Coppola Chardonnay (Rosso & Bianco) 2009

Brought over by a friend. Can find this label at most liquor/grocery stores, $10-15 dollars.
Total Wine & More, $7.99

Aaron: I was pleasantly surprised with this white.  I generally prefer reds and was happy to enjoy the lingering finish.  If asked, I would describe this wine as moderate and mellow.  It was much fuller than expected which improved its rating but overall I can’t say that it stood out beyond anything I’ve ever had. 80 points

Teri: I have always been a fan of the Coppola label. A friend of mind, remembering that I had mentioned this fact years ago, brought this bottle over for dinner. I had not had a white made by the Coppola label and this Chardonnay was quite favorable. It is part of their Rosso & Bianco, specialty wines made for everyday enjoyment. The smell was a mix of butter, vanilla and pear. The taste contained a gentle balance of a slight butter flavor mixed with a taste of crisp citrus and green apple. I could also taste some vanilla and a slight hint of oak. The finish was long and smooth, sometimes quite uncommon for white wines, and I the mix of flavors would accompany almost any occasion. 81 points

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Beringer Chardonnay 2010

Purchased from Costco in a two-pack. Original price estimated between $10-15 dollars.

Aaron: Overall, this is an easy-to-drink white that is perfect for bringing to a party or serving for people who may be new to wine drinking.  It goes down very easy and is crisp and light.  It’s not overly complex and doesn’t have a lot of flavor in my opinion, but that makes it perfect for casual drinking.  I found myself drinking this wine and swallowing immediately rather than letting is settle to savor the flavors; this is partly a function of its simplicity, but is the reason I would recommend it when going to a party. 80 Points

Teri: This Chardonnay is light and crisp and would be perfect on a hot day or paired with spicy foods. It contains flavors of pear, apple, and lemon and leaves the palate feeling refreshed. Not my personal favorite but would be an easy starter for those new to wine. 74 points

Ghost Pines Merlot 2009

Purchased from BevMo, $12-13
Aaron:  I was very fond of this merlot.  When I first started merlots were pretty much all I drank because I found them to be fruitier and easier to palate (without tasting like watered down grape juice).  I had gotten away from them recently but was interested in this one because of its “milk chocolate” claim (yay for marketers talking up their wines).  Regardless, I found the richness and smooth finish very appealing and highly recommend this as a casual wine that most people can agree upon.  90 points

Teri: I have to agree with Aaron’s option of this wine and found it to be rich in both a pleasant nose and taste. Ghost Pines makes its wines slightly different by using grapes from vineyards in different regions (aka AVA’s) and the result is a complex and stimulating wine. The nose was light but carried an enjoyable mix of red fruits and a hint of vanilla. The taste was long and smooth with flavors of dark berries and a hint of mocha. This wine is sure to be a favorite for any occasion and at around 12 dollars a bottle from BevMo you don’t have to splurge. 91 points

Mumm Cuvee M 2009

Purchased from Mumm Napa, around $20
Aaron: This sparkling wine from Napa wasn’t bad.  I like carbonated drinks and so generally am fond of champagnes and sparkling wines.  I found this to be melow and palatable but not the stand out fireworks you might expect from Mumm.  Good enough, but not the highest on my list. 70 points

Teri: This was my favorite out of all the sparkling wines we tried while at Mumm in Napa. The taste is light with hints of melon and apple with a medium to dry finish. It was perfect for our New Year’s celebration this year. It would pair well with light cheeses, crackers, nuts, and seafood for a festive occasion that requires something that bubbles. 87 points