I mosey into the wine store, fully prepared to spend at least a half hour meandering. As I stroll through the aisles, I pause to read the posted reviews or to note the price of a favorite vintage. My fingers glide over the smooth, cool bottles, as if mere touch could summon the taste of the contents inside.
Sometimes, I manage to play it safe, and come home with a delicious-but-predictable bottle of Cycles Gladiator or Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. But more often than not, a more daring bottle beckons and accompanies me home. Sometimes I’m lured by the label: embossed, perhaps, or monochromatic. Other times it’s the name: quirky over cute or profane, but always offbeat.
Either way, I’m a sucker when it comes to judging wine by its bottle. It’s gotten me in trouble more times than I can count.
Not so with VOGA Quattro ($10).
Quattro is a Sicilian merlot varietal with obnoxiously chic packaging and a publicity campaign to match. (Seriously. The VOGA website’s Flash intro could double as a rookie marketing campaign for D&G.)
The streamlined VOGA bottle certainly stands out from its curvy companions on the wine shelf – much like the VOSS water that I’m convinced it ganked its look from:
Coincidence? I think not.
Experience has made me careful. Countless cases of bottle lust have have taught me that, like men, wines with suave packaging often conceal swill-infested interiors.
But with Quattro, I do believe I’ve struck the (pre-Goodwill Hunting) Ben Affleck of wines: devastatingly good looking, but as yet unspoiled by its own beauty.
Quattro isn’t the best value for the money, and aside from its looks, it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the pack. It’s a fruit-forward, medium-bodied, clean merlot with good strong structure and a juicy finish. It’s decent with or without food. It’s available at almost any liquor store. And it looks damn good on my kitchen counter.
But Ben Affleck would look better.
the wine: 2007 voga quattro merlot
composition: this version is 100% straight merlot varietal, but previous vintages incorporate shiraz, pinot noir, and cabernet.
hails from: sicily, italy
flavor profile: full and balanced, straightforwardly fruity, a moderate wine in the tradition of chianti
tannins: low to medium
approximate cost: $9-11