Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tasting Room Wine Subscription Review - The Tasting Kit!

Tasting Room Wine Subscription Box Review - The Tasting Kit - Collage

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Tasting Room Wine Subscription Review - The Tasting Kit!

As you may have noticed from my other blog posts, I have really started to enjoy the subscription box phenomenon that seems to be EVERYWHERE!  Is it just me, or is there a subscription box for everything?  I've been a member of Stitch Fix (a clothing by mail service) since January of this year.  Just recently, I joined Golden Tote, another clothing service.  My closet has prospered.  I've even developed a reputation among my students for being "stylish".  Ha ha.  That seems funny because I don't think I've been particularly fashion-savvy in the past.  It's a whole new world.  I'm having fun with it!  If you're interested, you can check out some of my clothing subscription review posts here!

Some of the subscription boxes I've heard about are not really my thing.  There's at least one that I've heard that is specifically for dogs.  Basically, your DOG gets a surprise box every month . . . or something like that.  Don't get me wrong - I love my dogs.  They're just a lot easier to please than I am.  Diego, my little pug, thinks a paper napkin to shred while no one is paying attention is a great surprise!  My chihuahua gets super-excited when I accidentally drop a piece of red pepper on the floor while I'm chopping vegetables.  It's doesn't take much to make them happy.  :)  I love surprises in my mailbox, though!

 I recently heard about another type of subscription box.  While we were discussing clothing boxes, my sister mentioned an ad that she received for Tasting Room, a wine-by-mail service.  Basically, you pay $9.95 for a tasting kit that consists of six small bottles of wine.  You rate your wines online and have a profile created for you.  Each quarter, they send you 12 wines that match your profile.  The price is $149 plus $19.99 shipping.  That works out to a little over $14 a bottle.  That doesn't seem like a lot to pay for wine that I would enjoy.  I had to check it out!

I have to admit - I was a little skeptical about getting quality wine for that price.  I'm picky.  I'm definitely not a wine expert, but I love wine tasting and I think I have a basic knowledge of the most common types of wine and a good palate!  After I looked into it, I discovered that the service can be cancelled at any time, so I figured I might as well give it a shot!  I signed up and ordered our tasting kit!

It came in a cute little box with a welcome card.  I was advised to log in to my Tasting Room account when I was ready to taste my wines.

The Tasting Room Wine Subscription Review - The Tasting Kit!

Steve and I decided to make an occasion out of it and taste them together.  We got out some souvenir wine glasses from a few of our wine-tasting excursions and I logged into my account.  The first thing I saw was this welcome screen:

Tasting Kit Wine Subscription Review - Welcome Screen

I was advised to start with the two white wines, which I had chilled so that we could taste them at the proper temperature.  Here are the whites - see, they even included a cute little tasting mat so you don't lose track of which wine is which:

Tasting Kit Wine Subscription Review - White Wines

Basically, you taste the wines in pairs.  You click the wine that you prefer.  If you choose one wine over the other, you can indicate whether you liked it a lot better or only a little better.  You can say that you liked them both.  You can also say that you liked neither wine, if that is the case.

Wine one was a 2013 Ostra Lodi Sauvignon Blanc.  Wine two was a 2013 Triskelian Monterey County Chardonnay.  We enjoyed them both, which didn't surprise us.  We drink a variety of dry white wines.  (One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that all of the wines were DRY!  Yay - we don't really love sweet wine!)

We didn't really feel like choosing one over the other, so I indicated that we liked them both!  :)  So far, so good!

Here are the reds:

Tasting Kit Wine Subscription Review - Red Wines

Wine three was a 2012 Mythmaker Monterey Pinot Noir.  The first thing that hit me was the smoke!  I loved it.  It was a delicious combination of smoke and black cherry.

Our first task was to compare it with wine four, a 2013 Prix Fixe Vin de France Cabernet Sauvignon.  We found that the Cabernet had strong tannins and flavors of leather and tobacco.  It was good, but we both preferred the Pinot.

Wine five was a 2013 Tremolo Mendoza Malbec.  Wine six was a 2012 Azora Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.  We did a few more comparisons between pairs of the four reds.  To be honest, I'm not sure my memory of which wine was compared with which is accurate.  I should have taken better notes.  Ha ha.

Well . . . anyway - our favorites were the Pinot and the Malbec.  The Malbec was reminiscent of a rich blackberry jam and even seemed to have a floral component.  It was the one that Steve said he'd most like to pair with a great steak.  That's always a plus!

Out of the two Cabernets, we liked wine six more.  The tannins seemed to be more balanced.  To be honest, though, all of the reds were decent.  I would have been happy with a bottle of any of them!

As we were finishing our rating, we were asked if there were any of the wines we would prefer not to receive.  We decided to check wine four, even though it was definitely all right.  It was our least favorite, but that doesn't mean it was bad!  I don't know if that was a mistake or not . . .

After we completed the rating, we were able to view our wine profile.  They showed us our red wine profile first (sorry about the photo quality):

Tasting Kit Wine Subscription Review - Red Wine Profile

Oh, boy.  O.O  What?  Juicy, party-pour reds?  Uh oh.  What did we do?  

Well, that's that.  We are uncomplicated people that enjoy cheap, easy-drinking fruit bombs.  WINOS.  We're basically winos.  Ha ha.  


What if we really are and we just don't want to admit it?  

It's all good.  I do appreciate some nice fruit in a wine, but I like most kinds of dry wine.  It just depends on the situation.  I think I'm a little more open-minded than my wine profile would indicate.  I'm hope I'm not going to miss out on some great wine because we checked WINE FOUR!!!  Well . . . we shall see!

Our white wine profile was just what I expected:

Tasting Kit Wine Subscription Review - White Wine Profile

I really like most dry white wines.  Our profile stated that if we wanted to try something new, we should think about GrĂ¼ner Veltliner.  Ha ha.  We've already DONE that.  That's a popular variety in Austria and we drank some when we were there in 2014.  (My wine ego was soothed a bit.)  

Overall, we had a really fun time tasting these wines.  Steve even mentioned that it was an enjoyable thing to do, and I'm usually the one that's more into wine-tasting.  None of the wines were bad.  We liked some of them very much.  I'm looking forward to our first shipment, which will contain 8 reds and four whites (6 different kinds; 2 bottles of each.)  I'm definitely willing to pay $14 a bottle for interesting wine that I can't find at our local Fry's grocery store.  I'll even try some fruit bombs.  Refined, quality fruit bombs, of course.  :)

I'll review our first shipment, though I'll have to think of a process that will work for that.  We're not opening all 6 of the different wines just so I can write a review!  Ha ha.  Maybe we should have a party.  We'll see.  :)

(4/3/16 UPDATE - I am still a member of Tasting Room, and it's been really fun!  It's hard to review so many wines with just two of us.  I have not been successful at posting a review.  However, I'm getting a new box in a couple of weeks, and I'm going to make an effort to chip away at a review as we open each bottle.  Stay tuned!)

Please feel free to comment!  Have you tried this service?  What did you think of it?  

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