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I made a pact to myself at the beginning of this year: no more drinking crappy wine. I am a wine lover through and through, but during my early twenties, I rarely delved beyond my go-to bottom shelf wine brands like Sutter Home, Yellow Tail and Barefoot. To be quite honest, I was literally known as the guy that would bring Franzia white zinfandel boxed wine to parties in college, not even bothering with a glass bottle. It was a job I took much pride in. Now, I look back on those days with a mix of fondness and self-disgust. Don’t get me wrong, slapping the bag is a fun pre-COVID party trick I stood by, but, boy oh boy — the hangovers. I don’t even want to get started on the Franzia hangovers.
So, when January 1, 2020 came about and the world was filled with excitement for the new year and unaware of the hellish world to come, I typed up a little resolution list in my Notes app:
- Get back to the gym
- Only go out to eat once a week maximum
- Buy fewer clothes
- Drink better wine
And, well, it’s safe to say I’ve done one of those things.
Upon quarantine’s fast arrival and the soft opening of the brand new wine shop 50 feet from my apartment, subbing better wine for my OG $7 choices was almost too convenient. I went through a variety of new bottles accompanied by way too much reality television. I discovered bottles I now love, bottles I now hate and bottles that kind of fall somewhere in between. But so far nothing has compared to my new go-to solo sipper Usual Wines.
Though I had been on my wine-tasting quest since January, I only found out about Usual Wine at the beginning of October. I don’t even necessarily remember how. Maybe an Instagram ad? I’m not sure how, but, the modern-looking, beaker shape of the single-serving bottles had me intrigued. Usual Wines was kind enough to send me a couple of bottles in order to satisfy my thirst. And to be quite frank, after having just a couple of sips, this bitch is sold.
Usual Wines fills each ultramodern, beaker-shaped bottle with a single serve heavy pour of wine that’s way too easy to fall in love with. Current options include red, rosé, brut and brut rosé, so there really is a bottle for every kind of wine lover.
I had the chance to try out both their rosé and brut bottles on a night that my roommate Nina and I were bingeing a few episodes of Unsolved Mysteries. It was a pretty heated episode so I didn’t really register that I was bringing my first sip of a full glass of Usual’s rosé to my mouth until I audibly gasped. Unsure whether or not it was the show or the flavor, I had another sip and realized it was, in fact, the flavor. The taste wasn’t like any rosé I’ve had in the past. Yeah, it was totally crisp and refreshing, but it was also bold and boisterous. It had a somewhat perfect taste that I wasn’t quite expecting.
I mean, I figured it would be good, but truthfully speaking, I would go so far as to say it was one of my favorite glasses of wine I’ve had in 2020. It was pleasantly surprising, to say the least. Head to the Usual Wines website and you’ll find hundreds of reviews singing the praises of this new wine brand.
After finishing my pink drink, I popped a bottle of the brut and hoped for the best. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but the brut was in no way comparable to the rosé. Maybe I was still so floored from what my taste buds had just experienced a few minutes prior to really invest myself into the brut, but I am also more of a rosé guy to begin with. So, yes, the brut was delicious and packed tons of flavor (including a lemony twang I wasn’t expecting), but the rosé took home the trophy for me. It was *chef’s kiss*.
If you’re a wine lover (or know a wine lover), you have to give Usual Wines a try for yourself. Not only are the wines mouthwateringly delicious, but the bottles help make drinking tons of fun. Each beaker also serves the perfect glass for one, making it a worthwhile wine to bulk up on as you continue to solo sip from your couch or plan socially-distanced outdoor hang sessions. Additionally, these make a great gift to give during the holiday season.
There are a ton of options to choose from depending on how much wine you want and flavor choices. Love a variety? The Usual Mixed Pack allows you to try each flavor in a pack of 12 for just $80. More into one flavor? Solo flavor packs start at just $40. Or, maybe you’re more into limited-edition options. No problem, check out Usual Wines’ first limited edition offering, titled Usual Reserve. It’s a bold Cabernet Sauvignon featuring notes of blackberry compote, baker’s chocolate, and eucalyptus. There are only 400 cases in total, so don’t wait too long. It’s time to step up your wine game. Like me, you’ll be glad you did.