The Bold Reds Series Review
Wine Club Overview & Details
Wine Club Rating:
This wine club is...
An old-school wine of the month club that has every detail buttoned down tight. If you want to discover heavier-bodied, interesting red wines from around the world, and you want a reliable service to deliver them, the International Wine of the Month Club’s Bold Reds Series is a great place to start.
What I Like
When I recommend a red wine club gift (which is frequently), I often recommend this club. It’s great for red wine lovers as it showcases grapes and regions not typically found on the shelves at wine stores (and definitely not at big box stores).
While these wines truly are bolder on the spectrum of lighter to heavier red wines, I find most of these wines are not bold enough to live up to their name. I expected more wines like California Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Tannat, big Syrahs or Rhone blends. Maybe they need an “Extra Bold” selection, too.
- Perfect for red wine lovers
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Only two bottles per month
- Shipping is extra
The Bold Reds Series delivers to
AL AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA ID IL IN IA KS KY LA MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX VT VA WA WV WI WY
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Join The Bold Reds Series
FYI: I find great wine deals so you don’t have to. To keep me on the hunt, I earn a commission when you buy wine based on my recommendations.
Coupons & Promo Codes
Deal Save $10
Save $10 when you give a 4-month wine club gift. Use code SAVE10 at checkout.
Deal Save $15
Save $15 when you give a 6-month wine club gift. Use code SAVE15 at checkout.
Deal Save $30
Save $30 when you give a year of wine gift. Use code SAVE30 at checkout.
The Bold Reds Series Review
What is The Bold Reds Series from The International Wine of the Month Club?
Founded in 1994, MonthlyClubs.com offers a selection of gourmet subscription boxes including wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, flowers, and cigars. The International Wine of the Month Club is their wine club.
Among the four wine subscriptions offered by Int'l Wine Club — each offers two bottles of wine from around the world — the Bold Reds Series specializes in heavier-bodied red wines. It is available as an ongoing subscription or as a gift membership (you choose the length of the gift and when you pay). Bold Reds, like all of their subscriptions, comes with an industry-leading satisfaction guarantee.
Ways to Customize Your Bold Reds Series Membership
The Bold Reds Series Wine Club can be customized in a number of helpful ways, many of which contribute to the giftworthiness of this club (and the others from Int'l Wine Club). There’s a full evaluation of the club’s giftworthiness below, but in general, I strongly recommend this membership because of all the gift-related features.
|Delivery frequency: choose monthly, every other month, or quarterly shipments||Yes||Yes|
|Payment frequency: pay all at once or each time the wine ships||Each time||All at once or each time|
|Month to start shipments: choose any of the upcoming four months||Yes||Yes|
How much does The Bold Reds Series cost?
Two bottles of wine are delivered for $69.95 per shipment — $54.95 for the wine plus $15 for shipping and handling (which likely costs the company more than $15).
The price you pay per bottle in your shipments is fair (close to suggested retail). When you add in the benefit of the satisfaction guarantee (see below), the prices are definitely customer-friendly.
Bold Reds Series membership benefits
My Bold Reds Series
Satisfaction Guarantee. The single most important membership benefit of a wine club, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, is the Satisfaction Guarantee. It’s the biggest reason to consider joining a wine club in the first place, especially when compared with buying from any retailer (online or brick and mortar) where refunds don’t happen except sometimes for damaged bottles.
Int'l Wine Club offers a top-tier satisfaction guarantee:
"Our 100% satisfaction guarantee ensures that every item you purchase at The International Wine of the Month Club meets your high standards or we will replace it or refund your purchase."
What they really mean by “high standards” is “if you don’t like it for any reason.” This is a unique feature of wine subscriptions and customer-centric Int'l Wine Club does this well.
Discounts. I look at three areas when evaluating the discount opportunities offered by a wine club. Is there an introductory offer to sweeten the deal? Are there special discounts only available to members? Are there discounts available for buying more of the wines you loved in your shipments?
