The New Year is upon us! It's time to celebrate. But, if you are like us, you need to celebrate without breaking the budget! We have solved this problem by spending most New Year's Eves with our friends and sticking with affordable booze and food that we potluck. We end up with everything we love for the New Year - good friends, good food and good booze. For me, an essential component of the evening is also good bubbly! While I love Champagne, I generally find myself reaching for something that doesn't break the bank. One of those bottles that I reach for is Prosecco, which is a great party pleaser that doesn't break the bank.
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For this week's Wine Wednesday, we are heading back to the 1970's and imbibing in it's most popular wine - Riunite Lambrusco. As many of you may know, I love, love, love Lambrusco. It is fizzy and fruity and pairs really well with food. But, I had never had the wine that beget the craze in the United States - Riunite.
The Wine Wednesday column has been missing for awhile now! But, we are back and we will do our best to bring you a bargain wine selection each Wednesday. Our first return to Wine Wednesday selection is an exclusive at Trader Joe's, one of our favorite places for bargain wines. The 2010 Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon is an easy drinking Cabernet with tamed tannins and displaying that the grapes hail from a warm growing region. This wine spent its time in stainless steel, which preserves the pure fruit notes and shows an absence of oak flavors, like vanilla, oak, cedar, cocoa and chocolate. Instead, the Dark Horse Cabernet is extremely fruit forward with an almost candied fruit notes of blackberry, black cherry and currants. This wine is great for newbies, cocktail parties and sangria.
This week's Wine Wednesday is the 2010 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir and it hails from Marlborough New Zealand. While we receive this wine as a sample, it appears to retail from $9.99 to $17 and at $9.99, just sneaks into Wine Wednesday. There have been many a wine from Italy and Spain featured in the Wine Wednesday column, but not so many from New Zealand. While the wines from New Zealand aren't overly expensive, they generally don't fall into the $10 and under category. But, a number of them can be had in the $10 to $20 range and are still a good value at those prices.
The R Collection is the introductory line by Raymond Vineyards, which traces it's roots to the immediate post-Prohibition era in Napa. The founder of Raymond Vinearyds, Roy Raymond arrived in Napa Valley in 1933 and married into the Beringer family. After working at Beringer for more than 35 years, Roy and his sons started Raymond Vineyards with the family working side by side for their first crush in 1974. Since then, Raymond Vineyards has earned a reputation for producing elegant wines. Luckily, it lives up to it's reputation with the R Collection.
This week's pick resulted from my desire to please a good friend that isn't a huge fan of dry wines. But, she is a huge fan of sweet wines. However, I was also going to have a table full of other people to please so I couldn't start off the evening with dessert wine, which is my friend's absolute favorite. As I looked over my racks of wine to see what I should take, I spotted an Australian Moscato. Until we received the bottle from Pernod Ricard, I didn't even realize that the Aussies produced Moscato, or Muscat as it's also known. I seized upon it and away we went, along with a few other bottles. Needless to say, it was a huge hit with the entire table. Everyone appreciated the light and refreshing wine with a spritz as a starter to the evening.
This week's pick is the 2010 Campo Viejo Rioja. This wine is a little unusual as it's a basic Rioja, which means that the wine spends less than one year aging in oak. You more often see Rioja Crianza, which must be aged at least two years with one in oak, or Rioja Reserva, which must be aged at least three years with one year in oak. The 2010 Compo Viejo Rioja is also unusual as it exemplifies a very modern, almost new world style that is made from 100% Tempranillo, which is the main grape variety in Rioja. The wine is aged for four months in American oak and then ages in the bottle. This results in a wine that is very fruit forward with bright red fruit with cherry dominating and hints of black fruit, vanilla and baking spices.
The Quinta de Cabriz is a relatively young winery, having started operations in 1989. But, this is not unusual in Portugal. For many years, the wine industry in Portugal focused on producing fortified wines known as Port for export and some consumption in Portugal and limited quantities of still and sparkling wine for local consumption. In the last 25 years, the wine industry in Portugal has come alive with investments from renowned producers across the globe but with many of them based in France.
Quattro Mani is the brainchild of Domaine Select Wine Estates. It is an offering of second label wines from some of Italy and Slovenia's best winemakers. The 2010 Quattro Mani Barbera is made by Danilo Droco, one of Piedmont's greatest winemakers. Not only is the Quatro Mani Barbera a zippy little wine, it's also a great price at $8.99 a bottle. In fact, it's one of the best wines priced under $10 that I have tried.
This week's Wine Wednesday was a bright, crisp, zippy white. The wine didn't pretend to be anything that it wasn't. It was simple and refreshing and evoked days of summer during the dead of winter.
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