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My Firstleaf Review — I Challenged Myself to Build a Meal Around the Wines

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseJan 5, 2021 | 9 comments

My Firstleaf Review —  I Challenged Myself to Build a Meal Around the Wines

Firstleaf Review

Award-Winning Wines Sent To Your Doorstep

Firstleaf is a wine subscription service that matches you with personalized wine selections. When you sign up, you take a quiz that helps pin down your preferences, and then Firstleaf picks out bottles just for you. I tried Firstleaf several years ago, but it’s been a while since I’ve had their vino. High time for a revisit!

I really enjoy wine subscriptions, and I like writing about them. For this review, though, I wanted to shake things up a little bit. I had an idea. What If I used the wines in my box to inspire a meal? Big soirees and crowded dinner parties aren’t exactly safe or smart right now, but what if I threw a virtual party for you readers? I could pair each of Firstleaf’s bottles with a complimentary dish and ask my husband to help weigh in on the wines. I love a good challenge, and this one sounded like fun! So, in this review, I’ll (of course) talk about my experience with Firstleaf and the wines I received. I’ll describe them for you and give you my honest opinion on how they taste, but I’m also going to add in some additional content: pairing suggestions, recipes, and a few fun entertaining tips. I, Lindsey Morse, cordially invite you to my virtual Firstleaf dinner party. Pull up a seat at my table, won’t you?

Want to explore more wine of the month clubs? Check out our list of The 13 Best Wine Subscription Boxes!

by Lindsey Morse, Wine Lover & Hostess with the Mostess
February 28, 2021| 9 comments

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About Firstleaf

Before I talk about the wines I received in my box and show you the food I made to pair with them, let’s get acquainted with Firstleaf and explore what this subscription is about.

 

The Subscription: Firstleaf

What’s It All About: When you sign up for a Firstleaf subscription, you take a quiz that asks you about your wine preferences. Based on your replies, your first box will be curated for you. (You can swap out any wines that don’t interest you.) As you rank the bottles and continue to provide feedback over time, your recommendations will become increasingly more accurate. Each shipment from Firstleaf contains 6 bottles of wine.

The Cost: $39 and FREE shipping for the first box, and $79 + shipping for subsequent boxes.

  

Shipping: Firstleaf currently ships to 43/50 states. They do not currently ship to the following states: Hawaii, Alaska, Utah, Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Alabama.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Firstleaf’s Wines

Image via Firstleaf.

Firstleaf works directly with wineries and winemakers to cut out the middlemen, which allows them to get wines to subscribers at a significant discount. They pride themselves on their ability to offer wines at a fair price— without the retail markup you often see in markets and wine stores. 

One of the things that sets Firstleaf apart from other wine clubs is that they don’t offer a one-size-fits-all service. Not all wine drinkers like the same wines, so customization is a huge part of their model. From the Firstleaf website:

Firstleaf is the only wine club that tailors its wine choices to an individual member’s preferences. That means that with every new shipment, you can discover new wines that are selected to fit your flavor profile. And to make the club even better we are working hand in hand with winemakers to develop wines with the feedback provided by our members, so our selections are always evolving.

For the record, I have come across other wine clubs that make personalized recommendations (Bright Cellars and Winc come to mind right away), but it’s a great feature that I’m always happy to see. There’s also a pretty impressive satisfaction guarantee. If you ever receive a bottle you don’t like, Firstleaf will issue you a credit you can use on future shipments.

Firstleaf features wines from all over the world: U.S. wines from California (including Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles), Oregon, and Washington, as well as international wines from Australia, Spain, France, Italy, and South America.

My Firstleaf Box

Signing Up

When you sign up for a subscription, you’ll take a quiz that helps Firstleaf‘s algorithm figure out what kind of wines you like. Based on your answers, they’ll make tailored wine recommendations for your introductory box. (Then, after you receive your wines and rate them, your recommendations will start to get even better based on which bottles you think are thumbs up and thumbs down.) To give you an idea of what the quiz is like, here are a few of the questions:

Image via Firstleaf.

I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to wine, but there are a few wines I’m not that into. Oaky, buttery chardonnay and sweet rieslings, for example, aren’t really my jam. I decided to be fairly specific with my quiz answers. I enjoy wines that are flowery, fruity, and acidic, but I decided to only click on my three favorite descriptors to see where it would take me. (I figured I could always retake the quiz if I didn’t like my recommendations.)

Image via Firstleaf.

