Winc February 2021 Review + Blind Wine Tasting Challenge
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.)
COUPON: Use code EPT50OFF to save 50% off four wine 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 February 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.
For this month’s delivery, I wanted to try something different. I’m a big lover of games, so I decided to challenge my husband (and Winc drinking buddy) to a taste-testing battle extraordinaire. We both consider ourselves to be pretty good at tasting wine, and we can be a little competitive. So why not turn this month’s Winc shipment into our very own tasting challenge? I threw down the gauntlet, and he was game. So… WELCOME TO THE WINC THUNDERDOME!
Let’s meet the competitors:
Name: Lindsey (Yours truly!)
Profile: Lindsey is a lifelong vino-lover who can spot the difference between a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a French Sancerre a mile away. Her all-black wardrobe has been known to intimidate opponents (or so she claims), and her unwavering desire to kick Niall’s booty could prove to be either an asset or liability in this challenge.
Profile: Niall is one classy fellow who will fight tooth and nail against anyone who claims that rosé is a “girly drink.” His trash-talking game is on point, and he seems convinced that he is a “super-taster in training” who has this challenge in the bag.
To keep things fair, we agreed to cover the labels of the different bottles while we did our blind-tasting. We’d take turns trying the wines while blindfolded and record our tasting notes to compare with Winc‘s description of the wines. (Full disclosure: I ordered the wines, but enough time passed between ordering and delivery that I couldn’t recall the exact descriptions and varietals. Still, Niall insisted that I tell you that I likely had a bit of an edge going into the competition.)
Wine #1: NV Finke’s™ Brut Sparkling White Wine— $16.99 (or $14.99 through the subscription)
Hummm… I know this is sparkling wine, but it’s not really all that fizzy. It’s nice and dry, and I think it’s pretty fruity. I’m getting some apples … and a little bit of pear. I like this. I think I’d want to drink this with some salty cheese and crackers or a pie with buttery, flaky crust. Yum! I think this wine is solid.
This is a sparkly wine for sure. Tastes like apple cider to me. And I don’t know if it’s been open for too long, but there’s not a ton of fizz.
This California sparkling is light and fresh, showcasing racy yellow and white fruit. This fun-loving sparkler sees minimal aging, resulting in an especially fresh and youthful wine with bright acidity on the palate and minerally notes of lemon, apple and white peach. Enjoy with lighter fare, seafood, or anytime you want to celebrate! Tasting notes of apple, apricot, citrus, pear.
How’d we do?: I’m gonna say we both nailed this one. Winc mentioned flavors of apple, which we both called out. (Plus I mentioned pear.) Look at us go!
Wine #2: 2019 L’Atelier du Sud® Viognier— $15.99 (or $13.99 through the subscription)
Oh, this smells really nice! The aroma’s citrusy and floral. *sips* There’s a citrusy taste with some lemon. Oh! You know what it tastes like? Lemon and honey! I always make hot lemon water with honey when I don’t feel well, and sometimes if I don’t drink it quickly enough it gets cold in the glass. This wine tastes exactly like that!
I’m drinking a white… Touch of minerality… Touch of lemon. It’s really smooth. This isn’t super flinty, but it’s got a note of that, too. I would say this is either a sauvignon blanc or a citrusy blend that’s leaning in that direction.
Evoking the charming beauty of the French countryside, this dynamic Viognier is engaging and food-friendly. A bright, inviting white from the South of France, L’Atelier du Sud® Viognier is guaranteed to evoke a Mediterranean state of mind. Produced in the South of France, you can practically hear the waves lapping and birds chirping as you pop open the bottle. Fragrant flower, and citrus notes shine through, providing a lively profile that can’t fail to lift your mood. Tasting notes of honeysuckle, lemon, mandarin orange, vanilla.
How’d we do?: Oh, man, we got close with this one. We both picked up on the lemony, citrus notes. Neither of us got vanilla, but I still think we did well here! Woot!
