Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not strictly mixology

Wine can be wonderful. It might be slightly out of the purview of this blog to discuss wine as it's not frequently used as a mixer (eeuw). However it is still a drink, and technically winemakers do mix things to make it (grapes, yeast, occasionally water although they don't like to talk about that). So I'm putting up my current list of really, absolutely drinkable not-bad wines under $10. Really. Trust me.

(Full disclosure: I have mixed wines with lots of things they shouldn't be mixed with, and tortured friends with the results at parties. One of my finest concoctions was a sweet-hot blend of Sauvignon Blanc, pear nectar and sriracha. Hard to say what the direct cause of the next day's prolific vomiting was, but I like to chalk it up to alcohol volume rather than specific content.)


Cline Zinfandel (CA) - they have really interesting more expensive wines, but their basic zin sells for $8-10 and is reliably good. I've been drinking it since 1998 and have never been disappointed.

Coppola Rosso (CA) - thick, chewy, and distinctive enough for even me to pull out of a blind tasting (I'm terrible at them), it's a typical loud California red without the screaming fruit. Also have been drinking this one for years and have found it pretty consistent. A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet. Usually around $9-10.

Excelsior Cabernet (South Africa) - very purple for a Cab, reasonably dry with a blackberry thing happening in there somewhere. Not strictly under $10, as my local wine shop sells it for $12.99, but they put it in the "buy one get the second half off" section, so two bottles come in under $20. Let it breathe for 30 minutes or so. Seems silly for a cheap wine but it helps.


Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc (CA) - it's inoffensive. I don't mean to damn with faint praise, it's really okay. The taste evaporates before you even get a chance to swallow, which is a little unsatisfying, but it's light, slightly acidic, nice for a summer afternoon and really inexpensive. Usually retails for around $7.99. Now if we only had a nice summer afternoon everything would be perfect.

Zarafa Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa) - retails for $3.99 at Trader Joe's. $3.99!! Try it. Nicely floral nose, a bit boring on the tongue. But it has a cute giraffe on the label and is totally drinkable.


Still searching here. The few good pinks I've had have been in the $20+ range, but there has to be a decent cheap one out there somewhere...

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