After selecting my favorites, I was asked to choose which ones I did not like. I did not have to hesitate here. As I mentioned already, oaky, buttery chardonnays are not my fave.

Image via Firstleaf.

I was also asked about my favorite foods, and I have to be honest, I was trying to be strategic and game the system a little bit here. Do I love caramel and butter? Absolutely. But I do not like buttery or sweet wines, so I opted to leave those boxes unchecked.

Wine Selection

After I finished the quiz, I was introduced to the wines that Firstleaf picked out for me.

Image via Firstleaf.

Hmmm… two chardonnaysThe quiz didn’t ask about specific varietals, but I was hoping to avoid these. I really only like unoaked chardonnay, and even then I’m picky, so I tend to steer clear entirely unless I can taste the wine before buying a bottle. Looking at the descriptions of the two that were recommended, both seemed like they might work for my palate, but I wasn’t convinced. Luckily, I was able to swap these for different wines before finalizing my order.

Image via Firstleaf.

There weren’t a huge number of alternate options available, but I was able to swap in a sauvignon blanc and a Bordeaux blanc. I also changed out a red Bordeaux for a South African bottle of pinotage. I didn’t have any concerns about the Bordeaux, but the pinotage was calling to me, so I decided to go for it.

Now happy with my box, I placed my order and sat back to wait for my first shipment to arrive.

My Box

My box arrived in excellent condition, and I immediately brought it inside to check out the contents. Everything looked great!

 

My box included a newspaper-style info sheet that highlighted some of Firstleaf‘s offerings and featured some wine-related snip-its.

My Wines

Let’s take a look at the wines I received in my Firstleaf box! I’ve included stats and info about the wines here; my full tasting notes are featured in the next section.

 

Watchful Maker 2018 Sauvignon Blanc– member price $23 (MSRP: $27)

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Alcohol: 12.5%

Region: Horse Heaven Hills, WA

Vintage: 2018

 

I love wines that are crisp, citrusy, and high in acid, so I felt I needed to try one of Firstleaf’s sauvignon blancs. (I just didn’t think my box would be complete without one!) I usually go for sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, so I was intrigued to try this one from Washington state. Here’s a description from Firstleaf:

This sauvignon blanc from the Horse Heaven Hills region in Washington is a beautiful expression of a still relatively unknown wine-growing area. The vineyards in the region benefit from two very distinct gifts from mother nature – dry and hot temperatures leveled out by strong winds pushed in from the west, and soils made up of sandy loam. Both of these elements force the vines to work harder to find nutrients for survival. The result of these natural gifts is highly concentrated fruit flavors and expressive aromatics in wines from the area. This wine is made in a classic Bordeaux style – crisp with high acidity. Citrus flavors and aromas pair with earthy and floral notes, making this far too easy drinking.

 

Ophidian 2018 Pinotage– member price $18 (MSRP: $24)

Varietal: Pinotage

Alcohol: 14.8%

Region: Western Cape, South Africa

Vintage: 2018

 

This is another bottle I swapped into my box. (Is it terrible to admit that it initially caught my eye because of the label?) The description also piqued my interest:

A varietal indigenous to South Africa, Pinotage is a cross between pinot noir and cinsault. Grown on the Western Cape of South Africa, this Pinotage is an easy drinker. Soft and opulent, this wine features prominent dark red fruit flavors and a spiciness from oak aging. Full-bodied with an approachable texture, this is perfect for drinking on a warm summer night. Pair with spicy dishes to bring out the beautiful complexities in the glass!

 

Acadine 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon– member price $24.99 (MSRP: $29)

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol: 13.8%

Region: Sonoma County, CA

Vintage: 2017

 

I love Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s probably my favorite red wine varietal. I find that it pairs wonderfully with food but is also great on its own, and that versatility is very appealing to me. I’m a big fan of California cabs, so this bottle from Sonoma felt like a natural pick for me. Here’s a description of the bottle from Firstleaf:

Sonoma County cabernet sauvignon rivals Napa Valley and has been long known to produce equally high-quality wine which are enjoyable in their youth and are well worth aging as well. Early morning harvest, 5-day cold-soaking followed by 10-day warm fermentation maximizes fruit extraction before pressing which retains its lively freshness.

