I used to RAGE two buck Chuck every damn day. I still don’t mind it, but once my income bracket changed, so did my palate. That sounds so shitty but it’s true. You’re not regularly drinking Charles Shaw if you love wine and can afford something over $5.
Trader Joe’s has a great selection of wine. I love their Trader Joe’s Reserve stuff. The Calloway Sauv Blanc is pretty good. The Block Shiraz is great and economical. My favorite wine they sell is BR Cohn. So yummy.
Gia by Gia Coppola Frizzante
Price: ~ $10.00
Retailer: GiaWines.com or, if you’re in the LA area, House of Ambrose off Barham just north of the 101
In case you haven’t heard, Gia Coppola now has her own line of wines. It’s not available really anywhere yet except one liquor store near Universal Studios, but it is out there, and to celebrate its soon-to-be-national full-blown release, I am going to be reviewing all three of the varietals over the coming weeks.
Let me just start by saying that I didn’t realize I was going to have to revere another Coppola. First, Frances changed my life by making a little movie called “The Godfather”. You may have heard of it. Then his daughter, you may have also heard of her too, Sophia, had to go and not only be a bad-ass filmmaker herself, but also be a style icon and then go ahead and make canned wine complete with straws. Now, here comes Gia, Frances’ granddaughter who is a basically a baller in my eyes. She is a dope photographer, dresses in YSL suits, just released her first feature film, is a mixologist AND is now coming out with her own wines.
Thank god I have endless love to give, because if there was only a finite amount, the Coppolas would now own much of my heart.
To kick off our exploration of the Gia wines,
today we have the Gia Frizzante,
made from California Chardonnay.
The word “Frizzante” straight up gives me butterflies. White wine with effervescence is a thing to be treasured, and it is something I always have in my house. I wasn’t allowed to have soda as a child, and subsequently to this day I am a sucker for anything bubbly.
Now on the other hand, the words “California Chardonnay” absolutely terrify me. They conjure up images of thick oak barrels dripping with Land-O-Lakes butter surrounded by business men in 1990’s styled suits, smelling corks and generally being insufferable assholes.
Much to my relief, the Gia Frizzante tastes nothing like my Chardonnay nightmares. Sparkling with tropical notes, the Gia Frizzante tastes like a midsummer’s dream that I want to have nightly as an aperitif.
Now that we’re entering the true dog days of Southern California, this is a wonderful (and economical) wine to have on hand for spontaneous afternoons on your best friend’s porch or impromptu Saturday pool parties.
Not only is it great, but uh, have you seen how pretty it is?
It’s a fucking babe of a wine.
A+ on the packaging.
Tasting Notes: The bouquet reminds me of running through my neighbor’s yard as a kid in the summer. Lots of floral notes, with hints of grass and honeydew. The palate is zesty with plenty of pineapple with a light melon finish, perfect for the island obsessed. Sweet but not overwhelmingly so.
Ross Test: Like chugging delicious fizzy fruit. Totally do-able!
THE WINE TIME YOU’VE ALL BEEN ASKING FOR IS COMING SOON
Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio & Verduzzo
Region: Veneto, Italy
"So, what do you think?" my cat, Berlioz, inquired as I took to the bouquet of the Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio & Verduzzo.
"Well…" I started, wiping the wine off the tip of my nose.
"It smells like you pissed Moscato."
"What what? It smells like sweet cat piss, I don’t know what else you want me to say."
He stared at me, unamused. He was offended, acting as if I was trying to joke around with him, something I know for a fact Berlioz does not enjoy. Berlioz hates jokes. Berlioz is very serious. This was the first time he even gave my wine tasting the time of day, and here I was, telling him this wine smelled like his piss.
"I don’t find your humor very entertaining to begin with, and if this is one of your silly descriptors that is supposed to be comedically compelling, well, I’m afraid it is not."
"Dude, cat urine is a very common identifier in wine tasting."
"What have I told you?"
