Enter the Apothic Darkness

‘Tis the season of darkness and mystery, when the air turns chill and the days grow dark, leaving more time to curl up next to warm fire with a glass of wine. This is the season for rich, dark reds with complex flavors. Apothic Dark, a red blend from Modesto, California’s Apothic Winery suits the mood of the season.

It pours dark, a deep inky glass with just a hint of translucent purple around the edge. The nose opens with a blast of sweet grape — an almost jammy aroma that, frankly, left me prepared for disappointment, expecting a shallow, juicy wine. Instead, I was treated to a rich, full-bodied wine loaded with blueberry and blackberry flavors. Some time out of the bottle revealed more subtle notes of currant and coffee with a hint of dark chocolate at the finish.

 Apothic Dark The specifics of the blend are a bit of a mystery, in keeping with the Apothic name. It derives, according to apothic.com, from the word apotheca, a secretive place where 13-century European vintners kept their most prized blends — and their most closely kept recipes. Deeper history extends to ancient Greece, where apotheke meant repository, or warehouse. That seems like a pretty plebian beginning for a name meant to conjure deeper, darker images from a past where All Hallow’s Eve was an ominous precursor to winter rather than an excuse for a costume party.

Apothic Dark would stand up well in either case, whether you are reading The Telltale Heart by candlelight or wearing your favorite gypsy costume to the neighborhood Halloween gala. Speaking of gypsies, the fortune-teller on Apothic’s website is an interesting touch. A hand-selfie is all she needs for a palm reading, which is entertaining, even though her interpretation of my lifeline was much less on-point than the wine.

We nearly passed on this wine ($11.99 at Fred Meyer) after being underwhelmed by the ubiquitous Apothic Red. But the bottle, which looks like it came from Count Dracula’s wine cellar (even the cork is black), speaks to the spirit of the season, and brought a treat better than anything likely to be discovered by the little goblins knocking at our door in search of candy.

Aromatique: Sweet grape to start, warming to dark berries.

Sip quips: Full-bodied, ripe blackberries, blueberries and black currant. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

Kitchen couplings: Subtantial enough to stand up to meaty dishes or sharp cheese, but smooth enough to accompany pasta or chicken. Or a mystery novel.

Apothic Dark

Don’t be afraid of the Dark.

Posted in Red on October 29, 2015 – 10:31 pm | Comments (0)
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No One Expects The Dark Horse


Notice the wine glass hidden in on the label and cork?

wineglass_fullHe wants you to underestimate him. Mysterious, confident, stealthy and sleek, the dark horse is a force to be reckoned with. Skilled at flying under the radar, he waits for the perfect opportunity; to break from the pack, take the lead and silence the naysayers.  His fans find him elusive; disappearing as quickly as he arrived. He doesn’t crave pithy accolades, a ring of roses or a sash. The win was his all along. Quietly, the dark horse stands alone, waiting for the next occasion, the next assuming opponent, to let him run…

Will you be the next to liberate the Dark Horse? Go ahead and pull the cork. Let it flow freely into your glass and across your palate with reckless abandon. We dare you. Pretentious wine drinkers beware, for no mercy will be given. If the juicy essence of ripe blackberries doesn’t get you right out of the bottle, the warm flavor of vanilla, black cherry, chocolate and smoky spice will. Unbridled by expectation, Dark Horse lunges gracefully to a mild, but winning finish!


Blackberry plucked from our garden

A portion of the wine was fermented on oak staves or planks, this process helps impart the flavor of the oak, especially notes of vanilla and smoke in a matter of weeks versus years. Following fermentation, it was ultra-filtered to refine the tannins and a portion aged underground in oak casks.

Dark Horse isn’t a complicated cab. Life’s already complicated, why must our wine be too? Pleasure is simple, and this vino is quite gratifying; especially at less than ten dollars a bottle. What it lacks in complexity, The Original Dark Horse 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon makes up for as an easy-going, moderately-priced, drinkable wine.  We’ve found it at both our local Fred Meyer and Walgreens store for $7.99, but have heard it’s available at Trader Joe’s for slightly less.