 

Pip + Plow 2018 Merlot– member price $17 (MSRP: $19)

Varietal: Merlot

Alcohol: 14.1%

Region: Washington

Vintage: 2018

 

Merlots and I also tend to get along very well, so I was pleased when I saw this as one of my recommended wines. Merlot is a super food-friendly wine, so I was excited to come up with a dish for this bottle! Here’s a description:

Washington state is an incredibly unique and wonderful growing region in the U.S. It is considered to be a cool-climate region thanks to the influence of the nearby Pacific ocean and the vast mountain ranges that surround the Pacific Northwest, but there are many vineyard sites in the region that are actually warmer. This type of shift in temperature is ideal for grape growing as it allows fruit time to slowly ripen and develop deep flavors. Merlot in particular thrives in this environment and this wine is no exception. Dark black fruit notes and savory spice characteristics complement the naturally soft and velvety palate of the wine, making each sip incredibly enjoyable.

 

La Belle France 2019 Bordeaux Blanc– member price $22 (MSRP: $28)

Varietal: Bordeaux Blanc

Alcohol: 13.5%

Region: Bordeaux, France

Vintage: 2019

 

This is the final bottle I picked out for myself. (I ended up swapping 3/6 the six bottles suggested for me. I know, I know… I’m a bit of a control freak.) White Bordeaux is typically a blend of two or more of the following: sauvignon blanc, sémillon, and muscadelle. Bordeaux blanc isn’t one of my go-to wines, but it’s one that I enjoy (no surprise, I suppose, since my beloved sauvignon blanc is a key component!) so I was excited to add this one to my box. Here’s what Firstleaf has to say about it:

It’s no secret that Bordeaux produces some of the most stunning wines in the world. While the region is famously known for its bold red blends, white Bordeaux blends are just as incredible and this wine is no exception. Fruit used for this sauvignon blanc based blend came from vineyards with extreme terroir – think steep sloping hillsides and large temperature swings. Both these elements require grapes to work harder during the growing season which results in beautiful flavor development. This wine has notes of tart tree fruits, citrus, and an approachable acidity and minerality. A perfect pair for lighter dishes, this textural Bordeaux blend will impress even the most skeptical white wine drinkers.

 

Beraelia 2018 California White Wine– member price $14 (MSRP: $19)

Varietal: Blend

Alcohol: 11.5%

Region: California

Vintage: 2018

 

The last wine in my box was this white blend from California. Blends sometimes get a bad rap or are viewed as “impure,” but if I’m on a budget, I’ll frequently seek them out. Here’s why. When it comes to wine, you’ll rarely find— say a top-quality bottle of cabernet sauvignon from a prestigious vineyard for an affordable price. The vines need to be located in just the right place to experience just the right weather to produce just the right grapes to showcase the best expression of that particular varietal. But a skilled winemaker can take grapes from just about anywhere and blend them to create something delicious. Here’s what this wine is all about: 

Have you ever spent an April entirely indoors while non-stop rain hammered the windows? Trying the new Beraelia White Blend is like walking out after the rain and looking up at a clear star-filled sky. This vintage features a balanced trio of chenin blanc, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc resulting in a zesty and refreshing wine with a bit more weight on the mid-palate then a classic blanc blend. Aromatic and elegant with the bright acidity you expect. This is a wine that showcases the beauty of California sunshine on a grapevine. The citrus notes of lemon and lime sit beautifully against touches of white flowers and mint. We love this wine as much on its own as we do with lighter foods. We’ve especially enjoyed it with fresh salads, roasted vegetables, and seared scallops.

Building a Meal Around the Wines

After unpacking all of my Firstleaf wines and reading the provided info cards to learn a little bit about them, it came time to start planning my pairings. The first step was to figure out the order in which to serve the wines. It’s a pretty standard approach to start with lighter whites and progress all the way to heavier reds (though that’s not a hard and fast rule), and that seemed like a good plan of attack. I also knew that I didn’t want to do a fully seated 6-course meal, so I decided to serve the first two wines with cocktail-style appetizers and then pair the final four with plated dishes. Firstleaf’s suggested food pairings were extremely helpful, and before long I’d planned out the menu.

Course #1: Gougères + Watchful Maker 2018 Sauvignon Blanc

I decided to lead off with this bottle of sauvignon blanc. As it’s light, citrusy, and high in acid, I figured this would be a perfect first-course wine that should keep us refreshed and hungry for the meal to come. Before pinning down a menu pairing, I opened this bottle and snuck a taste. In the glass, this wine is crisp and refreshing, with a subtle minerality and a flavor that reminds me of lemons, limes, and grapefruit. This is my first time trying a sauvignon blanc from Washington, and the flavor is a little different than I’m used to. It was a little less limestone-y than your average sauvignon blanc, and the flavor was a bit smoother and perhaps a little bit more floral. Firstleaf’s pairing suggestions for this wine are soft cheese, fresh vegetables, and grilled chicken. Since I wanted my first two dishes to be finger foods that people could easily eat while standing, these suggestions told me I needed something savory and rich. I thought about just serving a cheese plate, but then I had a better idea.

