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Feb 19

A Passion for Piedmont, Part 1 (Recession Wine!)

This post is a little late, but for Wine Blogging Wednesday the theme was Passionate Piedmont – wines from the Piedmont area of Italy. This is the first of two entries. (The other will go up rather late this evening.)

Beni di Batasiolo 2006 Barbera d'Alba

We started out with a Barbera, a very common grape in Piedmont. The Beni di Batasiolo is a 100% Barbera wine from the Alba area in Piedmont. I think I paid $8.99 (on sale from $9.99) for this bottle at Liqour Direct. For an $8.99 bottle, it's our Recession Wine of the week.

The color is a nice dark ruby. On the nose, we got a lot of blackberry. Kevin also got cedar, and I agree. I also got some cinnamon on there. These scents carried through on the tongue too. There was a lot of wood – but not really oak: more cedar and hickory. Those woody flavors were intermingled with dark berries, including a bit of sour blackberry on the finish. (That tastes better than it sounds.) I also found a lot of fun spices, first some cinnamon, but then a bit of oriental-style spices as well. Finally, there were nice, gentle tannins and as the wine opened up a bit, I even got a bit of chocolate in there.

For less than $10, this is a nice full red – I'd call it a steal.

Our rating:

Thanks to McDuff's Food & Wine Trail for hosting this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday!

Part 2: Once Upon a Time (Principessa Gavia Gavi)

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Posted by Michelle at 5:24 pm in Recession Wine, Tastings, WBW, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (1)
Feb 16

Call for Donations

As many of you know, I lost my little sister in October 2007. She passed away from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. As a coping mechanism and as a way to turn something tragic into something not so terrible, we started a memorial scholarship in her name.


Krystal was a student at Thomas More College, majoring in Education. She loved kids and couldn't wait to work with them full-time. Our scholarship, in her memory, will go to local kids like Krystal who need a scholarship to get to college and really want to be teachers.

Our 2nd Annual Benefit & Fundraiser will happen on April 18th this year. Tickets will be $30 and all the good stuff is included, such as dinner, desserts, beer and wine. (I'll let you know when they go on sale online.) We also have pretty amazing silent auction and raffle items. That's where I need your help.

We need fantastic auction items (wine, gift certificates, autographed items, etc) to stock our auction and fun items (Easter baskets, smaller gift certificates, books, etc) for our raffles. If any of you want to donate anything – whether personally or through your business – we'd welcome your donation.

Leave a message in the comments or just email me directly.

Big thanks,


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Posted by Michelle at 2:06 pm in Charity Benefits | Permalink | Comments (2)
Feb 16

Review: 2005 Pago de Carraovejas Tinto Crianza

Our Valentine's evening wine this year was a red from Spain. Originally $50, we picked it up on Friday at Cork and Bottle for $19.99. Cork and Bottle has excellent clearance sales.

This yummy wine from the Ribera del Duero region is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. It was ruby-red in color and lightly coated the glass. On the nose, it was full of black currants, some oak, and smoky spices.

The flavor was full of blackberry jam and black currants, nicely accented by gentle tannins. The longer the wine was open, the more the darker flavors appeared, with spices, smoke, and some chocolate.

The finish was clean and left us with some lingering spices. Overall, we really enjoyed this wine. We probably could have saved it – I read that it will be at its peak in another couple of years – but why put off our enjoyment?

Our rating:

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Posted by Michelle at 10:07 am in Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 13

Sinners Tax: PASSED

Did you write your congressman? As a non-Kentuckian, did you write our Kentucky legislators as a concerned shopper?

Sigh. Even if you did, apparently they didn't listen. The Alcohol Tax increase – 6% – was passed by the House and then this morning, the Senate. Now it just goes to Gov Beshear who already thinks it's a jolly good idea.


Here's the deal folks – Ky already has one of the highest alcohol taxes in the country. We pay 53% in taxes every time we buy a bottle of wine or a bottle of bourbon or beer. Now that number has been hiked to 59% and prices are going to increase.

Effects? Well, less people will cross from Ohio to buy alcohol over here. The liquor stores will feel the pain, but so will the restaurants, gas stations, and other small businesses that benefit from the influx of people.

Oh, but the 90 dry counties in Kentucky get to benefit from this tax even though they won't be feeling any of the pain.

Sorry folks, but my eloquence deserts me here. Kentucky pisses me off. I tried. I wrote every Representative and Senator. I heard back from only one. If you ask me, this is a bit of a Justice FAIL.

Ed. Note: I've updated the post to note that Kentucky currently has one of the highest tax rates in the country. I should not, by the way, have believed everything I read. 😉 Thanks to Kevin Keith for the clarification in the comments below.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:55 pm in Legislation | Permalink | Comments (5)
Feb 13

Think Pink: 2007 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah

All this week, we'll be reviewing rosés in honor of Valentine's
Day. I consider rosé a misunderstood wine that can be excellent. Sadly,
too many
rosés are still sugary sweet. Rosé is more than white zinfandel or cheap blush, but a full-fledged wine style in itself. This week, we'll explore dry rosé, one of my favorite types of wine. All the wines in this series are under $15, most are under $10.


Without a doubt, I saved the best rosé for last. It just sort of worked out that way. This one is over and above my favorite rosé. It's also the most expensive, coming in at a whopping $13.49 from Liquor Direct. 

I actually saved it for last because I thought the label was the most evocative of Valentine's Day, with the little cherub named Alfredo. The cherub is actually a cartoon rendering by Ralph Steadman of Alfredo Vidaurre, a founding partner of the Montes winery.


Montes is a Chilean winery and this wine comes from their Archangel estate in the Colchagua Valley, close to the Pacific Ocean. Most of the ros̩s I've tried this week have been blends of white and red grapes. This one is 100% syrah. The color is a ruby red, but still obviously a ros̩. The particular color comes from the juice and the skins having a one night stand. I'm not kidding. It's called a vin de nuit Рthe wine spends one night only in contact with the red-grape skins.

On the nose I got, as yesterday, roses. I still hate the cliche of roses on a rosé, but sometimes it happens. (A rose is rosé by any other name?) Of course, the scent wasn't just floral, there was some undefinably red fruits on there too.

The taste and texture are what won me over. It's a rich, ripe wine, filled with crisp cherries and raspberries. It's also a wine with heft, dry without tannins. There's a lot of structure and balance and it completely fills up your mouth. There's a long, pleasing aftertaste that still manages to be gentle. I would go so far as to say this rosé is sophisticated.

Again, it's my favorite wine of the week, and at under $15, it's also a great deal. Montes makes some great wines, including the equally affordable Montes Folly and the not-so-affordable but excellent Purple Angel.

The real endorsement? Even Kevin likes this wine, and as he likes to say, he's still looking for his inner pink.


Think Pink Rosé Series

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Posted by Michelle at 11:22 am in Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (1)

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