California · currant · Merlot · oak · plum · under $10

2011 Oak Leaf Merlot

This is a cheap dry wine.  My husband bought it from Wal-Mart of all places and he paid $2.97 for it!  It seems a bit odd to me that a wine from a vineyard that’s won 40 awards since 2008 would be on sale at Wal-Mart for less than $3.  These are the awards that this particular wine has won:


“SILVER” 2011 Florida State Fair International Wine Competition 

“SILVER” 2010 California State Fair 

“BEST BUY” 2009 Beverage Testing Institute
Let’s just say you definitely get your monies worth.  It’s not a bad wine by any means but I wouldn’t pay more than $6 at full price.  I really love the packaging of wines (I know that’s silly) but it’s often what draws me to the wine.  While I didn’t pick this one out I do like the changing seasons as depicted by the oak tree on the bottle.  

Their website says to pair this wine (with it’s hints of plum and black current) with steamed mussels and fresh tomato sauce over linguine.  We ended up pairing this wine with pizza.  I know SUPER classy but it tasted good:)  At least we got the “fresh tomato sauce” in there!  I may buy this wine again solely based on the price but I’ll admit I’ve had better boxed wine.  Moving on to the next one (after we finish off this bottle of course!)

Give it a try if you want to but don’t expect to be blown away by the taste. 

Chardonnay · mango · oak · papaya · pineapple · under $20 · white wine

2010 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay

Delicious bottle of wine.  I used to think that I was not a fan of white wines as they gave me headaches due to the sweetness but this one did no such thing.  The bottle claims pineapple, mango and papaya flavors which I could taste.  Aging the wine in the oak barrels adds a nice warm finish to the wine.  Definitely on my “A” list.  Looking for a gift or a good white wine to go with pizza or pasta you should consider this one. 

Retail $18
Purchased table side at Romano’s Macaroni Grill for $38.  Mental note – next time bring our own bottle!