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

Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay

Name: 120 Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Chile
Year: 2011
Producer: Santa Rita
Price: $8.99

This is another wine I got at a grocery store for half off because it was going out of business. By the time I got there, all they had left was white wine and the vast majority of it was Chardonnay. The citizens of New Hampshire must share my general disdain for Chardonnay. I did also score a couple bottles of Sauvignon Blanc thanks to the diligent searching of my wife.

The name 120 is an ode to some freedom fighters in Chile who took shelter in a wine cellar. Makes sense, in the inevitable zombie apocalypse my first refuge would definitely be a wine cellar. Anyhow, this is an interesting Chardonnay. It’s unoaked, so it looks and tastes more akin to a Sauvignon Blanc. The color has a green tinge and the aroma is full of grass and minerals. Everything about the flavor is a little unripe, the apple and citrus flavors are of fruit that was taken a little too young. It’s a smooth flavor though and the long-ish finish is where a lot of the unripe fruit manifests. I can’t recommend this wine but it’s interesting enough that if you can score it for a discount like I did it’s worth a look.

2007 Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red

Name: Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red
Type: Red
Grape: Red Blend
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Purple Cowboy
Price: $11.99

Interesting name, interesting label and an interesting little story on the back about the wine. True to the name, the wine is deep purple, almost opaque. The nose is all stewed fruit and tobacco. The wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, and true to form it’s a boldly flavored wine. Plum, other dark fruits and earthy flavors dominate. The finish is rather lengthy and it there I detected the tannins. This isn’t a wine for everyone and I’d suggest drinking it with food but I do like it.