Category Archives: Wine Review

Carmel Road #1 Chardonnay Value Wine: 50% Discount Price Too

Carmel Road Winery produces a fantastic Chardonnay with a big mouth feel, touches of oak not splintery, and just the right honey undertones that make it a fantastic taste. This wine is not for the Franco-file taste sensation as it is not flinty, mineral in nature, or austere in it’s mouth feel.

#1 Chardonnay Value to Date

Right now Safeway grocery stores in California are carrying the Carmel Road 2004 Chardonnay, regular retail price $19.95, for a 50% savings of $9.95 per bottle. If you purchase a case the bottle price plummets to $9.00 per bottle.

Locate a Store

To locate a store that carries Carmel Road wines go to http://trade.carmelroad.com/storelocator/

Contact Info

Follow the link to contact Carmel Road for more information on their products: http://www.carmelroad.com/contact.html

Remember drink responsibly–don’t spill any wine!

Stonehedge 2003 Krupp Brother’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: The Finest Value California Cabernet Under $15 You May Never Taste: A Where’s Waldo Debacle!


I began wine collecting with the 1986 vintage, a fine year for cabernet, when the prices for a bottle of California cabernet were in line with most consumer’s budgets. Since that time I have made it a point to buy ultra premium cabernets and very inexpensive “value” cabernets. I have yet to find a Cabernet, in my 20+years of drinking and buying, as fantastic a value and as rich and flavorful a wine as the Stonehedge 2003 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The best part is the price: $12.99 at my local Trader Joe’s!

Now here is the mystery aka the bad part of the story. This wine is impossible to find outside of Trader Joes and not all Trader Joe’s carry this cabernet. Why? Here is what we know to this point after looking online-for a frustrating night of hide and seek.

1. The wine is called Stonehedge Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet vintage is 2003.

2. It was bottled by Stonehedge Cellars of Santa Maria, California.

3. The wine has a black label all other Stonehedge wines have white labels

4. The Krupp Brothers are credited with making this wine. I can not find the Krupp Brothers on the Stonehedge site nor online for producing this wine.

5. The only black label wine by Stonehedge is the $50 per bottle “Signature Vines Stage Coach Vineyard” designated Cabernet with no mention of the Krupp Brothers.

If you can find it buy as much as your budget will allow. If you will please email me and let me know I want to buy more of this wine before it is gone. I have a feeling that this was a wine produced for Trader Joe’s or discounters only. Best of luck and if you find it- you will love it!

Bodega Bay Seafood, Art and Wine Festival: Last of the Fantastic Summer Wine Festivals

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The San Francisco Bay Area’s Summer Festival season is coming to a close with one of the very best outdoor celebrations. The 13th annual Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival provides celebrants with a serene water location, world class musical talent, and gourmet food and wine offerings.

The Bodega Bay celebration is held in the historic bay side resort town of Bodega Bay made famous by Alfred Hitchcock in his creepy classic “The Birds.” The festival, August 25 & 26th, is located at Watt’s Ranch 16855 Bodega Avenue in the village of Bodega Bay, California. The event runs from 10:00-6:00 on Saturday and 10:00-5:00 on Sunday; admission fees are $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors 60 and over, $8 for kids 12-1, and children under 12 are admitted free of charge. This is truly one of the best values in entertainment. The following is a lineup of musical talent, Art, Food and wineries available:

Saturday August 25: Headliner Marcia Ball Singer/Pianist brings her brand of “bayou blues” and “honky tonk” style for her first appearance at Bodega Bay.

Opening for Marcia: Guitar virtuoso Scott Huckabay , Cari Lee and the Saddle-ites , Montuno Groove , and a host of stage shows.

Sunday August 26: Headliner the Bay Area’s native sons Pride and Joy the best R&B club band with over 25 yrs of headliner gigging.

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Opening for Pride and Joy: Incendio nuevo flamenco and Tom Rigney.

With 19 wineries led by the fantastic Sbragia from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County and 10 breweries including Sierra Nevada there will not be a dry glass in the place.

If you are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area in late August or if you are a local make the trek to Bodega Bay for what promises to be the best celebration of the summer.

The Greatest Value Chardonnay You May Never Taste

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Chardonnay, easily one of the most controversial and popular grapes harvested , has many superstar offerings. Wines such as Kistler, El Molino, Beringer Reserve, Martinelli, Rombauer, Patz and Hall, Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch, and Ramey are bursting with multiple flavors, structure, and balance. The problem remains the price as most of these offerings begin around $30 skyrocketing up to the triple digit level. For everyday sipping, these fantastic chardonnays can become a bit pricey.

The most economical, rich, and elegant chardonnay (everyday tasting) we have tried is Buena Vista’s 2004 Sonoma Chardonnay. Crafted from Carneros fruit, this chardonnay is very smooth and creamy. It is reminiscent of Rombauer’s smooth malolactic mouth feel without a 2×4 oak log beating you over the head as you pull splinters out of your tongue.

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Mind you, I love Rombauer Chardonnay! Yet many self proclaimed “experts”, the folks who can detect 29 different and distinct tastes from moldy sweat socks to a hummingbird’s vapor trail, believe that oak in wine is an affront to mankind! A little oak never hurt, as long as it’s not coming from a wood shampoo, and in wine it can provide a fantastic background flavor.

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All fun aside, Buena Vista’s 2004 Sonoma Chardonnay tastes like a superstar’s $50 per bottle offering. Yet, it is priced just right! We found this wine at various locations. The best price? At our local Longs Drugs store of all places. Long’s price: $10.99.

I hope you had fun.  Thanks!