Pop Crush White Blend (California 2012)

Pop CrushPretty, isn’t it? I bought this wine solely for the label. It reminds me of a piece of art. I must warn you, however, that this particular bottle of wine isn’t, in itself, a work of art.

It’s straight-up fruit without any nuance or subtlety. As my husband noted, it “tastes like a wine cooler and not the good kind.”


He’s right though. Not my finest moment in wine selection. Goes to show you – never judge a wine by its label.

And I’m adding that to my list of informal wine rules, right up there next to “Never spend more than $12 on a bottle of wine.”

Now, if wine coolers in fancy art labels are your cup of tea, you can find Pop Crush at Target for $10. But my advice to you is find yourself a bottle of Ironstone Obsession Symphony instead. You’ll thank me later.

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Pet Peeve: Restaurant Wine Prices

I’m not alone in this, I know. For me, it’s the most difficult decision when dining out.

There is, apparently, a secret code for pricing wines at restaurants. And the code is progressive, variable, depending upon the wholesale cost, the prestige of the manufacturer or vintage, the prestige of the restaurant, the availability of the wine, the phase of the moon, and who knows what else. It is, quite frankly, baffling.

There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at a wine menu, seeing a Chez Knighton favorite marked up 3x more than what we can buy it at the grocery store. I KNOW I’m getting ripped off, and I hate it. This isn’t to say I don’t expect and intend to pay more than retail for the dining experience; I just don’t want my nice evening out ruined by a poor value on the wine list.

So, I’ve decided to do something about that. As a public service, for you, my friends.

Introducing: BWC Dines Out

Where I will share popular restaurant wine menus, and their retail prices. So we can find the best values on the list, enjoy great wines when dining out, and avoid getting ripped off.*

For example, I recently dinned at BJ’s Brewhouse, a fairly large chain; there’s probably one near you. BJ’s is primarily focused on beer, hence the name, but they do offer a selection of wines by the glass. One in particular is a Chez K favorite – Nobilio Sauvignon Blanc, offered at $9 per glass. Nine dollars per glass, friends. Which is slightly more expensive than I can buy the entire bottle at HEB. One glass cost more than the whole bottle. Total rip-off. Buy the prosecco on the menu instead, it’s only 2/3 the cost of the bottle.

So that’s the idea. I’ll do what I can to help you find a good value on the wine list. And maybe you could do me a favor, and send some examples of your own. We’d all benefit from the shared wisdom!

*Sorry Clark Howard. I had to steal that line. Because, really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Being a smart consumer and buying value, yes? I say yes!

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Handsome Devil Malbec (Argentina 2012)

Handsome DevilSeptember blazed by in a firestorm of travel and parties. October, however, sneaked in on little cat feet, delivering a cold and yet more travel.

While September is my favorite month of the year (birthday, anyone?), Rocktober is when the real fun begins. Husband has a birthday toward the end of the month, and then there’s Halloween. Or Spookapalooza, as we like to say around these parts.

You can use that one if you like. Spookapalooza is fun to say. Try it. Spookapalooza. We can all thank Scooby Doo for that one. He’s a genius.

I like to imbibe appropriately themed beverages for the annual invasion of beggar-children working overtime for a midnight sugar high. And I think I’ve found a bottle that’ll fit the bill.

No, not for the beggar-children. That would be ridiculous. This is a treat for the grown-ups. Even if we are dressed as Strawberry Shortcake. (Not that I would be. You might be. Whatever floats your boat, man. No judgement here.)

Anyway, I found Handsome Devil Malbec at Target, on a Halloween end-cap on the candy aisle, no less. Those guys really know their market, which is probably why none of us can leave Target for under $100. Although, for the record, $100 doesn’t actually get you a lot of wine. You’ll have to trust me here. Good Baptists don’t buy wine. Especially not at Target. And especially not one hundred dollars worth. (Hi Mom!)

Where was I? Oh, right –  wine.

Handsome Devil Malbec. It’s a cleverly labeled, no-frills Malbec, and it’ll look amazing on your table for that really cool Halloween party you’ve been planning. $9 at Target.

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