Taralyn Brut Sparkling Wine California

Ever have a go to wine that you can only get at one store and said store NEVER seems to taralynkeep enough in stock? Aldi’s Herres Brut is my go to, don’t need a special occasion to pop a bottle open, sparkling. At $4.99, it’s apparently a lot of people’s favorite because my local Aldi on a regular basis either has a very small supply or is completely out. When I see it, I usually grab all or at least 6 bottles at a time. If there’s say 12 bottles, I do leave some for others but if it’s just 3, it’s all mine.

I noticed I was running low on sparkling so I headed to Aldi and of course, they were out…sigh.

Feeling a little desperate I headed to Kroger knowing they would have sparkling wine on sale for Valentine’s Day. There I picked up a couple of bottles of Taralyn Brut on sale from $14.99 to $7.99.

Fruity and yeasty aroma with flavors of apple and Asian Pear. I say Asian Pear because it had a faint honey and almond finish. Certainly, not bad for $7.99 and knowing Kroger, they’ve jacked up the price to reach the normal $14.99 price tag.

I could not find any info on the vintner, only that it’s produced and bottled by International Wine Merchants, LTD, Modesto, CA. Oh, wine of mystery.

daffodilsTime to talk about the weather. I’m still feeling like we were denied a true winter. Wehyacinth-in-pot had one snowfall and looking at the remaining forecasted temps for February, I can tell you, snow is not in our future again until next winter. Who knows, maybe some freak winter storm will push its way out of Canada but I’m not holding my breath.

The daffodils have popped up and are in bloom, as well as the hyacinths in my garden. These flowers and their intoxicating scent are the only thing that make this early spring almost enjoyable. I have also noticed some of the trees starting to flower, oh it just seems way too soon.

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19 Crimes Cabernet 2015 South Eastern, Australia

It’s Ground Hog day and Punxsutawney Phil says there’s 6 more weeks of winter to come. I 19-crimes-cabsay good! It’s been too warm here in NE Georgia and I some good snow days. I want to be able to wear my winter clothes, I have some with the price tags still attached because it just hasn’t been that cold. I’m feeling gypped of winter, again.

At least there’s wine, and I’ve found a new favorite wine line, 19 Crimes, and they’re affordable and becoming more widely available.
My first introduction to the 19 Crimes line was the 2015 Cabernet. Intrigued by the label, I had to grab a couple of bottles.

Blackberry and vanilla aromas. Lush black fruits and plum roll around the palate. Medium to firm tannins with a long cassis finish.
I’ve seen this priced from $8.99-$10.99. Can be found at Costco now too.

We all know Australia was at one time a Penal Colony under British rule. What I didn’t know , or possibly forgot after some high school test, was there were 19 crimes in 1783 punishable by “transportation” where a criminal was sentenced to live in Australia, versus death.
Those that survived the voyage at sea found themselves in a new frontier where they began to form a new country and a new life. The 19 Crimes wines celebrate the rules they broke and the new born culture.

19-crimes-cab-2Below are the 19 crimes punishable by “transportation”.
1.) Grand Larceny. Theft above the value of one shilling.
2.) Petty Larceny. Thefts under the value one shilling.
3.) Buying or receiving stolen goods, jewels and plate.
4.) Stealing lead, iron or copper or buying or receiving.
5.) Impersonating an Egyptian.
6) Stealing from furnished lodgings.
7.) Setting fire to underwood.
8.) Stealing letters, advancing the Postage and secreting the money.
9.) Assault with intent to rob.
10.) Stealing fish from a pond or river.
11.) Stealing roots, trees or plants or destroying them.
12.) Bigamy.
13.) Assaulting, cutting or burning clothes.
14.) Counterfeiting the copper coin.
15.) Clandestine marriage.
16.) Stealing a shroud from a grave.
17.) Watermen carrying too many passengers on the Thames , if any drowned.
18.) Incorrigible rogues who broke out of prison and persons reprieved from capital punishment.
19.) Embeuling naval stores.

In case you were wondering, all of the inmate photos on the labels are real prisoners. Their stories can be found on the back labels.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be exploring the additional 19 Crimes varietals. I’ll also be waiting for my elusive snow fall.

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Toad Hollow Risqué, Sweet and Sparkling

The tree is trimmed, the house decorated, the great outdoors winterized and ready forrisque-2 freezing temps and that means just one thing is upon us…Sparkling Wine season baby! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the champagne corks are popping, the bubbles are flowing and all of this brings me good cheer.

My song may need a little help but you get the picture. Now if you’ve read my blog, you know I don’t need a special occasion to pop some corks. I actually enjoy sparkling twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday. Trust me, it makes the week so much better.

I recently made a trip to my wine box, it has been awhile. I was expecting nothing but a renewal notice and was contemplating whether to renew for another year. I opened the box and saw the red laminated slip which meant, I have a package. And since I only use this box for wine, I knew it was a wine sample.

