Tasting Notes: Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Last summer, I tried Underwood's The Bubbles canned wine and loved it. So when I saw that Whole Foods was now carrying the rosé version, I was pumped! Sparkling rosé is my favorite thing to drink at the moment, so this was right up my alley, and with the first version being surprisingly tasty, I had high hopes for this can. 

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The Facts

  • Producer: Union Wine Co.
  • Region: Oregon
  • Vintage: Non-vintage
  • Variety: Unknown
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: $6.99/can

The company's notes read: Wild strawberry, fruit cocktail, and tart cherry. Carbonated wine. This says a lot and definitely set up my expectations for the wine. I expected it to have a sweetness to it, and I expected the bubbles to very fine. "Carbonated wine" means the carbonation was added similar to a soda, as opposed to most other sparkling wines being made through the traditional method or tank method where the bubbles integrate with the wine and become the wine. Both of those expectations were correct. I definitely got a sweet strawberry flavor and even a hint of bubblegum. The residual sugar was more apparent in the rosé version than the classic and it felt flabby, like there wasn't enough acid to balance the sweetness. After our Whole15, I have developed the habit of asking, "Is this worth it?" in relation to calories, sugar, alcohol, etc. In this case, I decided no. I did not find it pleasant to drink, and I could see the sugar giving me a headache later in the evening, so the can went unfinished. Overall, the wine fell very short of my high hopes. I'm not sure I'm totally on the canned wine train, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with the more classic "The Bubbles" version I reviewed previously.


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Tasting Notes: Juvé y Camps Brut Rosé

For as much as I love sparkling wine, there are surprisingly few reviews on sparkling wines. When I came across this sale at Whole Foods, I couldn't pass a bottle up! I first tried the Juvé y Camps brand at Corkbuzz a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it. But this was their rosé, which is even more up my alley! 

The Facts

  • Producer: Juvé y Camps
  • Region: Penedès, Spain (near Barcelona)
  • Vintage: Non-vintage
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: $14.99, on sale

Eyes: This wine is so pretty. Is that weird to say? It's such a lovely deep salmon, almost cherry red color. And I think the bottle is awesome. The label looks classy and fancy... like it's expensive, but it's not!

Nose: The Cava smelled of bright red fruit, like strawberry and cherry. There was a hint of biscuit or toast, which is typical of Cava because it's made in the same method as Champagne, but I would say that it was more fruit forward than toasty. 

Mouth: Tasty! This is a wine that "what you see is what you get", meaning that it tastes fruit forward and refreshing. The strawberry that's on the nose really comes through when you drink it, and I personally don't get a lot of the toast flavor when drinking it. It's very acidic, but has more depth in flavor than a non-rosé Cava. 

Thoughts: I think this is a crowd-pleaser and a good value. Is there great complexity here? No, but for $15, I think it's pretty awesome. I think it's a great bottle to take over to a friend's house or to a celebration if you're not looking to bust out an expensive Champagne. This will likely be my go-to now when I want to pop a bottle at home!

Story: I actually really like the story behind Juvé y Camps. It's a family owned winery near Barcelona that was founded in 1921. The history behind the winery actually started 200 years earlier with the founder's grandfather, Joan Juvé Mir, who was a grape grower. He faced many challenges, including phylloxera and the subsequent replanting of his vines. The first wines were made in the cellar under the family home, and the grandson, Joan Juvé Baqués, decided to start an official winery. Now, Juvé y Camps is regularly served at state banquets by Spain's royal family and is offered to guests of the national government, Senate, and Congress. 



Tasting Notes: Underwood "The Bubbles"

Canned wine was very trendy last summer, and it certainly hasn't died down yet. In fact, Underwood has released even more options this year! Their rosé and Pinot Noir have been around for a while, but I came across "The Bubbles" at Whole Foods the other week and obviously could not resist. I'm a sucker for anything bubbly!  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I gave Trader Joe's canned Simpler Wines a try a few weeks back, and let's just say it was $4 down the drain. Then again, four cans for $4... did I really expect it to be good? After that debacle, I was curious to see how Underwood's would turn out.

The Facts

  • Producer: Union Wine Co.
  • Region: Oregon
  • Vintage: Non-vintage
  • Variety: Doesn't say on the can or website, but I saw Chardonnay when I scoured the internet.
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: $6.99/can

Eyes: Well, it's hard to tell because it's in a can, but the can looks nice and classy! Just kidding... I mean not about the can looking nice, but I did end up pouring some into a glass just out of curiosity. It's a very pale color and the bubbles are very fine. 

Nose: Silly me forgot to smell the wine when I poured that small bit into the glass. I think that brings about a good point, though, that the biggest downfall to wine in a can is you lose the aromas which play such a large part in how a wine tastes. Convenience is great, and I like what Union Wine Co is trying to accomplish with their #pinkiesdown motto, but you can't argue that smell and aromas don't matter with wine.

