Wine With Milk Wine With Milk

BULL’S BLOOD. Egri Bikaver. Eger, Hungary. $9.99.


How badass is that name? Even more badass because that’s not just some creative wine company name, Bull’s Blood is what all Hungarians call their most famous red wine. What wine producing culture/nation/area wouldn’t want that?

Apparently history has it that the Turks were being dickish little neighbors again and planned a seige on the Eger castle in North Hungary. To get themselves all juiced up for what appeared to be an ass kicking, they mixed this stuff with bull’s blood, drank a lot of it and ended up pulling a huge upset. Now any red wine officially coming from Eger is called Bull’s Blood and to make sure its from there look for the “Conrtolled Appellation of Origin” on the label.

To also officially call it Bull’s Blood is gotta contain at least three of these grapes….Kardarka, Kekfrancos, Blauer Portugieser, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot, Menoire, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Turan, Biborkadarka, Blauburger and Zwiegelt. In the wine world thats pretty weird, but basically when the Commies were running things in the 70’s and 80’s they wanted to keep it simple and uninteresting with the Bordeaux grapes (Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot) and not the traditional Kadarka and Kekfrancos. Now that those a-holes are outta town, they’ve gone back to using more of a percentage of their old school grapes and quality is back.

After all is said and done you get a wine that can be a lot of different things. But seeing as nobody buys Hungarian cheap wine here in the States, they generally don’t embarrass themselves with their awesome, hardcore red wine and the majority of stuff is quite unique and good. This one was full and gritty with tannin (how could it not be) and loaded with a dark, robust black cherry feel. It was a big wine that after finishing made me wanna go act like Brave Heart or something so just pre-warn your gf/wife about the later TV decisions and possible strange attire.

Goes with: goulash, paprika, bull and other Hungarian delights.

SCORE: 7.21




RAZOR’S EDGE. Shiraz. 2013. McLaren Vale, Australia. $11.99.


Razor’s Edge. Exactly what I needed in the first three hours of this tourney when I found out my bracket was already busted. The edge of a razor. Jesus is this stressful. I guess there’s nothing like a good red to take the edge off…pun actually intended.

McClaren Vale is coastal red wine country Down Under where some quality Shiraz (Aussie speak for Syrah) is grown. They’re generally insanely fruit forward, in your face with ripe tannin and very full body. This wine doesn’t steer far from that path.

Black cherry and coca cola is all over this thing, both on the nose and in the mouth. It had all the makings for a big bodied wine because its loaded with alcohol and has tons of fruit, but what really surprised was the finish. Surprising only because a good finish is exactly what lacked today in the Iowa State and Baylor teams I had going deep. YOU GOTTA DUNK THAT SHIT.10598547_777347465622081_991489144_a

Goes with: take out Mexican, college basketball, stress

SCORE: 8.45


VINO DE EYZAGUIRRE. Merlot. 2011. Colchagua Valley, Chile. $9.99.

IMG_0319I’ve been Wine with Milkin’ for about a month now and there has officially been two brand replicates. The Black Box and this one, Vino de Eyzaguirre: the hobo wine in a sack (see: Valle de Eyzaguirre Cabernet Sauvignon). Although a clear indication that I’m a sucker for novelty shit, it also should be noted that I like them each enough to buy twice, albeit in a different varietal.

As I said in the previous post, Colchagua Valley wines from Chile are a bomb source for Bordeaux grapes (Cab, Merlot, Malbec, Carmenere). If wine is the blood of Christ, the Big J has probably reincarnated himself more than once as a vine in this area because it is grape growing heaven. It just has all the right environmental factors….kinda like Napa to us Gringos up north, but with a much better price. Figures right?

Although not as striking in complexity as its Cab partner (poor Merlot), this was a much more food friendly wine. It had softer tannins, a better texture and a medium-ish acidity and body. It seemed much smoother than the Cab and that may be an indication that it has gotten its age on quite nicely.  Put anything on the table for dinner tonight and this wine will make it better. When finished, you can even throw the leftovers in the reusable burlap sack and impress and/or gross out your friends at the office the next day.

Good with: pizza, pork chops, leftovers.

 SCORE: 7.94


BLACK BOX. Pinot Noir. 2013. California. $24.99.


Ah, St. Patty’s. A day of dumb t-shirts, over crowded bars and watered down Guinness. Its also a day where its excusable to get absolutely sloshed and day drink your liver dry, so its not a day I can completely complain with.

I suggest kickin the festivities off with the Black Box Pinot Noir, an extremely easy drinking wine that’s light, smooth and can be swallowed in rapid mass quantities to get you to that drunken Mick state you’ve been dreaming of since it turned March.

