Drink The Good (and Cheap!) Stuff

by Peter Muller

As you can tell by this week’s research theme, we love our wine here at Occam’s Taser; especially when it’s cheap.  Since cheap and good are a rare combination in wine, we’d like to share with you some GOOD and CHEAP wines that we’ve found.  These are all conveniently located at your local Trader Joe’s.

Casillero Del Diablo

This variety disappeared from its place of origin (Médoc, north of Bordeaux) after the attack of the Phylloxera pest, appearing again in Chile at the end of the 20th Century.  Casillero del Diablo developed all its mildness and finesse.  Colorful, with soft and round tannins, together with attractive redcurrant and chocolate bouquets, it is ideal for matching with aged cheese.

Color: Dark and deep purple.

Aroma: Luscious fruit flavors.  Dark plums and black currant, black chocolate with hints of coffee and toasted American oak.

Taste: Notes of dark plums and spice, generously framed by toasty American oak with a soft and well structured mouth filling texture.

Food Pairing: Perfect for tasty winter stews or grilled summer barbecues.  Source.

Layer Cake

The fruit for Layer Cake Malbec comes from a vineyard that is flanking the Mendoza River in Argentina; a rocky terrain, strikingly similar to that of Chateauneuf du Pape in the Rhône Valley.

The once 5 mile wide Mendoza River is now mostly vineyard, abundant with some of Argentina’s most pristine Malbec vines.  A plethora of smooth cobble on the top bewilders the eye and imagination as to how the vines actually thrive in such a rugged terrain.  Clay and gravel make up the subsoil under the larger cobble forcing each vine to compete for nutrition; the result is a wine profoundly concentrated and rich, “always rich”.

Tasting Notes: Pure, rich and very elegant; a powerhouse of lush black fruit, silky cocoa, black spice and cream, wrapped around blackberry, cherry and ripe plum.  Layered and complex with a nose to linger over, a finish that never ends.  Sweet anise, hints of tobacco, black chocolate, more cherries and exotic spices, layers of jam.  This wine will stand and perform anytime you think of a Cabernet and want something just a little more exotic.  Born at the base of the Andes and fed by the purest spring waters…I love this wine.  Source.


Music is the root of American Culture.  Jazz was the foundation for this development.  Born in the heartlands of the south east, Jazz has gone on to become the basis for much of the music we no know.  Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, like Jazz, are at the heart of California wine, harking back to the earliest years of grape production particularly in northern Sonoma.  Rendition wines take us back to that era.  Rendition is a finely tuned, harmonious wine that echoes the cool west coast sounds of Jazz.  Made using traditional techniques without fining or filtration there may be a little sediment.  Rendition is our commitment to the origin of wine in Sonoma, incorporating our passion and new farming cultural techniques.

Tasting Notes: The color is a nice deep red with a lighter red halo.  The nose has a ton of jammy dark fruit, a touch of menthol and a bit of white pepper. Nice lush mouth feel, the flavors explode in your mouth.  Lots of fruit in the initial taste, raspberries, red twizzlers and a late dose of pepper.  A nice balance of tons of fruit upfront and then the rough and ready Zin peppery spice.  The blast of spice kind of takes away some of the focus from the finish, but the finish is tasty, if not super long.  A real classic California Zinfandel for not much money.  Would pair well with traditional backyard BBQ fare or drink it on it’s own.  Source.

Veramonte Primus
Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere Blend

Primus is one of Chile’s top red meritage style wines, a blend of power and finesse that merges Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère, the lost Bordeaux grape.

Carmenère, a grape that was part of the best wines of Bordeaux until the 1800s, was transported to Chile where it thrives, contributing exotic spice and a rich, sensuous texture to blends.
Proprietor Agustin Huneeus is known for creating some of the world’s best Bordeaux-style blends including Quintessa and Franciscan Magnificat. Primus employs winemaking techniques identical to Napa Valley’s top Cabernet and blends: Yields are managed to 3-4 tons per acre, all of the grapes go through a meticulous double sorting process, and the wine is aged in 25% new French and American oak for 12-18 months. But, Chile’s economic advantage delivers world-class quality at less than half the price of similar blends from the new world. Its unique profile of rich, dense fruit, exotic spice and a long textured finish delivers big wine quality and satisfaction.

Appearance: Deep, dark opaque garnet.

Aroma: Exotic spice, toast and hints of tobacco and mint.

Flavor: Ripe red and dark berry fruit with spicy notes. Round mid palate with elegant yet powerful tannins.  Source.

Don’t let the prices fool you, these wines have all received ratings higher than many very expensive bottles of wine.  Give one a try and we’re sure you’ll be back for more.  Cheers.


2 responses to “Drink The Good (and Cheap!) Stuff

  1. Pingback: Zap! Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore | Occam's Taser

  2. Pingback: A French Word, An American Dream | Occam's Taser

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s