The next time your hosting gathering, attending a dinner party or simply wanting to soften the day with a nice Cabernet, you’ll find a winner in Dark Horse. Cheers!

Aromatique: Juicy blackberries and black cherries with hints of vanilla, chocolate and smoky-spice.

Sip quips: Full berry flavor, mild spice. Refreshingly tart, with moderate finish.

Kitchen couplings: Do not pair with McDonald’s chicken nuggets (trust us, it wasn’t pretty). That whole “pairing” thing is serious business. Would be better suited, with beef, pork or lamb; a meaty salad or hearty stew.


His pace is patient, his gallop is rote,

His hoofwork is sure, yet no one takes note.

He follows the inside track of the course,

Persisting in silence, running with grace,

Unknown by the masses minding the race,

For no one expects the distant dark horse. – Shane Hubbard

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Dribbles and drivel, Red on July 11, 2015 – 10:32 pm | Comments (4)

Chalk It Up To Change

wineglass_fullI have a little chalk board I use to celebrate special moments; Spring, Christmas, family photos, Mother’s  Day, birthdays and this year… graduations. It might seem silly to break out my little Land O Lakes butter container full of old chalk to make note of a certain day, but ‘wiping the slate clean’ and starting anew is quite significant. Another year, another season, another moment of growth, love and experience comes with each new scribble. Just as in life, my chalkboard is ever changing.

Although, more frequent are the days I wish things weren’t changing quite so quickly. Our ‘Brady Bunch’ family has grown up in the blink of an eye, our once stray wisps of gray are becoming more dominant, our parents have grown older, and our crazy-busy life will begin to slow… just a little, but noticeably so. There are moments (more often than not) I find myself wanting to scream, “STOP!” and live in the moment, THIS moment for just a little while longer.  It’s futile, I know, for just as the vibrant magenta peonies in our garden burst into bloom, they wither and slowly fade away.  Change and transformation are inevitable; nothing lasts forever, so drink it in while you can.  IMG_2434

Wine is grace in a glass; patient, resilient and unassuming. It’s an expert when it comes to change. The sheer process of vine to wine is astounding and yet, despite the trauma and captivity each grape must endure during its transformation, once uncorked it breathes deeply, releasing all its pent up aromas and flavors before whispering, “Change can be good.”

It isn’t any wonder I was immediately drawn to the display of Chalk Board Chardonnay at our local Fred Meyer, for I knew it would be a wine to ponder and celebrate. From the label it promises fresh aromas of pineapple, melon and notes of vanilla and spice, and I would have to agree it delivered on all but the spice. It is packed full of juicy fruit flavor with a hint of sweetness on the tongue and low acidity.  It’s definitely an easy going, ‘roll with the changes’ kind of wine and at less than ten dollars a bottle, a wine I would buy again and again.

This summer we will have celebrated two daughters; one graduating from high school and one from college, a son becoming a man, and another entering his adolescent years.  However unsettling and exciting theses glorious moments might be, we will all gracefully embrace and grow from them as they happen.  In the meantime, we’ll just chalk it up to change. Here’s to all the changes happening in your life! Cheers!

Aromatique: Very fruity. Melon, juicy pineapple with notes of vanilla

Sip Quips: Mild acidity, slightly sweet

Kitchen Couplings: Any white meat, fish, grilled veggies and summer salads

P.S. Chalk Board wine is available exclusively at Kroger stores. 😉

Posted in Chardonnay, Dribbles and drivel on June 14, 2015 – 8:10 pm | Comments (0)

Charles Shaw-shank Redemption

It's getting hot in here!Cheap wine sometimes gets a bad rap. Sure, it’s nothing like serving two life sentences for killing your wife and her lover, but at the very least, it deserves a fair trial.  Trials don’t come cheap; just ask any attorney, but with a public defender like Trader Joe’s in your corner, you can bet it will cost you less than five bucks — which is admittedly much less than one would pay for a two-minute phone call with counsel.

