Blue Apron Wine is a subscription for people who love trying new wines as much as they love great food. You may be familiar with the Blue Apron Meal Delivery Kit subscription, which sends boxes of fresh ingredients to make exciting meals at home. The wine subscription is separate from the meal subscription, but it’s designed to complement it.
Here’s how it works: every month, for about $11 per bottle ($65.99/month, including shipping and tax), Blue Apron sends you 6 bottles of wine, plus tasting notes and pairing recommendations. The wines are selected to pair perfectly with the meals in the Blue Apron kits. The bottles are 500 ml, or 2/3 the size of a standard bottle, which, in addition to being adorable, means that you and your dining partner can enjoy your entire bottle with your meal without regretting that additional glass needed to finish a standard-sized bottle.
Blue Apron pairs with wineries around the world to bring a wide range of new and interesting wines to you each month. I love wine, and I love food, and I love everything about the idea of this subscription.
The wine comes securely packaged in a clever little box. Keep in mind that someone 21+ will need to sign for it. Everything is in great shape when it arrives, and the packaging is, happily, recyclable cardboard.
Blue Apron Wine allows you to select your wines–you can go all white, red, or mix it up. I do wish there were sparkling wine options occasionally. This month, I went with what was recommended, but it’s incredibly easy to switch out your bottles.
If you’re wondering what a 2/3-sized bottle looks like, here is one of the bottles with a standard-sized bottle next to it. You’ll get about 3 1/2 standard glasses in a bottle, or a generous pour plus a top-off each if you’re with a partner.
Each box comes with a great collection of tasting notes. Blue Apron tells you a little bit about the winery and how the bottle was made, plus the region at large. Because, come on, you didn’t REALLY know where the Central Coast was, did you? The info details the color, body, and structure of the wine, and also gives some thoughtful food pairings for each bottle. The info is terrific – wine is not scary, and tasting it should be fun and informative. Data is your friend.
It’s November! Thanksgiving is the second-earliest day it could be this year, so it feels like we’re barreling toward it. Instead of the normal drink-the-bottles-with-several-meals style of review that I normally do, we drank, um, all of them over our practice Thanksgiving dinner. What, you don’t make a complete Thanksgiving dinner just to be sure you like the recipes before making them for crowds of in-laws? Well, that’s probably better for your mental health. I do, though, and we tried these wines as we ate to see what might work for your ACTUAL Thanksgiving. (Would you serve 2/3 size bottles of wine at Thanksgiving? Probably not. But you could! Or at least get ideas for the varietal you want to serve).
First up was the 2015 Tanti Petali Pinot Bianco. This lovely little bottle of pale gold comes from Italy, which is a great place to find wine bargains these days.
The Tanti Petali is light in color, and light in the glass. The nose was somewhat muted to us (though the tasting notes say otherwise). The first flavors are floral, with an underlying fruitiness that finishes quickly and a tad sharply with a bit of an ozone tang. The wine has a bright acidity to it that clears the palate and leaves you ready for another sip. This is a light, easy wine that doesn’t leave a huge impression. It would be great with apps while you’re finishing cooking, or with salad as a first course. Chilled but not icy for this wine.
Our second white is the 2016 Mt. Konocti Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc can be a great food wine, though I think the fruitier versions that are popular now can have a hard time marrying with complicated food flavors.
The Mt. Konocti is light gold, a little brighter in the glass than in the bottle, with a medium body. The aroma is all citrus to me, and the flavor is definitely sweet citrus with a bare undercurrent of grassiness, but no stone or herbal notes. The finish is fairly short, with less acidity than the Tanti Petali. This is a tasty Sauvignon Blanc and will be a crowd-pleaser for sure, but I’m not sure this would work as an alternative to red for the whole Thanksgiving meal. You’ll want a drier, more mineral SB for that. We drank this cold.
Our last white wine is a Chardonnay, the 2016 Le P’tit Paysan. I’ve had a Chard from this line before, and that was a big, fat, buttery version, but this is supposed to be a leaner, Frenchier style.
