Wines Under $20

Ventana Vineyards 2011 chardonnay

Let me be up front with you. I like chardonnay. I don’t care that it’s what the masses drink (No. 1 varietal in the country) or that sophisticated enophiles roll their eyes at the mention of it and have gone so far as to form a satirical ABC club (Anything But Chardonnay). And I don’t…

Drew Barrymore, wine-starter

The wine-drinking world is made up of three kinds of people. Those who think the idea of a Drew Barrymore wine is just peachy; those who wouldn’t be caught dead, dead, drinking Drew Barrymore wine. And me,  whose first thought on getting a sample bottle (which came with a delightful little handwritten note) was, hmmm, can…

Sauvignon Blanc, Three Ways

My views on wine are ecumenical. There’s room in my life for a big, buttery chardonnay and a steely, unoaked version. Ditto a big, lively zinfandel (esp. if served alongside a chilly day and a warm fire) and, at other times, a refined and delicate pinot noir. So, I was tickled when a wine importer…

Conundrum 2010: A white wine blend that stands out

We’re used to buying wine by the grape variety _ cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sauvignon blanc, and that’s fine. But a blended wine can be very good, too … we’ve come a long way since the days when jugs of generic red and white were bywords for plonk. A recent wine I tried, Conundrum 2010, was…

Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Did you ever have to drink your words? For some reason, I had Kim Crawford wines pegged as overhyped. But then I tried the 2010 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc sample that was sent to me and … wow. The wine starts with a refreshing aroma of grapefruit and pineapple, which continues with the taste…

Quivira: Sassy Sauvignon Blanc

“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May/And summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” says Shakespeare in his Sonnet 18, and, boy, does that seem truer than ever this year. I cannot believe how quickly the summer flew past. Fortunately, we have winemakers standing ready to store summer in a bottle, which…

A sparkling cupcake

Vinecdote is on vacation this week. And you know what that means? Chardonnay and lots of it. No. 1 on the list is Cupcake Vineyards Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay. Cupcake is based in Monterey County on the California coast, but this wine is actually from France and is a collaborative effort between Cupcake winemaker Adam…

Wine of the Week: Argento 2009 Malbec

I basically spent my whole week beating, whipping and otherwise mistreating vegetables _ with the exception of a brief phone interview with Elmo, yes, in fact I have reached the pinnacle of journalistic achievement _ and did not have time to play around the wine aisles. So, for this Friday’s find I’m reaching back to earlier…