December 9, 2015 – Wine and vodka? Together? It sounds a little weird, doesn’t it, so we were interested and a tad apprehensive when samples of Maven Chardonnay Vodka Cocktail and Maven Pinot Noir and Vodka Cocktail turned up on our doorstop.
For no particular reason, we decided to crack open the Pinot Noir bottle first instead of starting with the Chardonnay. The package had been sitting outside in the cold so the contents were chilly but not ice cold. It turned out that this was an optimal temperature for this particular drink.
Unlike the Chardonnay, which we’ll get to, Pinot Noir’s usual nose and taste is not readily identifiable. We were able to capture a fragrance of fruit and we could taste red wine as we sipped, but we could not possibly identify the varietal. However, we have to say it was a pleasant concoction and we really liked the clean, crisp finish. We decided to conduct our own experiment by adding a splash vodka to a small amount of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We were just trying to figure out if that’s all there is to it. It didn’t work at all. The Cab’s flavor was drastically changed and not for the better. So something else is going on with Maven because this drink is not harsh and downright unpleasant like our experiment.
The Chardonnay is different. There’s a distinct Chardonnay nose and definitely Chardonnay on the palate. No mistaking this one. As abhorrers of big, over-oaky, buttery California Chards, we liked that this one was under control. There’s lots of citrus making it clean and refreshing. If you enjoy Chardonnay, you’ll like the Maven Chardonnay Vodka Cocktail.
The alcohol level is just 13.5 percent in both red and white styles indicating to us that wine predominates. Can you taste the vodka? Not really. The amount of vodka must be fairly restrained but just how much is in each bottle or serving is a trade secret.
Maven comes in single serving 200 ml bottles (6.8 ounces) with a re-closable plastic cap. It is an elegant, heavy, frosted glass container about six inches high with art deco decoration reminiscent of New York’s famous art deco buildings. The serving is larger than the average cocktail so it is like getting a glass and a third of wine.
Stephenie Harris who has spent 20 years in the wine and spirits industry is the creative force behind Maven wine and vodka cocktails. With safety in mind, the container is re-sealable, allowing women in bar settings to have control of their drink. Put the cap back on and take the bottle to the dance floor. It won’t spill and it won’t look skanky because the Maven container is elegant and no one can mess with your drink as you dance away.
Maven cocktails are unique and because they are so different, it is hard to categorize them. Someone who is not big on wine or just getting started in the wine scene will enjoy them but they can appeal to wine lovers like us also, simply because they are different. We tried them with food and it worked out fine. We’ll admit we were noshing on Thanksgiving leftovers. But they are not meant to be a replacement for wine. Just something innovative and different. They are much lighter than regular cocktails being only 38 calories per serving and not cloyingly sweet like so many drinks. They are very sippable – there’s no such word but you know what we mean. One or two could see you through an evening and you won’t wake up feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck. As we mentioned above, they are refreshing and crisp, qualities that we liked a lot. The premium vodka is gluten free, another plus.
The bottle has a wide mouth but because it is a screw cap, it has threads, which are not very pleasant and spoil an otherwise very stylish package, especially if one is drinking out of the bottle. Serving in a wine glass would be preferable.
Pricewise, both super premium cocktails are available at $6.99 a bottle through retailers and range from $13 to $25 per bottle at bars, clubs and lounges (price varies depending on the venue). Consumers can purchase online through the web site www.mavencocktails.com. If you are in California, home delivery is available at a discounted rate of 15 percent off four-packs or cases. Just click on the “Buy Now” button and use the discount code: