2008 Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2008
Producer: Cupcake Vineyards
Price: $9.99

This is the third red wine I’ve tasted from this label and I’ve liked them all. This is the first one I’ve found time to review though. It has a nice deep color and a potent aroma of wood, spice and fruit. The flavor is dry, fruity and tannic. A bit more tannic than I generally like but the overall experience is pleasant. I’ve tried the Merlot and the Syrah as well, I recommend all the Cupcake reds.

 

2009 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc

Name: Starborough
Type: White
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: New Zealand
Year: 2009
Producer: Starborough Vineyards
Price: $12.99

Better chilled than room temp, this Sauvignon Blanc has a potent aroma of cat piss — er, cat urine, pardon my French — that intensifies as the wine warms. That’s an aroma I associate more with Gewurtztraminer and I find it kind of distasteful in an SB which is kind of strange I guess. It’s mixed with an equally strong grapefruit scent which is more characteristic of the varietal. The flavor is crisp and acidic with citrus and grassy notes. I like SB, especially in the summer, but this one strikes me as overpriced due to the compromised nose and simple flavor.

2009 Cupcake Pinot Grigio

Name: Cupcake Pinot Grigio
Type: White
Grape: Pinot Grigio
Origin: Italy
Year: 2009
Producer: Cupcake Vineyards
Price: $9.99

It’s a good day for Pinot Grigio. The mercury hit 95 degrees here and that’s perfect weather for a cold glass of wine. It’s terrible weather for anything else, but good for cold wine. I like my Pinot Grigio right from the fridge, which is too cold for purists but you like what you like. This Cupcake version is straw colored and smells clean with citrus aromas. It’s very nice, maybe my perspective is skewed by the temperature today but it tastes crisp and refreshing with a little acidity before the short finish. Just as a Pinot Grigio should be I think. Not as complex and interesting as the one by Kris, but perfectly acceptable.

2007 Redmond Ranch Syrah

Name: Redmond Ranch
Type: Red
Grape: Syrah
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Amala Springs
Price: $10.00

This is another bottle I got from the Groupon deal. It’s a dense, deep color almost like motor oil. The aroma is earthy with leather and plum scents. For a wine that promises to be so big, it’s very smooth and round. It’s also not very complex which isn’t what I expected. It’s sort of a crowd-pleasing, easy to like Syrah. I get why they would choose that for a wine club but it’s not what I look for in a Syrah.

Villa Fassini Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Villa Fassini
Type: Red
Grape: Blend
Origin: Italy
Year: 2008
Producer: C. Campagna Gello
Price: $7.00

I like Italian wines, they are generally decent quality and easy to appreciate. This one has a classy looking bottle, especially at such a low price. It has a subdued aroma with blueberry and blackberry scents. The flavor leaves a bit to be desired though. It’s just a little too boring. There are some berry flavors with some tartness on the short finish. It’s smooth but rather thin, with a lightweight mouth feel for Sangiovese and Cabernet.

2008 Irony Pinot Noir

Name: Irony Pinot Noir
Type: Red
Grape: Pinot Noir
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2008
Producer: Irony Wine Cellars
Price: $11.99

This bottle has one of those fat bottles that is hard to fit in my wine cooler, minor complaint. It often happens with Shiraz for some reason but not too much with Pinot Noir. It’s a nice looking bottle though. It has a sweet aroma, perhaps of black cherry, very nice. The mouth feel is a bit thin, something I often find with low priced Pinot Noir. Otherwise it’s berries and tannins. More tannins than I expected. It’s not a well-balanced wine and not a great example of Pinot Noir but I find it generally enjoyable anyway. Maybe I’m drinking too many low end wines these days…

2009 Ca’Stella Pinot Grigio

Name: Ca’Stella Pinot Grigio
Type: White
Grape: Pinot Grigio
Origin: Italy
Year: 2009
Producer: Ca’Stella
Price: $9.99

This one held some promise because it’s a Pinot Grigio, which I often like, from the Friuli region of Italy, which I also often like. And the bottle has a screw top, which I always like. The color is very pale yellow, a typical hue for Pinot Grigio. It has a crisp citrus aroma, primarily of lemon. The flavor is clean and dry with tart fruit flavors and some mineral notes. Not bad and pretty refreshing on a day like today but it’s a little dull overall compared to some of my favorite Pinot Grigios like Kris.

2005 Colle dei Venti Pecorino

Name: Colle dei Venti Pecorino
Type: White
Grape: Pecorino
Origin: Italy
Year: 2005
Producer: Colle dei Venti
Price: $11.99

This is a new grape for me, I’ve never had Pecorino before. It’s a traditional Italian grape, so named because the grape cluster resembles the head of a sheep. It has very distinct characteristics, well, this one does anyway. The color is a dark yellow, not a color you see often in wine. It also has a strong aroma, mostly of honey. The flavor isn’t nearly as sweet as the aroma promises, I think I’d describe it as off-dry. A little sweetness but not much. There is some acidity and somewhat less than ripe fruit on the flavor. It’s a very interesting wine, not really complex, but interesting. Not like much else I’ve had. My only real problem with it was that it attracted flies like, well, flies. I had to dig several out of my glass at various points.

2009 Redtree Moscato

Name: Redtree Moscato
Type: White
Grape: Moscato
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2009
Producer: Cecchetti Wine Company
Price: $8.99

I’m a sucker for a sweet wine so I saw this on sale and went for it. It’s a screw top too, which never hurts (IMHO). Has the color of a Pinot Grigio, looks like it in the bottle too, if you weren’t paying attention you’d mistake it for one. The smell is all Moscato though, apricot in full. It’s a bit sweet and definitely fruity, also apricot primarily, though not as sweet as other Moscatos I’ve had. The flavor also quickly turns a bit more tart and drab towards the quick, crisp finish. It’s not a bad wine overall but it’s not the best Moscato I’ve had by quite a stretch.

Big House Red (3L Box)

Name: Big House Red (3L Box)
Type: Red
Grape: Blend
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2009
Producer: Big House Wine Co.
Price: $16.99

There is much to like about this everyday red. Let’s start with the environment. This box wine comes in an octagonal cardboard container (which they call the Octavin Home Wine Bar, I love marketers) which they claim reduces packaging waste by 92 percent and carbon emissions by 55 percent vs. traditional bottles. So we’re off to a good start already. As box wine goes, it’s a nice looking package too. The octagonal shape is also less awkward and has a smaller footprint on the counter than most. My only complaint is the spout, it’s more difficult to use than others I’ve seen.

The wine itself is a combination of 14 different grapes, everything but the kitchen sink basically. It has a nice purplish hue and a strong aroma of fruit and subtle spice. The flavor is smooth, round and inoffensive in any way. It even matures on the palate and shows some tannins before the medium finish. All in all it’s the best box wine I’ve ever had by a decent margin. Recommended.