Crushed Grapes

By no means do I consider my self a Wine connoisseur, I just like the stuff!

Apothic Red 2011 Winemaker’s Blend

Apothic Red 2011 Winemaker’s Blend is a sub $10 wine that’s actually worth a damn. Blended with Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, this wine is surprisingly medium bodied with a great nose and finish. I’d actually say it’s a tad spicy with a touch of sweetness on the back end with notes of vanilla and chocolate throughout. It is also decently smooth and has a great, rich color to it. 

If you’re looking for a better than average Red Blend without breaking the bank, this is definitely a wine to try!

Apothic Red 2011 Winemaker's Blend
Rating out
of 10
Description
10 Value

For under $10, it is a stellar pick for a Red Blend.

7 Flavor

It doesn't knock my socks off, but it's solid in flavors and is delicious enough.

8 Drinkability

Smooth, aromatic, and with an easy finish, this is a no brainer if you like reds.

8.3 Overall

A good Red Blend for not too much dough, always a good thing.

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Cupcake Vineyards: Red Velvet

Say what you will about Cupcake Vineyard wines, but when it's all said and done, they're really not that bad for the money. I have had some terrible wines from them in the past, but the Red Velvet wasn't all that bad actually.

Once opened, it definitely has a strong, hearty aroma. It definitely screams that it's a red wine. Blended with the likes of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, and Merlot, it certainly has a lot going on. At first taste I was actually surprised on how non-sweet it really is. I was expecting a blast of sweetness and instead was presented with a subdued, chocolatey, blackberry overtone. The consistency was a little on the watery side even though it has a heavy flavor profile. It does have an easy finish, but the wateriness of it really ruins the whole experience. 

For being a bargain bin type wine, Red Velvet from Cupcake Vineyards is OK. It's not terrible but it's also not winning any awards anytime soon.

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Value
Normally around $12. It's not bad if you want something a little different.
6 Flavor
It was just too different for me. Maybe it's better as a dessert wine.
6 Drinkability
It's drinkable because of how watery it is, so no challenge there. I wouldn't call it smooth eigther.
6.3
OVERALL
Meh.
(out of 10)


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Recoleta Chardonnay

This 2009 Argentinian Chardonnay is a Fresh & Easy exclusive that's overall pretty solid. It has a fruit filled, lemony aroma with an abundance of the same once upon your palette. It's definitely sweet, but not overly so. It's very smooth with an easy finish and no bite on the end. Recoleta Chardonnay didn't blow me away, but it's not bad for the money.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Value
Normally around $13 I believe. It's worth that at least.
8 Flavor
It didn't knock my socks off, but was very good.
7 Drinkability
Very smooth with no aftertaste. A very easy drink for anyone. Could be too sweet for some.
7.6
OVERALL
It was good to try once, not sure if I'd get it again.
(out of 10)

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Cluster Cluck: Fumé Blanc

So, apparently I love ridiculous beer or wine labels. Especially when they have ridiculous names to go along with said labels. That is why I picked up Cluster Cluck: Fumé Blanc from Paso Robles, CA. And the fact that it normally goes for around $10 and I swooped it for $3!


I tried looking up a little history on Cluster Cluck other than what it says on the label and I came up with nothing. All I know is that it was only bottled in 2006 and that it's amazing with chicken. Also, in obtaining this bottle I had to find out what the hell a Fumé Blanc is and found out it's just another name for Sauvignon Blanc. Who knew? 



Overall, the flavor profile of this wine is sweet and almost tropical, yet subtle in its presentation of this to one's tongue. It really got better with each glass for me. It also has a great aroma and is very drinkable with little to no aftertaste. As stated before, I enjoyed this wine with a home made chicken dinner and it paired magically. This is a great bottle for the $10 range of wines, it's just somewhat obscure to find. 







Rating Description
out of 10
9 Value
Even though I found it on sale, it's well worth the $10
8 Flavor
It didn't knock my socks off, but was very good.
9 Drinkability
Very smooth with almost no aftertaste. A very easy drink for anyone.
8.6
OVERALL
If I can find it again, I'll get a few bottles.
(out of 10)

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Seven Daughters: Rich Red Winemaker's Blend

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm a sucker for cool labels/names. Seven Daughters sucked me in with it's bright colors and seemingly cool concept. 

Seven Daughters: Rich Red Winemaker's Blend does an interesting attempt at a Red Blend. They use a mix of seven different type of grapes from this California winery. Sometimes I agree with "The more the merrier", but in this case, it falls flat. 

This is just a typical red wine. It has no distinct aroma and isn't amazing by any sense. It's good, just nothing I'd have again. It is very drinkable, but I wouldn't call it smooth. It is a slight sweet, but overall it's just bland at best. 

Seven Daughters might float your boat if you're looking to diversify your Red Blend ways, but it's not one I'd recommend. 

