Gnarly Head Merlot

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Gnarly Head Website

BevMo, $9.49

Total Wine & More, $7.49

Wine Enthusiast Rating


Aaron:  I agree with Teri, Gnarly head is one of my top choices for super-affordable bottles.  This has light blackberries and oak on the nose with some mild peanut butter.  The flavor is juicy (as with most Gnarly Head bottles) featuring vanilla and passion fruit.  Strawberry preserves and a hint of allspice with basil round out on the finish.  91 points

Teri: Garnly head is always a solid choice and this bottle is no different. Flavors of vanilla, blueberry, baking powder, and oak make for an easy drinking but still full-bodied red wine. The tannins are noticeable but very smooth. This is your “night-in” bottle for any day of the week.  Easy to find and well worth the purchase. 90 points 

Cupcake Sparkling Red

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Cupcake Website

Total Wine & More, $8.99

Wine-Searcher Pricing


Aaron: Don’t buy this if you’re looking for complexity, buy it if you’re looking for a party.  This is really sweet, like super sweet strawberry juice laced with sugar.  Personally, I don’t like grapefruit, but if you cut this with about 1 part grapefruit juice and 2 parts cupcake you’ve got a pretty tasty cocktail.  86 points

Teri: Cupcake makes some quality wines that are easy to find and reliable but this one didn’t impress me. This sparkling red comes close to the wine’s name itself, it’s sweet. Not a viscus texture but the sweetness reminds me of what you get with late harvest wines. The predominant flavors are cherry and strawberry with some holiday spice. If you like sweet (or a newer wine drinker) this is the bottle for you. Other than that, I’d use it in mixed cocktails and make sure to balance it out with some tart flavors like lime or grapefruit. 84 points 

Hi! Sparkling Rose

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World Market, $12.99

ABC Spirits, $9.99

Wine Searcher Info


Aaron:  This had a bright, sharp, floral nose and the flavor isn’t too sweet (I feel this is important to clarify since some might expect it to be sugary).  I really liked the bubbles but the flavor was a little too bitter for me.  Lots of strawberry and tart rhubarb with grapefruit.  88 points.

Teri: A dry and crisp rose with light flavors of cranberry and strawberry. Not much smell to the sparkling wine, just some light strawberry. Refreshing overall. If you enjoy roses you will like this one. 89 points 

Rosemount Estate Shraz-Cabernet 2012

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Rosemount Estates Website

Total Wine & More, $5.99 sale (reg. 8.99)


Aaron:  This is ok for a cheap bottle.  The nose is dirty and the flavor is earthy with some blueberries.  A little creamy vanilla yogurt blended with what I consider to be traditional old world flavors. 89 points

Teri: Mellow nose and flavors. Easy drinking wine with predominant flavors of blueberry and oak. Light and smooth but good hearty flavor. 88 points, mostly for value