Charles Shaw wine, warmly known by its legions of fans as “Two Buck Chuck,” is a cheap wine. From 2002 to 2013 the cost was just $1.99 per bottle in most states. After 11 years, the price swelled to a staggering $2.99 due to the winery’s cost increases. It seems like it might be due for a new nickname as well. I was thinking something along the lines of “Three Bill Thrill or Three Bone Bender.” Remind me to write some big marketing exec about that. Charles Shaw Cab

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me Dionysus! Listen; there are a few naysayers out there who will testify you cannot make a decent Cabernet Sauvignon for less than eight or 10 bucks, and to those people I must say, “I object!” Wine snobs we are not. Sommeliers, well … we aren’t that either. However, we are lovers of good ol’ cheap wine. I cross-examined the case of the Charles Shaw 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (not the entire case, just a bottle or two) and my findings are this: it’s good. Actually, it’s better than good for the price!

For those who love a rich and hearty cab, I will say you might be a little disappointed. It doesn’t have a long finish, and it is much thinner than what you are accustomed to. But overall it’s a decent wine. Right out of the bottle it is a little heavy on the alcohol, but in its defense, if you aerate — or at the very least let it linger in the glass a little while — it will mellow with notes of cherry, blueberry and raspberry. Think Smuckers infused with booze, a little black pepper, citrus, mild acidity and a smooth finish. It’s mildly tart, not overly sweet but the fruit is there. And for around three dollars, you won’t get shanked at the cash register. So raise your glass, raise your right hand and lower your standards when it comes to giving cheap wine a swirl. You might end up finding a little extra cash in your wallet and a nice addition to your wine rack. Case closed!

Aromatique: Very fruity. Cherry, blueberry, raspberry and citrus

Sip Quips: Mild acidity, slightly peppered with smooth but moderate finish

Kitchen Couplings: Lighter fare; summer pasta, veggie pizza, mild cheeses, beef kebabs/satay

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Red on June 9, 2014 – 8:32 pm | Comments (0)

19 Crimes: Going Rogue Down Under

It's getting hot in here!Making bad wine isn’t a crime, but it probably should be. How many times have you dropped some hard-earned cash for a bottle advertised as a fine vintage that turned out to be useful for nothing more than marinating tough meat? It’s like stealing, damnit!

Turns out that stealing used to get you a one-way ticket from England to Australia, back when the latter was considered one step above Purgatory rather than a vacation destination.

19Crimes_0725Petty theft was just one of the 19 crimes for which bad guys and gals could get sent to the British Empire’s furthest corner in the late 18th Century. Stealing fish and bigamy were also “transportable” crimes. America had recently earned its independence, so the colonies were no longer a dumping ground for British baddies, leaving the Land Down Under as the preferred destination.

The handsome, but scowling, young lad on the bottle is Mr. John Boyle O’Reilly, an Irish-born poet and novelist who was shipped to Australia after being given a reprieve from the death penalty. His troubles began when he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and eventually was convicted of supporting an armed uprising against the British government. Apparently being a Republican in those days was a severe crime. Hmmm.

It’s not clear from the winery’s website exactly how the scion of the Bailey’s of Glenrowan winery, Mr. Richard Bailey, ended up down under. But we can be glad that he did. And we can be glad that his descendants have a sense of history — and a knack for making good wine.

The 19 Crimes 2012 Red Blend is an excellent table wine with balanced berry and spice notes. It’s strong enough to stand up to a hearty meal, but smooth enough to be enjoyed while impersonating an Egyptian (another of the 19 crimes punishable by “transportation”). This medium-bodied blend of Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon manages to retain its unique character despite its mutt origins — kinda like the place where it’s born.

The winery is located in Victoria, in southeastern Australia. It was established in 1870 when Mr. Bailey, a former shopkeeper, needed to find a new gig after the gold rush dried up and took much of his mercantile business with it.

