It’s Wine Time!

It’s no secret that I love wine. My blog is titled Corks and Kale for that reason and our entire wedding was based around a wine theme.


Back in college, I never drank wine and I stuck to beer and whatever cheap liquor I could afford. After college, I started to expand my alcohol pallet and explore different types of wine. I started off with Barefoot and all the other $4-5 options. I also drank a lot of sangria because it was a great way to ease into wine drinking. I’m not sure when I started drinking wine more often, but I eventually figured out what tastes and types I liked the most.

I tend to stick with red wines–mostly cabernets, malbecs, shiraz, and zinfindels. The bigger and bolder it is, the better. I like a wine that has a little spice, and that leaves a nice aftertaste.

On a warmer day or when I feel like something more refreshing, I like pinot grigios and gewurtztraminers the most.

I don’t consider myself a wine pro–but I’ve had lots of practice and I love learning about and trying new wine. Here are four wines (all under $20) that we usually have in our house:

1. Troublemaker


I discovered Troublemaker when I tried a red wine flight at our local wine bar. I not only loved the name, but loved the flavor. It’s usually priced between $17-20.

Here’s the company’s description: Inspired by varieties that flourish in Paso Robles and California’s Central Coast, Troublemaker is a truly distinct Paso blend consisting of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre,and Zinfandel. By using a multi-vintage approach, winemaker Austin Hope allows the wine to show uncanny complexity in its youth, yet rich and fruit-forward characteristics that make it ready upon release. With rich aromatics that display hints of smoke and violets, bright fruit on the palate and a long finish, Troublemaker shows amazing depth and structure.

2. 19 Crimes


I think Ryan randomly bought this at the store–but it was love at first sip. This is really big and has a little vanilla and chocolate smell/flavor to it. $11

Company description: Full of flavor, luscious and rich fruit is balanced by layers of vanilla oak. Finishing round and soft with an appeal that consumers find very hard to resist and keep you coming back

3. J Lohr Cabernet


There are lots of different types of J Lohr cabs–ranging from $15-200. To be quite honest, I can’t always tell the difference between the $20 bottle and the $100 bottle. This is a good go-to wine for us when we are out because it’s a pretty popular brand and can be found in most nice restaurants and bars.

Company description of J Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet: The 2012 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is red-purple in color with a bright hue at release. Fruit aromas are black cherry, plum and blueberry accented with a barrel bouquet of toasted pastry, dark caramel and vanilla. Sturdy tannins strike the palate and finish with the high-toned fruit signature typical of the Paso Robles appellation

4. J W Morris Gewurztraminer


Cheap wine find! This wine is only $4 at Trader Joes. And…it’s good! It’s not as sweet at a Riesling, but it provides a nice crisp sweetness that is perfect on a warm day. I can’t find a company website for this one–just know it’s good and cheap.

Those are my top four wine choices–but let’s be honest, all types of wines are welcome in my home. I’ve rarely ever turned down a glass. What are your favorites?

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