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Good Cheap Wine Guide

The Quest for Great $10 Wines!

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Cheap Spanish Wine Albero 2006

February 8th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Albero Spanish Red Wine  Tempranillo Barrica 2006

Made with Organically Grown Grapes

Trader Joe’s $5.99

OK wine to cook with


RANKING: OK Wine To Cook With (or maybe make Sangria)

What Other Say:  This wine is quite mouth-filling on the entry with good concentrated red and black fruit, layers of soft black cherries with black fruits of the forest, definite spice and pepper components, and again that unmistakable hint of creamy vanilla from the American oak. It is very clean and rounded throughout. The midpalate is ripe with firm tannins, and yet there is supple fruit and quite a polished backbone in the wine through the nice finish. It is a solidly made wine from this normally rustic varietal. (quoted from Las Vegas Review Journal online, Jan, 2009)

What I Thought: Black and Gold labeling made this a perfect (looking) wine to blend in with the Super Bowl Sunday snack lineup.  That being said, there is little other reason to commend this wine.  A medium red like this should have been great with chili.  It should have been lush enough to surround the tongue and remove the spicy burn of the over-the-top salsa.  I should also have bet the Cardinals to cover the spread too.  None of that happened.  I had read on other blogs about this little find from Trader Joe’s but just didn’t feel the same love.  Harsh to the tongue, over the top tannin..not a great experience.  Maybe, like one of the blogs glowingly boasted, this wine would be a great foundation for a summer sangria.  Yeah, I could see that.  Mix it with fruit and throw in some booze, chill it to a near freeze and you might have something.  Other than that, drink something else, almost anything else.  This one is a sure disappointment.

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What Wine Goes with the Australian Open?

January 25th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Rosemount Estate, Mudgee Hill of Gold Shiraz 2004 $9

My wife is possibly one of the most competitive people I have ever met.  I used to be the only runner in the family…now she does marathons.  I used to kick her butt in tennis…soundly…I mean “ha ha” butt kicking…after 5 years of lessons and playing a couple times a week…forgetaboutit.  She owns me.  So, I still run (not marathons) but really have lost interest in most things tennis, yet, today, the Australian Open is all over the family dvr.  Hmmm, wonder who did that?

Well, I might as well enjoy watching a little tennis with the wife, so, yesterday evening while we watch a taped match of Dagnabitz vs Blagojevich or somebody, I smiled, nodded politely at her comments on the game and blissfully sipped on a nice Autralian red, Mudgee Hill of Gold Shiraz 2004.

I carefully chose this red from my cellar today because of the special conditions that…, OK, you got me, you all know me, it’s not a cellar it’s a wine rack and… I chose this wine because it was the only Aussie vino I had stacked up there.  Just the same, here we go. 

Mudgee Hill of Gold Vines

WHAT OTHERS SAY: From Rosemount Estate website

This shiraz has a deep, rich colour immediately indicating an impressive concentration of flavours. On the nose there are lifted perfume and spice aromas with a deep core of plummy, peppery fruit. The palate reveals velvety, ripe, fine-grained tannins, in harmony with the oak and seductively spicy fruit. The finish is rich and long, with cinnamon, cloves and wild fruit notes promising much for a further five to eight years careful cellaring.

WHAT I THOUGHT:  good enough a wine for my numb tongue

 RANKING: Good enough for my numb tongue!

Nice little sipping wine.  Fruity and not too full bodied as you would expect from a shiraz.  I did think the wine was a little bitter with a bit acidic feel on the tongue.  Still nice “swish and swirl” impact.  Deserves a nice glass just to watch the legs run around.  Not too oaky from aging like some shiraz I’ve had.  But again, I don’t know what I’m talking about so try it yourself.  At $9 you got little to lose.  Now I wonder if I can find a sport on tv with Pam Oliver on the sidelines? 

G’day from the wineoaf!

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→ 3 CommentsTags: Recent Quests (Wine Tastings) · Rosemount Estate

Another Reason To Drink Wine During The Holidays!

December 26th, 2008 · No Comments

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Wine for Holiday Guests

December 20th, 2008 · No Comments

“Drop in anytime! We’ll open some wine.”

Here’s how it happens, What you said: “Sure no problem, you guys want to drop by tonight? Great see you then!”   What you meant: “You want to stop by tonight? Great, the house is a disaster. I have a million things to do. The weather outside is frightful. If you slip on the deck don’t sue me! And we have nothing in the house to serve guests! It will be fun…some other time”

Then you remember, this guy would give up a kidney for you…and that could come in handy. So, let’s see, we have left over cheeseball, crackers and some frozen ravioli that hopefully is not too far beyond expiration date. Add some tomato sauce, cut up some fruit and life will be good. Then again, no matter how sparse the food offering, if we serve a good wine the night will be a certain success! Let’s open some!

Here are some good cheap wine ideas from posts of this year past to help you get through those last minute drop by evenings and maybe even enjoy yourself. Tis the season!

Moscato D’Asti Saracco: A great Asti that’s sweet enough to be dessert but dry enough to sip and savor. Cut up some apples and pears to try and hide the stale cheeseball. Serve very cold.


Santa Cristina Antinori: Add a little Italian flavor to your holiday. Great, easy to find inexpensive red that has good body and full taste. Great compliment to any Holiday snack table! Open two.  Room temperature and a little air time.


Greener Planet Shiraz-Merlot- Cabernet Sauvingon: If you (or your spouse) are convinced that keeping the thermostat low saves the planet, you know the “green earth = blue fingers” equation, bring out the Greener Planet. Just make sure your cheeseball is organic. Drink in recycled paper cups.  (just kidding)


Search the archives for other ideas or hit the self explanatory Good Cheap Wine Reviews table. Just remember the Holidays craziness only lasts a little while, a good friendship can last forever.

Cheers from the Wine Oaf.

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Trinchero Family Cabernet Sauvignon

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Trinchero Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $10.99
Trinchero Cabernet SauvignonServe This Good Cheap Wine to Guests

  RANKING: Serve Proudly to Guests

Another great little California Red Wine for around ten bucks!  Sunday evening, I’m on the verge of going 0-5 on my fantasy team!  (Who knew Schaub would get the flu?  You just can’t win without a QB!)  Unbelievable.  To punish myself for my poor judgement I cleaned the garage.  All this leads to is of course, other projects you remember you need to get going on…or finish.

Oh well, barbecue chicken breasts are on the grill and I am enjoying a great Cali Cab for around ten bucks.  You got to take the bad with the good…the good being this wine.

What Others Say: winemaker’s notes

Composition: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot

Once again, Trinchero’s Lake County and Central Coast vineyards yielded a powerful Cab that is deep, dense and ripe with black cherry, plum and a hint of earthiness. It delivers the warm fruit and broad mouth feel typical of Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon.

The medium plus body combined with juicy ripe fruit and flavor-enhancing acidity make this versatile wine an excellent complement to grilled steaks, salmon or even a meaty pizza.

What I Thought:Full flavored Cabernet without a weighty finish – fruity, earthy and warm – good color and body.  Definitely a good value for $10.99.  Great wine for sitting out on the deck and getting the aroma off of the grill and the nose of the swirling wine glass in compliment.  Good wine quest, great evening outdoors…. you’ve got to love Fall grilling.   Winter, please be slow.

Cheers from the wine oaf!

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→ No CommentsTags: California Wines · Great $10 Reds · Recent Quests (Wine Tastings) · Trinchero · Uncategorized