Tag Archives: Bargain wine

Casa Santos Lima 2011 Lisboa Espiga Vinho Tinto

Mary writes

Remember when we said it was a good thing when there is a lot of real estate listed on the label pinpointing to specific vineyards?  Well, this wine, or vinho in Portuguese, doesn’t really have a lot of real estate on the label but it looks and tastes like one.1341229378espiga_red

This highly colored wine is made from a blend of 40% Castelão, widely planted all over Portugal,  15% Tinta Roriz, also known as Tempranillo, 15% Touriga Nacional, the base grape in port and %15 Syrah grapes.

Castelão is a hardy little grape that does well in desert like conditions – dry, sandy and hot – that are the norm around the Lisbon area.

The color is an extracted bright ruby from a long, cool maceration. Bright red fruits dominate the nose. It has concentrated dark cherry and blackberry flavors, and pleasant acidity with light toasty oak notes. It ends with smooth tannins and a fruity finish.

This well balanced wine has good aging potential and sells for $8 to $10.

Imported by Cavatappi Distribuzione, Seattle.

What we’re drinking: Contempo Petite Sirah

Mary writes:

Pettite sirah is unique to California. And although the names sound the same, Sirah is not related to Syrah — note the different spelling.

While they might not be related, Sirah did get its name from Syrah because of the similarities in aroma and flavor.

The Contempo brand is from O’Neil Vintners and Distillers in Parlier, Calif. They supply grapes and do custom crush at their facilities for a number of producers such as Back Story, Camelot, Cloud Break, Pepi, Tin Roof and Wink.

They operate in the style of an old world négociant.

The Petite Sirah is dark red with a lovely purple robe, smooth with plum and tart cherry aromas and flavors with a hint of mocha on the finish. It would make a great barbecue accompaniment.

Grocery Outlet has this screw capped bottle for $4.

What we’re drinking: Pump House Pinot Noir

Mary writes:

Reading the label on this bargain bottle of wine gives a little information about what’s inside.

It was cellared and bottled by Our Cellars out of Healdsburg, Calif. and is a product of France with  12.5 percent alcohol.

So what does that mean? I’ll translate: The pinot noir grapes were picked, crushed and fermented in France. The juice was shipped to California, where it was cellared and bottled.

Further investigation leads me to the conclusion it’s a private label for TJ’s (aka Trader Joe’s). Seems we just can’t stay away from this grocer when it comes to looking for bargain wines (although I bought this at Grocery Outlet).

About the wine. It’s French in style, meaning the fruit is understated and the mineral flavors more prominent. Because of this, it did not show well when first opened. But when aired, it showed tangy red cherry, some raspberry, a hint of orange peel, a nice mineral note, and a slightly tannic finish.

It’s nicely structured and a great everyday red. Another bargain find from Grocery Outlet that will only set you back $6. Grill up some salmon and enjoy with friends. It’s a great match.

What we’re drinking: Colores del Sol 2011 Reserva Rich Red Blend

Brynn writes:

In search of a bargain wine that was good, or at least decent, and wouldn’t break the bank I headed to the one place where I knew I could find a great deal: Trader Joe’s.

When the wine guy asked me if I needed any help I responded with these exact specifications: “Yes, I’d like a bargain wine that actually tastes good.”

He didn’t even blink and asked if I wanted white or red? (I said both) and walked me right over to a display of wines from Argentina. The price tag? $2.99.

My reaction? Yeah right, there’s no way this is going to be good. But I looked at the bottles — the wine was from what looked to be a legit winery — and thought “OK, I’ll give it a try.”

The first bottle Mary and I opened was the Colores del Sol 2011 Reserva Rich Red Blend. I have to say, my first whiff, and the following sip, gave me what I was expecting: A wine that tasted like it was a bargain.

Then I was proven wrong. I tried the wine again a few hours later after the bottle had been open and poured. Air is this wine’s best friend. What first felt like a tight wine with a more acidity than I like on the finish turned into a wine with nice fruit flavors. It did even better when paired with food.

The blend break down of this wine is an interesting mix: 45 percent Merlot, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Bonarda Argentine, 15 percent Malbec.

As you remember from our recent definition, Bonarda is the second-most widely planted grape in Argentina.

The color of this wine is a rich purple, which signifies its young age. It is one I’d recommend with food — it did really well with the pepper-crusted salami I couldn’t keep my hands off. It also did well with the rosemary and sea salt crackers.

With a full meal I’d recommend peppered steak or even hamburgers. For $2.99 it really is a good bargain.