casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 339: Stumping On A Monday . . .

the stump jump GSMOne thing that seems to be certain. . .Mondays come and go really fast–all things considered.  As we departed for work this morning, Jean was heading north to Austin and Brian was heading south to his office in San Marcos, the realization of our weekend-in-the-rearview-mirror was evident.  Yep, another weekend had come and gone before our very eyes and we were left wondering what exactly happened.  We had wrapped up work on Friday afternoon with a lot of excitement and thoughts about what we could do over the weekend.  Yes, we sat outside at the picnic tables provided by East Ends Wines and enjoyed a variety of new wines and couldn’t help but think how fun it was going to be with TWO days off! 

As we have detailed in previous blogs–and we WON’T go into them here–, there has been a pretty fair amount of work to be done on the house in Kerr-patch, but we’re on task and ready to make something happen, so whether it’s re-grouting the tile, any time you have new tenants moving into your property, the right thing to do is give it a complete–top to bottom–cleaning.  So, that’s how we spent yesterday (as previously noted)!

When Monday comes along, we’re either glad to have the ‘break’ of a new work week, or we’d wished that we would have hired someone else to take care of the necessary work at the house!  You know what we mean. . .you have the BEST intentions that get derailed.  However, this weekend we didn’t get derailed. . .we worked hard–painting, touching up walls, cleaning windows, sweeping, dusting, covering nail holes and a lot more.  It was the stuff that made Monday look really good!

And so,  tonight we opened a really nice 2011 Stump Jump from McLaren Vale in Australia,  It’s a blend that includes Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre’–it’s young, tart and it’s loaded with grenache.  Not being one of our favorite varietals, we kind of turned our noses up at it, but with a great pricing deal from Twin Liquors at less than $9 a bottle, we felt the obligation to “take one for the team!”  And so, we taste the 2011 Stump Jump blend.  And, it tasted about like we thought it would. . .A Sensational value, not too simple but; rich, savory, and brimming with ripe, spicy fruit flavor.  Endearingly honest and unpretentious, the ideal everyday red. ”  And, according to our friends at,   The Stump Jump GSM is a rich, flavorful red produced in the traditional McLaren Vale style. Mulberry and plum flavors from the Grenache combine with the blackberry, spice and white pepper of the Shiraz. Best served at room temperature, this wine will gain added complexity with careful cellaring over the next two to five years. Composed of 46% Grenache, 39% Shiraz and 15% Mourvedre.

We just couldn’t make this one work for us.  Probably too much Grenache, but regardless, we’re probably looking elsewhere for our next blog deal.  It’ s nothing against Stump Jump–in fact this is our second bottle to blog about.–but it’s more about the taste and this one just didn’t bring it home.  We know that really, really good wines come from McLaren Vale in Australia, and unfortunately, this one isn’t among them.

As your week unfolds, remember to drive safely-stop and taste the wine and get home all in one piece…Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 75: Tying the Knot – NOT

Last night we raved about a blend from Artesa and couldn’t say enough good things about that wine.  Well, tonight we’re heading in  the other direction – south.  First of all, we  have had our share of excellent wines from Australia.  As a rule, they’re bigger, bolder and fruitier than many American wines.  So, when looking for another value priced wine when we visited our local Sam’s Club, we happened upon this wine from the McLaren Vale (pronounced valley) a place from where we’ve enjoyed some delicious wines – called Red Knot.

The first thing we noted – right off the bat – it’s a young wine.  A 2011 vintage means that it’s probably going to be much more fruity with less structure.  Very mild tannins with virtually no finish is kind of what we expected.  However, because of where it came from, we felt like we were heading down the right path for a good find and priced under $11 a bottle.  How often can you come across a sweet deal that includes a good price from a good ‘home’?

We should have known when we opened the bottle – and we have to borrow this phrase from our good friend Patrick Wilt at Grape Juice in Kerrville – he says, “At the end of the day, it’s all grape juice!”  Well, that’s EXACTLY what we smelled upon opening .  .  . it had the aroma (the smell?) of Welch’s Grape Juice.  Actually, it could have been ANY brand of store bought grape juice and we were not excited.  A pour into a glass and a swirl didn’t change a thing .  .  . a sip – a little aeration – nothing.  The wine had NO taste.  It was like drinking a glass of store bought grape juice.  We pulled out the receipt to confirm that we hadn’t spent too much on it, but in all fairness, this one was overpriced even as a value wine.

What makes our comments almost hysterical are the comments we read from Australia – Here are a couple of them: “Shingleback’s cheapy is a youthful beauty. Cabernet really belongs in the Vale and these guys are doing it very well.” or  how about this one: “That the discounters frequently trim the price of Red Knot is a sure sign of popularity. And popularity, in this instance, proves that Australia’s savvy palates know a bargain when they see one.” We’re sorry – are they CRAZY?  Trim the price because of popularity?? Savvy Palates?  Really?  Retail 101 – if it DOESN’T sell, mark it down and someone will buy it.  Continue marking it down UNTIL someone buys it!  Savvy palates know a bargain – or, as we translated, we were thirsty enough to drink the first bottle we came across!!

Don’t get us wrong; it doesn’t have to be  high priced to be good and there really are plenty of value-laden wines on the market – several of which we’ve already written about!  Unfortunately, we’re going to find the occasion ‘dud’ – just like in Monday’s blog about ‘Mystery Date’ – we rolled the dice and landed on a ‘DUD’, but you get to be the beneficiaries of our sacrifice – so you’re only homework is to decide for yourself if we’re right about our review of the wine or take it at face value and protect our wine’s identity.

For $10 we learned a lesson – not all wines from Australia’s McLaren Vale are going to be home runs.  We knew that sooner or later we’d run into one of these, and tonight, that is exactly what we did.  What made matters worse was the fact that this wine has won six Bronze medals this year in wine competitions and a Gold medal.  We can’t help but wonder how good it would have been had there been seven Gold medals and one Bronze!  Not to be the case today.

Regardless as to whether you enjoy your red wine or your white wine, please enjoy it responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.