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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Two Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving is next week! I can hardly believe it. Kevin and I celebrated early with his family and my parents since everyone will be all over the place this year. I always like setting a pretty table and using our wedding crystal! In case you missed it, last week I put out a little Thanksgiving Wine Guide to help with pairing options. This week, I actually have two specific recommendations (a white and a red) that I think would be great accompaniments to your Thanksgiving dinner, assuming it's a traditional one. Both are from the United States, too!

Acrobat Pinot Gris

In my guide, I stated that a Chardonnay was a classic pairing. However, when I was researching pairings, I saw several references to Pinot Gris as well. I'd never bought a Pinot Gris before, so I was excited to give it a whirl this year. First, you may be thinking, what is Pinot Gris? Pinot Gris is more commonly known as Pinot Grigio! Same grape, just different name and different styles. This article from Wine Spectator describes it very well, but the short hand is that Pinot Gris is usually richer and creamier while Pinot Grigio is crisp and clean. 

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The Facts

  • Producer: King Estate
  • Region: Oregon
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: Pinot Gris
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: $14.99 

The wine is a dusty, pale gold color. Even from the beginning, it looked slightly different from the Pinot Grigios I have had in the past! The wine smells of peach, lemon, and something tropical... pineapple, perhaps. It is very pleasant to drink! It's got a nice, balanced acidity. It cleans your palate without it being so mouth puckering (like a Sauvignon Blanc, for example). My mom, who has an aversion to a lot of acid, even liked this one! I got the taste of apple and pineapple, but there was also a creaminess of texture. No oak or vanilla, in my opinion, but the texture was definitely there. This would go so well with the all of the creaminess at Thanksgiving dinner (hello, gravy and mashed potatoes!). Finally, it should be noted that it was a Wine Enthusiast 2016 Best Buy pick, and received 91 points from them. I don't always live by point ratings, but I'd have to agree with their opinion on this one!

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Samuel Robert Winery Vintner's Reserve Pinot Noir

If you read my review of the Ropiteau Pinot Noir, you know I'm skeptical of inexpensive Pinots. That doesn't mean I'll stop trying because just like with Cabernet Sauvignons, I'm on the hunt for delicious and affordable options. I saw this Samuel Robert Pinot at Total Wine, it had a good rating from Wine Enthusaist, it was on sale, and it was a pick of one of the staff members. I was sold!

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The Facts

  • Producer: Samuel Robert Winery
  • Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $14.99 

I was extremely surprised by the nose. It smelled so complex for only $12.99 (I got it on sale, and I think it still is)! There was cherry, of course, but also some cinnamon and a hint of earthiness or decaying leaves. "Decaying leaves" doesn't sound good when reading it, but you know that smell of fall? I personally love it. When I tried the wine, it was less bold in flavor than I expected based on how the wine smelled. The spice was missing on the palate, but there was some good cherry and cranberry flavor. The fruit flavor and acid was well balanced, not being jammy or too thin. If you can catch this on sale at your local Total Wine with a coupon or in-store promotion, it is definitely a great bang for your buck! Even at its full price of $14.99, I think it's a great value. I really enjoyed my small tasting glass and am looking forward to opening the full bottle later! For now, this is the best Pinot Noir I've had recently for less than $20, so I'm giving it four bunches.

Rating:

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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!

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Tasting Notes: Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

This past weekend, Kevin and I made a trip to Edenton, North Carolina (close to the Outer Banks) for the wedding of Kevin's good friend. Edenton is a very picturesque and quaint town, but for about an hour or so before Edenton, there isn't much around. We were going to be in the middle of nowhere at dinnertime, so we did some TripAdvisor searches to see what was around at various stages in our trip. We came across this cute restaurant in Tarboro, North Carolina, called On the Square that had a great wine selection and yummy sounding dinner menu, so we decided to stop there. The owners of the restaurant have impressive resumes and are Advanced Sommeliers themselves, so it was a great hidden gem to come across! The sommelier on staff recommended this wine with our meals, so we went with it.

The Facts

  • Producer: Soter Vineyards
  • Region: Oregon; Majority in Willamette Valley
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Restaurant
  • Price: $20 retail
  • Eyes: The color of this wine was more toward a "masculine" Pinot Noir with deeper purple colors and a darker red than others. I was surprised by the deepness of the color and was relieved since I don't always enjoy Willamette Pinot Noirs.
     
  • Nose: The sommelier had described this wine as being fruit forward and having more cherry aspects than the earthiness that can come with Oregon Pinot. I found that to be true on the nose with definite aromas of cherry. There were also notes of blackberry and raspberry, which I love!
     
  • Mouth: The aromas that came through on the nose definitely showed up when I tried the wine. I picked up on the "cherry cola" flavor the sommelier mentioned and also picked up on the dark berries I caught in the aroma. I didn't get much earthiness, which was a relief since that's my preference. The wine was acidic, but not overly so.
     
  • Thoughts: This wine was a pretty good pick, but I would not say the sommelier hit it out of the park with what I described to her. I used words like "bold", "spice", and "bite" and she didn't really hit those notes. The wine lacked that spiciness or tannic aspect, but overall was fruity and a good pairing with the chicken. I liked the story behind the wine... The grapes are sourced from certified sustainable vineyards and are bottled in a certified  sustainable winery. Also, for every sale, $1 is donated to the Oregon Environmental Council which safeguards the health of those in Oregon by working for clean air, clean water, and healthy food. Overall, would I get it again? Probably not in a restaurant, but I wouldn't rule it out totally. Is it a good price point? Absolutely, $25 in a restaurant with retail at $20 is awesome. If you like Pinot Noirs with a little heft to them, but not too much, I think this is a great choice for you! 

Rating:

Note: I'd likely give this 2.5 bunches if I wanted to get technical. I wasn't wowed but it's definitely not a full on two bunches either. It was just a little too Oregon-y for my taste.