This month for HQ Tries, we endured the hard task of trying wine! 😉 And in honor of #sherocks, we tasted wines from female run wineries around the world.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, the results are in!

We invited in Sommelier & Event Producer, Brianne Cohen (she’s amazing, check her out @sommspirations) to come and teach us everything there is to know about wine… while having some fun tasting of course.  To get started, Brianne picked out a variety of 5 different wines from @VINOVORE wine shop in Los Angeles, a local gem that exclusively stocks wines made by female winemakers around the world!  (Fun fact, they highlight female authors as well, shipping is available.)

Read on to see what the team thought of each!

1. Pet Nat: Sparkling Rose $20 | Emilia Romagna, Italy by Coly den Haan

HQ Review: 4.75/5

Ian –  “Just going to start off by saying that I’m a fan of rose, so I was already looking forward this one. First impressions were that it was refreshing and a bit sour with some fruity notes going on. It definitely gave me kombucha vibes. The wine had a really interesting look. A nice brownish/reddish haze with the little bits of the grit from the fermentation process gave it a nice touch that you typically don’t see in wines. Also, the image on the bottle of a wolf biting down the wine glass stem looked really badass. I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for this bottle the next time I’m shopping for wines.” 

Brooke – “…tastes like kombucha, a very sour hipster wine!” 

Audrey –“Love the uniqueness of the wine, feels like i could impress my friends with this!”

Nik –  “Ok for a rose but still too sweet for me, loved the little bubbles.”

Alex – “Light and refreshing, really loved it.”

Kirstie – “A bit sour and tangy but easy to drink. This one is pleasantly fizzy; I’m not normally a fan of fizzy drinks but this one was mild enough. It’s got a medium finish that’s a little bitter/vinegary so I’m not sure I’d have more than one glass, but this feels like the type of wine you would have before dinner as a starter anyway.”

Sandy – “Loved that it was “redder” than a typical rose you would see at a bar or restaurant. LOVED how it was a bit SOUR in comparison to the typical sweet roses we usually see on the market – the murky fermentation was different and awesome. Overall, very cool & unique.”

Emily- “I always try to enjoy whatever the hipsters are up to- I like to consider myself hipster adjacent. BUT this one is more like a “Pet Nawww” for me dawg. It smells slightly like salad dressing (I actually might enjoy it on a fresh summer salad with strawberries…) If I had bought it on my own from the store without prior knowledge, I definitely would have thought it went bad. But after learning about the natural unfiltered process, I was able to drink it. As soon as someone compared it to Kombucha I was able to reframe it’s taste and finish my pour… BUT I had to work a little too hard to enjoy this one so I would rather do without.”

Lauren – “I actually really liked this one the longer I drank it! It is NOT sweet at all which is initially pretty surprising since it’s sparkly AND a Rosé. I wouldn’t have known to order this wine but I would really enjoy it outdoors with a cheese plate!”

2. Caelum Chardonnay $20 | Mendoza, Argentina by Mercedes Diaz

HQ Review: 3.5/5

Christian – “lemon/lime pear flavor, slightly floral, tastes smooth!”

Kirstie – “To be fair to this wine, Chardonnay isn’t my favorite in the first place, so take that into account when seeing my score. This wine is ZIPPY! Dry and tart and citrusy. It’s not sweet so I definitely puckered up a bit sipping on it, but it gets easier with each sip. Not my speed, but good for what it is!”

Sandy – “Chardonnay is my favorite type of wine so I am PICKY. Let me say, I LOVED this chard. Not too sweet, sticky, or buttery like a lot of the chards you currently see on the market. LOVED how fresh it was you can taste the lime and citrusy notes all the way. I could definitely drink this all day long and probably not get a terrible hangover – haha – This wine would also be BOMB with fish. Refreshing, light, & easy.”

Emily – “Best chardonnay I’ve had. Had a crisp lemon-lime flavor and the fact that it was made in a steel barrel and not oak was the winning factor for me. Barely even buttery at all. I would drink this on a hot summer day at the beach and be thoroughly happy about it.”

Lauren – “NOT my favorite wine type or style. I think this wine would be a great gift for a white wine lover! Drinking this wine made me REALLY ready for a glass of red.

Brooke – “not too sweet feels very healthy, young wine – love unoaked.”

Ian – “Not a huge fan of chardonnays to begin with, but I reaaaalllyyyy liked this one. Very nice and not so dry! Had a super clear color with a bit of pale yellow. You could also taste the subtle hints of lime in this one. Also, UNOAKED!? Definitely going to be looking for that detail when I come across chardonnays. Would recommend this to friends!”

3. Cantina Giardino Vino Bianco $50 per magnum | Campania, Italy by Daniela de Gruttola 

HQ Review: 3/5

Nik – “Very interesting, kind of liked it in a weird way, tastes like whiskey or liquor, I just can’t figure it out!”

Kirsten Keeton – “A bit acidic, but I really love orange wines and this was a good one.”

