It’s Still Summer

Or well, I’m pretending it is. The weather isn’t helping either, as it’s still in the 80s here. SO Rose weather reigns! I picked out one of the Roses from my 12 under $10 case from Total Wine and More. The 2007 Rserve Grand Veneur hails from the Cotes Du Rhone, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and contains Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault.
Reserve Grand Veneur

The wine looked like melted watermelon jolly ranchers in the glass. On the nose I found lime, raspberry, crab apple, and a slight spice. It smelled really good. In the mouth I got flavors of limes, strawberries, raspberries, and hard candy. The wine showed tart, crisp, and dry in the mouth. I found it quite refreshing and definitely a good simple wine for the price.

Goes Down Easy


Our hot days and even hotter nights are winding down here now that fall is approaching, however, I can’t yet seem to give up my cheap and cheerful Sauvignon Blancs. For this evening, the wine was a 2007 Matariki Sauvignon Blanc from Hawkes Bay. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure and was part of my last 12 under $12 case from Total Wine & More. In the glass I was struck by the pale color of the wine.

On the nose I found grass, grapefruit, lemon, peppers, and herbs. In the mouth I got flavors of grapefruit, other citrus, and green pepper. This was no complicated wine, but it was racy and refreshing, with a good amount of lip-puckering acidity that lends itself so well to our hot swampy climate here in the DC summers.

A Pinot Grigio I like


The wine for the evening was a 2007 Albino Armani Pinot Grigio. I picked this wine up at Total Wine and More, even though it was more than my $10 limit when I’m there. However, I tasted it while there and figured I’d bring a bottle home. The bottle clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost me $18.

On the nose I found vanilla bean, lemon, pineapple, starfruit, and citrus. In the mouth I got citrus, lemon, and peach. There was also a hint a cream. The wine was light, lively, and had great structure.

I’m not normally a Pinot Grigio fan, I tend to find on the lower end of the price structure that they are fairly flabby and uninspiring. So I was thrilled to find this one, which, with an $18 price tag is still in the budget and delivers a lot of bang for the buck. I’d definitely get this one again.

Crossing Over


The wine for the evening was a 2007 The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc. I picked this bottle up at Total Wine and More in one of the 3 mixed cases of around $10ish wine I’ve bought so far this summer (wow, and it’s only July 10…), it had a screw cap closure, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. As many of my summer Sauvignon Blancs do, this one hails from Marlborough, New Zealand.

On the nose I found grapefruit, tropical fruit, star fruit, melons, grass, and peppers. A fairly typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc nose, with the promise of all the flavors and acidity that make me love this type of wine. In the mouth, peach and grapefruit dominated, with a little lemon, grass, and other citrus.

While the wine was tart, it didn’t have that racing acidity and mouth-puckering citrus that I expect from these wines. Instead, the flavor was quite full rather than light and refreshing. For me, something was a little off with this wine.

Rose for the Summer

Last summer I was in love with the 2006 Grande Cassagne Rose. It was lovely and delightful for a price tag of about $9. Sadly, I have tried the 2007 and wasn’t that impressed. However, I happened upon this 2007 Bougrier Loire Valley Rose D’ Anjou and I have found a new love.

I picked this bottle up as part of my 12 under $10 case from Total Wine and More in Alexandria. It clocked in at 10.5% alcohol by volume and had a plastic cork closure.

On the nose I found banana, strawberry, lime, and something almost stony. The nose smelled crisp, it made me want to jump into my glass. In the mouth I got strawberry, raspberry, and slight citrus lacing the entire flavor.

Overall, the wine was extremely dry and the color, although it looks darker here in the picture was one of the palest Roses I have ever seen. It reminded me of the book I just read, Extremely Pale Rose! Crisp and acidic with quite a long finish, this was a very intriguing under $10 bottle of wine and a great bottle. I believe this will be my go-to wine for the summer, if I can find any more….Total Wine seems to not carry it now!

I Spier with My Little Eye

The wine for the dreadfully hot afternoon was a 2007 Spier Sauvignon Blanc. I picked this bottle up at Total Wine and More in Alexandria as part of a mixed case of under $10 Sauvignon Blancs. I was hoping that would get us through a bit of the summer, but alas, it’s only June 19 and the case is gone. Another Total Wine trip may have to work its way into my weekend plans.

