merlot, which makes up one-third of the blend, giving a round, plump base of juicy dark berry fruit and sturdy oak profile. Our Cabernet Sauvignon, which comes from Napa, lends the backbone to the wine with ripe tannins and layers of cocoa, plum and blackberry. Syrah adds depth with a meaty roundness and soft, fleshy tannins while a touch of Zinfandel gives a juicy berry impact.

This “Big Bad Red” blend by Once Upon A Vine is another one of my “OMG! I Love that label” purchases. And again, I was not a fan.

I recently purchased a red wine aerator. I really have no real reason why I haven’t purchased one in the past – I would just let the wine breathe regularly. But I finally made the purchase and this Red Blend is the first wine I tried my new aerator with. I have to say, there was a marked difference between the “fresh” wine and the wine poured through the aerator. I think I’m going to get one for white wines, too!

Other than the wonderful use of my new aerator, I was not a fan of the Big Bad Red blend. It tasted…more sour than bitter and alcohol-y. ­čśŽ

Obviously I need to stop buying wine on my own and make sure I talk to my wine seller.

Wine: Fetzer Riesling (white)

fetzer

At Fetzer, we’ve been committed to environmental responsibility for over a quarter century. Because we believe sustainable practices not only make for a healthier planet ÔÇô they make for better wines.

Riesling comes in many styles, and its popular enough that some call it the new Chardonnay. We just call it good. Our personal style blends fruit from cooler areas of California to create a wine both rich and floral, pale yellow in color with aromas of pear and apricot. In the glass, you’ll taste peaches and apricots, a gracious invitation to sit a spell and enjoy with friends.

Our Riesling is delicate, yet full of fruit forward flavors and aromas. There are aromas of dried fruit, lemon, lavender, jasmine and rose petal. In the mouth, the crisp acidity balances this well structured wine with flavors of peaches, pineapple and pear that lead to a smooth rich, mellow finish.

Another week, another stab at picking a tasty white wine.

I grabbed this bottle of Fetzer Riesling simply due to it’s label: I love sustainable items made in the U.S. And it’s a Riesling – I love a good Riesling. ­čÖé

The Fetzer was good – not great but good. It has a very nice fruity/flowery smell and I could taste apples and peaches. The Fetzer Riesling was sweet with a slight tartness when it first hits your tongue.

Sadly, the Fetzer was a little too sweet for me and hubby I paired it with a mild fish taco platter and the pairing worked ok. It didn’t quite have the flavor I wanted for sipping but I still enjoyed it. I did enjoy the Fetzer but not really enough to repurchase (except for the sustainability thing).

Wine: Chateau Ste Michelle 2012 Gew├╝rztraminer (white)

Gew├╝rztraminer 

This Gew├╝rztraminer is such an enjoyable wine with beautiful, expressive fruit and clove spice. This is a lush style of Gew├╝rztraminer with a lot of floral character, yet it still maintains the grapeÔÇÖs natural crisp acidity. A touch of Muscat offers citrus notes and a deeper spice note. Try this wine with Thai food or any cuisine with a little ÔÇťbiteÔÇŁ to it.ÔÇŁ

 

 
Gosh. I think I’m just a Chateau Ste Michelle kind of girl. This Gew├╝rztraminer was delicious and I quite enjoyed it.

I was surprised at the spiciness of the Gew├╝rztraminer – it had the faint hint of sweetness of the Riesling but a serious bite of spiciness that wasn’t dry. I think this Gew├╝rztraminer will go deliciously with a spicy poultry or fish dish.

I didn’t pair the Gew├╝rztraminer with a food dish, hubby and I just sipped this while watching a bit of TV. I honestly think that I might have enjoyed this a little better with food – the spicy taste called for something to go with it.

Wine: Chateau Ste Michelle 2011 Indian Wells Red Blend

indian wells red blend

The Indian Wells Red Blend is an easy drinking red blend from warmer climate vineyards. The wine reflects the rich, round powerful style of Washington fruit, highlighting eight varietals. It is a true example of the art of blending. The wine offers jammy boysenberry flavors from the Syrah with a luscious backbone from the Merlot. This would be a great match with barbecue ribs.

 

 
Oh my! I loved this. LOVED. My husband wasn’t a big fan – it was too much of a Red wine to him – but I loved it. Hubby simply tolerated it…and considering that I loved it, toleration is perfectly fine as long as I don’t hear any complaints. ­čśÇ

The initial smell of the wine was…simply amazing. It smelled rich, exotic and complex – I couldn’t even begin to say what it could have smelled like. And the first taste…so nice and rich and bold.

I paired the Indian Wells Red blend with a simple meal: a nice medium rare steak, crisp green-beans and a salad (paleo, you know). Delicious.

