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Mini-reviews 67: Black Friday wine edition

Because what’s better than four cheap wine reviews — none more than $10 — for Black Friday? Plus, you don’t have to get up at 3 a.m. or wait in line to Read More »

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Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Because anyone who doesn’t realize that each of us has a little of the round-headed kid deep inside us misses the point of Thanksgiving and how lucky we are (video courtesy of Read More »

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Wine of the week: Astoria Prosecco NV

The Wine Curmudgeon, slowly but surely, is understanding Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine. First, because I’m making an effort to appreciate it, and not to dismiss Prosecco because it doesn’t taste the Read More »

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Winebits 361: Thanksgiving 2014 edition

Thanksgiving wine suggestions from around the Internet:  • Keeping it simple: From Real Simple, part of the Martha Stewart magazine empire, “affordable” wines for Thanksgiving. And who says we’re not making progress Read More »

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Expensive wine 69: Chateau Montelena

This is the second time this year that the Wine Curmudgeon has been able to talk to one of the participants from the historic 1976 Judgement of Paris. I wonder: Do the Read More »

Wednesday Birthday Week giveaway: $50 Wine.com gift card

VinGarde Valise

111914And the winner is: asb, who selected 840; the winning number was 870 (screenshot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated, Tomorrow’s giveaway is The VinGarde Valise, the ultimate wine bottle suitcase, plus discounts for those who want to buy one.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s seventh anniversary, we’re giving away a $50 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their continuing contribution to the cause — the third year in a row they’ve donated the card. This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift card.

Wine of the week: Castillo Perelada Brut Reserva NV

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Castillo Perelada Brut ReservaNothing illustrates the revolution in cheap wine better than cava, the Spanish sparkling wine. When I started writing about cheap wine in the early 1990s, cava was almost unknown in the U.S., and the only cava for sale, even at many specialty retailers, was the Freixent black bottle.

Today, though, cava is everywhere, and it’s not unusual to see a half dozen labels at a grocery store. And why not? As the Perelada ($9, purchased, 11.5%) demonstrates, cava may be the best wine value in Spain, and Spain may offer the best wine value in the world. That’s a combination that’s difficult to pass up, especially during the blog’s birthday week.

The Perelada fits between Cristalino and Segura Viudas in style — not as simple as the former, but with its crispness, and more balanced than the latter, but with quality apple and lemon fruit. The bubbles, small and tight, are rarely found in sparking wine that is this inexpensive. And, though simple, it’s not stupid and isn’t as showy as the otherwise delicious Dibon.

Highly recommended, and maybe the best $10 cava I’ve tasted yet — impossibly well done for the price. Will join the Cristalino, Segura, and Dibon in the $10 Hall of Fame in January. Buy this for Thanksgiving, but make sure you buy enough, because everyone will want a taste.

Winebits 360: Birthday week edition

Birthday candles

Birthday weekA few notes after the past year of blog posts about cheap wine, wine education, and the wine business:

 • Operating system wars: Microsoft controls about 90 percent of the world’s computer operating system market with its various Windows products, but not on the blog. Just 52 percent of visitors over the past year used a Windows operating system to get here, and almost one-third of those had Windows XP installed — which died in April. Still, Windows was the most popular operating system, with Apple’s mobile iOS and desktop Macintosh tied for second at 16 percent. My beloved Linux was at 1.3 percent, good for seventh (and I think I know the other person who uses Linux to get here).

Picking a browser: Another surprise, given that the world’s most used browser is one of Microsoft’s Internet Explorers (warts and all) at about 55 percent of the world market. On the blog, though, Apple’s Safari (warts and all), is the top browser with 29 percent, with Explorer at 24 percent. Chrome and Firefox, the geek browsers of choice, were tied at around 19 percent.

Expensive wine: The best-read expensive wine post over the last year was for a Virginia wine, the Barboursville Octagon, which ran in August 2013. It was No. 115. In one respect, this isn’t surprising, since the blog isn’t about expensive wine. But that it did better than host of cheap wine posts, including the recent discussion about Spanish wine value, speaks to how popular Barboursville is in the world of regional wine.

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