In INFUSED, a weekly column, Elizabeth J. Musgrave connects spirits, wine, and beer with culinary and creative arts
I was asked to review a wine. Wine in a purse to be exact. As a wine drinker and a fan of cool purses, I was intrigued. The box arrived and I found a sassy red handbag made of recyclable materials filled with a Merlot-Pinot Noir blend. Hmmm... compact size, cute container and disposable without guilt. All pluses so far.
Volére is the carry-with-you boxed, ahem... purse line of three artisan wines: Pinot Grigio (Tan/white purse), Merlot/Pinot Noir (Red purse) and Rosé (Pink/white purse). Price point is $14.99. The wine’s producer is Cantina di Soave from Italy’s Veneto region. The price is comparable with box wines and the packaging lands squarely in the omg-that's-so-cute, I-must-have department.
Each purse holds 1.5 liters (two bottles’ worth) of the Italian wine, making it very user friendly. No more lugging two clinking glass bottles and an opener, and no more worry about dispensing of breakable glass. Nice. Okay, but how does it taste? Because no matter how adorable, how efficient (great compact size for two bottles' worth) and how affordable it is, if its taste gets it thrown away with most of the wine still inside, it's a no-go anywhere wine.
The label on the Merlot/Pinot Noir blend describes it as "silky, vibrant red with delightful notes of red berry, cherry and currant, with a hint of vanilla."
Definitely the berry/cherry was present and that hint of vanilla was exactly that. A hint. Not overpowering, not even strong. This bright, delightful (yes, they described it accurately) Italian blend perfectly matches its exterior. Sassy, playful and flirty.
This is a fun wine. If you give it even 30 seconds worth of thought, you have over thought the situation. It isn't meant to be discovered, allowed to breathe or contemplated – simply enjoyed.
Food pairings? Again, simple is the solution. Salmon or tuna, and cheeses such as asiago, brie and Gouda pair nicely to keep it light.
As I mention in this early review, the central part of wine enjoyment is food pairing. I believe, however, that wine connects with other factors to create an entire experience. Drinking wine while overlooking a lake is a different experience than that same wine being enjoyed while snuggling in front of a fireplace.
Music plays a role along with the food, wine and atmosphere, detracting or enhancing the mood and experience as well. Match it all the way through for success. My motto: Wine + food + environment + music = great experience.
My choice of music: For this wine, with an outdoor-grilled, or picnic-like light meal, I would select conversation-friendly music as you will undoubtedly be sharing this with your friends on a deck, boat or at that favorite amphitheatre. You can't go wrong with 80s music such as Cyndi Lauper or Cher, or any decade's pop music. Nothing heavy, depressing or too straight-laced for this flirty red.
Would I serve this to a Master Sommelier? Not a chance. But there are fewer than 200 of them in the world. Would I serve it to a wine snob? No way. But I would serve it to my friends in a heartbeat.
Bottom Line: Volere "wine in purse" is fun, fashionable and flirty in taste, and perfect in size for a few friends. I anticipate a line of attaché-case wines in the near future for those larger parties.
[Images and sample supplied by Cantina di Soave Vineyards.]
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is the editor for GottaGo.us, writing the fine-living syndicated column and syndicated blog, Gotta Go. Published both in print and online at GottaGo.us, AroundIndy.com, and BroadwayWorld.com, Gotta Go offers reviews and recommendations on food and drink, the performing arts, and travel destinations.
Elizabeth is also a freelance writer, photographer, public speaker, and a leading Indianapolis performing arts and restaurant critic. She can be heard on 93 WIBC's Saturday Morning News Show as Indy’s entertainment adviser, and can also be found on Twitter,LinkedIn, and Facebook.