 

Gougères! Alain Ducasse’s Gougères (published via Food & Wine), to be exact. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and it’s perfect for kicking off a meal like this. Most of the recipes I ended up using are my own, but I can’t take credit for this one. It’s a French classic from one of our modern culinary masters, and I wouldn’t dare change a single thing; it’s perfect. Despite the fancy name and impeccable pedigree, this recipe is not that difficult or time-consuming to make. (You don’t even have to take my word for it. Just check out the nearly five thousand five-star reviews!)

These pillowy little savory bites are made from choux pastry (the same dough used to make eclairs), and eating them is like chomping on cheesy little cushions. They’re light as can be, which makes them a perfect way to kick off a big meal, and they pair exceedingly well with champagne and crisp, acid wines that cut through the richness of the Gruyère cheese. They were a great match for the Watchful Maker.

Course #2: Arugula & Walnut Pesto Crostini + La Belle France 2019 Bordeaux Blanc

The Watchful Maker was a Bordeaux-style white, and I thought it would be fun to follow it up with an actual white Bordeaux. This bottle, while similar in many ways, was a little less acidic and a little less fruity. The medium acidity is balanced out by some time in neutral French oak, and I really like what that does to this wine. The oak gives it a little bit of a creaminess, but it’s still extremely refreshing. I was confident that it would work well at the start of the meal. Firstleaf describes the palate as “cinnamon, pear tartine, and baked apple,” and suggests pairing this with cassoulet or beef. I wasn’t quite ready to move into hot dishes yet, so took things in a slightly different direction.

I decided to make crostini topped with homemade arugula & walnut pesto, grape tomatoes, and olive oil. At the time of cooking, I’d recently received a box of olive oil from Brightland to review, and I used that as the inspiration for this dish. While certainly not the same as cassoulet (the suggested pairing), I thought the richness and fullness of the olive oil would pair well with this wine, and I wanted to set it off against something peppery and sharp. I toasted slices of baguette and topped them with pesto. To make it, I added the following ingredients into a food processor and simply blended until smooth.

Arugula & Walnut Pesto

  • 4 cups (4 oz.) loosely packed arugula
  • 1/3 cups (1.5 oz.) grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil (I used Brightland’s “Alive”)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup (1.5 oz.) chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons (.5 oz.) lemon juice
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • salt & pepper to taste

These were a hit, and they paired really nicely with the wine. When I have pairing suggestions handed to me, I’m sometimes afraid to veer too far away from them, but in this case, it paid off! I enjoyed how the bitterness of the arugula worked with the wine. They worked together to create that thing where you take a bite, enjoy it, sip wine, feel your palate clear, and instantly crave another bite. While I was getting ready to plate dinner in the kitchen, my husband was glued next to the serving platter (happily eating and sipping wine). When I spotted that, I knew this course was a success!

Course #3: Green Goddess Shrimp + Beraelia 2018 California White Wine

When the crostini were finished, we transitioned to the dining table. We sat down, and I poured the next wine, the Beraelia white blend. And wowzers, this bottle actually ended up being one of my favorite wines of the evening. It was more full-bodied than the first two, with a little bit more sweetness and lower acidity. (This isn’t a sweet wine, mind you, but it doesn’t have the same citrusy bite.) In Firstleaf’s words, “notes of lemon and lime sit beautifully against touches of white flowers and mint.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a bottle of wine quite like this before, but I LOVED it. It was full of flavor, interesting, and just yummy. Pairing suggestions told me this wine would pair well with fresh salad, roasted vegetables, and seared scallops.

Instead of seared scallops, I decided to serve shrimp. I wanted our first seated course to be a hybrid between a salad and a fish dish, and I thought it would be fun to pair broiled shrimp with fresh avocado and green goddess dressing. (The garnish is just chopped basil.) Some people think green goddess dressing is a little retro, but I love it. Here’s my recipe:

Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1/2 cup ( 4 oz.) mayo
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (.25 oz.) basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup (.25 oz.) Italian parsley
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper

To make, just toss all of the ingredients into a food processor, blend, and you’re good to go! (FYI: I always prepare this dressing at least a few hours before I need it so the flavors have time to weave together.) I already mentioned that this wine ended up being one of my favorites of the night, but this pairing also ended up being one of my favorites. This wine works really well with shellfish, and by the time we were done eating, we agreed it was time to try some reds.