The geniusness of this stuff lies in its quality and quantity. Everybody should have one type of Black Box constantly on tap or stashed away for days like this. Its also extremely portable….very sneakable into any of the packed establishments today. While out, I’d have no problem taking the Pepsi challenge with that 6th green beer you’ve already had from those overly used bar taps. It’d also actually pair quite well with that corned beef and cabbage you’re probably going for tonight. Pinot Noir is perfect for lighter red meat and its fresh acidity will go nicely with that cabbage.

I may be an asshole for pushing wine on St. Patty’s Day, but lets face it, today is pretty much about getting shitty and in your quest for the toilet later you may as well mix things up and wash that Jamo down with a fruity light red wine.

Goes with: corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Jameson, Guinness.

 SCORE: 7.05


LcVILLA. 2012. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy. $10.99.


Over Chianti and still want a well priced Italian red? Give the Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo a whirl. Hell it seemed when I was perusing the selection of wine at my local bodega there were almost more of these than Chiantis. That means one thing: its trending.

Not to be confused with the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano which will probably cost you your first born child, the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo represents the East Side of Italy on the Adriatic Sea. It’s been known for a lot of craptastic stuff because of the high yields, but quality is starting to work its way in and there’s some good deals out there now. Note its a DOC (Denominazione di origine Controlla) so the Italian government is basically giving it its stamp of approval.

This wine had a nice play between that drying tannin and mouth watering acidity. That keeps things real when you’re tasting red wine. Too much tannin and your mouth is a cotton ball. Too much acidity and your puckerin’ up. Having a significant amount of both and you got yourself a good time. Add a serious finish to a wine that already has exceeded expectations and you have a winner, even though it was tough finding a specific fruit flavor. I know it was fruity and quite light bodied so I dunno, strawberry? Cherry? Whatever. Sometimes simple wines are hard to figure out the flavor profile because they’re just that, simple. Buy it and try it with a high protein, fatty and/or acidic meal. Maybe some good flavors will come up for you then. I didn’t eat this with food, I was just trying to catch a buzz before bed.

Good with: veal parmigiana, pasta with red sauce, a slab of beef.

SCORE: 6.28


GNARLY HEAD. 2012. Cabernet Sauvignon. California. $8.99.

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Thats Gnarly Head the wine. And thats Gnarly Head the person. He’s my brother and he’s exactly as much fun as he looks to hang out with. He drinks this because 1.) it contains the words “head” and “gnarly” 2.) because its cheap and 3.) it ain’t bad. He came over the other day for family reunion time and brought this. I asked him what he thought it tasted like and he said “a fun time.”

When together, the two of us don’t really give the wine, or whatever we’re drinking, a time to express itself with flavors. It goes from drinking apparatus to mouth to stomach quite rapidly. I like this wine because it understood that. It was smooth and low enough in acidity to chug while being big, alcoholic and concentrated enough to say “easy does it you two.” It had plenty of dark plummy fruit, but because it lacked a lot of acidity it was quite jam-like and easy to consume. The perfect precursor to party with my long time partner in crime.

Good with: the veggies and dip Acme plastic platter thing your mom puts out for family get-togethers.

SCORE: 6.79









GROONER. 2013. Gruner Veltliner. Niederosterreich, Austria. $10.99


Who wouldn’t want a wine that goes great with parties, food and picnics? This is Austria pulling out all the marketing stops to get inside our little American heads. The fun label. The pronunciation thing. On the back it says “Eat everything, drink GROONER.” It’s hilarious.

They absolutely have to do this though because this is their premium stuff and in the past they hardly sent any of it off for us foreigners to booze on because zee stupid Germans dominated the market with their similar Rieslings. Well f off for a second Germany and stop trying to take over things again because this wine can be amazing and affordable and deserves some serious attention.

This particular bottle hails from the Niederosterreich which is basically the California of Austria. The river Danube runs right through this area and if Gruner is Austria’s baby, then the Danube is Austria’s baby’s momma. The best stuff is grown here because the river moderates temps and brings in the breezes to cool the grapes and preserve the acidity, the steep banks run the water off and exposes good sunlight for good ripening, and the soil is all minerally and money.

Which brings us to this bottle. Its not much unlike drinking the alcohol version of a sour patch kid, the green kind. The acidity is intense. Its ridiculously crisp and refreshing and the finish just lingers around because of the insane tartness. Your mouth is putting on the water works but that soury goodness just keeps working it. Pretty awesome stuff. Definitely good with a picnic and a party, but having it with any kind of food is a stretch. Pair it off with a food acidic and fatty enough to handle it. Or just go buy a bag of Warheads. Remember those?

Goes with: Tomato bruschetta during a picnic, sour patch kids during a party.