The Le P’tit Paysan is light gold, about the same as the Mt. Konocti, but lighter in body. It has a strong nose of peach with a bit of stone. The first flavors are that same peachiness, but the stone quickly takes over and is the entire finish. There’s even a little bite to it that you definitely don’t see in the typical fat Californian Chard. I am a fan of this style of Chardonnay, and I thought this was quite good. It has some real backbone to it and absolutely no sweetness, so it should stand up nicely to the heavy foods typically served at Thanksgiving. I would definitely serve this (along with a light red) for the main meal. We drank it cool and let it come up to room temperature as we drank it, which brought the peach flavors more to the forefront. Thumbs up from me.
On to our first red wine was the 2014 Chateau Rampeau Bordeaux. I’ve said before here that Bordeaux is a great food wine, with relatively low alcohol and light body, depending on the blend. In this case, it’s equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a slug of Cab Franc thrown in for acidity.
The Chateau Rampeau is a medium purple in color with a medium high body and a big nose of dark fruit. I could say that the first flavors are cherry and red fruit, but what I mean by that is that it leads with Merlot. (I’m a fan). The darker fruit flavors come in behind the Merlot, with a fairly long finish of oaky baking spice but with lingering tannins to firm everything up. There is also a nice zip of acidity that clears the palate. This is a really nice, balanced wine. Would it work for Thanksgiving? Well, I think the complexity of the flavor would compete with the main meal. In spite of its low alcohol, I think it’s a pretty big wine for the potatoes and meat and carb-heavy textures of a traditional Thanksgiving. It might be great to serve after dinner, though! I’d pair this wine with beef stew or a roast. Cool room temperature will emphasize the Merlot, and room temp will favor the Cab.
Our next red was the 2016 Palmina Sangiovese. I had the 2015 bottling in my box earlier this year and loved it, so I was excited to see what 2016 has in store. Chianti is mostly Sangiovese, and it’s a terrific food wine.
The Palmina is red-violet, with edges of fuschia. It has a bright nose of red fruit that carries into the glass, but there is an undercurrent of something floral (the tasting notes call it rose, which isn’t too far off) in there, and the finish lingers with licorice notes. I think this is a very different wine than the 2015 bottling, but it’s good and still recognizably Sangiovese. It would probably go better with something tomatoey than it would with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It would be AMAZING with shakshuka. Cool room temp is good to start here, but it’s just as good as it warms up–more of those licorice flavors develop.
Last up was the 2016 Leaf and Vine Zinfandel/Petite Sirah Blend. This is a special blend exclusively for Blue Apron (75/25 Zin and PS) with a decent bite of ABV at 15.3%.
The wine is dark purple in the glass, with a medium high body and a mild nose of floral spice. The wine is very heavy in the mouth, with that soft, almost furry texture of a Zin. The flavors are big, more floral spice with a dose of berry and a long peppery finish. The acidity is not super high here, so you taste this wine for a long time after you drink it. If you like a big, lush wine, then you are going to love this. It’s probably a bit large for Thanksgiving, but it would be terrific with barbeque. Room temperature here.
There were lots of interesting wines in our November Blue Apron delivery! I’d go with the Le P’tit Paysan Chard for a Thanksgiving white, but I don’t think we really found a red that meets the needs. I’d seek out a sharper Pinot Noir, or a Tempranillo to go with traditional Thanksgiving foods. But you know what–serve what you like. No one is going to care because they’re having Thanksgiving with you because they love you (or are contractually obligated by marriage to be there). Drink what you like to drink! That’s what wine is for.
Or, you know, you could just go with this handy chart from the Blue Apron Wine Guide this month:
By the way, Blue Apron has a new system for pairing its wines and its food subscriptions, somewhat like you might have seen in nicer grocery stores — the wines are categorized by type (crisp & minerally, plush & fruity, etc.) and then that symbol shows up on the food recipes. Pair any wine of the recommended type to the food, and voila — you have a great meal!
Have you tried Blue Apron Wine? What are you serving with Thanksgiving this year? Tell us in the comments below!