Archive for the 'White Wine' Category

Big House California white wine

I was making a seafood dish (linguine with shrimp and lemon oil to be exact) and wanted a white wine to go with it. We picked up Big House White last minute due to the fact that out of all the wines under $15, listed below it was a 90 point rating (out of 100) from wine enthusiast. We tend to agree. A big red wine lover myself, I usually do not like the pungency or, as one friend described, “baby vomit” taste of Chardonnay, yet Rieslings tend to be a bit to sweet. This had a perfect combination of light sweetness, yet not a sweetness that overpowers the meal. I frequently took sips between bites of pasta and shrimp and they complemented each other very well. Before dinner was even over, the bottle was empty. At $8.99 a bottle, this was well worth it.

winemaker’s notes:
A blend of 56% Malvasia Bianca, 22% Muscat Canelli, 18% Viognierand 4% Rousanne.

Big House wines are a rebellious mix of nontraditional grape varieties destined to give the imbiber a new experience. This year’s tipple is reminiscent of the Franco-Italian battle for the ’06 FIFA World Cup. The flamboyant Italians represented by Malvasia and Muscat Canelli and the much more austere and serious French led by Viognier and Rousanne.

Mirassou Pinot Grigio 2008

Type: Pinot Grigio

Mirassou Pinot Grigio

Origin: California

Year: 2008

Cost: $9.99

Rating: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: 13.5%

Our opinion:

Tonight we decided to purchase a couple of whole striped bass from the market and grill them up on the BBQ for dinner.  We needed a decent white wine to go with the fish but didn’t have time to shop around, so ended up at a generic discount liquor store on Route 40 in Catonsville.

I couldn’t think of a good cheap white off hand but we were both in the mood for a Pinot Grigio.. probably because we haven’t had one in such a long time and it was a beautiful late spring day.   We hesitated near a Bolla 1.5 Liter for 13.99.. but decided on the Mirassou 1 L for 9.99 instead.  I don’t think I’ve ever tried anything other than the Pinot Noir from Mirassou, but we were impressed with that wine at the price point compared to others, so we thought it might be a safer bet.

I think we made a great choice.  Mirassou is a common wine and easily found in liquor stores in the area.  The Pinot Grigio was not overly acidic, it was not overly sweet or fruity and not tart at all.  It had none of the negative qualities we so frequently found in our random pinot grigio picks.  In fact, not only was it absolutely lovely on its own, but it went fantastically with our fish.    We detected a slight fruitiness, a crisp, citrusy flavor, but a well-balanced mouth feel.  We both agreed that in the absense of any other known white, we would reach for the Mirassou Pinot Grigio again in a pinch.

Others Say:

We were at a loss when looking for reviews of the 2008 Pinot Grigio, but this is what we could find:

Winemaker’s Notes:
Our 2008 Mirassou California Pinot Grigio reveals intense aromas and flavors of peach, pear and citrus with crisp, lively acidity create an exceptionally refreshing wine. This versatile wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes as well as grilled poultry or seafood. Our Pinot Grigio is ready to enjoy immediately upon release and should be able to age in the bottle for one to two years.

The Bottle Says:

Offering flavors of lemon-lime and peach with subtle floral notes, Mirassou Pinot Grigio is a bright expression of California’s most celebrated growing regions.  This versatile wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes as well as grilled poultry or seafood and embodies the optimistic spirit passed down through six enerations of America’s oldest winemaking family.  Enjoy!

Fontana Candida Frascati Superiore Secco 2007

Wine: Fontana Candida

fontana_candida_frascati

Type: Frascati

Origin: Italy

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.99

Rating: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

White wines are hard to agree with, at least for me.  I believe I’ve had this one before, but maybe missed out on the review.  A friend brought a bottle for pre-dinner drinks tonight and I remembered how enjoyable it was.   This white is very easily to drink, without all the harsh acidic bite that so many cheap whites have.  I think you can find it for under $10 in some stores, and certainly online.  This white is somewhat fruity, lightly sweet but not overly so, and well balanced.  It’s not exciting, but it’s good, and it’s a solid choice if you aren’t sure if your guests are huge wine drinkers.  Everyone enjoyed this bottle.   I recommend it, definitely for the price!

Bottle says:

In the hills near Rome are areas of volcanic  soil over 2000 years old.  Here the grapes for frascatia are grown.   Frascati has a delicate bouquet of wildflowers and fruit.  Its characteristic taste is fresh and distinctive, with just a hint of almond.  To enjoy Fontana Candida Frascati to its fullest, serve slightly chilled (55 degrees) to heighten the fruit and the iwne’s crispness, fontana candida frascati is a delightful complement to seafood, poultry and other light entrees.

