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This one’s for you, Casey!
A while ago, a dear friend of mine came walking through our front door carrying a big jug of wine in her hand, called Wine Garage. I thought to myself, “Holy crap, she’s either homeless and never told us, or she’s smoked way too much Christmas Weed?!” I wanted to say, “CHILD PLEASE! Have you done lost your wine-soaked mind comin’ up in here with that jug-o-wine?!”
After getting my wine snooty-side under control, I made my way closer to the jug to get a good look at its rather simple and generic looking label – it read, “Wine Garage Red Wine Blend B1″. I’ve seen and tried a lot of jug wines, but this jug was completely foreign to me. Besides that, what did the “Red Wine Blend B1” actually mean?
After doing a little Google search on Wine Garage, here’s what I discovered about this jug wine that sat squarely in the middle of our dinner table just waiting to be opened:
The Wine Garage store is actually housed in a former gas station/tire shop just south of Calistoga, California’s main street. The Wine Garage has approximately 200 different wines available for purchase. They seek out and personally visit small wineries throughout the Napa Valley and other wine regions in California such as Lodi, Paso Robles, Amador and Mendocino looking for what they feel are hidden gems. Another interesting snippet, is that they actually “pump” the wines that go into their half-gallon glass jugs with specially designed gas station nozzles.
The Wine Garage offers up two different jug blends to choose from:
1. The “B1”, (the one we tried) is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Carmenere, Merlot and Petite Verdot.
2. The other jug is a Rhone-style blend consisting of Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Mourvedre and Petite Syrah.
I’m gonna be completely honest and straight to the point about the “B1” red blend: There were four of us that night that drank this jug to its last glorious drop, and out of the four only one said, “it’s ok”, while the rest of us thought it was hands down the best damn jug wine that we ever had the pleasure of sucking down.
Grab a jug of Wine Garage, round up a few close friends, and reminisce about the good old blotto days when the jug of choice was Riunite Lambrusco! In the immortal words of Chad Ocho Cinco, “Just cause you got money, don’t mean you gotta spend it!”
WineLife365 Rating: 3-Stars
Price: $29.99 (1/2 gallon!)
It’s that time of year again when most of us go wandering around in the “Champagne” aisle looking for that perfect bubbly to toast with loved ones. You ask yourself, should I purchase the genuine article from Champagne, France or just something modeled after it?
Sparkling wine is the term used when talking about all of the other bubbly stuff made outside of the Champagne region of France. Some examples of sparkling wine include Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, and French inspired Brut from California estates. The choices and style differences from around the globe can be endless and pricing can also be all over the board, depending on what you’re looking for and how much you want to spend.
Here’s a list of 10 reliable Sparkling wines/Champagne that know how to make it pop year after year.
Segura Viudas Brut Extra Dry Cava (Spain) Price: $10. For the money, this might be the most delicious sparkler on the market.
Freixenet Brut de Noirs Cava Rose (Spain) Price: $8. Another great Spanish sparkler with a touch of sweetness.
Mionetto DOC Prosecco (Italy) Price: $12. Italian sparklers really got my attention this year, and this one is totally fantastic.
Domaine Ste. Michelle Extra Dry Sparkling (USA) Price: $12. A real crowd pleaser and very reliable year after year.
Domaine Chandon Brut Sparkling (USA) Price: $20. Can be a bit too dry for some, but very French in style and taste.
Roederer Estate Sparkling Brut and Rose (USA) Price: $25-$30. This stuff starts to move into French Champagne pricing – but so does the quality! Both the Brut and Rose are superb and its as good as the best that France has to offer. If your wallet runneth over with Benjamins, you may want to try a bottle of their Cristal (Rappers sold separately).
Gruet Blanc de Blancs (USA) Price: $25. The Gruet Winery is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico – reason enough to try this American sparkler.
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label NV (France) Price: $40. Some may argue that this French Champagne is overpriced, but it has established a benchmark in quality for itself that a lot of other producers have imitated.
Pol Roger Blanc NV Brut (France) Price: $40. I love this Champagne! It’s rich, interesting, and tastes even better after two days in the fridge after being opened.
Bollinger Special Cuvee NV (France) Price: $60. At 60 bucks a bottle, this Champagne delivers the goods! The Bollinger is about as good and reliable as it gets when it comes to rich tasting French Champagne.
Happy New Year!
Love to cook? Here’s an interesting and interactive cooking event that is going on now at Caesars in Atlantic City, NJ:
“Taste of Emeril’s” Audience Participation Cooking Challenge
Caesars Atlantic City is giving everyone the opportunity to step into Emeril Lagasse’s Kitchen. “Taste of Emeril’s” is a fast-paced, intriguing, and often hilarious food competition and cooking demonstration, where guests have an opportunity to win great prizes including chances to experience the finest restaurants at Caesars Atlantic City and The Pier Shops. This culinary action, hosted by Food Network’s Marc Summers of ”Unwrapped”, pits audience members against one another, as they compete for top spots as assistant chefs. Emeril will welcome guests and assist competitors via on-screen video.
“Taste of Emeril’s” debuted at Caesars Circus Maximus Theatre on October 21st, and will be running to November 12th. Just an FYI - Members of the audience will need to pay close attention because you never know… anyone may be called to the stage to see how his or her culinary skills measure up.
You can check it out on Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m. There will be additional shows on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets for “Taste of Emeril’s Cooking Challenge” are on sale now for $35. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 800-736-1420 or online at TicketMaster.