Readers, it’s finally summer! For the writers at Saying Grace, this means a long needed break from classes and studying and a chance to relax. And what better way to relax than with a nice class of vino? But ever the seminarian, Saying Grace decided what would be even better would be a way to combine theology with drinking. In this post, we took a real self-sacrifice for our beloved readers and decided to sample some wines fit for the Christian palate. Here are our results.
- Vice Meets Virtue White Wine Spritzer:
First on our wine-tasting experiment was this white wine spritzer from Vice Meets Virtue. The bottle promised a “semi-sweet wine spritzer with hints of Chardonnay, citrus and pear. Light, crisp and refreshing, it’s slightly sparkling and with no added sugar it’s perfect for a hot summer day.” Our hope was that this wine, with its low calorie count and crisp taste, would provide the perfect lazy afternoon refresher, for just those days when your slothfulness and gluttony need a little lightening up. Katie started us off with a toast:
Katie: To Vice Meets Virtue, because just as we are all simultaneously sinners and saints, so too vice meets virtue every minute of every day.
Bethany: Simul justus et peccator!
Maggie: I appreciate that it comes with a twist off top, so your vice meets your virtue all the more quickly.
Bethany: It tastes like it’s halfway water, which it is. It’s like Jesus got interrupted halfway through the miracle at the wedding at Cana.
Katie: It kinda reminds me of when Jesus said in the Bible that if you are neither hot nor cold he will spew you out of his mouth. This is neither wine nor water and I want to spew it out of my mouth.
Unfortunately, upon tasting this wine, we were not satisfied. A miracle sinner-turned-saint beverage this was not. Final review? Steer clear of this one.
- Eden Ridge Chardonnay
Our next wine took us back to story of Genesis and the garden of temptation. This Chardonnay from Eden Ridge described itself as having “aromas of apple, lemon and toasted caramel” and also “full of peach, poached pear and butterscotch flavors.” In hindsight, that maybe should have been our first clue. Spoiler alert—this wine is confused.
Katie: To walking along the ridge of Eden, to seeing the majestic Cyprus lining the way, smelling the tropical fruits, and hoping that we don’t meet any cherubim with flaming swords along the way.
Bethany: I feel the caramel now. It’s like a burning aftertaste. That must be the flaming cherubim sword.
Maggie: It’s bitter. Like the feelings of Adam and Eve after being cast out of the garden.
Bethany: Eden Ridge must be the ridge that Adam and Eve stand on as they look back at their former home, full of sorrow and regret.
Final verdict? Ehhh. Not bad on first sip but doesn’t leave a pleasant taste in the mouth. Though this could lead to some great ponderings of the weight of original sin, perhaps this isn’t the wine to drink for pleasure. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but didn’t leave us thirsty for more.
- Le Canon Rose
We were all very excited to try our next wine, a rose wine called Le Canon. Like the orthodoxy of the Biblical canon, we expected this wine to provide a bold and decisive answer to all of our rose needs. Bridal showers? Summer brunches? Girls’ night? This, we theorized, would be our rose standard, to which we could turn for all our answers, or at least to reaffirm our own previously-held wine beliefs.
Kelley: To the Canon, to the things that we hold dear, and fuck everyone else.
Katie: It’s sour.
Kelley: It is not sweet.
Maggie: It draws you in with the inviting color and bottle, then it throws this unexpected sharpness at you.
Katie: Those are the texts of terror in the Bible.
Bethany: Sour grapes, Jeremiah! Sets the teeth on edge.
Our take? Not good. Probably the worst of the evening, this wine was not at all what we expected a rose to taste like. Though this wine was admittedly very attractive, we expect a rose to be just sweet enough to be extremely sippable, and this was not that. Certainly not the standard of orthodoxy to which all roses should aspire. Paradoxically non-canonical in taste to what a rose should be. Do not buy.
- The Calling Pinot Noir
When we saw this wine in the liquor store, we knew we just had to get it. Hilarious seminarian jokes ensued about finding our callings in the liquor store (ha ha ha). It “called” to us from the shelf, and we were unable to ignore its thrall. I liked the picture of the keyhole on the label, like this could be the key I’ve been searching for to unlock my calling’s true potential. I’m going to give you the Wine Enthusiast’s description of this wine, because it is absolute vino poetry: “Light and perfumed, this is a structured, well-crafted wine that’s slightly savage in approach and sensibility. Spicy cinnamon and cola streak through red cherry and strawberry, flirting with the notion of forest and mushroom without ever diving overly deep.” Slightly savage in approach and sensibility? Cinnamon, berries, and forest? Who could resist! Considered us called.