"Excuse me. Berlioz, cat urine is a very common identifier in wine tasting. It’s not a bad thing. It just means musky, a little herbal…”
"Who would know that with the way humans carry on about cat boxes. Always whining, when really it’s just like taking in a big whiff of a fine Italian wine, you fucking pussy."
"OK. WE’RE DONE. I DON’T NEED ANYMORE HELP WINE TASTING, THANK YOU."
"I didn’t want to be here anyway, you teased me with a spoon full of ice cream, which wasn’t even ice cream, you fucking hippie."
Tasting Notes: Yes, it smells like my cat pissed Moscato. But it tastes like a beautiful Edible Arrangement entirely of melons and peaches with a big citrus finish. Medium bodied, best served super cold. A great summer wine that would pair well with seafood or just some sunshine.
Ross Test: Too acidic on the throw back. Best to put it in a glass and call it a day.
Venturini Baldini Lambrusco dell’Emilia
Region: Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Retailer: Whole Foods
This Lambrusco is untraditionally dry, earthy and prickly. Perfect if you love sparkling but hate sweet. It is crazy dark (talking Steve Brule, sweet berry wine right here) and will stain the shit out of your teeth (unless you’re me and you’re straight up immune to that shit), and your jeans (I am not immune to spilling shit). Great for starting, and ending, a meal with. Passed the Ross Test, but better in a glass.
Pampelonne Canned Rosé Lime
Price: $19.99 for a four pack
Retailer: Whole Foods
To continue my quest for the perfect canned wine, I bought the Pampelonne Canned Rosé Lime because I saw it, and uh, how could I not? It’s sparkling Rosé, with lime.
And, it’s crazy but, I think I finally found it.
I found the perfect canned wine!
The Pampelonne Canned Rosé Lime has a flavor I thought could only be found in the Pellegrino Limonata, one of my favorite carbonated, non-alcoholic beverages of all time. Have you had that shit? Refreshing and tangy and perfect? You know what I’m talking about right? It’s fucking delicious.
Okay, so imagine that perfection
AND THEN ADD ALCOHOL.
And that is what the Rosé Lime is.
There is nothing about this that isn’t perfect. From the palate to the packaging, this is my quintessential estival beverage. It is an absolute dream, something I conjured with a spell on Tumblr collaging beaches in far away places and vacations from yesteryear. It breaths an air that can’t be obtained outside the blocks of Beverly Hills, or on a jetset to Santorini in the 70’s. It belongs under a perfectly pink beach umbrella, being sipped by a beautiful bikini’d babe. Even the company’s story is straight out of a foreword from a Slim Aarons’ coffee table book:
It all began on the beaches of Pampelonne in St. Tropez, France. The sea, sunshine, music, beautiful people, and of course, the wine. In each can of Pampelonne we hope to capture those wonderful moments – full of the spirit and sophistication of the French Riviera.
Right on the label it has “Joie de vivre”
and I’ve never experienced a truer proclamation.
This is awesome for the pool because hey, no glass around the pool. It is also awesome for the beach because hey, it doesn’t look like alcohol which is important, trust me on this as someone who has gotten a $250 fine for just quietly chilling and drinking wine on the beach. It is also for just blogging around the house in your bikini.
Pampelonne is my new everything. I’d call it a summer fling, but summer lasts all year round here in sunny Southern California, so actually this is true love.
Tasting Notes: Ideal effervescence, light and zesty. Thirst-quenching with a perfect acidic balance. So much citrus flavor without a big body or thick finish. Beyond easy and enjoyable. The absolute summer wine.
Ross Test: The whole can is basically just the best Ross Test of all time. The only thing better than Ross Testing one can of Pampelonne, is Ross Testing the entire four pack while working on your tan.
In theory, Underwood’s new canned wine was made for me. It stands for everything I stand for. It’s unpretentious and fun, turning what the wine world used to be on its head. In the months leading up to its arrival at my local beer shop, I imagined spending my whole summer with it in love like some old timey Jerry Keller jam.
But, expectations are the root of disappointment my friends.
