Two Great Trader Joe’s Sparkling Wines

TJ’s Wines Under $10 Each

I just grabbed two great sparkling rosés at Trader Joe’s and had to share them!

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Opaline Pinot Noir Brut Rosé ($7.99):

This bottle is such a show stopper I had to grab it. Look how pretty and bright and glam it is! And, at under 8 bucks, you really can’t go wrong.  It is refreshing and light, with hints of strawberry, raspberry and citrus. Great summer sipping wine. I’m actually quite excited about picking up more of these babies. 

La Burgondie Cremant du Burgogne Rosé ($10.99):

I love a good Cremant! This french sparkler is crisp and fruity with light floral notes. It reminds me of sipping bubbles and basking in the sunshine at outdoor cafes in Strasbourg or Paris. And I don’t know about you, but anything that makes me feel transported is something I definitely want to participate in right now. I can also personally attest that it makes a great Sunday morning mimosa – particularly to watch during a Harry Potter marathon 🙂

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Stay tuned for my next round of TJ’s picks!

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A Budget Guide to Whole Food’s Best Sparkling Wine 

I’m Sampling the Budget Bubbly At Whole Foods – And Listing the Tastiest Options!

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Considering the state of things right now,  I have been limiting my trips to the grocery store as much as possible. Our local Trader Joe’s has been so insanely crowded lately, that I’ve been trying out other grocery stores in the area. We have a Whole Foods in walking distance and while doing a quick grocery run, I spied this Vino Verde and Cava both under $10, and figured I should probably snatch them up.

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My First Budget Option Wine Picks:

I will continue to pick up different options each trip until I have found the very best budget friendly choices. Here are my first samples:

Broadbent Vinho Verde ($9.99): Vino Verde is one of my go-to favs for spring and summer. It is a lightly effervescent, refreshing, crisp white wine with pretty floral notes from the green region of Portugal.  We fell in love with this wine on holiday in Lisbon two years ago, and are always on the lookout. It’s a great summer sipping wine. Whenever I see the tall, thin bottle tinted green with a screw top on the shelves I make a beeline for it.

Cava Roger D’Anoia ($8.99) Dry and crisp with nice bubbles. This was a decent Cava, but I will probably try another my next trip.


Additionally, I have been drinking pink lemonade lately as a treat. Remember that frozen lemonade concentrate you used to drink as a kid? Well, I’ve started making pitchers of it to keep in the fridge on weekends for Brad and I, and I highly recommend. Nothing like pink lemonade to lift your mood! 😀 It’s our go-to treat after backpacking as well. A trip to InNOut and a large pink lemonade! Also, the frozen limeade makes a fantastic margarita! Who knew?!

I think it’s a good idea to treat ourselves right now, and Happy Hour is a great way to make things feel celebratory.

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Literally, my happy hour dream right now 😀

Next up on the wine blog:

Sampling the Budget Bubbles at Safeway. Stay tuned for the next round of picks!

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The Best California Wines at Korbel Champagne Cellars

While we’re all stuck at home and practicing social distancing for the foreseeable future, I thought it might be a fun time to write about some delicious and affordable champagne options, because Lord knows, I could certainly use something fizzy and frivolous to elevate my mood right now!

Oh, Korbel Champagne Cellars in Sonoma County 😀 We have been visiting this place for the past seven years, on our way to the Russian River or St. Orres in Gualala. Good friend’s told us about this place, and we haven’t looked back since.


The tastings are free, and as our fav sommeiler once told us, “you get five tastings, but hey, I’m not a math major.” the grounds are gorgeous, the wine room is festive as all get out, and bottles cost about 13 bucks on average.


We always do the tasting because it’s fun, and end up taking home a few bottles of the Sec, the Organic Brut, the Rosé, and usually a red sparkling Rouge for the holidays, because that deep red with shimmering bubbles looks great on your table for Thanksgiving.

Korbel Display

The Sec and Organic Brut you can only typically purchase at Korbel Champagne Cellars. If we’re feeling splurgy, we get a slice of the turtle cheesecake at the onside deli, grab a bottle of chilled Sec and sip our bubbles on the patio overlooking the vineyards.

Baby Brie & Brad – first visit to Korbel!
This my friends, is the turtle cheesecake, baklava and Sec ❤

The Sec: This California sparkler is now actually a little too sweet for me, but it was the first sparkling wine I fell in love with. We served it at our wedding so it holds a very special place in my heart. It’s slightly sweet and delicately fruity with excellent bubbles. I recommend serving with orange or pomegranate juice as a mimosa.

