I am by no means a professional wine reviewer, however I'm always up to giving anything a try at least once! Some of the best wines I've tried have come from random purchases that just so happened to fit within a tight budget that month. Then again, some of those random wine purchases have been the worst wines I had ever tried. My personal tastes with wine usually range from semi-sweet to super sweet, with my all time favorite being a good Moscato. I almost always prefer white over red, but won't knock the color of the wine until I try it.
I contacted Underdog Wine Merchants with the hope of reviewing Cupcake Vineyards' wines. The name really jumped out at me, and since I prefer sweet wines I knew this was a brand I wanted to try. I had never heard of it before! The people at Underdog Wine Merchants were so generous and asked what I would like and what I thought my readers would like. The majority said they preferred sweet wines, or red wines. Well, not only did Underdog Merchants send Cupcake Vineyards' Moscato D'Asti and Red Velvet, but they also sent Fish Eye Winery's Sweet Red wine, and Big House Wine's "The Slammer" Sweet Shiraz! They thought I might like to try a few additional options, and who are we kidding? There is no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to try some new varieties, and I'm happy to say I've found some new favorites outside of my white wine world.
Since many of my readers said they LOVE Moscato, I have to start out with Cupcake Vineyard's Moscato D'Asti and the Red Velvet. I had mentioned to a fellow blogger friend that I was working with Cupcake on a review, and she told me the Moscato D'Asti is not just good, but "amazing". I was a tiny bit skeptical since wine is one of those personal preference items. Ya, know - what one likes another person definitely may not. But, I love Moscato, so I figured I'd give that one a whirl. I'm not sure how to put this... it wasn't amazing. If heaven had an overall flavor, this is how I would imagine the clouds would taste if bottled. The alcohol content is only 5.5%, but this makes for a perfectly sweet, fruity, slightly sparkling treat for anyone who loves a sweet wine. In some ways it reminds me of champagne. I told my husband that if someone were to give me an unlimited amount of the Moscato D'Asti I would never drink anything else... ever again. I thought the Cupcake Moscato was refreshingly light and very well balanced. Definitely something you need to try if you haven't yet!
“Our Moscato is vibrant and expressive with floral notes that dominate with hints of peach and flavors of tropical fruits and lychee. It is a soft and luscious wine with just a hint of effervescence to tickle the palate and balance the sweetness. With bright fruit flavors and finesse, it’s reminiscent of a pineapple right-side up cupcake.” ~ Cupcake Vineyards
Red velvet cake is is my absolute favorite cake, so of course my curiosity was piqued by the Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet red wine. Like I said, I'm not usually a big red wine fan, so that may play into my feelings of this wine just a bit. The initial flavor was great. Very robust, a little sweet with a little hint of chocolate and spice at the end. The flavor lingers long after you swallow - which is a good thing in some ways (I've heard that it can mean the wine's quality is better), however it is not (personally) how I like my wine. I can definitely tell why this is called Red Velvet and I think for a richer red wine this is certainly acceptable and overall very good. I can definitely see pairing this with steak, and maybe even dark chocolate. The more I drink it, the better I like it. I think if you're not a fan of super dry wines, this is a great one to try. It seems to be right in the middle for me - not too sweet, but not too dry.
“Our first blended red wine for Cupcake Vineyards has over the top aromas of chocolate, deep rich blackberries, red fruits that follow through the palate to a creamy mocha finish that is unmistakable in its intensity and length, with a hint of coconut. It’s reminiscent of a blackberry chocolate cupcake with a mocha coulis.” ~ Cupcake Vineyards
Honestly, I often choose wines based on the label. Not so much what it says, but how it looks. I love a unique, playful label, and could see myself picking "The Slammer" up at the store based on the uniqueness and the sheer hilarity of the label. I definitely would have made a great purchase because my second favorite (out of the four that were sent) was the Big House Wines "The Slammer" Sweet Shiraz. Similarly to the Red Velvet the Sweet Shiraz is a more robust, yet slightly sweeter wine. The flavor I think is more balanced, and the finish is much cleaner (in my humble novice wine tasting opinion). I think the fruity notes are more emphasized and the mocha is a little more down played when compared the Red Velvet. As far as red wines go, this is definitely on the top of my list of favorites. I love my wines flavorful, but not to the point of overpowering my taste buds. This is one red wine that I'd happily give as a gift or purchase again for myself.
"Big House wines are a rebellious mix of non-traditional grape varieties and/or unconventional winemaking style destined to give the imbiber a new experience. To wit this year’s partner in crime is a far the first time, a “smack your lips” sweet wine made from shiraz grapes. With a nose of mocha and cherry that carries through to flavors of guilty pleasure: chocolate, raspberry and strawberry. The wine is balanced, full and has silkiness on the mouthfeel." ~ Big House Wines
The last wine I was sent was the Fish Eye Sweet Red. I have heard of Fish Eye before, however I cannot recall if I've purchased it. If I did, I can pretty much promise that I bought a white wine. Now that I've really had the chance to try them all out several times, I think the Sweet Red has tied for second place out of the four I was sent, but for different reasons. This particular Sweet Red is fruitier than "The Slammer" Sweet Shiraz, and not quite as robust. I tend to refer to "robust" or lack or robustness as "heavy" or "light" respectively. It seems much lighter, but has still managed to maintain great flavors. I think the finish is great, and can definitely pick up on the floral scent notes. It seems a little smoother than "The Slammer" Sweet Shiraz, and according to the Fish Eye website ranks quite high on the "sweetness" scale.
"Juicy flavors of blackberries and strawberry jam with a floral nose and a smooth, lush finish." ~ Fish Eye Winery
Even though I don't normally purchase red wine unless there is a crazy good sale on it, I think I've found some more favorites that just might rival my white wine favorites. I can't thank Underdog Wine Merchants enough for giving me the opportunity to review such a fantastic selection of wines, all of which I enjoyed and would happily purchase on my own. Once I find a wine I like from a brand I'm curious to try out their other varieties. I'll have to keep an eye out in my local stores for new treats I can enjoy for when my children are off in lullaby land. Definitely check these brands out if you haven't yet! Everything is worth at least one good try.
*I was sent the products mentioned above for free in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.