Just as well. Nobody remembers the guy who sold salt pork and dungarees to ex-cons-turned-gold-miners. But plant some grapes, and you can grow a legacy that extends for generations.

That alone ought to make up for whatever crime ol’ Richard Bailey — or his forebears committed — to get a one-way ticket to Aussie Land. Was he the child of a clandestine marriage? Was his old man a riverboat captain who carried too many passengers on the Thames? Or was he just an incorrigible rogue? Any of the above was enough to get banished from Britain proper.

Whatever the case, it is well that he ended up in what has become one of the world’s finest wine regions, and that we can pick up one of his family’s wines for around $10 at the local Fred Meyer. 19 Crimes has a 2012 shiraz and shiraz grenache on shelves now. It would be a crime not to give them a try.

Aromatique: Spicy with berry and plum undertones.

Sip Quips: In the glass, the berry comes to the fore, with a hint of spice, and round finish.

Kitchen Couplings: Pork, seafood, lamb chops. Medium cheeses.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Red on February 11, 2014 – 12:11 am | Comments (5)
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A sleepover for seven

It's getting hot in here!A couple of months ago, the door burst open and, without so much as a knock, a wave of giddy 16-year-old girls bounced through the living room. Soon they were clad in their favorite pajama bottoms and chattering a mile a minute; our house was anything but quiet.“Hi mom!”, “Hey, mom!” some called out as they plopped on the couch. What a joy to have all seven of my “daughters” over for the night. The standard request for pizza, popcorn, soda and junk food was right on cue. “Can you get grapes too?”Grapes!? It was already high on my list but would not be found in the produce department. Before my sprint to the checkout line, I ordered pizza on the fly and veered my cart to the wine aisle. CIMG0403 - Copy2I made a single pass before a bottle of white nearly leaped off the shelf and into my cart. The name, “Seven Daughters” immediately resonated with me. After all the countless trips to that same aisle at Fred Meyer, I hadn’t noticed it before, but there it was, as perfectly matched as my evening with my daughter and her friends.

Being a parent is hectic. Between work, school, sports and trips to the grocery store, there are days I’m not sure whether to get out of my car or sleep in it. It’s the weekend and at this moment, it’s quiet. A candle flickers across the room and to my right our old cat is doing what she does best, napping in her favorite spot. While I welcome the tranquil interlude, the silence is deafening. As a parent, it’s the soundless moments that really grab your attention. What parent hasn’t thought, “It’s much too quiet”? Rarely does our parental Spidey-sense fail us completely.

I am sad to report, in a few short years those deafening moments of silence will steadily increase at the same rate my daughter matures. When she was 2 and when she was 10, it seemed like I had an abundance of time to spend with her. But now, that she is in high school, I am painfully aware how quickly the minutes pass. I still have so much to give her, show her, and teach her before she goes out into the big bad world on her own. It is because of my acute awareness that time is fleeting, I try to be involved the world she currently lives in, even when it means hosting sleepovers for a passel of teen girls.

They plowed through pizza, snacks, pop and grapes as if they hadn’t eaten in days. The movie, “27 Dresses” played on in the background as multiple conversations rose over and above it. I retired to my room, door wide open, relaxed on the bed and caught sentences ev27 Dressesery now and again.They chatted about boys, other girls, school, boys, preps and boys. They did hair and makeup and would occasionally pop in to show off their look or chat for a few minutes. I sipped my wine, thankful for the night, my life, and the moment. What a joy to be part of such a wonderful evening with my beautiful daughter and her equally beautiful friends.

