The Weekly Bleat: Sheep Thrills

Sheep Thrills Italian Non-Vintage Red Blend and 2016 Pinot Grigio


A couple of weeks ago, I was grocery shopping at our local Kroger when I spotted these whimsical wine labels featuring sheep attached to parachutes with the name, Sheep Thrills.  Although I didn’t know anything about the brand of wine, the bottles were too cute to pass up, so I bought them. Since they were in the $10.00 range, I thought I’d take them home for homework. 😉

Some of you may recall that Farmguy and I are taking the Level 3 Award in Wines through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).   It’s a wine course based in London, England that requires its global participants to understand wines well enough to explain style and quality; and, part of our final exam is a blind tasting of two wines–one white and one red where we have to write detailed tasting notes on each. So, because this portion of the exam counts as half, we’ve been “studying” by tasting (and spitting–because we’d be under a table if we didn’t) various wines. The main goal is to improve our tasting skills by identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas and flavors in wine.

During our first class, which mostly seemed to be comprised of people in the wine industry (and we’re not), I felt a bit stressed.  Our instructor jumped right in with the wine tastings—each class we taste about 6-8 wines from various regions.  Anyway, she asked folks to introduce themselves and then walk everyone through the wine we were tasting.  I heard people saying, “I’m getting….forest floor, tarragon, mocha, and petrol… Well, can I just say at that point, I thought, y’all really gettin’ all of that? Because, I’m mainly gettin’ some crushed grape.  Panic started to set in, especially since I didn’t want to walk anyone through a tasting note…at least not until I’d gone home and sniffed all my spices, gas tank, and taken a walk in the woods….for practice.  As my chest tightened and my breathing became shallow, I started counting how many people were in front of me.  Relief!  There were ten people in front of me, and there were only eight wines. I thought, thank you, Jesus.  As I breathed a little easier, I heard someone announce that they were getting “wet wool” on the nose.  At that moment, I smiled and made a note to make sure to smell the sheep when I got home. 🙂

Here’s the thing:  Even though Farmguy and I had written lots of tasting notes over our  intensive (3 day) Level 2 Award wine course this summer, the grid tasting profile was a little hazy. Normally, when I’m having a glass of wine, I’m just enjoying it.  I’m not always evaluating it for its clarity, intensity, color, condition, aroma characteristics, development, sweetness, acidity, tannins, alcohol, body, flavor intensity, flavor characteristics, and finish.

As I sat there, feeling a bit rusty and somewhat out of my element, a girl from the back row yelled out, “soap” as a wine descriptor.  And then, I realized something…I’m probably not the only one feeling this way. So, I stopped being nervous and concluded that any class where I’m learning about and tasting wine is a good class, and best of all—practice makes perfect! 🙂

**For a little more practice and a lot of fun, I thought I’d write tasting notes for these two wines:

Wine:  2016 Sheep Thrills Pinot Grigil–Italy

This wine is clear, pale, lemon.  It has a clean nose with light intensity. This youthful wine is fragrant with hints of lemon zest, green apple, and chamomile. On the palate, it’s dry with medium minus acidity, medium alcohol, and medium body.  It’s flavor intensity is medium and features lots of citrus notes and green apple.  This is a simple, balanced wine with a relatively short finish.  Drink now for best results as it’s not suitable for aging.  This refreshingly, light Pinot Grigio would be perfect on a sunny afternoon.  $11.00

Wine: Non-Vintage Sheep Thrills Red Blend–Italy

This wine is clear, medium, ruby.  It has a clean nose with medium plus intensity.  This youthful wine is very fragrant with scores of black fruit–blackberry, black cherry, and black raspberry.  It also has some spice, especially cloves and black pepper as well as a hint of earthiness.  On the palate, it’s medium-dry (tiny bit of sweetness) with medium acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, and medium tannins.  Its flavor intensity is medium plus as it is extremely jammy.  Once again, lots of blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry, blueberry, and a bit of green pepper.  This youthful wine is well balanced with medium plus intensity and a medium finish.  Drink now; don’t age. Overall, this wine is very good and would be lovely with cheese or your favorite pasta.  $11.00







  1. My home is full of sheep – no, I don’t collect them, they come by themselves because friends THINK I collect them – so I was immediately drawn to these labels, too. Must look out for them when I’m on your side of the Pond. Alas, I’m giving up wine for Lent so can’t even think of trying them right now. I’m impressed by people who can taste so many different notes in their wine – I only even get … grapes. But at least I can tell a pinot from a chardonnay!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember your sharing that you have lots of sheep in your home. I think it’s charming! I loved the whimsical nature of the sheep portrayed on the wine labels. And, the wine wasn’t “baaahed”—sorry—couldn’t resist. 🙂
      I agree with you about people who can taste different notes in the wine. I have a friend who is a chef, and he builds his food and wine pairings around the nuances in the wines. His dinners are always beautiful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are a writer personified!! Your blog was not only informative but
    humorous! I will be interested in hearing the results of smelling the sheep!

    Love to you and Scott,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, Jennie Marie. 😊I felt really intimidated at first, but with practice, I’m becoming more observant of the various wine characteristics and more comfortable discussing them as well. And, you’re right…it is fun! Thank you for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t seen this wine in the shops, I’ll have to look out for them. I love wines and have to admit do get drawn in by the quirky names on some bottles 🙂 Love these names and with your description I’ll have to try 🙂 Good luck with your exams 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry, but the Sheep Thrills Pinot Grigio is the worst wine I’ve had in a long time! It tastes smoky or something. After my daughter and I had a taste, I threw the rest of the glass away and have 2/3 of a bottle sitting here as I try to figure out if Kroger will take it back. The label IS very cute, but I will never buy this wine again or suggest it to someone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you didn’t like the Pinot Grigio. It’s a mass produced grocery store wine that most likely isn’t consistent in quality. Individual enjoyment is the most important thing. It’s really all that matters. However, this post was written in 2018. Your Pinot Grigio may have been a different vintage. A person’s palate is subjective, unless he or she has had specific training in wine assessment to objectively evaluate wine. Smokiness can be a characteristic of wine. Better luck next time! Cheers!


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