Friday, July 31, 2020
If you are looking for a wine that pairs with just about anything in your pantry or freezer, you have found it in the 2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity blend. Don't roll your eyes and scoff about red blends....certainly not this one! The picture above should really be all that you need to know about how much we enjoyed this wine. The bottle is empty! This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (36%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Syrah (7%) and Petit Verdot(2%) is exceptionally balanced and a real palate masseuse! This wine opens with grandma's homemade preserves, dried spices and some incredible hints of earthiness. It is absolutely full of fruit flavors like juicy bing cherries, ripe plum and multi-berry cobbler, including the taste of spice racks flavors in the crust. It is always incredible to sip a wine like this, sit back and just laugh at how wonderful it is at this price point. This wine is young but it drinks like it has been bottled for 10 years. The color on this wine is absolutely captivating and you just want to get lost in those legs. We applaud Michael Baldacci on this lovely bottle. You can find this online directly from the winery here: 2018 Baldacci Fraternity Red Wine
Napa Valley, California
2,833 cases produced
Suggested retail price: $50.00
Drink The Bottles score: 94/100
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Full disclosure here. I purchased a few different cases of "close out" wines from an online discounter just to have some cheaper, every day drinking wine. One of the purchases was this 2018 Calculated Risk Sonoma County Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I bought 4 bottles and for the price (and free shipping), I thought it was worth the..................wait for it...............calculated risk. (Insert laughter here). I digress.
This wine really didn't disappoint. Of the wines that I purchased from the discount vendor, this one was one that I preferred over many that were less than spectacular. There was a very distinct Cabernet nose and medium red color. Sometimes you can open a cheap Cabernet only to find that you struggle to identify the aromas that typically accompany these grapes. This was not the case here. Dried fruit with dark chocolate yielded to dark, ripe cherries and a faint dusty book taste. The finish wasn't incredibly long but it was pleasant and kept me coming back to finish the bottle. I'm definitely not mad at myself for trying this one, although the suggested list price tag on the winery web site would leave you scratching your head (I paid $14.99 and free shipping). I don't think this bottle would be one you could take a glass or two from and put back for another day. It's a one and done deal! Drink now through 2024.
Sonoma County, California
Suggested retail price: $49.99
Drink The Bottles score: 86/100
Friday, June 12, 2020
Have you ever picked up a cheap bottle of wine ($20 or under) and found that it nearly blew your socks off? No, it wasn't the 18% alcohol or high octane fuel smell coming from the cork....er, make that bottle cap....but an actual LOVE for a bargain bottle of vino? A couple of months ago while we were all hunkered down during the Coronavirus pandemic, we received a bottle of this 2018 King Rabbit Rosé as a gift. I'm not normally a rosé wine fan, but I immediately fell in love with the cantaloupe-colored juice and gorgeous package.
While we had planned to save this bottle for Easter dinner, it didn't work out that way and we popped this open on a whim one late afternoon. This bottle had been in the refrigerator chilling (the best way to drink a rosé in my opinion) so we filled up a couple of glasses and headed to the back deck.
The nose presented with lemon, lime and stone fruits with some flowery undertones. This wasn't an intense aroma, but pleasing and yes, I admit, a bit mouth watering. Rosé wines are dry and this one was no exception. However, this little gem packed a ton of fruit including peach, cranberry and strawberry syrup. A nice pop of acid rounds out the tasting on this Whole Food exclusive wine and the lingering finish keeps inviting you back.
This is a VERY recommended wine, especially if you have guests who are looking for a lighter option or those who don't drink red wine. Yes, believe it or not.........those people exist! Enjoy!
Suggested retail price: $9.99
Drink The Bottles score: 88/100
Monday, December 31, 2018
It's really very difficult to pick a singular wine that sums up the best of the best for an entire year. In some ways, it just doesn't seem fair to show your cards, point and say "This. This is the one", but scores of folks clamor each year for every wine publication, including bloggers, to tell them "what a good wine is" that they would like. That question always hurts my head. Let me start by echoing my own sentiment and one that I always say....
Every wine listed on Drink The Bottles is worth your attention. They are all worth your hard-earned money and they would not be here if I did not think you and your tribe would enjoy them. It's that easy. I taste hundreds of wines each year. The ones on this blog are the ones that make it. Some don't. And that's ok. You might still love those and hopefully you've fallen in love with a producer or varietal that is your jam.
Before I get to "the" wine of the year, here are some very, VERY incredible honorable mentions in no particular order:
- Galante Vineyards 2016 Wagon Wheel Sauvignon Blanc (See, I do love whites, too!)
- Hedges Family Estate 2013 Red Mountain Blend (6 varietal blend for under $30)
- Dawn's Dream Winery 2016 Pinot Noir Rose (A true visionary wine here!)
- Bookwalter Winery 2015 Suspense Cabernet Franc (This will make you a CF believer)
- Gamble Family Vineyards 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Tastes like an aged wine)
- Krupp Brothers 2015 The Water Witch (This is a perfect pairing with smoked brisket)
- Arns Winery 2011 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (The best 100% Cab of 2018!)
- Jon Nathaniel 2015 Bodacious (If your everyday drinker is $60 invest in this!)
- Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Noirs (Absolutely incredible bubbly for $20!)
- Mollydooker 2016 Carnival of Love Shiraz (I would drink this every day if I could!)
So, the downside of listing some of my favorite wines is fact that some feelings may get hurt. That may cause some folks to delete my email address and not take my calls anymore. I hope not. Again, every single wine on this blog is a keeper.......or, make that a drinker.
When I was trying to think about the 2018 Wine of the Year, I had to ask myself, "what in the heck does that mean"? It comes down to this. Is the wine readily available? Is the wine memorable? Is the wine affordable to most people who appreciate drinking with friends? This wine was on my radar most of the year and I had no doubt at all that this was going to be the one.
(Drum roll please...............)
The Shepherd 2014 Estate Red
This beautiful wine is only $20 and for that price you need to do yourself a favor and pick up half a case....at least! If you do nothing else today, check out my thoughts on this wine on the blog.
I am really looking forward to 2019 and sharing dozens of wonderful wines with all of you. If you want to be part of the project, connect with me here on or Instagram. Cheers!
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