Travel & Living

Hello Kitty Wine Might Just Be The Drink of The Summer

Sanrio's 2019–2020 collection taps into the millennial's love of pink, bubbly wine and childhood nostalgia.
Reading time 7 minutes

We all know Hello Kitty, the ubiquitous Japanese style icon whose black, unblinking eyes have graced just about every surface you could think of—from lunchboxes to toasters to faux vintage sweatshirts. The red bow and button nose have been a childhood staple for decades, but did you know the little white cat (actually, apparently, a human girl) has been rolling out her own wine collection since 2007, and her most recent lineup may just be your drink of choice this summer. What better way to beat the heat than with some adorably-packaged sparkling rosé?

Millennials have often been critiqued for their over-adherence to nostalgia, especially pop culture icons of the 90s and early 2000s. Similarly, rosé’s popularity in the summer months has skyrocketed, with specialty drinks like frosé leading menus at rooftop bars and weekend brunches alike. That’s where Hello Kitty wine comes in: what could be more millennial than getting drunk off of your elementary-school idol? Show that you’re grown-up but not really with something a little more upscale than a juicebox. And if your knowledge of wine is limited to the three-dollar section at Trader Joe’s, we’ve broken down Sanrio’s line of alcoholic beverages for your informed consumption.

The Collection

Most of Hello Kitty’s wines come from Torti Winery in Montecalvo Versiggia, Italy, which specializes in the Pinot Nero that can be found in their Special Edition Sparkling Rosé. Hello Kitty’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, the newest 2019 additions, come from the Margerum Wine Company in Santa Barbara, which, according to their website, keeps the scale of production “at a level where we can touch and know the wine as it is raised to the bottle—the antithesis of mass production.” Hello Kitty is arguably one of the most mass-produced brands in the last century, which makes their foray into wine, a labor of time, love, and finicky investment, all the more interesting. The bottles can be bought individually or in combo packs like “The Breathtaking Combo,” or “The Everyday Combo,” in case you wanted to give the gift of Hello Kitty wine to a loved one. The line is also a considerable step up from your typical Barefoot or Yellowtail—the price per case ranges from $40 to $120, with the 2019/2020 collection in bulk totaling at $182.70. This is a steep price to pay for Hello Kitty’s blank stare on your bottle, but I would argue it’s worth it. Commit to the bit.

Hello Kitty Special Edition Numbered Sparkling Rosé

This rosé is certainly the flashiest bottle of the bunch, with the price tag to match. Maybe you weren’t expecting to shell out triple-digits on a cartoon character’s wine label, but Hello Kitty has standards, honey. The sparkling wine is made using a combination of Pinot Nero and Chardonnay grapes, both pretty traditional choices for a Champagne-style wine. However, this wine is a bit of a Frankenstein in that it’s crafted using the Martinotti Method, or Italian Method, to get its flavor and perlage (bubbles). This means that the flavor notes are more similar to a Prosecco or a spumante, resulting in a crisp, floral and fruity wine. Although most rosés tend towards the saccharine, Torti recommends pairing with aperitifs or seafood, indicating that the Special Edition may be drier than your standard dessert wine.

Hello Kitty Sweet Pink (With Gift Box)

If you had to imagine what a bottle of Hello Kitty wine would look like, this is probably the closest thing to what you would picture. Also made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay using the Italian Method, this sparkling rosé is Demi-Sec, or half-dry, meaning it contains a higher sugar content and therefore pairs best with fruit or any kind of dessert. Torti describes the baby pink drink as delicate and floral with hints of almond. Break it out during brunch with the girls, or keep it for yourself as an after-dinner indulgence.

 

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is an ideal summer wine, best served cold and known for its refreshing acidity. Sanrio boasts that their Grigio has the signature “golden apple taste” with “peach undertones and intense aroma.” Pinot Grigio grapes, or Pinot Gris as it’s known in France, get their name from the unusual blue-grey hue of their skin. Pinot Grigio is the second most popular white wine in America and the most popular imported wine. Some may look down on the PG, but think of her as the “Adele” of wines. Sure, she’s mainstream, but she’s from across the pond and she’ll always be classy. Pairs best with lighter dishes such as rice, pasta, cheese, or seafood.

Prosecco

Sanrio’s Prosecco is from the Treviso region of Italy, made with Glera grapes that give Prosecco its bright finish. The Italian sparkling wine differs from Champagne in that its production process ferments over a shorter period of time with the help of a pressurized steel tank, meaning that there are fewer layers of flavor than in a Champagne (known for its savory, almost yeasty aftertaste), resulting in a simpler, lighter wine. Because of this streamlined process, Prosecco is also cheaper to produce than Champagne. So, no need to skimp on the mimosas. Sanrio notes that their Prosecco contains “clean notes of citrus and pear,” with “intense flavors of apples and peaches.”

Cabernet Sauvignon

Looks like the cab’s out of the bag. Cabernet Sauvignon is a hardy red grape known for its full-bodied taste and high tannin levels. Cabs react well to oak during the aging process giving it a deep, woodsy flavor, and often evoke layers of dark berry or stone fruit. This cab is said to have “aromas of black raspberry crumble, vanilla, and cocoa, with notes of black cherries and sugar plums,” and has been aging since 2016. Cabernet Sauvignon is so dry it’s almost always paired with food, a hearty steak being the most classic example.

Hello Kitty Chardonnay

Chardonnay is often thought of as the basic bitch of the wine world. The most popular white wine on earth boasts the unique ability to reflect the qualities of the environment its grown in, making a French Chardonnay very different from a Californian variety. This versatility sparked Chardonnay’s widespread popularity as every climate and region sought to make a Chardonnay of their own. Oak-aged Chardonnay is known for its buttery qualities, with Sanrio describing theirs:  “aromas of fresh lemon zest, crisp golden apples and sweet pineapple give way to a palate of stone fruit, sweet cream butter and a bright finish of grapefruit and green apple.” This flavor profile indicates that the wine developed in a cooler, temperate climate, as it contains both the apple and citrus of colder regions as well as tropical notes of pineapple.

Bonus: Hello Kitty Nigori Sake

Sake is a form of Japanese rice wine, produced by fermented rice called “koji.” Hello Kitty partnered with sake-brewer Hakutsuru Sake Kobe, which was established all the way back in 1743. The brewing process of sake resembles the process of beer more than wine, but its alcohol content hovers around the 15% mark. Temperature of consumption depends on the type of sake, but it’s traditionally served warm in porcelain cups.

Even if you don’t end up popping a bottle from Japan’s cutest mogul, this guide should aid in any of your future wine-purchasing pursuits, and hopefully, encourage the average millennial think outside of the (Franzia) box.

related posts

Recommended posts for you