I guess I am succumbing to laziness...meaning that these wines, while all good drinking for the price, don't really merit a separate post each:
90 Point Cellars Columbia Valley Riesling 2008 Grabbed this at the LA Wine Company for $7. Lots of lime, tropical elements, lychee, a little bit of cheesiness, and a crisp persistent citrus finish. They told me at the wine shop that this was actually from Eroica. I don't know if that's really true--seemed to not quite have as much cut as Eroica and a considerable amount of tropical stuff going on, which was not what I experienced the last time I tasted Eroica. Regardless, this is an excellent bottle of wine for $7. B+/A-
Burgenlander Rot Zweigelt Pittnauer Austria 2009 (I think...might have been 08) This was a screw-capped liter of wine of the list at the Lazy Ox Canteen downtown/Little Tokyo. The Lazy Ox was awesome. Sarah and I went there with my parents, her parents, and Diana. I don't know if my mother really enjoyed it; I think everyone else did. We had a lot of dishes: sugar snap peas with quinoa, some marinated anchovies, asparagus with romesco and manchego (absurdly delicious), polenta with enoki mushrooms and kale (rich), ricotta fritters, braised pork shoulder for two with pickled vegetables and a mashed butter with potatoes (that's probably a more accurate description than mashed potatoes), grilled branzino (delicious and "Thai style"), a salad, grilled cabbage (awesome), and the burger. The burger came out really late, which sucked. Anyways, we had this wine, which was exactly as expected and a pretty good deal at 40$ off the list. Peppery, with lots of sappy fruit and acidity. Tasted like Zweigelt, and was enough of a chameleon to do pretty well with all this random stuff. I know this sounds like a lot of stuff, but for 7 people, the bill was remarkably reasonable. Sarah and I will be back to the Lazy Ox. B
Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008 Grabbed this at Costco so I would have some easy drinking stuff for my parents. This was 6$ at Costco on sale; normally $8. Complex and relatively interesting--cherries, berries, vanilla, some smoke, licorice, and herbal characteristics. Well balanced, with a pretty bitter finish. We had two bottles of this and the bitter finish was there for both. Definitely a wine that could use some food and a good decant to show it's best. Regardless, the level of quality for 6$ is pretty good, even if on some level the wine falls a bit flat for me. B+/A-
Lastly, I had a chance to go to Wine Expo's Tasting Bar in Santa Monica and split three flights of wine with my Dad and future father in law. It's a cool place. Roberto was playing Charlie Hunter (awesome), the smoked olives were good, the wines rocked, it was cheap, and I found out that they are the only direct importer of Marcella Giuliani Cesanese in the US. Perhaps one of the better wines that I have had in the last year or so, the Cesanese that Sarah and I had at Checchino dal 1887 in Rome rocked, and I've wanted to have another bottle ever since.