By the way, the wine was great! I knew it would be. It’s a little tart on the tongue but mellows with a hint of sweetness. With notes of orange blossom, tangerine and a little spice, this California blend is very well balanced.Labeled as NV (and no, that doesn’t stand for Nevada) but rather a non-vintage wine. This usually means the grapes used are from different years as well as different varietals and/or vineyards.This is no way indicates the wine is “bad.” Seven Daughters White, is a blend of seven different grapes; Pinot Gris, Orange Muscat, Symphony, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

I had to research the Symphony grape because quite frankly, I had never heard of it.Turns out it isn’t just music to my tongue, but rather a California cross between two grapes developed in 1948, but not commercially released until 1982. Its intent was more for the hotter climate of California’s central valley, but is now grown mostly in the Lodi and Sierra Foothills region. These grapes are typically used in off-dry or late harvest wines.Can you believe I managed to get a little wine information amongst my drivel? Although this vino cost a little more than what we typically purchase to review, it was worth it. Fred Meyer currently has it on sale for $11.99, so hurry in and pick up your bottle! Especially if you will be hosting the next big sleepover. Cheers to parenthood! GULP!

Aromatique: Fresh melon packed with orange blossom and a hint of vanilla.

Sip quips: A little tart at first, but full of juicy fruit flavor. Not overly sweet or spicy. Has a nice creamy finish.

Kitchen couplings: Mild fish or chicken dishes would do well. Mild cheeses and any Asian cuisine pairing would be fantastic along with a little fresh fruit or salad.

Posted in Blend, Dribbles and drivel, White on April 28, 2013 – 8:11 pm | Comments (2)

Hills, horses and heaven

It's getting hot in here!Few images evoke the romance of the West more strongly than a herd of wild horses roaming grassy hills, steam from their collective breath diffusing the sunrise into a golden mist. This symbol of fierce independence and perseverance descended from horses brought to North America by Spanish conquistadors 400 years ago.

Wine grapes established themselves much more recently but have just as assuredly become a fixture in the western landscape. Washington’s Columbia Crest vineyard unites both bits of regional history in the 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Les Chevaux red wine.

“Les Chevaux,” for those of you whose knowledge of French is limited to fries, toast and whatever you learned in the back seat of first car, means “the horses.” The “hills” refer to the dry-but-fertile ground in eastern Washington where Columbia Crest grows grapes of consistent quality and intensity. The terrain and ever-present winds challenge vintners here, but the result in this case is an interesting, affordable wine.

We picked up a bottle for $11.99 at Fred Meyer on a co-worker’s recommendation. That’s a little more than we usually spend, but there’s value in knowing that someone’s already taken the wine out for a spin and enjoyed it. To be honest, we were so busy enjoying the first bottle that we had to buy a second to review. (This happens more often than we’d like to admit.)

The dark cranberry color and fairly unremarkable nose don’t immediately reveal this wine’s complexity. It brings a combination of berry and earthy oak flavors, with a hint of smokiness. The winemaker also claims notes of licorice, chocolate and mocha. Hmmm. Chocolate, maybe, but this wine doesn’t seem to aspire to those darker regions of the palate. The finish is slightly acidic, with tannins that excite the tongue without lingering.

This vintage is 80% merlot, 13% cabernet sauvignon and 7% syrah. According to Columbia Crest’s website, the 2010 growing season was cooler than previous years, and fruit was generally less plentiful. A consistently warm autumn ripening season resulted in grapes that produced wines of fairly low alcohol content and balanced acidity.

This is no sweet summer sipper, nor is it a heavy red best paired with beef or hearty pasta meals. It’s a delightful middle-of-the road blend that doesn’t skimp on drinkability or flavor.

Overall, this wine pairs nicely with the creamy Finnish summer soup we were enjoying in the dead of winter. There aren’t many things that are better on a cold winter night (it’s down around 0° as this is being written) than a warm bowl of homemade soup — unless it’s a warm bowl of soup and a glass of wine. And a vision of a wild stallion roaming the rolling hills of the upper Columbia River Valley.

Aromatique: The thin, almost watery nose is deceiving. It hints at a much lighter wine.

Sip quips: Intense blueberry and dark cherry backed by a hint of earthiness, oak and distinct tannins.

