Black winemakers face an uphill battle when it comes to getting their wares in front of consumers, which is why they’re lucky to have The Urban Grape on their side. America’s largest certified Black-owned beverage retailer, The Urban Grape is all about diversity and representation, with its wine operation focused on bringing the wines of Black producers in California and South Africa into the light.
The three wines reviewed below are part of a $97 Black Winemakers Gift Box, though each is also available separately from Urban Grape. (Individual bottle prices are included below.)
NV Longevity Blanc de Blanc – This Livermore, California-created wine offers a bright mix of melon and apple notes on the attack, creamy and lightly yeasty as it folds in notes of guava and a little sour gooseberry. Clean and refreshing, and a great Champagne-styled sparkler at this price. A- / $18
2022 Progressive Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc – A bold Russian River sauvignon blanc, this wine melds the fruity punch of lemon curd, green apples, and pineapple, then filters it through a classic note of ammonia and dried flowers. There’s not a ton of complexity here but the wine has a classic enough profile to work as a seafood companion. B+ / $28
2020 Aslina Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa – Made by winemaker Ntsiki Biyela in Zululand, South Africa. Cab from the land of pinotage, I would have guessed this was a California wine had I not known otherwise. Lightly smoky and heavy on blackcurrants, the palate becomes increasingly juicy and plum-laden with time in glass, eventually folding in some notes of cocoa. A slightly beefy quality emerges with time in glass, but it’s a mild savory companion piece to what is otherwise an exciting and unusual wine that really grows on you over the course of an evening. A- / $32