Welcome to Round 2 of the Guinea Pig Diaries and this month’s Virtual Beer, Wine and Cheese Festival! It’s been Tasting City at my house lately, and I CAN’T WAIT to share with you our fun finds!
Top (or Not) 12 Wines in our Tasting!
We’ll start with the whites and work our way ahead!
1. Frontera Moscato
A Chilean South American white wine, this moscato is anything but bubbly. Upon first pour, it’s smooth and golden in color. It’s got a sweet taste to start, and the finish is almost pear-like. This moscato is a dry, tart white and would pair well with most any dish.
2. Bel Arbor Chardonnay
From the Bel Arbor Vineyards in California, this chardonnay is blended with apple and melon fruits. It’s tart – like kick up your taste buds tart. I think it would best be paired with light appetizers or pasta with seafood. I served this white wine with a citrus marinated chicken.
We interject for a Thumbs Down:
3. The Infinite Monkey Theorem – American White Wine
Not all wines can be winners, but of the dozen we sampled the past week, this one was really the only BAD one. Brewed and sold (in a can!) only in Denver, Colorado, my honey picked this up on the road as something for us to try. At 13% alcohol, this carbonated white is a very bubbly, light champagne in color. Unfortunately, neither its aroma or taste matched its fun packaging or color. It had a slightly skunky aroma to it, even though we did pour it into wine glasses. The fizziness of this particular wine is not a light refreshing bubbly, but more like the candy explosion equated with Pop Rocks! Not a soul at our tasting finished their glass of this wine. Buyer Beware.
We now return to our regular tasting! And the rest were all spectacular!
4. Lost Island Wines – Apple Cinn-Ah-Mon and Exotic Fruit
Purchased at a local winery, these fun bottles were the party people of our picks! Fun and festive packaging matched with fruity wine blends, Lost Island was a taste bud fave! To start with, the Apple Cinn-Ah-Mon, at 12% alc, smells just like apple pie! It has a cool, crisp start with a warm cinnamon finish. Creators and owners of Lost Island Wines already boast of an even better bottle for next fall premiering more apple and spice for that cozy autumn season. They may want to start selling it now as Wisconsin has failed its attempt at achieving spring season. Could mean more nights in with a blanket and a glass of Apple Cinn-Ah-Mon!
The Exotic Fruit was the perfect blush to lead us toward the red wines. Similar to a White Zinfandel, Exotic Fruit has notes of passionfruit and berries. It smells like a delicious perfume that I would love to get my hands on! Seriously, you’ll want to wear this stuff! It is sweet, but not sugary, clean and smooth. A definite re-buy in my book!
5. Fancy Pants – Red Wine
With a label declaring “I Wear the Pants!” this California red wine was another popular guest at the tasting! At 13% alc, you’d never guess its mass appeal. This wine was the first one everyone took a full glass of at the end! Fancy Pants is a mixture of cherry and plum fruits, and expectedly is a dark ruby in color. The plum was the standout flavor for me and it was great with hard cheeses, which I thought brought out the sweetness of the wine. Fancy Pants is a perfect wine to share with girlfriends, not too dry and not too sweet, but a perfect blend of red wine goodness.
6. Apothic Red
A staple at my book club meetings, Apothic Red wine is an affordable red wine blend of a rich zinfandel, smooth merlot, flavorful syrah, and bold cabernet sauvignon. The name comes from the word Apotheca, which was a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe. It’s a dark red in color with hints of mocha and vanilla in the taste. It’s full, or should I say filling (*wink*), smooth, fruity, but not too sweet.
This bottle came from the Laithwaite Wine Club my honey is a part of, and which I’m most privileged to be privy to on special occasions! Blended in Sonoma County, CA, a land that is good to the zinfandel’s dark skinned grape. It combines red berries, white pepper, and cinnamon with its entirely hand-picked and sorted grapes, then is aged in oak barrels. The entire process living up to its namesake Kore – or beauty. It is crimson in color and goes with anything you’d serve at a Thanksgiving meal! To taste it is silky smooth, warm, but not too alcoholy to enjoy on its own for a great night in!
8. Folonari Chianti
A tasty and affordable chianti! Something tells me even Hannibal Lector wouldn’t snub his nose as this Folonari blend! Made in Italy, the Folonari family has been winemaking since 1825 and pioneered the production of wine in a bottle so that people, such as you and I, could enjoy a fine wine in the comfort of their own home! Cheers to Folonari! This chianti was ranked #41 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 and has cherry, strawberry and floral notes. The aftertaste seemed almondy to me, and would be a great introductory chianti to anyone who’s unsure of whether they’d like one or not.
Another of the Lathwaite Wine Club collection, this pricier bottle is made by Paolo Masi in Tuscany, and is a Gold Medal Winner at the Mundus Vini 2012 world’s largest international wine competition! The chianti uses the sangiovese grape which grows well in the Tuscany area and makes for a warm and inviting flavor; this particular chianti adds in notes of sweet cherry, spice and refined tannins. It’s a medium garnet in color with a lovely berry aroma. It pairs well with most foods, but especially pastas and hard cheeses!
Little Black Dress is the fashionable wine that partners with charities to support women and their success. I already like this wine! Add to that great cause some notes of black cherry and blackberry and we have ourselves a sharp, dry red! This one is more robust at 13% alcohol content, but definitely tasty! With its sleek label and saucy branding, this is a great gift wine for the professional women in your life, or even for a night out with your besties. Wear your heels!
Best kept for the end of the night, this port wine has a 17% alcohol rating. Made in Western France where the brandy industry is popular. This bottle is a mix of wine and cognac. It has a warm, sweet beginning with a robust, alcohol finish. If any Midwesterners have been feeling chilled to the bone this long, long, loooooong, long winter, then port is for you! Light in color, this liquid leaves a layer on the glass from its syrupy nature. If eating the crust of bread puts hair on your chest, then drinking a thimble full of this will warm your belly up!
All wine tastings should end with the dessert wine, typically very sweet and good in small doses – if you know what’s good for you! Sampling another bottle from local winery, Lost Island Wines, this dessert wine was more dry, but still sweet in nature. It had a gorgeous rose gold coloring. The taste at first screams chocolate but mellows to more berry afterward. It’s a light, velvety wine that could leave you licking your lips to taste every last drop! Best when paired with…more chocolate!