Kitchen couplings: Mild fish or chicken dishes would do well, as did our version of this creamy Finnish summer soup. Apparently summer in Finland is a lot like winter in Idaho.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Red, Syrah on January 22, 2013 – 7:37 pm | Comments (0)

Ooh la la … Lots to like about this wine!

Today’s French lesson is brought to you by someone who lasted exactly two weeks in French 101.  Lucky for you dear reader, I have mad Google skills. You’re welcome. According to About.com: “The French phrase ooh là là isn’t so much an expression as an interjection. It can indicate surprise, disappointment, commiseration, distress, annoyance … any moderately strong reaction to something that was just said or done. It can be strengthened with additional ‘s, always in pairs.” Examples of such an interjection could include, “Oh dear!”  “Oh my!” or “Oh no!” Although, the literal translation is, “Oh there there.”

I see London, I see France, I see you’re wearing granny underpants.  And frankly, my dear, those just won’t do if you’re planning to break open a bottle of Ooh La La 2011 Pinot Grigio. Trust me on this.  I’m feeling slightly under-dressed in an oversized sweatshirt and my favorite pair of granny panties.  Need a little boost of estrogen? All you need to do is hold the bottle in your hand. Bust out those frilly polka-dot undergarments ladies, we just might have found THE most girly wine yet!  

I read somewhere its innovative and unique packaging appeals to the “millennial female.”  Okay. Sure. Sign me up! I’ll be the new face of the millennial female, even if I might have been born a few years too early.

I wouldn’t say I have fetish, but I do have a black and white polka dot purse. Actually, my family has corrected me many times, because it’s actually a lunch bag. But since it seems to hold my wallet, car keys and enough crap to save the day at any given moment, I call it my purse.  So, it only seems natural that I would be drawn to the bottle without a second thought.  After all, when hasn’t a bottle of wine saved the day?

Ooh La La 2011 Pinot Grigio was just as I imagined it would be. It was crisp, and light on the palate, with hints of green apple and pear.  It’s fermented clean and cold versus using oak barrels, which ensure a slow fermentation. This method is used to preserve the virginal flavor of the fruit. This slightly effervescent wine did have one surprise: a bottle cap.  That’s right. No cork, no twist-off cap, just a simple bottle cap. You might be thinking, “That’s not wine! That’s just a very large beer minus the hops!”  But, it’s the truth and nothing but the truth.  Two Wine Slobs’ honor! (What little honor there is in being a wine slob.)

The Purse…or the lunch bag.
Depending on who you ask.

I did have one complaint, however.  Not about the wine, but about the website. It’s still under construction, much like Franklin Road in Idaho.  Will they ever finish it?  I hope so.  Millennial females like to be in the know. You know? But, “Oh there there,” don’t you fret.  They did manage to launch a Facebook page in August.  Which you can find here: http://www.facebook.com/OohLaLaWines.

And there you have it; a little French lesson, a new use for your favorite lunch bag, an occasion to wear polka-dot panties, and a fresh perspective on cold fermentation — all in one blog post. Ooh La La 2011 Pinot Grigio would be a great addition to any casual gathering with the girls whether you’re into polka dots or not. Ciao, wine lovers!

Aromatique: Fresh and fruity

SipQuips:  Crisp green apple and pears.  Very light on the palate.  Refreshing and fun!

Kitchen Coupling: Fresh green salad, white fish, light cheeses and fruit, pasta with white sauce.

Posted in Dribbles and drivel, Pinot Grigio, White on September 19, 2012 – 7:30 pm | Comments (10)

Fishy fingers and goat’s breath

Have you ever hoarded a bottle of wine because you knew it was going to be absolutely fabulous? Not that you were saving it for a special occasion, per se, but because you wanted to serve it with a mouthwatering spread of cheeses, crackers, fruit and perhaps a little smoked salmon?

