wine wednesday {block 67 cab sav}

Hellllllo and happy hump day! Today's wine wednesday comes from Trader Joes (the land of dreams), and also the home of the best boxed wine for when you're trying to get your life together and finally get off the Franzia. I always have boxed wine floating around, and honestly, though, it's too cost-effective to ignore. What are you drinking this week? Let me know in the comments below! 

xx phoebe • honestly, though 

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BOX: BLOCK 67 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 

Origin: California 

What is it: Cabernet Sauvignon 

Year: N/A. BUT it does last for 45 days, thanks to "an incredibly easy-to-use twisting pour spout." 

Where to find it: Trader Joe's. 

Price Range: $12 

Thoughts: It's boxed wine that costs less than my SweetGreen salad. When you're young and broke and in desperate need of a glass of vino to compliment your Bachelor binges, this needs to be your go-to. On the boxed wine scale, I'd say it's { m u c h } better than Franzia, and when compared to the cab sav equivalent of blackbox, I'd choose TJs. The wine itself tastes like sweet red blend, aka it's juicy and lacking any sort of tangy aftertaste. It's everything you'd expect, but slightly better taste. Honestly, though. 

Become a sommelier: In case you somehow thought Australians weren't cool enough, the inventor of boxed wine was Australian. Yep, the crazy Aussies invented boxed wine (and apparently made screw caps popular). A man by the name of Thomas Angove invented casked wine in the 60's, as a way to help prevent oxidation of the wine.  

ALSO: I googled the invention of "slapping the bag," when it comes to boxed wine. And I kid you not, Fox News tried to be hip in 2010 and wrote an article about it. 

And ICYMI: Last year, I began learning about what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. But over the holidays I was gifted a new book, Secrets of the sommeliers, which now is guiding my "become a sommelier" section each week.

 

wine wednesday {prohibition red}

I bought this on a whim on Sunday night in prep for cooking some vegan mac + cheese {yes, I'm guilty of choosing wine by how good their label looks}. I've always been weary of red blends because you never know if they're going to taste good or bad. BUT, the label of prohibition red caught me eye and now here we are. 

So happy wine wednesday! May your wine glass never empty. 

BOTTLE: BIG HOUSE WINE CO. PROHIBITION RED

Origin: California 

What is it: Red blend (13.5% ABV)

Year: 2014

Where to find it: Whole Foods or use their store locator.  

Price Range: $6-10

Thoughts: This red is super juicy — like biting into a gusher juicy. It's super smooth and has lovely notes of berry + hints of spices. It's literally perfect for a chill evening when you're in pj's and eating leftovers + cuddling on the couch. Or with this mac + cheese recipe. Juuuuust saying, it was kind of the perfect combo to start off 2017. But if you like red wine, but hate how dry they can be, you'll love this wine. Plus, they also sell it by the box. Because that Franzia life exists off university grounds too. 

Become a sommelier: Screw caps are on the rise! Though corks have been use for centuries, many vintners (aka a wine maker or merchant) are opting out because about 5% of all wines that use natural corks can taint the smell + flavor. Yes, 5% doesn't seem like much. But the tainted wines will have an odor + taste similar to fungus, which is totally no bueno because one bad taste and consumers might be off that vineyard forever. The good news? If this happens to you, you've more than likely experienced a bottle that has a bad cork. If you're at a restaurant, simply ask them to replace the bottle. And if you're at home, contact the vineyard or company, and they should replace it for free. So here's to the screw caps! 

And ICYMI: Last year, I began learning about what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. But over the holidays I was gifted a new book, Secrets of the sommeliers, which now is guiding my "become a sommelier" section each week.

wine wednesday {clos sainte-anne}

Hello and happy Wednesday! I hope you guys are all having a fast and fun week. Can you believe the holidays are here? As my fave blogger, The District Darlings, said, "Happy Alcoholidays!" I started Wine Wednesday a little early last night and dug into a second bottle of this clos sainte-anne! 

So on that note, here we go! 

