Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Trader Joe’s – Pasqua – Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore – 2015 – DOC – Wine Review

05/15/2018

trader joe, wine, review, price, valpolicella ripasso, pasquaMay 15, 2018

The wine has a mild earthy aroma translating to a dry and earthy feel in the mouth. There’s a slight burn as it exits at the back of the throat. It’s a little edgy which some people would call character.  This is a well made wine.  For many people this will probably work better as a food, or table, wine.   For people who like this style of basic old world wine it’s also a good sipper.

Most reviews on the web give this an above average rating and prices to match that.  At $9.99 a bottle it’s a bargain at Trader Joe’s.  If you’d like to expand your experiences with Italian wines, this is a good one to try.

 Price $9.99
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Grifone – Chianti Riserva DOCG – 2014 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

04/13/2018

trader joes, chianti, docg, riserva, 2014, grifone, review, priceApril 13, 2018

This is a medium-bodied wine which seemed a little harsh at first, but smoothed out once opened for a while. Mild tannins leave a mild earthy feel in the mouth.  Compared to the 2010 Grifone Chianti Riserva, this one is a little disappointing.  However, while not as good as the 2010 vintage, this is still a good red table wine pairing well with food.  It’s an acceptable sipper also, although there are more enjoyable ones, but not at this price point.

Price $5.99.

DaVinci Chianti – 2015 – DOCG – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

03/05/2018

trader joes, DaVinci Chianti DOCG 2015, review, priceMarch 5, 2018

This will bring a smile to your face.  Perhaps not a Mona Lisa smile, but a smile nonetheless.

Today’s wine comes from a wine cooperative in the town of Vinci in the Chianti region of Tuscany.

While this is a nice wine with no bad characteristics, there are equally good wines at Trader Joe’s from Tuscany for the same or lower price.  Now, a dollar or two or three isn’t much to quibble about.  But if that’s a consideration, then look further on the shelves.  Otherwise, if you haven’t tried this wine yet, here’s your chance to help the local economy and help support small local businesses as well as enjoy a very nice Chianti.

And if you’re not near a Trader Joe’s, there’s a “wine finder” on their website which will help locate another store near you that sells their wine.  How nice!  And why can’t other wine companies do the same?   Price $9.99.

Ocarossa – Cuvée Rosso – NV- Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

01/20/2018

Trader Joe's, red wine, review, price, ocarossa, cuvee rosso, red gooseJanuary 20, 2018

This is a medium-bodied, but still dry and earthy red wine. There are no negatives to this wine. It is an unpretentious red table wine. Pour it straight from the bottle and enjoy with food.  Think red when selecting a food for pairing; red sauce, spicy red pepper, red meat.  The lighter body makes this a good wine to help get the food down. There’s no dainty sipping at the dinner table.

I like this wine.  However, it’s a different wine than most on the shelves today.  The flavor profile or style is different from most of its neighbors.  I’m going to call this old-school wine; earthy, dry and good.

Two things are of interest.  One is the somewhat disjointed backstory on the bottle explaining how this wine got its name.  There are mosquitos, birds, woods, a pond, a red goose, a zen master (?) and of course grape vines in the story.  All this, I suppose, means the grapes are grown in harmony with nature.  And the name?  “Oca rossa” means red goose in Italian.  Ocarossa is the red goose that lives in the pond.

trader joe, wine, review, cork, ocarossa, red blend, priceThe second noteworthy item is the cork.  This is corkscrew-less cork.  Just grab the top of the cork protruding from the bottle, twist and pull the cork until out.  Everyone needs one of these for their cork collection.

Price $5.99.

Mindiarte Reserva Rioja – Tempranillo – 2012 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

12/02/2017

Trader Joe's, red wine, review, price, mindiarte, rioja, 2012December 2, 2017

Well this is another experiment in spending an extra couple of dollars for an older red wine.  The general principle being tested here is that red wines improve with age.  With most of the inexpensive red wines on the shelves being sold at around the two to three year mark, does another couple of years aging make an inexpensive wine better?

At five years this wine is decidedly better than most of those other two to three year olds.  The wine has had time to blend itself together into more of a whole.  The wine is generally smoother than a younger wine, with less rough edges.  What does that mean?  Consider a new t-shirt, put it on straight out of the package and it feels stiff and rough.  Wear it for a while and put that t-shirt through a couple of washes and it gets softer and cozier.

This wine is relatively cozy.  There are less of those little sharp edges.  There are still a few, so maybe another two or so years in the bottle will make the wine cozier still.

Just because age tends to make the wine cozier, doesn’t mean the basic characteristics of the wine have changed.  After all, a blue t-shirt is still going to be blue after a few cycles.  This is a strong wine, very much like a strong Cab, even though the grapes are 100% Tempranillo.  In fact rather than a nice mellow blue, this is more of an in-your-face red, a red that doesn’t fade in the wash.  So buyer beware, there’s lots of character in this wine.  If you’d like to see how the various styles of Rioja wine compare, check out this.  If you like a strong California Cab this may well be the best $10 “California Cab” you’ll ever buy.   In general, the wine gets a little above average reviews on the web, 3.5 out of 5, with a few nods to the relative value of the wine (quality/price).  Price of $9.99

Adventure Series Chianti – 2016 – DOCG – Wine Review – ALDI

11/17/2017

ALDI, wine, review, price, Chianti, DOCG, 2016November 17, 2017

This is perhaps the best $5 wine you’ll ever have.  For about the last year or two the very good Tuscan wines ALDI used to stock have been missing from the shelves.  I was pretty happy to see this one on my last visit, even if it has the unlikely sounding generic name of Chianti with a further Adventure Series qualifier.  What gives, where are the nice Italian names on the bottle that I usually can’t pronounce?

