Cocobon Red Wine 2010

Trader Joes: $6.99

Aaron:  Wow … I was so impressed with this blend from start to finish!  A lot of people may criticize blends – and honestly I’m not normally a fan – but this was fantastic.  The nose was sharp but sublte with only the faintest hint of berries.  As I’ve come to find, my nose generally has nothing to do with my palate and it was never more true than at the first sip of this Cocobon.  The soft, mild tannins were completely overpowered by the luscious flavors of vanilla and chocolate.  This powerful combination then melted into a blueberry finish with just a hint of bite to help the flavor linger on in the mouth.  If I had to put one word to this blend: drinkable.   94 points

Teri: This is an amazing buy from Trader Joes. This red wine carries a complexity to please most wine drinkers with a price that will fit almost any budget. The smell carries dark raspberries with vanilla and the flavor is even better. At first you taste a rich full flavor of red fruits then it moves to rich vanilla and smooth coco flavors with a smooth finish. Share it with friends of enjoy it yourself. This bottle should please a majority of wine drinkers.  92 points

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Grgich Hills Zinfandel 2007

Can find this bottle at most expansive wine retailers, priced around $30.

Aaron:  I admit tht I’m biased because I love Napa Zins, so this full bodied, fruit forward wine is right up my alley.  I should note, when we were in Napa, we tried a Zin at the Grgich Hills tasting room and were not impressed.  It must have been a different vintage because this bottle was awesome!  I sensed full, jammy notes of dark fruit on the nose which bled into the bold flavor.  Comprised of red and black berries, notably strawberry, this wine is very palatable.  The hint of cocoa on the taste buds is a nice predecessor to the brief tang on the aftertaste.  Overall, the finish is smooth with a slight burning sensation.  This is a perfect complement for the wine and in no way detracts from the flavor. 94 points

Teri: This is a very nice bottle if you don’t mind splurging a little on the price. It has a nice smell of jammy red raspberries and a fill fruit forward taste containing more dark berries and hints of coco. The wine is full bodied with strong tannins and add is great to enjoy by itself or with a meal. Give as a gift or bring to a dinner party to impress anyone who is a Napa Valley wine lover. 90 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

Rombauer Zinfandel 2009

Purchased from Rombauer, Napa for $35 (you can find this in wine stores from 27-40 dollars a bottle)
 
Aaron:  This is my absolute favorite wine (of all those I’ve tasted).  The strong, fruity flavor overwhelms the mouth and stands up to most meat-heavy dishes (my personal preference), however the finish is smooth and lasting.  The lack of harshness is what really does it for me; while other strong varietals like syrahs etc, have a hint of burn on the aftertaste.  Personally, if I want a burn I’ll drink a single malt scotch, so this wine is perfect for me!  The dark fruit flavors are very pleasant and there is a strong jammy flavor throughout the palate.  Honestly, I don’t particularly care for overly sweet wines, however the thickness of the flavor is really special.  97 points    
Teri: If you normally don’t like Zinfandel’s don’t skip this one over. It contains a mild nose but the flavor is full of dark berries and floral nodes. It also contains a hint of sweetness and a slight strawberry jab flavor that stays on your tongue, like a very mild port but without the harsh kick or brandy flavor. The flavor stays on your palate standing up to any meal you want to pair it with. It goes especially well with red meats and hearty meals. This bottle, priced a little on the higher side, might not be one you have a budget to purchase every day but if you are looking for a nice bottle for a special occasion this one is a great choice. 93 points