Posts Tagged ‘tasty cheap wines’

Tommolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (red) non-vintage

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  The weather forecast is unclear and ambiguous.  Sort of like every fortune teller!

San Francisco and Sausalito show sunny and warm . . . BUT the marine forecast is for chilly temperatures, fog and winds!

As Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” or as another wag said, “You spend the day in your bikini but by 5:00 you’d trade your firstborn child for a set of long johns.”

I have epiphany!  Like a strike of lightning I know what to bring, Tommolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (red) non-vintage.

Montepulciano is a reliably nice wine and you can’t go wrong getting it for a tipple.  It’s on the edge of heavy but still soft and very drinkable.

I get to the 5:30 ferry from the San Francisco Ferry Building to Sausalito.  When we get on board and there’s a wonderful surprise!  Today was Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building and we have a very nice crusty Acme bread, some hummus and a little sharp cheddar from Cow Girl Creamery.  Someone else has brought a roll that Acme Bread makes called a Cheese Wheel.  A flat roll with a center of melted cheese . . . Mmmm!

As we board the boat the air is warm and we look very different from the tourists.  Most of our group wear sweaters and or jackets while the tourists are dressed in shorts and tank tops.  We describe the young ladies as “aggressively dressed”!

We open our bottle of wine and share out the wine and the impromptu munchies.

We cast off and start across the San Francisco Bay.  As we pass Alcatraz there’s a sudden change in climate!  We enter a fog bank.  The fog is a solid wall, in just a few seconds we go from bright and warm sunlight to cold, chilling fog.

As we listen to the tourists freezing we’re so glad we’ve come equipted with the right wine, Tommolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo !

Life is good.

Cheers, Willy

Bought at Trader Joe’s

Tommolo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (red)

 

Delicato Merlot (red) – 2008

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Monday!  Off to work!  The weekend is over and it’s time to plan today’s party!

Time to pick the wine for the party, THE important part of the commute home after work!  To make Monday morning easier I spend time selecting the wine to pack.

Today is expected to be cool and windy . . . a typical day on the San Francisco Bay.

My commute is GREAT!  I take the Sausalito Ferry from the San Francisco architectural gem, the Ferry Building.  We have 1/2 an hour to open and drink our wine.

What is needed is a nice soft red.  This means drinkable and goes down easy.

The long anticipated end of the day arrives.  We board the boat and time to PARTY!  We immediately head for the top deck and take the seats in the middle . . . we know we can see just fine from the inside and tourists want to sit at the edge.  Tonight is one of the magnificent, perfect evenings that brings gasps from the tourists.  The sun is shining on the bay and the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge is shrouded in fog with the towers protruding above the fog.  The tourists are shooting pictures . . . as a courtesy several of us offer to photograph the couples trading holding the camera.  We frame the picture in the stern with the Life Ring with the name of the boat, the couple and the bridge, and the headlands or Alcatraz, whichever we know will be more dramatic.

It’s the least we can do to make them feel welcome  as they share the world’s greatest commute!  Watching and helping people enjoy themselves is wonderful.

We tell them some of the good photos . . . get the sign at the Sausalito Dock that says “Welcome to Sausalito” and the return trip to San Francisco with the ferry Building “San Francisco” sign.  We

We don’t decant, or let our wine breath . . . sometimes we do use a wine that’s good after it’s Gasped (any off taste is gone in under 5 minutes).

This does need a minute or 2 after it’s opened but that’s all.

We have our wine and watch the people and the view.

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

Purchased from BevMo.

Delicato Merlot

Delicato Merlot

 

Challis Lane Merlot (red) – 2009

Friday, September 16th, 2011

The clock moves SO-O-O slow!

It’s Friday after a very long week with lots of stress and now almost quitting time and I have to admit that today I’m a clock watcher . . .

I remember by Junior High School Teacher’s note under the clock in his room “Time will pass; Will YOU?”

Tonight we’re going to have one of our regular wines, .Challis Lane Merlot (red) – 2009.

We’ll drink this wine on the Sausalito Ferry with runs between the San Francisco Ferry Building and Sausalito, California.  I don’t care what some silly rating agency says, this is THE party boat in the world.  I’ve ridden the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and OURS IS BETTER!

 

 

Challis Lane Merlot (red) - 2009

Black Oak Pinot Noir (red) 2009

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Hurray!  I survived another day of drudgery at my place of employment!

