Winc is a wine subscription box that re-imagines the traditional wine club by offering a regularly-changing selection of unique, small production wines that are sourced directly from vineyards and winemakers. It's one of my favorite alcohol delivery options out there!
This box was sent at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Wine Subscription
The Subscription Box: Winc
The Cost: Bottles start at $12.99 each with a membership. (Shipping is free on orders of 4 or more bottles.)
The Products: Small-lot wines, ciders, and sparkling options sourced directly from vineyards and winemakers.
Ships to: Eligible U.S. zip codes, which you can check through this link.
Winc January 2021 Review
When you sign up to join Winc, you take a six-question palate profile quiz to help determine your taste in wine. Based on your answers, Winc makes bottle recommendations for you every month. You can go along with their recommendations, choose your own bottles from their regularly changing selection, or skip the month completely. You can also take the palate profile test as often as you’d like.
The bottles are shipped in an upright cardboard box that has molded pieces to hold them in place. This helps prevent the bottles from bashing into one another during transport. The box is rather sturdy and has a convenient handle that makes it easy to carry.
NV Déclassé® White Blend— $16.99 (or $14.99 through the subscription)
Winemaking: Low-Sugar, Sustainable
After my great luck last month with Winc's Déclassé® Red, I thought I'd give the white Déclassé® a try. It's a light-bodied, dry white, and the exact blend of grape varietals is a mystery. Here's why:
“Declassified” wines are some of the wine world’s biggest mysteries. Sometimes, a high-profile producer can’t use its vineyard name or appellation on some of its wine because of a particular area’s wine laws (like, for example, if the vineyard’s yield exceeds the yearly allowance or the wine hasn’t spent the required amount of time aging in barrel). As a result, the producer will set aside a certain portion of the wine, label it sans vineyard name or appellation, and sell that high-quality wine for below market value. In other words, they “declassify” the wine. We named this series Déclassé — a French word meaning “having fallen in social status” — for two reasons. One: to pay tribute to the declassified wines it represents. And two: because that’s exactly how these wines are often wrongly perceived.
I usually like to know as much as I can about the wine in my glass, but I think it's fun that this wine is a bit of an unknown. The flavors are interesting and very citrusy. I get notes of lemon, orange, and pineapple. This wine reminds me of a tropical citrus punch, but there's also a dusty, mossy flavor that adds a green element. It's almost like I whipped up a pitcher of island lemonade and brought it to a picnic that had been laid out on freshly cut grass. Big fan.
2020 Cape Route Chenin Blanc— $15.99 (or $13.99 through the subscription)
Western Cape, South Africa
Winemaking: Vegan, Low-Sugar, Sustainable
For my second bottle, I went with another white. (I decided to fill my box with two reds and two whites this month.) This is another light and citrusy wine (can you tell I have a type?), but the flavor is a little bit more complex. There’s a mineral-y quality to this wine that Winc calls out as “wet stone.” I really enjoyed this wine, but I tasted all of the wines in this box along with my husband, and he wasn’t a fan. For me, the limestone element adds elegance and pulls this wine back from being a total fruit bomb, but he just couldn't get into the flavor.
2019 Invoke Cabernet Franc — $18.99 (or $16.99 through the subscription)
Winemaking: Low-Sulfur, Low-Sugar, Sustainable
The hubs and I were again divided on this wine, a full-bodied cabernet franc from California, but before I tell you our thoughts on it, I have to share Winc’s tasting notes: “bacon, bell pepper, blackberry, plum.” Bacon and bell pepper? Really?… Yes, really. It’s funny, as soon as I tasted this wine there was a particular flavor that seemed familiar but that I just couldn’t place. It wasn’t until I read the description that the lightbulb came on. It was green pepper! This might sound weird (and clearly it didn’t work for my husband), but I really liked how it affected the flavor. This wine is complex, the flavor is layered, and it’s just… interesting. When I take a sip, I get the green pepper first… and it’s a lot of green pepper. But as that initial flavor subsides, I’m left with the taste of peppery berries on my tongue. I like this wine quite a lot!
2017 Undercard Cabernet Sauvignon— $17.99 (or $15.99 through the subscription)
For my final pick this month, I decided to go with a straightforward bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Before I dive in, can I be honest for a sec? I have been lucky in my life to have tasted some amazing (read: pricey) bottles of cabernet sauvignon, and I sometimes avoid lower-priced bottles of this varietal because I worry that they just won’t compare. The “hot” (or alcoholic-tasting) cabs that you sometimes find at the lower end of the price range just don’t do it for me, and if I’m looking for a bottle of red in the $10-$15 range, I tend to reach for blends, as I often have better luck there. Well, gentle reader, lend me your ear. This bottle goes for $15.99, and if I’d tasted it blind I would have guessed it cost at least $35. This wine is delicious and smooth as can be; it’s like velvet in a glass. Winc calls out flavors of “bell pepper, black cherry, clove, leather, “ but for my palate, this wine is all dark red cherry, baking spices (clove and mace, especially), and leather. To sum up my opinion on this wine in Seussian verse: I would drink this on a train, I would drink this on a plane; I would drink this with a steak, I would drink this with some cake; I would drink this in the sun, I would drink this just for fun; I would drink this any time... I hope you like my vino rhyme.
Verdict: This is my second box since resubscribing to Winc, and I'm enjoying being a member again. Of the four wines I received this month, I liked them all. (My husband and fellow taste-tester loved two and thought the others were just okay.) The Undercard was exceptional, and I'm seriously tempted to buy a few more bottles. Without a subscription, the wines I received in this box would cost $69.96, but with a membership, it comes to $61.96— an $8 savings. For the wines I received, I think that price is fair. (And I really appreciate the convenience of having the wine shipped to my front door!)
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Since Winc allows you to choose your wine, you can get any combination you’d like any month. Not all of the wines I received are still available for purchase, but Winc releases new wines all the time. Sign up today and curate your own selection, or let them choose a few bottles for you.
Value Breakdown: This box cost $61.96 for four full bottles of wine, but had a retail value of $69.96, so that's a savings of $8.00 by having the subscription. The per-bottle cost breaks down to $15.49.
Check out all of our Winc reviews and more of our best wine subscription boxes!
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