Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wine Awesomeness Review: February 2015 (with deal to get your own first box for only $15!)

Sometimes, I am just easily swayed by deals. I saw a deal to get the first box from Wine Awesomeness for only the cost of shipping, and I signed right up. Of course, I drink maybe three glasses of wine a year, so I have no business subscribing to a wine box. But deals are deals.

I don't what to praise first - the incredible customer service at Wine Awesomeness or the amazing wine! To start, let me say that since I don't drink much wine, I intended to try this box and cancel, because three bottles of wine will last me forever. (Literally forever, I think.) But I wanted to try it to offer a review, because I know there are lots of wine lovers out there. So as soon as the box shipped, I canceled. Later that day, I got an email from Logan, the CEO of Wine Awesomeness, who wanted to know if there was something they could have improved to retain my business. Okay, first of all, all subscription boxes need to take a note from Logan. Sure, there are lots of us who maybe try boxes when there are deals, but there are others who find that the boxes are just subpar and it's really good business to pay careful attention to what customers have to say. They, after all, make or break your business model in the end.

So I admitted to Logan that I am just not much of a wine drinker and I can't imagine I could drink three bottles in a month. Wine Awesomeness also offers the option for you to get boxes quarterly instead and I may consider that if I end up drinking three bottles in three months. But I told him that there was really nothing they did, and that I simply didn't drink enough for it to make sense (for the record, it costs $45 for a shipment - which is $15 a bottle and beyond reasonable). Instead of making a sales pitch and convincing me I needed to drink more wine, Logan instead asked for the blog address - and then provided us with this special link so that you, as readers, could get your first box for only $15 (free - but you pay shipping, which is normally included)! I was so impressed and honestly flattered, because they don't have to do anything, but chose to even after I canceled.

Anyway, on to the wine, so you can decide that you definitely want to try this (because, seriously, the deal is awesome and the wine is even better).

I was sent three bottles and they're GIANT. You can choose reds only, whites only, or a mix of both. I'm glad I went with the variety, because I generally only drink red, but the white included in the box was incredible!

In addition to the box, which is sturdy and very safely packed (and also full of funny suggestions for recycling, such as "let your cat live in it" - which they have done), and the wine of course, you receive a booklet that not only tells you about the wine and wineries, but also recommends playlists and provides recipes that will pair well with each wine.

This month's theme was "Eastern Bloc Party" and the wines came from wineries in Eastern Europe. I love this, because how often are you really going to select a wine from Croatia or Slovenia over one from France or Italy? Exposure to something new, though, opens up your palate, as well as gives you more options when shopping for good wines.

My first wine was 2013 Santomas Refosk from Slovenia. This was paired with a recipe for Balsamic Feta Polenta Toasts. I admit I went for the wine without food to sample it. Oh, the challenges of blogging. ;) The wine is described as having a "meaty and smoky, but surprisingly and seriously refreshing" bouquet, and tasting of "a complex coupling of pepper and tart red fruit." I'm going to list these things, because I'm not a wine connoisseur by any means. All I know is that I've only tried about four wines I ever liked, before trying these three.

Here's my terribly unclear take on this wine. At first, it was potent, and I worried it would be too strong. The first sip definitely has kick, but this is the first wine I've ever had that doesn't leave an aftertaste. It finishes smooth and leaves you with only the faintest lingering of flavor. I think this would be the easiest to drink overall, because after the initial surprise, it goes down so well.

The 2012 Dingac Vinarija Plavac from Croatia was my least favorite of the three, but I still really like it and will have no problem enjoying all three bottles from my box. This one came with an oysters recipe I clearly won't use, but red wines are often paired with meat (check out the seafood recipe, though! Going against the grain on this!) and I ignore that, drinking it anyway. The scent is described as "Vick's Menthol Rub meets a handful of freshly packed herbs," and Wine Awesomeness describes the taste as "gulpably light bodied with grains of salty beach air."

I found this to be the driest of the group, although it was still palatable. It is probably the wine in the box that's closest to what I have normally drank in the past, and that's funny since it's the one I liked least. It's a pretty typical red wine, I think, from my experiences.

The last bottle was a white, and it's the biggest bottle, so I was a bit antsy. This is a 2013 Crnko Jaernincan from Slovenia with a "breezy garden full of aromatic flavors" bouquet and a "crisp, clean and thirst quenching" palate. The recipe it came with was Spicy Drunken Noodles, which I will definitely adjust to make vegetarian, add tofu, and try!

According to the Wine Awesomeness booklet, the people of Maribor, Slovenia drink this wine "like water," and I can see why! It's so sweet and tasty, almost like a grape juice more than a wine. Usually I find white wines so dry and can barely get past the first few sips, but this one is loaded with flavor and goes down easily. Probably too easily, because it's very sweet and I can see myself drinking this one in the summer just because.

Truthfully, as I'm not a wine drinker really, I didn't know what to expect from Wine Awesomeness. However, the combination of the booklet, amazing wines, exposure to unique cultural details, exceptional customer service, and option to go quarterly makes me think that I will likely keep an eye on my wine and maybe sign up again if I feel like I can finish three bottles in three months. I very highly recommend them, because I found everything to be done so well. I texted Crafty about the wines, and she said, "they must be really good if you're talking about them, because you never have anything to say about wine." She's so right, but they really were that good! Head over to Wine Awesomeness, get your first box for $15 (that's $5 a bottle!!), and tell me what you think!

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