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.
I've been subscribing to Winc for years, and it's one of my favorite alcohol delivery options out there!
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My November 2021 Wines: First Impressions
When I was browsing Winc's wine selections this month, I was ensnared by the bubbles. My attention kept being snagged by the sparkling wines available on the site, and I thought it might be fun to showcase some bubbly this month. There wasn't a huge selection available, but there were two different releases of Fink's on the site, a Brut and a Demi Sec. I thought it might be fun to try them side-by-side! To round out the shipment, I also added two bottles of red to my cart.
Winc shipments are securely packed in molded cardboard, and I've never had a problem with damaged or broken bottles. As usual, my bottles arrived quickly and in great condition!
The Taste Test
Finke's NV Brut Sparkling White Blend- $16.99 (Member Price: $14.99)
California | Light | Dry | 11.5% alcohol
Before I talk about the way this wine tastes, let me put on my chemistry hat for a second to talk about the science of sparkling wine. If you've ever tried Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato, you'll know that wines come in varying levels of sweetness. Some wine is dry enough to make your mouth pucker, while others can almost taste like candy. The same is true for sparkling wine. Depending on how much residual sugar there is in a bottle, the wine might be labeled Brut (very dry), Sec (dry), Demi-Sec (semi-sweet), or Doux (sweet). Many people have one they reach for most frequently, but I'm a big believer they each have their place. For my money, Brut is the best choice for Champagne cocktails. When I make cocktails, I like to be able to control the sweetness level, so I appreciate a sparkling wine that brings the flavor and leaves the sugar at home. When I'm making French 75's, Kir Royale's, or even Mimosas, I reach for Brut.
I tried Finke's Brut both on its own and with a splash of juice, and I'm happy to give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. The flavor of the wine is all apples, pears, and lemons. It's crisp and fruity, with a nice fizz. When mixed with juice, it created a refined beverage with a balance that wasn't too sweet. I used a ratio of 1/3 juice + 2/3 freshly squeezed OJ, and it was perfection.
Finke's NV Demi-Sec Sparkling White Blend- $18.99 (Member Price: $16.99)
California | Light | Semi-Sweet | 11.5% alcohol
Whereas I prefer to use Brut bubbly in cocktails, Demi-Sec is my pick when I'm drinking sparkling wine on its own. Especially for bottles under the $20-$25 price point, I think a little bit of sweetness adds a certain je ne sais quoi. I tend to enjoy bubbly with either dessert or salty snacks like french fries, and in both cases, I think a little hint of sweetness is divine.
Winc describes this bottle as having "tasting notes of apple, candied lemon, white flowers, white peach," and I think that's pretty accurate. Though this is a demi-sweet, it's worth noting that this still doesn't taste like a sweet wine, there's just enough sugar to round out the edges and help this go down smoothly. Compared to the previous bottle, this one is smoother and more delicate. The flavor is apple-y with a hint of florals. I would happily order this bottle again.
2018 Pacificana® Zinfandel- $14.99 (Member Price: $12.99)
California | Medium | Dry | 14.4% alcohol
It's been a little while since I've explored the lower price point reds Winc has to offer (I was on a white and rosé kick all summer long), so I wanted to lean in that direction this month. Winc's wines start at $12.99, so this is one of the cheapest bottles on the site. It's a California Zinfandel, and like most Zinfandels, it's medium-bodied and very dry. When you take a sip of this wine, it's smooth on the front end with a very dry finish. There are big tannins that left me smacking my lips a little. As for the flavor, it's very jammy. I get stewed fruit flavors of strawberries and blueberries with a little bit of pepper. For the price point, this wine is solid; it tastes more expensive than it is.
2020 Altre Món Grenache- $15.99 (Member Price: $13.99)
Spain | Medium | Dry | 14.9% alcohol
Grenache isn't a wine I know very well, but the description snagged my attention.
A lush, plummy red, notes of dark fruit and purple flowers are balanced by dusty texture and a touch of spice. This medium-bodied wine is an ideal match with food that has layered flavors like garam marsala chicken, Moroccan-spiced lamb, or ras el hanout roasted carrots.
Compared to the previous bottle, this one was less fruity and much earthier. I didn't choose to pair this with food, but I actually think it would benefit from being sipped alongside dinner. As a matter of personal preference, I tend to find earthy wines are better when paired with food, and I can see how this wine would hold up well to spiced meats and stews. With that said, this wasn't the standout bottle for me this month, but it was okay.
Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $56.96
Value Breakdown: This box has a retail value of $58.96, so that's a savings of $8 by having the subscription. The per-bottle cost breaks down to $14.74. Could I find cheaper wines? Of course, but I like that Winc connects me with small-batch wines I can't find locally. The quality is also pretty solid. In particular, I think the value of the sparkling wines I received this month was exceptional. I'd expect to pay at least $5 more per bottle for California sparkling wines of this caliber.
This box was a lot of fun! (Bubbles are always fun, aren't they!?) I greatly enjoyed the two bottles of sparkling wine I received, and it was helpful to taste them side-by-side to see how the Brut compares to the Demi-Sec. I enjoyed both, and I would happily order each again. Best of all? The value of these wines was fantastic. California sparkling wines are often pricier, and I would expect to pay at least $5 more for similar wines of this quality. The reds were a little less exciting to me overall, but I greatly enjoyed the Zinfandel. Again, I think this is a bottle that delivers great value for money. The Grenache wasn't a knockout in my opinion, but it was still drinkable. Out of the four bottles I received this month, the Grenache is the only one I wouldn't order again. With NYE approaching at the end of next month, I'm curious to see if Winc will release a bunch of new sparkling wines. If so, I may not be able to resist more bubbles!
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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. Sign up today and curate your own selection, or let them choose a few bottles for you.
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