BOTTLE: Château du Clos Sainte-Anne

Origin: Bordeaux, France

What is it: Bordeaux Red Blend

Year: 2014

Where to find it: Virgin Wines + WSJ Wines. 

Price Range: $18-22

Thoughts: It's smooth + tarte, with hints of spice. I think it's light enough that it can be mixed with other liquors or *COUGH COUGH* used as in mullen wine. l'd definitely recommend it with a hearty slab of cheese, crackers + olives. Honestly, though, this wine is perfect for the dropping temperatures. Pick up a bottle then try out THIS awesome mulled wine recipe (skip the kirsch + add some extra spice!) 

Become a sommelier: So Bordeaux wine is some of the most expensive and pompous wine that you can buy, apparently, though not as pretentious as Burgundy wine. Some bottles can cost over $1000, and the flavors the originate from here have been sought after by aristocrats and royalties for centuries. The wine is distinct and known by its heavy, full-bodied flavor, high ABV + high acidity. 

Enjoy your Wine Wednesday! 

And ICYMI: I'm learning what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. Buy the book and learn right along with me! 

wine wednesday {mayu carménère-syrah}

Hellllo world and happy Wednesday! It's time for another Wine Wednesday, and quite frankly, one that is incredibly overdue. These past weeks have been crazy and hectic, and I've been drinking leftover wine and mini bottles of vodka that I would find in my freezer. I'm not as big of a shitshow as I look. I swear. 

BUT ANYWAYS, this weeks wine comes from Whole Foods and was bought on a whim because it was sale and I'm broke {like, always broke} and it was from Chile. I studied abroad in Chile and spent some extra time there after falling in love with the country and...well...I wanted to travel and avoid the real world and college for a little bit longer. Honeste. But seriously, I grabbed this wine along with my KiteHill cheese and guacamole and headed to the cash register without a second thought. 

So, without further ado, Wine Wednesday!

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BOTTLE: mayu carménère-syrah

Origin: Elqui Valley, Chile 

What is it: 55% Carmenere, 45% Syrah (14.5% ABV) 

Year: 2015

Where to find it: Whole Foods! 

Price Range: $15-20

Thoughts: Something that makes this wine unique is that it combines the local grape Carmenere with a French-imported grape, Syrah. The combination is smooth, fruity and round. It was aged in oak, so you get some of that earthy taste, but the grapes have an intense enough flavor that it's not overwhelming. It's perfect for sitting on the couch of your apartment, eating leftover cold pizza and watching 30 Rock re-runs. Honestly, though. 

Become a sommelier: So apparently wine dorks love to talk about how Carmenere almost went extinct as a grape. It originally {debatable} started in Spain, then moved to France + Italy before basically being wiped out. It's literally known as the "lost grape of Bordeaux." BUT, it apparently ended up in Chilean soil thanks to European immigrants who'd been growing wine from the "old country" forever. It wasn't until recently, though, that it was even discovered that this distinct grape was what it was. Up until the mid-1990s (when a DNA test proved otherwise), everyone thought that Chile just had a wicked distinct Merlot! The best part? It's now a "showpiece" grape for Chilean wine. And with that, dear wine lovers, I will leave you. 

Enjoy your Wine Wednesday! 

And ICYMI: I'm learning what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. Buy the book and learn right along with me! 

 

Wine Wednesday: {Rockland farms sandstone}

So over the weekend I discovered today's #WineWednesday. During a day-long trip with other DC-area bloggers, I tasted this full-bodied, fragrant + earthy wine at Rockland Farms + Winery. 

Tangent: Rockland Farms + Winery is a super cute winery where you can do an $8 wine tasting. If you're there on the weekend, they also have pizza if that's your jam. More coming soon! 

Anyways, I tried this wine and the bloggers were like, "Phoebe, this is your wine." I was dubious. But I tasted it and was hooked, hence me purchasing a bottle. I've already finished it by the time of writing this Tuesday night. 

