Blue Apron Wine January 2019 Subscription Box Review

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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.

DEAL: You can try out Blue Apron dinners for $50 off your first two boxes with this link.

The 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 is, happily, recyclable cardboard.

Blue Apron Wine allows you to select your wines–you can go all white, red, or mix it up. There are lots of choices, and it’s easy to change it to suit your mood or meals of the month.

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 January!  Probably dark days for wine subscription companies, what with all the “less alcohol” resolutions or (gasp) dry Januaries.  Blue Apron wine is here for you, with sensible advice to drink well if you’re going to drink less.  I’m resolving to try new things of all kinds in 2019, and that includes wine!  Let’s see what we have in the box.

Welllll so much for new experiences, because we’re starting with an old favorite, the 2016 Matthiasson White Blend.  I reviewed this back in April of 2018.  So, it’s not new, but it is soooo good.  The Matthiasson blend is a proper bottle of wine that you can find in your local wine shop for about $30.  It is a beautiful pale gold in the glass, with tons of sweet citrus on the nose.  That flavor leads, but the sweetness drops right out into a stony/ozone finish that evaporates almost before you’re done swallowing.  This is the perfect wine for your spring back porch, but since it’s January, we had it with spicy fish tacos, and that was almost as good.  Drink it cold.

Next up is another light white, the 2016 Kotuku Sauvignon Blanc. SB is everyone’s favorite white these days, but they do vary a lot, both by region and by producer. The Kotuku is from New Zealand, where SB’s tend toward citrus/tropical flavors, rather than the grassy French SBs. Like my children, I like them both, but differently.

The Kotuku is straw-colored in the glass with a huge nose of sweet citrus.  It’s a bit sweeter-smelling than the Matthiasson, but they do share similarities.  The Kotuku’s mouthfeel is a little heavier than the Matthiasson, and the tropical/passion fruit flavors definitely dominate.  It finishes brightly with a lingering tropical flavor.  If you like the tropical SBs, you’ll like this one, and your book club is going to love it.  We had this with an omelette and salad, and it was a little flavorful to match that.  I’d probably serve it with appetizers, or as we call it at our house, “snack dinner.”  Serve it cold.

Our last white is actually another previously-reviewed one, the 2015 Pax White Blend.  But this one is a really unique blend, and worth a new-experiences-January try.

Pax is an acclaimed winemaker who has paired with Blue Apron to make this exclusive blend.  It’s Muscat, Riesling, and Chardonnay in about equal parts.  Muscat wines are often thought of as cheap sweet wines, because a lot of them are.  Muscat is almost always off-dry, but it can be lovely if handled right.  The Pax is light gold in the glass with a pretty substantial mouthfeel (that’s the Riesling in there), and a huge nose of peach. (The tasting notes include quince as a flavor, but I’ve never had that, so I can’t say if it’s in there or not!).  The peach flavors really explode as you swallow, but then the finish is sharp and stony, with a very high acidity that wipes any thought of sweetness away.  This is an unusual wine, but it’s very well-balanced and tasty.  This would be great with a risotto or maybe a gorgeous roasted chicken.  I’d serve it just off-chill to let those fruit flavors shine.

On to France for our first red, the 2015 Stephanie Daumas Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan Red.  This is another favorite from the archives, a bold blend from a terrific (and female!) winemaker.

Loyal readers know that I love a Cotes du Rhone.  These wines are always blends; this one is mostly Grenache, with some Syrah and a tiny bit of Mourvedre.  It’s a dark purple in the glass with a heavy body and a nice peppery nose.  The Syrah really dominates the flavor of this wine, imparting an inky, spicy flavor with a long and quite tannic finish.  This is a big wine in flavor but the ABV is a moderate 13.9%, so it won’t overwhelm your food (or head).  This is a good wine for any beef dish but it also plays well with dark beans.  We had it with an awesome black bean chili and it complemented those flavors beautifully. Cool room temperature here.

We go from a restrained French wine to a bigger California one, the 2016 Prism Teroldego.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a Teroldego before, so I was excited to give this one a try.  Eric Asimov at the Times called them “esoteric but worth seeking out.”

An Italian Teroldego is supposed to be fruity but grounded in earth, with herbal and tobacco flavors.  The Prism is Californian, so it doesn’t surprise me that it feels bolder and fruitier than I expected.  It is very dark and heavy in the glass, with floral fruit flavors–the nose is really unique, so don’t miss it.  There are dark fruit and herbs in the mix, but I didn’t get any of the tobacco or peat flavors I’d heard about.  It’s also not as tannic as I was expecting, so the flavors lingered a bit.  This was interesting.  I’d like to try an Italian Teroldego sometime to compare them.  We drank this at room temperature with roasted chicken thighs and sweet potatoes.  You might want to give it a little chill to bring out the herbal notes.

Last up, the 2015 Viale Sangiovese, is a favorite varietal of mine, but it’s from Australia, which I’ve never seen before.  New experiences!

Sangiovese is a great food wine, and its typical acidity pairs wonderfully with tomato sauces.  The Viale, which the tasting notes say is “dialed up to 11,” is bright garnet in the glass with a slightly heavier body than I was expecting.  It has a huge nose of red fruit, with an undercurrent of mint.  The flavor is LIKE a Chianti, but also kind of like a Chianti slushie.  Tons of cherry, tons of fruit, and just the bare hint of that mint.  The acidity at the back balances some moderate tannins.  This isn’t my favorite Sangiovese, but if you like a giant Aussie red, you might like this twist on a theme.  Try it with a good pizza.

And that is January! Some old, some new, some unusual.  That’s the kind of balance I like to start the year with.  If you’re NOT into balance, you could try one of these crazy wine diets below.  (Don’t do it.)

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!

Onward to February!  You’ll be back to normal by then, so come drink some wine with us.  Any wine-related resolutions for you this month?  Tell us in the comments below!

Visit Blue Apron Wine to subscribe or find out more!

Blue Apron Wine

Six Premium Wines, Delivered Monthly. Take dinner to the next level with incredible wines, hand-selected to pair perfectly with Blue Apron Meals.
We work with acclaimed vineyards to bring you top-quality wines at winery-direct pricing. From fruity California reds to crisp Washington whites (and everything in between), our incredible wines are exclusive to Blue Apron.

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