If Cherry Coke was a wine I imagine it would taste something like this.
SRP of $14 and available widely for as low as $8. Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
Our Red Velvet is made up of grapes from some of the finest vineyards in California. This wine shows a heady nose chocolate, deep rich blackberries, red fruits, and a creamy mocha finish that is unmistakable in its intensity and length. It's reminiscent of a blackberry chocolate cupcake with a mocha coulis. Enjoy with sweet and spicy Hoisin steak, a barbeque bacon cheeseburger or even dark chocolate fondue.
Americans have a sweet tooth. In the wine world that fact may be nowhere more evident than in the astounding growth of the sweet red blend category. The popularity of wines like Apothic Red, Cocobon and today's selection from Cupcake Vineyards offer plentiful evidence of this phenomenon.
Personally, this category of wines is not my favorite but I certainly see the appeal. I also feel that in many cases these wines are stepping stones (just a hop, skip and a jump away from Cherry Coke for example) that introduce people to the world of wine. Many of those will then go on to explore bigger, better and drier wines. But in keeping with Tenet #2 of Reverse Wine Snobbery regardless of if you make this leap or not, we say: "Drink What You Like!"
The 2012 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet begins with rich aromas of blueberry, raspberry, vanilla, caramel and chocolate. Tasting shows similar flavors to the nose ensconced in very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. With 12g/L of residual sugar this is definitely a sweet wine. Despite the liberal use of oak to try and cover up all that sugar, it's still bordering on dessert wine territory and that's probably what this one is best paired with. You might even want to chill it a bit before drinking.
The wine ends with more sweet fruit, a bit of spice and lingering vanilla, caramel, cola and chocolate. While the whole thing comes off as a bit artificial tasting, it just kind of works.
One other thing to note on this wine is that in past vintages the blend has also contained Cabernet Sauvignon. This is one thing to watch for in the inexpensive red blend category (we're talking about all red blends here, not just the sweet ones) - oftentimes the blend changes from year to year based on the price and availability of grapes. While this can be a good thing, giving you a slightly different wine each year, if you happen to really love the blend in a particular vintage you better stock up because there's no telling if next year's wine will be the same.
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.