All cards on the table, I drink a lot of wine. Red, white, pink, yellow. It doesn’t really matter … and quality doesn’t matter much. For this experiment, I swung by my local gas station, had the usual awkward gas station experience while waiting in line, and paid a total of $21 for three bottles of wine.
The contestants are Woodbridge, Rex-Goliath and Sutter Home, all Cabernet Sauvignons (or Cab Savs for the cool kids). All were graded by yours truly for label appearance (judging a book by its cover), smell or should I say, “aroma,” and taste. I will say these are being served in small beer glasses, at room temperature and with a few slices of cheese — so you can get an idea of my expertise in this area. Let’s get this party started.
Up first is Woodbridge. Looking at the label, I’m pleased. It’s got nice grape fields (I’m assuming that’s what those are) and “2014” on it, which was a pretty good year. It has shiny red accents on the label and on the back it says flavor of blackberry, dark cherry, hints of toast and spice. Sounds promising. I open this bad boy up, give it a whiff, and I pick up some cherry notes. I also think it just smells like plain ol’ wine. Now for the pour. I’ll be giving myself about a quarter of a glass for each of these. I take a sip, hold it in my mouth for a few seconds and swallow. The taste moved from smooth to burn pretty quickly. Picking up acidic notes — not a huge fan. #bitter
Number two is Rex-Goliath. First, I sent out a snapchat of my wine undertaking, and a few responses showed this brand to be a crowd favorite. It’s already my favorite just because of the label, “The Giant 47 Pound Rooster.” Who is this rooster? Luckily for me, the back of the label gives us a backstory on the cock in question. Apparently, this wine is a tribute to a real 47-pound circus attraction rooster, named Rex, and his larger-than-life personality. Perfect. I struggle to open this bottle. I’ve never enjoyed opening wine bottles. Even when working in a restaurant I’d make a fool of myself in front of a table. Anyway, it smells sweeter than the first bottle. As for taste, well it was easy to drink. Sippable. Enjoyable.
Finally, it’s time for Sutter Home (or Shuffle Home). Clearly the most boring looking bottle when compared to the other two. The label reads, “Since 1948,” which makes sense because it looks like something my grandmother would drink. The words describing the flavor on the back are foreign to me. But, to my surprise, there’s a nice flavor profile bar that ranges from sweet, medium sweet, medium dry and all the way to dry. On this bottle, “dry” is circled as this wine’s profile. Not excited about dry wine. I open this bottle and am again surprised, as the cork has “cheers” written on one side and “enjoy” on the other. Cute points awarded accordingly. I didn’t pick out anything special regarding smell, but the taste was better than Woodbridge. Bitter, but more drinkable and less intense.
At this point, I’m going to say the winner of this “not-so-wine-connoisseur” competition is easily Rex-Goliath. The label has character, the smell was sweet and it’s the kind of wine I can drink for two to three episodes of “Game of Thrones,” feeling like part of the show. If you’re the kind of person who likes the dry and bitter wines, I’d say go for Sutter Home. If you like your wine even drier and more bitter and with a more flavorful aroma, I’d say choose Woodbridge. Everyone’s palates are different and please take my wine suggestions with a grain of salt (not literally). But, remember Rex the Goliath and what he went through to get on the label of a cabernet sauvignon.