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.



Spring into Spring

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks associated with Rueda.

Even though our weather has continued to be fairly terrible, I’m pretending it’s spring and being drawn heavily to the white wines. I went digging in the basement and came back out with the 2012 Yllera Verdejo.  I’m a Verdejo fan as an alternate white wine. I generally find it refreshing and tasty. The Yllera retails for around $14 and has a real cork closure. The bottle got recycled before I could write down the alcohol content.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I was almost expecting this wine to be on the sweeter side based on the nose.

2.) Pass me a glass to enjoy in the sun on the porch please.

3.) I’d serve this with grilled trout.

4.) The Yllera would be an easy summer crowd pleaser at the price point of $14.

On the nose I got lemon grass, tangerine, melon, flowers, and an overall sweet aroma. In the mouth I found oranges, lime, and melon.  The wine was surprisingly tart to me based on the sweet nose. Overall I found it quite citrusy and refreshing.




Cool Bottle

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

While I tend to drink bubbles all year, many folks seem to associate sparkling wines with the holiday season. Around this time I go hunting for new sparklers to entice and delight. Tonight I went fishing (mixing my outdoorsy metaphors here) in the basement and came back out with the Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva Heredad. The wine has a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $26. I’m saving the bottle to do something yet to be determined with because it’s a really cool bottle.

1.) The wine had a really refined and small bubbles, something I don’t normally associate with a Cava.

2.) If you are looking to make a splash with a really different looking bottle, this one is sure to impress.

3.) I thought the Heredad was really well done, but the price is a little steep.

4.) I was really taken with the long finish and toast on the wine.

On the nose I got toast, apple, and lemon rind. In the mouth I found lemon, bitters, toast, apple, and pear. The finish on the wine lingered and the fine bubbles and acidity kept the wine refreshing and light.



Switching Gears

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

Jumping around a bit as we kick of this new year.  From CA to Spain and red to white.  Variety keeps the wine palate alive and kicking and for me, it’s what makes wine endlessly interesting, unique, and fun to drink. Tonight we tried out the 2010 Benito Santos Albariño.  The Albariño has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $16.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.)  Nice and racy on the palate, just like I enjoy in an Albariño.

2.) That said, as it warmed up, the fruit softened and became rounder.

3.) If you keep it nice and chill, this seems like a great wine for the dog days of summer. (Just around the corner, right?)

4.) I’d pair with a light white fish dish this summer.

On the nose I got tangerine, orange, spice, white peach, and white pepper. The aroma was quite nice.  In the mouth I found lime, tangerine, citrus fruit, white pepper, and white peach as it warmed.  Overall, when chilled the fruit was crisp, acidic, and tart. As it warmed, the fruit turned softer and rounder.




In the Summertime

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Tapeña Wines.

The whites flow like water in our house.  It is close to 100 degrees here every day and the humidity.  Oh the humidity.  The weather cries out for tart white wines or a cold cold beer.  Something I have also been enjoying quite a few of this year. But this isn’t a beer blog.  Though it could be with the number of IPAs I’ve tried in the last 7ish months! The wine. On this hot night we opened the 2008 Tapeña Verdejo. The Verdejo clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $7-$8.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A bottle of Yellowtail will run you $6-$9. This wine is, at most, a dollar more expensive. And a million times better for your money and much much more interesting.

2.) Drink a bottle with chicken. Or your favorite white fish on the grill.

3.) If it’s swelteringly hot at your house too and you are looking for something different to drink this fits the bill.

4.) You can have a party, buy enough of this wine for everyone, and not break the bank.

On the nose I got flowers, lime, lemon, peach, light green apple, and tropical notes.  In the mouth I found tart lime, lemon, grapefruit, and peach. The citrus showed prominently on the palate. Overall I found the wine to be tart, refreshing, and fruity.


Getting my Garnacha on

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Tapeña.

Fruity and light. That’s pretty much what I look for in a red wine as the temperature creeps up to the high 90s. Unless I’m inside where we keep the AC running. In which case, it feels like winter and I’ll take a glass of that Zin, please. Seeing as how we were eating outside tonight, the 2008 Tapeña Garnacha fit the bill. The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $10.