I handed over my slip, got my packaged and squealed with delight when I saw who it was from, Toad Hollow Vineyards. The winery is one of my favorites, not only because I love their wines but also the story of two friends.

My next squeal came when I got home and opened the package and saw a bottle of Risqué. I knew exactly when I was going to enjoy this little bundle, while sitting in front of the fire watching Charlie Brown Christmas.

Vibrant green apple and honey aromas. Green apple and pear intermingle with sweetness. While it’s sweet, the balance is so refreshing it’s not too overpowering.

Varietal – 100% Mauzac
Alcohol – 6%
TA – 7.6 g/100mL
pH – 2.83
RS 7.9%
SRP – $15.99

Todd, Dr. Toad, Williams learned wine through a string of jobs, including the 17 saloons and taverns he worked in before starting his own winery. His goal was to strip away the mystique and snobbery equated with wine and make it interesting and inclusive. In 1993 Todd partnered with Rodney Strong to start his own winery. The legend of Toad Hollow revolves around Dr. Toad and The Dancing Badger, two friends who decided to retire to the peace and tranquility of the hollow. While viewing the vineyards one day, the two began reminiscing about the good times and good people they had known over the years. They thought a way to repay would be to make great tasting wines in an affordable manner to be shared by all.

The late Todd Williams is the brother of the late Robin Williams, both men lost too soon. I have to hope they are together somewhere on some spiritual plane this holiday season. And if they are, I hope they have lots of wonderful wine.

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Apothic Crush Smooth Red Blend, 2014 CA.

Can you believe the Holiday Season is upon us again? It seems like just last week I was apothic-crushsweating my arse off, counting down the months until the intense heat would pass. Now, just a week after Thanksgiving and I’m sitting here wearing shorts and t-shirt again. I’m not complaining, I love my shorts and t-shirts and at least now I know it’s just a few days of 70 degree weather and soon we’ll be back to chilly nights of sipping wine by the fire.

Fall was beautiful but we held onto the heat a little too long. Not to mention all of the smoke in the air due to the number of forest fires burning in the area. Now we’ve had some cool evenings and have had a few nights with a lovely fire. The house is decorated, the tree adorned with my childhood ornaments along with the hundreds I’ve purchased as an adult and the front porch is hung with wreaths and Christmas lights.

We all know I love wine but there’s something special about those twinkling lights, Christmas music and cooler air that makes it more divine. Last night I opened a bottle of Apothic Crush Smooth Red Blend, 2014 CA.

Chocolate, red berry and a hint of leather on the nose. Lush black berry jam, black plum and a long spicy finish. I found mine at a wine & liquor shop for under $8.

I’m a huge fan of the Apothic wine line. Affordable, easy drinking and widely carried, but I’m not sure I’ve ever covered any of the Apothic wines.

Below is taken from the Apothic website.
Inspired by “Apotheca,” a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe, the wines of Apothic are truly unique in style and taste.
Our winemaker, Debbie Juergenson, crafts bold, captivating Apothic blends by using only the most distinctive California grapes. From vintage to vintage, the character and flavor of the individual varietals guide the shape of each blend.
To craft Apothic wines, Debbie looks for a unique blend of grapes to create intense aromas and bold flavors. Each vintage, she lets the grapes guide the way from the vine to the cellar, crafting a collection of unforgettable wines, including Apothic Red, White, Dark, Crush and a limited selection of seasonal releases.
“I strive to tell a story with each blend of Apothic,” Debbie explains. “Whether it’s one of drama, intrigue or romance, the wines of Apothic are truly original.”

Due to the Fair Labor Standards Act that goes into effect today, I’ll no longer be working through my lunch. That means, more time to write and I can get this blog back on track. Yippee!

So, stay tuned, I promise there will be more regular postings. I’m hoping to get back to a weekly post, but will not make promises on that one just yet.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing one of my favorite sparkling wines, just in time for all the holiday hoopla!

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Piperfield Wines 5k Zinfandel Lodi 2012

I know, I’m like the absentee parent that shows up every few months, hangs out for a few 5k_zin_bottle-217x772moments and then gone for another couple of months.

I decided if after work, I stayed off social media, I would probably have more time to write. So let’s see how long that vow can last. My guess is not long, it’s like being Alice Kravitz from Bewitched, I just have to know what everyone is up to.

I received a sample of 5k Zinfandel from Piperfield Wines in July, yes this post is long overdue and finally had a chance to give it a try last month. I have to admit, it was delicious.

Lush dark berries, cherry and dark stone fruit with a long plum finish.

Grapes are sourced from Terminous Island located in the California Delta where the grapes are fed by peat-rich soil, warm days and cool evenings and San Francisco Bay breezes.

Want a wine you can feel good about? Piperfield Wines is the result of a 30-year friendship between two former waitresses whose love of wine and “balance” inspired their 5k and 1k wines. Five percent of all profits from wine sales go to local small charities. If you’d like to submit a cause you support, check out their Grateful Grapes program.


