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Smoking Loon, Unoaked Chardonnay, 2013

by Jason Lightner October 22nd, 2014| Wine
Sm Loon Unok chard bottle 004Smoking Loon

California, Chardonnay, 2013

$10.99

Once again we are taking a look at an interesting Chardonnay; it's just been that sort of a summer, I suppose. Smoking Loon's "Steelbird" Unoaked Chardonnay comes to us by way of California's famed Napa valley wine country; an area of land so perfect for the production of wine that the California legislature had considered — on several occasions — making any other type of agriculture on the land illegal.

I made that last part up, just now.

As far as white wine varietals go, Chardonnay is perhaps my favorite. When I saw the chance to
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La Scolca, Gavi Oro, 2013

by Jason Lightner October 15th, 2014| Italian Wine, Wine
wine-428308_1280La Scolca

Italy, Cortese di Gavi, 2013

$24.99

Italian wine seemingly lives in its own little world, with its own set of rules, and its own agenda. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've never met an Italian wine I didn't like. We can chalk that up to chance, or we can take it as an indication that the Italian winemakers really know their craft. I'm going to take the latter as fact and carry on. Cortese di Gavi, or simply "Gavi," is new to me. A wine made in a restricted area of the Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, near to the Ligurian border, Gavi is produced
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Monogamy, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

by Jason Lightner October 8th, 2014| California Wine, Wine
MG_Family_HIMonogamy

California, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

$12.99

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa valley is hard to beat — even the bottom shelf varieties are usually very drinkable. Indeed, as one of the world's most renowned wine varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys a level of fame that is both well deserved and well exploited. But we're not here to talk about overexposure, money grabs, or any of that nonsense; we're here to talk about good wine. And so we shall, with a bottle I fell instantly in love with as it sat on the shelf, its charming logo staring back at me from across the aisle.
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Eastpoint, Chardonnay, 2012

by Jason Lightner October 1st, 2014| California Wine, Wine
a-glass-of-wine-259858_1280Eastpoint

California, Chardonnay, 2012

$14.99

A delightfully simple varietal, the Chardonnay grape originated in the Burgundy region of France, but can now be found virtually in any region where wines are produced. This grape varietal is known for its stunning neutrality and versatility, owing much of its flavor profile to fine oak barrels and the aging process. Indeed, there are nearly as many flavor profiles for a Chardonnay as there are countries in which it is produced. From Sonoma to Burgundy, and from Chile to New Zealand, the Chardonnay is truly a worldly wine. Eastpoint Chardonnay — California Special Reserve, typically accompanied by various cheeses
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Louis Jadot, Mâcon Villages Chardonnay, 2012

by Jason Lightner September 24th, 2014| White Wine, Wine
chardonnay stoneLouis Jadot

France, Mâcon Villages Chardonnay, 2012

$14.99

France has a rich and romantic history, filled with great art, delectable food, and delicious wine. A country which takes as much pride in their culture and history as they do their many industries, France's various winemakers imbue their craft with a delightful personality, unapologetically French, and incredibly charming. The Burgundy region is home to many a wine varietal, but the most famous are, of course, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Today, we'll dispense with the reds, the rosé, and the sparkling wines which are prevalent throughout the regions, and will focus on
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Coppola, Rosso & Bianco Pinot Grigio, 2013

by Jason Lightner September 3rd, 2014| California Wine, Wine
sunset-114666_640Francis Ford Coppola Winery

California, Pinot Grigio, 2013

$12.99

The fertile plains of Sonoma County (more specifically Geyserville and Oakville, California) are home to a great many vineyards, producing a wide variety of incredible fruits. Indeed, Northern California is one of the main hot spots of American wine production, and has the great distinction of being one of my favorite sources. Famed film director and producer, Francis Ford Coppola, runs a quaint, family-friendly winery in the town of Geyserville, which features a restaurant, swimming pools, and bocce courts. Now is said to be a great time of year to visit the winery
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Casali di Bibbiano, Primo Bacio Toscana, 2011

by Jason Lightner August 27th, 2014| Wine
primo_bacioCasali di Bibbiano

Italy, Toscana, 2011

$9.99

Having never been presented with the opportunity to enjoy a Tuscan wine, I was more than a little excited to find a bottle of Casali di Bibbiano's Toscana tucked away in a far corner of my local wine shop. This Italian white wine is an amalgamation of Vermentino and Sauvignon blanc varietals, which gives this wine its uniquely refreshing flavor and sophisticated bouquet.