Others Say:

From: TheWineBuyer.com

“EXCELLENT WINE FOR THE PRICE. FULL OF ROBUST FLAVORS. NOSE IS SPICEY AND CITRUS. VERY PLEASING PALATTE. REFRESHING. VERY LONG PLEASING FINISH. PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU SPENT TWICE THE PRICE ON THIS. ONE CAVEAT. CORK WAS A BIT BRITTLE. BEWARE HOW ITS STORED.”

Sanrocchetto Verdicchio Dei Castelli Jesi Classico 2007

Wine: Sanrocchetto

Type: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico

Origin: Italy – The Marches

Year: 2007

Cost: $10.99

Rating: 9/10

Value: 9/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

The bottle looked different, and it had a great review at the wine store, so we decided to try it out.  i was cooking a dish witch chicken seasoned with Italian spices and stuffed with mozzarella, sauteed with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and white wine, so I decided to open this one.

I loved it…! Even though the first swig was straight from the bottle, and the next taste was in a glass that I had to add ice to, I really enjoyed this white.  White wines aren’t always easy to differentiate, apart from being ‘really bad’ or ‘too sweet’ or ‘so acidic I want to bite my tongue off and spit it out.”  This one was lightly fruity, just a little sweet, but ended dry.  I started calling it the champagne of white wines.  I don’t know if it’s entirely true, but it had something about it reminiscent of champagne.  Personally, one of my favorite whites, for a great price.  I say go for it!

Other Notes:

“Verdicchio … Smooth and balanced it has a light straw color, sometimes slightly green, Nice floral aroma on the nose and a dry but not astringent fruit flavor with a slight bitter finish.This wine well will go well with pungent Italian cheese like Pecorino, nuts, olives and seafood dishes.”

A classic dry white wine, best drunk young to appreciate its freshness.”

Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Pacific Peak

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: California, USA

Year: cannot find a year on this bottle! 1814??

Cost: $2.99

Rating: 5/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

We bought this a while ago and thought it was a great value for the price, so we bought more. The next few bottles were pretty difficult to choke down. I don’t know what happened….

So today when we had an opportunity to try our Vinturi Wine Aerator, we decided to revisit our last bottle of this confusing wine. You want to love it, because it’s so cheap. Well at least we want to love it for that reason. After opening the bottle we poured a little directly into one glass with one of these nifty items which prevents drips and red ring-shaped stains on your table:

The other we poured through our new aerator:

Let me just say that Bernoulli’s law never mentioned anything about a swooshing sound. But it’s kind of cool to hear as you pour your wine through this little bubble into your glass.

Then came a taste-test. On the first sip neither tasted that great. In fact we were both initially disappointed at how bad the pacific peak was tasting. A few more sips and we decided that you could tell that one was a bit better than the other, though I admitted that in a blind taste test I’d be somewhat stumped. It was just very acidic and ..well.. cheap-tasting. Then again I’m not a big Cabernet Sauvignon fan, so that probably didn’t help.

I had an idea.. if the aerator improves the taste by a factor of X, then wouldn’t pouring the wine back through the aerator N times increase the drinkability of the wine by NX? I know what you’re thinking, you can’t do it too many times or you’ll be aerating INXS. We wouldn’t want that. So I just did it 2 times. Better!

Actually by the end of dinner, it was palatable and decent. On the second glass, I admit I did N = 3 aerations on poor pacific peak. Even better. I don’t want to wear it out, I mean we just got it… but, it’s doing its job!

I suppose in summary, if you want to drink this cheap wine, you better get the aerator, because it certainly does it make it taste better! I don’t know how to describe it, but I guess I would say it went from being heavy and tart to a bit lighter (hence the aeration???) and sweeter. Less tang. Or you could cook with this wine, because it’s cheap enough you won’t feel guilty not drinking it.

One last point I want to make. Or maybe a question… Where is the date on this wine?!? Why would they hide it?? What else are they trying to hide….

Winemakers Notes:

California- Deeply colored and full flavored with essence of dark cherries, cassis and blackberry, this wine eliminates thoughts that quality must be sacrificed for value. Strong, firm tannins and explosive fruit flavors make this wine a natural friend of food. {Intense, Dark Cherry, Cassis, Full-bodied}

Others Say:
Surprisingly very good things… with the exception of a few.
From Total Wine:

“This wine is excellent; great bouquet, nice clean taste, and excellent dry cherry finish. That’s about as haute wine as I will get. Those high class reviewers who didn’t know if they would use it for cooking, can go on paying $30-40 or more per bottle, I’ll be happy with Pacific Peak. Come to think of it… I also used it for an excellent sauce of mushrooms and artichoke hearts.”

