Budget Friendly Cava

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for review.

Just in time for the holidays I’ve started to open up some bubbly. If you come around these parts with any regularity you know how much I love bubbles. Which is why the holiday season is particularly wonderful since people open more bubble, even though I firmly believe bubbles should be enjoyed frequently just because it’s Tuesday, for example.  Tonight we tried the Segura Viudas Brut Cava which retails for around $9.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Hosting a big holiday party this year? This budget Cava is wallet friendly and crowd-pleasing.

2.) If you want to step it up a bit, try the Segura Viudas Riserva, which has the added benefit of coming in an incredibly cool looking bottle. (I made one of mine into a lamp!)

3.) Cava in general, and the Segura Viudas Brut in particular, offers a lot of bang for your buck.

4.) I’d serve the Segura Viudas with my cheese plate this Thanksgiving.

On the nose I got a waxy note, pepper, flowers, and lemon. In the mouth I found peach, orange peel and melon. The wine had long-lasting bubbles and good acidity.


Wannabe Wino Turns 9!

Ye olde wine blog turns 9 today! Faithful readers have no doubt noticed I’ve been very quiet on here lately. I have a good excuse. I recently had another baby and have been off my wine for about a year. The wine blog has seen me through 9 years of marriage, 2 moves, buying 2 houses, selling one, and countless other adult-y type milestones. When I pushed “Publish” on the wine blog 9 years ago, I never imagined I’d still be here, even in a diminished capacity. Most of all, I value the relationships I’ve developed over the years, both in real life and virtually. Cheers to all my friends, the best benefit I never expected when I decided to launch a wine blog.

Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from a PR firm.

In case it’s not abundantly clear from my many posts on sparkling wines, I love bubbles. I love them so much that several years ago I got together with other wine bloggers and we made our own sparkling wine. So I’m always delighted when either the UPS or Fed Ex truck pulls up and brings me bubbles. This particular box came with the Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique inside. The Champagne had a traditional closure and retails in the low-mid $30 range. The bottle got recycled before I could note the alcohol level.

1.) Run, don’t walk, to pick this up for this price. It drinks like a much more expensive Champagne. It might be the bargain of the year.

2.) For that reason, stock up for the holidays. Everyone will love this wine. Give it as a gift. Put it out for your holiday meals. Drink a bottle on New Year’s Eve.

3.) Persistent small bubbles and great acidity really made this bubbly stand out for me.

4.)  Add this to my list of highly recommended wines for Thanksgiving.

On the nose I found the Champagne to be toasty, with brioche, lemon, apple and white flowers. In the mouth I got apple, citrus, apple flowers, and lemon. Overall I found it to be crisp with great acidity and bubbles.



Pretty in Pink

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Although the calendar has turned to September, the weather in DC is no closer to fall than it was last week. Rather, it seems even hotter and more like the dog days of summer than any other time of the year. Which to me means it’s still a great time for a crisp rosé.  With that in mind, I ferreted out a bottle of the 2014 Cornerstone Cellars Corallina Rosé from the cellar to pair with the weather.  The Corallina retails for $25 and sports a screw cap closure.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) An excellent choice to pair with our rocking Adirondack chairs and the steamy DC day, cold from the fridge with great acid, tart flavors and refreshing citrus notes.

2.) The Syrah gives the Corallina a meaty note on the nose, but then gives way to more delicate red fruits, melon, and citrus on the palate.

3.) Although I just made a big deal about drinking the Corallina with the hot weather, I’m going to add it to my list of top choices for your Thanksgiving meal. The zesty acidity on the palate will cut right through the traditionally heavy Thanksgiving fare.

4.) Besides Thanksgiving, I’d serve the Corallina with your next cheese plate.

On the nose I found cherry, strawberry, a meaty note, pepper, flowers, and orange zest. Perhaps almost an orange blossom note as well. In the mouth I got strawberry, cherry, citrus, and melon. Tart red fruits and refreshing acidity carried the day on the rosé.



Chardonnay with a Cause

Mr. Wannabe Wino has been taking my photos for me…

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

I have a soft spot for wine with a cause, I must admit. And this one comes with the face of a particularly cute puppy adopted by the family that makes the wine. The wine also bears his name, Baron Cooper.  I’ve written about wines with a cause several times over the years and am also happy to discover additional bottles. Tonight I tried the 2013 Baron Cooper Chardonnay from Santa Rose, which retails for $24, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and sports a plastic closure.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The flavors on this Chardonnay took me straight to fall: apple, spice, nuts and pie.

2.) 5% of the sales from all Baron Cooper wines go to Best Friends Animal Society in honor of Baron Cooper, an organization dedicated to no-kill animal shelters.

3.) The wine displayed great acidity on the finish, holding together the toast and oak nicely.

4.) I’m going to start recommending wines for your Thanksgiving early, and this will be among the ones I would be happy to put on my table.

On the nose of the wine I found apple, oak, pear, spice, pie, and nuts. In the mouth I got pear, apple, toast, and spice. The body was lighter than I expected from the nose and the acidity supported the wine through a refreshing finish.

Brazilian Brut

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the winery.

I always get excited when I get an email offering me an out of the ordinary wine to taste.  When I saw the email from the PR folks for Salton, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try more wines from Brazil.  I first encountered wine from Brazil in NYC at a Snooth tasting 2 years ago, where I got to enjoy them for breakfast.  That day, I actually picked a wine from Salton as one of my top wines of the tasting.  Tonight I tried another wine from the company, the Salton Intenso Brut.  The Salton Brut sports a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $15.Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Sparkling wine at a steal. Stock up and serve it to your happy guests in the backyard all summer long.

2.) DC is a swamp, minus alligators. The Salton Brut made me momentarily forget the humidity and the mosquitoes with how refreshing I found it.

3.) I wish it were easier to find wines from Brazil in the US.  The ones I’ve tried have left me wanting more, but it doesn’t seem there’s much market saturation.

4.) The Salton Brut is a great every day sparkler for a reasonable price, something for which I am always keeping my out.

On the nose I found pears, almonds, wax, and herbs.  In the mouth I got pear, herbs, and apples. Overall I found it to finish with good acidity and crisp structure. The Salton had a spicy note the I really enjoyed.  The Chardonnay/Riesling blend is an interesting choice for a sparkling wine.

…Or Sparkle That Way

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from J Vineyards.

Apparently this review is quite timely given the announcement this week of the sale of the J brand to Gallo. Only time will tell what that will mean for the future of the brand. As for today’s wine, we have the J Cuvee 20. The Cuvee 20 is a non vintage (NV) blend made mostly of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a touch of Pinot Meunier.  The wine has a traditional Champagne closure, retails for around $28, and sports an alcohol content of 12.5%.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The J Cuvee 20 is a solid sparkler for the money/ I’ve seen it online for as little as $20 a bottle, which is a steal and makes this a great mid-week sparkler. At closer to $28 I’d probably save it for Friday after our kid goes to bed!

2.) I really wanted something hot and salty to munch on with the wine. I was dreaming of the truffle and parm fries from the Healdsburg Bar and Grill as I sipped.

3.) I really liked the yeast and pear notes on the nose of the J Cuvee 20.

4.)  While great for sipping on its own, I think the J Cuvee 20 would lend itself well to your next cheese tray.

On the nose I found green apple, bread, yeast, lemon, and pear. In the mouth got more apple, pear, lemon, and lemon zest along with some toast and vanilla notes. The bubbles were persistent and the wine changed nicely from tart up front to smoother mid-palate.




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