Every one is always telling us, "In order to figure out what wines you like, it's best to taste a bunch at once." But we never have the guts to open more than two bottles at a time. Well, Dan and I summoned the courage and went for it. We wanted good wine for the money, so these wines are all under $20. Only two were over $15, the rest were cheaper. We bought a bunch of wines from Central Market, Grapevine Market, and Vinosity, and chose them all to go well with steaks. (Full bodies red wines.) Then we opened them, tasted them, and drew some conclusions. Here is what happened...

Here they are. We ended up opening only six bottles. Now, since there were only two of us, and it seemed like a bad idea to drink three bottles of wine each, and since Lorin would be home the next night and we were going to do the same thing with her, we needed a way to keep the wine fresh.

Enter the magic vacuum pump. You put the rubber cork in the bottle, then use that white thing to pump it down, and it removes the air from the inside of the bottle. This way you can make a bottle of wine last a few days.

We had plenty of veggies for salad and dinner.

We had to choose which wines to open. It's really fun to have this many to choose from.

We chose these five. Montoya is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. Avalon is too. The Cousino-Macul is a Cab from Chile. The Donnata is from Sicily, and the Vina Robles is from Paso Robles, CA.

First we needed to open the wines.

Dan did this, and also took these two neat photos. This is a corkscrew that he got us as a gift. (We always have the crappiest corkscrews, like ones stolen from airplane flight attendants 20 years ago or something.)

Ok, everyone is open and breathing. Note the Vina Robles uses a screw top, like an Aussie or Kiwi wine, to reduce cork usage. I like this.

The wine glasses were ready to go.

Dan poured some and then corked the bottles to keep them fresh. While the wines opened up we worked on dinner...

We had an arugula and fennel salad. Brussels sprouts...

Dan was choppin' broccoli.

Steaks were prepped.

Poof! Dinner is cooked. I added some shaved parmesan to the salad. (It's disgusting with the hairs on it!)

The wines got lines up on the table so they were in easy reach.


We ate and decided what wines we liked. Then...

We set it all up again the next night to try them all with a big pasta dish. (sorry, you're going to have to wait for the verdict a little longer.)

Dan did the cooking this time.

Here's the (home made) sauce going in over the penne.

Dan as mix master.

Another night, another tasty dinner.

Dan ponders a wine.

Kirby really likes pasta and joined us at the table. He pulled the old, "If I sit here in a chair and act human, maybe they will serve me."

He got some and licked the plate clean.

Who's a happy cat?

Kirby, that's who.


So which wines did we like best?

This one came in first with both of us (Lorin agreed the next night when she did the same tasting...)

This one came in second for me. Dan was not so sure, and sort of liked the italian one a bit too.

This one. It was ok, but to me the Avalon stood heads above the others. I think we all agreed that if you're going to buy more wine, but the Avalon. So I went back the next day and bought what was left at the store.

The rest of the wines went on the "don't buy again" list. All of them were pretty good, but by doing this we found the best of the bunch and now have a champion to play against other wines. (We'll do that again soon.)

Thanks for looking!