A Guide to Wine, Food & the Good Life


This tag is associated with 5 posts


   Mind Behind Recently I visited Jim Clendenen, the founder and owner of Au Bon Climat aka “Mind Behind,” and his crew at Au Bon Climat & Qupé winery which is also affectionately referred to as “The Shed.” Accompanying me was Craig Olson, the President and CEO of Hillside House. Founded in 1945, Hillside House is a […]

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SOME STUNNING NEW WINES THAT YOU SHOULD NOT MISS! I recently visited Jeff Emery again at his winery in Santa Cruz where he makes Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Petite Sirah, and Durif under the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard label. Under the Quinta Cruz label he also makes Spanish and Portuguese varieties – […]

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    The Fresh and Easy chain of neighborhood markets has a line of wines named Big Kahuna that are priced at the same level as Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck. Recently I came across this notice: “Our exclusive Fresh & Easy wines win a lot of awards – 600 so far – and our […]

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Recession Busters/Best Buys

Here are 28 wines, perfect for everyday drinking, and, priced at $10 or below, offering good value to the wallet or pocketbook and the palate. Eighteen of the wines are priced below $5. All are pleasant surprises, interesting, inviting and worthy of buying again. Until the last year or so, good wines in this price range were very difficult to find in the U.S., other than Two-Buck Chuck or wines found in stores’ bargain bins. These very affordable wines fill a vacuum in the American wine market: vin ordinaire and vino de tavola for the American table. Some are surprisingly good, some could benefit from additional aging and some are just nice, early-drinking quaffers. While quality and price are generally positively correlated, this is not always the case. You don’t need to be embarrassed to serve these wines to guests or to let them be the second wine served at a party. However, keep in mind that you can’t expect these wines to be perfectly balanced with great complexity and richness. While these wines may not interest a connoisseur, they are fruity and flavorful, perfectly quaffable on an everyday basis to the vast majority of the wine drinking public. Moreover, the wines are quite food friendly.

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Bargain Wines/Best Buys

Following is a selection of 11 inexpensive wines, which were purchased at $3.99 each. We did a search of comparative pricing and found that some can sell for as much as $7-10 and one was even found online on a business auction site with an entry bid of $15. Three other wines tasted were priced slightly higher, ranging from $5-8. All the wines tasted are nice, everyday quaffers, mostly designed for drinking now, although a couple could benefit from a little aging.

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