Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Skinny Girl California Red (or: I'll Take The Extra Calories, Please)

Yikes. It doesn't happen often. And I just hate it when it does. But...there comes a time in every wine lover's life when you take that sip and say, "Blecchh." And yes, that is the scientific term. And no, it's not a positive one.

I was excited to see a bottle of the just released Skinny Girl line of wines on a local wine shelf. The wines are the latest offering from Bethenny Frankel, the creator of the wildly successful Skinnygirl cocktails. The wines claim to be only 100 calories per 5 ounce glass. That's all well and good. But since most wines run about 100-125 calories a glass, how much are you really saving? Is it worth it?

But let's forget the calorie count for a moment here and head on to the real test of a wine. How does it taste? That's what it's all about, right?

It was the Skinnygirl California Red (2011, 12%, California) that I spied on the shelf. It's a blend of reds with Syrah being the main grape used. It's dark reddish-pink in color and has the cute little Skinnygirl logo on the bottle. Bethenny herself describes the wine on the back label: "It's a warm medium-bodied blend of my favorite red grapes with a rich aroma of blueberry and hibiscus and a hint of caramel. This wine has a rounded finish..."

I unscrewed, decanted and sniffed. Hard to find an aroma. When I did, it was more like burnt blueberry pie than anything else. I took a sip. Waited. Took another sip. And all I could think of was "dirty water". Not the most poetic or positive description I've ever assigned to a wine. The finish was tasteless and very, very drying. I went so far as to grab the receipt from the store and made plans to throw myself on their mercy and take it back.

I tried again the next day. No go. Two days later. A little more berry came through in the finish - but the taste was still thin and unappealing. That was it, I had given it numerous sips. And was not really willing to keep on sipping. Luckily for me, The Winey Hubby arrived home with a case of wine for a get together we were hosting. I grabbed a bottle of one of my favorite vinos so fast it made his head spin (something you never really see from The Winey Hubby) and poured a glass just to restore my faith in wine and wine makers everywhere.

In an interview with Wine Spectator Magazine, Frankel had this to say: "I wanted [Skinnygirl] to taste approachable, not too dry and not too sweet, a very drinkable blend. I'm not a wine snob—I've found great wines at Trader Joe's. I didn't want this brand to try to be something it's not."

I'm not really sure what she wanted it to be, other than low calorie. And why wouldn't you find a great wine at Trader Joe's for heaven's sake? I think she has her snob definitions all mixed up and should have stuck to margaritas. As for me, pass the calories, thank you very much. Because I'll take tasty calories over low calorie bad taste any day of the week.

Cheers!
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12 comments:

  1. Okay! Thank you so much for this review. Ive been tempted to purchase the bottle only for the label. I really couldn't care less about calories in wine. Not only did you write a fantastic review, you made me laugh! Thank you for helping me not spend money on a bottle I wouldn't enjoy! :)

    Cheers!

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  2. Jasmine, I am SO glad you laughed! That's what wine is all about isn't it? (for the record: this wine didn't even make me SMILE.) Cheers back atcha!

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  3. So I won't crack it open for my girlfriends tomorrow then. Maybe I can marinate some steaks in it. Glad I bought the beaujolais just in case!

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    1. beaujolais (gamay) is actually lower in calories than this "skinny"girl crappola anyway : ) and way better tasting! Love this review!!

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  4. Definitely as a marinade - just add some herbs into it for a bit more flavor!! :)

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  5. YUCK!! it is bad, it's like the black hole of wine, you know it's there but it's great big hole of nothing.

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    1. LOVE IT - The black hole of wine!!! Great description!

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  6. Oh my god - burnt blueberry pie - on the nose! such a shame too because I love her margarita mix - so fresh and tastes like real lime juice (not sugary mountain dew like you would expect). What a disappointment this wine was... I thought my bottle was corked. I can't believe it retails for $17.99 at Safeway.

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    1. Yes...disappointment...and I agree, her mixes are good!

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  7. Very disappointed...looking for a sweet red wine. Any recomandations? ???

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  8. A red Moscato! Barefoot has one, and so does Gallo. Chill em up and start sipping and let me know how you like them!

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  9. I actually like this wine. It's smooth and doesn't have that burn that so many red wines have. I think it's a good glass a day wine.

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