In today’s episode of 1WineDude TV, I offer my take on the new trend in in-home wine tasting – T.A.S.T.E. sample packs – using Blackbird Vineyards’ “Flock Box” as my primary target specimen. In fairness to Blackbird, their wines are, for the most part, superb and you can read my takes on some of their recent selections after the jump.
The Pros: the tasting kits work, and the wine quality from them is pretty much 100% (though they are NOT designed for aging); they’re also a good and inexpensive way to sample a wine portfolio, and they score high on the coolness factor.
The Cons: a 1.69070114 US fluid ounce pour is not a lot to go on when you’re trying to give a wine serious attention (and it’s probably not enough to get a Barbie doll drunk).
What do you think?
Are these new T.A.S.T.E. sample packs good, bad, or just plain scary? Also, please don’t comment on my orange sweater, it’s almost Halloween for Pete’s sake…
- 06 Blackbird Vineyards Illustration (Napa Valley): Not sure how they did it, but they’re already close to delivering a Merlot legend. $90 A #
- 07 Blackbird Vineyards Illustration (Napa Valley): A plum & tobacco classic, but not to be taken for a spin for another 8 yrs minimum $90 A- #
- 07 Blackbird Vineyards Contrarian (Napa Valley): Red lovers can rejoice. Cab Franc lovers might not believe this is almost 50% CF tho $90 B+ #
- 07 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour (Napa Valley): A more enjoyable balance between dark cherry & mint probably can’t be found for the $. $90 A- #
- 09 Blackbird Vineyards Arriviste Rose (Napa Valley): Tasty strawberry action that would taste even better if it was priced even lower. $24 B #
26 thoughts on “1WineDude TV Episode 19: Flock Me, I Need To Wet My Beak!”
Thanks Joe! I have been thinking about ordering one of these to do a tasting (and write up). I see it as a good way taste more wines from a single winery than you might otherwise have the opportunity to do from whole bottles.
Hey dc – exactly; it can introduce you to those wines at a steep discount vs. buying a full bottle. But be forewarned, it's NOT the same as experiencing the full bottle with dinner/friends/conversation/etc.
Hi Kim – TastingRoom.com has several (mostly CA I think) wine packages available. However, some other producers who might not be represented there (Blackbird, Paul Dolan – whose wines we tasted last night in an on-line event using the T.A.S.T.E. format) are also making these available as custom-branded packages (not sure if there is a definitive list available – hopefully someone from TastingRoom.com can chime in here and let us know!).
Hi, I work at TastingRoom.com and I'm happy to answer your question. We have some 35 wine samplers currently available. Go to http://www.TastingRoom.com and click Pick a Sampler to see the list. Some of our wine samplers feature wines from single wineries; others (called "Taste Adventures") contain six wines from six different wineries. So, if you want to explore a specific varietal, say Pinot, you can taste six Pinots from six top producers side by side. We have the same for Cabs, Chards and samplers focused on region too. You find the wine you love and then buy full-sized bottles at a discount onTastingRoom.com. We sell gift bundles too, so you can give someone a wine sampler and a gift card and say: "Have a wine tasting and buy a bottle of your favorite on me!" It's the hottest wine gift of the season. Hope you can check it out. Thanks.
Okay, it looks cute, but I'd rather buy full bottles, have a bunch of friends over and have a party, oh…I mean a tasting! If I got it for a Christmas present though, I'm not giving it back.
Thanks, Mary :-).
I wasn't kidding about the ladies liking the kit, btw!
I got the very same kind of thing but with a different producer's wines.
Still deciding what I want to say and whether it will be about the wine or the concept.
I LOVE this idea and have been waiting for it for years. While 1 oz may not be the right amount, 2 is probably good, it just makes sense. Especially when trying a new region, grape, or for people that really think they can never drink a dry red, you know, the virgins that we all love introducing to new wines.
Thanks, NYCWD – I think you're right, 2oz would work a lot better for me and allow me to go back and forth between wines for comparison.
The format looks great to me. I really enjoyed the video format Joe. I feel like I got to know you a little more than through text.
I think it's a dumb idea. A professional taster will want to play with the wine, let it air, watch how it changes, pour a second glass. I also think that a good wine will smell and taste better from a 750 ml. bottle. Some wineries will use those little test tubes just to save money, but they'll be shooting themselves in the foot.
Steve – definitely better for consumers (in terms of choice, experimenting, etc.) than for pros. With 50ml, there's no option for going back on the wine and getting really focused on it later.
I would say that the wine tastes the same after several mins. int he glass (I did a comparison of the Paul Dolan 2006 Deep Red and as far as I could discern, the wine from both the 750ml and 50ml were identical – I have a spare TASTE package from them so may do some more of these side-by-side to test this out a bit further).
I totally agree that this is a consumer-driven product but at the same time, "professional tasters" are routinely forced to make flash judgments at large trade tastings, etc.
I'm with you though… in a perfect world we'd have a few hours with every wine to decant and analyze throughout the course of a night or 2.
My Winery (Roadhouse Winery in Healdsburg, CA) has these and we've been having good success with them.
I think they sell more as novel gifts, rather than serious tasting tools.
It remains to be seen whether our more delicate varietals, like Pinot will show well in that format.
Ours is a 2008 six pack with:
Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, ,
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ,
Dry Creek Valley Grenache,
Dry Creek Zinfandel,
Russian River Zinfandel, and a
Red (Zin/Carignane/Alicante) Blend.
Retails for $29 and costs about $10 to ship, so we think people are more likely to take a chance on that (if they've never tried our wines) rather than a bottle.
Thanks, Eric – now you have me thinking of the "Roadhouse!" bit from The Family Guy ;-)
I think you're exactly right about these TASTE kits being a good way for people to try a winery's portfolio, and about them being novel (and therefore pretty fun).
OK, Kimberly – I'm gonna go video on some of the upcoming "Going Pro" stuff… you've been warned! :)
Yeah, That was hilarious! We wanted to put it on our voicemail. Or maybe every time you click "add to cart" on our website.
Peter Griffin is my hero.
BTW, our name came about because I wanted to call us “The Garage”, because we were in a garage on Westside Rd, in Healdsburg initially, but everything with Garage in it was locked up. Nobody liked the name “The Shed”, so we used an online thesaurus which suggested “Roadhouse” .
We had never heard of the movies. Still it seems like a good name tho!
"Garage"? Are you also in a band by any chance? :)
Only Rock Band 3, and Guitar Hero!
Interesting timing, given that Vaynerchuk had a couple of episodes last week where he was trying out some of the wines from TastingRoom.com. The novelty factor is certainly high, but as you have pointed out 50ml is not a lot a lot to work with if you are taking the tasting seriously.
That said, just like with baby animals, these things will probably go a long way just on cuteness.
BTW: Joe, don't sweat the production value of the video…the content is more important than the quality in this case, and the sweater was much better than you doing it in your underwear…so you are doing just fine.
Scary for us as I have tried to get someone from that company to email or call me back about pricing and getting a sample pack going for our new wines but have had no one even attempt to contact me.
Jenny – sounds like a sales dept. FAIL to me on their part!
Hi Jenny, I work at TastingRoom.com. Just email me directly and I'll put you in touch with our sales department. My email is: email@example.com. Thanks!
Hey Joe – I think I'd take 60ml if the wine was **really** good :).
The main issue with th e 50ml sample is that you can't really see how a wine evolves in the glass as it warms up – but that's more an issue for reviewers and the geekier-minded consumer.
This idea would be perfect if it was the 187ml "split" size.
Hi Sandra – I think you're right: I've got more thoughts on this in today's post:
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