How many times have you rolled right by the affordable wine section thinking there just can’t be anything worth drinking at THAT price? When was the last time you actually smiled as the sales person rang up your wine order? Well, next time you see a Tin Roof Cellars bottle of wine, grab it. Just saying.
At my last *Occasional Wine Council (OWC) meeting (five wine writers, one consumer) we reviewed six Tin Roof Cellar wines: two whites, four reds. Out of the six wines, the group felt that we had tasted some of the market’s best value wines under the $12 mark. These budget friendly wines have good consumer accessibility at very welcoming price points. These wines are easy to find, easy to drink and very food-friendly…the three pre-requisites that wine lovers truly appreciate – especially my wine review group. Just saying.
Regardless of your level of wine knowledge, and independent of the price you normally pay for a bottle of wine, most of us can’t really tell the cheap stuff from the good stuff from the affordable stuff in a blind taste-off. According to a recent paper from the Journal for Wine Economics not only can a random sample of people presented with several glasses of wine (and no information about the wines) not tell the difference between a $2.99 bottle of wine and a $180 bottle of wine, they tend to think that the cheaper wines taste better (as long as they know nothing about the prices). Wow! Guess what that means to all of us ??? Yup, the right amount to spend on a bottle of wine is as little as possible. Just saying.
Here are the food & wine pairing reviews for our stellar evening of affordable Tin Roof Cellar wines. I am hoping you’ll enjoy it as much as *we did.
1. 2011 Sav Blanc -$9. Pairing: Sue brought Tempura shrimp with soy dipping sauce & Asparagus spears, wrapped in prosciutto and a French grained mustard. Wines: Produced from Lake County and Sacramento Delta grapes. Sourcing fruit from these cool-climate regions produced a crisp, zesty Sauvignon Blanc with tangy flavors of fresh-cut grass and lime. It’s an ideal match for lighter seafood dishes, roasted chicken, Caesar salad and mildly spiced Asian cuisines. This was the group’s number one white wine choice and consumer pick.
2. 2001 Chardonnay – $9. Pairing: Coletta & Karsten provided the perfectfinger food, a crab filled sugar snap pea. Wine: Made from grapes primarily grown on California’s Central Coast this wine displays fresh apple and peach aromas with a hint of vanilla on the nose. The wine’s broad, mouth-filling palate offers notes of Fuji apple, quince and crème brulee. This Chardonnay is a fabulous accompaniment to a mild sausage from Mad Mikes sweet & sassy Tri-Pepper Sausage and Salted Tahitian Camels from Trader Joe’s.
3. 2009 Merlot – $10. Pairing: Todd provided a hearty plate of Charcuterie (e.g. pâtés, terrines and salamis) which actually went with several of the wines on the table. Wine: Produced from a blend of North Coast and Central Coast grapes this wine delivered a sultry Merlot with characteristics of dried berries and a hint of mint. Earthy and rich, this wine has a long, flavorful finish. It pairs especially well with grilled red meats, herb roasted chicken, pork chops, red-sauced pastas and flavorful hard cheeses. This was the group’s favorite red. If you search around, you may be able to find this wine as low as $5.99.
4. Red Blend –$11: Pairing: Karsten scored big time in the culinarydepartment providing the group with red wine stewed figs tarts. Wine: Produced from grapes sourced mostly from vineyards in the Lodi appellation the tasting notes called for a triple play of Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah. While each grape promised a beautiful blend, this wine fell short of expectations. Out of the six wines, this one came in last.
5. 2011 Cabernet – $10. Pairing: I brought in a Fantasy Chocolate Platter
( Salted Chocolate Carmel Nut Delights, Tahitian Vanilla Caramels, Chocolate Covered Wine Grapes, Dark sweet dried , cherries, Cocoa Truffles,Blackberries).Wine: Produced from grapes primarily grown in California’s cool coastal regions this wine was much lighter in body and flavor than we expected. Still, for those guests who proclaim they hate all Cabs because they are just “too big and woody,” this wine could and should be used as a Cab trainer. At $10 (or less if you really search) how can you lose?
6. 2011 Zinfandel – $12: Mad Mike’s Tri-Pepper sausage, courtesy of Mad Mike – https://www.madmikesstore.com/. Wine: Produced from grapes 100% grown in the Lodi appellation their were very light notes of juicy strawberry, and dried cherry. Tin Roof Zinfandel is a terrific wine for “Zin beginners” however your guests who love a big jammy Zin will likely pass on a second glass. Enjoy in your backyard, and will pair up to all smoked and BBQ meats.
*OWC Members: Coletta Boone (consumer) & Karsten Boone (writer ), Sue & Todd Montgomery (Writers & the event host), Linda Kissam (Writer), Tom Plant (writer).