J & J Cellars Zinfandel 2008

Purchased from the J&J Cellars tasting room in Paso Robles, around $15 dollars.

Teri: J&J Cellars was a beautiful winery to drive out to in Paso Robles. The tasting room is in the middle of the vines with nothing but beautiful views of grapevines on either side. We enjoyed our time at this winery with the friendly company of the staff and the family dog lounging around outside. The Zinfandel was one of our favorites out of all we tasted while we were there. To the nose it contained hints of spice, raspberry, and dark fruits. The flavor was full bodied and left you with the taste of sweet red ripe fruits and some chocolate. 75 points

Aaron: I loved the complexity of this wine.  The fruit came through effectively, followed by a hint of chocolate.  For me, it’s all about the finish and I definitely liked this one.  It was very gentle for a Zin and at $15 a bottle, it’s hard to beat.  80 points

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Cupcake Chardonnay

Purchased from Total Wine & More, $7.47 (you can also find for similar prices at Costco, Target, and many other grocery/liquor stores)

Aaron: I thoroughly enjoyed this white.  This was the third of three chardonnays we tried in a single night and it definitely stood out as the most impressive to me.  There was a buttery smooth consistency as the wine melted into my mouth and I felt that it was surprisingly full-bodied.  I did not get as many fruit flavors as I expected but the warmth of gentle butterscotch was perfect for an after-dinner glass.  I was also surprised to sense a hint of a bite on the finish; not to say it was harsh, but I was pleasantly reminded that I was still drinking alcohol.  85 points

Teri: If you are looking for a white wine that will win over novice and semi-experienced wine drinkers for any group occasion, this one is it. Despite its feminine looking and sounding label the wine inside can be an easy favorite of both men and women alike. It it definitely leans more towards the “buttery” side of a Chardonnay with strong warm flavors of butterscotch and vanilla and finishes with a lingering crisp finish and a slight taste of citrus. The aroma is also very pleasant. I could smell a lot of the vanilla and butterscotch even before the taste. This is sure to be a crowd favorite before, during, or after dinner. Pair it with rich flavors to complement its “buttery” nature or enjoy it on its own. 89 points