I did not love this wine. In fact, I didn’t even finish it.
The Pinot Gris is too full-bodied for the aluminum. Not only can you taste it on the wine, but it just feels weird drinking it out of the can because it glugs out all thick. I mean, this is coming from a person who has no problem chugging wine out of a bottle or drinking wine out of a Diet Coke can, so it has nothing to do with chugging wine out of a can. I just don’t think the Pinot Gris was a good varietal for this.
I feel like it would have been fine if I had poured it in a glass, but that defeats the purpose! Why buy wine in a can if I’m just going to pour it in a glass!
If you’re looking for cold wine on the go, sure, go right ahead. I’m sure your friends at the picnic will be very impressed with you.
But I’m telling you, I didn’t even finish a can. On a hot Saturday afternoon. Do you know how unlikely that is? SO UNLIKELY. SO SAD.
I’m still looking forward to trying the Pinot Noir. I absolutely love Underwood’s Pinot Noirs in bottles, so I’m hoping for that same quality in a can. Although, I’m keeping my expectations low. It’s not healthy to have your heart broken twice before August.
I’d been using FCP 6 on my boyfriend’s old seven year old desktop forever and then it just was like, “Nope. We’re done here.” So, I finally upgraded my shit and got FCP X on my laptop. It’s really fucking annoying, but hey, at least I’m back to editing! So hold tight. xoxo
BV Coastal Estates Sauvignon Blanc
Retailer: Fucking anywhere
Today I decided to go old school and review a cheap Sauv-Blanc. That Sauv-Blanc being the BV Coastal Estates I bought while buying a sale twin-pack of my deodorant.
And that is the bottle, on my messy nightstand.
What is important to this tasting though, is the green fish next to the bottle.
That green fish on my nightstand is a 1973 Avon “Sea Spirit” Elusive Foaming Bath Oil container that I got in an antique store in Fulsom a couple of years ago. The fin screws off and there is supposed to be bath oil in there, although I didn’t think there was any in mine.
Until a couple nights ago.
See, I usually have about ten water bottles on my nighstand at any given time. And I tend to drink them in the middle of the night. And that is totally fine. It works out great for me.
It did not work out so great for me the other night though when I woke up drinking my 1973 Avon Foaming Bath Oil and proceeded to almost FUCKING DIE.
Have you ever woken up drinking fucking bath oil? Because it’s the worst. The absolute worst. You can’t get the taste out of your mouth, no matter how many La Croix you pour down your throat. The stench of decaying, floral essentials is stuck in your nose for the next twelve hours. You have the worst headache and are pretty sure you’re going to throw up all your internal organs. Like I said, the absolute worst.
This would be irrelevant except that this Sauvignon Blanc
TASTES A LOT LIKE MY VINTAGE AVON BATH OIL.
WHICH IS REALLY NOT GOOD.
Although it is not as bad as the bath oil,
because I am still kind of drinking the wine.
BUT IT STILL HAS NOTES OF BATH OIL FROM ‘73.
WHICH IS NOT GOOD AT ALL, I PROMISE.
Okay I don’t think I can drink anymore, I just smelled the bath oil to compare bouquets and almost barfed, someone come dump champagne on my face, HEEELLLLLP!
[Five minute break]
Alright, after getting away from my wine and my bath oil and clearing my head and getting a whiff of my dog’s breath— which is fucking terrible but still better than that fucking bath oil— I think I can give a more unbiased review of the wine.
This wine tastes like being 24. You’re just beginning to drink wine because you enjoy it, and not just because Charles Shaw is the most economical way to get wasted. You’ve had like three good wines, so you think you know a little something, but the truth is you don’t know shit. You’re like, “This is pretty good!” but really, it’s just okay.
And that is okay! I mean, you bought it at a grocery store that doesn’t even have a meat counter. If you’re going for mad quality, you shouldn’t be shopping for wine at the Echo Park Vons, the worst grocery store of all fucking time.
Hey, it’s not the worst $7 you’ve ever spent!