Now for my favorite part of the day . . . my commute!  I ride the 5:30 ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito which is 30 minutes of party, Party, PARTY!  We’re the most non-exclusive group . . . limited only by the number of cups!

The sun may be shining but it is typical San Francisco weather . . . cool and windy . . . many call it sweatshirt climate.  We drink a lot of red wine and tonight fits the bill.

To accommodate the weather we have a bottle of Black Oak Pinot Noir (red) 2009.

We open the bottle and the pop the cork brings smiles to everyone . . . anticipation has set in!  We happily distribute glasses with anticipation and then we pour the wine, passing the bottle from hand to hand.

We taste and savor the 1st sip.

This is nice and soft and the high alcohol warms us right up.  It goes down easy and everyone is quite delighted.

We party on, we have our glass of cheer and finish the ride with a much better attitude.

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy.on.Wine

Black Oak Pinot Noir (red) 2009

Gaitano D’Auino – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (red) – 2009

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I need a wine for the worlds greatest commute – our ferry ride from San Francisco to Sausalito . . . the weather is forecast as cold, wet with wind.  A typical foggy, foggy day on the San Francisco Bay.  No cat feet for San Francisco fog, the local name for one canyon says it all, Hurricane Gulch!

We’re on a hunt, an expedition for just the right thing.  We need  a nice chewy red that will go down easy.  Something that will fight off the foggy, foggy dew!

Eureka!  Just the thing!

A Montepulciano and one from Abruzzo (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)!  I’m walking thru the wine section and see one of my favorites grapes and from it’s best region.  I’ve never had a bad Montepulciano!  This one I save for a brisk commute on the Sausalito Ferry.  We open and pour around the group – as expected there are smiles throughout!

We don’t even make to Alcatraz passage before it’s gone!  We pour our second round!  It’s just as good as we remember!

Feel free to buy and enjoy!

Cheers!

Gaitano D'Aquino - Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (red)

Round Hill Merlot (red) 2008

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Its a picnic! We’re off to Marin Headlands for a picnic! We’ll watch sailboats flying thru the Golden Gate, the freighters and tankers steaming with cargoes from exotic climes and fishing boats with all those people who have the bumper stickers saying, “I’d rather be fishing”. For the kids we’re bringing kites and a bird guide.

We’ll be up at the picnic tables at Battery Wallace. The view is fantastic but the wind is strong (kids love the kites!) and soaring birds (hawks, seagulls, vultures, etc.) hang in the air currents there – a beautiful sight at a beautiful site!

We know the weather will be chilly so we need a red wine. I decide we should try the 2008 Merlot by Round Hill.

I’m a little suspicious of the Round Hill since they have a prominent logo for “Committed to Sustainability” – many times an indication of bad wine by putting a politically correct label (like “educational” toy).

However, I’m very pleasantly surprised that the contents of the bottle is very drinkable.  Soft, ready to drink at opening, a good aftertaste (what wine people call ‘finish’).  Not a peppery as a Zinfandel but a little warmth.

All in all a good time was had by all (including the seagulls).

Round Hill Merlot (red) 2008

Sutter Home Riesling (white, sweet) 2009

Monday, September 12th, 2011

What a day!  It’s September, the warmest time in San Francisco.

It’s 4:00 o’clock and I’ve got to bring a wine on the ferry for our commute home.  Ive decided on a 2009 Sutter Home Riesling.  I’ve got to decide on the wine by 4:00 because I need to put it in an insulated envelope with some soft blue ice.  I get the envelopes from a shipping company . . . we’re used to seeing the logo when we have chilled white wine.

I bring out the wine.  There are a large number of summer tourists from somewhere in Northern Europe.   They’re all tall, very fit and very blonde.  My wife describes the hard bodied young ladies as “aggressively dressed”.  We decide the term fits.

Slightly Sweet,  with medium flavor (not soft).  Has slight sour aftertaste (finish) which can be nice on a hot day to kill your thirst.

Cheers.

Sutter Home Reisling

Cavit Pinot Grigio (white) – 2009

Friday, September 9th, 2011

We’re going up the Sacramento River to the town of Brentwood.  It’s early morning and we’re driving against the commute.  We’re driving in my convertible with the top down and wearing broad brimmed hats.  We’ve left early since the weather report says the temperature will be over 100 degrees and the sun is very bright.

In the trunk we have a cooler with a bottle of Cavit Pinot Grigio 2009 just waiting for lunch!

