Wine of the Day: Bridlewood Blend 175; Kirkland Chardonnay; Vinology tasting


(Image courtesy of E. and J. Gallo)

(Image courtesy of E. and J. Gallo)

Bridlewood Blend 175 Central Coast 2011, $15

This red beauty is packed with dark, jammy flavors, smooth tannins and sweet notes of oak. It’s a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Petite Sirah. But it’s the Syrah that really leads the way — the dark plum, blackberry, blueberry flavors are tempered by bittersweet chocolate, a note that carries through to the finish. Flavors have an embedded subtle sweetness, but this wine finishes robust and dry. And it’s balanced with wonderful acidity and those creamy tannins. The name “Blend 175” refers to the 175 times the staff tasted different lots of wine to come up with this combination. Syrah is the winery’s premier red varietal.

Bridlewood is a Gallo property in Santa Ynez — a winery with breathtaking grounds and views.  The estate is home to a working horse ranch but no longer trains horses to race.

Bridlewood Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $15

This baby is pure fruit — blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, dark plum and bittersweet chocolate — a wine that delivers without extra help from barrels. It was aged primarily in stainless steel tanks, which for some enthusiasts just might be a good thing. It has nice body at 13.8 percent alcohol and will give you Zombie teeth! It’s braced with Merlot and Petite Sirah to firm up the structure (and probably deepen the color). If you don’t know the winery, take time to watch this video.

Where to buy Bridlewood: This brand is widely distributed around Metro Detroit at stores including many Meijer, Kroger and Hiller’s outlets; Woods Fine Wine, Grosse Pointe Woods; Market Square, Birmingham; Nino Salvaggio, St. Clair Shores;


Kirkland Sonoma County Chardonnay 2011, $6.99

I swear there is some bottle variation of this wine that must be made in quantities to fill an ocean. I’ve written about it before and always thought it was nice but needed better balance. The bottle I picked up this week was spot on. I don’t recall the color being so golden nor the sophistication of the flavors like the one I just uncorked for dinner. It has lovely toasty oak, it’s dry to the core and the fruit is pure Sonoma — green apple, Bartlett pear, pineapple, cling-stone peach and finishes dry and grapefruity. Wow. It’s a $6.99 sensation.

BTW: In the category of house brands coming a long way, I have to fill you in on mustard. I am a loyal buyer of Grey Poupon Dijon mustard; I buy it in the big jar. But I felt compelled to give the Meijer brand a try when it was on sale for a buck. For all you cooks out there in Cyberland: I cannot tell the difference!


This annual event is slated for Monday April 15, at the Rattlesnake in Detroit. Meet Michigan winemakers, enjoy lots of hors d’oeuvres and taste the new vintages. Read previous blog for details and ticket information.


The Ann Arbor wine bar Vinology will present its annual Michigan wine tasting, called Michigan Trails, from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 23. Cost is $40 per person plus tax and gratuity. Vinology is at 110 S Main St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104; 734-222-9841.

Contact Sandra Silfven at Share your best wine finds, great deals.