Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet 2013

Superfluous, sentimental, immediate and fleeting like Valentine’s Day romance. Overindulgent without commitment, gratuitous, sociable, unobtrusive and built to please.

Dense ruby colour with violet hues, intense fruit forward aromas of cranberry, blackberry and cherry followed by notes of coffee, cocoa and vanilla and a slight chemical hint of nail polish. On the palate off dry with a sticky sweetness moderately balanced by soft tannins and mild acidity, light-medium body with a velvety finish and almost no persistence.

Food pairings:

Even as a red blend, this wine does not have a lot of structure and so would be best paired with simple dishes, although the sweetness of the wine could be counterbalanced by some spices in the food. Some examples include: barbecue ribs, pepperoni pizza, bacon cheeseburger.

Wines from Cupcake Vineyards
Wines from Cupcake Vineyards

This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah with 12 g/l of residual sugars and 13.5% vol. alcohol. The vineyards are located in the Central Coast region of California, south of San Francisco. The grapes are blended after fermentation and then subject to a liberal use of oak before being bottled. Other wines from this winery include “Angel Food” Chardonnay and “Black Forest” Decadent Red Blend, as well as Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, and Rosé.

“Inspired by the indulgent treat that evokes joy and anticipation, Cupcake Vineyards offers an extensive portfolio of finely crafted wines to help you celebrate your everyday moments of joy.”

-Cupcake Vineyards website

The wine maker, Jessica Tomei, says she looks for the perfect fruit expression in her grapes and aims to create wines that “over-deliver for the price point” and that are “approachable and affordable for everyone “. The previous wine maker, Adam Richards, states that, “This wine is not a thinking wine… when you taste it, it does the thinking for you.”. He argues that these wines are geared towards American culture which is more focused on flavour than structure. More on his thoughts in the link below…

Red velvet cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes

I don’t find this wine particularly interesting and I wasn’t impressed drinking it, but I must admit I was initially enticed. Who wouldn’t be with such a mouthwatering name and vibrant label? Which raises the question, how much does and should wine marketing influence our choices? Even with my scepticism, and perhaps snobbery, I was ultimately swayed by the sentimental feeling of Christmas Day, the day I bought the wine. However sweet the wine is, it isn’t particularly decadent or mouth filling, but it would be difficult to not think about cupcakes when you drink it once you know the name.

And for some people that may be enough. It certainly serves a purpose as an easy drinking wine that makes a good impression. If the power of marketing can initially get people interested in wine, those people may very well develop a curiosity that leads them onto trying more sophisticated, high calibre wines. At the very least, it keeps money coming into the industry as an unpretentious consumer commodity. However, I do believe that “accessibility” need not be reductive.

I’m not entirely convinced, but I would hate to think I’ve become a wine snob.

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