I walked into the run down corner liquor store with a skip in my step. I breezed past the line of old men getting lottery tickets, the humming case of malt liquor and straight to the back of the store where the treasure was kept. Glancing at my watch, I maneuvered my way back to the register, purchases in hand, just smiling as the other customers looked me over. I placed the two boxes of wine on the counter and could hardly contain my grin. What did the young man ringing up my order think of this preppy housewife with a fool’s smile plastered across her face? If only he would have asked I would have gladly told him, and the world! A boxed wine tasting at my monthly homeschool mom’s social!!!!! Squeeeeeeeeeeee! I may have danced out of the store even though I didn’t get to proclaim my good fortune publicly.
After our rosary, we got right to work. I brought forms and instruction sheets and we had six wines to try. Some moms declined to taste, (did they think my offer to let them swish and spit into the hostess’ kitchen sink was insincere?) and only chatted and sampled the snacks.
So since this is ‘Five Favorites’ I’m going to share the top five wines…out of six. (But I think there was talk about doing this again next month…or next week, so I’ll update if things change.)
Franzia’s Pinot Grigio, which I brought, was easily eliminated with its most flattering comment;
“Why bother? I’d rather have soda.”
I may or may not have left that behind at the hostess’ house as a “present.” Thanks again for having us all in your house until the wee hours!
5. Franzia’s White Zinfindel averaged a 2.6 on a scale of one to five (with five the “happy face score”). The highest score came from a reviewer on her sixth sample who was not swishing and spitting. So, if you’re hosting a party (Baptism, Confirmation, etc.) this would seem to be the wine you break out once everyone’s having a good time.
4. Also scoring a 2.6 was Almaden’s Mountain Burgundy, by far the most hotly debated wine of the evening. One mom passionately wrote,
“Yuck! If I could give it less than a one I would! It is not ‘soft and elegant’ [as written on the box]. False advertising!”
She later amended her review to add it had a ‘full bodied throw up taste.”
However other moms described it as sweet, “knock your socks off” good and “[I'm] shocked that wine in a box can be yummy. A little sour, but a good box.”
Therefore, if you’re hosting a dinner party and are worried about where the conversation might go, serve this wine and everyone is bound to be caught up arguing about it for the rest of the night.
3. Folonari’s Pinot Noir came in at 2.9. For a red wine, it didn’t make my face go all puckery and a few other reviewers noted fruitiness. Even the reviewer who said “Blah, with notes of meh” gave it a three. It also had a slightly high-end looking box that clearly proclaimed “Italian Wine.” Whether it’s delivery or DiGiornos, stuffed shells or Spagettios, Folonari’s is guaranteed to add some class and, at the very least, not horribly offend anyone.
2. One of my favorite’s, Franzia’s Sangria garnered a 3.5. (The truth is out; I’m a wine snob.) The score would have been higher except for a Russian judge that snuck in and gave it a one, writing “Perfume fragrance with a sickening sweet medicinal flavor.”
I for one, find Sangria the perfect accompaniment to blogging, and Christmas cookie swaps. (Bring the burnt ones. No one will care!) One mom even suggested indulging in a little Sangria before visiting the Maryland Science Center, based on personal experience.
So for educational outings and building camaraderie between moms, Sangria for the win!
1. Hands down the best wine of the night, if only because it was packaged LIKE A PURSE, was Volere’s Merlot Pinot Noir blend at 3.8. Regardless of how it tasted, I think all the ladies in attendance were enamoured with a wine that could probably be snuck into a movie theater, band performance or homeschool kindergarten graduation. Sure, everyone will wonder what all the ruckus is in row E, but IT’S WINE IN A PURSE. I rest my case.
Now don’t forget to pin, bookmark or print this post so next time you’re faced with the dilemma of selecting a quality boxed wine for under $20 you don’t need to ask the opinion of some twenty-something wine clerk who doesn’t understand the needs of the homeschooling mom community. My friends and I, we’ve done the hard work so you can reap the rewards. It was a tough job, but ….okay so it wasn’t but now you can head back to Hallie’s a little wiser anyway.