Also, not the best $7 you’ve ever spent.
Tasting Notes: Melon-y, acidic, rotting beauty products
Ross Test: CAN’T, WON’T
Related & To Watch:
Wine Time Episode Six: BV Coastal Estates Merlot
• One or two shots of tequila
• Muddle two slices of jalepeno into tequila
• Equal parts grapefruit juice & ginger beer
We made this over the weekend to celebrate the first day of summer. But be careful with the jalepenos. If they’re really potent, this drink will fuck your lips up for like an hour. If you want to play it safe, regular old Deltas without the jalepeno are also super delicious.
For the record, the Delta was originally created by my wonderful better half, Ben. Although, I brilliantly brought the heat. We’re a great team.
La Bulle Vin Mousseaux Gamay, Production Unique Rebelle (P-U-R)
Region: Beaujolais, France
Growing up, I wanted to be the girl who inspired The Beatles’ “Girl”. That was my whole thing. I would sing that song every day after school into the tiny locker mirror I installed in my armoire. It was all I ever wanted to be. A girl who you wanted so much it made you sorry. A girl that you would breath in deeply through clenched teeth over. I wanted to be so hot, I’d ruin someone’s life. Particularly, John or Paul’s life in 1963. That was my dream. To be a cool, manipulative, hot bitch who got whatever she wanted and crushed men in her wake.
Because in reality, I was the girl whose friends convinced her putting a note expressing her love to Joey Lara in his locker was a good idea and he read it at lunch and it ruined my life. Much to my dismay, I never ended up ruining Joey’s life, or anyone’s life for that matter, with my beauty.
It’s fine. I’m over it. I’m fine with it. I mean, sure yes, I would love to still ruin someone’s life with my beauty but I think that time has passed and I’m very happy and in love so I mean, yeah, it’s fine. I’m fine.
The point is, I look at this bottle and I see that Girl I wanted to be. Look at her. Look at the woman on the fucking label! She is living the dream! SHE IS IN AN EFFERVESCENT BATH OF FRENCH ROSE! LOOK AT HER LEGS! SHE’S A BABE! SHE PROBABLY IS THE SAME BITCH THAT MADE LENNON SLEEP IN A TUB IN “NORWEGIAN WOOD”!
At any rate, the fact that she has time to take a bath or even a big-ass tub to take a bath in, makes her a hero.
It does help that this wine is one delightful, sparkling, little number. It reminds me of a glorious, less bubbly Lambic, all raspberry and beautiful. It’s luscious, with a nice soft body. Ugh. It’s too much. I’m like, about to become a lesbian for this inanimate object I’ve decided has slept with a Beatle or two.
Ahhhh, Girrrrr-rrlll [ssssshhhhhhhh]…
Tasting Notes: Just like a Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. Your inner child will rejoice. You can taste zero alcohol, which would be a problem but there’s only 7% alcohol, so go wild! Very juicy and sweet, but very fun. Great to open a meal with, or for dessert. Or to just drink on your own on a summer afternoon while listening to old Beatles’ vinyl, dreaming of all that could have been if you’d been born in the 40’s.
Ross Test: Tastes like breakfast. For real. There is like no difference between throwing this back or throwing back some Cran-Raz before work.
I spent nine glorious days in Italy. Here are my favorite wines I had, in no particular order. They are all refreshing, light whites and bright, airy reds— the kind of versatile and approachable wines that are crowd pleasers even (when you’re traveling) with non-wine-drinkers. I wish I’d taken more meticulous notes other than, “This is really fucking good”, but hey, I think that is the most important note of all.
I can’t wait to add them to my personal wine collection back here in the states!
• This one that I can’t freaking find anywhere, it looks like “M1oo0 Lazio” but my photo is too blurry and I didn’t have service in the restaurant and then I forgot to look it up again. Sigh. I will add it as soon as I find out from the restaurant what it was because it was fantastic.
• One million Aperol Spritzes
• All the free champagne first class would give me