Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! 2009 Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay

Here's a wine brand that will make the invention of liquid cake seem real!  (Now you can have your cake... and drink it, too... please drink responsibly!)  Cupcake Vineyards has released several varieties throughout the nation.  I've found these wines in Florida, Massachusetts, and California.  I have a feeling their in your local region as well.

Photo from

The wines are meant to be consumer appealing - everything from the name of the brand, the label, and the wine flavors.  The 2009 Chardonnay, for example, tastes like a vanilla cupcake.  Complete with some residual sugar and a nice mouthfeel, it's a real bargain - a whopping $12!  Other wine consumers have also recommended the Riesling, although I have not tasted this one myself.  

I once compared the 2009 Chardonnay to a $40 2009 Chardonnay from a well known Napa producer.  Although I can appreciate that the Cupcake brand was not complex, it sure did taste better, and can appreciate the overall satisfaction with the wine.  Go ahead and give this one a try the next time you're in for a crowd-pleasing Chardonnay.

BONUS:  The website includes several recipes that are paired with their wines.  LOVE this idea:
(recipe included from webpage for your convenience)
"Serves 4
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound red Swiss chard, stems trimmed and finely chopped, leaves coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
6 ounces Gouda cheese, preferably made from goat's milk, shredded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped chard stems and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chard leaves and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain the chard and transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the skillet.

2. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stir- ring until the rice is coated with olive oil, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook the risotto, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stirring constantly between additions until the stock is absorbed. The risotto is done when it is creamy and the rice grains are just tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter and cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at once"

The D-2010 Scale 
2009 Chardonnay by Cupcake Vineyard (Livermore, California, USA) 
Appearance (10 points possible): golden yellow hue, clear - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Vanilla, buttery notes of oak burst from the glass with underlying tones of apples, pears, and citrus.  Simple, yet alluring: The aroma immediately reminds you of a Chardonnay!  - 15 points
Taste (10 points possible): Medium- to full-bodied, smooth, with a perfect acidic balance that makes this wine melt on your tongue like cake.  Feels like a liquid piece of vanilla cake.  A light, sweet finish ends the wine with lingering flavors of vanilla.  - 8 points
Balance (5 points possible): Very well balanced.  The oak is designed to dominate this wine in flavor, but the fruit components are still there.  Nice sugar/acid balance, not to high in alcohol.  Very pleasant. - 5 points
Finish (5 points possible): Lots of oak-based flavors in the finish, especially vanilla.  The sweetness really makes this wine.  Although it is not super sweet, it definitely complements the style.  All around great package for the name of the brand and the flavor profile. - 5 points 
Add 50 points for attempt, packaging, closure, etc.
Total Points: 99
Overall Thought: I've had this wine so many times because it's easy to pair with foods, and beats buying a $25 - $40 Chardonnay when you need that "oaky Chardonnay" kick.  The slight sweetness is sometimes off-putting to me, because sometimes I want a dry wine, but really - can you beat a $12 wine?
Food Pairings: White based pastas, risotto, fried chicken (I don't know why, but this seemed to go fantastically with fried chicken...), turkey, fish, corn bread, cupcakes, cake... period, cookies, etc.
Cost: $12
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 1 - This wine is a real bargain for $12.  It's become so popular that I think it's worth the $12.  Many women are finding this their wine of choice.  What a great marketing idea!  A wine made for consumers... who would've thought?
Where to buy: Distributed nationally or order online if you can: Cupcake Vineyard.  Enjoy!

Photo from Google Images

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