The wine is: a medium-dark red color, mildly dry in the mouth with gentle tannins, medium bodied, has no bad tastes, and has little aroma in the glass. There’s nothing outstanding about this wine except that there’s also absolutely nothing bad about this wine. Because it’s a mild inoffensive wine, it should make a good sipping wine for anyone liking a red wine with these characteristics. It also makes a nice table wine, which should go well with just about any food red wines are generally associated with.  Paired on different occasions with some homemade pizza and lasagna, the wine was a perfect fit.

While most DOCG Chianti wines don’t appear on the shelves for around two years, this wine is a 2016 vintage making it a little young.  However  the wine is perfectly ready for drinking now.  I suppose that’s why it’s on the shelf.

For $4.99 a bottle this is a true bargain. It’s not a WOW! wine, but it’s also not a wine where you’ll find people leaving 3/4 full glasses on the table. Having a party? This should be a safe red wine where your investment in several bottles will not go to waste.

Landshut Riesling 2016 – Wine Review – ALDI

11/07/2017

aldi, landshut riesling, 2016. white wine, sweet, review, price. moselNovember 7, 2017

This wine is a very clear pale yellow color with a few happy bubbles once the screw cap is taken off and the wine meets the glass.  There are slight notes of sweet fruit on the front of the tongue.  There is no burn on the tongue, roof of mouth or back of the throat.  I liked the 2013 version and have no complaints with this one either, other than it’s a touch too sweet for me.

Paired with a Trader Joe’s Balti Curry pie, it went well.  The sweetness helping to balance out the curry.  While an unusual pairing, the wine is probably better by itself as a sipping or party wine.  The wine is fine at room temperature, but a slight chill makes it a bit better.  This is advertised as an 88 point wine.  While some might argue rating points, no one can argue the price and the value that represents.  Price $4.99.

I had this at the same time as a 2016 Crystal Creek Riesling also from ALDI.  As neither was my cup of tea, what I did was “blend” them in the glass.  The sweetness of this wine helped balance the negative burn from the Crystal Creek.  The sum was better than the parts.  Forced with making a selection, I’d pick this over the Crystal Creek.

Crystal Creek Riesling 2016 – Wine Review – ALDI

11/07/2017

aldi, review, wine, white wine, crystal creek, 2016, rieslingNovember 7, 2017

A fruit fly, probably making its way into the house via a bunch of bananas, immediately found the bottle once opened.  A good sign.  And he/she made repeated return trips to the glass. I don’t like sharing that much. The wine is very clear with a pale yellow, almost white, color. There’s a nice fruity aroma, reminding me of apples and apple cider.  The wine produced a warm feeling in the mouth and a slight burn in the throat, otherwise there wasn’t much flavor. By the end of the glass, I had a very tipsy fruit fly.

Paired with some tasty cheddar cheese, the fat from the cheese helped balance the wine, reducing some of that harshness at the back of the throat.  The wine also picks up some sweetness and fruit flavors when cooled.  The cooling also helped with the throat burn. Price $5.99.

I had this at the same time as a 2016 Landshut Riesling also from ALDI.  As neither was my cup of tea, what I did was “blend” them in the glass.  The sweetness of the Landshut helped balance the negative burn from the Crystal Creek.  The sum was better than the parts.  Forced with making a selection, I’d pick the Landshut over this.

David Frost – Shiraz Blend – 2015 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

10/03/2017

Trader Joes, wine, review, price, David Frost, Shiraz blend, South Africa. 2015October 03, 2017

There’s no doubt about it this is on the strong side of the wine continuum.  It’s also a little harsh on the mouth and throat.  The wine is mildly fruity with a bold taste. The harshness mellows out some as it sits in the glass allowing some decent earthy tannins to peek through.

The combination of this and a tomatoey lasagna did not work well.  Paired with a second pasta dish, this did not work equally well. Finally, paired with a spicy bean curry, this balanced and stood up to the curry nicely.

For the price this is a decent wine if you like strong wines, don’t have a sensitive throat and are on a budget.  In fact, it generally gets good reviews in other places on the web, with a few people even stocking up when it’s available.  Price $6.99.

And, for the curious,  David Frost is a South African professional golfer who as a kid used to pick grapes in the family vineyards to buy golf balls.

Trader Joe’s – Incanto – Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano – 2012 – DOCG – Wine Review

09/06/2017

trader joe, wine, vino nobile di montepulciano, docg, italy, sangiovese, review, price, 2012, incantoSeptember 6, 2017
The last time I reviewed this wine was 2011.  The wine hasn’t changed much since then, including the price!  The 2012 vintage is still a very nice wine as was the 2007 vintage back then.

The mild tannins on the roof of mouth and back of throat are still speaking after all these years giving the wine a mild earthy feel in the mouth.  As it was before, the wine is smooth but still with a slight edge to the taste.  There’s just a hint of grape if caught at the right temperature.  In my opinion, still no forest floor taste as one reviewer noted of the 2007 vintage. For most of us, that’s a good thing.  And sticking with my original comment, this is probably a better food wine than a sipper.  However when sipped among a group, it’s likely to lead to some interesting conversations.

 Although the primary grape in this is Sangiovese, the taste is bolder than a typical Tuscan Sangiovese.  It’s not as bold as a Cabernet Sauvignon, but still up there one notch on the scale. And this is likely more enjoyable than a Cabernet Sauvignon in the same price range. The bottle states 13.5% alcohol.  Incanto may want to recheck their instruments.  This wine has a substantially greater kick to it than most wines labeled 13.5%.  Price $10.99

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