Emily- “This is another one that I would need a disclaimer for- I would have certainly thought it had gone bad if purchased randomly (or based solely on the pretty label, which we are all guilty of from time to time at the grocery store… ammiright?) So glad I got to try it in this atmosphere and learn that it was not bad at all…in fact, it was quite GOOD. If you like a sour beer, you will enjoy this. It smells a bit like whisky and might just be the perfect wine for your old fashioned drinking friend. I wouldn’t be able to drink too many glasses of this one but it’s bitter-sweet and tangy flavor made it a fun one-glasser! Orange-soda anyone?”

Kirstie – “This one was a curveball for me. When I first took a taste I was immediately freaked out–it was spicy, VERY oaky, and intense with a really long finish. “Funky” is a good word for it. The first couple of sips were so different to what I’m used to, I almost put the glass down for good. Then I tried a few more, and before I knew it, the glass was gone. This one grew on my very fast. May not necessarily reach for it first, but I wouldn’t refuse it!”

Lauren – “This wine has a FANTASTIC smell! So lovely and floral – very floral. It was a little sour for my taste, but I enjoyed it and it was different than anything else I’ve ever had.”

Ian – The smokiness of this one kind of reminded me scotch/mezcal, which I like, but wouldn’t typically expect from drinking wine. A cool orange color – my first time having orange wine actually! Not sweet like one would imagine from just the look itself.”

4. Geyerhof “Stockwerk” Zweigelt $17 | Kremstal, Austria by Ilse Maier

HQ Review: 3.75/5

Christian  – “This is okay, I could feel it going up my nose when I smelled it, long lasting flavor”

Nik – “Way too smokey for my taste but I think some people would love this.”

Brooke – “Spicy and peppery for sure.” 

Chelsea – “Amazing “porch” or socializing red! Not too full bodied, easy to drink – really love!”

Kirstie – “My favorite! I actually wrote “YES MA’AM” in my notes immediately after taking a sip! It’s not too heavy, it goes down smooth and easy, and it’s got a really delicious flavor. It’s pretty light for a red wine so it’s not a chore to get through. I could easily drink this outside during a summer night, and I just might this year!”

Emily- “This was my favorite. A red I will definitely be adding to my repertoire! Also a crowd pleasure and at $17 per bottle I think it would be a great bottle to take to a party where you want to look like you know what’s up but not break the bank. It tasted high quality to me because of how smooth it was- the aftertaste is minimal and there were definitely fruity notes that I picked up. Plum and cherry I thought- even though the wine-maker didn’t say that. And since we learned the notes are not actually IN the wine but a chemical reaction that simulates certain flavors (Brianne, am I getting this right!?), I get to say it tastes like whatever I want it to right!? Cool. It was a delicious plum and cherry wine (according solely to me)!”

Ian –  “I thought this was pretty mild for a red wine. I’m not really into red wines, but I could handle this one. It was deeply sweet. Like you had to kind of get that “oh ok this is a red wine” feel and then you’re treated with the subtle sweetness. An easy red to drink in my opinion. Also very nice chilled which is the recommended way to have this certain red. Super good with prosciutto if you’re into having a fancy cheese and cracker platter with your wines!”  

5. Dancing Lady Old Vine Zinfandel $26 | Sonoma, CA by Gia Passalacqua

HQ Review: 4.6/5

Chelsea- “Oh baby, I was ready for it and I was NOT disappointed! I called this one the “sexy dinner party wine”. Full disclosure I LOVE a full-bodied red and I may or may not have taken the leftover home to enjoy on my couch the next evening.”

Kirstie – “This was definitely bolder and tangier than the Zweigelt, but it’s still tasty! It’s not as smooth and it’s ever so slightly spicier but it’s not at all hard to drink. I feel like this is the kind of red I’d save for a date night or special event rather than casually drinking it.”

Emily- “I could take this one or leave it. Maybe it’s because I liked #4 so much and this was just the “next red”. It’s very earthy and smells a little bitter but has an overall fullness to it. It’s good but a little intense for someone that doesn’t like reds. I like malbecs which are a different kind of intense. I didn’t take as many notes on this one… 5th wine in. Wonder why? I’d definitely drink it again though.”

Brooke – “Smells like pepper!”

Audrey – “My favorite of all, I just loved it.”

Nik – “This was ok, still too full bodied for me I really prefer lighter wines.”

Ian –  “Definitely a bit stronger and a bit drier than the previous red. Mildly sweet at most. When I think about red wines, this is what I think about. Like the kind you drink while having a nice juicy steak cooked medium rare (I’m judging you if you get it cooked higher than a medium haha not sorry).”

Lastly, a few amazing pieces of advice we took to heart from the tasting:

  • When trying to buy good wines on a budget, go to a wine shop and look for international wines! They have different regulations and you’ll have a better chance at getting a high quality wine at a low price.  (Our sommelier let us know that some of the cheap mass produced wines you commonly find at grocery stores are full of chemicals, additives and bad stuff!)

 

  • To truly experience a wine:
    • Look at the clarity, intensity + color…
    • Smell the condition, intensity, aroma and development…
    • Taste the sweetness, acidity, tannins, alcohol, body, flavor intensity, flavor characteristics and finish…

 

… and enjoy!

Interested in something specific for our next HQ tries series? Write in and tell us about it! Once a month we’ll be trying out whatever it is you’re curious about, and documenting our experiences, so we encourage you to keep us in the know.