In my household, holiday gifts tend to revolve around hobbies...and those hobbies often revolve around drinking. My significant other, for example, likes running and beer—he reasons that they conveniently cancel each other out. So I alternate between beer-koozies for runners and human-koozies for beer drinkers (also known as shirts).
I often find myself receiving a smattering of bottles and wine-related tchotchkes. This year, a friend sent me something unexpected: STACKED wines. The set of four 187-mL pre-poured cups are sealed and stacked on top of one another. They're handy the way juice boxes are, since you don't have to deal with bottles, corkscrews, or glasses. This means you can take them on picnics, camping trips, or wherever your heart desires.
We tried all four varietal wines on the market—Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon—all from sunny California. And each stack, which equals a full 750 mL bottle, is $15. Plenty to love about the packaging, but how does the wine stack up?
The Pinot Grigio from STACKED isn't super light. There's not much room in the glass for a nose to fit—these little guys are nearly filled to the brim. The aromas, are tropical and papaya-like, and wine tastes a bit like bottled lemon juice. We found that the wine improved with a hunk of bread and salty cheese to take the edge off.
The Chardonnay at 13.5% alcohol was significantly boozier than the Pinot Grigio. The aroma was tropical with an undercurrent of vanilla. The flavor is dominated by oak, with a little tart lemon and apple up front. Some tasters found it a bit astringent, kind of like diet vanilla soda.
We were surprised by a savory soy-sauce scent and flavor in the Merlot. But mostly, this was a very fruity red, with loads of brandied cherries and sweet oak. Could be the right thing to serve with campground stew or grilled soy-marinated steak. (If you're a fancy camper.)
Of all the wines, the Cabernet was our favorite. It had a slightly sweet figgy scent, but the hit of acidity kept the wine very bright and juicy, before heading into the coffee-like finish.
For 15 bucks, you can probably do better finding a bottle—try our budget red and white wine Halls of Fame—but if you're somewhere where glass bottles aren't allowed, STACKED Cabernet isn't a bad choice.
Have you tried STACKED wines? Do you have other favorite wines that come in a super-convenient package?
About the author: Seema Gunda is an avid wine traveler, collector, and student with a background in chemistry and a day job in consulting. You can follow her on Twitter @seemagunda