If you have been curious about Amazon’s Cursive wines and wondering if they are worth checking out, then this is the episode for you! We taste and review three Cursive wines - the Cursive California Chardonnay, the Cursive California Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Cursive Sparkling Brut - and we give our honest, no-holds-barred opinion on each of them. Seriously! We give you the honest scoop. We also think we have solved the mystery of who makes Amazon’s Cursive wines, that is if we can trust what ChatGPT says. And, we talk a bit about private label aka custom crush wines, what a negociant is, and the magic and mystery of Amazon’s physical store shopping technology, which feels like stealing until they send you the receipt! Wines reviewed in this episode: 2019 Cursive Chardonnay, 2019 Cursive Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cursive Sparkling Brut.
Contact The Wine Pair Podcast - we’d love to hear from you!
Visit our website, leave a review, and reach out to us: www.thewinepairpodcast.com
Follow and DM us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewinepairpodcast/
Send us an email: email@example.com
Episode 62: Amazon Cursive Wine Review #2 00:00
Hello! And welcome to The Wine Pair Podcast. I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime, Carmela. And we are The Wine Pair!
Ok, a quick orientation for those of you who may be new to the podcast - in each episode we learn about, taste and review three wines that are reasonably priced - meaning under $20 - and should be easy for you to find. Our goal is to have some fun, learn about some new wines, and talk about wines in a way that regular people like us can understand. And we are proud to say we are officially recommended by the editors of Decanter Magazine, who call us fun, irreverent, chatty, and entertaining.
Ok, Carmela, before we get to the topic of the day, I do want to just talk really quickly about our last episode because I ran into something unexpected and kind of cool to share. The short version is we did the episode on Langhe Nebbiolo last week, and after we do our episodes we have three bottles of wine to finish over the course of several days, and usually by day two or three I am dumping the wine out because it is no longer good even though I store it in the fridge. Well, the bottle of Nebbiolo we liked the least was still around so I figured I would drink it just to try it, and I am telling you, it was way better. So how about that?!?
Alright, Carmela, it’s been about 10 months since we did our first episode on Cursive wines from Amazon - does it feel like it was that long ago?!? Well, it felt like it was about time to do another one on some different Cursive wines. This time, we are going to try their Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sparkling Brut, the first two of which, if you have followed us and know about our taste in wine, you know are not our favorite varietals, BUT they make sense to do since so many people are fans of Cab Sauv and Chardonnay.
And, just in case you are really curious and you want to hear about what we thought about Cursive wines the first time around, Episode 22 was our previous episode on Cursive wines, and in that episode we tasted and reviewed their Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Red Blend.
Now, there are only a few areas where you can get Cursive wine, namely areas that have Amazon Fresh stores and you can find it on Amazon.com, but honestly I am not totally sure if you have to be in an area where there are Amazon fresh stores to actually be able to get it, and finding out that information on the interwebs was super hard. So, this may be a bit of a stretch for some of you out there in listening land to get these Cursive wines.
BUT - and this is a big one Carmela, I think we may have solved the mystery of who makes their wines IF we can trust chat GPT, and if so, then the winemaker who makes these wines is definitely one you can find pretty easily - and so we will reveal that to you in a bit.
Also, in terms of popularity, when we look at hits from the Google machine, our episode on Cursive wines does end up being pretty high on the list of search results when people are searching on Cursive wines - definitely on the first page. So, at the very least that hopefully means we are providing a service to people out there on the interwebs, and maybe that means there are more places where you can get Amazon’s Cursive wine than I am aware of. I do know, based on the Amazon Fresh site, that there are stores in California, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington State, Washington DC, New York, and New Jersey. So, I am thinking that you can get Cursive wines there for sure, but who knows, so if you live in those areas, let us know.
But, again, we think we have solved where the wines come from which means that they are more accessible than you may think, just under a different name, and we’ll cover that in just a bit. Oooh, a mystery!!!
By the way, if you have never been to an Amazon Fresh store before, they are kind of a trip. The technology they use is also found in Amazon Go stores, and in Seattle our professional hockey arena where the Seattle Kraken play is called Climate Pledge arena and is sponsored by Amazon, and in there they have the same technology at many of the food courts. In short, what you do is scan your card or palm or Amazon app, enter the store, put stuff in your cart or in your hands, and walk out.
So, imagine going to the grocery store and just shopping around, but while you are shopping you are putting stuff into bags right in your cart, and then, when you are done shopping, instead of going through a checkout line, you just scan your card or palm or app again and leave. And that’s it. The future of the world! It actually kind of feels like you are stealing - that is of course until Amazon sends you the receipt in email.
