Saturday, July 14, 2012

California Wine Club, Shipment Three

This is the final shipment I received during my review of the California Wine Club, this time with a distinct Rhone theme. Upon opening this latest shipment, I was thrilled to see these two bottles waiting for me. Over the past several years I've become increasingly excited at the potential of California's Rhone-style producers and the chance to try two new wines was very appealing.

The producer of the Trenza and Tangent wines is Niven Family Wine Estates, who also produce Baileyana and other California brands.

2009 Trenza Mourvedre Syrah Grenache: With fruit sourced from Santa Barbara County, I had high hopes for this domestic Rhone-style blend. The bouquet is nice, with cherry and leather notes at first, followed by more subtle garrigue and pepper. I think the grenache dominates to begin, showing as bright red fruit and pepper, before the syrah's earthy, black olive notes kick in. All of this is enclosed by the mourvedre's firm, chewy tannin. I wish for a little more fruit on the finish but it's still a nice wine, one that I would happily pair with barbecue all summer long. As the wine opened up, we all seemed to enjoy it more and more. 14.4% abv. $13.99 via the California Wine Club.

2010 Tangent Voignier: The fruit in this viognier was sourced from vineyards in San Luis Obispo, with some coming from cooler sites and others from warmer sites. It's a pretty wine, with notes of stone fruit and white flowers, along with a hint of minerality. One thing I did notice though was how it smelled somewhat dilute, perhaps an indication of young vines or watering back of the juice. On the palate the pretty stone fruit flavors came through but again tasted somewhat muted and diluted. This is a very, very drinkable wine for the price, around $11to re-order it. I like that it isn't sweet and peach-syrup oriented like a lot of other low-priced viognier's can be. 14.1% abv

In the first two California Wine Club reviews, I was pleased with one wine and not so pleased with the other, however this time I'm pleased with both selections. The Trenza is a fantastic deal at $14, and I would happily buy multiple bottles for the summer grilling season. I liked the Tangent viognier as well, and feel that it would be best when paired with food. For the $11 Wine Club price, it's a bargain sipper that takes you off the beaten path, but not dangerously so.

So, the California Wine Club went 2 for 2 this time. After three shipments, I can see the appeal and popularity of this club, it's a great way to find unique producers. I do think they over-sell a bit, because when you put in producers like Fess Parker and Tobin James, both of which are widely distributed across the country, that dilutes the message (implied or otherwise) of "small, family owned wineries". Still, the wines were of reasonable quality and definitely crowd-pleasers. I'd happily give thePremier Club as a gift to friends or family whom I know enjoy reasonably priced wines multiple times each week.

You can find the California Wine Club on Twitter as @cawineclub and The Boring Wine Guy as @boringwineguy. Bruce Boring is one half of the founding team behind this club, the other being his wife Pam. The California Wine Club Facebook Page is also full of activity and a good place to talk about your experiences. The Boring Wine Guy is also on Facebook. If you use the code "beau12" at checkout, you will get four bottles instead of two. That might be the best deal of the whole club!

This sample pack was made possible by Mom Spark Media.

Beau Carufel


  1. I recently got a membership to the California Wine Club as a gift, and when I Googled to see what to expect I mostly found mommy bloggers who were offered memberships for free in exchange for "reviews" that read something like: Wow, I love wine, and this club is so totally awesome because they send you yummy wine! You should totally join! Here's a link because I get a kickback if you click through!

    Yours is the only serious review of the Ca. Wine Club I've found, and it was really helpful and informative. Thanks very much.

    1. Hi Thalia, thanks for commenting! I do hope you enjoy your CA Wine Club membership, it is a pretty good wine club to be in (one that isn't winery-specific, that is) and they deliver good value.

      As far as why I was asked to take part, I have no clue. I'm certainly not a mommy blogger and my blog's focus is often on more unique wines. It's disappointing to hear about those bloggers who are just shills for free product, but in the wine blogging world, that's rampant. Bloggers love free stuff!

      Thanks again for reading, cheers! :)