Sunday, April 17, 2016

Naso Rosso (Laurello Vineyards) - red wine

If you have read any of the other wine reviews in this Trader Joe’s blog, you KNOW I am not a wine snob.  Heck, I am a cheap date as far as wine is concerned!!!  I have given a 4.25 star review to a CHARLES SHAW Sauvignon Blanc that costs $3.29, folks (see that review here:  C.S. Sauvignon Blanc .  I don’t think anyone could call me elitist in the wine department…

And I am a big fan of CLOWNS.  A clown is featured on this wine label, which was the major selling point for me.  In fact, when it all boils down to it, I am MARRIED to a clown.  David is also known as Dr. Beano in the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and performs in Children's National Medical Center in DC.  We also go to loads of circuses, like, way more circuses than the average person attends…  We were at one just last week (Barnum and Bailey), and one of my most memorable birthdays was when I was treated to not ONE but TWO circuses on the same day!!

Dr. Beano waiting for kids to arrive for the Big Apple Circus of the Senses 

Dr. Beano juggling

And yet...  And yet, as you will soon see, I cannot in good faith give this wine a good review.  Hell, I cannot even give it a mediocre review.  Because as much as I love to support the “little guy”, as much as I root for the “underdog”, and as much as I like to “buy local”, I feel the need to warn anyone who might happen on this bottle of crap in an Ohio Trader Joe’s…  My love of circus clowns and my desire to drink cheap wine cannot save this dreck.

When we go to a new town I always check to see if they have a Trader Joe’s.  And when we go to a new TJ’s, I always hunt for something unique to that state/city/store.  Almost every item in TJ’s stores is uniform – if you find it in California you will find it in Florida.  But they usually have something unique, one or two LOCAL items.  And that is what I hunt for and buy!  Sometimes it is a HONEY (like Mike’s Hot Honey, see review here: Mike's Hot Honey ).  Often it is a BEER (like Rail Splitter IPA, see review here:  Rail Splitter IPA ).  And sometimes it is a bottle of local wine, like this crappy bottle of Laurello Vineyards Naso Rosso from Geneva, Ohio… 

I was lured in by the artwork on the label.  As PT Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute".
The store employee in Ohio actually subtly warned me that this was not a great wine…  In fact, if I remember right, he quietly told me this was a BAD WINE…  We bought this bottle last fall and kept it in our wine rack.  I referred to it as THE SCARY CLOWN WINE because seriously, this is one scary ass clown on the label!!  (And no, I do not have coulrophobia, fear of clowns.  But if YOU ran into this clown in a dark alley you would do well to be frightened!!)  I was so distracted by the scary clown drawing that I never even NOTICED the name of the wine is “Naso Rosso” – or RED NOSE.  David just pointed out to me now that the name “Red Nose” also references a drunk’s perpetually red nose.  Clever, Laurello Vineyards, clever!  (If only you put as much work into the making of a tasty wine as you did into naming it…) 

We recently traveled across country to California and it took us 17 hours to get home to DC.  So as a treat when we got back, I opened the SCARY CLOWN WINE!  Just OPENING it, before I had even poured or tasted it, I got a whiff of “not good”.  It smelled like a super strong GRAPE KOOL-AID.  It was, how shall I say, ODD…

Then I tasted it, and it tasted like C-R-A-P.  It tastes like a mixture of grape Kool-Aid, sugar, and cough syrup.  Those tastes are NOT really what I am looking for in a bottle of wine…  The label says, “Wine should be as spontaneous as a circus clown, and as appreciated as a piece of fine art.  Nasso Roso is a fun, fruity red wine perfect for any occasion.  The clown “Tete de Clown” is a famous piece from French artist Bernard Buffet.  To enjoy all of Bernard’s work visit his website  .” 

Promo image from "A Little Business at the Big Top" - David's circus show.  We will be on the road with it this summer!
David is a clown.  David studied clown in France.  David has an original one man show that is a circus piece, and we have hunted for wine with circus labels to give to technicians as thank you gifts.  Lord, I am glad that we did not give this crappy bottle of wine to a technician!!  I would be mortified now that I know what it tastes like if we had given it as a gift.

Here is what David thought of Scary Clown Wine (aka Naso Rosso): “You are right.  This is a terrible bottle of wine.  You nailed the essential problem areas; cough syrup, sugar, and grape Kool-Aid/grape juice elements. This is a wine that exists in the spectrum of the Jewish religious table wines – the Manishewitz that I tasted in my youth comes to mind.  But this is probably even worse than that.  This is definitely BAD.  I am sure someone out there will enjoy it…  But it is not us.  It would probably get you drunk if it is a cold night and you are on the streets”.

But then we considered all of the other places (other than on the streets) you could be where you might be wanting a bottle of wine – in a house, an apartment, a hotel room, a teepee, a tiny house, a balcony, a TENT…  If you are in any of those places, do not get this wine.  Trust us.

It is rare that we even think of dumping out a bottle of wine.  We drank about four drinks of Scary Clown and then agreed that we had to do something we had never done before – THROW OUT A JUST OPENED BOTTLE OF WINE.  Yes, it was that crappy.

Yes, it was THAT BAD.
If you live in Ohio and you go to Trader Joe’s buy ANY OTHER WINE instead of this.  And if you live in a state other than TJ’s and cannot find this wine in your store, you can thank your lucky stars.

David and I agreed that this wine deserves .25 stars.  And trust me, the stars are not for the actual WINE.  They are for the scary clown artwork. 

Rating - .25
Price – $9.99

(Shopper alert:  GET EMMA PEARL WINE instead!  It is only $3.99 and got a 5 star review here:  Emma Pearl

Bonus photo!  Us at the circus, Dulles, VA
Note:  Laurello Vineyards, I am sorry to diss your wine so badly.  I wanted to like it, honestly I did!!  I looked at your website (Laurello Vineyards ) and you look like a lovely vineyard!!  I imagine that the other wines you produce taste much better than Scary Clown.  (It DOES worry me a bit, though, that you classify Naso Rosso as “semi sweet”…  I told David that and he said, “God help us when they get to the sweet ones if that is semi sweet!”.)  Anyway, I am willing to let bygones be bygones.  If we ever end up in your neck of the woods, I will pop in for a tasting.  Let’s be clear, NOT a tasting of Scary Clown, but of your other wines!  J )

2nd bonus photo - us at Circus Vargas in San Diego, CA.  See - I TOLD you we go to lots of circuses!


  1. To quote one of my favorite performers from one of my favorite movies , "one of the finest wines of Idaho" - Steve Martin, The Muppet Movie. "Don't you want to smell the bottle cap?"

    1. These quotes are very appropriate for this wine. Thank you for sharing them. :)