You cue up your favorite British comedy (okay, so it’s not for everyone), plate some tasty nibbles and finally, the piece de resistance! Anxiously, you pour the wine, knowing you are on the verge of being insanely amazed by its fruity goodness. And then, you sniff, sip, pause, swallow and almost in the same moment, become utterly disenchanted. Welcome to our Monday night.

Thankfully, we still had our sitcom and tasty nibbles, but the wine. Oh, the wine! How you let us down! It wasn’t bad enough for the drain. We did finish it after all, mostly because I think we were hoping it would get better. That somehow, we might warm up to it if it warmed to room temperature.

We found our bottle of Charonge, a California wine, on an end cap at our local Fred Meyer and on sale for $7.99. The bottle was cool, and in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record in Idaho, naturally a white wine spiked with oranges would be a refreshing treat once chilled. Right? Wrong.

After our less than perfect new wine adventure. I thought I would check out the website, in case there might be a taste disclaimer. Instead, this is what I read:

It’s a white wine, but like no other. Its sun kissed with a twist. The flavors are so mouth-watering & refreshing, you’d swear citrus mermaids from far-off Orangeopia just hand-squeezed their magical nectar of refreshment into your mouth. No sniffing, no swirling. We buried the pretentions in a sandy spot along the warm coastline. We return from time to time just to throw a party full of kicking back and relaxing. That’s what Charonge is all about. Lift your glasses to the sky. Your thirst will thank you & so will your taste buds.”

Gag. Citrus mermaids from Orangeopia? Really?

I seriously doubt the wordsmith who crafted that little ditty has actually sampled this wine at all, because if they had they would have written something more like this:

It’s a white wine, but like no other. The flavor is so bitter, it’s like eating an orange rind and the aftertaste akin to a bad sunburn that won’t end. You’d swear incontinent mermaids from Pirates of the Caribbean just pissed in your mouth. No sniffing, no swirling. We buried the pretentions, along with our integrity in a sandy spot along the warm coastline. We return from time to time, just to kick sand in the faces of all the hopeful patrons who purchased our product and to roll around in our profits. That’s what Charonge is all about. Open your wallets and buy something else! Your thirst will thank you and so will your taste buds.”

A little harsh? Perhaps. (Especially if you actually enjoy a tart white wine with a finish of bitter orange rind.)

Yet, even though our love affair with Charonge was over just as soon as it began, we will purchase a second bottle. That’s right. We are willing give it a second chance. Think of it like a bad first date. Maybe, the expectation was a little high and it didn’t go as planned, but the evening wasn’t a total loss because you remembered you had a bottle of coconut rum in the pantry. And coconut rum makes everything better. And so, our next date will be with a Charonge Sunset. A little coconut rum, orange juice, Charonge, a splash of raspberry liquor and garnished with a slice of fresh orange. Shaken, not stirred of course. Cheers wine lovers!

Aromatique: Fresh oranges and peaches. Very fruity.

SipQuips: Slightly effervescent feel.Tart flavor, even when served with salty food. Unfavorable bitter finish of orange rind.

Kitchen Couplings: Served with strawberries, nectarines, grapes, herbed goat cheese, Oregonzola (gorgonzola from Oregon – AWESOME), dill Triscuits and smoked salmon.

Posted in Dribbles and drivel, White on August 25, 2012 – 10:10 pm | Comments (10)

Be. Flirty and a punctuation rebel. Just don’t forget to wear lip gloss.

The cork rolled across the counter exposing these words: Be. Radiant, Be. Bright, Be. Fresh, Be. Flirty.  I thought to myself, “Okay, I’m in. But what about ‘Be. Pissy’ or ‘Be. Medicated’ and what’s with all the periods?”  I really think this wine line could be expanded to encompass several other adjectives if we were being honest. Don’t you? Let me get right to the point.  This is a wine for chicks with poor punctuation.  Twenty something chicks, thirty somethings, eighty somethings and every something in between.  Wine dudes, this is not an invitation for you to leave because chances are good you either have a chick in your life or will have, in one form or the other.  We’re not here to judge anything but the wine, people!  Just the wine, only the wine.

