But the nub is often we don't have a clue what to buy.
Winter is Red-wine time, and most of the time Red-wine is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot,
but I have one Zinfandel for you too.
Want to impress, but not break the Bank?
Well, if you have visited this blog before, it is about wine tips, especially for New Hampshire residents and visitors here.
The link below is to the New Hampshire Liquor Stores; click on the product number that precedes the item you are interested in, and a location will pop-up where you can find the wine that interests you.
There are other places I recommend, but this is for convenience at this hectic time. In other posts I recommend several good wine shops, of which I most highly recommend Bella Vino in Windham New Hampshire. Sorry, now out of business:(
New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlets
Cabernet: Under $10.00
Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $8.99, 88 points.
"#25 of the Top 100 Best Buys of 2010"-Wine and Spirits-November 01, 2010
NH Wineman says: Hands down your Best Bet (My opinion for under $10.00) for insightful gift-giving this Christmas.
Cabernet: Under $15.00
Cannonball 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.99, 90 points.
SNOOTH contributors say: "Best value of the year. . . Best under $20.00." Some contributors give the Cannonball a 5 out of 5 rating.
The NH Wineman Scored the Cannonball 90 Points.
Josh Cellars Sonoma Amber Knolls Vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $15.99, 91 points.
Ray Johnson says: "This is an ebulliently fruity Cabernet, featuring blueberries and Cassis in the nose. In the mouth it is light-bodied and quite soft, very accessible right now, where the fruit is the key feature."
Twenty Bench Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.99, 91 points.
This not an over-powering Cabernet, but a pleasant, warm, balanced, and comforting wine for those cold-winter-nights, and for the merriment of the season.
Wine Library says: "Our favorite Twenty Bench vintage ever. . ."
NH Wineman Scored Twenty Bench Cabernet 91 Points.
Cabernet: Under $40.00
Hall Napa Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32.99, 93 points.
Hall Napa Valley 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32.99, 94 points.
These wines, and at this price are great values, and will probably increase in value and cellar well.
The Hall 2006 is WS' #18 Top Wines of 2010.
Frog's Leap Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $37.99, 92 points, With hints of tobacco, this wine is dense, drinkable, and aromatic. With a long lush finish, this is a great Cab, and reminds me of a more lush Volver Spanish wine.
I've not had a disappointing Frog's Leap wine.
WS says: "Best Buy", and Scored it 94 Points.
Merlot: Under $10.00
2008 Yellowtail Merlot RESERVE, $9.99, 85 points is my pick! The 2008 is a nicely balanced wine, sweet aroma, fruity, and a rich enough finish.
Merlot: Under $20.00
William Hill Estates Napa Valley 2006 Merlot, $18.99, 90 points, is a great value for a great wine; nice aroma, velvety and smooth, having balanced fruit and tannin, with an over-all pleasant palate and finish.
William Hill Estates Napa Valley 2007 Merlot, $18.99, 90 points, is equally good, maybe a bit more robust, but black-berries nuanced and priced the same. An old friend, who has been a Merlot sipper for many years, thought this might be "the best Merlot" she has ever tasted.
Merlot: Under $30.00
Whitehall Lane Napa Valley 2006 Merlot, $25.99, 92 points, has a light, but beautiful bouquet, with a flavor hint of tobacco and is smooth, yet complex with a Syrah-like spicy finish.
I hope these tips help.
I'm sure that many other wine varietals need to be reviewed, but I think that the average shopper is looking for Cabernet or Merlot.
Finally, this week's Mega-Zinfandel recommendation:
Ridge East Bench 2007 Zinfandel, $28.99, 91 points, has a ruby color, is another aromatically resplendent, smooth and easy drinking red wine, but packed with purposeful power pleasure in its succulence. A medium to full-bodied wine that at first is deceptive, but then comes the hammer, and the impact of a plethora of intense black fruit, cigar-espresso-spice flavors that are well integrated, with a spicy finish, making this a FINE Zinfandel wine.
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