A Wine Review by Gabrielle Faust
In all of my years as a food and wine reviewer I can count on one hand the number of times a particular entrée or varietal left me with a subtle sense of confusion. Recently I was presented with the opportunity to sample two wines in a relatively new collection from the Canadian Church and State winery, entitled Lost Inhibitions. Designed with the intention of each bottle being a conversation starter before even it is opened with labels like “You’d Better Delete That”, “Just Get Over It”, and “I’d Shave My Legs For You”, there is no pretention about these wines in the least. Lost Inhibitions is a line crafted for the clever, snarky, outgoing wine lover who has absolutely no qualms about speaking their mind. I was giddy when the box showed up with my sample bottles, provided by Church and State’s American distributor Smashing Bottles, Inc. And what I experienced upon tasting each of the blends was, indeed, a conversation starter, but in the most unexpected way.
The first wine I tasted was the “Blah, Blah, Blah” California White blend. The first characteristic I noticed upon pouring the initial glass and raising it to my lips was an seemingly absence of perfume. I sniffed and sniffed, made sure my nose was working properly, and sniffed again. I placed the glass back on the coffee table and stared at it for a long moment like a golden retriever trying to solve a math equation. After a few minutes of contemplating this bizarre experience, I raised it once again – there it was, an extraordinarily soft transparent aroma of white cherry, lemon zest, peach, and caramel. With each sip, the character of the wine continued to blossom.
This is a shy wine and needs a moment to breathe after being opened, before it is served. Consider it the introvert who just arrived at the party and is getting used to the idea of interacting with you. I suggest a good ten to fifteen minutes to get the full effect of what will turn into a lovely and relaxed white blend. Running it through a diffuser is also suggested if you’re a bit on the impatient side, like me. “Blah, Blah, Blah” begins as a light, slightly mineral, yet dainty pinot grigio and finishes like a chardonnay with a fleeting butter note and hints of vanilla and honeysuckle that slips across your palette to disappear almost instantly.
The following night I delved into the second blend, the “Mine All Mine” California Red. Now, this selection was far more assertive than the “Blah, Blah, Blah” upon first pour. I still recommend allowing this one to breathe a bit before serving, however, in order to gain insight into all of its layers. As with the California White, however, “Mine All Mine” transforms over the duration of your interaction with it from a very dry single-note cabernet into a much fuller bodied, complex cab blend with notes of tobacco, dark cherry, dark chocolate, and a hint of butter, which is truly unexpected in a cab blend of any sorts, in my experience. This is a comfortable, drinkable red that would be at home at any informal gathering from laid-back dinner parties to backyard barbecues.
The Lost Inhibitions wines definitely live up to their intentions of being approachable, both for experienced wine drinkers and weekend wine warriors. Both the California White and Red, while perhaps not the type of wine to inspire an artistic revolution or the next great American novel, will definitely start a conversation or two at your next engagement. Quirky and unassuming in a charmingly festive way, Lost Inhibitions is a collection sure to be remembered, especially for its brilliant marketing.
For more information on Church and State Wines visit churchandstatewines.com and to locate your local Lost Inhibitions retailer, or order online within the U.S. visit smashinbottles.com.
Gabrielle Faust is an independent food and wine reviewer, novelist, and entertainment journalist. Her work has appeared in publications, online and in print, around the world.