BOTTLE: rockland farms sandstone 

Origin: Montgomery County, Maryland (#SupportLocal)

What is it: Cabernet Franc (14.2% ABV)

Year: 2015

Where to find it: Rockland Farm + Winery or these local restaurants + farmers markets. 

Price Range: $30 (but so worth it)

Thoughts: This wine SMELLS like tobacco. It's subtle sweet taste is muted by how dry + smooth this wine is. It's incredibly full-bodied and something I'd recommend over a long, slow dinner in the winter. I love that there are nutty + earthy flavors instead of just berries + fruits. I heard the term "Thanksgiving wine," thrown around while at my original tasting last Saturday. I second it. 

Become a sommelier: Oak is often used to age wine and primarily done in two countries: U.S.A. and France. But what's the difference? American wine aged in oak barrels are traditionally a lower quality and leave a stronger influence (read: more oaky flavor) on the wine. French oak, though. is known as the gold standard and is considered more experience. The grain is more narrow, therefore leaving less of an influence on the wine. Now you know! Psst: Want to know more? Click. 

And ICYMI: I'm learning what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. Buy the book and learn right along with me! 

Wine Wednesday: Halloween Wine

Hello and happy #winewednesday! If you're more of a social person, than a blog person, you may have watched my LIVE video where I tried four wines in real-time — exactly how I do for my weekly post! I called is Wine-Almost-Wednesday. 

If you missed it, catch up here. Done? Great! Did you like the mysterious hand than handed me an empty glass? Maxim thought it was hilarious. If you liked it, hated it, none of the above, let me know!

Anyways, below is my review of those four wines and where to find them {ahem, World Market}. And if you're looking for something to soothe the pain of tonight's final presidential debate, these are ALL 20% off (when you buy four or more!) Get after it, kids. 

TL;DR 

  • Rest in Peace wins for best all-around wine 

  • La Catrina loses for tasting like a fruit roll-up 

  • Monster Mash wins for best base for a cocktail or mixer 

  • Insomnia wins for best dinner wine 

(Listing these in the order that I drank them)  

BOTTLE: Monster Mash 

Origin: California 

What is it: Red Blend (Zinfandel + Petite Sirah)

Year: 2013

Where to find it: World Market! 

Price Range: $7-$12

Thoughts: It's smooth + tarte, like fruit juice, but light enough that it can be mixed with other liquors. l'd definitely recommend it as a mixer for some spooky drinks (hint hint, Buzzfeed has you covered). Honestly, though I would consider this as more of a juice than a wine. Goes well with grilled meat, but I'd recommend some grilled tempeh, grilled zucchini.


BOTTLE: Insomnia  

Origin: California 

What is it: CabSav

Year: 2014

Where to find it: World Market! 

Price Range: $7-$12

Thoughts: Dry + tarte, but smooth. Faint berry taste. Maxim thinks it's the perfect "end of summer, beginning of fall" drink, and we both agree that it would make for a great Sangria base. It's supposed to go with beef and venison, but I'd probs recommend it with a salad topped with sweet potato.


BOTTLE: La Catrina 

Origin: California 

What is it: Sangria

Where to find it: World Market! 

Price Range: $7-$12

Thoughts: Day of the Dead wine with an amazing label. More into the label than the wine, which tasted like a mixed berry fruit roll-up. So if that's your thing, though, then this wine is for you. Otherwise, take a pass on it. 


BOTTLE: Rest in Peace  

Origin: California 

What is it: Red Blend

Year: 2012

Where to find it: World Market! 

Price Range: $7-$12

Thoughts: The label said that it goes with both a piza party or formal dinner, so already I knew that this was going to be the winner for the night. It was mellow, smooth + tarte, "if that makes sense" (quoting from my video). This was literally my favorite wine of them all. So much so that I continued to drink it after the video with my ramshackle dinner of leftovers. 

