BY RICK RIOZZA
Everybody seems to be in the wine game. We consumers are because we’re drinking the stuff at record pace! Remember when France, Italy, and Spain drank more wine than we Americans. Those days are over; we’re now dominating the world in wine consumption. (But hey—when I was at the VinItaly 2018 Wine Exhibition in Verona, there was an Asian contingent that I was told continues to grow.)
On the other side of things, large winery, distribution, and marketing firms are some of the biggest companies around. In the U.S. alone, every year we see on average around 30 new “national brand” wine labels hit the shelves. And we’re not talking about the hundreds of new wines on the market from new and smaller wineries all across the country. Rather, the impressive “national brand” wines that we’re talking about have million dollar backing so they make it to most market shelves in all the states.
But the wine business isn’t a widget business. In wine, to create a national following, one must produce a beverage that impresses with taste, quality, and excitement. The country’s not drinking a wine that tastes just so-so, or made poorly, or that is dull. And as everybody in the business knows: making a good wine takes time & major effort.
Enter our daily provision of Bread & Butter. This year’s most impressive brand to have successfully broken through in an increasing competitive market is Bread & Butter with its line-up of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and as of late, their Cabernet Sauvignon.
I remember receiving samples of Bread & Butter for review around two or three years ago. For pricing under $15, I wrote that it was one of the best new wines on the market in that cost category. Around our tasting table, we found the wines to have a taste & feel of wines twice the price!
Well—since then, apparently all America has caught on, and sales of the wine has increased over 80%! And the news is just out, in their October 2018 issue, Market Watch Magazine has just written that their number one Hot Prospect of ever increasing wine brands for the last year is the Bread & Butter wine portfolio!—especially driven by their California Chardonnay sales.
In 2017 Bread & Butter was reported to have sold over 190,000 cases of wine, with a realistic estimate that the brand will sell over 300,000 cases this year! And the reason I’m finding for this impressive estimate is both the continuing quality of their Chard, Pinot and Cab Sauv from some of California’s top vineyards, and, their additional focus in the West Coast markets.
Both Kroger (Ralphs) Market and Whole Foods Stores have recently deemed WX Brands (of which the Bread & Butter franchise is a part of) as their “Supplier of the Year”. As one can see, this is some big business stuff with some big consumer interest!
So let’s find out why there’s all the fuss and why we must have our Bread & Butter: If you go to their website: breadandbutterwines.com you’ll find that they “pride themselves on delivering a consistent and reliable style; these wines are assembled to be approachable and easy-drinking with rich and lush fruit flavors.
Further there is a quick and lively video that accents their marketing style: Fun & Sun, You & Me, Love & Laugh, Travel & Play, Rock & Roll, Perfect with Bread & Butter.
Well, what more can we wish for! As I’m eager to taste through the new vintages, below are the winemaker’s notes:
The big bread winner of the franchise is the Bread & Butter Chardonnay which is made from a blend of 100 percent Chardonnay grapes from two different vineyards — one in the Carneros region of Sonoma County, where the grapes have big, bold flavors and another in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County that produces fruit with lean but complex tropical and floral flavors.
The Chardonnay opens with rich notes of vanilla bean and almond husk, reminiscent of a decadent crème brûlée. The creamy notes are balanced by a soft minerality and a hint of tropical fruit. Those creamy notes continue to your palate where they are joined with bright acidity and well-integrated oak that leads into a long, creamy finish.
Bread & Butter Chardonnay pairs well with any seafood dish that has butter or brown butter sauces. It also goes well with baked chicken, creamy soups, squash or winter vegetables. Pairing this with a shrimp pasta dish will be the ticket.
The Pinot Noir boasts juicy red fruit. Think cherries and raspberries with a touch of cassis. Delicate hints of cedar and bay leaf balance the sweetness of the fruit, creating an enduring bouquet. That luscious fruit bouquet continues onto the palate, where it’s joined by soft flavors of oak and savory notes. The rich mouthfeel is complemented by a long and beautifully smooth finish.
The Cabernet Sauvignon expresses captivating aromas of mocha, ripe berries, violets, and blackcurrant with intertwining layers of subtle black pepper, toasted oak and rich vanilla. This beautifully crafted Cabernet Sauvignon enters the palate with layers of ripe blackberry and chocolate covered cherries. The round and luscious mouthfeel is accented by soft tannins and a hint of spice that weaves into a smooth, lingering finish.
As I wrote earlier, these excellent wines have the quality of a much more expensive bottle. It’s a bargain at the full price of $15, but it’s frequently on sale for a couple of dollars less. For instance, currently at Ralph’s Market, the wines sell for around $14 and change. However, with the store’s “Buy Six Bottles, Mix or Match, and Receive 30% Off” policy, the Bread & Butter wines sell for $9.99. Give us this day indeed! Cheers!