It’s easy being Cheesy!
I feel pretty comfortable saying I love cheese more than anyone. Anyone. I have a cheese drawer in my fridge. A drawer full of cheese. The fridge is often empty, but that drawer never is.
We get so many specialty cheeses in every week at bargain prices, it’s really a great time to be alive. I’ll tell you a little secret: we actually have regular customers that work at other grocery stores in town that come here just for the cheese. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.
Well, it’s no secret that wine pairs nicely with cheese so during the Marathon Wine Tasting on the Front Porch this week we had plenty of cheese. We set out to try as many wines as we could to get reviews for the 20% OFF Wine Sale this week (April 10 – 15, 2017), it’s tough job, but somebody has got to do it!
BTW, these Finlandia Spreadable cheeses are amazing! The vanilla bean flavor could pass as frosting, and is great with fresh strawberries. I think the sweet lemon is my favorite though.
So, let’s jump right in…
Honeywell & Todd Chard ~ Pull Cab Sauv ~ Lithos Merlot ~ Botte Malbec
~ Fabio Viviani Chard ~ Wind Storm Zin ~
scroll to the end for the rest of these ‘bonus’ wines
2015 Honeywell & Todd Chardonnay, Lodi $3.99
Elsewhere price: $12.99
Connie liked the aroma of apricot and commented that she tasted a touch of honey, Larry agreed but also tasted pear. Arvin thought it tasted like apricot right off the tree. Scott didn’t find it too sweet, which many whites are too sweet for him, he liked it. Zineb, AKA: the Rockin’ Morrocan (Scott’s D.I.L. to be), also really liked this Lodi Chardonnay. Neighbor Steve thought it was more like a Pinot Grigio than a Chardonnay. It paired really nicely with the spicy Mediterranean Jack cheese, which Terry called ‘earthy’.
Tasting notes Vivino.com: Sweet honey on the nose, light mouthfeel. Dry, underlying oak, good everyday chardonnay
$3.49 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $5.89 elsewhere
2013 Fabio Viviani Chardonnay, California $4.99
Elsewhere price $14.99
Gold Medal Exceptional ~ Tasting.com
We opened this Chardonnay as a bonus tasting, Scott and Zineb are choosing wedding wines. Here’s their notes: Sweet without Fruitty (lol) Fruity without being overly sugary. They choose this for the wedding J
Tasting notes and reviews: “We were surprised to find ‘Top Chef’ alum Fabio Viviani’s California wine here (at Grocery Outlet). We were even more pleasantly surprised to taste apple and pear, kissed with caramel.” ~Mary Orlin East Bay Times (published in Modesto Bee 4/5/17)
90 Points from Tastings.com: Golden yellow color. Bright, fruity, oaky aromas of toasty praline and apple tart with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long pineapple cake, crème brulee, and smoked nuts finish with fine tannins and light oak. A round and welcoming chardonnay with pleasing oakiness.
2015 Wind Storm Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi $5.99
Elsewhere price: $15.99
Also a bonus tasting, Zineb tasted grapefruit with dark chocolate finish. I’m not sure about grapefruit, this Old Vine Zin was more like spicy raspberry and a little vanilla. Definitely better after allowing it to breath a while.
3.9/4 stars from Vivino.com: Very fruit forward, nice strong spice finish. Long finish with the spice, fruit stays until the spice kicks in. I could drink alone but it is better when paired with food. Very good wine.
Really love nose on this one after it’s had some time to breathe, but the flavor profile is great too.
Bold. Thick. Chocolate and blackberry flavors. A very nice warm wine.
2010 Pull Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles $5.99
Elsewhere price: $17.99
Larry thought it was more like a pinot on the nose. Zineb thought it was nice. Arvin tasted blackberry. I found this medium bodied Cab very smooth, juicy at first, then just smoooooth. I could not identify the aroma, but I love it! It pairs nicely with caramelized onion meatballs 🙂
$4.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $6.59 elsewhere
88 points from Winemag.com: Blackberry liqueur, violet, cola and slight dustiness form the nose of this well-priced wine ($18 on WineMag) The flavors are a bit thinner than expected, most reminiscent of ripe pomegranate.