Int'l Wine Club does not have an introductory offer and doesn't offer members-only deals, but they do reward purchasing more than the minimum when you buy wine in addition to your regular shipments. There are two ways they offer “Buy More, Save More” discounts:
On gift subscriptions: the more shipments you buy, the more you save.
- Save $10 on any 4-shipment order with code SAVE10
- Save $15 on any 6-shipment pre-paid order with code SAVE15
- Save $30 on any 12-shipment pre-paid order with code SAVE30
- Tip: you can buy yourself a prepaid "gift" to take advantage of this discount
On wine orders: save two ways! Discounts are provided on both shipping costs and on the cost of the wine. Membership is not required to take advantage of these discounted prices.
- When you buy four bottles, you pay their regular bottle price and $15 for shipping ($7.50 each bottle)
- When you buy four bottles you save 7% off the wine and you pay $19 for shipping ($4.75 each bottle)
- When you buy six bottles you save 12% off the wine and you pay $24 for shipping ($4 each bottle)
- When you buy twelve bottles you save 15% off the wine and you pay $36 for shipping ($3 each bottle)
Wine education. What passes for wine education from most wine clubs is minimal these days. If all you want is to drink wine someone sends you, without any desire to learn about what makes that wine unique, that’s fine. But if you’re someone who is interested in learning a bit about the producers and the history of the regions featured, this club is a good choice.
Each wine comes with its own write-up called Cellar Notes. Each info sheet contains detailed tasting notes with serving recommendations, anticipated wine maturity, and suggested food pairings. Cellar Notes also contain a mix of history of the producer and the region, a recipe to try, and sometimes a tie-in to one of the other MonthlyClubs.com memberships (like one of their cheese clubs).
Continuity. In the 14 years I’ve been reviewing wine clubs, MonthlyClubs.com has been one of the most stable and reliable services I’ve worked with. The team is always accessible and helpful, because that’s what they value for their partners and their customers.
Bold Reds Series Wine Review
My Bold Reds Series
|Quality of Wine|
|Price of Wine|
The name offers a clue into what kind of wine they sell — wines from around the world — but it’s really only part of the story. International Wine of the Month Club chooses approachable wines. They focus on finding wines everyone can enjoy, so they tend to embrace food-friendly wines with no rough edges (bracing acidity, cloying sweetness, chewy tannins, high alcohol content, etc.)
They’re good at sourcing wines from medium-production wineries in lesser-known wine regions where you get more bang for your buck. They’re especially good at finding wines that aren’t on the shelves at many wine stores (much less big box stores or even fine grocers). I really appreciate this because I find it’s boring to see the same wine selection all the time.
Wines I’ve received from Bold Reds Series
This section discusses wines I’ve received, but on the company overview page I go into detail about two really cool aspects of Int'l Wine Club: how they curate their wines and their online wine library.
This is the most recent shipment of wines I received (December 2022).
Wine: 2019 Old Vine Malbec
Blend: 100% Malbec
Region: Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
Malbec is produced to be sold at a variety of prices. While many of us are mostly familiar with large-production Argentinian Malbec sold for less than $15 a bottle, there are some great options when you’re ready to upgrade. Many Reserve level and premium Malbecs can be had at a great value when compared to similar-quality red wines made from other grapes.
This Luca Old Vine Malbec is a great example. It’s made from 50-year old vines in a high-altitude vineyard (3500 feet) and comes with myriad high ratings (92-95 points) from Wine Spectator, James Suckling, and Wine Advocate. The affordable price of $35 for such a well-regarded wine can be chalked up to a generous production of 7000 cases per year.
Rather than call this a Bold Red, I’d call this a smooth red. This was an easy drinking Malbec that, because of the quality level, didn’t require production tricks resulting in a sweet, flabby red wine. It has delicate spice, hints of espresso and violet, and enjoyable notes of black and blue fruits.
