Seven Bucks and Change

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Now, this is what I like to see. And Pinot Grigio is often not my thing. But I’ll give credit where credit is due, and I see this wine available on sale online for $7 and a little pocket change. If $7 is your price range and you enjoy Pinot Grigio, this is the wine for you. I have lots of family and friends who absolutely love Pinot Grigio. I would serve this to them in a heartbeat as a great, inexpensive example and hope to forever move them away from the 1.5L jugs they currently drink.  The 2008 Folonari Pinot Grigio is imported by F. Wildman, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and had a screw cap closure. Even better! I can really imagine this being the poolside Pinot Grigio of choice.

On the nose I found melon, citrus, lemon, white pepper, spice, and slight honey notes. The nose smelled clean and crisp to me. In the mouth, citrus dominated. I got lime, lemon, spice, lots o’ citrus, and slight melon notes. Overall, I found the wine to be very lemony. Refreshing, clean, crisp, and displaying typical Pinot Grigio characteristics all in a $7.19 bottle.

More From Rodney Strong

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong.

A huge wine in this bottle. And a correspondingly large price tag. The 2006 Rodney Strong Symmetry, a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petite Verdot is a Meritage style wine with a real cork closure and 15.3% alcohol by volume that retails for around $45. While I enjoyed this wine, it’s another one where I just couldn’t get around to the price point. I wanted it to be closer to around $35 or so. $45 is a hefty sum of money.

On the nose I found strawberry, plum, cream, big dark fruit, earth, currants, herbs, meat, violets, sweet cedar, and orange rind. My notes say “big ol’ nose.” In the mouth I got big gobs of dark fruit, black cherry, black plums, black berry, chocolate, herbs, sweet tobacco, spice, and a looooonnnnnggggg finish. I also wrote down “gobs and gobs of fruit” a second time, so take heed: this is one fruit forward wine.

Ever wish it were just a few $s cheaper?

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Kendall Jackson Wines.

Sometimes I taste a wine that I think has a lot of merit and I’d give a good recommendation. Often times I taste one of those wines and wish it were just a few dollars cheaper. While this is still a solid buy, especially given that several really famous people have given it great scores if you care about that sort of thing, I think for what was in the bottle I’d prefer to see it priced closer to $12 rather than $16. At $12 this would be the perfect everyday wine…at $16, the price is just edging into that range of more than I want to spend on a Tuesday night for what’s in the bottle.  We tried the 2007 La Crema Chardonnay which had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found lots of tropical fruit, pineapple, lemon, pear, spice, and some oak. In the mouth I got more tropical fruit, apple, pear, pineapple, melon, and a floral note. The fruit showed really round in the mouth with some cream and a fleeting buttery note to me. I’m fairly sensitive to the oak and butter thing and I thought this Chardonnay showed good restraint with both.  A very solid CA Chardonnay for the price point, could be an excellent one if you can find it on sale for a few dollars less.

Virginia Viognier

Last fall Matt and I had a chance to go out to VA wine country and visit Rappahannock Cellars. While there, we of course had to buy some of our favorite wines to enjoy later. What kind of winos would we be if we didn’t?? One of my favorite wines that I’m seeing coming from Virgina is Viognier. VA wineries are doing really great things with the grape and I continue to be impressed with what I’m tasting. Tonight we pulled out the 2008 Rappahannock Cellars Viognier that we purchased at the vineyard. It had a Diam closure, clocked in at 13.6% alcohol by volume, and cost me about $22.

On the nose I found honeysuckle, flowers, tropical fruits, pineapple, candied pineapple, pear, and a hint of cream. The aromatic nose drew me in. I love the nose on Viognier. In the mouth I got tons of pineapple, including candied pineapple and pineapple jello. I also found pear, spice, flowers, and tropical notes. The Rappahannock Viognier is by far one of my favorites that I’ve tasted from the state. I highly suggest you check out what VA is doing with Viognier, it would be well worth your time and effort.

An Elusive Wine

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong.

Wine drinkers often speak about an under $20 Pinot Noir that’s worth drinking, but rarely find one. Pinot is, many times, more expensive than folks are willing to spend a wine for a Tuesday or Thursday night. You often have to spend well over $20 to get a bottle that’s going to taste like Pinot and not some overly sweet structureless blah bottle of wine. I see this bottle online for as little as $14. At $14, this is just a fantastic steal for a Pinot. Even at up to the $19 I see it for, it would be worth your time if you are on the hunt for the elusive under $20 Pinot.  We opened up the 2008 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir tonight, which clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found the wine to be smokey, with lots and lots of cherries, cola, earth, herbs, more smoke, and cocoa powder. In the mouth I got cherry, raspberry, herbs, red fruits, chocolate, and smoke. Nice acidity, good structure, and an overall bargain at the price point. At first in the glass, the wine was wound really tight…I might even go so far as to say that if you wanted to, you could let the bottle hang in your cellar for a bit. However, if you’re looking for a Pinot Noir for tonight, this is a good bet.

Man in the Moon

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

As much as I keep willing it to be spring (and my daffodils, irises, and lilies think it’s spring as they started popping up a few weeks ago only to be covered by 3+ feet of snow), I need to face facts. That damn groundhog was more than right this year and winter has settled in to wreak havoc on my plans to wear sandals in March. Though I suppose that saves me money on pedicures. More money for wine! Usually by the time we get back from work in the evenings, it’s so cold in our house that a nice cool white wine would chill me to the bone.  As a result, I’m still digging into the big reds, hoping they’ll warm me up faster than the heating system or fire could. Tonight we picked the 2006 Luna Napa Merlot from the racks. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and I think it retails for around $27.

On the nose I found chocolate, plum, red berries, spice, earth, clove, cigarette, blackberry, and cocoa.  The clove and cocoa notes kept drawing me back in and made the nose interesting for me. In the mouth blackberries, plums, cherries, chocolate, spice, earth, red fruit notes, a little pepper, and clove stood out. I found the wine to be a bit tannic overall, so I think I’d serve this with a steak or a roast if I were to have it again.