Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir


Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir / Cupcake Low / 8%

Light in body and bursting with juicy fruit flavors of wild strawberry and plum that intermingle with subtle notes of fresh cherry and vanilla.

A lot of times when wine brands try to branch out into the non-alcoholic or low-alcohol sphere, they focus most of their efforts on the whites. This makes sense for a few reasons. White wines tend to be the types that are used for drinking throughout the day, so reducing alcohol content and calories can make a real difference in what the consumer puts in their body. Conversely, it is widely accepted that red wine has its own established health benefits, so customers may not be as guilty when consuming and looking for ways to lessen the load. True or not, reds also have a reputation of possession more character, and some might find the removal of certain elements nothing short of sacrilege.

As one of the most widely popular winemakers across the United States, Cupcake has the ability to try some things. Of course, their Lighthearted line also includes varietals like a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay, but they’ve gone ahead and experimented with a red that I am going to sample today.

Pinot Noir is one of my very favorite wine varietals, so my standards might be set a little higher than usual. But I will do my best to go into this with an open mind. After all, I have had no negative experiences with the Lighthearted wine I have tried in the past. Let’s hope that trend continues with this Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir review.

Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir Review

I will admit that I am not a huge fan of Cupcake’s presentation in general, and their Lighthearted line is no exception. The labels are gray with a bit of a cheesy logo design. Practically speaking none of this is terribly important, but in the wine world some people really do care a little too much about aesthetic.

The back label of the bottle contains quite a bit of nutritional information, along with some tasting notes that I will do my best to ignore in formulating this review. It lets us know that this wine contains just eight percent alcohol by volume and 80 calories per five-ounce serving. They appear to really be pushing the health benefits by including terms like gluten-free and vegan, which nearly all wines are. It is impressive that there is less than one gram of sugar per serving though.

None of this is as important as the wine poured into a glass. Some bubbles come on the pour of this deep red wine. The shade is reminiscent of dark berry juice, and the little carbonation dissipates quickly.

One of the common ways for these winemakers to reduce calorie content is by reducing sugar, which obviously results in wines that lack in sweetness. My preferences lean toward the drier, so this is no problem at all for me, and it is quite obvious on the nose that this will be a dry varietal.

The aroma notes that I get are mostly fruit forward, with bits of pepper and oak sprinkled in. There are definitely scents of cherry and red berries, namely raspberry and strawberry, and underlying it all is a ripe plum aroma.

All of these scents are appealing to me, but I will only be able to answer the question “Is Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir good?” by digging in and seeing how they play on the tongue.


Is Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir Good?

Everything present on the nose persists upon tasting but in lesser doses than I would like. The plum is solid all the way through. The strawberry comes to the forefront early on, with the cherry showing itself closer to the finish.

The body is lighter than I expected from the aromas, which I guess shouldn’t come as much of a surprise with a low-calorie wine. It doesn’t quite get to the point where I could claim that it tastes watered down, but it flirts with that quality and is a bit disappointing in doing so.

The mouthfeel stands out as very good, medium to dry and clean all the way through with a nice crisp finish. There is a little bit of both tartness and acidity to the tasting experience, but when all is said and done, nothing is strong enough to distinguish itself as a dominant characteristic.

There is a fair amount of complexity to the flavor profile, but the main thing that it is lacking is depth. All of the elements seem so fleeting, which can prepare you for the next sip but also leaves a lot to be desired with the current one. If their goal is to keep you drinking, they succeeded in a way, because you always want just a little bit more.

As far as drinkability goes, this Pinot earns relatively good marks. But there are some other areas where it suffers. How will all of these elements factor into my final Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir rating? You will have to finish reading to find out.


Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir Rating

I stated my bias up front, and while I’ve tried not to let that color my tasting experience too much, my penchant for quality Pinot Noirs had me holding this wine to a high standard. While it was by no means offensive to the senses, it didn’t bring enough creativity to the table to impress me much. You could definitely do a lot worse, particularly when it comes to low-calorie, low-abv red wine, but I wouldn’t say this one has enough character to be something you want to savor at the end of a long day. It is better suited for casual sipping throughout a long dinner party, which is honestly a great place to keep an eye on your calorie intake.

For these reasons, I feel compelled to end this Cupcake Lighthearted Pinot Noir review by giving it 3 out of 5 stars, right down the center. It is a solid option, if ultimately a bit unremarkable. If the flavors present were a little stronger instead of being subdued, we’d have something of real quality on our hands.