WEGMANS

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to the store whose logo appears above. If you live within one hour, no make that within one and a half hours, you've got to pay a visit to Wegmans! This is by far the best grocery store known to man. It is like going to Vegas every time you go in there. Their prepared food section is unparalleled and they actually have a raw bar in the location I've been frequenting in Gainesville, Virginia. In fact, one of the requirements for our ongoing home search is that a Wegmans be within driving distance. As wine and cheese go together like a hand and glove, I wanted to mention a couple of cheeses I bought this weekend that were probably some of the best cheeses I've had anywhere! And I like cheese. Just ask #1 who got me started on this whole wine and cheese thing when we met some 18+ years ago. Both of these cheeses were also incredibly cheap compared to what I've been paying for cheese in Arkansas. The first was a Manchego from El Trigal of Spain. A sheep's milk cheese, this one is a harder cheese meant to be sliced and eaten by itself or on a cracker. The second, a Wegmans brand, Rich & Buttery Triple Creme Brie from France that was probably the best, spreadable brie I've ever had! I washed both down with a 2007 Gato Negro Chardonnay from, once again, Chile. A review of that wine is in the offing as it was an exceptional wine and I picked it up, at Wegmans, for $4.99. Yes, $4.99. Another great find! I will be purchasing these many times in the future. This Brie is great with Wheat Thins and spreads almost like a butter. I've gotta go have some. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine! Oh, did I mention that Wegman's also has a wine section that is as varied as any wine store I've ever been in? They do. Get there, now!

DOUBLE DOG DARE CHARDONNAY




This was the find of my week! I picked this one up on a lark due to its label and its outlandishly low price. $3.99!!!! I knew this was going on a limb but at $3.99 it was a gamble I was willing to take. All I can say is rush out and buy this one before they realize it's under priced. Lots of citrus and hazelnut on the palate and very light for a chardonnay. Almost more similar to a Pinot Gris. Very nice finish as well. I didn't notice any oak in this one and suspect that it is aged in stainless. Not that that's a bad thing but if you're looking for a big, oaky chardonnay, this is not what you're looking for. Easily gave 4 Corkscrews to this one based on its unbelievable low price and taste. Great, great value. I'm on my way out to go pick up at least a half case or more. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Cheap Double Dog Dare Chardonnay!

2006 HAPPY CAMPER CABERNET SAUVIGNON




Okay. I admit it. I'm a sucker for a gimmicky label hence the reason I purchased the 2006 Happy Camper Cabernet Sauvignon. That, and a good price at $7.99. What did I expect from an inexpensive Cabernet you ask? Well, I'm always on the look out for an undiscovered jewel and I was hoping this might be it. Alas, it wasn't. Now don't get me wrong, this was not a bad wine just not as refined as I might have wanted. Lot of fruit in this one but definitely a little on the sweeter side. I would recommend this to those just starting out as it is drinkable and had no tannin that I could pick up. Very little noted on the nose as well. I gave this one 3 Corkscrews as the price was right and it was a good, middle of the week, hanging out in my hotel room, type of wine. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!


2008 ANAKENA SAUVIGNON BLANC



Direct from Chile, via the local Total Wine store, comes today's reviewed wine. Being new to an area where there actually is a huge selection of wines, I was psyched to be able to visit the Total Wine store. I got a variety of well-priced wines and the 2008 Anakena was one. Not a lot on the nose to report but this wine displayed lots of peach on the palate with a little bit of those clean, grassy tones that I seem to like more and more. Nice, lasting finish. I had Thai food with this and it was a perfect accompaniment. I picked this one up for $7.99/bottle and easily gave it 4 Corkscrews based on its excellent price and due to the fact that it is very, very drinkable, with or without food. Can't recommend this one enough. Not 5 Corkscrew territory but darn near close! Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Anakena!



2005 SAWBUCK CHARDONNAY




Today's reviewed wine is the product of a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a gymnastics meet my favorite 10 year old was competing in. We made it a family trip and overall had a good time. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Fayetteville which I can't highly recommend. Really small rooms and evidently no insulation or soundproofing was used in our room as we easily heard our neighbors every conversation late into the night. We picked up the 2005 Sawbuck Chardonnay for $6.99 at Liquor World a few miles from the University of Arkansas. I've been on their email newsletter list for some time and I guess I was expecting a little more. They've got a huge selection of wine but it is located in a strip mall and the store felt somewhat cavernous. I guess I like my wine stores a little more upscale and their pricing wasn't a whole lot better than what I've been able to find in Little Rock. On to the review. My first experience with this wine was less than memorable. Nothing on the nose and my first glass of this reminded me more of a Sauvignon Blanc. Very light, no oak or body to speak of and just uneventful. I admit this is a little old for a Chardonnay and may have been better in it's day. That being said my initial reaction was to give this a low 2 Corkscrews but after drinking this for a couple of days my mind has been changed. The second day this one was much better and earned another Corkscrew much to my surprise. Final tally, 3 Corkscrews based on price and taste. Don't kill yourself trying to find this but if you can find it for $5 or less, by all means give it a try. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

2005 FOREST VILLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON AND MARRIOTT COURTYARD









Well 365Corks is relocating to the Northern Virginia area after 2 1/2 years in a wine wasteland known as Little Rock, Arkansas. Love the area, people are great, but the wine availability is some of the worst of anywhere I've lived and the state legislature is hard at work trying to raise the tax rate on wine even more! I guess being ranked #5 of states with the highest tax on wine isn't good enough and they're striving to be #1. Still can't have wine shipped to you in the state. According to the good Governor, teenagers might order wine and have it shipped to them. You can't make this stuff up! On my relocation trip I stayed at the Alcoa (Knoxville, Tenn area) Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Great rate, nicely updated room, and a few munchies, cheese, crackers, chips and cookies at happy hour. Wine and Beer aren't free, $1 for Beer, $2 for Wine and Liquor, (probably a state law or something that they can't give it to you), but they are still affordable. That being said I ordered a glass of the 2005 Forest Ville Cabernet Sauvignon and $2.19 later I had my first taste. Not tons of fruit but drinkable and very little tanin. It was worth every penny of the $2.19! Not a great wine but worked out fine after a good eight hours on the road. I probably wouldn't pay a whole lot for this wine, I see it listed for $5.99/bottle on the Internet, which is probably the most I would pay. Not a lot of deep flavors but nothing off-putting either. I gave this one 3 Corkscrews based on its very affordable price and drink ability. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine and Look out Northern Virginia!
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