Valentine's Day celebrations will continue through this weekend. Who wants to celebrate on Thursday? You might miss one of the final episodes of The Office. And nothing says romance quite like a wine with a glow in the dark label.
Experience has taught me that drinking wine in the dark is a bad idea (worse with a significant other), but the little kid in me loved the bottle. In regular light the paint is a dull metallic color, but after charging up you can kill the lights and enjoy the phosphorescence of strontium aluminate. (This photo was taken in a bathroom with zero external lighting and no adjustment. To the human eye it's a little more green but CCD sensors pick up some additional wavelengths.) During the sticker craze of the 80s many unusual ones were prized--oil filled, scratch and sniff, hologram--but I always loved anything glow in the dark. Better living through cool chemistry.
Naked Rebel Winery is a young and irreverent operation with job titles like Wine Elf and Margarita Wrangler. Chip and A.J. Forsythe began making wine in college and the rest is history. The mustache motif comes from Chip's signature handlebar. I've never grown mine out quite that far, but it's always tempting. I opened these about a week before Valentine's Day with the lovely Julia, and she thought they were hilarious and tasty.
NV Naked Rebel Pink Panda
Alexander Valley, California
$18, 11% abv.
This is one of the strangest sparkling wines I've ever tried, and definitely unusual for Pinot Noir. There's a slightly musky aroma like Moscato with a crisp and sweet body that tastes a lot like Green Apple Jolly Ranchers. Your eyes and brain and nose and mouth are all experiencing different things with this wine. While a bit sweeter than I like, it was a fun wine to sip while watching a movie, and the dancing panda design is a perfect fit for anyone throwing a zoo benefit event. I was tempted to smuggle the bottle into our own Memphis Zoo for some photo ops with Ya Ya and Le Le.
Additionally, this wine has a charitable aspect to it. From the website: Help us "Save second base!" Every bottle you buy, we make donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
2007 Mustasche Mentors Naked Rebel
Napa County, California
Syrah from Amador Country, Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville
$20, 14% abv.
Despite the listed grapes this wine has much more of a Zinfandel profile, with jammy black fruit and cookie and spice notes to it. Very low tannins--not sure if that's the style or the age, but it was pleasant and smooth and had a light, soft finish. Only 150 cases of this were made, so it might be difficult to find, but the leftover bottle is definitely a great conversation piece.
Note: These wines were received as samples.