View from the Timber Cove Inn in Jenner CA….ahhh aaaaa (Angels singing)

The Organic Brut: ( Our new fav) – Light body, dry, with hints of fruit and delicate bubbles.

The Rouge: This dark red sparkling wine is tart and tangy and rich with a dry finish. Perfect for Thanksgiving and gorgeous on the table.

Next on the wine blog – best budget bubbles at Bevmo! I think we can all use some good recommendations for great sippin’ bubbly while we’re stuck in doors for the foreseeable future!



A Budget Guide to Trader Joe’s Best Sparkling Wine: Round Two

I’m Sampling the Best Bubbly Bargains at Trader Joe’s – And Listing the Tastiest Options!

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Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all! LET’S DO THIS

As Valentine’s Day is now upon us – (am I the only one this holiday really snuck up on?!), I figured I’d publish a quick post on TJs best budget bubbly, in case you are in the market for a yummy bottle, need one last minute, or just feel like grabbing yourself a treat!

Cecelia B ($7.99): This sparkling rosé is a pretty stellar bottle of bubbly for the cost.  It’s tart, crisp and fruity on the palette.  Just look for the pretty purple label on the shelves.

Segura Viudas ($7.99):  You know I love a good Cava. This vibrant Spanish Cava is refreshing and light with notes of citrus and a dry finish. I will definitely buy again. Bonus: while sipping, pretend you’re at an outdoor cafe in the sunshine, sampling manchego and olives and croquetas.

Mionetto Prosecco ($10.99): This Italian bubbly is light, crisp and refreshing with delicate bubbles and notes of peaches and apples.

Next Wine Blog Post: The Best California Sparkling Wines at Korbel Champagne Cellars.

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Sampling Trader Joe’s Holiday Sparkling Wines: The Magnum Has Arrived

This year for the holidays Trader Joe’s is selling magnum bottles of sparkling wine – that is precisely 1.5L of deliciousness for only $12.99! I know, I thought I had misread as well.

Spoiler alert: the bottles are gigantic and festive and I NEED THEM RIGHT AWAY!!!


Naturally, I needed to sample them right away before the holidays began to make sure they were a good deal. Let’s begin shall we…..

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TJs offers two options: a french bubbly and an Italian prosecco. I chose the L’Eclat Blanc de Blancs to sample first because the bottle is so gorgeous and glittery and festive. I thought the bright gold and red design would be particularly pretty displayed on our kitchen counters. The Blanc de Blancs is a perfectly fine sparkling wine for the price and the spectacle. It is fruity and crisp and easy sipping. It’s even better in a mimosa the next morning served with blueberry pancakes, or whatever you prefer for brunch. (We’ve really been into blueberry silver dollar pancakes lately in our neck of the woods.) I also just found this fabulous looking holiday cocktail and think it would be great with the  L’Éclat. This French sparkler will be lots of fun to serve during holiday get-togethers, or as a host/hostess gift.


Serving the Magnum:


Next up: Sampling the Holiday 1.5L Prosecco!

Oh, this is happening….

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Hiking to Rippon Vineyard – Wanaka’s Best Winery

Prepare for the Winery of Your Dreams

I plan to write a full guide to road tripping through New Zealand for the South Island and North Island, but wanted to first put together a post on hiking to a gorgeous winery in Wanaka, because I haven’t yet found any blogs mentioning this to die for place, and it is absolutely spectacular!

Situated on a verdant hill overlooking glittering Lake Wanaka and the surrounding Southern Alps, Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka, New Zealand is an absolute take your breath away, showstopper of a winery.

We found the Gamay! Glorious views on all sides.

It takes a bit of an effort to reach this gem. We hiked about an hour on a gentle winding path along the lake, the last third of the hike uphill. When we arrived, there were only four other people at the hilltop winery. The tasting was free and delicious, offering wines from the Otago region. If you do not wish to buy a bottle (which you will, because the tart, creamy Gamay’s and Sauvignon Blancs are divine and at less then $20, a steal), the owners ask that you please make a small donation to the reintroduction of the Kiwi Bird to the area. What kind of cold-hearted bastard could say no to that?!

