Boozy advent calendars are incredibly fun — but also incredibly difficult. When it comes to wine, the prospect is even more daunting: 24 bottles of hooch would weigh more than 80 pounds and provide far more wine than most will plan to drink in 3 1/2 weeks.
In Good Taste gets around this problem by shrinking down its bottles: the 24 bottles of wine in this kit are 1/4-sized, 187ml each with a pull-out cork that requires no special equipment to remove. The box is still enormous, but it’s at least manageable.
Now the bad news: the wines in the In Good Taste kit comprise a variety of red and white styles… but they are all are bulk wines bottled in Graton, California (even if the wines are sourced from overseas). There are no name brands you’ve ever heard of in this kit, just mini bottles of things with names like La Pluma, Wild Child, and Unprecedented — all private labels from one company.
Results are hit and miss. While I enjoyed the pinot blanc (at a lively 12.3%) and found some solid options in the form of a decent Cotes du Rhone, a quaffable Bordeaux Blanc, a bright California merlot, and a so-so California chardonnay, some of the other bottlings were plonk that I immediately poured down the sink. Of the 12 bottles I tasted (the full complement of 24 wines weren’t made available in advance), I would rate as “drinkable” about half.
Of course there’s a “fun factor” here that adds value even when the wines aren’t great, though if Christmas Eve arrives and the wine’s a dud, well, that could put a huge damper on your holiday mood.