The nose on this wine struck me as spicy and floral. I got pepper, cherry, plum, cedar, earth, and raspberry. In the mouth I got black cherry, black plum, raspberry, spice, and pepper. Overall this was a really bright, fruity wine.



Cava Time

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports

Bubbles! We all know how much I love bubbles. In 2010 (or was it 2009? My years are starting to blend together…) I made it a goal to drink more bubbles. I did pretty well with that goal and as a result we’ve incorporated sparkling wine into our everyday wine rotations. Nothing makes a Tuesday or Thursday night special like a glass of bubbly! Tonight we tried the NV Paul Cheneau Cava Blanc de Blancs. It had a traditional Champagne closure, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $9.

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, pear, and nutty and toast aromas. In the mouth I found lots of fruit, lemon, pear, and peach mostly. Overall the wine had great acidity and I found it to be crisp and fruity. In my notes I wrote “I just found a new house sparkler.” For $9, it’s easily a perfect weekday sparkler.

Digging on Garnacha Blanca

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

Or Grenache Blanc if you prefer. I’ve only had a few bottles of Garnacha Blanca in my time as a [wannabe] wino. Based on those, I can say that I really enjoy the grape.  Quite some time ago I tried the Curran Grenache Blanc that I picked up from Domaine LA and loved it, and I also loved this bottle of the 2010 Bogatell Garnacha Blanca. Perhaps I just love Garnacha Blanca!  I had a chance to speak with Chad Turnbull, one of the founders of Savorian Wines about his company a few weeks ago. Savorian Wines is working with producers in Spain to produce, import, and market wines from the Terra Alta in the U.S. Currently they have the Bogatell Garnacha Blanca, but plan to expand in the future. The business model reminds me a bit of Enoforum Wines who I traveled to Portugal with last year. Though with Savorian, the wines retain the name of the original producer in Spain and Enoforum operates under a co-op system producing brands specifically for export. Currently Savorian is mostly available in the NY area in restaurants such as Beebo Seafood and Raw Bar and 101 Restaurant, both in Brooklyn.

The wine. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and I understand should retail for somewhere between $10-$15 when it reaches retail markets. At that price, this makes a perfect crisp, refreshing wine for these long hot summer months that are rapidly approaching. (I’m still mourning spring here people. It’s just not fair that we seem to have missed it.) On the nose I got pineapple, melon, star fruit, white pepper, spice, and cream. In the mouth I got more melon, pineapple, and star fruit, and then mandarin orange and lime zest. We drank this with herb marinated grilled chicken and it made a nice match with the citrus flavors in the wine.

More New Grapes!

*Disclaimer: I received this as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

This wine combines a couple of my favorite things: bubbles and interesting grapes! I’m still on the hunt for more grapes to try in hopes of some day making the Double-Century Club. Which, I should really submit my application since I finished up my Century Club ages ago now…I just never got around to it!  We popped on the Lady of Spain Brut Cava the other night. Why? Because it was a weekday and bubbles make weekdays better! The Lady of Spain clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, retails for around $12, and had a traditional cork closure.  It’s composed of 45% Macabo, 40% Xarel-lo, and 15% Parellada. The first and last are new grapes for me!

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, wax, apples, and a little toast. The palate on this was almost pure green apples. My notes say “very apply,” (I like to make up words) “green apples,” and “more apples.” I found the wine to be crisp, fresh, and lively, and for $10-$12 for a weekday sipper, it’s sure to spice up your Tuesday night!


A Party Temprañillo

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines

I’ve had Martin Codax wines before. In fact, I used to frequently purchase the Albariño, finding it to be a good deal for what you got in the bottle. The same can be said for the Temprañillo, especially at the $10 price tag I see if for online. It’s reliable, pleasing, and a great bargain mid-week wine or for a party if you’re looking to find something that your guests will enjoy for a reasonable price point. The 2006 Martin Codax Ergo Tempranillo had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and went well with our beef stroganoff.

On the nose I found spice, oak, cedar, black fruit, black cherry, and plum.  In the mouth I found more black cherry and plum, spice, cedar, and some black pepper notes. This wine is fruit driven, with the other notes being secondary to the dominating black fruits. It has mild tannins on the finish making it easy to drink and enjoy alone or with a good burger.