Posts Tagged ‘Wine under $5’

Virgin Vines Shiraz / Syrah (2007) red – California

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

What a DAY!  Everything seemed to go wrong today . . . I’m SO glad work is OVER!

This morning the shower leaked (which I had to fix), my phone fell behind the piano and my bicycle had a flat so I had to take my spare, running late I picked the wine without even looking at the label and peddled off to the office.

Things went wrong at the office all day and I barely made the boat.

AMAZING!  What a wonderful surprise . . . I want to get away and the wine is Virgin Vines Shiraz / Syrah (2007) a red from California.  The label resembles Virgin Airlines!

I know this wine will take me and my friends away from troubles and make our day better!

We sail at 5:30 from the San Francisco Ferry Building for Sausalito and we pop the cork.  As the voyage progresses our prospective changes from the city to the San Francisco Bay and then the view of the Pacific Ocean.  We see the ships sailing in and out to exotic locals.  What strange and exciting cargo do they bring.  I remember the song “Mule Train” with a long list of (looking at an attractive young and vivacious tourist from South Asia and can’t help but think of the “dress of Calico for the Pretty Navaho”).

Too soon we’re docking in Sausalito and we must come off our cruise across the bay remembering tomorrow we do the same again!

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Bought at Cost Plus / World Market

NOTE:  Syrah and Shiraz are the same grapes

Virgin Vines Shiraz / Syrah - 2007 - red California

Rene Barbier – Mediterranean Red – Catalunya (non-vintage blend) Spain

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Rain, rain, rain . . . the weather is changing and San Francisco winter is HERE!  Time for a nice chewy red (when your mouth holds the wine you know it isn’t water).

We make our way up to the top deck and the boat gets under way.  The heaters are on and we’re under cover on the top deck.

We pop the cork and the wine is ready to drink . . . this is a nice soft red but still with body to enjoy.  We cruise by Alcatraz and we’re ready for a second glass.  We have just enough to make a small second pour.  This is a popular wine!

As we pass the notorious island we notice the end of the rain is passing and heading east and we can see clear skies through the Golden Gate framing the famous bridge . . . what a site.

What a magnificent commute.

When we dock in Sausalito it seems a shame the commute has ended!

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Available from Cost Plus / World Market

Rene Barbier - Mediterranean Red - Catalunya (non-vintage) Spain

Rex Goliath – Cabernet Sauvignon (red) California – non-vintage

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Hurrah!  My niece is here.  She just got a job here down the street from the Ferry Building and is staying with us until she can find an apartment.  She’s one of the smartest people I know and absolutely happy with the world.  She has lived all over the world and just moved from Europe.

She’s always looking at the world for wonderful sights and experiences.  Boy are we ready to give one . . . She’s going to be on The World’s Best Commute with a party every day, The 5:30 Sausalito Ferry the San Francisco Ferry Building.  She’s working for a web publisher and does video.  For opening there’s a wonderful big, bold California Cabernet Sauvignon (red) by Rex Goliath, a non-vintage wine absolutely ready to drink but it can be stored for while.

Today the boat is absolutely loaded with tourists who are enjoying themselves immensely.  They appear to be college students and they’ve obviously slipped the leash and are Party Animals!

We open the bottle and we share it around.  My niece raises her eyebrows and asks, “Is this really less than $5 a bottle?”.

We laugh since we’ve had this wine before and many buy it regularly for home consumption . . . We all nod our heads and say “Definitely!”

We enjoy the run watching the sunset through the Golden Gate with the Bridge in silhouette.

The trip is over too soon, a fun time was had by all.

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

 

Berringer White Zin 2010 (white, blush, sweet)

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A hot day in San Francisco & I’m running low on white wine!  No time to panic or to get something else.

I’m on my way to the Sausalito Ferry which sails from the San Francisco Ferry Building at 5:30.

I’ve got a bottle I picked up at Target out of curiosity, I’ll take that and pack it in a FedEx Padded Envelope with some blue ice!  This bottle is Berringer White Zinfandel 2010 . . . Berrigner is a respectable brand by under $5 at Target and Safeway makes me skittish.

I quickly pack this and some cups and off I go.

When I arrive at ferry boat and we’re seated I open the bottle.  We pass it around and all remark on the brand . . . I haven’t told them it’s provenance (where I bought it).  It’s nicely chilled in the Padded FedEx Envelope (free and fairly good insulation!).

