The Ugly Sweater Red Blend 2021 Edition is $8.49 at Trader Joe’s. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in Lodi, California. It is a non-vintage wine; Christmas 2022 may have a different grape blend.
The information on the bottle is confusing; the back label says it is Red Table Wine, all California wine is Table Wine. They do not have separate classifications, and it says this is an American wine. An American wine indicates that the grapes came from more than one state, yet the technical notes say the source is Lodi.
Next Wine Company produced this Christmas wine, and according to information on the web, they were going to be Amazon’s foray into wine back in 2017, but that never came to be. Past vintages of the Ugly Sweater Red Blend 2021 Edition were credited to a different winery, and those were vintage wines, not non-vintage.
This wine had its own website, but it is down; somebody else not connected to the wine owns the URL. The Ugly Sweater Red has a confused history, but it is here now, so what do we have? It has a Christmas label, but it is not over the top and kitschy. If anything, the Christmas sweater on the front label is not all that ugly; I have seen far worse.
One of my complaints concerning Holiday wines is that wines are made to last several years, but Christmas wines are designed to sell for one month. I figure, who would waste good wine for a one-month selling period? So, non-vintage wine makes sense in that regard. They put together enough bottles to reasonably sell in December, and they will do it again next year. No wasted wine.
Why does the bottle say American wine? I guess that it gives them options each year for sourcing grapes. Most folks buy the Ugly Sweater Red Blend 2021 Edition because of the Christmas label and are not too fuzzy about the production details.
I bought it because I thought it might be a Christmas wine worth drinking and not simply a decoration. The alcohol content is 14%.
The Ugly Sweater Red Blend 2021 Edition Tasting Notes
The Ugly Sweater Red Blend 2021 Edition is soft and smooth, slightly chewy on the mid-palate (that is a good thing). The color is a deep, dark, barely see-thru crimson red with black highlights. The nose is decent, a mix of black and red berries, spice, a little vanilla, cold coffee, and mint. This is a glass of drinking wine, not just a decorative bottle.
This Christmas Red Blend tastes like ripe raspberry, blackberry, licorice, soft spice, and faint milk chocolate. The mid-palate brings ripe plum and black pepper. This is not a Red blend with depth and complexity, but it does have good flavor.
The tannins are properly chewy, and the acidity matches the body of the wine. This Red Blend could survive without the Christmas Party Time label.
- The Ugly Sweater Red Blend 2021 Edition is better than it needs to be. I suspect most folks will buy it for the label and hope for the best. But it drinks well.
- I still say the Christmas sweater in the label is not that bad.