Posts Tagged ‘Wine under $5’

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)

 

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

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

Benefactor Cellars – Cabernet Sauvignon (red) – 2010

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

PARTY TIME!  We’re commuting on the ferry boat from San Francisco to Sausalito, THE PARTY BOAT! We have a 30 minute ride from start to finish. As we always do we have a nice wine that can go from corked to empty and is good. The Benefactor Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon certainly meets this requirement.  We’re enjoying the ride when suddenly we slow down . . . there’s a HUGE container ship in our way.  We do a little loop-de-loop and proceed.  This is now summer and with all the tourists the boat is behind schedule and I know the captain and crew want to make up time and this is NOT helping.

We start to enter Richardson Bay, the ‘slow down’ buoy, and then we do another loop-de-loop.  Is it a race?  We ask the ever helpful crew who say there’s a problem at the dock.  Another ferry has broken the lines and can’t get away from the dock.  We circle around and around.  Eventually we make to the dock.  Even then we have to wait while the crew jury rigs a set of lines allow the passengers to disembark and board.

We should have brought 2 more bottles!

For under $5 a bottle we have a wine that is ready to drink right after you pop the cork and is fun.

Benefactor Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (red)

Challis Lane Old Vine Zinfandel (red) – 2008

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

It’s a windy night on the San Francisco Bay. I’ve had to work late and I want a wine to share with my overtime buddies on the Sausalito Ferry. It will be chilly and dark tonight so I pick the Challis Lane Old Vine Zinfandel (2008).  This is kind of picante (pepper hot) and warm us up.  I like this because it’s a soft wine and ready to drink right after opening . . . unusual with Zinfandel, especially Old Vines.

I usually take the 5:30 PM Sausalito Ferry but tonight I’m on the 6:45 PM.  I wonder, “Who’s going to be there?”

Hurrah!  There are more tonight than on many of 5:30 run!  We open the bottle and pass it around.  Everyone is ready to party . . . this is NOT the work boat, this is the PARTY boat.  The warmth spreads through our bodies and loosens up the crowd.  We have a GREAT TIME!

Challis Lane - Old Vine Zinfandel (red) - 2009

Black Oak Merlot (red)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

It’s Friday and its a cold, windy San Francisco night, time for lovers to snuggle up under a blanket with a glass of wine. We’ve gone to the park to listen to live music. The fog is coming over the hill like a tiger (no little kitty cats for San Francisco fog!) Everybody brought a bottle of wine.

As with most people number of couples are sharing a picnic dinner with a designated driver. The half a dozen wine bottles clutter the top of the table, we can all taste various reds. We want something that goes down easy but warms us in body and spirit. An adventure in tasting the fermented fruit of the vine! The Black Rock Merlot (red) went the fastest and many were disappointed when it was empty, empty, empty!

Several people hold the bottle over their cup to squeeze out the very, very last drop out.

Espiral – Vinho Verde – White / slight sparkle

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

It’s a beautiful day and a bunch of friends are coming over and said, “What was that white wine with a spritz we had on the boat the other day?  It was like a cooler right from the bottle!”

I know immediately which one they mean, Espiral Vinho Verde (green wine in Portuguese) is a white wine with just a touch of carbonation.  The green in the name is because they bottle the wine before fermentation is finished.

When we had it the sun deck on the Sausalito Ferry was very warm.  A young lady came over and asked if we were enjoying the wine?  Of course we immediately offerred the lady a glass.  She admitted her interest was not altruistic but was a promoter of Portuguese products!  We spoke highly of the wine which she of course agreed with!  She asked if she could mention the incident in her material and of course since one never should turn down a pretty young lady, we readily agreed!

This wine is soft and goes down easy on a hot day and is low alcohol.

Best chilled.

Perfect for a B-B-Q

Drink immediately after buying, it doesn’t age well.