For this particular Wine Blogging Wednesday, we went all the way and tried 4 different types of wine in 3 different types of packages. Finding a decent selection of alternative packaging was hard here in southern Cincinnati. In fact, my favorite store pretty much carries only the scary boxed wines – the ones that need some Sprite added just to be remotely drinkable. However, The Party Source in Newport had an eclectic selection and a distributor was in the aisle, with some great tips on the wines, including the ones he didn’t carry.
It’s funny. I started out embarrassed as anything to be walking out of the wine shop with a box, a tetra pack, and 2 different canned wines. Yet, last week, I was recommending one of them to an acquaintance who just wanted an easy-to-drink red. Apparently I’m getting past my preconceived notions and am seeing the light, at least when it comes to a couple of these we tasted.
Many thanks to Roger at BoxWines.org for hosting this month’s WBW!
We reviewed 4 wines: Aussie Wine 2003 Sweet White, Sofia Mini, French Rabbit Cabernet, and Rain Dance South African Shiraz. (Tasting notes are after the jump.)
I should add that our rating scale here was slightly different. We asked ourselves, after each wine, would we recommend this to my mom? She doesn’t drink much wine, but she’d like something low cost, easy to store, and easy to drink. She relies on us to pick the "what."
Aussie Wine 2003 Sweet White, Woomba Wines, Australia, $3.99/4 pk cans:
When you pay $3.99
… okay, I couldn’t resist it because it was in a can and I
rather like the decorative platypus. This tasted like a margarita in a
can. Not just any margarita though. A margarita at happy hour made with
well tequila, not Patròn. Heck, not even Cuervo. Yep, lime, salt, tangy
… if you convince yourself it’s a margarita, you’re better off.
Now, we were told tonight at a different store (a week after the purchase) that the wine actually arrived in the states in 2004, so it’s been sitting around (and is justifiably on close-out) for 3 years. I wondered why it was still around …
Sofia Mini, "California Carbonated White Wine" , 4-187ml cans, $15.99 (on sale, usually $19.99):
Sofia is canned sparkling wine. The target market? Me (not my Mom). It’s a hot pink can
with a pretty floral design and a pink bendy straw. In fact, Sofia was
one of my earliest blog posts, back in June 2004. Here’s the thing about Sofia-in-a-can: Sometimes a girl just wants to kick back with some bubbly.
I know I don’t need to open an entire bottle, but the can is the
perfect serving on those nights when I want to relax with a sparkler. No, it’s not the best sparkling wine in the world, and the bottled version does taste a bit better, but this isn’t bad either. There’s a bit of green apple, with some pear finish. I prefer to pour it in a glass, as I can taste (or imagine I taste) the tinniness from the can. It
gets a pretty decent rating from me, more for convenience than taste.
Oh, and for the bendy straw.
French Rabbit Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Vin de Pays D’Oc, France, 1L TetraPrisma, $7.99: I love this eco-friendly packaging. I love that I can squeeze the air out of the packaging to preserve the wine a little longer. (If the distributor hadn’t been standing there for our purchase, we’d have never discovered that little trick.) It’s a great idea – preserve your wine, preserve your planet. But you want to know what we thought about the wine, yes? It was surprising. There were definitely more tannins than we expected, but the wine softened with some air time. We tasted a big burst of dark cherries, and some oak. It wasn’t my favorite wine of the bunch, and I expected more from it, but it scores big points for convenience.
Rain Dance 2004 Shiraz, Western Cape – South Africa, Westcorp Int’l, 3L box, $14.99: This is the wine I’m recommending to friends (and my mother) who want an easy-to-drink table wine with no pretense. These friends aren’t overly picky, but they don’t want a bad wine either. We’re pretty impressed with this one. We’re going on week 2 with our opened box and it still tastes pretty darn good. It’s got a bit of pepper to it, but like everything about this wine, the pepper isn’t overwhelming. There are also subtle berries, vanilla, and oak. This wine is just easy-to-drink. It’s not complex, but it’s not trying to be. It’s actually sort of relaxing – a very honest wine. I can see definitely buying this again – esp for a large party of folks who aren’t big wine drinkers. I would also recommend this for Mom, but I bet she’d want a smaller version.
The Rain Dance was our overall favorite, although I’ll always return to the Sofia when I want a 1-drink sparkling night cap. Nothing really justified our top happy face rating. I wanted the French Rabbit to taste better than it did and was disappointed. Maybe improvement in these wines is the future.
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