Alexander Valley Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine comes from Sonoma County and has a nice deep ruby tone. Alexander Valley has half a century of grape vines behind its individual style. The wine has lots of sour cherry, chocolate and earthy flavors. It’s rich yet smooth. Not burning and harsh like a South American Cabernet can be. At about $17 it’s a bargain. While many wouldn’t consider this a daily drinking wine and want something around the $12 range, I would recommend people consider this wine into their rotation if they eat lots of meat. I can see this wine going particularly well with barbeque and would be a treat at a Brazilian steak house!

This is a great wine with red meat.

This is a great wine with red meat.

2008 Marques de Caceres Crianza Rioja

As you may have already read, I love wines from Spain. This particular bottle is my go-to bottle when I want a cheap yet tasty Spanish red. This is a great example of a wine from La Rioja from northern Spain at just $13-15 dollars at time of purchase. There is plenty of cherry taste and the wine is exceptionally smooth. It also has mild tones of oak, smoke and herbal flavor.

A good and value priced example of a Rioja.

A good and value priced example of a Rioja.

Francis Ford Cappola Winery – Director’s Cut Zinfandel 2009

This Zinfandel hails from the Dry Creek valley of Sonoma County. I would describe this particular wine as a classic example of a Zinfandel from Sonoma County, and very representative of a quality American red wine. There are lots of rich flavors of blackberries and plums. I’m also detecting a hint of vanilla and espresso with some very light wood flavor. It’s very smooth and not overbearing at all. At $20 per bottle in early 2012, this wine is a pretty decent deal. It’s not as good as my favorite Zinfandel from Talty Estates, but it’s not >$30 either and it’s very very good. If you want to try a good first Zinfandel that is representative of the breed, try this one!

This Zinfandel is representative of the breed!

This Zinfandel is representative of the breed!

Altovinum Evodia 2010 Garnacha

I love spanish reds and this wine is very warm. It has a nice deep flavor full of cherry, mocha and raspberry tones. It drinks very well and I would see it as a great companion to a steak. This wine is made in Atea, Spain and is 100% Garnacha. I would buy this wine again as it makes for a great every day bottle at about $11 dollars at the time of purchase. I don’t think this wine would benefit from aging or decanting, just drink it.

A 100% Garnacha wine from Atea Espana.

A 100% Garnacha wine from Atea Espana.

Gekkeikan Horin Sake (300ml)

I purchased this sake from HEB to have with my sushi. It was not quite what I personally like. I prefer a milder, crisper and dry sake but wanted to try something new. It was about $15 dollars for a 300ml bottle. This sake is a junmai daiginjo type sake and it was too fruity and had a strong anise and sour apple flavor that I really don’t like. While this is supposed to be a quality sake, it’s just not for me.

Junmaik Diginjo sake with anise type taste.

Junmaik Diginjo sake with anise type taste.

Hedges 2009 CMS Columbia Valley

This wine is a good example of a pretty moderate American Red. It’s not an amazing bottle by any means, but it’s plenty good for a drink with a friend over a meal. The taste of cherry and fruit is there and the smoothness is plentiful. This supple wine is 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 16% Syrah. This blend results in a very smooth finish and makes the wine very drinkable with food. It’s not too spicy and not too mild. The wine is made in Washington State by the Hedges Family Estate company in Columbia Valley. At $11.99 it’s a bargain.

A good American red wine from Columbia Valley

A good American red wine from Columbia Valley

The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old

I wanted to try out an alternative to my usual go-to daily drinking choice (Glenlivet 18 Year Old) and while it won’t replace my usual selection, I did find a good alternative. This scotch is very smooth, but the price of about $115 dollars is not quite justified. I feel that The Glenlivet 18 for around the $80 dollar price is actually a bit smoother and crisper. Don’t get me wrong though, this is still a seriously good Scotch. If I were at a store that did not carry the Glenlivet 18 I would buy this in a heart beat as an alternative!

This 17 year old Scotch is pretty tasty.

This 17 year old Scotch is pretty tasty.

Fat Tire – New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing has been selling the awesome “Fat Tire” beer as long as I’ve been drinking (I’m 26 now.) This beer is great and a go to choice for a medium flavor real beer. The right amount of hops and flavor make this a refreshing yet flavorful experience. It’s best served at 7 degrees centigrade. I think everyone should try this beer at least once. The only people that would dislike this beer are the ones that drink Bud Light.

An amazing medium flavor beer.

An amazing medium flavor beer.