Tuscany is home to some of the most notable wine regions in all of Italy, including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Bolgheri, Carmignano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These regions each have their own unique ecological
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Polka Dot, Riesling, 2012- Sure to Please

by Jason Lightner August 13th, 2014| Wine
white wine n blue satinPolka Dot

Washington, Riesling, 2012

$9.99

Ranking second in the United States in the production of wine, behind only California, Washington State is home to a wide swath of vinters. Consistent temperatures and ample sunlight are two of the main reasons for Washington's success in winemaking, in addition to an incredibly helpful rainy season. The Columbia ValleyYakima ValleyWalla Walla, Columbia George, and the Puget Sound are some of the main wine regions in the area, although there are many, many others. While Chardonnay and Merlot experienced a great surge in popularity in the 1990s, Washington State's main list of
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Rex Goliath, Chardonnay

by Jason Lightner July 23rd, 2014| California Wine, Wine
rex goRex Goliath

California, Chardonnay

$7.49

"It's a black fly in your Chardonnay..."

Those lyrics will forever haunt any occasion during which I am drinking an otherwise delightful glass of Chardonnay. It is perhaps well known that I am not what anyone might refer to as a drinker of white wine, although I have been known to dabble quite a bit, as one does. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and I'm not going to deny a good drink the honor of being enjoyed simply because of the beverage's hue. That would be both incredibly rude and unbecoming of a wine
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Masi, Masianco Pinot Grigio e Verduzzo, 2012

by Jason Lightner July 16th, 2014| Italian Wine, Wine
food-50940_640Masi

Italy, Pinot Grigio e Verduzzo, 2012

$15.99

There's something special about blends. The artistry, the level of detail, the expert awareness of subtle changes based entirely upon slight variations in the recipe ... It's an incredible balance which must be struck in the pursuit of not only a drinkable wine, but an enjoyable and memorable wine. This is why I tend to avoid blends from lesser renowned wine producers — you honestly can't be sure they really give a damn about consistency and quality. When I find a reputable source, however, that's when I feel as though I've won the lottery.

From the textured, egg-shell
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Martini & Rossi, Asti Sparkling Wine

by Jason Lightner June 25th, 2014| Sparkling Wine, Wine
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMartini & Rossi

Italy, Asti Sparkling Wine, Various Years

$19.99

As we venture further and further into the warmer months, the need for refreshment increases. The red wines and heavy beers will find refuge in our cabinets, while we reach for island lagers and chilled white wines. As it goes, however, there is another option for one's adult beverage enjoyment — sparkling wine. Long relegated to the task of a simple toast, sparkling wine (or Champagne as it's called in France) is seeing a resurgence in casual enjoyment, free from the shackles of wedding days, New Year's celebrations, and kitschy parties of the
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Villa Maria, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

by Jason Lightner May 28th, 2014| White Wine, Wine
a-glass-of-wine-259858_640Villa Maria

New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

$15.99

With at least 15 distinct wine regions, New Zealand is an interesting choice for the wine enthusiast. Though the country mainly exists within a maritime climate, the grape varietals grown in New Zealand produce some incredibly exquisite wines. The Marlborough region lies on the northeast tip of the South Island, and is considered home to the genesis of modern winemaking in New Zealand, dating back to the late 1970s. And wouldn't you know it — that first wine just so happened to be Sauvignon Blanc.

From the sleek, khaki label, dutifully stamped "Private Bin":
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