Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Tussock Jumper Wines: Tasty Value Wines

Tussock Jumper WinesA portfolio of wines with animals, wearing red jumpers, on the labels.

As far back as 2008, I wrote about how having animals on wine labels often increases sales, and there were studies explaining the reasons for such. Working at a wine store, I regularly hear customers tell me how they choose a wine because they simply like the label. So why not take advantage by adding cute animals to your label? However, it raises the question, is this merely a gimmick for Tussock Jumper?

According to their website: "All the animals wearing red jumpers on our wines isn’t just a gimmick or a clever branding idea to stand out on the crowded shelves of your local store. It’s more than that. The jumper is a seal of authenticity which is your guarantee that everything has been done to provide you with the finest quality, best tasting wine." The key then is sampling the wine, to assess its taste and quality, and determine whether it is merely a gimmick or not. I recently received several media samples from Tussock and did my own taste testing.

Tussock Jumper Wines was founded by a group of people "with over three decades in the wine business," with an objective of creating "a way for wine lovers to discover the world of wine, all under one label, and at approachable, budget friendly prices." Their wines are sourced from 11 different wine regions, including California, Spain, South Africa, Italy, Argentina, Australia, France, Portugal, Chile, Germany, and New Zealand. They source the grapes for their wines from multiple small farms and vineyards, bottling the wine near the source, to help the local communities.

Their first wine was a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which seems to be the origin of part of their name as well." As their website states, "tussock" is "a tuft-like grass that grows in meadowlands all around the world, but each species is unique to its region. It’s also a nod to our commitment to preserving nature, and sustainable winemaking." Currently, I'm reading a series of novel by a New Zealand, and the term "tussock" is used several times in those books.

Currently, in the U.S. market, Tussock Jumper has 24 wines available, generally priced at under $15 each. These are value wines, everyday drinking wines, but how do they compare to similarly priced wines? Actually, they do quite well. The four wines I sampled were tasty and pleasant, delivering at their price point, and their quality was indicative that they weren't just gimmick wines. You might enjoy the cute animal on the label, but you'll probably also enjoy the wine inside the bottle. Tussock Jumper Wines earn my recommendation.

The 2017 Tussock Jumper Chenin Blanc ($12), from South Africa, was a pleasing white wine, at 13.5% ABV, with crisp acidity, tasty pear and pineapple flavors, an underlying minerality, and a satisfying finish. Lush and delicious! This wine can be enjoyed on its own or paired with food, such as a chicken alfredo, risotto or even lobster.

The 2013 Tussock Jumper Touriga Nacional-Aragonez ($12), from the Alentejo region of Portugal, is a blend of 25% Touriga Nacional & 75% Aragonez, with a 13.5% ABV. About 50% of the wine spent 6 months in French and American oak. This light bodied red wine had lush red fruit flavors, with vanilla and spice notes, and a hint of chocolate on the finish. Portugal usually delivers well at these price points and this wine is no exception.

The 2017 Tussock Jumper Organic Malbec ($14/750ml), from Argentina, partially spent about 3 months in American and French oak. At 13% ABV, this was a bolder wine than many other similarly priced Malbecs, yet the tannins were well integrated and it drank smooth and rich. Lush black fruit flavors, hints of chocolate, and dark spices. This is definitely a wine for a good steak, or a hamburger from the grill.

The 2017 Tussock Jumper Pinot Noir ($13/750ml), from France, at 12% ABV, is also a bolder red wine, with more black cherry and plum notes, vanilla, dark spices, and a touch of almost sweet fruit. This isn't the light bodied Pinot that some might desire, but more a pairing for beef and rich dishes.

These wines are also sold in Single Serving sizes, pictured above, with their own plastic cup, for $3.99 each.

Have you tasted any of the Tussock Jumper wines?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Doesn't Dara's Wine and Spirits in Boston carry this? We've also seen it at Plough and Stars in Cambridge. The Sauv Blanc is different-more tropical than typical NZ wines. The Pinot Noir is also good-nice body and flavors. Great pairing tips, Rich!