Rating Description
out of 10
3 Value
For under $15, it's ok, but there's much better out there for less.
2 Flavor
The taste does not live up to the cool name and label.
1 Drinkability
It's drinkable, not that you'd want to.
2
OVERALL
Seven Dwarfs, yes. Seven Daughters, no.
(out of 10)

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Pinot Evil: Pinot Noir

Monkeys. I'm a sucker for monkeys in advertising. I love em. Definitely why I bought Pinot Evil… Never again.

Pinot Evil: Pinot Noir is just wrong. Aside from the punny name and cute label, there's nothing good about this wine. I won't waste time with much else other than saying it tastes like watered down Kool Aid if you forgot the sugar. 

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, drink no Pinot Evil.







Rating Description
out of 10
3 Value
$6 for 12.5% alcohol content is pretty much the only plus.
2 Flavor
The taste does not live up to the cool name and label.
1 Drinkability
It's drinkable, not that you'd want to.
2
OVERALL
Stay away from these monkeys. They are not as cool as the others!
(out of 10)

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I ♥ CA Merlot

I don't mind trying the cheap stuff sometimes. You never know when you'll be plesently surprised. For like $4, I figured I'd give I ♥ CA a shot.

After opening I ♥ CA Merlot, I let it breath and then took in the scents. It has a very straight up grape aroma with spice notes. So far so good. 

As for taste, it's a little fruity with a hint of chocolate on the back end. It seemed to also have a underlying tone of blackberries. It is a hair watery, but it does have an easy finish and is smooth overall.

I enjoyed this bottle with a chicken dinner and it complimented well despite it's subdued flavor.

If all you have is $5 to get a wine, there's better out there. I liked it, but didn't love it. It just felt like it was designed to be a "cheap wine that doesn't totally suck". Which is, what it is…


Rating Description
out of 10
6 Value
It's cheap, but it's not terrible.
5 Flavor
It leaves a lot to be desired.
7 Drinkability
It's easy to drink, but mainly because it's not bold at all, just smooth yet watery.
6
OVERALL
There's better for the money out there. It's just ok.
(out of 10)

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Doon Buggy: Red Blend 2009

There's something about wine corks that has always amazed me. It's probably my odd obsession of collecting things that are quasi-unique, but I think wine corks have their own character and personalities. So, to my dismay, Doon Buggy has a screw cap... Just like a plastic bottle of hooch, screw caps on wine typically mean what you're about to drink, ain't all that top notch.

Doon Buggy: Red Blend 2009 has now proven this stigma wrong. I enjoyed every sip of this medium bodied Napa Valley blend. The flavor is solid and at 13.5% alcohol content, there's no part of the taste being overpowering or too strong. It has notes of black fruits and a very smooth finish with a hint of an almost meaty quality to it. I tend to stay away from blends for some reason, but this wine has me thinking I'm crazy. It's not overly bold, yet it stands up with most red wines I've tried. The overall flavor profile is a combination of a muted sweetness with a subtle richness often not featured in wines of "value".

I've learned that Doon Buggy is almost a true Sin City wine as that it is only available in CA, NV, and AZ. And they also make a Moscato, so I'm going to have to hunt that down eventually.

It's just pure bang for your buck all the way here. Easy drinkability and a smooth ride the whole way make this a go to pick in the $10ish wine class. I look forward to trying their Moscato and hopefully they make some more types down the road. I agree with the screw cap for this Red Blend, a cork would do nothing but slow me down from getting to the good stuff!

Rating Description
out of 10
10 Value
For around $10, there's a lot of flavor in there.
8 Flavor
I'll be getting this wine again. The flavors of the blend are amazing.
8 Drinkability
It has made me a believer of blends while staying very drinkable. Not bitter in any sense and good to have with some good red meats.
8.7
OVERALL
Try it. Now!
(out of 10)

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Small Wonders: Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

The Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon from Small Wonders Wines is a perfect example of how I'm constatly reminded that you don't always have to shell out big bucks for good wine. 

This is one from Fresh & Easy's growing exclusive wine collection. Chosen well as I see it. Immediately after uncorking this 2009 Cab I caught the aroma of an almost woodsy scent, not overpowering, but well aware of its exisitance. After allowing due time to breathe, I gave a good first taste to this California offering. The initial flavor of this wine has a slight spice kick to it with a medium body and easy finish. Decently smooth and easy to drink. I enjoyed it with some Pita Chips and a delicious Jalepeño Hummus. The flavors worked well together with the wine and made for a quaint little meal. I could also see this working well with burgers, meatballs, sausages, anything with bacon, and such. It's no where near mind-boggleing in taste, but for the bang for the buck, it delivers.

IMAG0500
Rating Description
out of 10
8 Value
For under $14, it's definitely worth checking out.
6 Flavor
Good flavors overall, nothing amazing, but tasty.
8 Drinkability
If you're not into strong wines, this one will work for you.
7.3
OVERALL
Worth trying for the money.
(out of 10)

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