SCORE: 9.34


Sierra Batuco. 2012. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere. Valle del Maule, Chile. $13.99

IMG_0329Welp, this was a let down. It’s like when the NFL Network says your favorite team has made a big trade and after a commercial break that lasts an eternity you find they trade for Sam Bradford. This wine is Sam Bradford, flawed and overrated.

The labels tells me nothing but good things are on the way….a blend with a majority of Syrah, cool climate Syrah (which is tough to find at a good price), Chile and Estate Bottled, meaning that it probably went from farm to bottle without a middle man. But just as Sam Bradford was toted as a premium QB out of college, he really end up doing nothing for the Rams and was hurt all the time. Truth is this bottle is pretty much hurt as well.

To me it had something reminiscent of what they call “cork taint” in the wine world. Basically this annoying chemical compound called TCA can find its nasty little way into corks or barrels in the winery. If it does, it completely f’s up the resultant wine. If its in the cork, it’ll screw up one bottle, if its in a barrel, it could screw up a bunch of bottles. Watch out, because this bottle is a screw cap. I’ve heard it said that it happens in some degree to 2% of all wines, which makes sense because I’ve probably had 50 bottles of wine in the last two months and this is the first one that got it.

It wasn’t completely bad….there was a presence of some tangy red fruit on the nose, but there was more of this odd, offputting oven cleaner smell. It had a decent silky structure to it with plenty of promising fruit, but ultimately something wasn’t right because of that damn smell. It was defected and unfulfilling. Like the new QB for the Eagles.

Good with: A day cleaning the oven, a day finding out that your football team may never actually win a Superbowl.

 SCORE: 3.78 


THE CRUSHER. 2011. Petite Syrah. Clarksburg, CA. $14.99.

IMG_0667I just couldn’t resist a classy looking bottle called the Crusher, even though at the time I had no freaking clue where Clarksburg was. It sounded like that crappy town in Ohio, so I guess you could say I took a chance with this one. Turns out its a suburb of Sac-town, CA and being as it’s not “high class” CA, like Napa or Sonoma, it was easy on the wallet.

Petite Sirah has a screwed up history. It’s basically an illegitimate child of Syrah because way back when some French dude arranged for the sexy, famous Syrah grape to hook up with the pedestrian Peloursin grape in hopes to make an easier to grow, but still tasty, new grape. They called it Durif, but when it escaped its troubled upbringing for California it renamed itself the Hollywood stripper name of Petite Sirah. Due to its severe daddy issues, it started to whore itself out by getting in bed with other grapes to add structure and acidity to some weaker wines.  It has thick, tough skins (which I guess you could say it developed from its disturbed past) and as such is big and tannic because of the high skin to juice ratio.

Turns out, its banging (no pun intended), all by itself. Jokes aside, buy this and I can guarantee you smell at least one of these flavors: cinnamon, oak, maple syrup, blueberry, tobacco, coconut. It’s heavy and tannic with a lot of the exciting aforementioned flavors when you go in for a taste. Maybe it lacked a finish and maybe there wasn’t a whole lot of fruitiness and finesse, but who cares, she was a great time….for a good price.

Good with: blueberry pancakes and cigarettes….in a motel bed.

SCORE: 9.21


CAVALO PRETO. 2013. Torrontes. Valle de Uco, Argentina. $10.99.


The mighty Torrontes from Argentina….one of the grapes that got me into wine. You know why? Because its full of flavor, refreshing, and has some of the craziest shit on the nose you’ll find anywhere. Some people love it, some people hate it. Me, I’m of the former.

When you think white wine, you probably think Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio. So what the hell is a Torrontes? Answer: Argentina’s rock star white.

I love this shit so much you can just imagine me all juiced up opening it and putting my big schnoz in the glass. And what did this one smell like? A fucking can of corn….which was awesome. I live in South Jersey and sweet corn is a delicacy and this was an exact resemblance. A lot of people, including myself, usually get this bomb flowery, rose-like smell to these wines, but not this time. This time it was all sweet corn. After digging in for a sip, the taste turned to apricot, so I really couldn’t tell you what the hell was going on. But it was good and because of the record speed at which I drank it, I naturally got fairly hammered, fairly fast and suddenly it was 4 am and my friends and I were watching this guy on YouTube til dawn: What a night.

Goes with: fresh or canned corn, fresh or canned apricot, Henry’s Kitchen.

SCORE: 9.68

About Me

My name is Rick. Some of my friends call me Milk. I'm an average dude who knows some things, not all, about wine. Every other night I'm gonna put down one bottle of wine, $15 or less, and tell you if I think its awesome or not and why. Hopefully it'll help guide you through the infinite assemblage of wine at your local wine store. Cheap wine is good, damn good. Trust me.