Aug 14

Beauzeau “Bozo” 2005 Red Wine

Wine: Beauzeau / Bozo

Type: Blend / Red Wine

Origin: California

Year: 2005

Cost: $10.99

Rating: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

We had just finished installing our new wall-mount wine rack and decided to load’er up.  Suddenly wine started dripping down the wall… Oh no!! One of the bottles we put in there was a screw cap, and the motion of twisting the bottle securely into place in the rack apparently twisted the lid right off!   What happened next was an…

!!! !!! EMERGENCY CONSUMPTION OF OPEN WINE !!! !!!

At first we were wary that maybe the bottle wasn’t securely closed, and started thinking bad thoughts.  After a quick zip through the aerator, we decided the wine was actually quite good! It wasn’t the #1 smoothest wine ever, it still had a little tang to it, but overall was very tasty.  Bozo would make a great table wine, and the funny juggling guy on the cover is good for a laugh.  The Juggler signifies the way this blend is somehow balancing 8 different grape varietals in one bottle!  A nice blend, at a decent price.

Winemaker’s notes:

Juggling too many balls these days? We know just how you feel. Life shouldn’t always be so serious and neither should your wine, so we set out to make a blend just for the fun of it. Eight different varietals are included in our 2005 Beauzeaux Red Wine ? mostly Zinfandel and Syrah, with small amounts of Petite Sirah, Charbono and others. Show off to your wine geek friends when you tell them it also contains 2% Lagrein, a red grape variety mentioned in the 17th century records of a Benedictine monastery.

This is the wine to reach for when friends show up for pizza. Ripe red and black berry characters with jammy pie flavors and some black pepper to boot make it rich and hearty enough to stand up to your best baby back ribs. And the capper? Nothing but a screwcap would do.

Others Say:

From Wine.com

“My wife and I enjoyed this unique red blend. It’s a good value for an everyday table wine, but offers a bit more spice than the more common cab and merlot dominant red blends.”

“My fiancee and love this wine. We bought a case a few months ago and just bought two more. It’s our house wine. We’ll serve something nicer with a meal we go to a lot of trouble over, but for the price it can’t be beat.”

Aug 11

Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2004

Wine: Castello Banfi

Type:Chianti Classico Riserva

Origin: Italy

Year: 2004

Cost: $14.99

Rating: 7/10

Value: 4/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

BOOOOORRRRINGGGGGG.

So after our glass of Tin Shed Shiraz, which as amazing, we selected a Chianti Classico off a wine list at the Antrim 1844 (www.antrim1844.com) to go with our dinner. We were prepared to lay down $45 for this 2001 Riserva, but they pulled the “ol switcheroo” on us, and brought this 2004 out on us.

I don’t know if this had anything to do with the fact that the previous glass of wine was so perfect, but this wine just did nothing for us. We tried to convince ourselves it was good, due to the fact that we were paying quite a bit for it, but neither of us were really falling for it.

It was easy to drink, light, lacked flavor, lacked a nose, and the taste (what little of one there was) fell off sharply as soon as it hit your palate. Maybe we had a bad bottle, because other reviewers seem to think it’s a nice buy. But in our opinion, don’t bore yourself. Not for $14. And certainly not for the $42 we paid for it!!

Bah.

Winemaker’s notes:

Grape Varieties: Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon

“Chianti may well be the single best-known wine in the world – historically celebrated, universally revered and enjoyed over centuries. Produced from select grapes grown in the “Classico” region of Chianti between Siena and Florence, this aristocratic Tuscan wine has reached new heights in Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva. After aging two years in Slavonian oak casks, this elegant, well-balanced wine has flavors of vanilla, cocoa and spice.

An honored red wine, Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva is a fine gourmet accompaniment to red roasts, pastas and cheese.”

Others Say:

“Another award winning wine from the Banfi Vinyard. Smooth but yet tasteful, not too tanic, well blended. Great choice to compliment your dinner with a light red wine.”

“Round, subtle and elegant, typical of a full-bodied Chianti Classico. Ruby-red in color with an intense vanilla and licorice bouquet.”

Aug 11

Tin Shed Melting Pot Shiraz (2005??)

Wine: Tin Shed “Melting Pot”

Type: Shiraz

Origin: Australia

Year: 2005 (????)

Cost: $35.99 ??

Rating: 10/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: ??%

Our opinion:

This wine probably shouldn’t be on a cheapo wino blog, but every now and then you have to treat yourself, to see what you’re missing. We went to the Antrim 1844 for a dinner the other evening and each had a ($15) glass (!!) of this wine before we ate. It was amazing! Honestly I cannot remember a Shiraz this delicious and balanced and perfect tasting. Nothing was too strong, nothing was weak, it wasn’t too heavy or light or spicy or fruity or sweet or dry. Everything just seemed right. Every sip was delicious and exciting. If you want to splurge, you need to know what on. We were told that there were no more of these bottles available for purchase anywhere; the Antrim had bought them all out. However, I see it on both Corridor and Total Wine & More websites. Corridor in Laurel seems to carry it, but if anyone goes there and looks for it, let us know if they have it in stock!

We unfortunately don’t know the year, but all the years have great reviews and > 90 points for their ratings, so my guess is you can’t go wrong.

