Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Ghoulish Wine Cocktails and Wines

Looking for something absolutely ghoulish to drink up while waiting for all those trick-or-treaters?  Bet you never knew some of these drinks existed, and guess what?  They all include a sparkling wine!  Originally posted by VOGA Wines, you can really re-create these using any sparkling wine of your choosing.  Don't buy something expensive - as your mixing the bubbly with other flavors, it's best to get something on the economical-savvy end!

Bride of Frankenstein
4 oz. sparkling wine
1 oz. raspberry liqueur
1 oz pineapple juice
raspberries for garnish

Pour raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice into Champagne flute.  Top with sparkling wine, and garnish with raspberries

Vampire's Kiss
1.5 oz unflavored Vodka (or Gin if you prefer)
1.5 oz sparkling wine
3/4 oz grenadine
red sugar for glass rim

Rim the glass with red sugar (get rim slightly wet and dip in sugar).  Pour chilled Vodka (or Gin) and grenadine into a martini glass.  Top with sparkling wine.

Not in the mood for a wine cocktail?  Why not try a spooky black cat Riesling from the Mosell (Germany)?  Each bottle sells for about $12.  Don't like black cats?  OK - there are many colors to choose from!

Moselland Cat Riesling
($12 - Photo from

Moselland Cat Rieslings from the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
(Photos buy author)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Wine News You Can Use: 4 Wine Rules That Are Rubbish

This article was originally posted by The Huffington Post.  It is pasted here for your convenience.

4 Wine Rules That Are Rubbish
Menuism | Oct 25, 2011 11:12 AM EDT

By Etty Lewensztain, Wine Expert for

Rules are meant to be broken, right? So why is it that we tend to hold on to hard and fast rules when it comes to drinking wine? Historically speaking, wine was reserved for the upper echelons of society, a tipple meant exclusively for the wealthy and culturally aloof. Well, lucky for us non-wealthy, non-highfalutin' wine lovers, times have changed -- and so have the pretentious and long-ingrained rules that dictate the way we think about and drink wine.

Do you always pair red wine with meat? Do you only cook with wine that's good enough to actually drink? If you're nodding "yes" to these questions, then read on to learn about four old-school wine rules that are absolutely rubbish!

1. Always pair white wines with fish and red wines with meat.
Although pairing white wines with fish and red wines with meat can act as a good starting point for learning how to pair wine with food, the truth is that successful pairings involve much more than the actual protein that's being featured in a dish.

For starters, try to assess the lightness or heaviness of a dish and this will help point you towards an apt wine pairing. For instance, yellowfin tuna is quite meaty and steak-like in texture when compared to white-fleshed fish like rainbow trout or striped bass, which are lighter, flakier and more delicate. Due to its robust flavor and texture, tuna can easily stand up to both light and medium-bodied red wines such as pinot noir or sangiovese.

The same goes for a lighter-style meat dish like roasted pork tenderloin. Tenderloin is lean enough and light enough in flavor to marry beautifully with a light-to-medium-bodied aromatic white wine like a grüner veltliner or a viognier.

Another key element to brilliant food and wine pairings: Match the wine not to the main protein in a dish, but to the sauce, glaze, dressing or spices featured in that dish. Black cod, for example, is a rich, flaky, white-fleshed fish that most people would automatically pair with a white wine, but when broiled with a Japanese miso glaze, black cod can pair wonderfully with fruity red wines like zinfandel or cru Beaujolais, which will pick up the caramelized sweetness in the miso glaze.

Spicy Thai beef salad is another great example. Most people would pair this dish with a red wine since it contains red meat. However, if you focus on the salad's sweet, tart and spicy dressing when choosing a wine pairing, you'll reap the rewards. The lime-driven acidity, sugar and spicy Thai chiles used in the dressing will pair much better with a high-acid, slightly sweet wine like an off-dry riesling than with a big, tannic red wine like a cabernet sauvignon. Tannic wines intensify the sensation of heat in a dish, so opt for low-tannin wines when pairing wine with spicy foods. Moreover, the sugar in the dressing will clash with a dry red like a cabernet, which can make the wine taste sour, so stick with a wine that has a good dose of residual sugar to match the dish's sweetness.

