The Wine House - no risk buy guide!

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The DILEMMA: "Danny, what bottle should we open up next?"

The Costa De Oro Tempranillo? Nope - at $27, that needs to opened on a special occasion...
The Ecluse Cab? Nope! That was $30!
The Castoro Primativo? Do we really want to open a Paso wine? We traveled so far to pick them up...

Once in a while, we get to a point where we can't manage to open up any of our bottles because we had splurged on them, or traveled some distance to get them. On a lazy Saturday, Danny and I ran out of cheap good wine to open and lounge with.

"Wanna go to Ralphs?"
"Wanna go to BevMo?"
"Wanna go to Trader Joe's?"

Here's the problem with going out to buy cheap wines blindly: what are you really basing the purchase on? The price? It doesn't matter if the bottle is cheap. If you don't like it, you just wasted money. What about the descriptions? Of course the stores will make it sound appealing... rhetoric! Points? Everyone has different opinions on wine - it's all relative.

In my experience, blindly picking bottles at stores is the worst way to buy. Sure, you stock up on cheap wines that you don't feel bad about opening at any given moment, but you only find "diamonds in the rough" occasionally. Most of the time, you will spend criticizing the wine, checking off which ones you will NEVER buy again. I don't mind paying up for a bottle that I know will be excellent and meaningful, but I WILL stress out about how I'm forced to finish a bottle which I cannot stand. What a waste of time and money! Plus, if I'm going to continue working out my liver, I'm going to give it the good stuff.

As Danny and I conversed about what to do and where to go to buy good, cheap wine, we remembered that the Wine House has a dispensing tasting room!


This is how it works: You go to the customer service desk in the back of the store and purchase a tasting card and put money on it (between $10-$20). Then you go to the tasting room, insert your card, and choose a wine to taste. Each tasting price varies (from $1-$6, depending on how much the wine costs), and whichever taste you choose, the cost will be deducted from your card. After this trial and error process, we found two bottles that we definitely wanted to purchase...

What we bought AFTER tasting:

2008 MAN Vintners Pinotage South Africa

Retail: $7.99

This red has a LOT of fruit and drinks smoothly - almost with a bacon fat aftertaste... in a good way! Perfect to bring to a party, or to lounge on the couch with. Don't judge it by the twist top. It's a good, solid wine that will deliver!

2008 Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Red Wine Western Cape

Retail: $9.99 

More oaky and peppery than the above MAN Pinotage, but still has fruit present. Would be a great wine to enjoy with a meaty meal! Long, slighty tannic finish.  

Plungerhead Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi

Retail: $11.99 

A delicious, mouthwatering burst of fruit. Smooth and easy to drink! Would pair well with smoked, tangy BBQ or a juicy burger! Great crowd-pleaser for any party. 

More importantly, we tasted cheap wines that we did NOT like, and therefore ended up not purchasing. If we had just bought blindly, we probably WOULD have picked up the bottles, and then be disappointed. We saved money, AND brought home bottles that were a great price and we KNOW will enjoy. My next dilemma.... which of the three bottles to open up first...

The Wine House
2311 Cotner Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90064-1803
(310) 479-3731

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