4 Sporkable Chardonnays & 1 Pinot Grigio

4 Really Cheap Chardonnays

Hey Twisted Peeps!

I survived another round of really cheap wine and this time it wasn’t so bad….it wasn’t great either, but at least I didn’t feel the need to brush my teeth afterwards.

I had some help from a Chardonnay Pal and we agreed on all counts.

So here are the results:

Oak Leaf, 12.5% alc, grapes from Ripon/Livermore.

Smell: apple, light honeysuckle

Taste: pear, ripe apple, honey with a little acidic bite

Charles Shaw, 12.5% alc, grapes from Napa/Sonoma.

Smell: petrol, apple, violets

Taste: vanilla, light butter, apple with a bright acidic bite

Three Wishes, 12.5% alc, grapes from Ripon/Livermore.

Smell: apple, white flowers

Taste: vanilla, pear, apple with a bright acidic bite

Winking Owl, 13% alc, grapes from Ripon/Livermore.

Smell: petrol, dirt with a little citrus

Taste: Granny Smith apple, bitter spice of clove/cinnamon and pith of orange/lemon

The Oak Leaf was softer on the palate than the other 3 and more refreshing but it was kind of forgettable.

Charles Shaw & Three Wishes became similar as the wines warmed up. The Three Wishes was a bit lighter in taste than the Charles Shaw. The overall flavors became vanilla and citrus. My Chardonnay Pal said she really had a hard time telling the difference between the two.

The Winking Owl was just tart and bitter.

After getting through the wines, my tongue felt cloying and I had an after taste of tart citrus flavors.

As an added “bonus” wine, I was asked to try Oak Leaf Pinot Grigio.

A friend of mine texted me and said, “I see you having been drinking cheap wine and I have a bottle of Wal-Mart Pinot Grigio”. I love it when friends want to “help” me 😉

Here is my opinion of the Wal-Mart Oak Leaf Pinot Grigio (12.5% alc, grapes from Napa).

Smell: lemon, gravel, pineapple

Taste: pineapple, lemon, parsley, mineral

At first I really didn’t think it was too bad but as I tasted more of it as it warmed up, I began to get a sweet-tart “lock-jaw” sensation. I don’t drink much Pinot Grigio because this is usually what happens to me. So I had a friend who drinks a lot of this varietal try it.

Her first reaction to smelling it was “sharp” and her description of the taste was “furniture polish” and she asked if it could remove paint because it felt like it removed a layer of her tongue.

I really do want to Thank my friends who shared and guided me through the 2nd part of this 3 part post because I was dreading it. I definitely “get by with a little help from my friends”.

So cheap Cabernet Sauvignon…here I come!

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Sporkable Merlot

I have had several requests to do a comparison on really cheap wines…like the stuff that is under $3 that is sort of the “store” brand.

This will be a 3 part post, because frankly, I can’t drink that much wine in one sitting. I’m comparing 3 varietals from 4 stores.

The varietals are: Merlot, Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon. All are from vineyards in California.

The stores/wine brands are: Trader Joes/Charles Shaw aka “2 Buck Chuck”, Whole Foods/Three Wishes, Aldi/Winking Owl, & Wal-Mart/Oak Leaf.

The Merlot was the first I tried.

Charles Shaw, 12.5% alc, grapes from Napa/Sonoma.

Smell: twig, dark berry, with a little licorice.

Taste: strawberry, vanilla & it burned a little going down. I got immediate heartburn.

Three Wishes, 13% alc, grapes from Ripon/Livermore.

Smell: leather, dirt, plum

Taste: mixed berry, vanilla, licorice. Round mouth feel.

Winking Owl, 13% alc, grapes from Ripon/Livermore.

Smell: light forest floor, strawberry

Taste: vanilla, strawberry. Smooth but forgettable

Oak Leaf, 13% alc, grapes from Ripon/Livermore.

Smell: funky petrol, strawberry

Taste: light strawberry, dirt. It was like drinking colored water with flavor chips.

Overall, none of these thrilled me. However, as the Charles Shaw & Three Wishes began to settle, I noticed that they began to sort of taste alike. They became more candied fruit. The only difference was the alcohol level. The Charles Shaw was a little lighter because of the lower alc. level and Three Wishes was a little more plush because of the higher alc. level. Both wines also need food to go with them. McDonald’s chicken nuggets are a good choice and I liked the wine better. As for the pork skins…all of the wines covered up their light porky goodness.

As a “bonus” I had a 2003 Charles Shaw Merlot from my Mom-in-Law. She has been a Trader Joes shopper for a long time, but I have no idea why she still had this bottle…perhaps she didn’t like it either back in 2003 😉

Anyway, I kind of found it interesting that the old Charles Shaw bottle was taller and the grapes were only sourced & cellared from Sonoma.

I knew that this experiment was going to be unpleasant because cheaply made wines are not meant to age lovingly in your wine cellar. As soon as I opened the bottle I smelled a barnyard and the taste was like band-aids…it didn’t disappoint! See what I do for my Twisted Peeps!

My next installment will be Chardonnay from these same stores. I hope they are better.

Cheers & I’m going to brush my teeth now.