2. Never cook with a wine that you wouldn't actually drink.
The exact origins of this myth are unclear,but whoever told you to dump a bottle of $50 Barolo into your braised short rib broth is flat-out wrong! When wine is used to fortify a braising liquid for meat or a pasta sauce like Bolognese, its function is to contribute acidity, fruity depth, and for all intents and purposes, liquid volume. The alcohol in the wine cooks off while the wine reduces, as do all of the other factors that make wine drink-worthy or not, so reserve your brunello for your Riedel glass and use two-buck chuck in your next braised brisket.

3. To truly appreciate wine, you must have an encyclopedic knowledge of world wine regions and grape varieties.
Knowing the difference between limestone and granite soils may make you a more discerning wine drinker, but don't let your lack of geeky wine knowledge deter you from enjoying what's in your glass. People get extremely intimidated by the seemingly infinite number of grape varieties that thrive on our planet, or by the hundreds of appellations that comprise the French wine landscape, but none of this is imperative to having a truly enjoyable wine drinking experience.

What's more important than being able to pronounce "trockenbeerenauslese" is knowing what you like and what you don't like. Start with a grape variety -- say syrah -- taste a few examples from different countries and different wineries, and then decide yea or nay. Move on to another grape variety, say albariño, and soon enough you'll be educating your friends about the coastal vineyards of Rias Baixas in Spain.

4. Wine should be drunk only with formal, fancy food.
While Sauternes and foie gras are a match made in heaven, I challenge you to claim that a blistering fennel-sausage pizza and a bottle of high quality lambrusco are anything less than genius when had together.
Wine should have a place in people's everyday lives, the same way burgers, Indian take-out and carnitas tacos do -- so move beyond the notion that wine should only be consumed at a restaurant with white tablecloths, and break out your favorite bottle next time you're digging into your weekly pad thai.

Etty Lewensztain is the owner of Plonk Wine Merchants, an online shop focused on small-production, artisanal and altogether great cheap wine. The food- and wine-obsessed Los Angeles native cut her teeth in the wine biz running a marketing campaign to promote Chilean wine in the U.S., and is certified by the esteemed Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the American Sommelier Association. Plonk Wine Merchants specializes in hidden gems from around the globe and every bottle in the store is priced below $30. Follow Plonk Wine Merchants on Twitter @PlonkOnline.

4 Wine Rules That Are Rubbish was originally published on The Menuism Blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boom Varietal: Up and Coming Wine Movie

Boom Varietal is a movie documentary that discusses the sudden popularity of Argentina Malbec and how it has influenced the popular wine culture globally.  I believe the movie is set to come out soon, as the press release regarding the documentary was recently made public about a week ago.  Here's a short clip of the documentary for your viewing pleasure (and to get ready with a nice glass of Malbec!).  Cheers!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! 2010 Eroica Riesling by Chateau Ste. Michelle

It's been awhile since I found some Rieslings that really spurred me to write about them, but these past few days have been filled with Riesling experiences that are sure to please.  Eroica is a second label by Chateau Ste. Michelle and duel efforts behind Chateau Ste. Michelle's winemaker, Bob Bertheau, and Mosel (Germany) winemaker, Ernst Loosen.  You can watch details of their partnership HERE.

