I’ve always despised this brand’s name, conjuring thoughts of the forums, test cases and focus groups that must’ve gone into its development. Even Adam Richardson, winemaker for Cupcake, sheepishly admitted to me the name wasn’t “inspired” by much. But I begrudgingly admit their wines are popular, even tasty, with a soft, drinkable-ness and romance associated with America’s love of cupcakes. It seems to work.
Cupcake Vineyard isn’t just a winery in Monterey California — they buy grapes all over the world (normally from regions well known for the grapes they’re crushing), Adam flies in to make the best possible wines he can and then bottles them up. No highfalutin’ tasting room in Napa, no labyrinthine winery with docent-guided tours. Just the juice. Not a bad gig.
Although you might assume it from their name, their wines are not super sweet. Yes, they lean towards the fruity side but they’re not wines that can conquer a dessert. But the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand might conquer a desert-like thirst. It’s certainly easy to drink on a warm day. Bright and tart with bracing lime and grapefruit, it has the zingy refreshingness of Gatorade without the sugar.
Cheese pairing: Franklin’s Teleme from California
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Price: $12- $14
Occasion: This was a sample from the winery but I tasted through the entire ’08 vintage with Adam Richardson in March of ’09. The ’08 Cupcake SB is equally as good.
Food Pairing: Drank this wine with shrimp sauteed with garlic, fennel and lime. Quite fabulous.
Availability: Should be at grocery stores throughout the nation.