Hailing A Cab? You’ll Need 14 Hands

If only hailing a “cab” were as easy as hailing a cab… wave your hand in the air and POOF! A bottle of 14 Hands Cab!

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon

I’d like to hail a cab, a very special cab (sorry, yellow taxi, not you)… 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon, to be specific. So pay attention! This is one of the Rambling Vine’s ultimate, go-to red wines; full of great fruit flavors and exhibiting great, overall harmony and balance. I can’t tell you how many people I have recommended this wine to… even perfect strangers at the grocery store. Then when I see them next week they bow down before me with burnt offerings and… yeah, not exactly. But they gush over this wine, and you will, too!

Now, when I talk about 14 Hands Cab, keep in mind I also hold their Merlot in very high regard, so their Merlot is also a “not-to-be-missed” wine (I am writing about the Cab, selfishly, because I could think of more puns). Whether you like Cab or Merlot is sort of like asking a 14 year-old girl whether she’s Team Edward or Jacob… they’re both delicious in their own ways, just with slight differences. It’s a matter of comparing apples and oranges. So I don’t think you’ll have a problem with either one. Au contraire, they are both fabulous.

For a while the 14 Hands’ single varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were only available at restaurants. The winery sold their Hot to Trot Red Blend in stores (also exceptional… another post for another day), but fans cried out for their Cabs and Merlots. Hallelujah, they are now available at your local grocery or drug store for about $10! In my not-so-humble opinion, this is the apex of affordable, extremely smooth, drinkable, high quality Washington red wine.

I secretly hope Washington wine doesn’t get too popular and correspondingly expensive (or worse, of inferior quality). That would be devastating. It’s definitely gaining more and more fans around the globe, and for good reason. Until that day comes, drink up! If this is your first foray into Washington red wine, this is my highest recommendation to you.



Put the Wine in the Cho-Co-Late and Drink Them Both Up

A Fine Chocolate Wine For Your Consideration

Red wine and dark chocolate: cliché Valentine’s Day trappings, or greatest palate-pleasing pairing in history? That is the question….

Enough pondering already. I don’t know about you, but most of my attempts to pair red wine with dark chocolate have not gone so well. They usually result in face scrunching and gagging. You have to consider the cacao and sugar percentages in your chocolate and how those will interplay with the grape type and sugar/alcohol content of the wine you select. With so many factors to consider, who has time to figure it all out?

Well, whoever thought of combining red wine and dark chocolate in the glass was a genius! And he who pulled it off successfully is my hero! You will be surprised how red wine and dark chocolate pair so seamlessly together in a dessert wine when you sip on Chocolate Shop, The Chocolate Lover’s Wine. You can find it for $9.99 at Cost Plus World Market, and for a similar price at Fred Meyer, Bartell Drug, and other stores.

What a find! Not sure whether I should be glad I found this or unhappy that I am now addicted to this, but I’m sure excited to tell you about it! This red wine behaves like any other red wine in the glass but with the added twist that it is a SWEET wine; in essence, it is a dessert wine, but without behaving like viscous, syrupy Dimetapp in the glass. Let’s call it a dessert wine for non-dessert wine drinkers.

The first sip is like a mouthful of cherry tootsie pop but better! Real dark chocolate flavoring is added to drinkable and balanced Walla Walla red wine. The fact that there is a good quality wine as the base helps, so the consistency won’t remind you of Aunt Jemima.

Here is what the label reads: “… a deep, ruby red wine blended with rich, velvety chocolate. Inviting aromas of black cherry and chocolate combine in the glass and continue on the palate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder. Nuances of sweet red wine lingers [sic] on the smooth finish. Chocolate Shop provides you with an indulgent wine experience like no other.”

Whether you’re a coldhearted cynic, a hopeless romantic, or just craving a sweet wine, this will win you over.

For further reading on pairing wine with chocolate: http://wine.about.com/od/winerecommendations/a/winechocolate.htm

(Sidenote: Use an expert to make your life easier. When you do want to have a wine & chocolate pairing party, ask your local wine merchant for a red that pairs well with chocolates. There is usually chocolate available for sale, and they are more than happy to give you a great recommendation.)

Blinded by the White

Surprise Pick: Alamos Torrontes 2010

These glorious first-taste-of-real-summer days in Washington in April bring the masses out of hibernation, for fear this could be the only Vitamin D we get until mid-July. The folks I always cringe at are the ones that bare as much pasty white flesh as possible in worship of the sun god, then scar our eyes again with a shade of wince-inducing “scorched lobster.” Didn’t they ever heed the wisdom of Baz Luhrmann?

I invite you to be pleasantly surprised by another kind of white… an Argentinian white wine!

I’ll start by throwing you a curve ball of a rare and little talked-about white wine, Torrontes. Have any of you actually heard of this wine and tried it? I had NEVER heard of it, until it winked at me at my local grocery store (lots of wines wink at me, and I can’t buy all of them). Naturally, I was curious, so I picked up a bottle for kicks. Alamos makes an outstanding Malbec at a terrific value (around $10 or under a bottle), so I figured a white from this label wouldn’t be a total loss. But then again, isn’t Argentina synonymous with juicy red Malbecs? Like Seattle & salmon, or New York & hot dogs? Some things are lumped together for good reason, and shaking up these fixed associations can trigger outcries from the traditionalists.

Evita wants you to understand just how GOOD Argentinian Torrontes is!

Well, phooey on them! Argentina makes an excellent white wine… yes, Argentina, land of acclaimed Malbecs, tango, and Evita Perron!

This is my new favorite white wine! Here’s why: “Torrontes has a unique expression in Argentina and has often been called the country’s signature white varietal. Alamos Torrontes captures all of the explosive aromatic character of this Argentine grape, with lively notes of citrus and peach fruit interwoven with delicate layers of jasmine blossom and fresh herbs. The wine is light and fresh on the palate with excellent balance and finishing with bright, crisp acidity.” It has all the characteristics I like in other whites (fruity, rich, floral and herbal notes) rolled into this one varietal.

Turn to Torrontes for an unusual but delightful crowd-pleasing white wine that’s not Chardonnay (let Chardonnay have the night off for once). Let me know what you think! And if you’re in the Seattle area, wear your sunscreen!

The Rambling Vine has entered the blogosphere!

ImageHello! Welcome to the inaugural blog post of The Rambling Vine. I don’t know about you, but to me the word “blogging” has always sounded a little sketchy, like it might pertain to bathroom functions. Maybe that’s why I dragged my heels for so long on starting a blog? Or because it sounds like Rod Blagojevich? Who wants to read a BLOG? I won’t go into detail here because if I did you would immediately give up on me after one post (please don’t!). Nevertheless, despite the fact that the word “blogging” causes me to wrinkle my nose, I am excited to begin said activity; sharing with you some fabulous wines that will impress your taste buds and make your life a little more pleasant. Here’s to blogs, which let us share the love and spread the wealth!