Upcoming Budget Wine Review Series

I’ve been reviewing a lot of decaf coffee lately, but I definitely haven’t forgotten about wine. It’s kind of impossible in these pandemic times.

Just in the past week I’ve been gifted some bottles, supplemented with a few grocery store purchases, and I’m eager to share. That Ava Grace Vineyards rosé was perfect with a bowl of pot roast and I’m already a longtime fan of Dreaming Tree. There is a ton of goodness out there that doesn’t require you break the bank. As such, I’ll be starting a budget wine review series to supplement my decaf coffee review series. Red wine, white wine, blushing wine: all of them at $30 or less.

It’s all about spreading the good word and saving money these days. These reviews will explore flavor notes, aroma, mouthfeel, packaging design, and food pairings. The rare time I step out of my $30 threshold and purchase a more expensive wine I’ll still review the bottle, but separately. If you like wine, or want to get into it, stay tuned. If not, I’ve still got plenty of coffee-related pieces on the way.

Ever Tried Making Wine In An Instant Pot?

I recently heard about the Instant Pot coming out with the Instant Pod, meant to compete with Nespresso and Keurig for the instant coffee crowd. Imagine my mingled fascination and disgust at the idea of making wine in one.

Now, I’m not against the idea of quick-and-easy wine inherently. I just won’t get my hopes up for the end result! This was a fun little video to watch: the creator decides to combine the iconic Welch’s grape juice and a little yeast into a (hopefully) wine-like creation, using the instant pot’s varied settings to properly ferment the brew. The results are about what you’d expect, but as far as I’m concerned, this is a great reminder about how much work goes into a wine bottle.

Give this a watch if you’re feeling experimental and want to play around while sheltering in place. Perhaps this could be the next dalgona coffee.

You Don’t Need To Shell Out $50+ For A Great Bottle Of Wine

Expensive wine and good wine aren’t always one in the same. Who knew?

A lot of people, as it turns out. Just unlikely the ones pricey bottles are actually aimed at. Vox released this short and amusing video on the convoluted nature of the wine market: already infamous for gatekeeping and snooty attitudes, it always goes a step further with its pricing model. The idea that expensive = quality is so pervasive that experienced wine tasters will outright contradict themselves on taste tests.

I rarely spend more than $30 on a bottle of wine, with my range usually between the $15 to $25 mark. If you could use a little more convincing that affordable is the way to go, my roommate’s parents are long-time wine drinkers who are all too happy to share their wine knowledge. When I asked if they’ve ever had a really expensive bottle of wine, they told me yes. When I asked if it was worth the price, they promptly told me no.

And there it is. At the end of the day, what you like is what you like.

Are You A Fan Of Sparkling Wine? You’ll Want To Keep Your Eye On Brazil

My favorite wine really depends on my mood and what I’m eating. That’s nothing new. What is new is how Brazil is set to take center stage.

Beverage Daily has a brisk, yet detailed breakdown on Brazil’s sparkling wine scene and why it’s set to dominate over the coming years. According to a few studies and interviews, it’s a mixture of several factors colliding at the perfect time: rising interest in sparkling varieties, high-quality flavors and very proactive marketing campaigns. That latter’s importance cannot be understated, as a lack of wine knowledge and exclusionary attitudes can be a huge barrier for new drinkers.

If you’re like me and are a fan of wine and coffee, Brazil is the perfect place to start looking.

You don’t have to be a wine expert to know the most prestigious wine origins hail from France, Spain and Italy. Following close behind is the ever-popular California, as well as a smattering of notable Canadian and South African producers. Wine is undergoing a very vivid cultural shift these past few years as drinking demographics change and the environment sees yet more blows to stability. What we know as traditional quality may very well not apply in the next decade. Why shouldn’t Brazil toss its hat in the ring?

Sparkling wine is fun. It’s tasty. This is far from the first time I’ve heard of its growing popularity and it won’t be the last.

Wine Tasting in Florida at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards and San Sebastian Winery on Winetraveler.com — History & Wine

Florida wine? Yes, you read that right. I’m not just talking about tropical fruit juice either. Wine made from grapes, albeit not the grapes you may be used to, but grapes nonetheless. There are currently 88 wine producers in Florida generating a lot of money for the state. Though most of these producers are smaller, […]

Wine Tasting in Florida at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards and San Sebastian Winery on Winetraveler.com — History & Wine

I’m often reading about (and trying out) wine from California and Washington. Occasionally I’ll pick something up from a third state, though Florida has yet to fall into that list. This is a very interesting look at Floridian wine and the unique varieties it brings to the table, from a specific kind of grape I hadn’t even heard of to experimental sparkling styles. Wine innovation is a huge deal these days and something that’s only going to get more common to bring in buyers.

I might just have to add one of these sparkling wines to my to-buy list…

The Best Of Both Worlds: Wine Ice Cream For All Your Depression Needs

What helps puncture doom and gloom? If you answered ice cream, you’re correct. If you answered wine, you’re also correct.

