food · luxury · wine

More Low Cost Libations – Affordable Wine Review

As we embrace the upcoming holiday season, we may find ourselves in need of delicious wines to accompany our family dinners. One thing that I like to do is make sure that I have a mix of high/low cost wines to offer with meals. For those that choose to indulge, wine is a wonderful complement to a variety of meals, and can really enhance the flavor profile of all the foods that have been prepared.

The advantage to having wines in your home during the holidays is that you can use the wine in certain recipes, adding a rich and intensified flavor to certain dishes. I love cooking meat dishes with red wine, or crafting exquisite sauces or gravies with white wine. When cooking with wine, the alcohol cooks (or burns) off, leaving flavor with no traces of alcohol content left behind.

I realized that I’ve done several wine reviews over on my YouTube channel, but I hadn’t shared those reviews over here. So, here you go:

Also, if you want to keep track of the wines that you try, you can use what I use: the Wine Tasting Notes journal is perfect for capturing the details and your impressions of every wine that you taste. And for $5, it’s so affordable!

I’ll be adding more wine reviews in the months to come. Do you have a wine recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

**** This post contains affiliate links.


Low Cost Libations: I’m Trying Inexpensive Wines


A recent trip to Trader Joe’s ended up with me browsing the wine section and being floored by the super-affordable wines. So many options were less than $5! So I had to ask myself, do I, the wine lover, give inexpensive wines the thumbs up?


I bought 6 bottles for less than $5 a piece. I’m not a wine “snob” but I prefer wine that costs a bit more because they tend to taste better. But I’m curious about the overall qualities of the wine that I purchased. So here I am: trying some new wines and figuring out whether the flavor and quality far exceeds the cost. I’ve tried one so far, and I’ll be trying a new bottle every few days or so. When I’ve finished trying them all, I’ll come back and give a review.

(here’s a review of one of the wines on my Instagram account)

Do you all have any favorite inexpensive wines? Let me know in the comments below!


Wine Collectors Rejoice!

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Sotheby’s London is starting 2018 off with a bang! Their first wine sale of the year will feature nearly 400 bottles of rare and fine wines. The auction house has titled this sale, “A Great Collection From a Secret Grotto from a Northern European Connoisseur“. With a title like that, who wouldn’t want to participate?

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Serena Sutcliffe, MW, describes this enchanting collection as follows (you can read more of her thoughts in the catalogue for this incredible sale):

“In the dark days of winter, it takes a treasure trove of truly joyous wines
to bring a smile to the face – and this is just looking at them rather than
drinking them. Contemplation of mouth-wateringly beautiful bottles brings
immediate memories, as well as hopes of meeting these wines again, which
is more than possible for you, the wine-loving client. You literally can smell
them and taste them when you see them in the cellar, or on the written page
– they come to life in all their dimension and diversity. This is a collection
that displays some of the greatest wine-making talent of our days which,
on reflection, might well be on unrivalled top form in the last few decades.
These years have shown a glittering balance of technical know-how with
enormous human skill, driven to its peak by pride in the profession and
critical competition. It is the consumer who has benefited.

Above all, this collection puts the greatest vinous gems of France under
the spotlight. It is clear that the wines were chosen by someone with
remarkable gastronomic and wine knowledge.”

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The wines range from the luxurious but affordable to the truly exquisite.  On the lower end of the estimate spectrum, a Chateau Lafite 1994 is expected to fetch anywhere between $400 and $500 USD; for the most serious collectors, a Petrus 1995 is expected to soar anywhere between $21,000 and $30,000 USD.

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This sale is going to be spectacular! Too bad I won’t be anywhere near London at the end of the month: otherwise, I’d definitely attend. The sale occurs on January 24, 2018, at 10:30 GMT in London. If you can attend, I highly encourage you to do so!