Mouth: I was a little apprehensive, but I have to say that it exceeded my expectations. It has a slight sweetness to it, which is not surprising given it's only 11% ABV (lower alcohol percentages means more residual sugar in the wine, average is probably 12.5-13.5%), but it was definitely not overwhelming in sweetness. Perhaps the residual sugar was a way to combat the lack of aromas from the can? Anyway, there was a good acidity to it which helped counteract the sweetness, and the apple and citrus flavors were front and center. The bubbles are very subtle, not like normal sparkling wine. It's almost like mineral water. When cold, it's very refreshing.

Thoughts: Is this the best wine I've ever had before? No, but I didn't (and you shouldn't) expect it to be. Is it the best wine I've ever had in a convenient container and affordable price? Yes, hands down. This stuff can be dangerous... wine in a can seems to go down much faster than in a glass! And be careful because a single can is half a bottle of wine! If you think about it that way, this would equate to a $14 bottle of wine which is a pretty great price point. Plus, with the added convenience of being in a can, that can be priceless. Are you going to a BBQ and don't want beer? Will you be heading out to the beach or on a boat or to a picnic and don't want to carry a bottle, corkscrew, and glasses? Definitely pick yourself up a can and be sure to keep it cold. I'm looking forward to trying their rosé that's in my fridge, and I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the sparkling rosé. If you've seen it in Charlotte, let me know where!



Wine Cocktail: Sparkling Spiced Apple Cider

It's finally starting to feel like fall in North Carolina, and I could NOT be happier. Leaves are changing, pumpkins are everywhere, and the air is starting to feel crisp. What else is so popular in fall? Apples! Apple cider, apple pie, apple cinnamon candles. I love it all. To be honest with you, I am not a fan of pumpkin flavored things (GASP! I know) so I am happy to have another flavor option during this time of year.

In honor of the season, I thought I should create a wine cocktail using some fresh apple cider. I was inspired by this recipe over at Dishing Up the Dirt but made a few tweaks as I did some trial runs. The recipe is so simple and is basically fall in a glass. 

Sparkling Spiced Apple Cider Recipe:

Serving Size: 1 cocktail

  • 1 oz. Apple Brandy
  • 1 to 2 oz. Cider & Spice
  • Top off your glass with Dry Sparkling Wine

It is really THAT easy! A few notes on the ingredients above...

  • My ABC Store didn't have a normal sized bottle of apple brandy, and I was too lazy to go check other stores. Luckily, they had airplane bottle sizes and it worked great! I found that each bottle had enough to make two cocktails.
  • I first made the recipe with fresh apple cider, and I thought it tasted too much like a jolly rancher. I wanted some spice in there! That's when I went with the Cider & Spice that I found at Whole Foods (also saw it at my local chain grocery store). You could always mull your own spiced cider if you want to be fancy. I was lazy (again) and just bought the jarred stuff. Delicious! I liked 2 oz of it, but Kevin preferred 1 oz. Depends if you want the primary flavor to be the spiced cider or the bubbly! 
  • Any dry bubbly will work, so get what's on sale! I went with my go-to... Rondel Brut Cava from Total Wine. Can't be the price!

In all seriousness, this cocktail is the epitome of fall in my opinion. Enjoy this cocktail while carving pumpkins (be careful with those mini-saws!) or while you're snuggled up near the first fire of season! 



Wine Cocktails: St. Elder Classic

This, my friends, is my new favorite cocktail! It's easy to make, has the perfect amount of sweetness, and of course, involves bubbles which is a must in a cocktail for me. A good friend of mine introduced it to me when I was visiting her in Washington DC, and I am so happy she did! Upon my return to Charlotte, I immediately bought some elderflower liqueur so I could make this at home. Here are step by step instructions for the St. Elder Classic:

1. Elderflower liqueur - St. Germain or St. Elder
2. Bubbly*
3. Lemon
4. Peeler of some sort.**

*The original recipe calls for Prosecco for the bubbly, but I typically use this Cava. Why? I can find decent individual bottles at a good price at Total Wine, which makes it perfect for when I just want a single cocktail!
**For peelers, I used an OXO lemon zester/channel knife. I purchased mine in store at Sur La Table, but you can find it on Amazon as well.

St Elder Classic 1

To create this delicious cocktail:

1. Pour 1. oz of the elderflower liqueur into a champagne flute.
2. Fill the remainder of the glass with the bubbly.
3. Top it off with a lemon twist!

It's really that simple! In about two minutes, you'll have a tasty drink in your hand. I'm sure you could make it seasonal with some fresh berries in the summer, but the classic version stands alone, too. These would be perfect if you want to spice up a Mother's Day Brunch, or with wedding season upon us, it'd make a great cocktail for a bridal shower!