Broken Earth Winery, Paso Robles: This fine Cabernet has ripe blackcurrant fruit and consists of ever emerging layers of complexity. The wine’s texture is of important note, as is the presence of balancing fine, ripe tannins. New French oak completes the wine’s structure, offering the perfect physical support for the lingering fruit flavors.
2014 Lithos Merlot Reserve, Napa $11.99
Elsewhere price $29.99
Kerri commented on the great aroma of berries right off the bat, she called it full bodied and smooth. Steve thought he tasted licorice? Arvin found this Napa merlot dry and peppery. Yeah, Steve said, pepper not licorice. Arvin said, it tastes like more… (as he poured a second taste). I thought the tannins showed in the end with a nice dryness. Definitely a wine to take as a hostess gift or for a Holiday dinner. Pairs nice with grilled garlic butter chicken and excellent with dark chocolate.
There is absolutely no information about this wine or even the vineyard online. The label says: Vinted & Bottled by Lithos Vineyards, Oakville, CA. This is the second Lithos wine we have reviewed on the Front Porch, the cab label also mentioned that it is family owned and “from the heart of Napa Valley”.
2013 Botte Malbec, California $4.99
Elsewhere price $14.99
I noticed the relaxing nose on this Malbec right away. I wish I could identify it like a wine snob, but for me, it’s a feeling that I get when I smell a wine I like. Arvin said fruity and sweet, Terry said spicy and nice. Arvin added that this what he’d call an after dinner wine. A wine that you’d kick back and sip and watch T.V. Terry agreed and said it goes down real smooth. Intense and deep, with ripe mulberry fruit flavors. Long and satisfying.
From the label: This Malbec is smooth and elegant with flavors of mocha, spice and vanilla.
Also no on-line tasting notes or reviews. The label says Vinted and Bottled by JL Giguiere, Zamora, CA. Which is the same winery/family that makes Matchbook wines.
Bonus Wines ~ wines I tasted alone or that we have tasted in the past.
2015 Raviva Chardonnay $3.99 / $16.99 elsewhere
Starts out light, but has a smooth buttery finish. We reviewed the 2012 year here
2015 Raviva Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 / $18.99 elsewhere
Lots of fruit and I’m pretty sure I’m tasting oak in this one
2015 Projection Chardonnay $4.99 / $12.99 elsewhere
4.1/5 Stars from Vivino.com: Med oak nice around chard I enjoyed this wine very much. Love the clean, crisp taste. No butter! It did have more fruitful flavor as it warmed. Previously reviewed on the Front Porch
2015 Projection Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 / $14.99 elsewhere
92 pts – Brian Whitaker, GM/Somm (source)
“Wild black cherries, sweet red plums, licorice, hint of lavender, mild oak, vanilla, and spice. Recommended Pairing: Iron-Skillet Steak with Thyme Butter”
2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Chardonnay $5.99 / $21.99 elsewhere!
Creamy wood, ripe pear and toasted nut flavors combine in this rich chardonnay that fills the mouth with rich, satisfying flavor and a lingering finish. Previously reviewed from the Front Porch
2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 / $21.99 elsewhere!
3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: Light on the tannins, nice finish. A delightful surprise at the G.O. 2015 is sweet and very easy to enjoy. Light for a cab, but my preference. Delicious- smooth with a slight bite to finish. Dark cherry undertones. 2012 reviewed from the Front Porch.
2014 Perseverance Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 / $11.99 elsewhere
Winery Notes: Rich and full with black cherry flavors followed by hints of exotic spices and plums. Nicely balanced with backbone. The finish is full and satisfying allowing it work well with red meats, red-sauced pasta dishes and chicken sausages with sautéed onions and green peppers.