Live from New York: It's our 'Saturday Night Live' wine review

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
The Saturday Night Live Wine Collection from Lot18. (Photo: Lot18)

Live from New York — it’s Saturday Night Wine! No joke: The wine experts of Lot18 have chosen to follow up their Outlander and Walking Dead collections with a quartet of Saturday Night Live-themed bottles. Available for purchase now, the limited-edition Saturday Night Live Wine Collection includes three varieties celebrating a trio of classic contemporary characters, as well as a Live From New York blend. With a new episode of SNL airing this weekend, the Yahoo Entertainment staff sampled these wines and are here to tell you which ones are ready for primetime … and which ones should have been left on the cutting-room floor.

Photo: Lot18

Debbie Downer: 2016 South Eastern Australia Chardonnay
Rachel Dratch’s signature creation may be a perpetual killjoy, but her wine got our tasting off to a mostly pleasant start. “It’s sweet like juice,” said Kelly Woo. “Definitely not a downer of a wine.” Raechal Shewfelt agreed, and praised its crisp flavor, which comes from a combination of Down Under-grown citrus and orchard fruits. (We know Debbie had a downer of a time at Disney World; maybe an Australian vacation would turn her frown upside down?)

Ethan Alter gave it passing marks as well. “A little sweet, but very drinkable. I can call this a good wine without laughing … unlike most of Debbie’s scene partners.” Naturally, there were some spoilsports among us. “It tasted like melted plastic,” said Kristen Baldwin. “It tasted really watered down, like someone threw ice cubes in the wineglass and let it sit outside in the sun,” Chrissy Nguyen added. And Mandi Bierly and Jeffrey Pattit turned their view into a comedy sketch. “What is that aftertaste?” Bierly asked. “Tree,” Pattit replied, without missing a beat. Somebody get these two an SNL contract!

Photo: Lot18

The Californians: 2015 Monterey County Merlot
California girl Shewfelt enthusiastically endorsed her state’s contribution to the wine collection. “Go figure, this is my favorite one,” the L.A. resident raved. “It reminds me of jam, but not too sweet.” Those of us on the East Coast, meanwhile, had a cooler reaction to The Californians — both the wine and the recurring skit it takes its name from. “Like the sketch, it’s forgettable,” Gwynne Watkins said.

“It tastes like an old baseball glove,” Woo noted of its black cherry, plum and roasted coffee bean notes. “I always fast-forwarded through The Californians sketches,” Alter admitted. “I’d like to fast-forward through this glass as well.”

Photo: Lot18

Saturday Night Live: 2016 California Red Blend
While The Walking Dead‘s Negan-labeled red blend left a bad taste in our mouths, this combination of Merlot, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah received modestly stronger reviews. “Amazingly, I don’t hate this,” said Bierly. “It’s the cheap filler you drink later in the night after your taste buds have gone.” Shewfelt called it a “lighter alternative to my usual Pinot Noir.” But others weren’t as boffo on the blend. “I almost spit it out,” Woo confessed. Maybe that’s because it tasted like, as Watkins succinctly put it, “tire rubber.”

Photo: Lot18

Stefon: 2016 Beaujolais
This wine has everything … except good flavor, a pleasant aftertaste and re-drinkability. “I really wanted to like the Stefon wine — I mean, it’s Stefon!” Nguyen said, summing up the majority opinion. “But it felt too thin for a red.” Everyone else agreed that Bill Hader’s beloved namesake deserved better than this underwhelming combination of cherry, cranberry, violet, and black pepper. “It tastes like Communion wine, which I don’t think Stefon would appreciate,” Woo pointed out.

Both Watkins and Bierly likened the aftertaste to the candies you typically leave at the bottom of the Halloween bucket — Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids. And Adam Lance Garcia channeled Stefon in his review: “It tastes like Stefon after a night of dancing at the city’s Hottest Club, ‘Sour Wine.'” Sorry, Stefon: At least you always have Seth’s shoulder to cry on.

Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. The Saturday Night Live Wine Collection is available for purchase on Lot18’s website.

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