I really miss the wine culture of Europe.
We’ve had a hard time finding good wine since we moved back to the States and settled in Ohio. The prices are exorbitant for mediocre wines. Many of the wines from the USA give me headaches whereas the lovely wines of Greece, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy seldom did.
I miss the variety available in Europe and the ability to try new wines with the seasons, comparing grapes and flavors.
My husband I joined Firstleaf for our Christmas present to each other. I like that it included imports and local wines and we can choose between reds, whites, rosé, and sparkling – or a combination.
We took a little online quiz for our preferences and tastes. I don’t really like sweet wines and we drink way more reds than others.
We chose and ordered our first six wines and I was delighted with the unboxing.
FedEx delivered to my front door and since it’s very cold out, the delivery person rang my bell and verified I am myself.
The bottles are well padded and protected.
I love the wine information cards and newsletter about upcoming wine choices and trends.
Our first two boxes included only reds – from California, Europe, and Oceana.
Each wine comes with an information card. On the website, there is a great deal of info about the wine, winery, grapes, and history.
There is even a “wine school” on the site with oodles of articles about wine.
Wines we tried so far:
Marbleize Red Blend from California
We had this wine with grilled steak and plank grilled salmon.
This wine is a New World take on an Old World blend. Hailing from Paso Robles and inspired by the blends coming out of Southern Rhône, this Red Blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Petite Sirah showcases the best of the region. With a savory spicy flavor profile, a medium body, and long fine tannins, this is a wine that is easy to appreciate.
Posted Accord “Coffee” Pinotage from South Africa
We drank this wine with a coffee-rubbed grilled tritip.
Pinotage is indigenous to South Africa, and this beautiful wine is a perfect reflection of the varietal. Grown in the Western Cape of South Africa, Pinotage is often called “Coffee Pinotage” because of the rich mocha and coffee flavors that come forward due to oak aging. This is a characteristic unique to the varietal and is now a rather famous selling point. This particular Pinotage has both bright and dark red fruit flavors with a hint of spice. It is rustic with a rich body and features long fine-grained tannins. Best served with stews or dishes featuring spiced meats or a tomato-base.
Scissor Kick Cellars Shiraz from Australia
We drank this wine with cashew chicken.
South Australia is the heartbeat of Australian wine production, responsible for over half the country’s output each year. A generally warm climate with maritime influences near the coast, the region includes countless appellations, though the most well-known are arguably Barossa Valley and Clare Valley. The continent experiences an environment that creates near-perfect conditions for grape growing, the most famous of the varietals being Shiraz. This wine is bright, well balanced, approachable, and intense all at the same time. It is less nuanced than some of its fellow Shiraz from the region but just as enjoyable. Bright fruit flavors and a savory characteristic jump out of the glass. This wine will shine with rich red meat dishes and is a perfect pair for late fall al fresco dining with friends.
Tres Tigres Tristes Vinho Tinto from Portugal
We had this wine with a grilled eye of round roast.
This beautiful Portuguese blend is a mix of Castelão (a grape also called “little parrot”) and Aragonês (also better known as Tempranillo) and has a beautifully complex bouquet and even more complex flavors. The fruit dominates, but savory flavors peek out from behind the fruit. Mushrooms and savory, gamey notes mingle beautifully with nutmeg and clove. This complexity won’t be overwhelmed by powerful dishes, so we would recommend trying it with steak au poivre, rosemary lamb chops, or even a tomato tart. Judges love it too! It took home a Silver medal at the 2020 Winemaker Challenge and at the 2019 Sommelier Challenge.
Swirl Zinfandel from California
We drank this wine with a grilled Balsamic London Broil.
California’s wine appellations are all individually unique, making the state idyllic for grape growing. The combination of varying temperatures, distinct soils that make fruit work hard for nutrients, and weather patterns influenced by the coast create environments where fruit thrives. The majority of the rainfall occurs outside of the growing season, but also can cool down the heat spikes that often occur just after bud break in the spring. Two mountain ranges run the spine of the state and come together to create near-perfect vineyard conditions. Zinfandel could arguably be considered California’s grape, and this wine is a beautiful example of what the varietal can be. Classic in style, this wine is soft and lush with bold yet smooth fruit compote flavors. Baking spice notes and slight spiciness also jump out of the glass, complementing the fruit-forward profile. Soft tannins round out the mouthfeel and make every sip linger. Enjoy with your favorite rustic dishes.
My favorite so far: Le Douleur Exquise Grenache Pays d’Oc IGP from France
We had this wine with a beef stew.
The 2020 International Women’s Wine Competition is one of the few wine competitions that were held just before the world hit pause on social gatherings. We are thrilled to have earned the accolades of 95 Points and Double Gold and to be named “Best of Class” by women winemakers, influencers, and industry legends. If that weren’t enough to lend credibility to our winemaking team, perhaps winning 98 Points and Double Gold at the 2020 Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition does. Broadly speaking, one aspect of Old World vs. New World flavor profiles is that New World wines are known to be fruit-forward and higher alcohol – Old World not as much. Our French Grenache breaks from that tradition with our 2019 vintage, featuring rousingly prominent fruit flavors in this classic French varietal.
There are special shipments or bundles of wine for holidays – like Valentine’s reds. We can choose to purchase a case of half-case of favorites. Also, Firstleaf Exclusives are available in singles or cases.
I love the ease of ordering wine each month or special selections at other times. The prices are very competitive and I don’t have to leave the house.
We looked into other wine clubs and like the variety of Firstleaf.