Award Type

The ChefsBest Award for Best Taste is awarded to the brand rated highest overall among leading brands by independent professional chefs.

Wild Vines Wine

What Makes a Great Flavored Refreshment Wine?

Offering the refined complexities of wine coupled with fruity tones, flavored refreshment wines mix traditional varietals, like merlot and zinfandel, with fresh and sweet strawberry, peach and blackberry flavors. Light and fruity, these wines are perfect for sensitive palates or for those who find full-bodied wines too intense or heavy. Take them on romantic picnics, serve them at special luncheons or pack them in the cooler for outdoor concerts. The ideal summer afternoon sipper, flavored refreshment wines are just that: refreshing.

Our chefs define high-quality flavored refreshment wines as coming in a wide range of colors, but their coloring should be appropriate for the blend of fruit and wine they contain—pink for strawberry zinfandel, ruby red for blackberry merlot, etc. They should not seem unnaturally bright or have a brown, oxidized appearance. Low aroma notes of both fruit and wine should be detectable. The aroma character should deliver some complexity with the appropriate notes of fruit (like strawberry, peach or blackberry), tropical punch, perfume-like notes and alcohol. Chemical, petrol, sulfur or rotten notes would be considered inappropriate off notes.

Flavored refreshment wines are in taste balance when moderate sweetness (about half the sweetness of tropical fruit punch) is the leading basic taste. Moderate sourness (about half the sourness of lemonade) should closely follow sweetness. Saltiness and bitterness should not be detected.

The wine’s flavor, including both fruit and wine notes, is expected to be slightly more intense than the aroma, but still detected at low to moderate levels. The flavor character should feature a complex mix of flavor notes that are similar to the ones that make up the aroma for each type of wine. Notes of tropical fruit and alcohol will add to the flavor’s complexity. These wines should not be simple or one-dimensional with a single note standing out, and there should be no inappropriate off notes detracting from the flavor.

Flavored refreshment wines may have some effervescence or sparkling bubbles, but it should be minimal if present at all. Each of the wines should deliver a smooth, fruity mouthfeel that is not harsh. A harsh mouthfeel may result from higher effervescence, a higher alcohol level or bitterness in the wine. A smooth mouthfeel will make the wine light and easy to drink. High-quality flavored refreshment wine should have a moderately long aftertaste, but it should not linger on the palate for too long. Overall, it should be a nice for sipping, cool and easygoing.

Product Category Definition

The category judged was defined as flavored refreshment wine for the consumer market, not including regular wine, champagne, boxed wines, or non-alcoholic wines. This judging included the following flavors of flavored refreshment wine: blackberry merlot, peach chardonnay, strawberry white zinfandel, raspberry/sangria zinfandel and blush with strawberry/cranberry.

Also Judged

Arbor Mist

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