2010 Eroica Riesling
(Photo from Chateau Ste. Michelle's website)

2010 Eroica Riesling by Chateau Ste. Michelle

The D-2010 Scale 
2010 Eroica Riesling by Chateau Ste. Michelle (Columbia Valley, Washington, USA)
Appearance (10 points possible): pale yellow color, clear - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Fresh cut apples, hints of orange, light honeysuckle and citrus. - 15 points
Taste (10 points possible):  Light and acidic.  Fresh citrus and apple flavors on the palate.  Slightly astringent and citrusy at the end of palate.  After the bottle sits open for awhile, you get hints of sweetness in the finish along with some floral, honeysuckle undertones. - 7 points
Balance (5 points possible): The acidity does stand out a bit in this wine, which I found a bit surprising compared to some sweeter, heavier Mosel wines that I've tasted.  It also seems a bit more acidic than some of Chateau Ste. Michelle's other wines, which doesn't make it bad, but it does make the acid seem more prevalent in this wine. - 4 points
Finish (5 points possible): Some floral and citrus flavors in the finish with light astringency.  Lingers on your palate for a long time. - 4 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible):  Beautiful aromatic-white/Rhine-style bottle and natural cork- 5 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible):  Label is not the traditional Chateau Ste. Michelle label.  In fact, it actually caught my eye out of several other Rieslings in the store, which is why I purchased it.  :)  The word "eroica" actually means "heroic" in Italian, and I think this label somewhat captures that word and wine. - 9 points
Other (5 points possible):  There's no large extras on this bottle. - 3 points
Total Points: 87 points
Overall Thought: I like this wine.  It's a bit brighter in acidity than I traditionally look for in a Riesling, but it makes the wine bright and light.  It's a refreshing seafood lover's wine.
Food Pairings:  I see this as a seafood Riesling or very light pasta dishes.
Cost: $20 - $30
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 2 - A bit pricey compared to other Rieslings, but worth the try.
Where to buy:  Again, I found this in the state store, but you can also find out where to buy by looking at their website

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Matching Wines

In a recent tasting, I found 2 very similar wines from 2 very different regions.  I give total props to Chateau Ste. Michelle's 2010 Harvest Select Riesling for being so similar in style and taste to the 2009 Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Riesling Spatlese.  Plus, both came in around 10 - 10.5% alcohol.

I think this is a good example of a New World region making a wine very similar to the Old World style where it originated.  

Although, I will say that after the wines remained open for a few days, the 2 wines took very different turns.  The Chateau Ste. Michelle kept its fruitiness while the ....... became more floral and lavender-like.   I also liked the touch of "spritsy bubbles" that held in the Spatlese over time.  Very pleasant! 

However, both were still very, very good!  I invite you to try this combo if you get a chance to find both.  Bonus: Both are buyer-friendly, falling under $20 per bottle.  Cheers!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thrifty Wine Gear: Silicone Cork Stoppers

Aren't you always reaching for something to save that little extra bit of wine?  I like these cute cork stoppers:

(Photo by author)

They're colorful, fun, and not too pricey!  They are made by a company called True Fabrications and can be found for purchase on for about $11.  Or you could find them (like I did) in your local winery tasting room!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Wine News You Can Use: 6 Ways to Drink Wine Smarter

Here's an interesting article that will get you talking about wine...

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post.  It is pasted here for your convenience.

(Photo from Google Images)

6 Ways To Drink Wine Smarter

Posted: 10/13/11 09:11 AM ET

Nowadays, showing off your wine IQ is less about rattling off fancy chateau names and more about knowing good value -- both environmentally and in the wallet. Here are some quick tips for drinking wine smarter:

1. Try a biodynamic wine

It may sound a little kooky to pack an animal's skull with bark or hang stuffed deer bladder from the rafters, but while there is a spiritual aspect to biodynamic farming, 90% of it is just strict organic farming that pays close attention to the balance of the land.

In the U.S., Oregon is known for its biodynamic winemakers, so much so that wine writer Katherine Cole recently published the book, Voodoo Vintners: Oregon's Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers. She recommends trying Montinore's Gewürztraminer, with its bright aromatics and citrus notes, and Maysara's Roseena Pinot Noir Rosé, full of ripe fruit and fresh flowers.

Most wine shops don't have a biodynamic section, but if you build a solid relationship with your local seller, you can always request that they order some for you. A number of restaurants carry biodynamic wines these days, which are often described as such on the wine list. If not, there's no shame in asking your waiter or sommelier if they stock any.

2. Organic isn't the only way to drink sustainably

Don't only look for the word "organic" emblazoned on the label. Most truly sustainable wineries are a lot subtler than that. Some are certified organic, but many aren't. They are simply wine producers who avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides, and try to use little or no chemicals and additives during production.

Again, it's a good idea to ask your waiter, sommelier or wine merchant for advice when looking for a sustainable wine. If no one is on hand, turn the bottle over and look at the name of the importer. Rosenthal, Louis/Dressner Selections and Kermit Lynch are examples of wine importers that specialize in organic and sustainable wines.

Señorio de P. Peciña, in Rioja, farms organically, making a fresh and fruity young wine best enjoyed with a light chill. Perraud, in France, is a sustainable vintner who makes beautiful Beaujolais.

