2008 Cupcake Merlot, California; $10
Here's another terrific, inexpensive merlot from California. It delivers excellent flavors and terrific structure in each sip. This wine starts with a nose full of bright blackberries and spice that perfectly flow into the mouth feel. Layers of dark fruit and leather notes flow over the tongue and hold the finish with subtle notes of chocolate and plum-like fruit finishing out the tasting experience. The fruit and earthy components combine so well in this value-priced treasure, making it a perfect red for everyday drinking.
Firefly Raspberry Tea Vodka, United States; $18
Imagine great Southern-brewed sweet tea, fresh raspberries and an adult kick of vodka in a glass -- that's what you get with this vodka from Firefly. It starts with the sweetness of the tea and hints of raspberry flavors and follows with the flavors of a smooth vodka. This project was started in South Carolina and uses extracts from tea grown here in our state. They also make some other exceptional tea flavors, such as mint, peach, lemon and now a lemonade.