Club W Wine Subscription Review & Coupon – May 2015
Club W is a monthly wine subscription that re-imagines the traditional wine club. Utilizing a “palate profile quiz” that you take when you join, Club W recommends bottles to suit your personal taste in wine. Each month, you make the decision whether to go along with their suggestions or choose your own bottles from their regularly changing assortment. If you don’t login to make your monthly bottle selection, your recommended wines will be sent by default. You can skip a month at any time.
The wines are sourced directly from vineyards and winemakers, which helps Club W avoid middlemen and secure better wine for less money. Direct to consumer shipping also means they are able to offer smaller, more unique wines than you’ll find in the grocery store.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Club W
The Cost: A shipment of 3 bottles per month starts at $39 + $6 flat rate shipping. (Shipping is free on orders of 6 or more bottles.)
COUPON: 50% off your first 3 bottles, no coupon required, just use this link.
The Products: 3, 6, or more bottles of small-lot wines sourced directly from vineyards and wine makers.
Ships to: All US states EXCEPT: AK, AL, AR, DE, HI, KY, MS, OK, PA, RI, DS, and UT
Club W includes a tasting card for each of the wines in each shipment. Cards include a description of the wine, tasting notes, and information about the flavor profile.
These 3 bottles were recommended for me by Club W based on my “palate profile.” My tastes are fairly varied: I like everything from deep & earthy reds to light & lively whites. I usually prefer bold wines to those with more subtle flavors, which I indicated in my quiz, but I’m willing to try just about anything.
Chenin Blanc is a fairly uncommon grape varietal in California, where most winemakers focus on making white wines from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. To preserve the flavors of the grape, this wine was made using a cold fermentation process and aged in neutral oak barrels. It’s a very smooth wine- crisp and easy to drink. I’ve had Chenin Blanc quite a few times before, but it’s never a wine I think to order in restaurants to look for in the grocery store. Thanks to this bottle, that might change!
Generally, I’m a fan of wine blends. I like that the winemaker has the freedom to mix different grapes together to create something totally new, and I think it’s usually pretty easy to find good blends at lower price points. For the Personal Property Rhone-Style Blend, the winemaker blended a large number of different grapes (including Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, and Roussane) and compares the wine to “Chateauneuf-du-Pape which can have up to 13 varietals.” Club W always suggests “when” to drink the wine on the information card. For this bottle, they suggest opening it “to impress a fellow wine geek.”
Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is a classic Italian wine made from Montepulciano and up to 15% Sangiovese. Unsurprisingly, it pairs extremely well with Italian food and, according to Club W, “was made to pair with tomato sauce.” I like Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, but I thought this one was just okay.
These 3 bottles are the wines I selected for myself.
Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, I’ve been reaching for white wine more often than red. I love sipping on cold white wine while sitting outside in a warm breeze! The Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy is a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. Marlborough has a cool climate that helps yield Sauvignon with a nice, crisp acidity. This particular wine is full of citrusy notes and reminds me a bit of tart lemonade.
Club W provides a short tasting video for each of the wines on their site, and I always make a point of watching them while I taste. In the video for the Rambutan, I learned that there are many different varieties of Muscat grapes that all have a characteristic “grape juice” flavor. (I think it’s funny when wine, essentially grape juice, is described as tasting like grape juice!) Muscat grapes are often used to make sweet dessert wines, like Moscato, but this Muscat Blanc is dry. The aroma of this wine is beautiful, very flowery and almost reminiscent of perfume. I like the flavor too, which is fruity and floral, but my husband isn’t a fan. For him, the blossomy flavor is a little overpowering.
Alma Libre is a red blend from Chile that combines Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. This is a very earthy wine that opens up to reveal soft berry flavors. I like the smooth finish, and I think this would pair nicely with Club W’s suggested recipe, Spicy Eggplant Pasta.
To accompany the tasting, I decided to make a couple of the suggested recipe pairings. Since the weather has been so lovely, I picked out Steamed Mussels and Shaker Lemon Pie, perfect dishes to enjoy al fresco.
Recipe #1- Steamed Mussels
I began by rinsing my mussels and discarding any with broken shells.
In a large pot, I heated some oil and sautéed onion, garlic, jalapeno, and fennel. When the onion softened, I added the mussels to the pot along with some white wine and slices of lemon and lime. (Apologies for the photo- it’s difficult to capture black mussels in a black pot!)
I then covered the pot and let them steam for about 5 minutes, until they opened up. When they were ready, I finished them with some chopped parsley and a bit of butter, and I served them with a sliced baguette.
I love mussels, and these were great. This recipe is the suggested pairing for the 2014 Rambutan Muscat Blanc, and I thought they paired well together. The wine was a great match for the slightly spicy mussels, and I loved how the fresh slices of citrus in the dish complemented the wine’s fruity flavors.
Recipe #2- Shaker Lemon Pie
As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I love lemon pie!
I began by combining thinly sliced lemons with a vanilla bean (both the scraped out seeds and the pod) and sugar.
I let this mixture sit in the fridge overnight to allow the sugar to dissolve into the lemon juice and the vanilla to infuse.
When I was ready to make the pie, I removed the bowl from the fridge and discarded the vanilla pod. I then mixed in beaten eggs.
The recipe did not include instructions for making piecrust, so I used my own all-butter recipe. I lined my pie tin with the crust and then par baked it. (The recipe didn’t call for this step, but I like to pre-bake my crust to ensure it doesn’t get soggy.)
I then poured in the filling and topped it with a couple of thin lemon slices.
I baked the pie for 15 minutes at 450 then reduced the temperature to 325 for the remainder of the baking time. When the filling set, I removed it from the oven.
This pie was delicious! I loved the incorporation of whole lemon slices. They were beautiful and added nice, chewy texture to the pie. This recipe is intended to complement the Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, and I thought they paired very well together.
Verdict: Last month, Club W was hit and miss for me, but I’m happy to report that I had much better luck with this shipment. I really liked the majority of the wines, and the recipes I tried this month were standouts, too! As always, I also enjoyed the educational aspect of Club W. I really enjoy learning about the wines I’m drinking, and I think their cards and videos do a great job of providing information in a fun way. If you love discovering new wine, I would definitely recommend trying Club W. Plus, if you use this link, you can get your first box of wine (3 bottles) for 50% off.
Have you tried Club W? If so, did you discover any new favorite wines?