Love wine as much as we do? Then you might have heard about Vinebox, a by-the-glass wine subscription box, and Üllo, a wine purifier/aerator/filter, and been curious. We certainly were! So we decided to take the companies up on their offers to let us try them. Here’s our unbiased take on both of ’em! Cheers!
Vinebox was founded by Matt Dukes and Rachel Vodofsky who wanted to find a way to bring sampling of small, European wine producers to the masses. Like, the wine you can’t get at your local store — it’s the stuff you stumble on during on a backroad trip through Tuscany. Which, to us, sounded like the best idea EVER. And, instead of getting a whole bottle, you get three total glasses — one each of three different varietals.
Plus tasting cards for each one that give you great notes on where the wine comes from, what it pairs well with, what you might taste in it and fun facts.
Because each vial is one full glass, it’s easy to split with another wine-loving friend or partner. Simply pour, swirl, sip and enjoy!
My husband and I split the box on a rainy Friday night and seriously enjoyed ALL of them so much. The Cuvee above was especially amazing, but every single one felt like it was curated for the true wine lover. Amazing flavor and complexity with a really balanced mouthfeel. And it was really fun to learn about new wineries and try wines we’d probably never come across otherwise.
Pricing is about $25 a month for an annual subscription, which is a little pricey for three glasses of wine that you’re having at home. But the quality of this wine — at least from the box we tried — was well worth $25. There are a lot of wine subscription services and clubs out there, but this is the real deal for wine-lovers who like to explore — but can’t always make the trek to wine country!
Üllo got our attention like whoa. It’s said to be the only wine accessory of its kind that can restore the natural taste of wine, while also removing 80 percent of sulfites from red and white wines. (FYI: Sulfites are an artificial preservative that is added to many foods and beverages — most commonly in wine — during production. People with sulfites allergies can experience reactions such as flushing, hypotension, abdominal pain, asthmatic reactions, and more not so fun stuff.)
Sometimes I flush when I drink alcohol (especially red wine and tequila it seems), so I get this problem. It sucks and is totally embarrassing when you’re having a nice dinner out and then all of a sudden your date is all like: Why do you look splotchy and ill?
So removing some of those allergens for a splotchy-free red-wine experience? Sign me up!
And it’s really easy to use — although there is an extra step from your usual aerator process. You put a special filter within the Üllo — this is what removes the sulfites.
Put on top of your glass, pour the wine into your glass and you’re done.
Now, we did a number of highly unscientific blind taste tests to see how the filter changed the character of the wine. And one thing is certain: it DID change the taste of the wine — be it cheap or expensive, red or white.
And how did it change the taste you ask? Well, my husband and I both agreed when doing blind tastings of filtered and non-filtered wine that the filtered wine actually had less … well, taste. In the case of cheap wine without good flavor or complexity, that really didn’t matter and actually helped it to be more palatable. But for good wine with bold flavors or subtle complexities? It totally muted them. In a way that neither of us preferred (again, when tasting blind). I don’t know if that means we just like the taste of sulfites, but it was surprising to both of us. And, honestly, kind of a bummer.
The other bummer is that Üllo has a pretty high price tag of $79. And that sulfites filter? It’s got a one-bottle limited life. So, if you open a new bottle of any wine (or even want a glass of a new type of wine), you’ll need to pop in a fresh filter. And it’s $19 for a six-pack of filters. I don’t know about you, but if we have friends over, we could easily go through a six-pack in a weekend. Those costs add up … quickly.
So, we’ll probably ditch the filter on this one and just use the aeration function. That did seem to work great!
Wine-lovers: do sulfites affect you, too? Would you sacrifice taste for relief? Apparently splotchiness isn’t that bad for me, ha! —Jenn