As a wise girl in a taco commercial once said…”Por qué no los dos?“. I recently saw these wine ice cream varieties and immediately found a new product to try once I start ordering things online again. I absolutely have to try the riesling, though the cherry merlot sounds sumptuous (see: addictive). Whether or not they actually boast the unique notes and aftertastes that differentiate basic fruit flavors from wine remains to be seen. I’ve had champagne gummi bears that lived up to their potential, so I’ve got high hopes.

Frankly, just the sight of this was enough to perk me up after days of dismal news and even more dismal statistics. We’ll be back to regularly scheduled marketing critique and industry news, but for now? Salivate with me.

Need Help Getting Into Wine? Learn About The Robust And Dry Spanish Red Wine Tempranillo

Saying you like red wine is as basic as saying you like clothes. Points for honesty and not much else.

What kind, from where, made by whom? It’s a lot of minor and major details, to say the least, and it’s not surprising this expectation of a historical deep-dive can turn new drinkers off entirely. More pieces lately have been cropping up concerning this self-imposed barrier in the wine industry, from complicated labeling to stubborn marketing clinging to a very specific demographic. Fortunately for new wine drinkers, the Internet is the great equalizer.

This great guide over on Wine Folly offers up a detailed, yet brisk breakdown of Tempranillo, the Spanish red grape that’s defined the country’s wine scene. It’s a very robust variety that’s sometimes compared to smoke and leather, quite a jump from the fruitier cherry and raspberry notes of some pinot noir varieties. That’s right alongside breakdowns of the grape’s history, cultivation and long-standing appreciation in today’s stores. While I’m looking to buy more merlot, I’m excited to try Tempranillo soon.

Next chance you get to visit the grocery store, consider double-checking your red wine origins for Tempranillo. You might just find a fresh (or rather, dry) favorite.

Two Great Things That Are Even Better Together: Wine And Kittens At Townshend’s Sip And Snuggles Event

You heard that right. Cute kittens and hearty helpings of wine all in one convenient place. And you thought perfection didn’t exist.

Back in January I visited the Townshend winery to try out some of their different varieties and get an up close look at all the work that goes into filling up a bottle. It was an illuminating experience for this relative newcomer to the wine scene: I was able to see their stores up close, try wine straight out of the barrel and taste wine that’s been impacted by the Pacific Northwest wildfires. Just when I thought it couldn’t be topped? Cute animals are brought into the mix. Oh, you mad geniuses.

It’s funny looking at these photos in retrospect, taken right before the world decided to spin off its axle and leave us all dizzy.

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wine corkscrews

Wandering With Purpose: Visiting Wanderlust Delicato For A Taste Of Local Culture

Props to my roommate for inviting me to places. I’d probably never leave the apartment otherwise.

My city — and Washington state in general — is well-known for its wine and coffee production. I chose a good spot in my life to bolster my business writing focus, as my location is more than ready to meet me halfway. According to the Washington State Wine Commission, there are around nine hundred wineries in the state of Washington alone: that’s the second highest in the country and an impressive number right after California’s chokehold. As such, I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone and giving some of these locations a try these past few months, all in favor of a (slightly) more adventurous 2020.

(slightly being the keyword here, I’m still a full-time introvert with a PhD in curmudgeonly isolation and now the coronavirus has given me even more ample reason not to step foot outside)

When we swung by Wanderlust Delicato back in February I was taken aback by its lovely decor, greeting me with shiny wooden floors, box crate walls and countless rows of wine varieties. A quintessential and classic choice for wine shops, sure, but with a homeliness that hearkens to the organized chaos of an attic or storage shed (if it were far cleaner). It’s a proverbial repurposed forest, inviting in a cozy atmosphere and rewarding the wandering eye.

And wander I did.

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wine bottles on kitchen counter

When Price Meets Quality: Five Affordable Pacific Northwest Wines At $25 Or Less

The Pacific Northwest is the queen of wine production in the United States. Whether or not this will change remains to be seen, because today’s wine selections aren’t giving an inch.

California has held the top spot for decades, followed close behind by Washington with nearly a thousand wineries to its name. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, congratulations: drinking local is as easy as throwing a rock! I’ll be doing another post on Washington-based wines in the future, but for now we’re going to take a look at some lower price point wines made throughout the Pacific Northwest. With wine still remaining inaccessible and convoluted at the best of times, every little crack in the veneer matters.

I’ll make it plain in no uncertain terms that I live on a small budget. My palette, however, isn’t exactly acquiescing. In an attempt to save and expand my horizons, I’ve decided to compile a list of affordable red and white wine brands I’ve tried over the past few months. I’ll go into the body, the flavor notes and what I like to pair them with, as well as other details like prominent packaging. Because you don’t have to go broke to enjoy a delicious, relaxing cup of pinot noir.

These are ranged from most to least expensive, with none going beyond the $25 tag (and if you exceed the limit, there are plenty of wine stores online).

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