One of our favorite gifts to give and receive is a gift that arrives all year long. As we began to create this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, we knew we had to include a wine club. We join one every year and trust us, coming home to a wine delivery never gets old. There are a lot of wine clubs out there though and most are really pricey. Our wine club deliveries typically average around $200 a season (Yep, around $800 a year), which may be more than many people are willing or can afford to spend on a holiday gift. This year, we think we’ve found the hidden gem of wine clubs that will make a really impressive gift without breaking the bank.
Uncorked Ventures Wine Club focuses much of its wine collection on the West Coast Wine Country area: California, Oregon and Washington. What’s so cool about this club, aside from the price, is that they only send bottles that have a wine scale rating of 90+. While I don’t always think the price point indicates a good wine, I do like to know what the wine rating is, especially if I’m giving it as a gift. If you aren’t familiar with wine scales, read more here.
In any given group, there’s usually a wide spectrum when it comes to wine knowledge. Whether someone is a wine connoisseur or a wine novice, I firmly believe it comes down to this—If you like it, it’s good! Still, it’s fun to make wine a learning experience and I really like the types of wine club themes they offer. It seems like a tiered wine knowledge offering, with the Explorations Club being a great beginner wine club and the other two getting progressively more discerning in taste.
It’s nearly unheard of to find a wine club with bottle ratings this high for $40 a shipment. We’ve already decided on the Explorations wine club as a gift for my mother-in-law. It will be a fun way for her to learn about new wines and figure out what she likes. Of course, we had to taste test it for ourselves! Here’s what our first shipment included:
The Thomas Alexander L'Entrecote Syrah hails from the Paso Robles, CA. Only 100 cases of this wine were made and we'll be the first to attest that it is DELICIOUS. It has a rich flavor that reminds me of currants, with a slight peppery taste that my husband more accurately described as a spice finish. I tend to like full-bodied wines and my husband likes spice, so this was a perfect red for us to enjoy together.
The second bottle in the shipment is the Buono Core 2012 Zinfandel from Lodi, California. First of all, how great is the name translation: Good Heart. This wine has a light-bodied, bold taste with what seemed to be flavors of cherry and rich berries, with a light smoky finish. The fact that my husband and I both enjoyed these two wines as much as we did speaks volumes, as we often struggle to find reds that we both really like and end up settling for a wine that we both find 'just ok'.
For those of you who love hearing the story about wineries as I do, you'll love that Uncorked Ventures provided a background on the Thomas Alexander wine and Buono Core had a brief story printed on it's label. There's something about knowing how their wineries evolved that makes me appreciate their wine even more. All in all, we think this would make such a memorable gift for the 2014 Holiday Season and what's better than making someone's day all year round?
Uncorked Ventures site
Uncorked Ventures Facebook
Disclaimer: As always, our reviews are our own, honest opinions and may differ from yours. No monetary compensation was given for this review.