Last Sunday I was still unwinding from my eventful weekend, packed with food trucks, the inviting environs of San Diego and another Ducks come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Blackhawks (they have been doing that a lot lately). I decided it was time to slow things down a bit when I pulled into Long Beach after work and uncork number 334 on the year with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, but not just any bottle—one without pretense.

For as much change as I carry in my wallet, I decided I would gamble on a bottle of wine instead of going for the styles and brands that were familiar to me and thought I would enjoy more, trading them for a unique experience. Grabbing Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hill Crest, San Diego Whole Foods in addition to an armful of six packs of local craft beer I was on to something exciting. Could a value wine be good? Could this actually make me rethink the way I look at bargain-based wines?

It was my intention to pair it with a food truck vendor located in South Park (still San Diego); unfortunately, I did not play it right and the bottle was parked in the car. I found it uncomfortable to mosey carefree on unfamiliar grounds while toting a camera and a bottle of vin, while trying not to look conspicuous. I took the bottle back with me from San Diego on Saturday evening and was resolved to taste it before the weekend timed out.

Three Wishes is Whole Foods riposte to Charles Shaw wines, or better known as two-buck Chuck, priced at two dollars per bottle it is Jaja (everyday wine) that does not require much thought. I was never a fan of Charles Shaw but thought that I could find solace in the Whole Foods equivalent. Three Wishes sources their wines from Livermore and Ripon, California that is about as much as I can gather from the label, aside from the earth friendly packaging.

When I got to my parents house I poured a couple of glasses to begin my evaluation. In a way, serving the wine solo probably did a lot for the Cabernet. It had a nice ruby coloring with medium color depth, similar to a Pinot Noir in shading and taste, surprisingly. It did not offer much on the nose but in the mouth it flashed some strawberry and cranberry with a hint of green tea and minimal tannins. The wine behaved like a cranberry cocktail more than bottle of wine and certainly not like a Cabernet Sauvignon. The real bummer was the wine had an incredibly abrupt finish, disappearing almost immediately. No bad aftertaste, but not even leaving an impression on my palate. The wine also had a thin-on-the-mouth feel, probably due to the low ABV (12.5%), levels not seen since the late 80’s

I had realistically high hopes for the wine. I was expecting something that could really make me a believer in all things priced to the floor but I was not swayed. It did not make a convincing argument for the quality to price ratio and was probably one of the less interesting wines in my stemware this year. It would be missing the point and unfair of me to pit it up against most Cabernet Sauvignon—especially with the recent amount of outstanding Washington State reds I have tasted in the not-so-distant past—that I have written about, but that is my reference point, and it is hard to appreciate something that misses the mark no matter how affordable.