Winery: Quinta Nova
Wine: 2020 Pomares Douro Tinto
Blend: 40% Tinta Roriz (Aragones), 35% Touriga Franca, 25% Touriga Nacional
Region: Douro, Portugal
Douro is Portugal’s best known wine region and is more broadly known as Douro + Porto (the origin of Portugal’s most famous wine style, Port). Wines from Douro frequently show up on Top 100 wine lists from publications like Wine Spectator and they typically offer better value (quality to price ratio) than other European red wines.
One way to think of Portuguese wine (and Spanish wine, too) is that it’s Old World wine for people who prefer New World wine. If you don’t understand what I mean by that, here’s a great primer on the concept.
This particular Tinto (red wine in Portuguese) is made of three native Portuguese grapes. The Touriga Franca is the most widely planted grape in Douro and is one of the five grapes legally allowed in Port. This blend is essentially a “traditional” red wine blend for Douro and is a great introduction to red wine from the region.
I found the wine smooth, with subtle fruit and spice. It was a bright and food-friendly wine that while enjoyable was not necessarily unique. A great alternative when you’re tired of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir but still want a cozy, warm-feeling wine. It reminded me of an earthy Sangiovese.
Wine: 2020 Andronicus
Blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot
Region: Napa Valley, California
A group of wineries in Napa Valley have long sought to provide a formal name for wines made with Bordeaux grapes but grown in California — meritage (rhymes with heritage). I think the Bordeaux Blend has great adoption these days. Whatever you want to call it, it was great. When people decry Napa for not having any reasonably priced red wines, this wine should be the poster child for what could be.
Titus is owned by brothers Phil Titus (the winemaker responsible for Chappellet’s 99- and 100-pt scores) and Eric (the vineyard manager). For this wine, they hired another Napa superstar winemaker, Stephan Cruzan (Cade, Chappellet, and Hall wines) to create a true Napa Valley red blend.
We all loved this wine. It was so perfectly blended, fruit forward but balanced, smooth tannins, just a hint of vanilla from the oak, great acidity. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc stood out, adding interest beyond the Cabernet Sauvignon, as did the Petit Verdot’s trademark depth and bite. I’d seek this wine out. I could reorder it at Int'l Wine Club for $33 a bottle or as low as $28.05 if I buy a case of any wine. A great wine for a great price.
Winery: Bodega Renacer
Wine: 2019 Punto Final Reserva
Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
While most red-wine loving Americans are familiar with Argentina for its ever-so-popular Malbecs, the country produces a variety of wines, especially other red Bordeaux varietals. Malbec is one of six Bordeaux red grape varieties — the others include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carménère (often left off the list).
Cabernet Franc — a parent grape for both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot — is a grape that tastes different in each place it's grown, especially in warm climates vs cool climates, but also from vintage to vintage. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is used as a blending grape. In “new world” regions, it is sometimes bottled on its own.
I personally tend to prefer my Cab Franc in a heavier-bodied, more fruit-forward style than this light one. Beyond my personal preferences, this was a nice, food-friendly red wine that anybody could enjoy but probably wouldn’t wow anyone because it lacked character or uniqueness.
Wine: 2018 Lazuli
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Maipo Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile
Cabernet Sauvignon may be the king of grapes, but it tastes quite different depending on where it’s grown. Learning about these differences is one of the great benefits of joining a wine club like Int'l Wine Club which takes you on a wine tour of the world.
Among the different regions known for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Chilean Cabs are most similar to Napa Cabs, but this similarity varies by producer (style preferences, use of oak, specific location) and vintage (climatic variables).
Generically, Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits flavors of Black Fruit (currant, plum, berry, and cherry), some kind of spice (varies wildly depending on where it’s grown), and, depending on climate and vineyard practices, some variety of “green” from a compound known as “pyrazines” (green bell or jalapeño pepper, green peppercorn, mint, graphite, and dark chocolate).