The wine hails from South Africa and is made by Spier Stellenbosch. More specifically it is from the Western Cape, had a plastic cork closure, and clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume.

Figs, tropical fruit, tart grass (yes, I realize that sounds strange and it would probably be me aptly described as freshly mowed grass, but tart was the first adjective that popped into my head), asparagus, and citrus. In the mouth, I got a fruit salad. Peach, fig, pineapple, citrus, melon, it was the drinkable equivalent of a refreshing hot afternoon snack.

The wine was crisp, but not mouth puckeringly so like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and exceedingly refreshing. Matt gave this one some high praise, proclaiming it “very drinkable.” For an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc, this is definitely a great value.

Rhoneing Around Again

Apparently I’ve been delving into the Rhone varietals lately, and here is yet another one. The wine was a bottle of Chateau de Nages, Appellation Costieres de Nimes Controlee, Reserve 2005 White Rhone Wine. The blend was 60% Grenache and 40% Roussanne. The wine weighed in at 14.5% alcohol by volume (high for a white!), had a plastic cork and cost me $7.99 at Total Wine.

On the nose I found honey and apricot and I would call the overall aroma sweet. Which oddly contrasted with the flavor in the mouth with I would overall describe as spicy. Go figure. I found lemons and oranges in the mouth and the wine tasted slightly oaked, but I can’t find any information on what kind of fermentation this bottle went through.

Overall, my impression was “eh.” The wine was NMS.

Fruit of the Sea

Or “Mer” as the case is with this bottle. My French isn’t fabulous, as in, not very good at all, but I do know that word…close enough to the Spanish “Mar,” a language I speak well enough, for me to recognize it!

I bought this wine for $6.99 on my second trip ever to Total Wine. The wine is Cler’ Blanc “Special Fruits de Mer” Vine de Table Francais. Besides that, it says “Sauvion-Le Cleray-Vallet L.A. France, was 11.5% alcohol by volume and had a plastic cork.

On the nose I found pear, melon, and lemon. It was a very light wine, with a bit of minerally undertone. In the mouth there were flavors of pear and peach with good minerality. Overall, the wine was crisp and dry, I would probably serve it as an apertif were I to get it again.

I served the wine with cedar-planked salmon, broccoli, and wild rice, but I prefer my previous recommendation of Pinot Noir with Salmon. The pairing just works better for me. Alas, as I know from personal experience, and confirmed by a recent Pinot Noir round-up over on Good Wine Under $20, the cost of Pinot Noir is certainly not making it’s way into budget friendly territory any time soon.

And again

You’d be drinking Sauvignon Blanc like it was going out of style too if you were living in 99+ degree weather with 100% humidity. It’s rough to sleep, even with AC going full blast because it’s still hot, so don’t deny me my Sauvignon Blanc…if I can’t sleep well, I might as well enjoy a glass of wine!

The wine was a 2006 Anakena Sauvignon Blanc from the Central Coast of Chile. It was 13% alcohol and cost me $6.50 at Total Wine. I’ve been digging the Sauvignon Blancs from Chile lately, but sadly, this was not my favorite bottle so far. I was a bit disappointed as a fellow shopper told me it was fabulous, and the store recommended it as a top pick. I think my expectations were too high!

The nose displayed tropical fruit and green apples. It smelled tart. In the mouth there were lemons and white grapefruit. It had racing, mouth-puckering acidity and was very refreshing. However, the acidity was too much for me! I love the tart wines, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve been eating a bag of sour candy for an hour after I’ve had a glass of wine.

I am perdictable

If for nothing else, you can count on me to keep it coming with the Sauvignon Blancs this summer. We have had the hottest week I ever remember in DC this week and I was very thankful I had made a trip to Total Wine for cheap and cheerful Sauvignon Blanc!

The bottle was a 2006 Santa Maria Sauvignon Blanc. The wine hails from the Central Valley of Chile (perhaps beginning to replace New Zealand as my favorite place for inexpensive and delicious Sauvignon Blanc), clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume and cost me $7.99 at Total Wine.

On the nose I found tropical fruit, hay and the gooseberry I usually expect to find in New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. It also had a slightly herbal note on the nose. The wine was heavier in the mouth than I had expected based on the nose, with grapefruit and tangy citrus. It could also be described as herbaceous in the mouth. Overall the wine was crisp and refreshing and definitely one of my favorite inexpensive Sauvignon Blancs to date.

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