Course #4: Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce + Pip & Plow 2018 Merlot

I think merlot is a great food wine, and this is one of the bottles that I was most excited to pair. This might have made my job easy, but instead, I came up with about 10 different ideas for course #4. Before making a final decision, I thought I’d better taste the wine. As expected, this merlot is lush and velvety. It’s medium-bodied with tannins that are present but not all-consuming. I picked up on a raspberry flavor right away, with a little bit of allspice thrown in. Firstleaf also suggests looking for flavors of “black plum, blackberry… white pepper, tobacco, and baking spices of clove and nutmeg.” I’d already decided that I wanted the fourth course to be a vegetable dish, but I also think this would be a great wine to pair with duck or turkey. Firstleaf’s suggestions included cranberry sauce, which helped me finalize my plan.

 

I saw a roasted eggplant dish like this recently online, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to try roasting it this way. (Basically, instead of slicing or chopping the eggplant, you just make incisions lengthwise and fan it out before drizzling it with olive oil and roasting it in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.) The presentation did not let me down, and I decided to finish it with tahini sauce, dried cranberries, pine nuts, and fresh mint. Here’s my recipe for tahini sauce, which, again, is made simply by blending the ingredients. I like to warm it up slightly if I’m using it on a dish like this, but it’s also great cold.

Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) tahini
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Since it was just me in the kitchen, I liked that I was able to prep this dish in advance. Aside from garnishing it right before serving, it was mostly hands-off. I made one of these for us to share, but I think it would also be really cute to use mini eggplants and serve them individually.

Course #5: Steak with Red Wine Demi-Glace + Acadine 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

I don’t cook a ton of meat at home, but when I’m given a full-bodied red like this cabernet sauvignon, I’ll make an exception. This wine has big tannins and lots of fruit flavor, and the taste is like an explosion of berries in a humidor. The suggested pairings are beef bourguignon, hearty soups, and mushroom risotto. I knew I wanted to grill a steak to accompany this wine, but I also wanted to try incorporating some of the wine into the actual dish. I decided to use the Acadine cab to make a red wine demi-glace.

 

I wanted to keep things simple by serving the steak and sauce without an additional side, but here’s a fun dinner party trick for you. Steak Frites (steak and french fries) is a classic French bistro dish. Am I going to cut up my own potatoes and fry off french fries at home in the middle of having guests over for dinner? No, I am not. But it is utterly CHARMING to serve a bistro classic like this with grilled steak, homemade demi-glace… and fries from your local fast food joint. Bonus points if you keep and plate the cardboard holders. Trust me, after a couple of glasses of wine, this is a surprise that’s funny and delightful. (And this sauce is killer with salty french fries.) Here’s the ingredient list for the sauce:

Red Wine Demi-Glace

  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) butter
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) beef stock
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) red wine
  • salt & pepper

To make the sauce, start by melting the butter in a dutch oven and sautéing the vegetables for 3 minutes. Next, toss in the flour and stir to coat the veggies, cooking for an additional 3 minutes. Add the stock, wine, and herbs (I like to tie mine up in a cheesecloth pouch, but this is optional) and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. At this point, the liquid should have reduced by about 1/3. Strain it, season it to taste, and you’ve got demi-glace!

Course #6: Red Wine & Chocolate-Cherry Bundts + Ophidian 2018 Pinotage

And, before I knew it, it was time for the final course. As a baker, dessert is always my favorite to plan, and I knew what I wanted to make before my Firstleaf box even arrived: red wine and chocolate-cherry bundt cakes. I kept my fingers crossed that one of the wines in my box would be a good fit (since a fair amount of wine goes into the cake, it has to be right), and when I tasted this bottle, I knew we had a winner. But before I tell you about the cake, let’s talk about the wine. It’s extremely well-balanced and dangerously easy to drink. “Soft and opulent,” it’s full of “dark cherry and redcurrant” flavors that are smooth as silk and balanced by a “nuttiness from oak aging.” For me, cherries are the prominent flavor, and I’d describe this wine as luxe.

 

This recipe is a little bit more involved than the ones I’ve shared so far in this review, but it’s still pretty straightforward, and it doesn’t require a mixer. Note that the recipe yields 18 individually-sized bundt cakes, but you can cut it in half if you want to make fewer. Let’s dive right in.