“Best everyday wine I have found to date. Good taste and extremely low price. This is a medium body wine with a very soft finish. It receives a higher rating because of the price. Of course it’s not as good as a $10+ wine, but at $3.99 it’s an amazing value. If you’re looking for something you can easily afford to enjoy every day, this is a good one.”

“I believe that wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. But this isn’t good. I’d rate it no better than a cooking wine – and I’m not sure what your food would pick up from it.”

Smoking Loon Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Wine: Smoking Loon

Type: Sauvignon Blanc

Origin: California, USA

Year: 2005

Cost: $10.99 (In at 7-11 in Ocean City, MD.. so I’m sure you can find it cheaper!)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Purchased: 7-11 Ocean City (we believe it is widely available however)

Rating: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Our opinion:

We opened this bottle when making a delicious seafood pasta with scallops and shrimp in a white wine and garlic cream sauce during a weekend in Ocean City. As mentioned above, it was picked up from a 7-11 down the street, no doubt marked up at least 1-2 dollars higher than you can probably find it elsewhere. We are going to classify this as a 5-10 dollar wine for that reason.

The wine seemed to go very well both in and with the pasta we made. It was a bit citrusy and tangy but almost bordered on sweet for a sauvignon blanc. The Smoking Loon is a California wine made in the New Zealand Suavignon Blanc tradition. It was definitely drinkable but not terribly exciting, though we would have fought for the last glass of it. The taste was pleasant but seemed to drop off quickly. It does seem difficult to find many cheaply-priced and good white wines if you’re not a big fan of the sweeter ones, so we will rate this at at 7. The value is a bit lower as the price we paid wasn’t the best. I’m sure if you can find it for $6 it would be a great buy. We may try to find this one again somewhere and give it a second look.

Wine maker notes: “This bleached blonde beauty is reminiscent of fresh green apples, pineapple and has hints of hibiscus blossoms. The concentration of zesty lemon and gooseberry fills your mouth leaving notes of thyme and melon behind. The bright acid in this wine gives you a zing while the fruit keeps your mouth watering for more.”

Others Say:

Budget Vino: “The first sip of this wine was pretty harsh compared to the Geyser Peak. It just didn’t have the same richness in flavor and was a bit tart and tangy. But, it got a lot better on the second, third, forth and fifth sips. It went down easily with salad, fish and cous cous.

Wine Waves: “Color: Pale straw “bleached blonde”. Aromas: Nectarine, green apple, hints of passionfruit and spearmint. Juicy, tart and light on the tongue, the lemon, gooseberry and mineral flavors are vibrant and harmonious. The finish is refreshing and damn near dry.

2007 Gavi Saula Tenuta La Marchesa

Wine: Saula

Type: Gavi

Gavi Saula \

Origin: Italy

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.00 (?)

Alcohol: 12%

Rating: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Our opinion:

We’ve never had this kind of wine before, but it reminded me a bit of a pinot grigio. From the Novi Ligurie region of Italy, this particular wine is bottled from grapes harvested on an “farm hotel”. The bottle has a link to their website: Tenuta La Marchesa

The taste of this wine is fruity and lightly sweet, yet not overly so. Delicious with the fish we just ate, the wine is medium bodied and a full round taste to start with a slightly tangy finish.

We didn’t find any reviews for this particular variety, but we did find that you can stay at a hotel there for 100 euro a night per room, or 100 per person if you want full board. It looks very relaxing…..

Ironically you can’t find this Gavi Saula wine on their website, so I’m not sure how you’d order it. Once again this came from Corridor in Laurel.

I enjoyed it, a very decent white wine. Our pricing might be off and it could have been a much cheaper wine. If we could only find the prices online…..

2007 River Road Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley

Wine: River Road

Type: Sauvignon Blanc

Origin: USA (Calfornia)

Year: 2007

Cost: $12.99

Alcohol: 13.2%

Rating: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Our opinion:

We tried this wine at Corridor when we went shopping, along with a group of other Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Grigios. This one was a lot sweeter than we usually enjoy, and we weren’t intending on purchasing it but I kept lingering on it. There’s something a little more elegant and classy about this wine, despite it’s sweetness. For those who usually enjoy a drier white wine, this is an interesting departure. Lots of fruit and citrus, somewhat big for a white wine, not thin at all, and sweet but without that cheap sugary aftertaste. Worth a try, if you’re in the mood for it. Recommended, for the right occasion.
Others Say:

We couldn’t find this one online either, but here is what the bottle says:

“Our Sauvignon Blanc, from vineyards in the cool Russian River Valley, shows aromas of ruby grapefruit and kiwi, with bright citrus flavors”