Merchant Reviews:

Barossa Valley, Australia- The Melting Pot Shiraz offers wonderful aromas of cassis, black pepper and licorice. This rich and full-bodied Shiraz encompasses remarkable flavor intensity and a lengthy finish. {Intense, Licorice, Currant, Full-bodied}”

Others Say:

Bright and aromatic with lovely fruit characters. The palate is smooth with spice and fruits.

“A stunning offering, the 2005 Shiraz Melting Pot reveals flamboyant aromas of cassis, black pepper, licorice, and espresso roast. This medium to full-bodied, pure, rich Shiraz offers another example of the seamlessness of this vintage.”
– Wine Advocate (#167, Oct 2006), 91-94 pts

Aug 04

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.”

Jul 29

Pigmentum Malbec Rose 2007

Wine: Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum

Type: Malbec Rose

Origin: France

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.99

Rating: 9/10

Value: 8.5/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

I’ve been wanting to try a rose for awhile, but I’ve been scared away by their purported dryness. However, I found this wine to be crisp, clean, fruity, smooth and easy to drink. (Maybe a little too easy…) It wasn’t particularly sweet, but neither was it very acidic. It had a nice tart, berry taste. All in all, a very pleasant wine served chilled on a hot summer day.

Winemaker Notes:

France-This lovely, fresh Rose made from 100% Malbec is from the Cahors region, famed as the original home of Malbec. It has aromas and flavors of fresh strawberries & red cherries. It is both dry and easy to drink. Another smashing success from Georges Vigouroux, the ‘King of Cahors’. {Crisp/Soft, Strawberry, Cherry, Light-bodied}”

Others Say:

” I opened this to have with some grilled salmon, but I may have (accidentally) finished most of the wine before the salmon was done. An excellent wine for a hot summer day, not one of those foul “cough-syrup-sweet” pink wines I associate with the name “rose'”. I will definitely get a case next trip to the store.”

” 07 Vintage. Simple dry rose with crisp lemon and strawberry fruit. Nothing ground breaking, but simple and enjoyable.”

Jul 28

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.”

Jul 24

Twin Wells Shiraz 2005

Wine: Twin Wells

Type: Shiraz

Origin: South Eastern Australia

Year: 2005

Cost: $7.00

Alcohol: 14%

Purchased: Corridor Wine & Spirits, Laurel, MD

Rating: 4/10

Value: 4/10

Our opinion:

Eeengh. That’s about all we have to say on this one. We drank it… but there was a glass left on the table, which means it couldn’t have been that good. Cheap price, cheap wine. Not worth it either way. Move on!

Others Say:

Winemaker Review: “South East, Australia- Fresh fruit and ripe tannins surround this medium-bodied, smooth and spicy Shiraz. Aromas of dark ripe fruit, chocolate and vanilla are supported by a palate of spicy plum, blackberry flavors and a velvety smooth finish. Enjoy with BBQ, hamburgers, or kebobs. {Fresh, Plum, Medium-bodied}”

From Total Wine:

Undrinkable; had to pour it down the sink. :-(“

“Skip it”

One person liked it though:

“If I had read the previous reviews, I probably would have missed this gem. Unbelievable for $7. Very smooth.”

Jul 14

Washington Hills Shiraz 2005

Wine: Washington Hillswashington hills shiraz

Type: Shiraz

Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington, USA

Year: 2005

Cost: $7.99

Alcohol: 13.5%

Purchased: Corridor Wine & Spirits, Laurel, MD

Rating: 5/10

Value: 5/10

Our opinion:

We enjoyed this bottle of wine before, during, and after a meal of carry out curry dishes from Indian Delight in Catonsville. The wine is fine…drinks easy enough.. but it’s not great. It comes at a lower price tag than others we’ve reviewed, but also lacks any intriguing flavors in our opinion. Next to other cheap wines it’s not bad but we wouldn’t purchase this one again. If it came down to this and a bottle of Vendage or Boordy, I’d go with Washington Hills, but if you have full run of the wine shop, keep looking!

According to other reviewers, it seems that the Washington Hills Cabernet Merlot blend is a great choice. Perhaps we should give that one a try before writing them off, because at 7.99 a bottle, cheapos are happy.
Others Say:

Tasting notes: “Notes of black cherry and hints of smoke fill the nose of this deep red wine. Sweet black cherry flavors continue on the palate finishing with smooth silky tannins.”

Jul 07

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.

Jul 02

Cleaning up your spills… here comes spotbot!

This might not seem like a wine-related product, oh, but it is!

We received the Bissell 1200B SpotBot Hands-Free Compact Deep Cleaner Carpet Cleaner as a gift recently and it works wonders! Between our dog and our wine habit, and the dog’s habit of knocking wine off the table, it’s a relief to have one of these on hand. It’s not the cheapest thing out there, but it made a great gift to us.

You add water and cleaning solution, set it down on the stain, hit the on button, and walk away… About 5 minutes later spot bot has cleaned your carpet to good-as-new condition! It works particularly on stains or spots, and we used it with old set stains and a new one and it worked just as well for both.

Amazon had a new version and a remanufactured one at a discount. Being cheapos we registered for the remanufactured one, which works great and I see no problems with! Here are both:



Two thumbs up on one glass of red down.

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