Red Wine & Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cakes

Yield: 18 mini bundt cakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (22.5 oz.) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (5.65 oz.) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups (13.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz.) whole milk
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) red wine
  • 1 cup (3.5 oz.) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz.) hot water
  • 2 cups (about 8 oz.) pitted frozen cherries

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs. Whisk together and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

4. Pour the flour mixture into the large bowl with the brown sugar and whisk until smooth, beating out any lumps.

5. Slowly whisk the whole milk and red wine into the batter.

6. In another bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water.

7. Add the hot cocoa to the batter and stir until combined.

8. Prep mini bunt pans by spraying with baking spray and divide batter.

9. Add 3-4 pitted frozen cherries into each bundt mold before baking.

10. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until done.

11. Allow the cakes to cool, remove them from the molds, and top them with a drizzle of melted chocolate before serving.

I am very happy to say that I was not wrong. This wine was fantastic in these little cakes; it infused the chocolate sponge with a cherry flavor that was utterly delightful and made for a wonderful ending to my little bacchanalian bash.

My Verdict

I really enjoyed trying Firstleaf again, and I had a lot of fun designing a menu around the wines I received. Let’s take one final look at this subscription, the wines I received, and how the value breaks down. First of all, let’s talk about pricing. Firstleaf costs about $90 per shipment (though there are often deals to be had on the first box), which breaks down to $15 per bottle. Frankly, I think that’s a great price for these wines. I didn’t love every single bottle I received in this shipment, but there were no duds, and the Beraelia white blend and Ophidian pinotage were outstanding.

Was the wine good?

It was! If I tasted this box blind without knowing the price, I’d think these wines were good. Knowing that the per-bottle cost breaks down to $15, though, makes me feel like these wines are bordering on great. I think there’s solid value here, and I would happily order another box (especially since I’m able to customize my shipment and swap out any wines that don’t appeal to me). 

Is it easy to skip or cancel?

Yes! As long as your next shipment has not yet been processed, you can postpone your next order for as long as you like. Canceling your subscription is easy and can be done by logging into your account online.

Should YOU try Firstleaf?

I’d recommend Firstleaf to those who:

  • Want to try wines from all over the world.
  • Love the idea of having wines shipped to their front door.
  • Enjoy receiving bottle suggestions, but like the idea of having some control over what they receive.
  • Are looking for tasty, affordable wines.

 

Ready to try Firstleaf for yourself? Save on your first order here:

 

What did you think of this Firstleaf wine club review? Did you enjoy the recipes & additional content? Please let me know in the comments section below! Have you tried Firstleaf before? Please share your experience!


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Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.
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9 comments

JB

BUYER BEWARE – FRAUDULENT COMPANY – they will ship you wines without your permission, send you broken bottles they wont replace and they will keep your money and not send your wines! I ordered for the first time from Firstleaf back in 2020 – they shipped the wines and 3 were broken, no replacements, no refund no credit. After that, I declined all future shipments as I could see they were disreputable. I never got a notice prior to Jan 13 (the day they planned to ship). I responded immediately only to get the run around from customer service who declined to cancel my order. Their so called proof that i received notice is actually the proof that I attempted to cancel the order as is evident from the email history I am including below. Once I told them I had disputed with my credit card company, they recalled the shipment and kept the wines, in addition they kept ALL OF my money. They lied to the credit card company who informed me Firstleaf said we received the wine and never returned it. They will ship you wines you didnt order and when you cancel they will keep ALL of your money!

Jody

Lindsey I savored every bite of reading! I have not tried this club yet. The questions are different and I am still discovering the right descriptions of what I like in a wine. Thanks for a fantastic review. I want to make those pastries as I am in love with cheese! I will be re-reading this post to gain more knowledge.

Lindsey Morse

Thanks, Jody! I’m so glad you enjoyed this review. 🙂

Kristin

Can I come for dinner? This was an outstanding review, thank you.

Lindsey Morse

Thanks so much, Kristin! It was a lot of fun! 🙂

Anne

I second the previous comment – fantastically creative review! I might have to check this sub out. Our grocery store has a pretty solid selection and variety but these seem a little more luxe but still affordable.

Lindsey Morse

Thanks, Anne!

alli

Thank you for this amazingly creative review! Everything looked so delicious. I am bookmarking this page for the recipes!

Lindsey Morse

Thank you! Hope you enjoy the recipes! 🙂

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