Sunday, March 10, 2013

Battle of the B's

Let's be clear about one thing- I love wine. I know that's no surprise considering wine is in the title of my blog. Red wine is one of my favorite things, and my husband, Derek, and I love to try new ones. Now I will never claim to be an expert. My taste buds aren't sophisticated enough to tell you the different flavors of different wines, but I can tell you if it was good, bad, fruity, bitter, dry, smooth, and worth the money. Even more than loving wine, I love CHEAP wine. I'm all about finding the best bang for my buck when it comes to the goodness of fermented grapes.

The Kroger down the street started selling a wine brand called Bay Bridge. It was priced at $3.29 a bottle. There's no way it could be good, right? I didn't know, but I had to find out. I did a quick internet search and from what I can find, Bay Bridge is produced from the Concannon Vineyard in San Francisco, California. Guess the name Bay Bridge makes sense, right? We chose to pick up the Merlot. Bay Bridge Merlot has a 13% alcohol content. There was no year information on the bottle.

To compare, we chose to use Beringer Founder's Estate Merlot. This was from 2010. I've had Beringer before, but it had been awhile. I've enjoyed all of their wines, from Cabernet to White Zinfandel. This particular wine is from the Beringer Vineyard in Napa Valley. It was $10.99 at our local Kroger. This Merlot has an alcohol content of 13.5%.

First, I poured a small sample into separate wine glasses to compare color. My husband was out of the room, so he had no idea which was which. I wanted to see which he would choose without knowing the prices.

As you can see, the Beringer has a deeper color than the Bay Bridge. Upon first glance, the Bay Bridge reminded me more of a Sweet Red than a Merlot. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Merlot so light.

Next, we compared smell. The Beringer Merlot had a beautiful aroma that immediately made my mouth water, wanting to take a sip. The Bay Bridge Merlot's scent was very, very subtle, to the point of almost non-existent.

Now we get to the good part. The tasting!! My husband sipped the Bay Bridge first, then cleansed his palate with a cracker and water. He then tasted the Beringer. For some reason, one taste wasn't enough, so he had to go back for seconds. Hmmm...

Then, I tried both wines using the same cleansing technique that Derek did. (Sidenote: Using crackers is a great way for testing any foods or wines. The blandness of the cracker does a "reset" for your tastebuds, neutralizing any remaining flavors.)

Both wines were very good. The Beringer had a full-body with a hint of bitterness as it hit the back of my tongue and headed down my esophagus. The Bay Bridge was had a very smooth body with a pleasant aftertaste. There was a light-medium bite that I enjoyed very much.

And the winner is..............


My husband and I both chose Bay Bridge as our winner. The hint of bitterness in the Berginer is what edged Bay Bridge to the front, and know that it was only a fraction of the cost didn't hurt either. Don't get me wrong- I'd happily buy Beringer again, and may do so when entertaining, but for everyday purposes, you really can't beat a fantastic tasting wine at $3.29 a bottle!

Check back next weekend to see what I decide to match up. I'm also open to suggestions!!

Also, Derek and I are dabbling with winemaking at home. Each kit makes 30 bottles. 30!! We've done a Cabernet, a Chilean Malbec, and a Chianti. Today we started a Coastal Red. Keep your eyes out for that posting later this week. Can't wait to document and maybe share the final product!! :D

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