Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recap: Budget-friendly Wine Tasting at The Urban Grape

Thursday night, I co-hosted a budget wine tasting event with TJ, owner of The Urban Grape. Quite a few talented writers, bloggers and foodies joined me for the event, including Lara, Jon, Katie, Melissa, and Emily. Over the course of the evening, we tasted four "budget-friendly" wines as well as two "splurge" bottles (and even some extra bottles, per TJ's recommendations).

Here was the line-up:

Economical bottles:
-Luna Vineyards Pinot Grigio, 2007 ($13)
-R Collection by Raymond Chardonnay, 2008 ($10)
-Chateau Jean Gassie Bordeaux Rouge, 2006 ($14)
-Vignamaggio “Il Morino” Sangiovese, 2008 ($13)

Splurge bottles:
-Calistoga Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 ($22)
-Chateau D’Estoublon Red Blend, 2005 ($22)

While we sipped, TJ explained how The Urban Grape organizes their wines and why, and taught us a heck of a lot about vino. 

Some things I learned that evening (which some of you may already know):

-Red wine is red because it's made with the grapes skins; white wine is white because it is not.
-Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grape.
-An easier way to determine the "weight" of a wine is to compare it to dairy products. For instance, "skim milk" wine is light and watery; "heavy cream" wine is thick and creamy.

All of the economical wines we tasted were delicious, and TJ picked a great variety for us to sample. My favorites of the evening included the Chardonnay and the Sangiovese. I even bought a bottle of the Sangiovese before I left that evening. I can't wait to break into it!

The splurge bottles were also indulgent, but I felt like the budget-friendly bottles had the same amount of quality and flavor (if not more). TJ did a great job explaining each of the wines, and reiterating the fact that affordable does not mean low quality. The wines he shared with us that evening proved his point.

What's the maximum amount of money that you'd willing to spend on a bottle of wine?


  1. Again, I'm sorry I missed the event but I heard it was such a wonderful time! I usually like to spend under $20 for a bottle but on a special occasion, I'll splurge to about $50.

  2. What a great event! And even though I missed it ( :-( ) I just learned a fact or two from your post- and I have to say Im a bit embarrassed about the things I didn't know!

  3. Fiona - me too! It's sad how much I don't know about wine, although I am an avid drinker of it. ;)

  4. Looks like it was a great event! I'm sorry I missed it too! I love that "affordable does not mean low quality." I need to try the Luna Vineyards Pinot Grigio. Thanks for a great post. :)