At Climate pledge, when we were going to see Kevin Hart in concert, before the show we just went into a food area, scanned our card, picked up some stuff, and left. It’s crazy.
But enough about dystopian future world grocery shopping experiences where you never have to interact with a human again in your life, we need to talk about and taste and review these Cursive wines - again a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, and a Sparkling Brut . . .
But first . . . we have to do our shameless plug, right Carmela? If you are finding that you are enjoying what you are hearing, we would love it if you would support our us and subscribe to our podcast - and a huge shout out of thanks to all of you who have subscribed already, we love you and appreciate your support so much - and we truly love to hear from you. And, if you have a second, we would love it if you would leave us a nice rating and review on our website or Apple Podcasts or other podcast service so people will be intrigued to listen and so we can grow our listeners!
You can also follow us or reach out to us on Instagram at thewinepairpodcast or on CounterSocial and now on the Fountain app - it’s brand new to us and we are still learning what it is, so if you are a Fountain fan or aficionado, we would love to hear from you so we can learn more about it, and you can contact us on our website thewinepairpodcast.com.
And, as we do every week, we’ll tell you someone we think you should tell about The Wine Pair Podcast, and this week we want you to tell anyone who hates standing in checkout lines at the grocery store, including self-checkout (what are your feelings on self-checkout?)
ARTICLES and LINKS
Topic: Who Makes Amazon Cursive Wine, and What is Private Label Wine? 12:27
Ok, we are about to reveal the mystery of who makes Amazon Cursive wines, at least according to ChatGPT. Again, if you are not familiar with ChatGPT, we have links and information in our show notes if you go to our website and checkout this article, but the short story is this:
ChatGPT is a computer program that can understand and respond to human language. It has been trained on a large amount of text data and can generate responses to text prompts that are similar to those a human might give. Think of it like a very advanced "chatbot" that can hold conversations with people.
And, by the way, that explanation was created by ChatGPT when I asked it to”explain ChatGPT in easy to understand language.” So that’s weird.
But before I share with you what ChatGPT told me when I asked it who makes Amazon’s Cursive wine - which I am hoping is correct because this futuristic death bot which may end up taking over the world and do all of our thinking for us is not always 100% accurate which is problematic to say the least - I did want to share that when I went to the Amazon Fresh store in north Seattle a few weeks ago, I did notice one strange thing, and that is that the alcohol aisle - and by the way in Washington state you can buy almost any kind of alcohol at grocery stores and Costco - the alcohol aisle is blocked off, and you have to be let in by an associate at the store who checks your ID and then let’s you in, and you have to leave at the end of the aisle when you are done, and you cannot re-enter unless you are brought back in by a store associate.
Ok, but back to who makes Amazon Cursive wines. Again, I got this information from ChatGPT because I could not find information on my own on the internet after searching around for a long time which was frustrating, so I just turned to the AI that is ChatGPT. ChatGPT says that Amazon Cursive wines are made by A to Z Wineworks which is based in the state of Oregon right here just south of us in the United States. For those of you who are curious, and many of you may already know this, A to Z is not just a private label wine company, In fact, A to Z makes some well regarded and reasonably priced wines, and they are pretty easy to find. So, even if you do not have access to Cursive wines, you should have access to A to Z wines.
Now, I can’t say that the wines that A to Z makes for Amazon’s Cursive brand are identical to the wines they make for their own brand, but there is likely to be many similarities because we should assume the winemakers and the processes are pretty similar. The one difference here is that the bottles all say the grapes come from California, so if that is the case, and if A to Z is really making the wines, then they are sort of operating like a negociant - because most A to Z wines I believe from Oregon grapes. What the fuck is a negociant you ask?
Interestingly enough, in the world of wine, making private label wines is not uncommon at all. While not quite the same thing, the use of what are called negociants - which are winemakers that do not grow their own grapes but buy them and make wine from them and bottle and sell them under their own label - that has been around for centuries, especially in France.
Private label wines, sometimes called “custom crush” are on the rise, and there are a variety of ways that they are used. One obvious way is the way that Amazon makes their Cursive wines. They simply hire a winemaker to make wine for them under a private label that Amazon sells exclusively. And I think we all know that private label brands in other products are very common and well known in the grocery world - just think Costco Kirkland Brand (including their wines and beers), Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Great Value from Wal-Mart, Up & Up and Good & Gather from Target, Simple Truth and Private Selection from Kroger, Safeway’s Lucerne and Signature Select, etc. And, I think most of the time we really like those options - right, Carmela?
