Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine Review

Name: Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2012
Price: $10.99

This is a pleasant wine for sure. A dark ruby color, scents of blueberry and jam. The flavor is fruit-forward with berries and spice pelting the palate. Soft tannins and a medium finish round out the affair. This is a mouth-watering wine, one of the better Cupcake wines for certain. I drank it without accompaniment but it would pair well with pasta and meat sauce or some cheese raviolis.

 

Bottle of 2012 Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

Trying Out Trader Joe’s House Riesling

Name: Joseph Handler Pfalz Riesling
Type: White
Origin: Germany
Year: 2013
Price: $6.99

I was in Trader Joe’s the other day in Nashua, NH and they were sampling this riesling from Germany. I don’t know how they can import a wine from Germany that doesn’t taste like crap for $6.99 but here it is. I sampled it and the guy there described it as having a pleasant acidity and not at all sweet. I’ll give him the former but not the latter.

Most people wouldn’t describe this as a sweet wine, per se. But it is described right on the bottle as semi-sweet and I think that’s on target. Many people don’t know this but rieslings can run from very dry to very sweet even though most people assume they are sweet. I once had a minor argument about this because someone didn’t believe that riesling could be dry at all. I’m pretty sure they still didn’t believe me at the end, but it’s true.

This wine is a very pale yellow color and the aroma is very subdued. The flavors are not though. It has piercing citrus flavors, a jolt of acidity and a medium finish that contains the zest of all that citrus fruit. Very crisp and clean, low (10%) alcohol and overall pretty refreshing at this price point. This style of wine isn’t necessarily my thing but it has its place for sure. In my opinion that place would be beside the pool on a hot summer day.

 

Bottle of 2013 Joseph Handler Riesling

2012 Cupcake Red Velvet Wine Review

Name: Cupcake Red Velvet
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2012
Price: $10.99

I’ve previously gone on about how calling a wine Cupcake is marketing genius but sets an expectation that won’t be met. They’ve one-upped this strategy by calling this one Red Velvet, bringing to mind a niche cupcake that some people LOVE and I think is just so-so.

It is a dark, almost purple-ish colored wine with a slightly chocolate-y aroma, but mostly dark berries. It has a rich mouthfeel and distinct tannins. It’s a pretty good wine, but again, it doesn’t deliver on the marketing promise of a red velvet cupcake. If you want a dessert wine…get one…but this isn’t one. If you want a cupcake, then buy a cupcake. This is just a decent wine with berry and chocolate flavors.

 

2012 Cupcake Red Velvet Wine

14 Hands Merlot Red Wine Review

Name: 14 Hands Merlot
Type: Red
Grape: Merlot
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2012
Price: $9.99

This wine, while being an decent wine in a vacuum…is the ugly sister of the Cab in the same vintage. Similar in color, but with a less appealing aroma, a lot more spice and barely any tannins. To my palate this is just a lot lower quality wine for the same price. I would seek out the cabernet of the same vintage and pour all my money into that…as I have done in fact.

 

Bottle of 2012 14 Hands Merlot Wine

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine Review

Name: 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2012
Price: $9.99

This 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark ruby color and aromas of blueberries and currant. Herbal and spicy notes are present on the flavor with fruity notes and a bit of chocolate. It has a round, sumptuous flavor and a lengthy finish and a spicy accent. This is one of my favorite wines on the market right now. It’s very cheap for what you get and I buy it by the case as a kitchen wine and a last minute gift for informal gatherings. The bottle looks good and tastes great, I highly recommend it.

Source: The Bubbly Hostess

2005 Geja’s Big Bold Red

Name: Geja’s Big Bold Red
Type: Red
Grape: Red Blend
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Baya Cellars
Price: $9.99

I believe this is the last of the wines I got from the Wine Insider’s club. And while it’s not a bad wine, it’s name is entirely inappropriate. It has the light coloration and even the mouth feel of a Pinot Noir, yet it’s called “Big Bold Red.” It does have a nice woodsy aroma and some tannins after the fruity burst on the tongue, but I wouldn’t call it a bold red by any stretch. It’s labeled “2005 California Private Reserve Big Bold Red” even, which calls to mind–I don’t know–a rich Cabernet maybe? It’s a decent wine for a decent price, just egregiously mis-labeled.

Apothic Red Review

Name: Apothic Red
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2013
Price: $9.99

I’m currently tasting the 2013 Apothic Red “Winemaker’s Blend” from California, but this is a wine I’ve had before and it doesn’t seem to vary that much from year to year. It’s blended to be pretty consistent. It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah (aka Shiraz) and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The color is deep, nearly opaque with an aroma that bursts with berry scents. It’s a pretty fruit-forward wine with abundant berry flavors and a touch of vanilla and spice. The mouthfeel is lighter than the color would suggest and some slight tannins are detectable on the medium finish. Despite looking very bold in both color and the design of the bottle, this wine is actually pretty versatile and could be easily appreciated on its own or paired with food. Good buy.

Barefoot Sweet Red

Name: Barefoot Sweet Red
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: Non-Vintage
Price: $5.99

A lot of people seem to like Barefoot wines by the volume sold so I bought a couple more bottles to see what’s going on (it’s been a long time). This one is the Sweet Red blend from California. I had it slightly chilled as that seems like the right thing to do with a sweet wine.

Here’s the thing…this is a cheap wine. They put a prominent sticker on every bottle showing how they won the 2012 Riverbank Competition (?) for “consistent quality. proven value”. I definitely believe that it can be produced consistently…

It smells like cheap wine, sweet and green. I wish I could describe it better because all cheap wines have a similar smell. Same with the flavor. Sweet Red is a perfect name for the wine because that’s what it is, sweet and red. That’s where the character begins and ends. It won’t be accused of intrigue, subtlety, complexity or generally being “interesting.” It’s just sweet and red, like a decent boxed sangria.

If that’s what you like–and a lot of folks do–go for it.


Image of Barefoot Sweet Red wine label

2011 Phantom

Name: Phantom
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2011
Price: $19.99

It’s just after Halloween and this bottle is marketed just for the occasion…it’s known as the Phantom. It’s produced by Bogle Vineyards and has the tagline “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” I bought the bottle for $19.99 before Halloween (~$18 after case discount) and I should have seen this coming, but I just saw it at Wegman’s after Halloween for $14.99. Nothing haunts me like over-paying for a bottle of wine by $5…so they got me there. Boo!

On the plus side, it has one of those super heavy bottles. My drip ring barely fit on the top. Whenever I get a bottle like this I simultaneously feel like I got more for my money and guilty for consuming the extra glass even though I recycle.

The wine itself is dark…like the wraith shackled to your soul. Nah, it is a deep ruby color though and it has an earthy, pungent aroma of black pepper. It has distinct tannins, dark berry flavors and a robust feel in the mouth. Spicy too, very spicy. It’s a very good wine though I like it a LOT better at $14.99 than $19.99. Stock up now.

 

Picture of bottle of 2011 Phantom red wine from Bogle Vineyards

Villa Antinori Review

Name: Villa Antinori
Type: Red
Origin: Italy
Year: 2011
Price: $19.99

Bumping right up against my $20 price limit is this bottle of Villa Antinori. It’s a red blend from Tuscany that came to me as a recommendation. The ruby red colored vino has a potent aroma of jammy fruit and earthy, leathery notes. It’s tasty and well-balanced with soft tannins and a lengthy finish. One of the dominant flavors is chocolate, but not milk chocolate, but rather a nice dark chocolate. I’m going to say 85% with a bit of grit in the texture. If your BS meter is going off then you’re just astute….but this is a very good wine for the price…

Villa Antinori Review