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vogaPeople who buy wine because of the label or packaging are often the subject of derision among wine snobs. But since wine has become a commodity, a low cost, standardized product mostly made by large companies all striving for the same taste profile, sometimes packaging is the only thing to distinguish one wine from another on the supermarket shelf. So some wineries put a lot of effort into making their bottle appear unique or eye-catching.  Voga wines, presenting a lineup of easy drinking crowd pleasers, does seem to be all about marketing  with a bottle that looks like designer water, complete with a cap that screws on after the cork is pulled, and an ad campaign that mimics the world of fashion. The irony of an upscale, modern, “fashionista” image on a $10 bottle of wine doesn’t appear to be part of the appeal.

But the wine turns out to be quite good for the price. A blend of 65% Zinfandel (the Primativo clone) and 35% Cabernet from the warm Puglia region on the heel of Italy’s boot, the nose is of ripe blackberry as you would expect from a region where grapes ripen easily. But freshly-turned earth notes are even more prominent giving this wine a flavor profile that is to a degree out of the ordinary, despite some distracting green top notes. The full bodied palate is plush with chocolate-infused dark fruit and medium grain tannins that don’t bite but stay firm and thick supporting a medium length, dry finish. As expected with crowd-pleasers there is a bit of sweetness up front and the acidity is much lower than is typical of Italian wines but the earthiness and sturdy mouthfeel give this wine a unique aspect.

Plush but firm and earthy, pair with Mary Blige Real Love

Score: 87

Price: $10

Alc: 13.5

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