3. Opt for greener packaging

There's nothing like popping open a bottle of wine, but you can experience the same pleasure without the pop. Innovative packaging allows you to enjoy wine in a more eco-friendly and affordable way. Plus, with some 10% of bottles corked, alternative packaging can ensure that your wine stays fresh.

Despite its bad reputation, boxed wine has improved tremendously in recent years. Take From the Tank, for example, is a light-bodied and fruit-forward natural wine with notes of cherry, violet, and mineral. Yellow + Blue (equals green, get it?) are filling their liter boxes with fresh, exciting organic wines, like Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, Malbec from Argentina, and rosé from Spain.

A number of bars and restaurants are even installing wine on tap using a keg system like beer. Speaking of beer, ELKAN Chilean wines are available in 250ml and 375ml cans, completely recyclable and portable.

4. Try a half-bottle

Sometimes, you just can't finish a whole bottle. And, other times, you want to drink something different from what your dining companion is having. The answer to both solutions? Think small. The benefits of half-bottles go beyond practicality.

As wine ages, the flavors change due to oxygen slowly seeping into the bottle through the pores in the cork. Over time, where you once had fruity flavors, you start to see secondary notes develop, such as earthy and herbaceous characteristics. In half bottles, wine can age up to twice as fast as it does in a full-size bottle because there is a greater oxygen-to-wine ratio inside. That means you don't have to wait 20 years to drink a great bottle of wine.

Also, if you want to mix things up at dinnertime - say, start with a white with your appetizer, then move on to a red with your main course - smaller bottles are an affordable way to try a different wine with each course. The best part? There's no waste: anyone can finish a half bottle.

5. On second thought, go big!

Most of us buy wine in 750-ml bottles. Sometimes, when we're celebrating, we spring for a magnum. But rarely do we go larger than that. Some restaurants stock large-format bottles and springing for one can be great fun. The Methuselah, named for the oldest man in the Bible, holds six liters; the Salmanazar, named for the King of Assyria, holds nine liters; the Balthazar, referring to one of the three wise men, holds 12 liters; the jumbo Nebuchadnezzer, a King of Babylon, holds 15 liters.

Why order one of these monsters, you might be wondering? Honestly, they typically aren't cheaper than regular-sized bottles and they are not terribly practical to transport or pour. But wine geeks will tell you that big bottles are better for aging. With less oxygen in the bottle compared to the volume of wine contained, the wine oxidizes at a slower pace, which results in a more thorough maturation and greater complexity. But, really, the main appeal is the ostentatious, rap-mogul excess of it all.

6. Experiment with a grape variety you've never heard of

When Chardonnay becomes a bore and Pinot Noir no longer gets your motor running, it's time to start expanding your wine repertoire. Why not try a grape you can't pronounce?

For whites, Falanghina from the Campania region in Southern Italy is one of the oldest grapes in the country. Try biodynamically-farmed Ocone Falanghina del Taburno "Flora." Assyrtiko, from Greece, is another ancient grape. It's floral and flinty, great with food or on its own. Try the naturally fermented Gai'a Assyrtiko Wild Ferment. Txakolina, from Basque country in Spain, is light and refreshing, as well as low in alcohol, which means it's perfect for sipping into the wee hours with friends. Try Oxinbaltza Katan Bizkaiko Txakolina Mendiko... if you can say it, that is!

For reds, Noir isn't the only Pinot around. Pineau d'Aunis, from France, is rustic and earthy. Olivier Lemasson Poivre et Sel is a great example. Blaufränkisch is a German grape also grown in Washington State. Try rich, velvety Shooting Star Blue Franc.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival: Part II

We were last visiting the great country of Germany during our first half of the 2011 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!  If you recall, we were evaluating the price of a painted ostrich egg (which has nothing to do with food... unless you like to eat ostrich eggs).  However, we also stopped to chat with two German guys who seduced us with yummy chocolate-caramel strawberries.  *Yum!*  Refer back to my previous Part I entry for more info!