Who among us does not adore an enormous bouquet of flowers and a smelly bottle of perfume?  (unless your are allergic – in which case, I apologize in advance)  This wine is absolute floral. So, it’s kinda funny  I decided to plop this insanely cute bottle in the middle of one of my flower pots before opening the bottle.  Once in the glass, a single whiff transported me to the middle of a flower garden. It was the Summer’s Eve commercial all over again!  (no period pun intended) Hell, I might be tempted to douche with it later…or not. But, seriously ladies (and wine dudes), Be. Flirty Pink Moscato 2011 isn’t as much flirty as it is girlie.  So much in fact, it would leave the most butch girl I know screaming to wear pink ruffled panties and Bonne Bell’s Lip Smacker.  Don’t believe me?  I double-dog-dare ya to try it!

From the website: “Inspired by a perfect blend of confidence and playfulness with a delightful finish of fun, Be.Flirty Pink Moscato beckons you to pull out the stilettos, and maybe dab a little of that expensive, special-occasion perfume on your neck as you head out the door to share some wine with the girls.” For the record, stilettos aren’t flirty, they’re sexy (and evil, if your arches are shot like mine) if not a bit trashy when paired with the wrong outfit.    Your far better off to leave the hooker heals stashed in the dark corner of the closet and opt for a pair of fluffy pink bunny slippers if your going to girl-up and drink this vino.

All kidding aside, Beringer vineyards the makers of Be. Flirty are really quite serious about wine.  It is a winery steeped in a rich heritage.  In 1868, Jacob Beringer left Germany to continue his passion for wine making in California.  He purchased land in Napa Valley with his brother Frederick in 1875 and a year later, Beringer winery was born.  During the construction of the winery, Frederick wanted to create a California villa similar to that of his families estate at Mainz-on-the-rhine in Germany.  The 17 bedroom mansion boasting 40 stained glass windows cost just $28,000 to build at the time. Roughly $6,000 of that cost was for windows alone. In 2001, the entire winery site was designated a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was also one of the few wineries to survive prohibition in the 1920’s.  Beringer had received the proper permits to continue making wine for medicinal and sacramental purposes. (yeah right) It is also the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley.

The Rhine House – I took this photo a few years back while touring the Napa Valley with my friend, Amy G. It was a fantastic adventure. I miss you, Amy!

Another  interesting find during my research is related to storage and aging. The brothers employed Chinese workers to hand-chisel rock tunnels totaling 1,200 linear feet for this purpose.  The tunnels, maintain a modest temperature of 58 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit year round.  It was an incredibly long project, taking 10 years to complete, but those same tunnels are still used to this very day.  Take that, Gaza!

(And you thought you wouldn’t learn something fantastically educational in this post!)

All in all, I really enjoyed this wine and the price.   We picked up this dainty bottle for under $ 10.00 at our local Albertsons. It was a wonderful reminder that being a little girlie and flirty from time to time is okay.  We can be whatever or whomever we want to be, are destined to be or need to be as long as we are able to just, Be.

*Note:  Fred Meyer is running a sale on Be. Flirty for $6.99 right now!  We picked up a second bottle on 6/21/12. Hurry in before the sale ends!


Just for fun:  What awesome adjective would you use to create your own “Be.” label?  Leave a comment.  We would love to see what you come up with!


Aromatique: Juicy berry with an intense floral aroma.

SipQuips: Very sweet flowery flavor with strawberry notes.

Kitchen Couplings:  I enjoyed this vino with a of Finnish Summer soup (potatoes, leeks , carrots and peas), but I would recommend pairing it with dessert rather than a meal.  Perhaps strawberry shortcake or a decadent frosted chocolate brownie?  A sweet dessert will diminish the sweetness of the wine.

Posted in Dribbles and drivel, Moscato, Rose on June 22, 2012 – 8:17 pm | Comments (3)