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There are a lot of wine clubs to choose among these days, and the key to finding a good one is finding the right one. The right one is the wine club suited to the person that will be drinking the wine. Do they already know a lot about wine and are ready to try some really adventurous options, or are they beginners eager to take their first steps into a more delicious world? I certainly wouldn’t enroll my aunt in a wine club. She knows the one bottle of affordable red wine that makes her happy, and she has no interest in trying anything else. When she comes to visit, I make sure to have a bottle on hand, and she is delighted. But most of us appreciate new varieties, and wine clubs provide new choices tailored to a range of wine drinkers, wherever they are in their wine journey.
The Wine Party Co. is a good example of a new generation of wine club. It has a particular niche and is an excellent choice for people looking for what it has to offer. All of the wines they send are organic and tend to come from smaller wineries. Also, the wines are a bit (but not far) outside the range of typical varieties and common sources of particular grapes. The Wine Party Co. is well suited to those who appreciate wine and want organic options that are a little more adventurous. The four wines for Winter 2021, reviewed below, demonstrate the wine club’s approach, and I enjoyed the range of the offerings. Along with the wines comes a booklet that introduces them nicely as well as some recipes for vegetarian options that would pair well with them.
2020 Jus Jus Verjus Night – 80% Chardonnay from Redwood Valley and 20% Muscat Blanc from Contra Costa (both in California). Pale straw in color with a tinge of green, this wine lives up to its name, Verjus, which translates to “green juice,” as the information booklet informed me. The wine is slightly sweet with notes of honey and Bosc pear, accompanied by a good amount of acidity. It is very well balanced with nice flavor and complexity at a fairly low alcohol point (7%). A- / $33
2018 Two Kings Pinot Noir Sonoma County – Ruby colored in the glass, this wine drawn from Carneros vineyards shows somewhat restrained aromas of bacon fat and cherry. The palate is rather light with notes of raspberry and some earthiness, and the finish is a bit short. It has the character of a Burgundy, and those who love the old world style might really enjoy this, but I found it a bit lacking in flavor and complexity. Make sure to give it a bit of time in the glass to open up as it is even more restrained at the beginning. B / $25
2019 Chateau d’Oupia, Les Heretiques, Pays D’Herault – Made entirely from Carignan grown in Minervois in southern France, this inky purple wine is a great everyday drinker. The wine is fruit forward on the nose, offering notes of blueberries and blackberries. The palate follows suit and also introduces some raspberry and a touch of pepper. The wine is very approachable with light to medium tannins and acidity offering some structure. For an inexpensive red, the finish is very nice as the flavors slowly fade out. B+ / $11
2017 Champvallon Saint Bris Sauvignon Blanc – Made with grapes drawn from Burgundy, this wine is straw colored with a touch of green. Burgundy is an unusual source for Sauvignon Blanc, but as the accompanying booklet informs us, Saint Bris is “so far northwest of central Burgundy that it’s actually closer to the Loire Valley, both in terms of physical distance and terroir.” The nose introduces white peach, light citrus, and flowers. The flavor follows suit and introduces a nice minerality along with medium acidity and a touch of sweetness. The wine’s flavors are nicely balanced, but the finish was a bit shorter than I would have liked. B+ / $15
Ultimately, The Wine Party Co. is a good wine club for those for whom it is well suited. The price of the wine club seems a touch high in relation to the price of the bottles, but it’s not unreasonable. If you enjoy being introduced to new organic wines and varietals, it could be an excellent choice for you, and the information they include will help you appreciate their wines even more.
Overall rating: B+ / $129 per 4-bottle shipment