Brentwood is famous for the u-pick fruit orchards which my wife LOVES!  In addition, another couple I’ve known for years bought a house up there and we’re going up to visit them after we pick some fruit.  The drive is very scenic and we’re enjoying the day.

We stop and pick some peaches, apricots and nectarines.   The apricots are PERFECT.  The ones on the south side of the trees (the sunny side) have got a little pink blush and are ripe to perfection!  YUM!  We eat too many as we pick.  They must be handled carefully since they are SO ripe!

The nectarines are next.  The trees don’t have as much fruit but they are sweet and can be split open and eaten like a little in halves . . . like a donut (only healthier).

Peaches are last . . . finding them is HARD!  They’ve been picked over but the ones remaining are super ripe . . . eat now and they’re great.

We arrive at my buddies’ and they’re out on the boat dock fixing the railing.  The day is hot and we pitch in and get that part done.  My wife goes to the kitchen, cuts up some fruit and brings some glasses and a cork screw.

Cavit Pinot Grigio – on a hot day this refreshes and cools us.

We fire up the grill and cook some meat and corn.  They have a salad all ready.  We relax away the afternoon.

We are doing GREAT!

Note:  Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same wine (Italian and French).  Mildly tart – think grapefruit that will relax and stimulate conversation.

Serve chilled right after opening.

Cheers!  Willy

Cavit Pinot Grigio

Black Oak Shiraz / Syrah (red) – 2006

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

It’s the end of summer and Labor Day is upon us here is San Francisco.  The weather matches Mark Twain’s description . . . “The Coldest Winter I ever had was a Summer in San Francisco!”.

My sister is flying in from Sun Valley, Idaho and is meeting  with some of her buddies while I finish the work day.  She flies in and comes to my office.

My sister is very elegant.  She  has the perfect posture and carriage from her training as a dancer.  Her perfectly quaffed  blond hair is always paired with the most stylish of wide brimmed hats.  She lives and works in Sun Valley where fashion is important and the sun can be brutal . . . and she stands out for being chic and a vision of perfection, including her signature hats!

We park her bags under my desk and off she goes to her meetings.    She’s really good at mixing work and friendship . . . her friends are also the people she does business with.  It makes her life so much fun to mix the two up – friends and co-workers!

When 5 o’clock rolls around she’s back and we head off for the ferry.  My sister is FREEZING!  She digs out a Sun Valley summer jacket from her bag and she’s STILL cold.  I know just the cure . . . the nice red wine for the commute home.

I’ve packed a regular ferry wine, Black Oak Shiraz / Syrah (red) – 2006.  NOTE:  Shiraz and Syrah are different names for the same grape.

We’ve already decided that rather than deal with the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour we’ll just take the ferry to Sausalito and my wife has agreed to pick us up in Sausalito.

We get on the boat and the ferry crew flirts with my sister outrageously . . . she obviously enjoys the attention.  We go up to the top deck and meet my regular commute party gang.  We open the bottle and share.  It’s a nice soft wine and it is shared out among the gang.  My sister becomes the center of attention and charms everyone!

Before we know it we’re in Sausalito and everyone is sad to have the ride come to an end.

A very successful commute party indeed!

Black Oak Shiraz / Syrah (red) 2006

Alandra Red – Blend, non-vintage – Pot Luck wine!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Party, party , party!  We’re off to a pot luck party!  One of my wife’s buddies is THE pot luck party animal!  She does one a month and they’re FUN!  The secrets to having a good experience are

  • Have a ‘spark plug’ person who loves to be social (our buddy)
  • Bring something you like and present it well

Our assignments at this back yard barbeque are a fruit salad (my wife) and a bottle of wine (me).

We know that these will sit outside so must be temperature safe.

We picked up a 2 gallon glass punch bowl that’s perfectly cylindrical at a garage sale.  My wife slices a fruit without a core (kiwi, orange, etc.) and stacks them around the edge as she fills the bowl with regular fruit salad.  This presents very well.

My assignment is the wine.   I decide on Alandra Red, one of the under priced Portuguese red wines.  Perfect for the back yard event.

A nice soft red, ready to drink but improves after breathing for 10 minutes. One serves the wine at room temperature.  Can keep a while (year or 2) but no improvement with age.

We arrive at party and get a big hug from my wife’s buddy, the music is going and we dance, dance, dance!  The wine loosens every one up and the fruit salad is SO refreshing when we get heated up!

Great fun was had by all!

Alandra Red