E-40 Wine Tasting – Our Earl Stevens Selections Review

A few weeks ago E-40 made an appearance at a Sacramento Costco to sign bottles of his new wine, Earl Stevens Selections. While this 46 year old rubber-tongued rapper goes by many monikers, including 40 Fonzarelli, 40 Water, the Ambassador of the Bay, Ebonics, Charlie Hustle, 40 Belafonte, E-Pheezy, and The Ballatician, his real name is Earl Stevens.**


The best photo I could snag.

Foodways contributor Sarah Singleton and I both went to Costco, but only she had the fortitude (40tude?) to wait 4 hours (!) to get her wine signed. I just went in, grabbed a bottle of each, and took a fuzzy photo of E-Phizzle, who was wearing his signature Ben Franklin glasses.

The three varieties he makes are Moscato, Function Red Blend of Cabernet and Zinfandel, and an, uh, challenging wine called “Mangoscato”. Moscato is enjoying a vogue in rap these days – the latest alcoholic beverage in a long line going all the way back to 40s, gin and juice and Alize, which later shifted to pricy stuff like Cristal (until the owner made racist statements and Jay-Z led a boycott) and XO Hennessey, and then on to rapper-branded liquors like Puffy’s Ciroq vodka and sparkling rose endorsed by none other than Ricky Rozay himself, Rick Ross.

Always the canny business man, Captain Save A Hoe has now positioned himself to take advantage of the Moscato boom.

But how is the wine? We assembled a tasting panel in the Mother/Foodways office above the K street mall to find out. On the panel: yours truly, Chris Macias (wine and culture writer for the Bee), Sarah Singleton (food blogger and writer), Kate Washington (food writer for SacTown Mag), and Jonathan Mendick (food/culture writer for the SNR).  The video above (taken by the awesome Matt Maxwell) sums things up, but I wanted to also post some of the tasting notes from the panel. I think I lost some of them. I’m going to blame it on the Mangoscato.



The text on the website reads “The sweet aroma of mango jumps out of the glass. Even served over ice the subtle aromas of citrus and apple show up…This wine has a strong finish and the 18% alcohol makes it all worth while”. Sells for 15.99.

Becky: More like you could use it to strip off a finish! It tastes like drinking Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume. Chris jokingly dabbed it behind his ears. We all agreed it was better over ice. If it were an E-40 song it would be “Hurricane” because it tastes like that syrupy cocktail.
Chris Macias: This wine has one mission: to get you hella faded. High octane alcohol and tastes like it. Not feeling it.
Kate Washington: I’m getting tropical Yoplait on the nose. Lingers with an unpleasant, acetone note.
Jonathan Mendick: Mango sherbet dissolved in Chardonnay? Sort of like Mamba candy.
Sarah Singleton: I’m getting a bitter, baby-aspirin flavor on the back end. She noted that it went over well at a party of early twenty-somethings at which she served it.


The website says “The aroma of this wine is over the top…WOW, this wine smells good.” Only 11% alcohol. None of us noticed a strong nose on this wine. Sells for $13.99.

Becky: A bit flabby, lacking in acidity and uninteresting, but not offensive. Not bad. I would say this wine would be the song “Sprinkle Me“, because, well, I don’t know, that’s what it reminded me of. Maybe because it’s a collabo with Suga-T and this wine is sweet.
Chris Macias: Lean but not so mean. Easy sipper. Sweet but fairly benign with light body – almost candy-ish.
Kate Washington: Relatively thin. Light sweetness but also no acidity to counter it. Watery on the palate. A back-of-the-throat medicine flavor lingered for over 5 minutes (she timed it).
Jonathan Mendick: Really light, pear-flavored. Not as strong as normal moscato.

Function Red Blend

“The fruit-centric finish is long and delicious and begs for the next sip”. ABV around 13 %.  Sells for $9.99.

Becky: Light-bodied. Would be good slightly chilled. Can rival other ten dollar wine that you might find at Safeway. If this were a song it would be, duh, “Function“.
Chris Macias: Fresh and grapey aroma. Tastes like young Zin. Fruity but low tannins. Smooth and not at all bad for a ten dollar wine. Yee!
Kat Washington: Black cherry nose, sour, a bit thin. Surprisingly smoky on the finish – perhaps a good pair with BBQ sauce? Best of the lot, which is not saying much.
Jonathan Mendick: Dry, woody, slightly sweet.

Well, there you go. Function emerges as the clear favorite. More than one glass of mangoscato would be ill-advised. I will refer you to the lyrics to “Hurricane”:

It’s just like moonshine, have you on yo face
I mean you be stutterin’ and what not, next thing you know
You don’t know how you got home

**I want to concur with Chris Macias in the video above: this post is firmly tongue-in-cheek with all respect to E-40, who is one of my all-time favorite rappers.




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