Holiday Season 2018 is upon us, and that means that it's time to analyze potential gift ideas, no matter how strange they may seem at first blush. Today, the Tom's Guide crew tried out the Assassin's Creed line of wines — and yes, the line is a real thing.
Each Lot18 wine is based on a different Assassin's Creed protagonist. The two whites include the 2017 Aveline de Grandpré Appellation Côtes du Rhône Contrôlée and the 2017 Arno Dorian Qualitätswein Niederösterreich Zweigelt. The four reds comprise the 2017 Altaïr Ibn-La'ahad Loire Valley IGP Cabernet Franc, the 2015 Bayek of Siwa Spanish Tempranillo, the 2016 Connor Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 Ezio Auditore Super Tuscan Red Blend.
While we can't vouch for every single vintage, we did get to try the Aveline Côtes du Rhône and the Ezio Super Tuscan. Briefly: Both wines are thoroughly drinkable, and seem like suitable, offbeat gifts for the Assassin's Creed fan in your life. But at $20 per bottle, they're not quite as good as what you could get from your local wine store in the same price range.
We tried the Côtes du Rhône first, which describes itself as a versatile white blend, just as Aveline could present herself as a slave, an assassin or a high-society lady, depending on the situation. All of our writers pointed out its dry, tart characteristics and described flavors ranging from "apples" to "grapes." The label proclaims that Aveline's wine pairs well with just about every kind of food, and we can vouch for that. You can characterize it as either "easygoing" or "inoffensive," depending on how much of a wine snob you are.
The Ezio Super Tuscan got more positive reviews overall, although it did not sit well with our resident oenophile, Mike Prospero. ("The only thing it assassinated was my taste buds," he proclaimed.) This red blend was a medium-bodied wine with strong cherry and plum flavors. It's sweet, but not cloying, and it seems like it'd be easy drinking during warm weather — but those who want to crack it open closer to Christmas will probably appreciate the mildly spicy finish.
To be fair, while we mostly enjoyed the wines, they're not quite what you'd expect from a $20 bottle that doesn't have the "Assassin's Creed" label on it. The flavors tended to be bold rather than subtle, and the Aveline and the Ezio are fairly generic takes on "white blend" and "red blend," respectively. An Assassin's Creed fan who enjoys wine would probably be tickled to get a drinkable wine with his or her favorite character on the label; a wine fan who enjoys Assassin's Creed would probably prefer a more refined vintage.
Then again, we didn't get to try the four other wines in the collection, so they could present more creative takes on the source material. (The Zweigelt in particular sounds interesting, and could easily be the best thing to come out of Assassin's Creed Unity, other than the memes.) If you'd like to pick up some for yourself, Lot18 is selling all the wines directly. The company also licenses wines based on other popular properties, from The Lord of the Rings to The Walking Dead. If nothing else, it's better than receiving yet another ugly Christmas sweater.
Credit: Tom's Guide
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.