Wine #3: 2017 Matchlock Merlot— $17.99 (or $15.99 through the subscription)
This smells like jam to me, like berries. *sips* This is very smooth at the start but I’m getting a little bit of heat at the end. But in terms of flavors … I’m not getting a ton. *sips* A little spice and raspberry, maybe cherry. This is drinkable, but I wouldn’t crave it again. *sips* If I had to guess, I’d say it could be a Pinot Noir. *sips* I don’t think it’s particularly full-bodied. *sips* But could also be a blend.
Mmm. This is quite spicy. Am I tasting clove? There’s a touch of wersh-ness, but it’s not too puckering. I’m not getting much on the nose, and it’s not terribly fruit-forward, either. For me, this is drinkable, but I wouldn’t reach for it again. I don’t really know what kind of wine this is, but if I had to guess… South American? But wait, aren’t they usually fruity? Maybe this is from somewhere it isn’t too sunny because there’s not a lot of sweetness?
Matchlock is a lush Merlot that reveals the unique terroir of Paso Robles. This user-friendly red has abundant dark fruit notes that are tempered by slight herbality and a caress of warm spices. With a plush, full body, this is the perfect winter wine for snowy nights in. Tasting notes of baking spice, black cherry, blackberry, eucalyptus.
How’d we do?: (Before I assess our tasting, I have a couple of quick things to mention. First of all, I have to give a shout-out to my husband for noting every. single. time. I sipped this wine. Har har. I was just trying to be thorough, I swear! Secondly, I should mention that Niall is from Scotland, and I think “wersh” is a Scottish word. The way he’s used it here means sour or bitter. Now, back to the game.) How’d we do this round? Well, not bad, I think! I picked up on the dark fruit notes for sure, and Niall certainly got the spice. We dropped the ball on identifying this as a California Malbec, but I think that would have been tricky to pin down. Shall we call this another tie?
Wine #4: 2019 Big Beat® Red Blend— $14.99 (or $12.99 through the subscription)
Sweetness: Slightly Sweet
Ooh, interesting. This one tastes like blueberries. It’s interesting! There are floral notes. It’s like taking a bath with some kind of blueberry bubble bath! I usually think about pairing red wines with steak, but Ii’m not sure I’d want to drink this with red meat. But it might be good with baked brie and jam.
This is very floral. I’m gonna say… lavender and geranium? This one is oakier than the first one and has some smokiness. Definite smokiness. I still don’t think this is very fruit-forward, but it’s fruitier than the last one. I’m not sure what kind of wine this is… maybe a Chianti? *takes another sip*…*makes a silly snooty face* A young Chianti. *laughs*
Big Beat red blend is a party-ready wine that you can put on repeat. Ready to pump up the volume? Big Beat is a personality-filled red blend that’s ready to get loud. Vivacious notes of red fruit and purple flowers are balanced with pepper and a hint of sweetness. Medium-bodied and approachable, this blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is an easy-drinking red with a little extra bit of deliciousness that keeps you coming back for another sip. Tasting notes of pomegranate, raspberry, rose, strawberry.
How’d we do?: Well, I dare say my “blueberry bubble bath” missed the mark, but I think I still get a couple of points for picking out fruit and florals, even if they weren’t the right ones. Niall got closer to the mark, though he didn’t exactly nail it, either.
Verdict: This box from Winc had some highs and not-so-highs. I thought the sparkling wine was the clear stand-out, and I also really enjoyed the Viognier. Niall was into the Viognier and also liked the red blend. Neither of us was crazy about the Merlot. Without a subscription, the wines I received in this box would cost $65.96, but with a membership, it comes to $57.96— an $8 savings. For the wines I received, I think that price is fair. As for the game, I had SO MUCH FUN challenging my husband to a blind wine tasting this month, and I dare say we did a pretty decent job! If I had to declare a winner, I think it’s probably Niall, though I feel I gave him a good run for his money.
What do you think? Did you enjoy this wine tasting face-off? If so, please let me know in the comments section below. If this is something you’d like to see me do again, perhaps I’ll challenge him to a rematch!
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.
COUPON: Use code EPT50OFF to save 50% off four wine bottles.
Value Breakdown: This box cost $57.96 for four full bottles of wine, but had a retail value of $65.96, so that’s a savings of $8.00 by having the subscription. The per-bottle cost breaks down to $14.49.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Do you have a favorite Winc wine?