L.C.B. Discontinues Tableleaf Wines

     The Liquor Control Board of Pennsylvania announced Wednesday, February 19, 2014 that Tableleaf, their in-house brand of wine, will be discontinued.  The remaining stock will be sold at discounts of $2 to $3 per bottle.  Vinestone, another in-house brand was discontinued last year.  The L.C.B. developed seven other in-house brands but the fate of those labels has yet to be determined.

McWilliam’s Jack”s Blend 2011

Snarky Puppy Preforms at SummerSounds
Snarky Puppy Performs at SummerSounds

     McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Jack’s Blend South Eastern Australia 2011 is a Red Wine Blend that has a solid character and the good taste that are usually only found in a more expensive wine.  Jack’s Blend exhibits a light oak aroma with a medium body and a long smooth finish full of mild tannins.  This offering would pair well with grilled meat or even pizza.  I had the pleasure of drinking this red while sitting with friends under a starry night sky in St Clair Park , Greensburg Pa as the band Snarky Puppy performed at SummerSounds.  When you need to grab a bottle or two of red wine for a gathering of friends this wine will give you good quality at a great price.  Jack’s Blend can be found at P.L.C.B. stores for only $5.99 or online for under $10.

Bodegas Arrayan Premium Red Blend 2005

16052010      This proprietary red blend provides a complexity that can’t be matched by comparable mono-varietals because it has a powerful blend of 55% Syrah, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot coupled with 14 months of aging in new French oak behind it.  After starting with an aroma of sweet fruit, it is no surprise that the palate is one of lush black fruit which remains very persistent on your tongue and is then matched by the even longer finish.  This cuvee would be an excellent addition to a steak dinner or a nice complement to an evening spent entertaining around your homes outdoor space while you maximize the culinary potential of your grill.  Wine Advocate gave this wine a 93 point rating and it can be found in select P.L.C.B. stores at a discounted price of $24.99 with the product code 032370.  P.L.C.B. lists the quoted price at $45.00 but I managed to find it listed on Amazon wine for $39.99 making the $24.99 price a very good deal for a wine of this caliper.  The Arrayán family of wines are produced by La Casa de Las Cuatro Rayas in the Méntrida region of Spain.

Campo Maccione Morellino di Scansano 2008

Campo Maccione Morellino di Scansano 2008
Campo Maccione Morellino di Scansano 2008

This is a hidden gem that comes from the southwestern Tuscan town of Scansano.  Morellino is the name for Sangiovese in Scansano but no matter what you call this red blend the one thing you will be calling it is delicious.  Rocca delle Macìe produces this solid but modestly priced red blend that is softer and rounder than the wines from Chianti because the Zingarelli family vineyards are located further south in a more moderate climate that is warmer and drier.  Best described as fruity and finely balanced this medium bodied offering has a nice finish that can be paired with a diverse menu.  Pasta, pizza, roasted or grilled meats and aged cheeses are just some of the pairings that this food friendly wine can be served with to showcase its best qualities. When you  start with a price that is easy on the wallet then add a taste profile that is easy on the palate what you will certainly end up with is a sure winner like Campo Maccione Morellino di Scansano 2008

Hot to Trot Red Blend

Hot to Trot Red Blend Photo Courtesy: 14 Hands Vineyard
Hot to Trot Red Blend Photo Courtesy: 14 Hands Vineyard

     The 14 Hands Vineyard in Paterson, Washington produces one of the best blended red wines made in the United States.  This red was once only available to restaurants in selected markets but now can be found in wide distribution due to overwhelming demand.  Hot to Trot is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvgion, Mourverde and Petite Verdot grapes harvested from vineyards in several of Washington’s AVA regions including Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope and the Yakima Valley.  It is made using techniques that are usually reserved for more expensive wines, these include cold soaking, performing a daily  pump-over to extract color and flavor followed by aging in both French and American oak barrels.  This extra care produces a medium body red wine with flavors of very lightly oaked red berries and dark fruit with a hint of vanilla giving way to refined supple tannins followed by a pleasant lingering spice and mocha finish.  Reds from WashingtonState can be pricey but this blend always delivers a well crafted wine at a great price and its ability to pair flawlessly with a range of food makes it very difficult to beat.  14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend can be found at P.L.C.B. stores for $12.99 with the product code 5213.  I suggest using the in store product locator on the website www.finewineandgoodspirits.com to check for availability of this wine because of demand.

Back UP The Truck!

English: Wine on the wall.

     I hope that I have given you some motivation to get out and about this summer so you can make some fantastic new memories.  Keeping with my theory that you do not have to spend a lot of money to get good wine, I would like to make some suggestions that will make for a well stocked cooler. 

     Let’s start with some reds!

1.  Albeno Munari Tempranillo Calaveras County 2007   WE/88 $13.99    

2.  A to Z Wineworks Rosé Oregon 2011 $11.99

     And now three highly rated proprietary Red Blends!

3.  Bodegas Dios Ares Crianza 2008  WA/90  $12.99

4.  Bodegas y Vined Luna Beberide Fincala Questa 2007 WA/90 $11.99

 5.  Boutari Elios Mediterranean Red Peloponnese 2009 WS/87 $12.99

     Now it’s time to give these tasty white wines their time in the sun!

1.  Alomos Torrontes 2007  WS/87   $10.99

2.  Boutari Moschofilero Matinia 2010  WS/88   $12.99

3.  Breemerton Verdelho  WA/89   $12.99

4.  Adegas Gran Vinum Nessa Albarino Rias Baixas 2008  WA/88   $12.99

     These are just an example of the rated wines that are available at a reasonable price.  I think you will enjoy any of these selections and know that you will find many others in your journeys.