We open and pour.  Definitely okay!  It’s a little sweet but it does have flavor and goes down easy right after opening!  We sit and enjoy the highly unusual warmth as the ferry crosses the San Francisco Bay and the tourists enjoy themselves.

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Bought at Target, also available at Safeway and Ralph’s.

 

 

Berringer White Zinfindel 2010 (blush, sweet, white)

La Castella Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) (red) 2009

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Sailing Time!  I’m late for the boat!  Thank goodness for the bicycle tourists.  158 bicycles today and the Sausalito Ferry is late unloading at the San Francisco Ferry Building!

It’s a picture perfect day . . . and every tourist stops and takes a photo of the SAN FRANCISCO sign on top of the Ferry Building.  Meanwhile, us commuters patiently await while the aggressively dressed hard bodied young tourist girls.  Today seems that Asia is the source of thin and willowy girl tourists with giggles like silver bells in the sunlight speaking a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Tagalog . . . The last group on our commute was from Northern Europe, blonde, blonde and and occasional redhead with the throaty, hearty laughter speaking German, and Swedish!

As gracious regular riders of the Sausalito Ferry from the San Francisco Ferry Building we offer to take their picture . . . it’s so easy to be hospitable to beautiful girls whose laughter is a balm for even the most tired and care worn soul.

We live in the destination for beautiful gorgeous young women!

Tonight we’re trying a new wine, La Castella Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) (red) 2009.  Before the boat casts off we open the bottle with a highly audible POP!  The young tourists look at us and smile.  We pour a libation in our commute group . . . a wonderful and soft wine ready to drink immediatey.  Very drinkable.

We enjoy the ride and the scenery around the boat and on the bay.

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Available at BevMo at 2nd bottle for $0.05.

La Castella Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) red - 2009

Caves du Fournalet – Red – Cotes du Rhone

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

When you’re on the San Francisco Bay, it’s always sweatshirt weather… at it’s warmest.  Today looks like a typical day so’ we’ve got our sweatshirts and jackets ready!

It’s August and we’re riding the 5:30pm ferry across the bay home from work . . . the worlds BEST commute! The sun shines down on us as we watch the fog roll over the hills of Marin to the sound of clinking glasses, laughter with everybody have a nice time. This is just simply WONDERFUL! The wind blows through the bustling conversation among the usual tourists, commuters and friends as we pass Alcatraz and the opening of the Bay to the North Pacific.

The Golden Gate was named centuries ago after it’s appearance during  sunset, the whole opening turns golden!  If you watch carefully and the sun is going down when the ferry cruises across the sun reflects off the structure and for a brief moment the bridge appears to be made of gold!

I reach into my briefcase and pull out my bottle of Caves du Fournalet Cotes du Rhone. Cheers are raised!  This is our second bottle of wine tonight but the group is large and the party strong.  With a loud POP the bottle is opened and the wine is ready . . . this doesn’t need to breath to eliminate any off flavors!

This is a nice chewy red – ready to drink right after we open it but with some substance and this nice red warms you right up. We pour a round and savor the momemt – today, the world is good.

Cotes du Rhone (red), Caves du Fournalet, 2009

Cotes du Rhone, Caves du Fournalet, 2009

Epicuro – Nero d’Avola (red) 2009

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Party up, Party Down . . . Party time!

It’s a Birthday on a foggy, foggy day.  San Francisco is at it’s best.  the fog at ground level with the TransAmerica Pyramid sticking out!  The top of the Golden Gate Bridge emerges from the fog.

The party is on the 5:30  ferry from the San Francisco Ferry Building to Sausalito – Our regular commute, the world’s BEST commute!

We have a wine suitable for the occasion, Epicuro – Nero d’Avola (red) 2009.  This is a nice chewy red, not as heavy as cote de Rhone but still not a light wine.

One of us stopped at the bakeries in the Ferry Building, we have a beautiful cupcake for the tradition minded and a Cheese Wheel roll from Acme Bread for the more adventurous!

We open the bottle and the wine is good from the first pour.  After singing the appropriate song, we toast the birthday boy and cut the cupcake and Cheese Wheel!

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

From Trader Joe’s

Epicuro (red) Nero d'Avola 2009

Black Oak White Zinfandel (white / blush) – 2007 (dry, not sweet)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I’m Late!  I’m Late!  I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland!

I’ve got to get off to work and I forgot to pack a bottle for tonight for the Ferry Boat between San Francisco Ferry Building and Sausalito.

I grab the first bottle that come to hand, Black Oak White Zinfandel – 2007.  I normally don’t bring this type of wine, a white made from red grapes.  The Zinfandel’s skin is so dark it looks black but the inside is the slight yellow of white wine.  If crushed too hard or allowed to stay in contact with skin it turns pink and if left to ferment with skins it turns red.  Pinot Noir does the same.

Wineries call it various names white, blush, eye of swan, rose depending on what the marketing people recommend.  Many of these wines are made sweet.

I get some ice at work and chill the bottle for the commute home.

I bring it on the boat . . . we aren’t big fans of sweet wines, many only taste sweet and nothing else.  We open the bottle, many only take a small pour . . . SURPRISE!  It’s dry, not sweet.

We proceed to drink the small tastes we have in our cups with the second pour MUCH larger!  This wine is good and we’ll savor,  savor and savor thru the voyage to Sausalito!

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

Bought at Bevmo.

Black Oak White Zinfandel 2007 (blush)

Benefactor Cellars – Shiraz / Syrah (red) 2010

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

What to do?  What to do?  It’s a conundrum!  We need something different, remarkable but drinkable.  I’m walking down the aisle and spot the perfect thing.

An Oz wine (as in Australia).  The label on the Benefactor Cellars – Shiraz / Syrah (red) 2010 is VERY different, something from a Mexican Day of the Dead wood cut.  Australian export wines tend to be good and soft when they’re on the low end of the price range which this is.

I turn the bottle over and look at the back . . . again a VERY positive clue!  The winery has written about the wine, obviously they take pride in their handicraft!

I’m expecting a wine sales rep on the ferry tonight!  She’s a regular with her husband on the 5:30 Sausalito Ferry from the San Francisco Ferry building and she always likes exotic and unusual wines that are good.  So far most of the time her requirements are met.

We board the ferry and we pop the cork and pass the cups of wine . . . AHHH!  Another successful foray into the wine wilderness!

We enjoy the ride by Alcatraz and awesome view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’ve noticed that Shiraz / Syrah wine that is less popular than Cabernet Sauvnginon or Merlot so what’s available tend to be better quality.  Many wineries will sell an inferior Cabernet or Merlot but tend to do better on the less well known wines.

As always, a wonderful way to commute!

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

From Trader Joe’s

Benefactor Cellars – Shiraz / Syrah (red) 2010

Archeo (Ruggero di Tasso) Nero d’Avola (red) 2008

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

PARTY TIME!  We’re going to boogie, Boogie, BOOGIE!

We were on our way to a friend’s party, a fun and frolicking  potluck.  We live in San Francisco area and this is going to be a VERY international group (and a LOT of fun).  Most of the people at the party drink very little wine but the host has declared, “This is a wine themed party!”

We decide that we will bring a wine within reach, something very approachable both from cost and taste.  We are looking for a soft wine that comes in an attractive bottle.

The people work with number (accountants, etc.) but aspire to be Party Animals . . . they certainly get enthusiastic about these events!

The party is at night here in the San Francisco Bay Area and the night will be cold.  The food will come with many different spices, the piquant  (hot) of Thai and Indonesian, the garlic of Italian, the fish sauce of Vietnamese and heavy creams of Europe.  We decide a red with a tiny bit of pepper (hot like black pepper rather than vegetable like green peppers / capsicum).  It should be ready to drink and not offend anyone!  We hope by buying a wine under $5/bottle we can encourage people to discover wine.  We know the people will drink only a few glasses so we want our contribution to be a nice experience!

Archeo’s Nero d’Avola by Ruggero di Tasso certianly meets the bill.  It drinks well right after opening and goes down softly.  The bottle is beautiful, tall and stately with a gold label.  The wine is intensely red but smooth a very mild aftertaste (what wine people call finish).

This is a regular with my commute group on the Sausalito Ferry.

You can’t go wrong with Archeo’s Nero d’Avola by Ruggero di Tasso.

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

From Trader Joe’s