Become a sommelier: Screw caps are on the rise! Though corks have been use for centuries, many vintners (aka a wine maker or merchant) are opting out because about 5% of all wines that use natural corks can taint the smell + flavor. Yes, 5% doesn't seem like much. But the tainted wines will have an odor + taste similar to fungus, which is totally no bueno because one bad taste and consumers might be off that vineyard forever. The good news? If this happens to you, you've more than likely experienced a bottle that has a bad cork. If you're at a restaurant, simply ask them to replace the bottle. And if you're at home, contact the vineyard or company, and they should replace it for free. So here's to the screw caps! 

And ICYMI: I'm learning what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. Buy the book and learn right along with me! 

What are you drinking? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

 

Wine Wednesday {Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2015}

Hello and happy Wednesday. Welcome back to another installment of the latest and greatest {red} wines that I'm drinking. This week, though, you're getting a 2-for-1 deal: I'm giving you my weekly wine review AND a simple, one-pan recipe for the fall that pairs perfectly. Shoutout to Love Jadot Wines (part of Louis Jadot Wines) for providing me with the delicious bottle. 

First up, the recipe. It's a cheesy pasta dish perfect for the cool, fall nights when you want to snuggle up in fluffy socks. And before you right it off as too adventurous for using a salsa instead of sauce, know that is goes amazingly well with the wine. The hints of squash + pumpkin complement the pasta, and the fruity bits of salsa complement the more acidic tastes in the wine you'll be {more than} sipping on. 

#ModernMeals Recipe: Fruity, Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta

Ingredients: 

super-simple-it-only-takes-15-minutes-directions: 

  1. Take a large pan and fill it with cold water. Salt the water and pour in a tablespoon or two olive oil. Place on high heat.
  2. IMMEDIATELY fill pumpkin pasta into water. Let boil. 
  3. Pour out excess water and place back onto low-medium heat. 
  4. Add sliced mushrooms + spinach. 
  5. Stir and cover for a few minutes. 
  6. Take off cover. Add cheese + harvest salsa. Fold into the rest of dish. 
  7. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Take a sip. 
  9. (accidentally) spill a little bit of wine into the pan. Stir. 
  10. When the cheese is fully melted, remove from heat. 
  11. Serve in a bowl with a glass of wine. 
  12. ENJOY! 
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BOTTLE: Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2015 

Country: France

What is it: Red 

Year: 2015

Where to find it: Trade Joe's, Total Wine & More, Louis Jadot website

Price Range: $9-$14 

Thoughts: First off, I want to say that what I really love about this bottle is that it's on the cheaper side, but it's label makes it look like you're being fancy af. Like when you're not wearing makeup, but your snap filter makes you look like you actually tried this morning. No? Just me? 

WELL THEN. 

This wine is dry, fruity and high in acidity. I honestly didn't think that I was going to love this wine, but it grew on me. It's great to sip while you're cooking and then continue with during dinner. Especially because it paired so perfectly with the recipe below. The strawberry, herb-y tastes in this wine perfectly complemented the fruity hints in my pasta recipe (More on that below). Shoutout to my college friend, Máiréad, who told me that she's obsessed with this wine. She recommended that I pair it wine pasta and/or a cheese board. 

Become a sommelier: This wine is a "far left" wine, when considering the red wine spectrum. The Beaujolais-Villages wines, are made in the  Beaujolais district near Burgundy, France. Their wines are made with Gamay grapes — a variety of dry grape that's been used since the 15th century. Also, the can be enjoyed chilled. TL;DR: This is a wine to drink when you're a white wine person, but want something red. 

And ICYMI: I'm learning what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. Buy the book and learn right along with me! 


** DISCLAIMER: I was sent a complimentary bottle of wine from Louis Jadot as a part of their #ModernMeals competition. **

 

Wine Wednesday {La Granja 360 Garnacha Rosé}

Hey ho. We're back for a new wine Wednesday. And this week, I'm drinking rosé from Trader Joes in honor of it still being hot outside. AND IT'S LESS THAN $5. Honestly, though: It's 87 degrees and I'm sitting on my porch in a LBD. When will fall come?! When can I break out my comfy winter wardrobe? Remember to comment below with what you'd like me to review. 


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Bottle: La Granja 360 Garnacha Rose

Country: Spain

What is it: Rosé 💁🏽

Year: 2015

Where to find it: Trade Joe's. The land of dreams. 