There are also wines that you may be buying that are custom crush, such at Michael Lavelle wines, where some folks create a brand and pay another winery to make their wine and they focus on marketing and selling, and then there are custom crush wines where people make them for charities, fund-raising, or just for fun.
But, back to A to Z Wineworks. If they are the ones making the wines, they are either operating as a custom crush operation, or as a negociant.
We’ll talk about the specific Cursive wines in a little bit, but A to Z has had some good accolades. Wine Enthusiast has rated several vintages of their Pinot Noir, Rosé, Pinot Gris, and Riesling between 89 and 91. So, this is not a producer of cheap swill making their wines!
And we are going to do an episode here in the next month or so where we will review an A to Z wine that is an unoaked Chardonnay, which is the only Chardonnay I really like!
But, let’s talk about the specific wines that we chose for this episode.
ARTICLES and LINKS
Cursive Brand Wines We Chose For This Episode: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Brut Sparkling 19:07
As usual, all the wines we have chosen for this episode are under $20, and in fact, all of them are under $9, so if any of these are good, they will be a screaming deal. And, we have already talked about how accessible or findable (is that a word) these wines may be, but you should be able to find Cursive wines relatively easily depending on where you live, and A to Z wines for sure you can find. I know you can find A to Z wines on Wine.com and Total Wine and BevMo at the very least.
You should also know a few things about these Cursive wines because they are really meant to be friendly to people who are not super familiar with wine, and so on the labels, they have a couple of scales on the back label that tell the customer what the experience of the wine should be on two dimensions - although these are different for white and red wines, which I think is actually a pretty clever way to do it. The white wine and sparkling wine dimensions are body (light - full) and sweetness (dry - sweet), while red wine dimensions are body (light - full) and intensity (light - bold). And they also tell you what foods pair with the wines. So, again, that is something I think is helpful for a lot of wine buyers, especially those who are not geeks like us and just don’t want to spend a bunch of time figuring out what a wine is going to taste like.
Another thing is that there are two levels of Cursive wines - their regular wines and then their Cursive Signature which is, I assume, a higher grade of wine, and is more expensive. However, all of the wines we are trying today are just their regular old wines. Like me.
The other thing to note about these wines is that several of them have been rated by professional reviewers, including James Suckling, which means that they will get at least what rating, Carmela? That’s right. A James Suckling rating is guaranteed to be at least a 90, which is why I simply ignore him.
I do also recall that when we tried the previous wines from Cursive, we actually liked them ok. So, this will be really fun, because the last time we chose a couple of varietals that we generally like. This time, we are going out on a limb and trying a couple of varietals that are not usually on our favorites lists - namely California Cabernets and California Chardonnays, which tend to be super oaky fruit bombs.
The first wine we are drinking today is the Cursive California Chardonnay. James Suckling gave this one a 91, big whoop. On the scale on the label, this one is on the fuller bodied side of the scale, and on the drier side of the sweetness scale, although not all the way to the dry side which I thought was interesting.
Reading the reviews of this wine on the Amazon.com website, I am guessing that this is going to be a very typical, oaky Chardonnay, and so while I am not trying to pre-judge, I am worried that I am not going to like it. But, hey, let’s be open-minded for once!
The second wine is the Cursive California Cabernet Sauvignon. I do not see a rating from a professional reviewer on the website and I could not find one on the interwebs, so we will be the professional reviewers, Carmela!
On the bottle, the body scale is topped out at full bodied, and the intensity scale is nearly topped out at bold. So, I am expecting, based on that, for this to be a pretty typical California Cabernet fruit bomb. But again, let’s not pre-judge! The reviews on the Amazon website, I will say, are pretty mixed. So, we’ll see. I will say, there is hardly anything as depressing to me as a bad Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe other than going to a Madonna concert.
The last one we are trying I am actually hyped for, and that is why I saved it for last, just in case the first two are pieces o’ shit. This wine is the Sparkling Brut, although I am not sure where exactly the grapes are from. The bottle and Amazon.com do not say. There is also no professional rating for this wine, but the ratings on the website were a little more on the positive side. And on the website they say if you like Gruet, which is a sparkling from New Mexico, you will like this wine, and we really like Gruet!
On the scales, it is on the lighter end of the body scale and all the way on the dry side of the sweetness scale, which in this case means Brut, which is exactly how we like our sparkling wines. Just remember a sparkling wine labeled as dry is actually on the sweeter side, while one labeled brut is dry. So confusing no matter how many times we say it.
All right, enough of this talking - I think it’s time to get drinking! Whaddya say?!?
