Reliable Wines

It’s been way too long…

Let’s Talk Wine!

Mo Wine Please

Surrounded by moving boxes and bubble wrap, I could sure use a glass of wine. Well, maybe not at 8 a.m. as I am writing this, but most definitely by the end of the day.

Has this ever happened to you?

Looking for a bottle of wine for dinner (or cocktail hour!), you head to you local grocery store or favorite wine store, step up to the shelves and your mind goes completely blank.

Too many choices!!!!

In times like this it is important to know a couple of reliable wines – names that you can remember and wines you can count on to always be good.

I’ve told you about The Prisoner which is my very favorite, reliable wine in the $35-40 range.

The Prisoner

But Mo, are there reliable wines at lower price points?

I’m glad you asked.

First up: B Side Cabernet.

B Side Cabernet Sauvignon

Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t shared this wine with you before. My bad…

I have to give all the credit for this find to my sister-in-law, Kate. She discovered it at her favorite wine store and it has become one of her house wines which she is kind enough to have on hand every time I visit.

Don’t you love the name?

Harking back to the old 45 records which featured the A side – the chart topping song – and the B Side – the less well known but often hidden gem, the winemakers chose the name to describe their approach to the wine.

If the wines made by the Napa Valley “big guys”, the most powerful and well-known names, are the A Side, this wine is aptly named B Side.

As the winemakers say:

B Side reds are crafted with grapes sourced from the slightly-off-the-beaten-track vineyards along the valley’s eastern hillsides. They’re authentic originals: a little experimental and unexpected, crafted and perfected behind-the-scenes for those with a penchant for discovery.

At about $20-25 per bottle, B Side Cabernet brings delicious, classic Napa Cabernet flavor that won’t disappoint. Luscious dark fruits, a little chocolate, a little spice and nice full body are the hallmarks of the 2013 vintage. If you are a wine geek like me, you can read the full tasting notes here.

Love, love, love this wine!

Next up: Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon.

Liberty School Cabernet SauvignonThis wine comes from the Paso Robles area of California. You may be less familiar with Paso Robles as it does get overshadowed by its cousins to the north, Napa and Sonoma.

But keep an eye out for wines from Paso Robles. Wine Enthusiast called this area “a region to watch” when it named Paso Robles the 2013 Wine Region of the Year.

Liberty School Cabernet started out as the second label of the Wagner family’s Caymus brand using primarily grapes from Napa. But the Wagners started to become intrigued by Paso Robles and teamed up with the Hope family to source grapes for the Liberty School Cabernet from this region.

In the mid-90s, the Hope family bought the company and have since added a Liberty School Chardonnay and other wines to their collection.

Liberty School works with 50 or so family farms throughout the region. The result is a really nice, reliable Cabernet at a VERY nice price point.

The wine brings the berry and cherry notes you’d expect from a Cabernet. Although the body and finish are not what you would get from a $40 or $50 bottle of wine, at $10-15 per bottle the Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon shows pretty darn well! The tasting notes are here.

This wine is often included on lists of the best wines under $20.

While some of my pictures aren’t the greatest, I want you to be able to see the labels on the wine bottles so that the next time you are standing in the wine section and your eyes start to glaze over, maybe you will see one of these wines and say “Yes!!!”.


No one paid me to say this. Do not drink and drive!

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  1. Mo, LOVE all your wine posts and save all your recommendations. Off to the liquor store to do my homework.
    Hope the move goes smoothly!

  2. Can’t wait to try them all! I think my fave is going to be Prisoner because I LOVE the name. BTW… just put on my bloggers award post. You came up with great questions!! Enjoy your weekend – hope you do something fun to celebrate one of your last weekends in sunny Cal.

    • Maybe we will bring a bottle or three to our blog conference. I suspect we will need to do some serious de-briefing at the end of each day! I loved your answers to the bloggers award challenge and loved the questions you came up with for your nominees. You always make me giggle!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Reliable WinesMy Profile

  3. We are big fans of Liberty School, and you are right about being overwhelmed by choices. I wrote a blog post about it because go figure . . . our Piggly Wiggly in Fairhope is the largest wine retailer in the state of Alabama! Funny, yet true! I don’t know where to start. They have a wine manager who is usually in the store, and they also have tastings every Tuesday night.
    Your tips are a great help!
    Leslie Anne recently posted…Comment on May all your weeds be wildflowers by Katie ClooneyMy Profile

    • I love getting recommendations from the wine managers or wine shop owners. And when you become a regular customer, they kind of get to know what you like. I bet that Piggly Wiggly has a pretty wide selection and, because of the volume, hopefully good prices!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Reliable WinesMy Profile

  4. As you know I love the Prisoner. May I also recommend Sexual Chocolate (in the $20 range at Binnys). In the same vein as the Prisoner both in taste and in fabulous name!
    Debbie recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

  5. Oh now this is such a shareworthy post. Thanks Mo. Once again you’ve lept over the barrel and provided notes of winery wisdom. Off to share.
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…92 Year-Old Mom Snags Purple PantsMy Profile

  6. I really like Liberty School. Unfortunately, it isn’t available in the town where I live. I keep hoping they will open a “Trader Joe’s” or “Cost Plus World Market” here so I could get it more easily. My sweet son and daughter-in-law in Newport Beach usually have a bottle for me when I visit. Nice to know someone who is much more of a wine expert than I am likes it, too. I enjoy reading your blog, Mo. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much, Gabby! It is so frustrating when you hear about a good wine and then can’t find it in stock anywhere. I tend to have that problem with the B Side. So, like you, I count on my family to have it on hand as a special treat when I visit! Cheers!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Reliable WinesMy Profile

  7. I love Liberty School – good recommendation 🙂

  8. You know, it just occurred to me that I should reference your blog when I’m buying wine in the liquor store. I never know what to buy. May I be so bold as to suggest that (in your free time – ha!) you create a list of all the wines you have recommended? They could link to the post, and it would be a great reference page. Make a pinnable image and voila!

    Or I’ll just scroll through and pick one. 🙂
    Dana recently posted…The endMy Profile

    • Dana, I LOVE that idea!! It would help me, also, to keep track of the wines I’ve already covered! I sense I’m going to need a distraction from packing in the next week and a half. I will see what kind of snazzy wine list I can put together!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Reliable WinesMy Profile

  9. Hope that you are enjoying a bit of wine after your long days of packing!!!
    Kim recently posted…Words that AnnoyMy Profile

  10. My dad and his wife love wine, so I am always looking for good options for gifts for them! These are perfect! Here is hoping that you are sitting with a nice glass right now, away from moving boxes and bubble wrap! :)-Ashley
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…The Dose Girls Interrupt This Broadcast…My Profile

    • I’m definitely rewarding myself at the end of each day of packing with a nice glass of wine! I can’t wait to read about your meeting with President Obama!!! I wonder what wine he and Michelle enjoy…
      Mo Lux recently posted…Reliable WinesMy Profile

  11. I think packing and drinking wine or at least talking about it makes things more fun doesn’t it?

    You will have a great time checking out all the wine events in Chicago-and guess what, this summer they are doing a Chicago wine and food festival!!! That’s right, you heard it first from me. 🙂 I will have to get the details and let you know!

    • Woohoo!! Can’t wait to hear the details! And I promise once I get settled in a bit I will meet you for coffee or wine(!) so we can meet in person! PS I’m doing this on my iPad and managed to remove Comment Luv from your comment. Sorry!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Backup Your Computer NOW!My Profile

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