Welcome to my wine and beer blog! It started when I noticed wines with more “gothic” or “supernatural” branding. You know…wines with names like “Witches Brew” or something to do with the moon, or pretty much anything emphasizing darkness and mystery. Clearly gothic branding works, but did these wines actually taste good? A lot of them were very affordable too. It was a gothic millennial’s dream – especially because being “goth” was not cool yet when I was in high school. I’m seeing a lot of beer brands take this approach as well. Most of the beer and wine I will be exploring is affordable, and is advertised with a supernatural or gothic branding style. Before moving to California I knew absolutely nothing about beer and wine. Now that I live in wine country, I’m determined to try them all!
BEER #1 – FIFTY FIFTY BREWING – ECLIPSE SALTED CARAMEL – 9/10/20
I picked up this imperial stout one day at my local Total Wine, completely on a whim. I saw the darker, more gothic packaging and was intrigued, as it reminded me of the way many wines are marketed now. There’s a wide variety of flavors available but I chose to try salted caramel. The brewery is also local to California, and I wanted to try more CA beers.
It was initially strong, dark, and creamy on the nose. Then the taste was immediately very sweet, almost like a toffee or some sort of creamy candy. I wouldn’t have automatically thought of caramel if I hadn’t read it on the label. It was definitely a unique taste, and very sweet.
If you enjoy sweet beers, Eclipse Salted Caramel is for you. The taste is extremely bold, and it’s heavily flavorful. However, if you are not a fan of heavy or sweet beers, this one is not for you. After trying this beer for the first time, I researched it a bit more, and saw that this beer won numerous awards from all over the world. I can see why.
I would rate this beer a 98 out of 100 points. I have a big sweet tooth, and this is probably one of the most fresh, flavorful, and interesting beers I’ve had in a long time. It’s pretty much everything I want in an imperial stout – strong, full, sweet, aged in whiskey barrels, and at around 12% ABV, it’s time to party. The taste was exceptional and I will definitely be trying the other flavors!
WINE #2 – RADIUS ECLIPSE – RED BLEND – 9/6/20
This is a California red blend that I bought at random. I had never heard of this winery before, so I had no assumptions to make before tasting it for the first time. I bought this on a whim, determined to try each red blend I could find with “moon” imagery on the packaging. (I find it kind of silly that so many wineries are now using words like “moon” and “eclipse” to reel people in, but it seems to be working).
Initially, the color is a deep red, with the sweet scent of dark fruit. At first taste, I was a bit surprised (and pleased) by how sweet it was. This medium-bodied juicy wine has rich tannins but is still very smooth. The taste reminds me of dark sweet berries, and I got notes of plum, raspberry, and cherry.
I’m actually surprised that this isn’t more popular – it got fantastic customer reviews on totalwine.com but it’s a bit hard to find on some of the more popular wine websites. I found it incredibly easy and pleasurable to drink on its own. I think this is a great wine for beginners who want to delve into red wine, but aren’t sure where to start. It’s sweet, smooth and easy to drink – everything I want in a red blend.
Overall, I would give the Radius Eclipse Red Blend a 94 out of 100.
WINE #1 – DARK HORSE – DOUBLE DOWN RED BLEND – 8/22/20
I’ve been interested in trying this wine for a while, because ever since I moved to California I keep seeing it at restaurants and pretty much every grocery store I go to. They always say you should never judge a book by its cover, but don’t we all? The logo on this wine definitely caught my eye – the horse with the wineglass face is striking and also very creative. For taste, this wine was a bit of a surprise. The color is a very dark red, almost purple. Therefore I mistakenly thought it would be heavier and more fruity. However, it ended up being quite light.
The scent was reminiscent of cherries, dark fruit, and spices. I could not pinpoint which ones on my own, but there was definitely a spice to it. The mild scent was not super sweet, and not too strong. Overall, this wine packs a decent amount of flavor, while staying light in body. My initial reaction was that it was similar to a light pinot noir, but ironically this blend doesn’t include pinot noir in it.
Overall, this particular wine is not what I personally am looking for in a red blend. I enjoy a full, heavier taste with dark fruit. This wine is definitely good, but it was a bit lighter than I expected and I wanted the fruity notes to pop out a bit more. If you enjoy lighter-bodied reds with a bit of a spice to it, this wine is for you! And the best part? You can usually buy this wine for under $10.
Overall, I would give it an 84 out of 100.
*This wine received 88 points on Wine Enthusiast*