This Chilean Cab did not thrill our tasting group. Our most disliked characteristic was subdued fruitiness. The wine seemed out of balance. There was also a pronounced taste of eucalyptus and menthol. For some people, these descriptions are heaven — smooth, not overly fruity, and eucalyptus are all desired flavor profiles for many wine drinkers (just not this one).
That said, it’s worth discussing why this was a worthwhile wine to try, and how it made it to the Bold Reds Series in the first place. This wine scored 94 points from Vinous Media (a serious wine publication) and 96 points from Tim Atkin, Master of Wine. The winery was founded by Bordeaux legends from Château Cos d’Estournel and Château Margaux in the early 1990s. And, while the winery produces their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon every year, they only produce Lazuli in exceptional years.
Who should (and shouldn’t) join this club
When thinking about The Bold Reds Series as a subscription (when you join for yourself) there are a few people for whom the club is a great fit, and a few for whom it’s not.
Buying your daily drinkers two bottles at a time is not economically efficient (the shipping costs alone erode any discount you may be getting). On the other hand, if you only drink a couple of bottles a month, this is a great way to ensure you get good quality wine that comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
If you tend to gravitate toward California wines and would like to branch out to an international selection, this is a great way to dip your toes in the water, so to speak. You’ll enjoy a survey of wines from around the world, and good quality bottles with typicity (they taste like the grapes they’re made of) so you come away knowing what you might like to try more of and what to avoid in the future.
This wine club is not suited to those who only want to drink organic or natural wines, anyone who wants rosé or sparkling wine on the regular, or those who prefer sweet wines. The wines included are dry red and white wines (or you can limit it to just red).
Regarding the wines’ boldness… This club isn’t shipping that I personally consider big bold red wines like Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, or Syrah.
Referencing this Red Wine Boldness Chart from WineFolly, my experience is that the Bold Reds Series delivers wines that are on the heavy side of the medium-bodied grapes, down to Bordeaux Blend on the full-bodied side.
How does The Bold Reds Series compare to similar wine subscriptions?
As a two-bottle, curated, International red wine club in this price range, there aren’t any direct competitors for Bold Reds. I can recommend this three-bottle red wine club as an alternative, but it’s not as fully featured and there is no satisfaction guarantee.
Red Wine Club by Pour Me Wines. At $33 per bottle, this eclectic selection of red wines was a delightful surprise when I tried it. Each shipment will be something completely different but the club sources wine from top-notch importers and wineries from California’s North Coast. Delivered monthly, every other month, or quarterly and shipping is extra.
Read my Pour Me Red Wine Club review or shop it or give it
It’s more economical to get wine delivered in larger quantities. If you don’t drink a lot of wine, I recommend ordering larger quantities and having them delivered less often. This is the best wine club for honing in on your specific bold red wine preferences.
Picked by Wine.com. TA bespoke wine club where every wine is handpicked for you by a sommelier. You can customize this club to be anything you want, and you can change your preferences as often as you like. Choose any mix of red and white wine (or all of one color), your average price per bottle, and your shipment frequency. They have great tools for managing your account online. From $120 for six bottles. At $20 per bottle, I’d expect mostly Spanish, Portuguese, and South American red wine from Wine.com; upgrading to at least $30 per bottle will get you wine from more countries, including Italy, France, and California.
Read my Picked by Wine.com review or shop it
Is The Bold Reds Series a good gift?
Yes! I think The Bold Reds Series from The International Wine of the Month Club is an excellent gift. It's an affordable choice that offers good quality. Here are the reasons I recommend it for gifting:
- You can customize several aspects of the membership to suit both your budget and your recipient’s wine drinking habits. The more months you give, the more you can save.
- They offer a great gift presentation. The bottles in the first shipment come wrapped in reusable organza gift bags and with a gift note from you.
- You can have an email notification of the gift sent on any day you choose or print out a customized note to present in person on the big day. Note: gift announcements are not automatically generated for orders placed on the Internet, you must set one up during checkout.
- Read more details about giving Int'l Wine Club on this page, including their Design Your Own Club feature.