Wine consumers (in some states, at least) have long been able to have wine delivered to their doors. And those who like to cook but don’t have time to shop for food or plan meals can have meal kits shipped to their homes. Now some of those meal-kit services, recognizing the natural affinity with wine, are putting the two together.
Blue Apron is one such service, and I recently sampled some of the impressive selection of wines the company offered for October. The company has partnered with a number of well-known wineries and winemakers (including Bryan Babcock, Jon Engelskirger and Helen Keplinger) for its bottles. Some wines are the same or nearly the same as what you can buy from the winery. In other cases, Blue Apron collaborated with established brands to create a blend or varietal wine that’s not otherwise available. Still other bottlings are private labels. Blue Apron also has a staff winemaker, Richard Sowalsky, who has worked for wineries such as Clos Pegase.
The wines are packaged in 500ml bottles and arrive monthly in a box of six; you can customize the selection. The price is $65.99, which includes shipping but not tax – very reasonable for wines of this quality. There’s no minimum commitment, and you can skip a month or cancel at any time.
All the wines I sampled were good, but there were a few highlights. The 2016 Matthiasson White, a Napa Valley blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon, ribolla gialla and tocai friulano, is fresh and zippy, with citrus, fig and a hint of smoke. The Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir from the North Canterbury area of New Zealand is plump and round, with bright raspberry and a hint of forest floor. (These wines aren’t exclusive to Blue Apron.)
The wines also included bottlings from Ryme Cellars and Le P’tit Paysan that aren’t part of those wineries’ regular lineups. The 2015 Ryme Syrah/Grenache is a 75-25 blend from McDowell Valley (Mendocino County) that’s savory and meaty, with bright berry, white pepper and firm but approachable tannins. The 2016 Le P’tit Paysan Riesling from Monterey is racy and tastes fairly dry, with lime and a hint of smoke. (And only 11.4 percent alcohol.)
The wines are accompanied by a booklet with lots of information – the stories behind the wines, flavor descriptions, the regions the wines hail from. There’s also a symbol that can be matched up with a Blue Apron meal, although you don’t have to be a meal customer to buy the wines. Click here to go to the Blue Apron website.