Maggie: To finding our callings, if not in this glass, then in the near future.
Kelley: Spicy! Just like my calling.
Bethany: It’s jammy, and that’s my jam, just like my calling.
Maggie: The flavors keep me on my toes, they are changing. Just when I think I have it figured out, it changes. I feel like this is true to life.
Katie: It’s enticing, yet there is a complexity. It necessitates a discernment. What flavors are these? Is it cherry jam? Or raspberry jam?
Kelley: It’s confusing
Maggie: Well, callings are confusing.
This wine was a bit of a splurge, I’ll admit. While the other wines we reviewed were a reasonable $8-$15, this wine was $37. So if you are on a seminarian budget it’s definitely on the expensive side, but well worth it. This was easily our favorite of the bunch. For sure the most drinkable, which might help open the ears to better hear the calling of the Spirit. Or spirit? Either way, it’s delicious. Highly recommend.
- Prophecy Red Blend
So Katie and I will admit that we picked this wine mostly off of the illustration on the label, which I think speaks for itself. The wine, a marriage of grapes from two different American wine regions, promised to be “silky and medium bodied, with layers of red fruit complemented by aromas of spice and vanilla leading to a silky finish.” The Bible is full of love stories and tales of the sins of the flesh. We thought Prophecy Red Blend would be just the wine to drink while contemplating love and desire and their prophetical connection to humanity’s strengths (Ruth and Boaz?) and weaknesses (Sampson and Delilah?). Or maybe that’s too much to expect from a bottle of wine. As a side note, I didn’t notice the otherworldly hands encircling the couple until writing this post. God, is that you?
Bethany: Hang on! What is going on here? This is not from the prophets!
Katie: It’s the Song of Songs. I prophesy that they are getting laid tonight.
Bethany (ever the true theologian): That’s not what prophecy is. People think that’s what prophecy is, but it’s really about speaking truth to power.
Kelley: Well, maybe this wine will speak some truth to us?
Bethany: May we all be prophets, and also lovers!
Kelley: Prophecy, man. This shit’s deep.
So what did it taste like? Well, to be honest with you, at this point we were five tastes in (though we were moderating and pacing ourselves, I might add) and after The Calling, this was a bit of a letdown. But it was still a solid red blend. Drinkable, but maybe not quite prophetic. My palette might have been overwhelmed at that point, but I didn’t really taste any individual flavors other than red wine. A fine red wine, but it didn’t have any flavor notes that really stood out to me. A prophecy should really wake up you to something, be it imminent social downfall or simply a blackberry undertone. This did not.
- Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon
For our final wine, we choose a cab by Two Vines, described as having “a nice nose of perfumed berries leads to delicious flavors of blackberry and currants with a subtle vanilla-spicy note.” In Romans 11:17-24, Paul talks about Jesus grafting the Christian Gentiles to the house of Israel, like vines grafted together. It’s a line that speaks of remembering the foundations of the church, where it comes from and where it is going. From a wine called “two vines,” we expected nothing less than a misty-eyed trip down our own formative years and a nod toward the future as we walk hand-in-hand with Jesus.
Katie: To being grafted to Jesus, (Maggie: and each other!) Amen.
Maggie: Does this graft us between where we’ve been and where we are? Where we are going to be?
Katie: Yes, I think so.
Kelley: It’s not bad. Not too heavy, not too weak. Solid. I’d be grafted to that.
This was probably my second favorite of the wines we tasted. I think this is what they call a “table wine”? Nice to drink, not too complicated, would pair well with food. I don’t know that I came away from this wine feeling anymore spiritually grafted to anything in particular, but I bet if I drank enough of this I could at least feel grafted to my chair. Would drink again.
And there you have it folks! My takeaway, don’t expect any great theological revelations out of a glass of wine. At least, not the first first few glasses. If you have any of your own Spiritually-inspiring spirit beverage choices, let us know in the comments!