It was a journey straight into the heart of darkness. The day was dark and full of terrors. I steeled my nerves and prepared to ride once more into the breach.
After dispensing with clichés, I walked into the studio, and there it sat: cheap wine. From bottles, from cans, from boxes. Three Chardonnays, three rosés. Poured into plastic cups. Unidentified.
I was supposed to tell them apart.
In theory, this task did not seem daunting. I am not a wine snob. I indulge in numerous activities that invite wineshaming, such as purchasing wine at CVS, religiously scouting the Publix BOGOS, referring to Sauvignon Blanc as cat pee and drinking way too much buttery Chardonnay. Even my avatar is holding the glass incorrectly, I have been informed.
But as a rule, I do not drink wine out of anything that’s not a bottle except on camping trips. If I have to sleep on the ground there had by God better be something red and hearty in that camelback.
This attitude is old-fashioned, they tell me (“they” being my friends, acquaintances and co-workers who regularly shop the box wine aisle at Total Wine). My beliefs are snooty, they say, bred from the same ill-gotten superiority I wield when I refuse to watch “The Real Housewives of Anywhere on This Planet.” Listen, I hear those women throw wine at each other. I do not approve.
It was suggested by someone — possibly someone I had personally wineshamed for her love of Moscato — that we should have a blind tasting to see if I could truly tell a box or canned wine from a bottle wine. She also wanted to blindfold me until I explained that’s not what a blind tasting entails. So here’s what I tried: Liberty Creek Chardonnay (box); Double Dog Dare Chardonnay (bottle); Pam’s Cuties: Pam’s Un-Oaked Chardonnay (can); Big Sipper Pink (box); La Vielle Ferme rosé (bottle); Seven Daughters rosé (can).
Here’s what I learned after a somewhat deflating afternoon:
I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to box and canned wine: I scored a 50 percent, which I am pretty sure means I did not pass, although my fraction skills are somewhat poor so you might want to check the math. Hit 100 percent on the Rosés, failed miserably on the Chardonnays.
Some box wine is double-plus ungood, and some is ...n ot bad: We will not speak of the horrors of the Big Sipper Pink. But the Liberty Creek Chardonnay was a surprise. Not a big or memorable wine, but if someone served you an ice-cold glass at a pool party or a picnic? You wouldn’t turn it down. Just keep it cold.
Some canned wine is actually decent: Despite the adorable name, Pam’s Cuties left an ugly impression. But Seven Daughters rosé was a revelation. Light, bright, with a hint of effervescence, the wine would be a fine companion at a picnic, at the beach or by the pool, especially if you tend toward clumsiness. Some of us are still picking glass out of our pavers after a tragic incident with some bubbly and our best champagne flutes.
We really should’ve gone with the blindfold: I would’ve guessed the rosés correctly even if I had been wearing it, I believe. But the visual would’ve been better.