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Archive for March, 2009

Wine Review – 2008 Concha y Toro Cabernet-Merlot Frontera

concha-y-toro-cabernet-merlot-frontera-2008From: Chile

Price: $7.99 (1.5L)


Finally, a recession busting red wine that is pretty darn tasty.  I paid $7.99 for a 1.5L bottle (magnum) of this Cab/Merlot blend, and was floored by its price-to-quality level.  At what works out to be $4 per 750ml, there is a lot to like here.  The only problem with this value Cab/Merlot is the short finish.  It leaves you wanting for more, but for the wrong reason.  You feel like you’re missing something at the end – the berry taste just dissipates.  In my opinion though, this is a great inexpensive “house wine”.  If this wine had just a little bit more punch to it, I would be buying it by the jugs.


Speaking of jugs, I would love to see the folks at Concha y Toro turn this Cab/Merlot blend into a box wine. Why you ask? Because, I believe that it would make for an incredible box wine. This is the kind of juice that you don’t mind sipping during the week and having it stay fresh on the kitchen counter for a month or so. 


I give it 3 Stars. At $4 bucks a bottle, this red wine tastes as good as or better than wines double it’s price.


Checkout the Concha y Toro site for food match and recipe ideas.



WineLife365 Rating: 3-Star

Choosing Wine Glasses

How many different types of wine glasses does a person need?


The folks that make the fancy glasses like Riedel and Spiegelau have a wine glass for every type of wine imaginable.  But who has storage space for all of those different glasses, and wouldn’t you rather spend your money on wine instead of all of those glasses?!


I say four different shapes should be sufficient for anyone:

1.) A fancy glass for white wines

2.) A fancy glass for red wines

3.) A Champagne glass

4.) A good old all-purpose wine glass


Obviously, it’s up to you to determine how many of each of these you’ll need.  You will need to factor in how often and the size of the group that you typically entertain.





Dirty Dozen

So here’s a question I’m asked frequently - “What is the best wine”?  Given that this question is sort of along the lines of “what’s the meaning of life?”, my response is always the same - “I don’t know”.  Actually, that’s my response to both those questions.  But I digress….focus with me people, focus.  With thousands of different wines to choose from, how can anyone really tell you which wine is the best?  It’s purely a subjective preference.  I personally love to drink French Chardonnay, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and Spanish red wines. These are the types of wines that I could drink every day.  But you might have a totally different opinion. Trying different types of wines allow you to figure out whether there are types and styles that your palate prefers.


So perhaps a better question is – “Are there any particular wines that you feel are consistently good year after year, that represent a good value”?  That just might be a bit easier for me to answer.


Below are the 12 wines and wineries that have never let me down in my short wine life.  All of the wines listed below are priced under $15.00 and should be easy to find.


  1. Chateau St. Michelle Riesling – Washington State
  2. Columbia Crest Chardonnay – Washington State
  3. Escudo Rojo – Chile


My personal favorites in this group are the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc and the Escudo Rojo.


If really pressed to name wineries that I feel make consistently good, inexpensive, red and white wines, my response would be:


  1. Chateau St. Michelle (Washington State) – a rock-solid line-up of white and red wines, however they’re not as inexpensive as they used to be.
  2. Columbia Crest (Washington State) – Everything these guys make is great.
  3. Concha y Toro (Chile) – Concha Y Toro is the largest wine producer in Chile. In my opinion, the best wine producer in the world because they can make great tasting $4.00 wine and awesome $100 bottle of wine.  These guys can do it all at any price level.

Wine Review – 2006 Hogue Fume Blanc

hogue-fume-blanc2From: Washington

Price: $8.99


Hogue Cellers is Washington state’s third largest winery behind Stimson Lane (Château Ste. Michelle/Columbia Crest) and Constellation Brands (Columbia Winery/Covey Run).  But Hogue is the largest family-owned winery in the state, producing 450,000 cases per year.  Brothers Mike and Gary Hogue founded Hogue family winery in 1982.  The winery is recognized in the wine community as a great producer of value-priced wines.  These days the brothers have been focusing on producing outstanding mid-priced wines.


This particular Hogue wine is called Fume Blanc.  Let me first start off by saying that there is no such white grape known as Fume Blanc.  Fume Blanc is really Sauvignon Blanc in disguise.  Robert Mondavi first coined the term “Fume Blanc” in the late sixties.  Mr. Mondavi wanted to create a marketing buzz in the United States for a white wine that would sound unique and very American.  He legally had the Sauvignon Blanc name changed to Fume Blanc and the rest is history.  Americans have accepted “Fume Blanc” as their own, but probably never realized that they were actually drinking the native French white grape Sauvignon Blanc.


This “Fume Blanc” is a very well made wine.  It has a great lemon zip that gets your attention very quickly.  We had this wine by itself and really liked it a lot.  I think that it would be awesome with a Caesar Salad, Grilled Seafood, or a Vegetarian dish.


The 2006 Hogue Fume Blanc is good, but my heart and taste buds are still with New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.  This is a solid value-price Sauvignon Blanc.  I’d buy this again in a heartbeat.


WineLife365 Rating: 3-Star

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