What’s on the wine rack?

Ink. has been around for 39 weeks, and that means 39 wine for your weekend recommendations and a whole lot of cheers. This has, ultimately led to two common questions being asked. First, have I really tried all the wines I’ve recommended? And two, which ones am I really drinking all the time. The first question comes up in a variety of ways, like my mother expressing her concern that I was drinking too much wine because I was always writing about it, and wanting to know if I was really drinking all the wine I recommended. 😅 To be clear, a bottle of wine a week (when shared with another person in your household) is not actually that much. To be honest, many weeks, more than a single bottle of wine is consumed in our household. And with two exceptions, which I named in the post at the time, I have tried every wine for your weekend, though not always in the same week they’re recommended.


The second question is a bit more interesting because while I do enjoy exploring new wines, and always like to taste test an interesting bottle, there are somedefinite staples that find their way onto my wine rack again and again and again. In our most recent restock, I found myself making sure that these five bottles were back on our shelves. Rest assured, I can pull any of these choices, for any occasion or meal on any given night, and won’t be disappointed. They’ve all been recommended as a wine for your weekend, but in reality these are my wines for the weekend…holiday…work night…or whatever else you might be toasting to!

1. Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 

Image result for klinker brick zinfandel winemakers notesI’m a self-proclaimed zinfandel lover, so invariably there’s always at least one zin around the house. However, I like Klinker Brick because it’s not quite the stereotypical, “jammy,” offering many expect. Klinker Brick Zinfandel is a punch in the mouth, with 15.9% alcohol and sharp tannins that pierce through the first notes of anything that might be described as fruity, full-bodied, or jammy. If that sounds awful, give the wine about 20 minutes, as after decanting, the complexity and depth of the wine really begin to open up, revealing a plush, smooth flavor much different from the first few sips. The “Old Vines” used in Klinker Brick are over 80 years old, and the small yields from the well established vines are more concentrated in flavor and the characteristics of the wine growing region. That said, the potent nature of the wine will potentially over power many tradition meal pairings. It’s a good after dinner wine to stand alone on its own, or punch back with a square or strong dark chocolate.

2. Bread and Butter Chardonnay 

Image result for Bread and Butter ChardonnaySometimes I’m tired of chardonnay, and sometimes I want a big, bold, buttery chardonnay. I don’t really have an in between, so when I want chardonnay, I drink Bread and Butter. This wine has a little bit of everything, buttery smoothness, hints of vanilla, a dash of oak, and a touch of fruit. Part of my temperamental relationship with chardonnay is that they can be all over the board. Some are buttery. Some are oaky. Some are really dry. Maybe the best part of Bread and Butter chardonnay is its balance. Easily paired with appetizers, dinner, or dessert, this is a crowd pleaser to meet the desires of all palettes for all occasions.

3. CS Cabernet Sauvignon

Image result for CS Cabernet SauvignonThe winemaker’s notes for this vintage include:

Rich, dark, unctuous, brooding and deep. Delicious, complex and compelling. Smooth, long and amazing. A wine of true substance.

Appropriate given CS Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Substance line of wines which aims to strike at the core of what each variety should offer. CS is a spicy, aromatic, wine with a bite of acid and tannins balanced against the rich flavors of stone fruit. There’s a slight oakiness and earthiness, and we first paired it with surf in turf…ribeye medallions with scallops…at our Cabernet Somm Night. A cabernet that defines what a cabernet should be, CS has complexity and depth without being overbearing. And, at 13% alcohol, you can drink a little more of it than, say, Klinker Brick before getting your red wine buzz on.

4. Menage a Trois Silk

Image result for menage a trois silkIf you’re having a dose of deja vu, fear not! This one was just featured as last Friday’s wine for your weekend, and it’s fully stocked on our wine rack again. No use reinventing the wheel…so here’s what I just had to say about it. “A red blend of Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Petit Syrah, Silk is my favorite offering from the Menage a Trois label. Less “sharp” than it’s counterparts, Silk is lightly fruity with strong notes of Bing cherry, and a savory sweet finish that the winemaker’s notes call “toasted spice,” but I felt was an almost caramelly overtone. We paired with dessert, which was a rich, Reese’s peanut butter cupcake. It was decadence on top of decadance! The smooth flavor would pair wonderfully with spicy dishes to cut through the heat, or sharp cheeses!”

5. Taralyn Sparkling Moscato

Image result for Taralyn Sparkling MoscatoMy champagne stand in, sparkling wine of choice, I found Taralyn Sparkling Moscato at a case sale last summer, and scored another deal this New Year’s Eve. Thus, should you come to celebrate something at my house, there’s a good chance that this is what’s chilled and ready for you to toast with! Taralyn is a wine mystery as there’s almost no information from the wine maker about tasting notes and/or vintages, but I can personally attest to fruity notes of apricot, almond, and vanilla, and a wonderful burst of bubbles and sparkle. Delightful for toasting on its own, or as a mixer for a spritzer or mimosa, keep this one on hands for celebrations…or just to mix it up on occasion!

If you’ve got a go to, favorite wine to keep in stock, let me know what it is in the comments below!


Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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