Can I drink anything good for under $7 a bottle? Hells yeah!!

It has been brought to my attention that a lot of my recent posts have not hit on that real value end of the spectrum.  For some wine drinkers, a value wine is under $20, for others under $15 or $10. But there is also a large contingency that is looking for something cheap and drinkable under the $7 mark. Mind you, it is tough to find “great” wines at this price point.  However what we are looking for here is great value,  not top quality.

So with that, I give you my Top 7 under $7!

7. Fish Eye Pinot Grigio

Nothing too complex here, but the fruit is clean and the acidity is crisp. What else do you want from a $7 Pinot Grigio?!

6. Yellow Tail Shiraz

Bash it all you want, for about $5-6 this is an easy drinking Shiraz with lots of ripe, dark fruit.  And for a few extra bucks their Reserve is a big step up!

5. Il Bastardo Sangiovese di Toscana

This is the wine that has that fat Italian guy sitting in a chair that’s too small and drinking out of a glass even smaller. Funny label,  good juice!

4. Beringer Chenin Blanc

All the green apple and citrus that a good Chenin Blanc should have with just a hint of sweetness. Fantastic summer sipper at $5-6 a bottle.

3. Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon

Ever seen that label with the Rooster… that’s this wine! Lots of black cherry and cassis, but with soft and mild tannins. Smooth and supple.

2. Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir

Blind taste this next to Pinots 2 and 3 times the price and you will be shocked how well it stands up. The whole Pepperwood Grove line is solid, but this one stands out.

And the number one wine under $7 is….a tie!!

1. Black Box & Bota Box

That’s right… Boxed wine! It doesn’t matter which varietal you go with (Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.), these two brands provide the absolute best bang for the buck on the market. Box wine no longer has to be the sweet, cheap and nasty wine that gives you those viscous hangovers.  They are using good grapes and making really solid wine from them. And at around $20 a box that breaks down to $5 a bottle  (4 bottles per box for those non mathematicians out there).  So open it up and keep it in your fridge for the week…with the bag acting as a “bladder” inside the box the wine will stay fresh longer than in your fancy bottles.

Cheers!

Tips from a Brewmaster’s Table

Recently Brooklyn Brewery visited The TapHouse in Tuckahoe for another one of their innovative Beer Pairing Dinners. If you ever want to experience the TapHouse at their best… get yourself to the next one! Chef Kevin kills it in the kitchen and the staff really creates some wonderful beer pairings enhancing both the food and the brews. Garrett Oliver himself, basically the foremost authority in the beer industry, hosted this beer dinner which was pretty special. Below is a piece written by yours truly about the event. Some fun information on how Garrett recommends pairing beer with food instead of wine. Yes, even us wine guys can get into the craft beer craze as well ;)

Enjoy!

http://www.winemag.com/Wine-Enthusiast-Magazine/Web-2012/Tips-from-a-Brewmasters-Table/index.php

Talk about Zin-sanity!!

This week I attended the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) food and wine event in NYC. These guys are serious about promoting Zin and do a wonderful job at it. This particular event was a Pairsine Chefs Food & Wine Pairings,basically meaning they paired up a number of really nice dishes with different Zinfandels from various producers. The event was held in the Sun West Studios on the West side of Manhattan. Needless to say the views were pretty impressive and only enhanced while sipping  some tasty Zins! Here were a few of my favorites from the event.

Best Overall Zin: Ridge Geyserville 2009 Sonoma

Big and juicy with lots of spice, yet surprisingly smooth for a young Zin. Very sophisticated wine.

Best Family of Zins: Ravenswood Zinfandels

Everyone knows their entry level wines offer great value, but their small production Teldeschi and Belloni Zins were really impressive, especially from such a large outfit.

Best Newcomer: Chacewater Zinfandel 2010 Sierra Foothills

This is their first bottling and damn was it tasty! I see big things for these guys….

Biggest Surprise: Tie between Opolo Vineyards and Pedroncelli Winery

Opolo’s Summit, Mountain and Reserve Zins all showed very well, especially at the price points offered. Pedroncelli had 2 Zins, both under $20 that were soft with beautiful fruit. They also had a Zinfandel Rose (NOT White Zinfandel) I was somewhat skeptical about, but I will be seeking that one out for a summer BBQ sipper.

Biggest Disappointment. Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel 2009 Red Hills Lake County

I know, I know… everyone loves Cakebread. But in all honesty, I’m not sure I get it. In a room full of great Zinfandels, this one was just OK. It wasn’t bad, but there was nothing that really stood out about it. And of course, Cakebread is NOT cheap…

This ZAP movement is up and coming and they will be having more of these events throughout the country. So if you are a Zinhead (one who favors the Zinfandel varietal), then I strongly suggest checking them out the next time they are in town. The events are not inexpensive, but you certainly get your money’s worth both in quality and quantity of solid food and killer Zins.

Cheers!