Sorry for the short post but it’s better than no post. Here’s to hoping I stick with my promise about cutting back on social media and no more falling down the rabbit hole.



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Piperfield Wines 5k Verdelho, Lodi, CA

10k_verdelho_bottle1-246x772Hi, it’s me, your Absent Wine Blogger. So here are my most recent excuses for not posting:
• It’s too hot to write – ok, this one is a little weak since I’m sitting in the AC.
• I’m too tired to write – this does have some truth in it, since I’m full-time again.
• I’m too brain dead after work to write – Yep, that is for sure.
• I don’t have enough new wines to try to write about – bingo, that’s a big one.
So maybe it’s a combo of all of the above or maybe I’ve just really lost my mojo, my inspiration, my muse… Nah, it’s the above!

So anyway, here I am, I think the last time I posted was in June when our AC went out. I remember when August arrived and all I could think was let’s just fast-forward through this month and onto September. I’m tired of the heat, the humidity and the lack of rain. This summer sucked as far as I’m concerned and I couldn’t wait for the cooler temps that September would surely bring.

Then why the hell is it still so unbearable and it’s the first day of fall. I’m started to wonder if we’re just going to skip over my favorite season and just land in winter. Cue the sigh…

Ok, I guess that just gives me a little longer to sit on the porch, with the fan on high and drink some white wines. Recently I received a sample of Piperfield Wines 5k Verdelho, Lodi, CA. I have to admit, I wasn’t very familiar with the Verdelho grape, so this was a first for me.

Aromas of mango, peach and a hint of lush pineapple. Flavors of succulent peach, hint of melon and citrus fruits with a nice crisp finish. Too bad it was so warm outside, the wine in the glass kept warming up too.

Appellation: Lodi, Ca.
Harvest: aug 15, 2014
Brix: 24
Ph: 3.35
Alcohol: 13.5%

The Verdelho grapes originate from Madeira Portugal and are now grown on 4 acres on Terminous Island, located in the California Delta. The island has the distinction of being the last island on the western edge of the Lodi Appellation. Peat-rich soil, warm summer days and cool evenings help the Verdelho grapes flourish. There are just 3 vineyards in the US currently growing this special variety.

I love wines I can feel good about. Piperfield Wines is the result of a 30-year friendship between two former waitresses whose love of wine and “balance” inspired their 5k and 1k wines. Five percent of all profits from wine sales go to local small charities. If you’d like to submit a cause you support, check out their Grateful Grapes program.

I’m crossing fingers I see cooler temps soon. I mean a break from upper 80’s would be a plus at this point. I’m hitting the Dale Chihuly Exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens this weekend. Stay tuned as I may just post some pics!

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Eden Ridge Chardonnay and Eden Ridge Red Blend

I swear it’s been July for at least four weeks now! At least it’s felt like July or maybe evenEden Ridge August. On Saturday my area hit 98 degrees. It’s not supposed to be that hot, not yet! I also learned this past weekend that Liquid Nails melts in high temps. My latest garden art project was holding fine earlier in the week but on Sunday fell apart. All the glue had melted.

We did however get a break two weeks ago; well I guess it depends on how you look at that break. Friday night just before bed, I thought either I’m getting the wine sweats or the AC isn’t working. Sure enough, just warm air coming out of the vents. Next day we realized the fan in the outside unit wasn’t turning. We were able to “kick start” it a few times but this was futile. Every time the air kicked off, we had to go “kick start” it again, until finally even that didn’t work.

Two lucky things happened here. One, is my husband is amazing around the house and after doing some research and a few You Tube videos came to the conclusion it was the capacitor, which I will here out refer to as the flux capacitor! Well, turns out it’s a $16 part which can be ordered off Amazon with free two-day delivery. The other lucky break, a drop in temps and humidity which allowed us to leave the windows open and not swelter until the part arrived.

Since then, we’ve been confined to doing our wine drinking in the nice air conditioned living room. But that’s ok, the wine is good and so is the company.

Some recent wine samples I received include Eden Ridge 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select and Eden Ridge 2013 Red Blend

Eden Ridge 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select
Aromas of apple and tropical fruits. First sip was a little buttery but more like creamy Hyacinthbutterscotch, then a semi sweet lychee fruit flavor rounded out by peach and pineapple. SRP – under $11.
We were able to enjoy this wine on the porch during are cooler temps. It was nice to look at the process the gardens have taken and watch my Dollar Tree pinwheels spin in the breeze.Gardens from Front Porch

Gardens from Front Porch 2






Eden Ridge 2013 Red Blend Barrel Select
Plum and blackberry aromas. Juicy ripe strawberry and blackberry flavors. Finish is a hint of vanilla and spice.
Easy sipping after the hottest day of the year as we reached 98. We spent the morning at New Echota, the first Cherokee National Capital. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend. It’s not expensive and has a lot of historical buildings and information.


Well folks, Fourth of July is just around the corner. Grab some burgers, hot dogs, apple pie and watermelon. And don’t forget the wine!


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