A Continuation of the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival: Passport to a World of Flavors
(Photo by author)

That brings us to Poland.... which we skipped... Italy (also skipped), Fife & Drum (which I have no idea what this was exactly, but they had Red Stag Lemonade for sale there... also skipped), and Hops & Barley.  As I stated before, we weren't in the mood for beer, but I do know that my Uncle Terry waited there in line for the Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll (which he said was delicious and you get a nice piece of Lobster) while "Johnny Depp" opted for a second margarita (he had to walk all the way back to Mexico), and the rest of us decided to take a break in AC at the United States where they have a nice American Pride movie/play that makes my Aunt Amy cry every time at the very end.  (Every time!)  It is a very prideful play.

But enough about my crazy family... After the break we all passed Singapore (we were starting to get tired... well, and slightly broke) and headed for Japan because "Johnny Depp" and I were in the mood for sushi.

Japan:  I think this country gave you a good deal for your money.  "Johnny Depp" and I went for the Spicy Tuna Roll, which was three generous pieces with wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce.  We pondered the Tuna and Salmon Sensation, but backed out at the last minute.  Uncle Terry saved the day, however, and ordered the Sensation with a tall glass of Masumi Junmai Ginjo Sake.  Everyone, except for my uncle Terry, was in agreement that the sake tasted like smoked ethanol... but we all did enjoy our sushi!  (Except for Aunt Amy who refused to try anything "unusual" or "exotic.")  ;)

Tuna and Salmon Sensation with Sake
(Photo by author)

Spicy Tuna Roll
(Photo by author)

New Zealand: There was fun for all in New Zealand.  Actually, there was just fun for me because I was really the only one interested in the Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad with a side glass of Mohua Sauvignon Blanc.  (I'd stand in line anywhere for a glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc!)  The sea scallop dish was one of my favorite that we tasted throughout the day.  The curry-apple combo went really well, and I very much enjoy scallops.  The Sauvignon Blanc was also a beauty: grassy, pear, lemon drop, and lightly acidic, bone dry.  It was so refreshing in the mid-day sun!

Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad [half-eaten]
(Photo by author)

Morocco: We stopped in Morocco to 1) use the restrooms and 2) observe the beautiful mosaics.  But we opted out of the Kefra Pocket, Harissa Chicken Roll, Baklava, Sangria, and Royal Mimosa.  For some reason, we weren't digging it.

Getting full!
(Photo by Aunt Amy)

Portugal: Perhaps Morocco was overlooked because it was right next to Portugal, and a few of us had our eyes set on the Calamari Salad with Fennel, Smoked Paprika, and Olive Oil.  Again, this dish was too "exotic" (aka fishy) for Aunt Amy, but the rest of us enjoyed it.  I really liked all the flavors, but it lacked the fennel/anise flavor that I was expecting (based on the description).  Aunt Amy did buy a glass of the JM Da Fonseca Periquita Moscato, which we were all surprised to find out it was dry.  Periquita is a grape that is often used for port in Portugal, but many Moscatos are made semi-sweet.  Although the floral nose was there, the dryness of the wine really made it seem thin, sour, and bitter.  However, the Fonseca Bin 27 Character Port was loved by all: ruby in color, sweet, creamy, and alcoholic.

Calamari Salad!
(Photo by author)

Belgium: I waited in the super long line at Belgium for the chocolates.  Now... Belgium also had Steamed Mussels, Belgian Waffles, and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Iced Coffee, but I just wanted the chocolate.  After the long wait, I finally got a box of 2 Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles, which I have to admit, weren't worth the buy... or the wait.  Should've gotten the waffle... that smelled divine!

Belgian Chocolate
(Photo by author)

France: A country after my own heart, but yet, we didn't wait in the country's line for Escargots.  Instead, we went straight to the French bakery line to buy Almond Triangles and Creme Brulee.  Do I even need to explain the delight these foods give us?

Almond Triangle Pastries - An Aunt Amy Favorite
(Photo by author)

Creme Brulee
(Photo by author)

The Crew Enjoying the French Scenery
(Photo by author)

I wanted to note how much I like visiting France.  There's me in the mirror!
(Photo by author)

Ireland: Another must-see-this-country.  We waited for the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie while Aunt Amy opted for the Bunratty Meade Honey Wine.  The Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie was so good that we ate half of it before I realized I forgot to take a picture.  The Honey Wine - eh.  It was oxidized and I couldn't get past that.

Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie - Mashed Potatoes on Top, Stew Underneath!
(Photo by author)

Canada: Our last stop for food throughout the day was for Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta.  For some reason, I was digging this dish and I also wanted to try it with Canada's Neige Bubble (made with apples!).  The chicken sausage was another one of my favorite dishes only because it had so much unique flavor.  The bubbly was also refreshing.  It was like drinking highly carbonated cider!

Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and Neige Bubbles
(Photo by author)

That means we skipped Greece, Desserts & Champagne, Hawaii (which was a new addition for 2011), and the Craft Beers stand.  But we did capture some of the more important parts of the festival - including the main building that featured all the bottles shared throughout the countries and several seminars about food, wine, and beverages!

Funky Wine Gear Found at the Festival
(Photo by author)

The 2011 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival Logo Glasses
(Photo by author)

(Photo by author)

The Wine Store for Your Buying Pleasure
(Photo by author)

Remember this?  The Canadian [Apple] Bubbles! - Super Neat Bottle, by the way
(Photo by author)

Cool Food Demos
(Photo by author)

If you're lucky, you'll catch Starship playing old hits that we can't forget!  And what's even more impressive is that it is actually the real Starship!

Starship Rocking Out: Eat to the Beat
(Photo by author)

Blurry, but Priceless.  Some People Are Always Young!
(Photo by author)

As you walk out of EPCOT (before or after the fireworks), make sure you take a long look at the lasting sunset that floats high above the lake, and that gleaming ball!  I hope you enjoyed the synopsis of EPCOT's festival.  If you'd like more information on some of our experiences or things we tasted, please email me at  Cheers!

(Photo by author)

The EPCOT Ball
(Photo by "Johnny Depp")

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays: 2010 De Martino Reserva 347 Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc by San Martino

It's not every day you get the opportunity to drink Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.  Read on to discover the details of this beautiful wine!


2010 De Martino Reserva 347 Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 
by San Martino
The D-2010 Scale 
2010 De Martino Reserva 347 Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc by San Martino Winery (Maipo, Chile)
Appearance (10 points possible): light yellow color, clear - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Initially a bit reduced upon opening, but opens with a bright citrus, light honey, candied, mint, and creamy aroma. - 16 points
Taste (10 points possible):  Medium-bodied up front, smooth with a slight oak flavor.  Astringent in the back of the palate and lightly bitter in the finish.  A lingering flavor of citrus with a slight buttery note.  Very old-world style Sauvignon Blanc to me. - 9 points
Balance (5 points possible): The acidity was very fresh, but not over-powering.  There appeared to be an oaky, sur-lie presence, but again, not over-powering.  Well balanced. - 5 points
Finish (5 points possible): Lingering with hints of oak, citrus, and butterscotch.  Very smooth. - 5 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible):  Nice bottle with a screw-cap top.  Screw-cap is well accepted for Sauvignon Blanc as it keeps the aroma/flavor varietal characters in the wine prior to opening. - 5 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible):  This is a traditional label (cream colored and not flashy), but yet has this extra piece of interest at the bottom, which makes it catchy.  It's not going to stand out amongst a wine like Fish Eye, but it's pleasant. - 8 points
Other (5 points possible):  There's no large extras on this bottle. - 3 points
Total Points: 91 points
Overall Thought:To me, the points don't do this wine justice.  This was a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc that is a very big contrast from a Sauvignon Blanc coming out of New Zealand.  I very much enjoyed the touch of oak and lees character without over-doing the alcohol.  It was refreshing, yet smooth and serious.  A very nice wine.
Food Pairings:  A Sauvignon Blanc with this depth and fullness would probably go well with Asian cuisine (like I always state here), but also white-based pasta dishes, fish (including salmon, trout, and shellfish), white-based chicken dishes, fruit, and soft cheeses.  I can also see this with something like plain cheesecake or Spanish dishes like Paella.
Cost: $12
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 1 - This is a good price for a Sauvignon Blanc.  It's the type of style that I think some producers in Napa are trying to make, but half (or more than half) the cost of a Napa wine.
Where to buy:  This is always a toughie for me now that I live in Pennsylvania because almost everything I buy is through the state stores or the wineries.  For more information on this producer, check out their website: