Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno 2008

Classy and Flavorful!

I was looking for a nice Italian wine when I came across the Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno 2008 from Marche, Italy. You might look at the long exotic-sounding name and think “Wow this must be a fancy schmancy expensive wine”. Except it wasn’t. For $8.99 this wine is a steal!

Rosso Piceno is a red wine blend made from 70% Sangiovese and 30% Montepulciano, both which are the two most harvested native grape varieties in Italy. This particular one also happens to be made from organically grown grapes!

So when I first opened this bottle of wine and tasted it, I was underwhelmed by the flatness and lack of flavor. However when I let the wine breathe (by pouring it through a nice Vinturi aerator my mother bought for me), the flavors seem to come alive and I was able to taste things that were masked before! The change was pretty astonishing and I was pleasantly surprised what a difference aerating makes on this one.

The wine starts out quite dry, and as mentioned before, letting it breathe is extremely crucial! Post-aeration this Rosso Piceno blossomed into a fruity, lively, and very enjoyable red. The flavor is fresh and bursts with personality, and it leaves a nice, light aftertaste after it has left your mouth. The lightness combined with the mesmerizing flavors really make it an experience that is flirtatious and pleasing to the senses.

I enjoyed a glass of this wine with some Pepperidge Farm jam cookies which proved to be a pairing that is truly divine. Yum!

A Match Made in Heaven!


Sultry and Bold: The Story of the Cellared Tintara 2003 Shiraz

Can you say no? I can't.

My parents have received quite a few bottles of wine as gifts, but since they rarely drink alcohol many of these have been sitting around for years and years. A few days ago I realized that some of them must now be magnificently cellared reds and decided to go exploring in their alcohol cabinet. The one I decided to pick was the Tintara 2003 Shiraz of McLaren Vale.

McLaren Vale is a wine region in South Australia that is well known for their Shiraz. According to Wikipedia, McLaren Vale boasts 3,218 hectares of Shiraz vines and their wines are know for their “ripeness, elegance, structure, power and complexity”. After that I knew I was getting myself in a pretty awesome situation.

So now the wine. This is a full-bodied wine with an alcohol content of 14.5%. I have never tasted anything quite like this in my life. The first thing I noticed is the dryness. You can taste the bold accents of pepper and oak, which is a result of the 18 months that it spent maturing in American and French oak. There is no hint of sweetness and the flavor is POWERFUL. The aroma is slighty fruity but the taste is less so. I had to take some time to come back to reality, because this wine left me completely speechess! In other words, it was love at first taste.

Unfortunately I do not know what the 2003 costs or if it is still available for purchase. However the 2007 seems to cost around ~$15 so I would definitely be interested to see what a younger Tintara Shiraz tastes like. However if you happen to get your hands on one of these gems, you won’t regret the opportunity to be seduced by this magnificent Shiraz!

Nectar of the Gods: Stella Rosa Orange Moscato

Sweet, Bubbly, and Amazing!

I am not usually a fan of sweet alcoholic drinks, but the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato has earned a special place in my heart.

A few weeks ago I visited the San Antonio Winery, located in the heart of Los Angeles, with a couple of friends. We went on the tour and afterwards they gave us free wine tastings! Usually they only give samples of 3 wines from a select menu, but the nice man who was helping us out gave us several additional samples which were off the menu, one of which was the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato.

This fruity, sparkling wine is a product of Italy and is made from Muscat grapes, which are harvested around the world and known for having a sweet, floral aroma. The alcohol content is a very low 6%, which explains why I can barely taste the alcohol and only deliciousness! One unique characteristic is the slightly thicker consistency which vaguely reminded me of honey. The combination of the light carbonation and the fruity, orange flavors make for a wonderful celebration drink.

Today my family and I were celebrating my sister’s visit from college, and the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato was the perfect choice for a festive evening! We also enjoyed the sparkling wine with some Sprinkles cupcakes, which were a truly delightful, drool-worthy combo.

Strawberry, Salted Carmel, and Red Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkles!

So next time you have a special occasion to celebrate, you might want to pick up a few of these bottles. They are around $15 each, which is very reasonable for what you’re getting. If you aren’t near the San Antonio Winery you can check out your nearest location at Enjoy!

Mud House Swan 2008 Pinot Noir

You would be crazy to walk away from this one

I was told by a fellow blogger that the Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand is amazing and I immediately started searching to see if I could get my hands on a bottle.

I finally found one that sounded interesting on the K&L wine merchants website. It wasn’t exactly the description of the wine or the pretty label that won me over either. One reviewer (Melissa Smith) commented, “Everything is in harmony with this wine. Except the price, buy this one by the case before they realize it tastes like a Pinot several times this amount. ”


That quote was all I needed. I ran to the closest K&L wine merchants, which happened to be their Hollywood store, because the website indicated that there were only a few bottles left at this location. As I ran in I breathlessly asked,


I must have looked like a crazy person. Or a dedicated wine snob (awesome!). Thankfully they still had some in stock.

As I sighed a big sigh of relief I picked up a few and joyfully bounded over to the cashier to pay a very modest $10.99 apiece.

So to the important part: If I had to sum up the taste in one word, I would say elegant, because of the very clean taste. However that is DEFINITELY not to be confused with bland! This Pinot Noir is very unique, and you can taste the fruit but it isn’t exactly “fruity”. It is almost a tiny bit salty but leaves your tongue before your brain can really process all the wonderful flavors that are swimming around on your palate. It will leave you wanting more and even after many sips I was left puzzled, yet very intrigued.

So my conclusion is, I can’t describe this wonderfully complex flavor in its full glory. You will just have to buy it and see for yourself. Here is the link if you are wise enough to grab it before they run out:

Sobon Estate 2009 Zinfandel


I found this wine at “Total Wine and More” which is a wine superstore that I recently discovered near my house. I have never seen such a humongous liquor store in my life and I have yet to discover something that they don’t carry. On top of that they have wine tastings for 10 cents and if you sign up for newletters they even send you updates and coupons via email! You can tell I’m pretty excited about this place…

So I am a pretty indecisive person when it comes to purchasing pretty much anything, because I like to think about every aspect of my buy. Despite my calm exterior, as I peruse the aisles I’m asking myself:  Is this exactly what I want? Is this a reasonable price for what I’m getting? Will I be sad if I were to leave it behind and later think “why didn’t I just buy it???”? Of course the same process also applies to shopping for wine.

The Sobon Estate 2009 Zinfandel was recommended to me by one of the employees in the store after I told him exactly what I was looking for: a red wine with a deep flavor, fruity aroma, and a smooth finish. This wine is from Amador County, and a quick google search revealed that Amador County is renowned for its Zinfandel. Some of the vines are more than 125 years old, and their Zinfandel vineyards are believed to be one of the oldest in America! The wine itself is truly amazing. The first thing I noticed is that the smell is mesmerizing. Its not just fruity (fruity makes me think light and simple), but has a complex, almost musky smell to it. The flavor is bold, and its very clear that this wine come from no ordinary grapes. This is really a taste of history! The alcohol content is 14.9%, which is higher than the normal 12%, but the bite from the alcohol is well hidden by the richness of the wine. The bottle also has a screw cap, which is wonderful for those of us with lower tolerances (you guessed it! its me) and will need quite some time to see the bottom of the bottle.

Currently I am blissfully sporting the finest glow, thanks to this wonderful Zinfandel!  For $12.99 this wine has been worth every penny. Thank you for this amazing find, Total Wine!