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 new packaging is great and keeps everything snug and secure. Keep in mind that someone 21+ will need to sign for it. Everything is in great shape when it arrives, and the packaging remains, happily, recyclable cardboard.
Blue Apron Wine allows you to select your wines–you can go all white, red, or mix it up. I picked four white blends for summer drinking, plus a couple of fun-looking reds to balance things out.
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 June! It’s hot! Like, really, really hot. A great time to take some wine to the pool (decant into a non-breakable bottle if you must). And pay attention to your kids, obvs. This month, after our May rosé party, I picked 4 white blends to give you a break from all that delicious pink wine. Plus 2 reds for fun. Grab your towel and let’s go.
First up is the 2017 Leaf and Vine White Blend. This is a legit bottle from a legit winemaker in Lodi, Tim Keith. His deal is to make wine that reflects the vineyard rather than aiming for a particular style or varietal. He has the standard lineup of California players (Chard, Merlot, etc.), but this white blend is one that he hasn’t released generally. Hey, it’s pretty cool to try something new with Blue Apron.
The Leaf and Vine is a fun mix of whites, mostly Verdelho (a tropicalish white) with some Grenache Blanc for weight and Albarino for acidity. The wine is heavy in the glass in spite of its light straw color, and it has a strong nose of sweet citrus. This is a super interesting wine–the mouthfeel is almost that furry softness you get with a Pinot Noir, but the acidity wipes all of that out and leaves your palate clean, with a hint of oak on the finish. I’m not totally sure what I’d pair this with–maybe fried seafood. We drank this off-chill, by virtue of it being in a crummy cooler at the pool, but I think that’s right. Too cold and you’ll lose the finish. Thumbs up for a very interesting start.
Our second white is from our friends in Willamette Valley, Washington. I just read an interesting article on a resurgence of white wines coming out of Willamette. Here’s one of them, the 2017 Anne Amie Vineyards Cuvée A Müller-Thurgau. A mouthful of label, for sure.
What the heck is this varietal, you ask? Well, friends, I admit that I had to look it up. It’s a funky hybrid of a Riesling and a varietal charmingly called “Madeleine Royal.” This guy, Müller-Thurgau, natch, was trying for a less-fussy Riesling, and this is what he came up with. I’ve never had it, and the internet is all over the place with what it actually is supposed to taste like. The wine is a very light straw in the glass, with the medium body I’d expect from a Riesling. The nose is slight, with maybe a little citrus, but the wine itself definitely has a sweet citrus flavor to it. The finish is very bright and acidic, with the barest hint of stone at the back. This is possibly the most perfect wine for the pool, ever. It’s fruity, not complicated, but refreshing. Maybe add a little hummus or goat cheese to round out your apps. We all liked this one a lot, despite it not being a style I typically prefer. The setting really does matter for wine! Drink it with a good chill.
Back to California (Paso Robles this time) for our third white, the 2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Rhone-Style White. Loyal readers know about my love of Rhone-style reds. I don’t drink quite as much white as red overall, but I’m always happy to drink some delicious French (style) wine. This one is a mix of mostly Grenache Blanc with a lot of other white added in for weight or acidity.
The Tablas Creek is a medium straw color in the glass, with a very heavy body from the Roussanne in the mix. It has a strong nose of melon and… something else that I can’t quite pinpoint. That mystery aroma resolves itself into a weird resiny undercurrent in the flavor. There’s also a peachy/pear element to it. The finish is pretty sharp and that plastic taste comes through again. You know, I pulled up some professional reviews of this bottle, and everyone loves it. I wonder if we got an off-batch? Well, win some, lose some, I guess. This one was a pass for us.
We finish in California (North Coast) for our last white, the 2016 Bellbird White Blend. Love that old-school label. This is an exclusive bottling for Blue Apron; normally this winemaker sticks to Chardonnay. The White Blend is mostly Chard, with a big slug of Colombard (normally used for Cognac) and a bit of Gewürtztraminer.
This pale lemon-colored wine has a strong nose of sweet peachy fruit and a fairly light body, considering all that Chard in there. The first flavor is very fruity, but it eases out to a nice zip of citrus at the back. It finishes quickly and fairly unremarkably. This is sort of like a Sauvignon Blanc had a fling with Chardonnay. It’s an easy one that your crowd will probably like, especially at the pool! Drink it cold, maybe with some grilled chicken.
Time to leave the pool and drink our red wines back in the air conditioning. First up is the 2016 Vignobles Bulliat Cuvée du Colombier Morgon. This is a Gamay wine, which might remind you of a spicy Pinot Noir.
The Morgon is a lovely bright red-violet in the glass, with a heavy swirl and a strong nose of red fruit. The mouthfeel has a softness that reminds me of a Pinot Noir, but higher acidity and more tannin. The berry flavors quickly drop out to an herby, complex finish. This is a terrific wine. We had it with pork tenderloin, but it would also be great with a burger or roasted chicken. Serve it at cool room temperature.
Last up is a Spanish grape, Tempranillo (used to make Rioja), but the wine comes from California (Santa Barbara), the 2104 Las Canovas Tempranillo. I love Tempranillo for the nice balance of body and acidity it brings to a wide variety of foods.
The Las Canovas is garnet in the glass, with a fuchsia swirl and a 14.6% ABV to go with it (because, California). You can smell the oak on this right up front, which is a little unusual, but the oak doesn’t dominate the flavor the way I feared it would. You get that nice berry and floral flavors, with a peppery finish. This is a “bigger” Tempranillo than you would get from Spain or even Argentina, but it’s friendly, and we enjoyed it with pork chops. It would be great with any grilled or roasted meat, or even black beans and rice. Serve it cool but not cold.
We really enjoyed our June box! It was fun to try several white blends in a casual setting with friends, and then retreat home to drink our reds with meals. Summer carries on next month, so we’ll probably throw some rosé back in the mix. In the meantime, if you’re tired of wine, I guess you could drink beer? (Is Blue Apron hinting at something here? I would dig a beer box!)
By the way, Blue Apron has an easy 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’s your go-to wine at the pool? Tell us in the comments below!