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.