When Target announced its line of $5 wines, we were sold. But how do they actually taste—and how should you pair them? Our resident wine mom has answers.

By Megan Drye Harper
September 27, 2017

In case you haven't heard, Target, the go-to spot for the fancy set on a budget (that'd be us!), recently released what will be their newest mom-fan craze: A collection of five different $5 wines (no, that's not a typo) called California Roots. Like we need any more reason to drop coin there! But at five bucks a pop, these wines won't break the bank. So the next question is, are they any good?

I'm Megan, a New York City mom to Huck, age 3, and Griffin, age 1, by day; wine pusher at Dirty French in the Ludlow Hotel by night; and Parents' resident wine mom. I'm here to give you a rundown of these delicious wines along with some real-life mommy pairing options.

For starters let's do a quick self-survey. How many parents' meals consist of the leftovers on your kids' plate? It's a running joke in our house that when my husband asks what I had for lunch, I respond with, "What I eat every day for lunch honey, the leftover crust of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." I'm only half-joking, so really, let's pair these wines with foods actual moms eat.

California Roots — Pinot Grigio

ON THE NOSE: You know that blissful 30 minutes of the week when your kitchen is actually clean and the aroma of that beautiful lemon-fresh cleaner is subtly wafting through your home? That's what this smells like. Lemon zest, pineapples, summertime.

ON THE PALATE: Sweet with a crisp dry finish and huge pop of acid. This wine also is slightly effervescent. That's right ladies: little bubbles. It's practically champagne.

PAIRS WELL WITH: Slightly oxidized apple slices. You know when you cut up an apple and your kid only eats two slices? Drink this wine with the rest.

California Roots — Moscoto

ON THE NOSE: Like a floral perfume the fancy ladies in church wear.

ON THE PALATE: This wine is sweet. Really sweet. Creamy and delicious. But sweet.

PAIRS WELL WITH: Half-eaten chicken nuggets. The sweetness of the wine pairs beautifully with a deep-fried, breaded chicken nugget freshly reheated in the microwave.

California Roots — Chardonnay

ON THE NOSE: It's like a freshly opened box of vanilla wafers.

ON THE PALATE: This is a good Chardonnay; it's everything you think of when you think California Chardonnay. Vanilla notes, a little buttery, with a slight hint of caramel from the oak.

PAIRS WELL WITH: Goldfish crackers. The yeasty, bready golden cheese crackers pair perfectly with this low-acid, smooth, rich-bodied wine.

California Roots — Cabernet

ON THE NOSE: Cherry Lip Balm

ON THE PALATE: Juicy red fruit with a touch of pepper, which adds a little spice. This wine is jammy and alcohol-forward.

PAIRS WELL WITH: The leftover crust of a PB&J. The slight spiciness of the Cab cuts nicely with the sweet and buttery PB&J crust your kid refuses to eat.

California Roots — Red Blend

ON THE NOSE: It's reminiscent of the leather you smell walking into the handbag section at Bloomingdales.

ON THE PALATE: This is a dang good one. My favorite out of all of them. I did not see this wine coming. It's full-bodied, with cherry notes up front and a slight tannic finish.

PAIRS WELL WITH: Macaroni and Cheese. This wine can lift a lowly bowl of cold leftover Mac & Cheese to a respectable meal.


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