Price Range: $4.99 (seriously)

Thoughts: Look, this is a simple and delicious everyday wine. It says to eat with savoury meats or pasta. But it goes great on its own or with a salad. On the drier side for rose wine. Maxim said it was silky and refreshing with a slightly dry aftertaste and lightly fruity. I think it's on the more tart side of a rose, but I kind of like rose more that way. It's very refreshing and I would recommend it to everyone. 

FYI: This wine does more than just cool you down after work — it's also making the world a better place by helping animals live their dream life. Also, their website looks like it's having a rave. It makes me happy. And every bottle in the La Granja line features a different animal. Honestly, though, the marketing team behind this wine alone deserves a reward. 

BECOME A SOMMELIER: 

You can tell a lot about a wine just from its alcohol by volume — aka ABV. The standard "strength" for a wine is between 13.5-14% ABV. If your wine is clocking in under 13.5%, then what are you doing with your life. I'm kidding. Kind of. BUT if your wine is less than 13.5%, the wine is going to be more acidic, taste "fresher," and be paler. If your wine wednesday is more than 14% it's going to be darker (aka red), have a more intense fruity + oak-y flavor and will have a richer taste. 

Did you guys already know this? Do we need to move on to Chapter Two? Let me know! 

And ICYMI: I'm learning what goes on behind-the-wine each week with the help of Wine: A Tasting Course. Buy the book and learn right along with me! 

wine wednesday {Bernabei Chianti Colli Particella 8}

 

Read me first: So part of Honestly, Though is a weekly Wine Wednesday review for you guys. Usually, I'll be picking a cheap-ish wine from Trader Joes, Target, etc., but this week we had leftover bottles from Virgin Wines — low-key the best wine subscription ever — and I really wanted to drink this Italian bottle we'd had. Problem is, I'm not a sommelier. Despite my deep love of red wine and touring vineyards for college credit, I still don't know what bottle should go with my leftover Mexican food versus my leftover Thai food. 

PHOEBE, THEN WHY SHOULD I EVEN BOTHER WITH YOU? 

Because we've been graced with Marnie Old. That's why. And she IS a sommelier. She also just so happens to be the woman behind the amazingly awesome book, Wine: A Tasting Course. And it is with those charts + bright illustrations that I will bring you my weekly Wine Wednesdays. So here's the way that it'll work: I'll post a link to the bottle, the best place to find it, my tasting thoughts and then one or two DYK facts from Wine: A Tasting Course.

And together, we'll become wine experts each Wednesday. 


Bottle: Edizione Limitata Particella 9 Numero 007

Country: Chianti, Italy 

What is it: Chianti Blend {red}

A Chianti blend is a blend of grapes from the {obviously} Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. It used to include white grapes, but it has now been banned for all "purist" Chianti blends. But let's be real, a red wine blend always sounds like a good idea. 

Year: 2011 

Where to find it: Virgin Wines...Tuscany, Italy. Look for similar blends in Total Wine & MoreTarget or Whole Foods.

Price Range: $22-30 

What I ate with it: Mexican leftovers and dark sea salt chocolate. 

Thoughts: Definitely a dry wine, but on the smoother side. There are earthy undertones with a fruity smell, and it was definitely lower on the acidity scale, which was nice. It did well after being left to breathe for a while too. It was recommended that I drink this with steak or a meaty Italian dish, which is cool except that I'm vegan. So I went the twentysomething route and ate it with rice, black beans, salsa and peppers. But honestly, though the dark chocolate went perfectly with the wine. It also went superbly well with mushrooms that I ate raw. 

BECOME A SOMMELIER

When thinking about how to match your food with wine, try and match the color intensity. Foods that are darker (lamb, chocolate) will usually go better with a dark, red wine. Similarly, lighter foods like cheese will go better with a white wine.  

{Honestly, though this wine is great with dark chocolate and smooth enough to have on its own if you've had a rough day. Buy it if you're having an Italian night.}