Just a quick update from 365corks.com. I've recently relocated to Huntington Beach, California and all that has to offer. In the coming days/weeks I'll start posting reviews again after a more than lengthy layoff. Life has a way of getting in the way of a good blog. I hope to find some decent wines and decent prices and share those with you. Stay tuned.

Estrella 2009 Chardonnay

Started out with mixed emotions about this 2009 Estrella Chardonnay. In fact, I thought I would give it 3 Corkscrews up until the point that I sat down at the computer and changed my mind settling on the 4 Corkscrews I ended up awarding. Now behind my reasoning. I was shopping in the local wine section and seeing the same old wines I see there every time I visit the store. Same prices as well with most of the stuff I've been buying around the $11-12/bottle range. Much to my surprise the Estrella was on a lower shelf and displayed a price of $4.99. Yes you read that right, $4.99! Now if you're like me the first thing that pops in your head is that this must be some crappy wine? Why else would it be priced so ridiculously low? Fortunately for the good folks at the vineyard, I'm one who will take a chance on a cheap wine in hopes that I can find an undiscovered jewel. I don't know that I can put this one in the jewel category but it is worth every cent I paid for it and then some. On the nose this wine displays lots of fruit and, how's the best way to put this, "thickness". Now I know you're saying "How can you smell thickness?" Well, you just can! Maybe bold or strong might be better words but I'm staying with "thickness". Darkish yellow in color my first taste revealed strong apple flavor and honeydew melon. A little bit of oak but not overpowering. The "thickness" I noticed on the nose was evident on the palate as well. If you don't like a bold, really tasteful Chardonnay, stay away from this one because it packs a lot of flavor in each sip. I wasn't really crazy about the finish as it had a little burn to it. If not for the $4.99 price I would have given this 3 Corkscrews but the most excellent price was what put me over the edge to 4 Corkscrews. I highly recommend this one if you can find it anywhere from $4.99 - $6.50/bottle. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine.

2010 IRONY Pinot Noir

I picked this one up at our local Wegmans having never heard anything about it. It was an act of faith as its retail price was $12.99/bottle and just about every Pinot Noir I've ever had at that low of a price point sucked! Every once in awhile you find a jewel in a lower priced wine and this is just such a jewel. My only hope is that it stays undiscovered for awhile as I'm sure once the word gets out on this wine the price is likely to shoot up. I opened it and allowed it to breathe for about 30 minutes. Not that 30 minutes is some magical number it just so happened that soon after I opened it #1 summoned me to attend to one of my many honey-dos on the old honey-do list and it was 30 minutes before my chore was complete. I poured that first glass and took a good look under the lights to see how "rich" it appeared. Not a deep ruby red like you see in Cabernet's, and some Pinot Noirs, but a medium bodied red. I've noticed that cheaper Pinots seem to be light red in color and easy to see through. Not scientific at all this peering through the glass but something I've found to be a good indicator. On the nose I picked up a little clove, cherry and maybe just a touch of vanilla. I took my first drink and slowly swirled. On the palate I noted that this was just bursting with all kinds of fruit. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry and even a little plum came to mind. A very smooth finish to say the least. I didn't taste any tannins at all. #1 was right behind me in tasting this one and also proclaimed how much she liked it. After I told her the price she liked it even more and promptly dispatched me to buy more the next day before the price went up. Haven't given a 5 Corkscrew rating in some time but this one made it easy. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine, especially this one!

Orange County, Virginia Wine, Wings & Wheels

Just a quick post regarding the Orange County, Virginia Wine-Wings-Wheels two-day event that will be held on October 22 & 23. Beautiful country and well worth the trip if you're looking for something to do that weekend. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Enjoy Life, Drink Wine!

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut from Spain

I don't usually do a lot of reviews on champagne, or sparkling wine as it's known from countries other than France, but we had the Jaume Serra Cristalino at a recent milestone birthday party, yours truly, and I just had to jot a few lines about it. We ended up buying a case of this for the party and only had one bottle left by the end of the night. We had purchased equal amounts of red and white wine and this sparkling one was the favorite of all who attended. Light yellow color this wine is very lively when first poured. Make sure you use an appropriate stem to allow it to fully open up and to get the best flavor this wine has to offer. On the nose I picked up a slight amount of yeast with green apple and tangerine. On the palate more fruit, the green apple made another appearance, along with a slight hint of lime and possibly passion fruit. Not as dry as other sparkling wine's I've had, that's a good thing in this case, and a finish that is nice but doesn't linger. We had this with a variety of heavy finger foods and by itself as the night wore own. An informal canvas of this wine had it rated at 4 Corkscrews which I easily concur with. It retails for about $7.00 a bottle so definitely won't break the bank. Pick this one up for your next party or whenever you just want to enjoy a nice glass of cham, I mean, sparkling wine! Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Enjoy Life, Drink Wine and a little Champagne every once in awhile.

New Winery Open in Little Washington, Virginia

Just found out that a new winery has opened in our area. The Little Washington Winery in Little Washington, Virginia sounds like it will be a nice one and I plan to do a review just as soon as I can get out there. I've eaten at The Inn at Little Washington and it is truly an experience everyone should have before they die. We got a tour of the kitchen after dinner at it was just an incredible set up. It is definitely destination dining. Have a great weekend. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

2010 Cielo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie

Tonight's review is of a 2010 Cielo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie from Italy. We picked this one up for $8.00/bottle at The Grapevine in Warrenton, Virginia. I was looking for a wine that would stand up on its own as well as one that we could have with fish, chicken or something similar. Can't say I uncorked this one as it has the screw top that we're seeing on more and more wines. Very light gold in color on the nose this one showed hints of apricot and grass. Once I poured and allowed it to warm up just a little I tasted more of the apricot and other citrus, maybe lime, with a little hint of spice. Nice and crisp wine, a little dry but not too much, and a nice, easy finish. I ended up drinking this with a baked potato with just a touch of butter and a smattering of sharp cheddar cheese and it went together wonderfully. I originally gave this one 3 Corkscrews but after further consideration bumped it up to 4 Corkscrews due to its' great price and excellent flavor/acidity combination. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

Virginia Wine Lover Party Tips

As a print and e-newsletter subscriber to Virginia Wine Lover Magazine I get a monthly edition mailed to the house as well as a newsletter that hits my inbox on occasion. This latest edition had a link to hosting a Virginia Wine Tasting Party along with a variety of forms that can be used in planning and hosting the party. A great idea that could be used with Virginia wines as well as any other regions you might want to include. #1 and I attended a wine tasting party several years ago and it was a blast. Come to think of it we really need to have another one at our house soon. Check it out and let me know if you have a party. I'd be glad to pass on what you and your guests discover. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!