Dark Horse–Big Red Blend

Sometimes you walk into the wine section of the grocery store and you know exactly what you want. You know that you want a red, a Merlot with tobacco and chocolate flavors that’s on the dry side and will go great with a juicy rare steak.

And other times you walk into the wine section looking for something new and CHEAP. I often like to try different wines, and I tend to avoid the bottom of the barrel $5 wines because they are usually closer to the complete crap side of the spectrum. Sometimes, you get lucky and you find a gem that is both delicious and cheap. Dark Horse is definitely one of those rare gems. It was on sale for $7.99 a bottle and the label was good and the description sounded fantastic, so I thought, “What the hell!? Eight bucks is a pretty low-risk bottle of wine.”

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Such a classy label!

Dark Horse is not as dry as Dreaming Tree, it falls closer to the middle of the dry-sweet spectrum, maybe slightly more on the dry side than the sweet side. It has a truly luscious round fruit flavor, but with balance to keep back what can often be an overpowering sweetness.  Lots of tart cherry, blackberry, and currant flavors with a dash of oak on the finish. For such an inexpensive bottle of red, it is so delicious. I would pair this with food or just to sip on the couch while enjoying a classic episode of Top Gear (such as the episode where they launch a Mini Cooper off of the ski jump at Lillihammer).

Definitely consider picking up a bottle the next time you visit your local grocery store (I got mine at Hannaford!).

Winey Woman 🙂

Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon

Standing here the old man said to me
“Long before these crowded streets
Here stood my dreaming tree” 

Lyrics from ‘The Dreaming Tree’ by Dave Matthews Band

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I have to start by admitting I love the Dave Matthews Band. When I use the word ‘love’ I really mean it. I have always felt that if you are really into music, at some point you find your ‘soul music.’ This is the music that just makes you feel in a way that most other music can’t. DMB is one of my two ‘soul music’ bands and because of this, I have always wanted to try this wine.

I was praying this wine was going to be good. My expectations were high. DMB holds such a special place in my heart that I’m willing to ignore when they put out an album that just isn’t up to their normal quality (I’m looking at you, Busted Stuff!). This wine was not a Busted Stuff in liquid. This was a Before These Crowded Streets or a Crash- in other words- it was delicious!

This wine is on the dry side, but I wouldn’t put it in the ‘very dry,’ more of a semi-dry once it really starts to breathe and all of the luscious fruit comes to the forefront. There’s a really nice deep cherry flavor that comes through, with a hint of vanilla for balance. Dreaming Tree is the type of wine I would bring to a dinner party. It tastes more expensive than it is, and it goes with food well. You could also just sip this wine in front of the fire on a cold day, music playing in the background, and have a nice conversation with your significant other. Overall, I would buy this again.

Winey Woman 🙂

Svenska Red and a Brief Mention of the Finger Lakes Region of Wine, Beer, and Spirits

Svenska Red by Swedish Hill Winery is labeled as a semi-sweet table wine, but really should be labeled a dessert sweet wine. With 11.5% alcohol content, Svenska is a doozy, and will get you feeling happy quickly, if you can drink enough of it at one time, due to its sweetness. Overall, it’s a nice fruity dessert wine that I think would taste amazing poured over vanilla ice cream, but definitely not a table wine I would have with dinner.

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Svenska Red…sweet and yummy!

Svenska Red is an upstate New York Finger Lakes Region wine. If you have never visited the Finger Lakes Region of NY, and you’re a fan of wine (and beer and spirits!), you are truly missing out. There are over 100 wineries and several breweries and distilleries along the beautiful shores of Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.There are many companies that run wine tours so you do not even have to drive yourself to each winery.

View of Seneca Lake from Glenora Winery- Finger Lakes Region, NY

View of Seneca Lake from Glenora Winery- Finger Lakes Region, NY

Beer Man and I did a mini-tour last year while we were participating in MINI Takes the States (MTTS), a cross-country rally for MINI Cooper owners that had a stop in Buffalo, NY last year. While we couldn’t do the entire cross-country rally, we did the last three stops in Buffalo, NY; Bethlehem, PA; and Boston, MA. We took the long way to Buffalo and spent a night at the very bottom of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen. As we were leaving Watkins Glen to head to Buffalo we stopped at several wineries and a brewery called Climbing Bines, which I imagine we’ll post about separately on this blog in the future.

Beer Man and Winey Woman at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

Beer Man and Winey Woman at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

Beer Man in the Hops Field at Climbing Bines Brewery

Beer Man in the Hops Field at Climbing Bines Brewery

We will undoubtedly return to the region soon, so I will end the post here. Check out http://www.fingerlakeswinecountry.com/ if you want to plan your wine tour now!

Winey Woman 🙂

Once Upon a Vine…There was a Big Bad Red Blend…

Big Bad Red by Once Upon a Vine. I bought the bottle based on the cool label and fact that it is a red blend and they tend to be fairly well-rounded and good with food. Unlike a merlot, or a pinot noir, which can be somewhat more particular and require a palate that truly appreciates them, a red blend is a red for the people. It usually combines at least two, if not three different types of red and the hope is that the best characteristics of all the flavors will come to the surface.

Oh, what big teeth you have…

When we first opened BBRB- I was not impressed. It felt sharp and somewhat astringent, and none of the promised chocolate and cherry flavors on the label came forward. It wasn’t the worst thing I have tasted, but it certainly was not a bottle I would go searching for, nor recommend.

I’m going to huff…and puff…

As the red breathed and as we had some delicious lamb and Italian food, the wine started to open up nicely and the cherry flavors and a nice oak finish came forward. It started to get smoother and the unpleasant sharpness disappeared. Definitely not a bottle to pour and start sipping immediately. We didn’t finish the bottle, re-corking it for the next day. As the saying goes, this wine was better with age or more accurately, with a little more exposure to air. It is actually much better the next day. Something that I would buy again. The astringent sharpness stays on the nose, but the chocolate flavors have now come to the front and the berriness in the middle is quite nice. The oakiness isn’t as prevalent on the second day, but the other flavors are a welcome addition. I do like this wine, but I’m still not sure I would go “on the hunt” for this Big Bad Red Blend!

Winey Woman 🙂

Big Bad Red Blend