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. 😦

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

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. 😀

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 – 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: 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. 🙂 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.

Jam Jar Wine- April 20, 2013

I realized this weekend that I’ve been remiss on the wine posts, lol. 😀 And I think that is because usually I’ll snap a pic and then bask in the nectar that is wine.

I’m going to do a few quick update posts – hopefully before the next bottle gets consumed.

I’m exploring wines right now. In discussing this educational process with my regular wine seller, he told me that the 1st thing I should do is what I am supposed to be doing right now: keep a wine diary of what I liked and what I didn’t like.

He also told me that I should be careful in purchasing expensive wines. He told me that it takes time to develop a good palate so I may not be able to truly appreciate the delicate flavors of a more expensive wine. So, with those things in mind…here we go.

April 20th – Jam Jar

jam jar 2

I decided to do sweet reds on this particular weekend. I really don’t have a reason why I wanted to do sweet reds. It was more like a random thought pattern. I don’t care for dry wines especially. I really don’t care for dry white wines – when I do drink whites, I like a nice fruity or somewhat sweet white. So I guessed that I might like sweet reds, too. It’s not like I’ve never had a sweet red wine before, I’ve had plenty of sweet red wine. But it’s mostly been in larger groups with lots of conversation and tons of snacks. I’ve never tried sweet reds with the intention of appreciating the taste.

At the wine store I requested sweet reds and I was shown two different brands that I purchased. Sadly, I forgot to snap a picture of the 2nd bottle so I won’t discuss that one at all.

Back to the Jam Jar. Please remember this is based on several weeks old memory.

I liked it, it was nice. I can’t say it was my favorite. It was…much too sweet for my personal tastes. I would personally classify this as a dessert wine of some sort. Something that I would drink after a meal or as a dessert by itself. I liked the sweetness of it (I have a serious sweet tooth) but I would say that I’d want to turn the sweetness down a few notches.

Tomorrow (hopefully): What happens when wine and canning are combined!