Canyon Road Merlot 2014

6 Jul

IMG_1804My mom and I recently went to a bunco fundraiser where we played bunco for the first time (it’s not as exciting as you think) but also won a sweet raffle prize. The basket we won included a bottle of wine, two wine glasses, and gift certificate to Pinot’s Palette. The wine was a bottle of 2014 Canyon Road California Merlot. Free wine is always the best wine and this one wasn’t awful. I’m learning Merlot is probably my least favorite wine but this one was pretty smooth. This is going to sound really weird but when I took a long sniff of it, I totally got notes of rosemary and Play-Doh. I mean, along with the normal cherry fruity smells you get from a Merlot. But the taste isn’t awful and goes down smooth, but it isn’t something I would seek out to buy again.

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Chianti Riserva Gaetano D’Aquino 2012

25 May

My mother and I recently went to a movie night fundraiser to watch Mother’s Day. We entered a few raffles and won this sweet bottle of wine that IMG_9309came in a purse specifically for carrying and insulating bottles of wine. So this bottle of Chianti Riserva Gaetano D’Aquino 2012 vintage looks super fancy and super expensive, right? Well it fooled me, too. I learned from Google that it’s like $6 at Trader Joe’s. But jokes on them because it’s actually really frickin’ good wine. This is definitely the best tasting cheapest bottle of wine, especially if you consider it being free since I won it. It has 12.5% ABV and was very complex in flavor, bold but smooth, overall very interesting and enjoyable. I would even recommend this to a beginning wine drinker.

Truly Spiked & Sparkling

24 May

IMG_1528Some of the perks of being a journalist include having free alcohol sent to your office for you to taste test. We received two boxes last week, each included one bottle of each flavor of new product Truly Spiked & Sparkling. I had never heard of them before and after tasting them I will definitely be buying them. At first glance it looks no different than a Mike’s Hard Lemonade-type drink; think super sweet and syrupy. But the label says it is a spiked sparkling water with natural flavors. On the back ingredients list, you learn the 5% ABV comes from beer made from sugarcane, which I didn’t realize was possible. It’s actually really good, and not sweet and syrupy at all. It doesn’t taste like beer either. It literally tastes like sparkling water, which is kind of dangerous. Think alcoholic Perrier; that carbonated almost bitter refreshing fizz. It comes in three flavors: Colima Lime, Grapefruit & Pomelo, and Pomegranate, which was my least favorite as it almost tasted slightly beer-y mixed with water. Currently the product is only available in CO, CT, IA, IL, KS, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI and VT. I have no idea when they plan on launching it in Florida as I haven’t seen the press release that came with the box yet, but I will update this post as soon as I find out. I would definitely recommend trying this, especially to my non-beer loving friends.

Cooper’s Hawk Winter Red Spiced Wine

28 Apr

Opened my birthday bottle of Cooper’s Hawk Winter Red Spiced Wine for Passover last Friday. I’ve never had a bottle of wine before that gave you the IMG_9160option to warm it on the stove, but after you taste it everything makes sense. It’s basically the pumpkin spice latte of wine. At 13.5% ABV it’s a grape wine with mulling spices added like spiced apple, cherry, mandarin orange and baking spices. It smelled and tasted like cloves, pepper and fall. It was much sweeter than I was expecting. It’s not bold like a Merlot, but not as sweet as Manischewitz. It paired much better with the charoset than it did with the lamb. I could definitely see drinking this a little warm bundled up with some pie in the fall, which is basically winter here. Online it looks like a bottle goes for about $14 and I would recommend picking one up when it’s cooler outside.

Lakeridge Winery Sunblush Premium Rose Wine

3 Apr

IMG_9157I haven’t been to Lakeridge Winery in Clermont since college, but my mom said she found a bottle of their Sunblush Premium Rose Wine when she was at Publix. It couldn’t have cost more than $15 or she wouldn’t have bought it. It’s made from muscadine grapes done in a rose style, and the end result isn’t bad. It’s 11% ABV and smells light, orange-y,IMG_9158 like clean cotton or rain. It tastes nice and light without too much tannin like sweet grape peels with orange juice. I think it’s a good introductory wine for beginner wine drinkers, or for something light when you’re outside on a hot day. Definitely serve chilled.

NOLA Brewing Company

24 Mar

IMG_1157Last week I went to visit my grandparents in New Orleans. I had to make a point to stop by one of the local craft breweries, and there just so happened to be one very close to where we were shopping one day. The NOLA Brewing Company is two blocks away from Magazine Street off Tchoupitoulas Street. (I’d like to hear you try to pronounce that if you’re not familiar with the area).

It had a two story taproom with rooftop access and a view of the Mississippi River. They had the most expensive flights i’ve come across at $10 for four IMG_1155pours. I went with a raspberry sour called Desire, a pineapple habanero IPA, the Irish Channel Stout, and a porter that I forget the name of. I’ve learned from the few sours i’ve tried that i’m not a fan, but this was the best i’ve tried. They kind of fall into the same category as cider for me. I’m just not able to drink more than one at at time and they just don’t taste like beer. The pineapple habanero wasn’t very pinapple-y or spicy. The Irish Channel Stout wasn’t my favorite stout ever but I decided to take a 4 pack of pint cans home so I could bring a piece of New Orleans with me, which I think was $10.

The taproom had a small menu, which I didn’t really pay attention to since we were full from Juan’s Flying Burrito. Now THAT is some good eats. The beer was mediocre and the bartender was meh. If I lived there i’m not gunna lie, i’d IMG_1191probably go back to try more since they had i’d guess close to 20 beers on tap, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Worth popping your head in if you’re area, but definitely not the 12 hour drive from Tampa.

 

Cigar City Brewpub

23 Mar

I forgot to blog about my trip to the Cigar City Brewpub in Tampa before I went on vacation last week. I’m getting pretty bad at this. I’ve had a few of Cigar City’s beers before and had even visited the taproom a few years back, but it had been awhile so I went with a flight to try more than one.  I went IMG_0941with the hard cider, Maduro Brown Ale, Space Race and Barley Berry Jam. The only reason I know this, by the way, is not from superior memory, but from this awesome app on my phone called Untappd. It’s how I “check-in” or log my new beers. It’s like Facebook, but for you and your beer drinking friends. But that’s another post.

Anyways, I remember liking them all, the Space Race the most, which I think was a stout. But again not the biggest fan of the cider. Just too sweet for my taste. They had a ton of beers on tap so there is definitely something for everyone. No, I don’t remember how much the flight cost.

The dinner menu had a good variety and I went with the empanada of the day, which happened to be something with buffalo chicken when I went. It was pretty good; i’d eat it again. Nicole was a total copycat and got the same thing, but our other two friends went with the flank steak, which looked delicious, and the mac n cheese with ropa vieja, which I can attest was delicious. We had an appetizer of caprese salad, which was fresh and filling. Overall for the price it was a good deal. The decorations inside were cute too with use of beer barrels, bottles, cans, etc in all the furniture and walls. I don’t think i’d drive that far again just for the beer, but if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by.