Forty Ounce Rosé, a French rose from the Loire Valley, set the Internet on fire this spring, thanks to its distinctive packaging: Screw-top bottles that resemble those more often filled with malt liquor. It was originally only released in five states: New York, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado, adding to its cachet.
Behind the gimmicky, Instagram-ready bottle, though, is some serious cred: Forty Ounce Wines was founded by New York sommelier Patrick Cappiello, the wine director at Rebelle and Walnut Street Cafe, who’s been named “Sommelier of the Year” by Food & Wine and Eater National. In France, the winemaking is handled by Julien Braud, who’s known for working with organic wine.
Forty Ounce Rosé and its sister wine, Forty Ounce Muscadet, have finally hit the D.C. market, so we felt compelled to taste them with coworkers. First, an important disclaimer: These are not actually 40-ounce bottles. Each bottle holds one liter of wine, or 33.8 ounces. That’s still larger than a normal 750 mL/25.4 ounce bottle of wine. Both sell for around $19.99, so it’s equivalent to paying $15 for a French wine.
While everyone was clamoring to try the rosé, it actually wasn’t the most popular. Tasters complained that “it starts out less sweet, and then gets too sweet.” Others commented on the minerally, slightly bitter tartness in the finish. It was also described as, “This tastes like ‘I might actually text my ex back.'”
The Muscadet, on the other hand, gained compliments across the board: “Dry,” “refreshing,” “perfect for drinking at a backyard party.” One co-worker speculated it would be “great for drinking with oysters.”
Wine aficionados will note that the rosé is designated as a “Vin de France,” a general table wine without a geographical designation for the grapes used, while the Muscadet comes from the Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine appellation — usually a sign of higher quality.
Either way, it’s wine in a resealable screw top bottle, casual and cool enough to bring over to a friend’s party or pack for a picnic. Whether it’s a great product is probably beside the point.