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May 2014

April 2014

$5 Flat rate shipping on orders throughout May

Our friends at have another great offer this month - just $5 flat rate shipping for any orders you place until May 16th.  Now is the time to stock up the cellar with some crisp whites like Sauvignon Blanc, some cool Pinot Noirs and maybe a bottle or two of champagne, either to drink now or to save until July 4th celebrations!

Click the link below to get to and claim this offer.

$5 flat rate shipping on any order with code FIVESHIP. Valid 5.1-5.15!

Vina Cubillo Rioja 2005

Those of you that know me, know that I love 2005 Spanish wines.  For the mostpart, it was a stellar year across Spain for the winemakers and Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines from 2005 and generally superb.

So imagine my disappointment when i uncorked this Vina Cubillo only to find a wine that is average at best.  It looked slightly past it's best and it tasted flat, one dimensional, insipid, watery.  I could go on but you probably get the message.  Thank goodness I only paid $23.99 for it, but I won't be buying it again.

Vina Cubilo

Campo Viejo 2004 Gran Reserva

Campo Viejo is one of the better known Riojo wines and is readily available.  You usually see the Crianza knocking around the place, and that is fine for a regular, house wine.  But Crianza's only need to be aged for two years (one of those in oak barrels).  A Gran Reserva, on the other hand, is like the daddy of Riojas, and sits around for at least two years in oak and three in the bottle.  The result is a deeper, smoother, richer wine and usually well worth spending the extra dollars on.

This Campo Viejo 2004 Gran Reserva is no exception.  It is made up of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 10% Mazuelo.  It is drinking perfectly now, but will likely keep until 2016 or 2017.  I [think] I paid under $30 for it and I can see that has it currently for $26.99, which is good value for money.

Campo 2004

Oyster Bay 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

This is a great value for money New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region, renowned for excellent sauv blanc wines.

You can find Oyster Bay almost anywhere and it's often in the big supermarkets for less than $15. has it online currently for $13.99, which isn't a bad price.

As always, the rule of thumb with Sauvignon Blanc is DYA (drink youngest available) and so this 2013 is drinking very nicely now.  It's is super crisp and clean on the palate and quite zesty.  It goes very well with fish or salad and especially well with oysters.

Oyster Bay

Trust Cellars Syrah 2009

I came across Trust Cellars on a trip to Woodinville, just outside Seattle in Washington State.  They had a small outlet there, although the wine is made in the famous Walla Walla region in Eastern Washington.

I think many of the wines in Washington State, whilst good, are overpriced compared to European counterparts.  Partly I think this is due to the smaller quantities of wine made and partly because local consumers are willing to pay high prices for the 'local story'.

I picked up a case of the 2009 Syrah a couple of years ago and it's been sitting in the cellar ever since.  I've tried the odd bottle and would say it is 'a point' right about now.

The wine is deep and rich in color and very smooth to drink, either on it's own or with a light meat.  It's not big enough for steak.  And for a Syrah, it's not that spicy. In fact, on a blind taste, you might venture into right bank bordeaux land.  It's plummy and rounded, not tannic, but punchy at over 14% alcohol.

The 2011 version is selling now for around $30 a bottle, which is good value for the quality.  Trust Cellars is a relatively new winery but already making great strides.

Trust Vouchers and Offer Codes for April has three useful wine voucher codes currently running - be sure to check them out since they will be expiring at end of April, if not sooner.

Take 15% off wine gift sets & gift baskets with code SPRING15. Valid now through 4.21.

Get 1-cent shipping on 12 or more bottles with code APRWINE. Valid now through 4.30.

Take $15 off $175 with code APR15. Valid through 4.30.

Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Chiller Review

First off, for around $12 from Amazon or, this is an absolute steal.  It is a wine bottle sleeve that you keep in the fridge when you are not using it.  It chills down a bottle of wine in about 5-10 minutes and will keep the bottle chilled for up to 6 hours.

With kids in the house, I find using this is one less thing to worry about.  Unlike a conventional ice bucket that can be tipped over and ice flying everywhere, the Vacu wine chiller is really just an almost unbreakable sleeve, that your children will not be likely to destroy.  It is composed of six pockets of 'special' liquid that actually keeps the bottle chilled and the sleeve will fit any standard 750cl bottle of wine.

Well worth the investment if, like me, you sometime forget to stick a bottle of white in the fridge for a few hours before drinking.  I also use it to chill down red wine, especially Pinot Noir.  Delicious!

Vacu wine cooler

Sineann Abondance 2009

This thick red from Columbia Valley in Washington State really packs a punch at 14.8% alcohol. It's a mix of Cab, Zin, Cab Franc and Merlot and somehow it works.

Give it 30 mins to open up and you'll be pleasantly surprised. One of the interesting features of the bottle is that it has a glass stopper instead of a cork.

I put it in the fridge for a couple of days once opened and then finished it off on night three and it was totally fine.

Sineann Abondance 2009