(all photos courtesy of Sotheby’s)

luxury · wine

Adventures in Enology: Wine School, Round 2

A few months ago, I mentioned an awesome FREE Wine Tasting class on Coursera. If you missed out on the course previously, I have good news for you: the course reopened this week! I’m re-registering for it, since I only completed about 50% of it during the last session. This time, I’m determined to complete it!

all free download

(photo courtesy of All Free Downloads)

Though the course is free, it requires the purchase of wine, glasses and food for the exercises. I’m so committed to completing the course this time that I’ve already ordered some of the items that will be needed in the upcoming weeks. I hope you all join me in taking this free Wine Tasting course. Of course, if you aren’t interested in learning more about wine, you can always check out the many other free courses available on Coursera.

luxury · wine

Fenty Estates Wine False Alarm

A tweet went viral announcing that Rihanna, beauty mogul and perpetual wine sipper, filed to trademark the name, “Fenty Estates Wine and Spirits Company”. As a wine lover, I was absolutely giddy. If the wine label went anything like the beauty launch, I was anticipating amazing things.

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Unfortunately, Rihanna didn’t file for a trademark, nor did Roraj Trade LLC (the company that trademarked Rihanna’s name and Fenty Beauty). The Fader broke the news, and I must admit, I was a little crushed.

But never fear: I’ve got some other wines I’ve been waiting to try and I’ll be reviewing those soon. If Rihanna wants to trademark a wine, I’m still going to support it. I just have to make peace with the fact that her wine won’t be coming from Fenty Estates.


Adventures in Enology: Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club

Several months ago, I stopped in Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant on a whim. I sat at the bar and proceeded to order to my heart’s content. I chatted with the bartender and decided, at the end of my meal, to join the Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club.

I signed up for the lowest commitment – one bottle per month – just to see if I would enjoy the membership. I’ve since tried 6 of their wines, read several of the monthly newsletters, did a wine tasting, and dined at the restaurant again. I feel pretty comfortable offering an opinion on Cooper’s Hawk.

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This prosecco was delicious when chilled. I had it with chocolate.


I really loved how well this went with an Indian curry I had.


I found Cooper’s Hawk’s wine club to offer fantastic value. Firstly, they offer a plethora of wines for you to try. Also, you have considerable flexibility with your monthly wine selections; you aren’t “locked in” to any particular wine offering.  They offer generous promotional coupons, both for just being a member as well as coupons in celebration of your birthday. The club also offers monthly themed events where members can enjoy exclusive menu offerings and limited edition wines.

However, if you’re looking for a spectacular wine, I can’t really recommend one from Cooper’s Hawk. I found that the wines are not particularly complex or fascinating, but decidedly SOLID. This is not a condemnation of the brand; indeed, the wines are tasty and enjoyable. I just haven’t had one that I found to be amazing.

These wines are a good option for those new to wine tasting and that want something better than most of the variety available at your local grocer. And again, the wine club is still a great way to get some experience with wine tasting.

Are any of you members of Cooper’s Hawk wine club? Do you have any particular Cooper’s Hawk wines that you could recommend?


Adventures in Enology: School is in Session!


On this journey toward living my best life, I’ve been listening carefully to my “inner voice” and learning what piques my interest. Following my interests led me to wine tasting.

I love wine: dry or sweet, red or white, sparkling or deep. I’ve done wine tastings at different wineries, but I still wanted a comprehensive education that isn’t biased toward a particular winery.

So I searched for viticulture and enology courses. I found one that could work for my schedule, but sadly, it’s located over 100 miles away. But I found the next best thing: an online wine course. Better yet, it’s free!

Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis seemed like a great course to get me reacquainted with wine basics. The class is available through Coursera, which has many interesting free courses. The platform is designed for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), so that anyone with internet access can gain knowledge from the best universities for FREE.

The beauty of this course is that enrollment is ongoing and you can access all of the materials for FREE (however, you have to pay if you want to get a certificate). I’ll go through the materials and review the course in a few weeks. However, if you’re interested, sign up with Coursera and enroll in the class.

See you all in school!


(royalty free image courtesy of ClipArts.Zone)