Anyone who has searched the couch cushions for a handful of change knows that boozing on an extreme budget can be a risky proposition. To help you decide how to spend that meager pile of pennies, we've scraped the Bottom of the Barrel to review some of the cheapest wines on the market.
The Vintage: Foxhorn Chardonnay, ABV 12.5%
The holidays are fast approaching and nothing helps to usher in the holiday cheer quicker than a glass of wine. Preferably a cheap glass of wine, since you've already dropped a hefty part of you paycheck on the T-giving festivities and presents for the near and dear. Foxhorn Chardonnay delivers in that respect, with 1.5 liters of generic white wine to help smooth over some of the more awkward gather-round-the-family-table moments. Whether it tastes better than Aunt Edna's mystery loaf remains to be seen, but priced for less than a five-note means we'll probably take two.
(See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor this bounty after the jump)
Appearance: This chardonnay has a cute little fox staring out at you from what we can only assume is a forest of extreme drunkenness. It is a 1.5 liter bottle of mystery chard after all, with no year or region listed. But we're a sucker for cute labels (and tankards of wine), and this bottle doesn't disappoint in either respect. It also has a classy screw top/cork combination. The best of both worlds.
Bouquet: Mild and unassuming, a compliment with respect to most cheap ass wines. Instead of slapping you across the face with the pungent odor of alcohol, it has a sweet and fruity aroma more reminiscent of green apple jolly ranchers.
Body: The body was fairly sweet with more fruity apple notes. Foxhorn is on par with Franzia, and not just because of the huge 1.5 L bottle. It's much sweeter than most chards, a hallmark of low rent wine. If you can't fix the flavor, obscure it with some sugar.
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Finish: The finish was a bit on the dry side with just a bit of a bite. Almost like flat champagne. A strange comparison, but the sweetness of the wine balanced it well.
Pairs with: After you've awoken from the mid-week food coma, Foxhorn would serve well as a little hair of the dog: One part cheap wine, two parts Thanksgiving leftovers.
Lasting impressions: Despite the Franzia comparisons, Foxhorn wasn't that bad considering the price. It's a fairly standard and mostly inoffensive white that isn't memorable, but in this bottom of the barrel world, that's high praise. We sustained no lasting scars from our battle with this wily fox and would definitely purchase it again.
Know of any screw top vintages we just have to try? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.