ARTICLES and LINKS
Cursive Brand Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sparkling Brut Wine Pairing Tasting and Reviews 25:43
Wine: Cursive Chardonnay
Producer: A to Z Wineworks (?)
Retailer: Amazon Fresh
Professional Rating: JS 91
What we tasted and smelled in this Cursive Chardonnay: Oaky, sweet smelling, cotton candy, vanilla, grilled pineapple, tropical fruit, apple, sharp on the taste, caramel or kettle corn or butterscotch or butter rum on the finish, cream, smoky wood. Rich. A typical California Chardonnay, so if you like that taste, you will like this wine!
Food to pair with this Cursive Chardonnay: Fish, salad with pumpkin seeds, charcuterie board, popcorn, salty foods, salty nuts, potato chips.
(Label says it pairs with Caesar salad and Halibut)
As a reminder on our rating scale, we rate on a scale of 1-10, where 7 and above means that we would buy it, and 4 and below means that we are likely to pour it down the sink, and a 5 or 6 means we are likely to drink it and finish it, but we are probably not going to buy it.
- Joe: 4/10
- Carmela: 6/10
Note that we think if you are an oaky California Chardonnay lover, you are going to like this wine! For those folks, we would give it a 7/10!
Wine: Cursive Cabernet Sauvignon
Producer: A to Z Wineworks (?)
Retailer: Amazon Fresh
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
What we tasted and smelled in this Cursive Cabernet Sauvignon: Tobacco, smoke, black cherry or stewed cherry on the nose, plummy, black pepper, incense, saddle leather. Tart cherry on the taste, not very good. Sharp. Flabby and thin bodied. Not rich and bold. Astringent. Cough syrup from the 1980’s.
Food to pair with this Cursive Cabernet Sauvignon: Needs food. Burger. Steak. Pizza. Pork Chop. Something that will overpower it. Stew. Beef Stroganoff. Meat loaf.
(Label says it pairs with grilled steak and lasagna)
- Joe: 4/10
- Carmela: 4/10
Wine: Cursive Sparkling Brut
Producer: A to Z Wineworks (?)
Retailer: Amazon Fresh
Alcohol: 12% (which is a little low for a brut)
Grapes: Maybe Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but not sure
What we tasted and smelled in this Cursive Sparkling Brut: Martinelli’s sparkling cider, apple, a touch of yeast, sweet smelling, tastes sweet, too. Very quaffable. Pear. Apple. Asian pear.
Food to pair with this Cursive Sparkling Brut: Cheese board. Puff pastry with brie in it. Appetizer wine. Spicy foods. Chinese food. Phyllo dough with spinach. Cocktail party wine. Party wine, crowd pleaser.
(Label says it pairs with shrimp cocktail and triple-creme brie)
- Joe: 7/10
- Carmela: 7/10
Which one of these are you finishing tonight?
Carmela: Cursive Sparkling Brut
Joe: Cursive Sparkling Brut
Taste profiles expected from Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sparkling Brut 47:43
- Yellow apple, starfruit, pineapple, vanilla, butter
- From California: quince (tart apple or pear), starfruit, lime peel, white blossom, chalk
- JS: Delicious cooked-apple and light honey character; hints of lemongrass. Medium-bodied, creamy texture.
- Winery: Full-bodied with notes of oak, citrus and butterscotch
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Black Cherry, black currant, cedar, baking spices, graphite (pencil)
- From California: Black currant, pencil lead, tobacco, blackberry, mint
- Winery: Notes of blackberry jam and plum.
- Sparkling Brut made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
- Citrus, lemon, cream, bread, yeast, apple, pear
- Winery: Notes of green apple and citrus.
Outro and how to find The Wine Pair Podcast 50:19
We just want to say again thank you so very much for listening to us and for supporting us, and if you haven’t done so yet, we would really appreciate you subscribing to our podcast, and also please leave us a nice rating and review for us on our website or Apple podcasts or other podcast service as a free way to support us and help us grow listeners.
We would also love to hear from you. Please reach out to us on our website thewinepairpodcast.com, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can follow us on Instagram and you can also find us onCounterSocial and now on Fountain where you can support us and keep us ad free which we would love. We are not sponsored and we buy our own wine, so we would love any support.
We would also love it if you would DM us and tell us what you think, if you have ideas for future episodes or wines you are curious about or wine styles you are interested in or ways of growing wines you are curious about! And, we hope you tell your friends and family and loved ones and your mom and everyone who ever said anything nice to you about us!
Thank you thank you thank you and we will see you next time. And, as we say, life is short, so stop drinking shitty wine.