House Wine Original Red Blend
Welcome to Swill or Swell, a weekly series where I taste grocery store wines and let you know if they’re worth the buck or just meant for the drain!
CAVEAT! As you read this, please keep in mind that wine is subjective! This means that everyone enjoys different things and something I like might not be something you like and vice versa. I’ll be as objective as I can with facts about the wine’s quality, but in the end if your opinion differs from mine...that’s perfectly fine! Wine is only worth drinking if YOU like drinking it!
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about this wine!
You may have noticed from the picture that this is not your typical bottle of wine, in fact, this wine wasn’t in a bottle at all! Canned wine is becoming more and more popular these days, and I figured it was about time I included one in this series. I’m not against canned wine by any means, but I typically reach for a white or rosé, so why not step out of my comfort zone and try a canned red?
Before we get into the review, let’s talk a bit about this wine. Interestingly enough, this wine was produced in Walla Walla, Washington; but the grapes were imported from Chile! At first, this might sound a little strange. Why not just use grapes from Washington? Well, due to the price of land in Washington and the high demand for grapes in the state, it’s actually far more affordable to import grapes from a country like Chile, where they have a surplus of fruit and not enough demand.
House Wine never explicitly says what varietals are included in the canned version of their Original Red Blend, but we can assume they’re very similar to (if not the same as) the varietals used in the bottled version of this wine. If that’s the case, we’re looking at a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, & Petit Verdot. If the blend is done correctly, each varietal will add a unique element to the wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon is likely the dominant grape in the blend as it is the most planted grape in Chile. Chilean Cabernets are usually on the spicy side, providing characteristics of bay leaf, green pepper, and peppercorn along with typical black fruit. We might expect the Merlot in the blend to add softness and sweet fruit flavors. Syrah typically adds a burst of flavor to the beginning of each sip, but can die off. As for Petit Verdot, it generally adds tannin, darker color, and herbal flavors.
The producer of this wine, House Wine, was founded by ex-rock n’ roll manager and award-winning Washington winemaker Charles Smith in 2004. If you’ve ever had Kung Fu Girl Riesling or Boom Boom Syrah, then you know of this man’s wine. When creating the House Wine brand, Smith was inspired by European everyday table wines and wanted to create a brand that delivered good wine at an affordable price point, much like a restaurant’s “house wine.” Other than canned versions of their wine, the company also produces bottles and, believe it or not, boxes of wine!
Look: Beautiful Ruby
Smell: Slightly underripe fruit - plum, blackberry, black cherry, red cherry, LOTS of green pepper, green peppercorn, hint of allspice
Taste: Soft, plush mouthfeel. Medium across the board in terms of acidity, body, alcohol, and tannin!
In summary, this wine is definitely worth trying. For anyone concerned with the aluminum can, don’t be! Even when tasting the wine directly from the can, I did not taste any signs of the packaging affecting the wine (no metallic taste or unwanted carbonation). My one qualm with this wine is that I disagree with the tasting notes listed on the bottle. The wine is less bold & jammy, and more thirst-quenching & fruity!
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