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  1. #11
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    If it gets a recommendation I'll try it. Think I've had it before. I've had worse wines that cost way more, but I don't remember that there was any real reason to have it again besides it's price. Could be wrong, though.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bprescot View Post
    Yeah, we used one of those cheap wine-saver pumps.

    When we opened the wine, there was just a LOT of sugar there, but not much structure, which was odd. These are the guys that run Atlas Peak, and we know the winemaker's other side efforts. Sure, his wines can have a lot of fruit, but they're never sugary sweet and they ALWAYS have structure. So we got out the trusty rubber stopper and wine pump, and tried it again two day's later. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I've got another bottle lying around, so we'll try this one again, though maybe just try opening it an hour or two before having, or maybe decanting it for a bit (which seems silly for a $8 bottle, but still.) I'll do some notes on everything we like, including this one, over the next few weeks.
    I'm confused... Anyway, nice list. I've tried a few of them in past vintages, all decent. I'm looking forward to your comments. Maybe I'll follow along.

  3. #13
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    Hey Tinh,

    Re-reading what I wrote I would also be confused lol! Well, I might as well go ahead and do a proper write up of the first wine, rather than the informal one above. I'm no wordsmith, but hopefully I can at least make it understandable this time.

    2009 Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon - $7.99 on sale ($9.99 regular)
    This is a neat wine bottled by Nueva Famiglia, the same guys that own Ancient Peaks. (I previously wrote Atlas Peaks, but I was being silly. They own Ancient Peaks.) The lead winemaker in the group also runs his own boutique label called Sinor-Lavallee, where he produces amazing Pinot Noirs. Needless to say, I was expecting BIG things from this wine, and it completely delivered... eventually. The full story is below, but the summary is this. GET THIS WINE and let it open! It won't taste like it needs it, but it does. The back of the label says to decant 15-30 minutes, and I completely believe it.

    Now the long story....

    Initial Tasting: We opened this guy up on a Friday. There was a lot of fruit on the nose. Lots of bright berry aroma and a fair bit of alcohol too. On the first sip we tasted ... Sugar. This thing was Super sweet. Rock Candy level of sweet. There was fruit there, sure, but there was also just a lot of sugar, and not a whole lot else going on. We didn't taste a ton of tannins or structure, though that might be because we were focusing solely on the sugar rush, so we figured that the sugar bomb was all this wine was going to have to offer. We poured ourselves a small glass each to have with dinner, and immediately used one of these guys to save the wine for cooking with later (and potentially drinking while cooking!!). To re-iterate, that was Friday.

    Second Tasting: Sunday we had some good news to celebrate so we opened up a very nice wine to go with a somewhat nice dinner (What can I say? I only had 1 hour's notice that we'd have something to celebrate. I made the best meal I could with what I had). We didn't drink all of the wine, so we went to get one of those rubber wine corks to pump it (see previous link) but couldn't find any. The only one we saw was keeping the Liberte "fresh". Since the Liberte had been such a disappointment, we immediately stole the rubber stopper from the Liberte and used it on the nicer bottle of wine. And merely on a whim, we decided to see what our impromptu "aging" had done to the Liberte. HO-LY SH!T!!! This stuff had completely transformed. There was structure, there was ripe fruit and blackberries, and cedar, and just a bit of spice. It was full and luscious. Now, it wasn't as nice as the wine we had just been drinking, but I had NO problems transitioning from that $45 wine to this one. I mean, you could easily tell the difference between them when tasting side-by-side, but for it's $8 price tag that $45 wine should have blown this one out of the water, and it didn't. We couldn't figure out what had happened, until we finally saw the back of the label where they specifically tell you to decant this wine for 15-30 minutes. That's right. Decant an $8 wine. No seriously. Do it!

    Well I picked up a few more bottles of this today, and next time we open it, we will be following the wine-maker's instructions. I'll update this again after doing it the "right" way.

    -Ben

  4. #14
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    Tried two more Trader Joe wines one of which we will absolutely be buying again.

    2010 Cocobon Red Blend: This was a pleasant red, but didn't have a lot going on. If this were served at a large party or wedding, I'd be happy, and the planners would probably save a bundle as it's only $7. With that said, I have no real desire to have it again. It delivers a nice punch of fruit up front, but doesn't have mcuh structure to back it up. The jammy flavors are balanced with some nice acidity in the finish and it stands up well to the pasta I had made. Would probably have been better with steak and potatoes, but overall it was good. If I needed a bottle to round out a case, I'd probably grab this.Definitely worth a try, but I'm not going to go out of my way to get another bottle.

    2011 Ferngreen Sauvignon Blanc: This is a nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I don't have anything else to say, really. It would be like if you took all your favorite Marlboro Sauvignon Blancs and took the average of all of them, you'd get this. It's just the proto-typical Sauvignon Blanc. A versatile wine that is nice and easy to drink. Nothing exciting, but nothing bad either. Well, I guess there's one exciting thing: It's $5.99. I'll DEFINITELY be picking this one up again.

  5. #15
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    I picked up a bottle of 2008 Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano at TJ's today for $10. While you're not gonna mistake it for a top flight VNdM, it's a surprisingly nice classically styled wine.

  6. #16
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    2010 Comique Revolution Blanc: Light and fruity. Peaches, and a bit of tropicality. Not a lot of acid and dissipates fast. Won't be picking anymore up, probably, but that might be a style thing. Worth a try at $4.99 I suppose.

    2010 Roccolata Sangiovese: Pleasant enough. Would be a great cooking wine and not bad to have a glass while cooking either. $3.99 makes the price absolutely right. I'll probably add a bottle or two for when I need something to cook with but neither the wife or I feel like having more than a sip. Great for company when the company doesn't know about or care for wine as it's completely inoffensive and inexpensive.

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