Oscar Party Pals


This was a spontaneous one.   I was invited to a small gathering of friends for the Academy Awards this past Sunday.  Writing about a wine was not on my radar.  I thought I would relax, enjoy some snacks, and some good company.    Well all of the that good stuff did take place.

I wish I could say the same about the wine.  For this special occasion, I didn’t have to look too hard to find an appropriate wine.

With that being said, it was only fitting that I acquired the 2014 Rosso from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

The video is succinct and a welcome touch.  Yet, the wine itself felt flat.  I love red blends and the melanges take the wines-tasting experience to different heights.  It’s raised our awareness of how wine can and should taste.  They’ve been cultivated for years, but only recently have they blown up, and become one of the more sought after wines in shops.

They’re welcoming, approachable, and usually friendly.  That’s what we want in our bottles.  They’re not all cheap either.  Yet this one needed to be versus what I paid for.   At one retailer it listed for $12.  I don’t see it.  This was one that felt overpriced and not justifying what I paid for.

When looking online, you can see it listed for nearly half in some places.  That’s what makes this even more disheartening.   I felt like I got gypped to an extent.


I wanted to like this.  I want to like every wine I buy.    But I didn’t care for this at all. Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel are all great blends.  I was hoping to get the best of all worlds.  The latter is not my favorite but I’ve had a few good Zinfandels recently.   That’s not the culprit.

Cherry, Strawberry Jam, Plum, and Mocha are the flavors but I didn’t get much of anything.   The jammy element might have been there.  I’m reaching.

If I had paid $7-$8 for this I might not be as difficult.  However, I’m having a hard time finding any redeeming qualities.    This is not the worst wine I’ve ever had but it’s below mediocre.

When I come across another Coppola wine, I will definitely give it a go.  This is what makes this journey so exciting.  We’ve got so many wines to taste and an abundance of options to choose from.   When you frame it like that, the great ones will outweigh the bad.

While perusing the website, I saw so many wonderful and pleasurable getaway opportunities.   I hopefully will get the opportunity to visit the west coast soon.  And if I do, I would love to make a stop here.  Wineries are fun and their site is drawing me in.

In the meantime, I enjoyed watching the awards this past Sunday.   The hosts prepared some wonderful treats.  Popcorn was a must.  Hopefully better wines will be a part of future celebrations.

Do you see my ballot? It’s easy to spot.

The weather is improving, which means more exciting opportunities to come.

For our local winos, I found this bottle at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors in Baltimore. For the rest of the world, I’ve seen Coppola wines in many stores.  If you’re unable to find them near you, their online shop has got you covered.



Only The Horses

I have been waiting for over a month to write about this wine.  And the time has arrived.  The time is now. I shouldn’t be so melodramatic.  But I’m having fun here.

Over the course of this blog I’ve really tried to hit home my love for blends.  The triumvirate of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah for both wines I’m going to review are pieced together so well.

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. And on one fateful day in the end of March, I found one of the most beautiful bottles I have ever seen.   I’m sometimes dazzled by the things I attract into my life.


The 2012 Kentucky Derby Red Blend from 14 Hands is brilliant.  After I saw the label and built such anticipation for it, I wanted to like this wine badly.  And thank goodness I do.   There is so much good about it, aside from the pretty horses. And they sure are pretty.


There’s a lot to love about this.  When I opened the bottled and poured my first glass, I detected some chocolate aromas from the nose.  It smelled like a full-bodied wine and the oak was permeating.  I was really looking forward to drinking it. But I let it breathe for a few minutes.

It tasted more like a medium, which was just fine by me.  It was a pleasant surprise. I could taste a little chocolate or cocoa, as the synopsis described.    There is mention of loganberries.  I have no idea what those are.  I attached a link for your edification and mine.  I like a winemaker that gets creative with the flavor hints and aromas.

But I still have no idea what loganberries are!  That’s me being humorous.  But really… I didn’t detect any plums or white pepper.  But once again, it’s all perspective and interpretation.  I’m always sensing berries and cherries in most of the reds I drink.  So that’s always been a starting point for me.  This is a fantastic wine.  I agree that it goes with more easygoing foods like pizza and burgers.


An hour before, I had a glass of the 2012 Hot To Trot Red Blend.  This is a bottle I have had several times before, and is a seminal favorite of mine.   This is the first bottle of theirs I purchased,  and I’ve been a fan ever since.  For that alone, this will always be my favorite of theirs.   And because there’s hints of cinnamon and spices, it really complements this blend very well.  This is a well put together wine.  It’s not that it’s any better than the Kentucky Derby Blend.  It just has another aura of sentimentality, that the Derby one will also give me, if it hasn’t already.


I enjoyed both with some grapes and walnuts.  But as the fact sheet suggests, pork, mushrooms, or other heartier dishes can work as well.  I’d say it’s a little more than a party bottle as opposed to the Derby.  So I understand their foodie recommendations.

I’ll tell you something.  These PDF’s I have linked in this post, are so user friendly and approachable.  I’ve learned so much just by reading these details.  This is so well done.


One final note on the Kentucky Derby Blend.  You may have noticed that they are Out Of Stock though their website.  I bought this back in late March at Cranbrook Liquors of Cockeysville, MD, at their Dollar Days.  They had cases of them at the time.   I’d seen them in many shops all over the Baltimore area as of a week ago.  So you may be able to find them at your local wine store, wherever you may live.

I definitely recommend both bottles for this Saturday’s celebrations.  They may both be Red Blends, there are noticeable differences and are definitely pleasing to many palates.   The Hot To Trot can be drank all year round.   And just because the race ends Saturday, I see no reason why the Derby wine would be rendered obsolete.  It’s a great bottle as well.

I’ve had several more of their Varietals as well.   I look forward to writing about those in a future message.

Enjoy the week, enjoy the weekend, and of course, enjoy the Derby.

Take good care.