We Made a Professional Drink Writer Review Duck Dynasty Chardonnay, Downton Abbey Claret, and AC/DC Sauvignon Blanc

Wine, beer, and other potent potables.
Dec. 29 2013 11:48 PM

Duck Dynasty Chardonnay Tastes Better Than Downton Abbey Bordeaux Blanc

A professional drink writer reviews 13 pop-culture-branded wines.

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Star Trek “The Trouble With Tribbles,” 2009 ($25). Origin: Sonoma, Calif. This red blend has a warm, earthy, jammy scent. At first sip it’s big and twangy, but softens into a juicy, meaty, chewy red, perfect for pairing with a steak. It’s substantial. No idea what grapes are in here but love the concept of “a vintage Chateau Picard.” Score: 4

Downton Abbey Claret, 2012 ($17). Origin: Bordeaux, France. Made from a blend of 70 percent Merlot, 25 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5 percent Malbec, this prim and proper red has a restrained plumminess, with a touch of baker’s chocolate on the slightly drying finish. Allow it 30 minutes to open up—or decant the wine, as Mr. Carson would do. Score: 4

Duck Commander “Triple Threat” Red Blend, 2011 ($10). Origin: St. Helena, Calif. I’d assumed these would have a screw-cap opening, but nope, a proper cork closure, adorned with a duck at the top. This bold blend has a sweet and fruity aroma, like liquid jam. It drinks mighty easy—very sweet and juicy and downright plush. Save it for a dessert pairing. Score: 4

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BB King’s Signature Collection Red Wine, 2010 ($14). Origin: Alpera, Spain. This blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah has an earthy aroma backed by a raspberry compote scent. It doesn’t quite deliver on the palate. It’s slightly tart, like unripe plums, though the finish is long and pleasingly jammy. Score: 3

White Wines

Fifty Shades of Grey “White Silk,” 2012 ($18). Origin: Ukiah, Calif. Bold and perfumy, this smooth white offers rounded notes of honey, tropical fruit, and pears, with a moderately long finish. Pair with cheeses and double entendres. Score: 4.5

Duck Commander “Wood Duck” Chardonnay ($10). Origin: Napa, Calif. Nothing subtle here. If you’re one of those people who disapprove of “over-oaked Chards,” you won’t like this one. But I thought it was delicious, with its bold, creamy butterscotch notes, ripe apples and pears, and just enough acidity to keep things interesting. The green-and-yellow ducks on the label cleverly resemble camouflage. Score: 4.5

Downton Abbey Bordeaux Blanc, 2012 ($17). Origin: Bordeaux, France. Light, genteel, and fragrant with vanilla, ripe melon, and tropical fruit. On the palate, it’s gently effervescent, with a bit of Granny Smith green apple tartness and a crisp, citrusy finish. It’s almost too light—when chilled, it’s practically featherweight. Demure packaging includes a scolding from Mrs. Patmore on the back of the label: “You know the trouble with you lot? You are in love with the wrong people!” Score: 4

AC/DC “Hells Bells” Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($18). Origin: New Zealand. Sealed with a screw-cap top, which seems appropriately rock ’n’ roll. I’m not sure AC/DC would like this description, but they make a very pretty wine. Their savvy-b is fragrant with white flowers and tropical fruit, and it’s citrusy on the palate, with good acid levels and a slight effervescent quality. Score: 4

AC/DC “Thunder Struck” Chardonnay 2011 ($18). Origin: Australia. Golden and bright, this vino has light butterscotch aromatics and an assertively tart, lemony flavor, finishing with delicate notes of vanilla, pear, and white peach. Score: 3.5

BB King’s Signature Collection white wine. Origin: Alpera, Spain ($14).  The bold, fruity aroma speaks of apples and ripe pears. On the palate, it veers more toward green apple tartness, with a touch of vanilla on the finish. Guitar illustration on the label. Score: 2.5

Rose

Duck Commander “Miss Priss” Pink Moscato ($10). Origin: St. Helena, Calif. Rosy and super-sweet, this may remind you of pink lemonade. Look for big fruit flavors–strawberry, peach, citrus, with vanilla on the finish. It goes down awfully easy, but was so sweet it had me wondering if sugar was added (it’s not). On the bright side, it would make a great sangria base. Score: 3

*Correction, Jan. 2, 2014: This article originally misstated that Vinport's Star Trek wines were launched for the 50th anniversary of the TV show. Star Trek first aired in 1966, and its 50th anniversary will be in 2016.

Kara Newman is a New York–based spirits and cocktail writer, and is the author of Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books).