Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cellarmistress Goes To The Big House

Well, not really...Can you imagine me in jail? OK, let's not go there...I did visit the Big House recently, but it was only to taste some interesting wines at bargain prices. I received a few samples from The Wine Group in Livermore, California. These are wines I'd seen before but had never really tasted. Nor did I know much about them before now. I love a new challenge so I set forth to familiarize myself with them. The trio of wines I received were 2008 Big House Pink, 2008 Big House White and 2007 Big House Red.

First up was the 2008 Big House Pink. I know what you're thinking. Show someone a bottle of pink wine and immediately they are running the other way--away from the big banner that says, "If it's pink, it must be White Zinfandel." Well, I have some news. Not only is this not White Zinfandel, but it is a unique blend of juice from eleven varietals. ELEVEN. Can you name them all? Probably not. Can you distinguish one from the other? Probably not. Should you just stop thinking and try it? Yes. How many Rose' wines can you say have Charbono, Grenache, Tannat, Barbera, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Cinsault, Sagrantino, Petite Verdot and Zinfandel in them? This one has a ripe flavor of strawberries and other red fruits, low residual sugar-- 13% alcohol--and makes for a cool, tasty beverage on a hot day. Just released in July, it can be found in most grocery stores, along with its two cohorts which I will talk about next. Around $10 a bottle. A nice party wine for Girls Night Out, late Summer barbecue, a picnic or just quick and easy patio sipping.

Next up was the 2008 Big House White or the bout between the Italians and the French. Huh, what? The reason why I say this is because this wine is made of four varietals--the Italians: Malvasia Bianca and Muscat Canelli vs. the French: Viognier and Roussanne. I have to admit it tasted very floral to me but the four varietals blended very well to make a dry, perfumy white wine that pairs well with seafood, salads and chicken. 13.5% alcohol. Pretty easy to drink. Crisp acidity from stainless steel fermentation. $10. Having this wine started my lust for finding other American alternative white wines. I'm on the hunt!! This is a great example of what you can find out there when it comes to white blends and something out of the ordinary.

The third bottle in this series is the 2007 Big House Red. I was most impressed by the fact that this wine has the largest amount of varietals in it--a whopping big sixteen! In addition to the varietals in the above mentioned Rose', this one also contained Montepulciano, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Malbec, Touriga, Aglianico, and Nero D'Avola. They all blend together to make this easy drinking, fruity and slightly spicy wine. This wine makes a great table wine, everyday wine, great with pasta and pizza kind of wine. And see? You don't have to spend a lot! $10, that's it...

All these bottles have some unique artwork on them, from the label to the screwcap. And check out their website at How's that for fun! Full of the same artwork! Give these bargain wines a try the next time you're entertaining friends or having a party. But remember to keep everything under control so you don't end up in the Big House!

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