Cupcake wine review 2016

cupcake wine reviewA cabernet sauvignon that isn’t too bad, but a merlot that really isn’t necessary

The 2016 Cupcake wine review features the top-selling brand’s cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The cabernet surprised me; it mostly tastes like cabernet, and may be the best Cupcake wine I’ve tasted in the six years I’ve done a Cupcake wine review. The merlot? The less said, the better.

The California cabernet sauvignon 2014 ($10, purchased, 13.5%) smells like boysenberries, not unlike pancake house boysenberry syrup without the sweetness. It’s mostly dark fruit, but barely sweet at all in the way so many grocery store wines are jammed with sweet fruit. The mouth feel is surprisingly full, again not what I expected, and the tannins and acidity are pleasantly noticeable and in balance.

The catch is the finish, which involves some horrible fake oak that can best be described as tasting like cheap, bitter, poorly made cocoa powder. It stayed in my mouth despite my best efforts to get rid of it with repeated rinsing.

The California merlot 2014 ($10, purchased, 13.5%) was thin, bland, dull, and uninteresting. It wasn’t fruity or earthy (though there was a funky aroma that blew off after a minute or so) in the way that most merlots are one or the other. Even more surprising was that there wasn’t any finish, and there’s usually at least a crummy one on this kind of wine. But the merlot vanished the minute I spit it out.

Given how many grocery store merlots suffer from an overabundance of flavor and fruit, the merlot is hard to figure out. My guess? Just poor quality grapes, which may also account for the funky aroma.

For more on Cupcake wine:
Cupcake wine review 2015
Cupcake wine review 2014
Cupcake wine review 2013

7 thoughts on “Cupcake wine review 2016

  • By Slapdash Gourmet - Reply

    I’m impressed that you even tasted Cupcake; you are a noble servant of the wine loving public. The Cupcake red blend was one of the worst experiences — not to mention purchases — of my wine life. That fake oak… Uh-oh; now I’m having flashbacks…

  • By Laura - Reply

    I so agree with Slapdash — I bought 2012 Red Velvet by accident (thought I had picked up something else) and it was so bad (sickly sweet and nasty fake oak) I haven’t been able to convince myself to try another.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      Thank you for all of the kind words. But someone has to taste these wines. Movie critics don’t review a movie because it’s “beneath them.” Who would review Michael Bay movies? So I don’t know why wine critics won’t review all wines.

  • By Molly - Reply

    Malbec was awful!

  • By Nicole F - Reply

    Absolutely one of the worst I’ve tasted. I’m so happy I came across this thread because I read so many threads that claimed the complete opposite. Ugh!

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      My pleasure. Just because a wine doesn’t cost a lot of money doesn’t mean the review shouldn’t take it seriously.

  • By Sam Smith - Reply

    Almost all large production mass produced wines are full of artificial ingredients — coloring, flavoring, enzymes, wood chips — and should be avoided. Cupcake fits into this category.

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