Travel & Tasting Notes From A Couple of Wine Lovers


Yes I Can

IMG_20180410_170128087.jpgFirst they got rid of the corks. Then they put it in a box. And now, there’s wine in a can. Una Lou is a hipper than thou offering from Scribe Winery, a decade-old winery from the Sonoma Valley.  Easy to tote to the beach, swig on the deck…you know, like beer. I was skeptical, but damn if it wasn’t good. Not a “play” wine…a real, buy-worthy rosé of pinot noir that goes beautifully with antipasto, chips and salsa, or on its own. It wasn’t sweet. It wasn’t cloying. Tart enough to stand up to food, fruity enough to chug on the sand.

We tasted Una Lou (named for the winemaker’s daughter…awww) at Branch Line, a Watertown, MA restaurant admired for its roast chicken and smart wine list. Lisa previously enjoyed a rosé from Sardinia at Branch Line, but now she’s hooked on Una Lou. Watch for it in a styrofoam cooler near you!




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Perfect End Of Summer Sancerre

Flinty. Tart. Sharp. Qualities you wouldn’t look for in a mate but ones that Lisa gravitates towards in a white wine. As summer winds down and oyster season ramps up, we found a $20 Sancerre with a crisp, tart taste to add to your raw bar. Domaine des Hauts de Maimbray 2014 is bright and lively, with grapefruit or lemon undertones. A classic Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, the wine is dry without producing cotton mouth; IMG_20170913_171851563tart without prompting a pucker; and drinkable on its own or with shellfish. Lisa once pledged allegiance to Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ, with the wet granite, limestone notes. Sancerre has moved to the top of the heap, offering the citrus profile of NZ wine without the stone aftertaste.

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Plonk Plonk Fizz Fizz Part 3 – The Fizz

anaAnd now, the Fizz. If you’ve been tasked with bringing the bubbly to a cookout, birthday or pool party and want to keep the price under $15 a bottle, here are three inexpensive options. We recommend two of them and  our clear favorite [and the cheapest] is Anna Codorniu Reserva Blanc de Blancs Brut Cava.

Happy summer everyone!





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Plonk Plonk Fizz Fizz

Summer and wine go together like, well, winter and wine, or spring and wine. Wine is a treat for all seasons. But in the summer, even serious $30+ a bottle wine lovers can warm up to a $10 Catalan Garnaxta or an $8 Portuguese Vinho Verde. it’s warm. It’s sunny. And after 2 glasses, even $8 plonk tastes yummy. What’s plonk? Often derided as “cheap wine” and “crappy wine,” VinoDuo likes to think of plonk as cheap wine that’s worth trying and savoring. To help readers separate the junk from the jewels, we’ve tested 10 wines—and recommend five—that sell for $12 or less and are readily available at your local wine shop.

And for our readers under 50, Plonk Plonk Fizz Fizz is a play on a famous Alka-Seltzer commercial: Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is. We can’t guarantee you’ll like this plonk, but after a long day at work, we do guarantee relief in every glass.

First Up, Plonk [whites]

We tasted three wines and recommend two–Le Jardin d’Etoile Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and Ponte Vinho Verde ‘Branco’ 2016.




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Vida Longa Vinho Verde

The Vinho Verde region of Portugal has been producing wine for 2,000+ years. VinoDuo has been drinking Vinho Verde wine for three years, and we wonder how we ever got through a summer without it. “Verde” translates to green, but in this case it refers to a young wine, released just 3 to 6 months after harvest. Light, fresh, with a slight frizzante to tickle your palate, Vinho Verde is versatile–great sipping on its own and a wonderful companion to lighter meals. Oh, we’ve never paid more than $10 for a bottle. And 188.jpgwe’ve never tasted a bad one…although we continually do research to find a loser!

Our current fave is Ponte Branco Vinho Verde 2015. Made from Loureiro and Trajadura grapes, it’s a light straw-colored gem, crisp and lively, with hints of citrus. Polished off in under an hour with manchego cheese and a willing friend, the Ponte Branco has earned a place in the summer deck wine rotation.

 Sells for $8-12 retail.

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Delightful Italian Rose, the perfect summer deck wine.

I fell for this 100% Sangiovese at first sip. Juicy, brightly acidic, cherry and strawberry aromas and a salmon-y color.  Loved it before dinner, during dinner and with dessert. Our new deck wine!  About $18/bottle.


Brancato Rosato di Toscana 2015 from Montalcino Italy