Bandit Wines Cabernet Sauvignon
Bandit Wines is a boxed wine company that you can find on Safeway’s lowest shelf. I haven’t had much boxed wine in my life. But when I tap into the foodie party line, I hear from craft enthusiasts that beer in a can has no metallic aftertaste and that boxed wine can be just as good as wine in a bottle. It appears as though mere reputation alone has kept me from embracing either thus far.
I’m not ready for beer in a can. I’m barely ready for beer in a pint glass—half pints do me well. But wine in a box? I could try that…and I swear my willingness has nothing to do with how ridiculously cheap this box was (about $5). Nope, what sold me is what that the pretty little lavender box said clear as day (good job, marketing!): At a liter, one box is the equivalent of one and a third bottles of wine, making it even more ridiculously cheap than it already was. Sold!
(Yes, I realize that means I bought it for exactly the same reason as I claimed I didn’t buy it. You don’t need to tell me that. And now I’ve lost my literary effect. I blame you.)
How does it taste? As I drink, I feel a kinship emerge with one Violet Beauregarde and her amazement as the gum she chewed at Willy Wonka’s factory shifted and reshaped itself into something new. A lovely, simple, cherry-leather nose broadens to include eucalyptus and pine notes on the palate. Those fade away, and the cherry reasserts itself to engage in delicious dessert play with milky cocoa. Luckily, no adverse side effects have been detected…yet.
I’ll be clear; this wine exceeds all my expectations. It gets an 80/100, and I will be back for more of that value buy. Heck, I’ll even give their chardonnay a chew.
Here’s my full Quini profile for more specific tasting notes:
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Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia Corvina IGT 2011
I won this wine as a prize at the Lunar New Year celebration I blogged about earlier this week. My expectations were high, being as the wine was selected by a sommelier, though it is still a wine you can find under $10. One of my dining companions was also a sommelier, and she advised me to let the wine air out for a few hours prior to drinking it. Well, call me impatient, but I’m using an aerator instead because…I’m impatient.
The nose smells strongly of strawberry with fruit leather grain. It tastes super smooth on first sip, prompting me to weep for how long it has been since I’ve had a wine this complex and balanced. Strawberry and raspberry fruit notes dominate with some cherimoya that blends everything nicely together. Light spice intermingles with the fruit: cinnamon and cardamom. Leather and cream are both present enough to provide depth but not distract from the primary fruits. Medium-bodied, with enough texture and tartness to keep it interesting throughout the glass.
Note to self: Go to more parties where you can win wine from sommeliers.
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The First Vine Red Wine Blend (Sonoma, CA) is one cheap glass of wine. But there are times when you know only a cheap wine will do. Those times are when you don’t care what you’re drinking — you just want something vaguely alcoholic in your throat and so you should not spend much money to get it. Those times are also the times in which you’ve been waiting forever for something stressful to be over and it finally, finally is and you’re too relieved to buy alcohol you want to savor – you just want to drink it.
But enough about me. This wine smells mildly of leather, cherry, and sulfur. Yes, I said sulfur. But I meant chemicals and plastic. The nose is all-around unremarkable unless you count that it should serve as a warning. Drinking it is a little more exciting. It’s heavy on the leather, and that sulfite taste is strong. So if you don’t mind a bit of chemical with your grape, you’ll be all right with this wine. It mostly reminds me of sharp herbs, almost like munching on a curry leaf. For fruit, my husband tastes grape, I taste cherry with thin vanilla but agree that the aftertaste is grapey.
I could do without the chemical element, but honestly, I’ve had much worse $3.99 bottles of wine.
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