I certainly plan on purchasing more of Chateau Ste Michelle’s Indian Wells Red Blend.

Wine: LAB Tinto (Red)

LAB Tinto

Very aromatic with notes of ripe black and red fruits. In the palate, juicy plums and dark berry fruit flavour with plenty of fresh yet fine tannins that take over at the finish, along with flavours of spice and liquorice.

 

 

 

The LAB Tinto is a Red blend. It contains: Castelão, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Touriga Nacional.

Color: Dark red/burgundy
Scent: Heavy and alcoholic
Taste: Initially sweet with a slight black cherry/berry flavor followed by a rather bitter aftertaste.

I decided to grab this bottle of LAB Tinto simply because it had a little paper tent on the bottle that proclaimed it’s awesomeness:

Berliner Wein Trophy 2014
Challenge International Du Vin 2014
Mundus Vini 2014
Berliner Wein Trophy 2012
WineSpectator Top 30 Wines under $10 for 2011 & 2012
Vintage 2011: WineSpectator 86 Points
Vintage 2012: WineSpectator 88 points

Although I have never tried a Tinto, I figured the LAB Tinto would be a good bet with that laundry list of accolades. Sadly, I was mistaken.

The very first taste was…very bitter. Much more bitter than I expected. After a few sips the wine tasted much sweeter when it initially hit my tongue but the bitter aftertaste never went away.

This wine has won so many awards I don’t know what to say. Is it the wine? Is it my palate? I just don’t know. I CAN say that my wineseller did NOT recommend this one to me.

I did not pair this with any food.

Wine: 19 Crimes Shiraz Durif (Red)

19 crimes

2012 Shiraz Durif
Dark red in the glass, its legs cascade slowly due to its concentration and power. Possessing aromas of licorice, dark fruits and vanilla, this theme carries through on the palate with loads of rich, wild fruit all wrapped in chalky, ripe tannins persistence and structure to support the concentration of flavour. A wine that boldly showcases the beauty of blending two varieties that match like hand and glove ÔÇô delivering a memorable wine with loads of personality.

 

Color: Dark red/burgundy
Scent: The 19 Crimes smells dark, like dark chocolate mixed with the scent of unlit tobacco but with lots of fruit and a hint of vanilla. So exotic. LOVE.
Taste: Lightly sweet and fruity followed by a slight tartness.

I struck out on my last White selection (Dreamfish Sauvignon Blanc) so I decided to go with what I know: Reds. Just out of curiosity I decided that I wanted to pair a Red with a chicken dish instead of a typical White.

I paired the 19 Crimes with a very spicy chicken fajita dish and it worked rather well! This is the first time I’ve attempted to pair a Red with chicken but I really enjoyed it.

Both hubby and I enjoyed this more than I expected. Good thing I bought two bottles!

Note: I have to say, I love the label on the bottle.

Wine: Dreamfish Sauvignon Blanc (White)

dreamfish

“Racy passionfruit, tangerine and gooseberry flavours are graceful and elegant, with a lovely, alive mouth feel and a medium body. A zingy acidity adds to the elegance, and the flavours echo on the finish.”

The bright, fresh, beautiful balance of the Dreamfish Sauvignon Blanc combined with its zippy acidity and fruit make it the perfect companion for countless vegetables, herbs, fish and chicken concoctions. Where to begin? At this incredible price, you don’t have to choose; try all of your options… The Dreamfish is a lovely, refreshing aperitif on its own, or with a big bowl of just-made guacamole. Because it works so well with herbs and herb sauces, a terrific vegetarian option is linguine with pesto. This Sauvignon Blanc is great at showcasing pure ingredients; we love it with a simply grilled fresh swordfish steak. This Dreamfish’s bright, clean nature allows it to counter cream and butter brilliantly. Whip up some creamy, garlic-smashed potatoes to that end, and serve them with an indulgent platter of fried chicken. Delicious. If you’re ordering in, Pad Thai is great with the juicy side of the wine, and its citrus fruit notes. And finally, the bone dry palate of this wine makes it a natural with many cheeses. Open another bottle and serve it with a delicious American Catskill goat cheese for the finale of the meal. It boasts a beautiful fresh flavor which is enhanced by the soft, luscious rind, making it ideal for this Dreamfish. You’ll want to get out your big summer sipping glasses for this phenomenally delicious value, winelovers!!

Well, it wasn’t my favorite. I struggle with whites and I always prefer a sweeter flavor with less acidity than I received with this Sauvignon Blanc. I can’t say for sure if it’s me or if it was the wine. Blancs and pinots (and Zinfandels!) have never resonated with me. I just haven’t been able to teach myself to enjoy dry wines.

