We’ve written about Cupcake wine before, but today we wanted to cover a popular red wine blend from one of the largest budget wine producers in the United States.
Incase the branding of this particular red wine hasn’t already sold you, perhaps the price point and the way it was blended will. That’s the advantage of red wine blends and sourcing grapes from several vineyards. Not only does it help cut costs, but blending red wine grape varieties allows for more flexibility in the final product, which in this particular case yields delightfully fruity, almost dessert-esque wine.
About the Winemaker
Cupcake Vineyards, as an operation is based in Livermore, CA within California’s Central Coast. It’s California’s largest wine growing region, and offers an ideal Terroir for producing Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon among several other varieties. Given that this particular product is sourced from multiple vineyards, the appellation designation you’ll find on the bottle is simply “California.”
Heading up winemaking operations at Cupcake Vineyards is Jessica Tomei. Jessica has degree in Viticulture & Enology from the University of California, Davis. She’s been involved in over 20 harvests around the world, from Tuscany, California, to Chile and has consulted for wineries in Napa and beyond. Needless to say, she’s been around the block and has extensive experience from a hands-on perspective in growing and crafting a variety of grape varieties and wine styles.
In terms of the Central Coast’s terroir, Cupcake Vineyard’s location affords the Vintner the ability to grow grapes with refreshing complexity. The days are typically long and warm, but not excessively hot thanks to the nearby ocean breeze. In the evening, the temperature cools substantially, helping to slow the amount of time it takes for grapes to ripen, thus giving them a heightened concentration.
Cupcake Red Velvet Wine Blend – What Goes Inside?
For this particular blend, a combination of Zinfandel grapes, Merlot, and Petite Sirah were used. The Zinfandel portion comes from one of my favorite regions, Lodi, which is famous world-wide for Zin production — grapes are also hand-harvested. Zinfandel helps to bring some bright red fruit tones to the blend, especially hints of strawberry and raspberry. The Merlot and Petit Sirah portion comes from various vineyards within the Central Coast — each also adding their own unique flavors and textures. Merlot helps brings additional body and darker fruit flavors. Petit Sirah is primarily used as a body, astringency and color-enhancing agent.
Each grape variety is fermented separately before any blending occurs, thus allowing them to reach their full expression and then build upon each other. Note that grape concentrations may vary vintage to vintage, and Cabernet Sauvignon has also been used in past vintages.
In addition, a relatively short period of oak-aging is employed prior to distribution in order to further enhance the mouth-feel and toasted, creamy aromas and flavors you’ll find in the blend.
Is the Cupcake Red Velvet Wine Sweet?
A very common question, and understandably so given the name. While 99% of red wine produced throughout the world is dry, occasionally some value producers leave a small amount of residual sugar in the wine to make it more palatable to the casual drinker. In this particular case, the wine is produced and bottled ready-to-drink, and I’m able to detect a slight hint of sweetness in the blend. Regardless, this particular wine is predominantly dry, despite the vanilla and mocha flavors you may detect (which come from the oak).
Where to Buy Cupcake Red Velvet Wine
You can buy the Cupcake Red Velvet Blend almost anywhere. I’ve even found it at my local gas station. Be sure to check the wine aisle at your local grocer. It’s also available at major retailers such as Target, and online for delivery at Wine.com.
Calories in the Blend
Given the viscosity of this wine, you’ll be happy to hear that calories in this blend aren’t too extreme. At only about 127 calories per 5 ounce serving, you’re pretty much safe to drink a few glasses. In addition, take comfort in knowing that red wine has numerous other health benefits :).
Serving the Wine
This value red is ready to drink on purchase. You may consider chilling it for about 10 minutes in your typical refrigerator, to about 62 degrees Fahrenheit. While it doesn’t require decanting, consider using self-aerating wine glasses to soften the tannins and acidity. We recommend these from Taste of Purple (use code WINEDERLUST for 10% off).
How Much Does Cupcake’s Red Velvet Wine Cost?
Short answer? Not much. You can find this blend between $7.99 and $10.99 depending on retailer. A pretty good value, and it’s sold as both a 750mL bottle as well as a magnum (1.5L).
Cupcake Red Velvet Tasting Notes
Let’s get to drinking! In the glass, this wine emits a nice rich hue of ruby and mocha-plum, indicating some degree of youth. The aromas are quite nice… with dark black, blue and red berries, mocha-latte and sweet spice.
The opening palate is predominantly medium-bodied with noticeable hints of dark cherry, medium-plus acidity and even subtle mineral tones. As the palate progresses, expect more hints of dark fruit, such as cassis and blackberry cobbler, backed by some jammy strawberry tones courtesy the Zinfandel in the blend. Blueberry also shines through a bit backed by vanilla cake and cacao over a smooth, velvety tannic mouth-feel. Approaching the close, dark fruit and creamy vanilla nuances remain dominant as some subtle spice box comes through over a medium finish.
Very palatable wine, great for the price point and a surprisingly nice balance.
Learn about the the wine directly from the winemaker:
Cupcake Red Velvet Food Pairing Recipes & Ideas
Another plus for purchasing a red blend such as this is that it opens up the possibilities for food pairings. Given the diversity in fruit flavors, combined with elevated acidity, tannins and also sweet nuances, the possibilities really are endless. Below, see a short list of some of our favorite pairings alongside this wine. From appetizers, to meals to desserts.
- Sweet and Sour Pork Slider Appetizer
- Sweet and Spicy Greek Meatball Recipe
- Texas-style Smoked Brisket
- Candied Bacon Maple-cheddar Cheese Burger
- The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever (really, though.)