The iconic Wanaka tree


Breathtakingly beautiful views from Rippon Winery

After basking in the splendor of the sweeping views over the lake, Ruby Island, and the dusky mountains, we took our bottle and sat on the banks of Lake Wanaka, sipping our refreshing and fruity Gamay as the day turned to twilight. I felt blissful and free and eternally grateful to find myself in this gorgeous part of the world.

Cotton candy clouds on the banks of Lake Wanaka
Fuchsia sunset

Coming soon – A Guide to Road Tripping Through New Zealand.

A Budget Guide to Trader Joe’s Best Sparkling Wine 

I’m Sampling the Budget Bubbly At Trader Joe’s – And Listing the Tastiest Options!

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As an almost-vegetarian returning from living in southern Germany for a year, I was so excited to shop at Trader Joes! I have been dreaming about those pre-made lunch salads for ages. And the Tikka Masala Veggie Burgers. And the pre-peeled/cut veggies, because you guys, that is not a thing in Germany.  Feel like pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving – peel it, scoop out the insides and cook down that pumpkin. Cook down a pumpkin – for f**k’s sake. Ain’t no one got time for that! One thing I did love about the German supermarkets (besides the vast array of delectable Milka, which could be a blog post all on it’s own) was the delicious, seriously cheap wine from the surrounding vineyards in Baden Württemberg. Delicious dry whites for under 5 bucks?  GIMMIE.  Kessler bubbles from the 700 year old cellar in the town center for 10 bucks – YASSSS.

In an effort to find some fabulous wines equal to my favorite affordable German faves, I have begun sampling the TJ’s sparkling wine, beginning at the $4 bottles and working my way up. I will continue to pick up different options each trip until I have found the very best budget friendly choices. Here are my first samples:

Schloss Biebrich Sekt ($4.99): Now, this sparkling wine is a bit of a twofer, as it was also sold in our local grocery store in Esslingen. Sekt is the German word for sparkling wine, just as Cava is Spanish sparkling wine, etc. This wine is decent for the price. It’s slightly sweet for me, would be alright in a mimosa. I think we can do better.

Schloss Biebrich sparkling wine dry - 0,75L 11% vol

LaGranja Cava Brut ($6.99): I love a good Cava. Reminds me of sipping drinks at rooftop bars on sultry evenings in Seville (yes, this is a shameless plug for my upcoming Andalucia blog. What of it? :D)

Salud Seville Bubbly At a Rooftop Bar
Bubbles at a rooftop bar in Seville. Brad snuck in his cerveza.

Also, the bottle is gorgeous, a goose covered in bright blue molting feathers, partly why I chose this. It is dry, fruity and refreshing, great for evening sipping. Would buy again.

Contadino Pinot Grigio ($4.99): This vino from Venice isn’t exactly sparkling wine, but it is slightly effervescent, super budget friendly and a good sipping wine. It is a staple in our household. Dry and light on the palette.

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Me as a slightly more sophisticated version of Buster…….I love BUBBLES!

Stay tuned for the next round of picks!








A Budget Guide to Costco’s Best Sparkling Wines

I’m Sampling the Budget Bubbly At Costco – And Listing the Tastiest Options!

After 18 months living in Germany, where everything is sold in relatively small packaging (no gallon milks to be more specific) I was quite excited to visit Costco – forty Baby Bell cheeses? I NEED THOSE!!

I was especially looking forward to browsing the bubbly and wine options. Costco has some great private label choices, particularly from France and Italy. I really enjoyed the Cremont’s in Paris and Strasbourg and have been on the look-out since. On our latest Costco trip, I picked up 4 different sparkling wines all under 12 bucks and plan to compare them for you. I will continue to pick up different options each trip until I have found the very best budget friendly choices.

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Zardetto Prosecco Brut ($10.99): This was a winner. Crisp, refreshing, bright, great bubbles. Would be tasty in mimosas. Would buy again.

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Prince Alexandre Cremant De Loire Brut ($11.99): Another winner. You really can’t go wrong with a Cremant, in my opinion. Crisp, fruity, and smooth.

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Bellenda Rose Brut Vino Spumante de Venetzia ($11.99): Bright, notes of strawberry, nice bubbles. Slightly on the sweet side, but did not stop us (my hubby and I), from polishing off a bottle while watching A Simple Favor. Note, if you have not seen this movie, Blake Lively really knows how to sell a martini. Also, she’s a total Smokeshow. Would buy again.

Stay tuned for my next round of budget samples!