Monday, July 6, 2020
Why would you buy a bottle of wine for $2.49 you ask? I honestly don't have an answer. Curiosity probably got the best of me. Flashbacks of "Two Buck Chuck" bounced around in my head as I passed this at Aldi several times yesterday. But I like to keep an open mind and I'm always up to a challenge so I figured at this price, I'm really no worse for wear. This bottle is less than a cup of coffee at most restaurants and I've spent far more money on less satisfying objects in my lifetime. So, without further ado, I present the non-vintage Winking Owl Merlot.....
I should start by saying that I am generally perplexed by anyone who can put wine in a bottle for this price. After all, sans juice, you still have the bottle, the cork, the label, the capsule, the outer packaging, the marketing, etc, etc to take into consideration of the total cost at checkout. So when you remove those items from the cost of the bottle of wine, what do you have? I would guess about $.38 worth of actual "product" in the bottle. You can quickly realize that this wine is made in the thousands or tens of thousands of gallons. Don't get me wrong here. Mass producing wines is commonplace in the industry for larger companies and there are a fair number of higher quality wines that are birthed this way. In fact, E&J Gallo (they're the wine behemoth that produces this label) started out generations ago as grape sellers and eventually as a bulk wine dealer). This is right in their wheelhouse.
I'm not going to lie. I see this wine marketed to or appealing to the 40-something single woman, sipping away in her bathtub on a Saturday night as she listens to Yanni and swipes left or right on Tinder. Too harsh? Hell, she might even have a two-bottle night if she can indulge herself with a Fabio book and some chocolates. I digress.....
The wine is a lovely medium red color and thin in appearance. Subtle but typical Merlot aromas of raspberry and vanilla are most recognizable. Is there a black cherry in there? Perhaps with some time in the glass and vigorous swirling you can pull additional aromas. In the mouth is a straight-forward, very fruity glass of what some might refer to as a table wine or maybe even a "free" wine at your cousin Lenny's wedding. It's not memorable and the finish is almost non-existent. For the back label to state that this is a medium bodied wine is, well.........inaccurate. That's not to say that this wine is a complete dud. It isn't. It is a bottle of wine................for under.............$3.00. Let that sink in. I often refer to these types of wine as Midwestern wines, because in my experience, folks throughout the Midwest loooooooooooove their fruit bombs.
Again, it's not horrible. It really isn't. What I'll reiterate is that it is a cheap bottle of wine and you get what you pay for in most cases. We have come a long way since the Charles Shaw plonk and this wine proves just that. I'm not going to go out and buy a couple of cases, but I had fun tasting this. And for the record, I paired it with some delicious steak tips. When assigning a score, I have to look at the complete picture. The marketing and affordability really add to the overall appeal and score here. And if you're looking to buy this at your local wine store, you won't find it. The Winking Owl label is available exclusively at Aldi. And you can find some really amazing cheeses at Aldi to pair this wine with this Saturday night!
Suggested retail price: $2.95
Drink The Bottles score: 80/100
Thursday, January 24, 2019
This non-vintage 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery started out as an experiment in wine aging and Sandi Belcher and her team have hit a home run. This wine is a fine example of smart blending, expert wine making and risk taking that paid off in a big way. This wine has three separate vintages in a single bottle. This wine is rooted in a gorgeous purple color and presents lung-filling aromas of ripe blackberries, chocolate, saddle leather and toasty cedar. There's a great mid palate feel with this one and generous flavors of dark berries, cedar, dark chocolate, tar and spice box. This is everything you want to see in a quality Cabernet Sauvignon and I think this is an experiment that went extremely well! I love seeing winemakers step outside of the box and I think you'll love this too. Only 200 cases were produced and at this price point, it won't last long.
Napa Valley, California
Suggested retail price: $65.00
Drink The Bottles score: 92/100
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
I had so much fun tasting this sparkling wine that I had to share it with friends. I mean, after all, isn't that what loving wine is all about? Let me first start by saying that if I find out anyone is taking this Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine and making mimosas out of it, I might throat punch you. Go buy some blah blah blah $6.99 rot gut at the grocery store for that. You'd be completely remiss and wasting a fantastic opportunity to taste a beautifully made, delicate sparkling wine from Washington state. Lovely bouquet of strawberry and warm, handmade biscuits on the nose and that carries through to the flavors and micro bubbles that celebrate in the mouth. This sparkling wine is so good that it is difficult to take your time and sip it. I served this well chilled and think that was the right call. The finish on this is extremely fine and smooth and leaves you wanting more.
Columbia Valley, Washington
Suggested retail price: $20.00
Drink The Bottles score: 91/100
Sunday, March 25, 2018
What do you see here? Champagne! No. It's sparkling wine. But we don't need to get into the whole conversation about sparkling wine and Champagne right now, do we? If you want to know the history behind it and why this is sparkling wine....perform a quick Google search. Now, me personally.....if someone says they are serving Champagne with hors d'oeuvres at brunch, well, I'm not going to get mad at them when it's American sparkling wine nor am I going to correct them. In many cases, sparking wine has much more appeal than several Champagne I've tried over the years, both in flavor and price point. This NV Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blancs is made in the Champagne style and expresses green apple and a beautifully balanced warm bread yeasty flavor that is delicious. Beautiful pale golden color (this is a Chardonnay blend). Micro bubbles help lift and muted apple and pear aromas and when served slightly chilled, this sparking wine is refreshing and an excellent pairing with finger foods like smoked salmon on toast points. Here's a fact I just found out about Treveri Cellars: Their wines have been served at the White House. I think that says a lot about the quality and popularity. And for the value, you'd be remiss not to have a couple of bottles lying around for your Sunday brunch.
Yakima Valley, Washington
Suggested retail price: $15.00
Drink The Bottles score: 87/100
We love thinking about wine and what was happening in the vineyards when grapes are picked and turned into a lovely wine like this one. Y...
Man, this one is BIG! I received this bottle of 2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon last week and let it r...
Once in awhile you pop and cork and get so excited because of the incredible color that is displayed on the cork. When I pulled the co...
Spring is the most pleasant time of the year. Days start to get longer and warmer, and spending time outside suddenly feels very invi...