The Dreamfish was certainly bright and it had a slightly fruity taste with a serious bite (to me). I didn’t pair the Dreamfish with anything, just a nice night on the deck with hubby.

My husband really enjoyed the Dreamfish (a lot more than I) so I will purchase this again – maybe I can develop a taste for it.

Wine: Anew Riesling (White)

Anew

Opening with aromas of bright fruit, subtle spice and citrus, Anew Riesling offers a harmonious blend of pure fruit flavor, heightened aromatics and balanced acidity. Expressive flavors of fresh peach and a hint of spice give this wine a crisp, refreshing essence.

This wine is perfect on its own or paired with food. Try it with spicy Asian dishes, smoked salmon, lobster salad, pasta with light sauces and blue cheese.

The 2012 Anew Riesling was sourced from vineyards throughout the state of Washington, one of the most highly-acclaimed Riesling regions in the world. Grapes were sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope and Yakima Valley. The blend is almost entirely Riesling, with just a touch of Gewurztraminer and Muscat to bring spice to the palate. A warm summer and cool fall allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, giving the wine a purity of fruit flavor and balanced acidity. 2012 was an ideal season for growing RieslingÔÇöwarm through the summer and then cooling down through fall, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. As a result the wines have a lovely purity of fruit combined with a nice balance of acidity.

Well would you look at this. Another wine post. ­čÖé I’m trying to be better.

I picked up this Riesling on a humbug this week. I originally planned to look for a nice red to pair with an ethnic dish but grabbed this since my Mother-in-Law is in town. She rarely (if ever) drinks so I needed something light and airy.

I decided to pair this with one of my husband’s favorite dishes: Crispy Rum Salmon. It was delicious. I felt the Anew was very light and refreshing with no alcoholic aftertaste. It’s a little fruity and a little flowery with a hint of crispness. My MIL also seemed to enjoy the quarter cup that she tried. My husband said he thought it was a good match for the meal and he liked it quite a bit. It didn’t supplant the Chateau Ste Michelle but it’s a good option.

Wine: Treana (White)

treanawine

The name Treana symbolizes a trinity of natural elements- the sun, the soil, and the ocean-elements that make Paso Robles, and the rest of the Central Coast, an exceptional area for growing wine grapes.

The Treana wines are our signature blends. The Treana Red is a blend of two varieties that thrive in Paso Robles: Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Treana White is a blend of Viognier and Marsanne, two varieties indigenous to the Rhone Valley in France that are well suited to the cooler areas of the Central Coast.

2012 Treana White 2012
This white Rhone blend displays varietal characteristics of Marsanne and Viognier; vibrant floral aromas of citrus blossom and jasmine are followed by elegant flavors of ripe stone fruit, hints of pear, pineapple and honey overtones. A wine of excellent balance and complexity, the Treana White will age beautifully over the next decade.

I’ve really been slacking on the “Wine” portion of this blog. What can I say? I have a tendency to drink more wine than I actually write about. ­čÖé I have tons of photos on my phone where I’ve planned a wine post but never get around to it. In order to combat this, I will *try* to make myself write about at least 1 bottle of wine a month (but I’m going to try for 2 a month). We’ll see.

I’m still in the search for the perfect White. My husband is a more of a White drinker while I prefer Reds. And since I buy most of all things consumable in my home, its on me to curate a selection of wines that both of us will enjoy. Which is how we came to this bottle of Treana.

I paired this Treana with a slightly spicy Mexican dish and I thought it was almost perfect. In fact, I think it could have handled an even spicier dish. The Treana was refreshing with a hint of sweetness and a small bite. As the wine warmed the sweetness was even more pronounced. Delicious.

My husband wasn’t quite as fond of this as I expected. I think he was expecting a bit more sweetness and a little less bite – he told me he thought it was a little dry for his tastes.

I’m going to have to ponder this one. I enjoyed the bottle quite a bit but hubby wasn’t a fan. I’m not sure if I’ll buy it again – maybe the next time I’m making something super spicy.

Wine: Hobson Estate “Merlot”

hobson estate merlotI love a good Merlot. It’s one of my favorite wines.

I received this Hobson Estate Merlot as a part of a wonderful little gift basket I received for Christmas. I loved the entire basket – especially since it came with five bottles of wine! Getting a wine gift basket for Christmas is…the best thing ever. It makes sure you have bottles (that aren’t noted as favorites) for guests and it gives you a new vineyard to taste.

This Merlot is a deep burgundy color and it shines like a jewel when the light hits it.

I was surprised at how sweet it was at the very first taste. But I liked it. ­čÖé It was sweet with a hint of tartness.

The label says it contains hints of: black cherry, ripe plums, blackberry pie, cloves, rich mocha, and a berry finish.