Saludas Tempranillo Red Wine

Saludas from Fresh & Easy (set against a tacky wallpaper background).
Saludas from Fresh & Easy (set against a tacky wallpaper background).
Erica O'Neil

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.

This week: Saludas.

The Vintage: Saludas Red Wine, Mystery ABV (Fresh & Easy is being wily.) Saludas claims a base of Tempranillo grapes from regions across España, which hints at a full bodied red. The bull on the label further suggests that this is an aggressive red wine that will give your inner matador for a run for its money, but the three dollar price point might spell trouble for El Toro Rojo. Ole!

(See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor this bounty after the jump)

Appearance: Compared to the rich jewel-toned burgundy of last week's Big Kahuna, Saludas appears anemic and watered down. The wine is visibly thinner and less robust, and resembles black cherry Kool Aid. It's never good to start a wine review with a Kool Aid reference (here's looking at you Boone's!).

Bouquet: A whiff of cherries and other berriness (the label claims red currant) was detectable, but overall the bouquet was also on the weak side. At least you don't have to run the risk of singed nose hairs or an overwhelming wall of alcohol assaulting your senses.

Body: It tastes like an unremarkable and watered down red table wine. A hint of berry flavor was present, but the entire profile was thin and easily forgettable. You could unwittingly kill a glass of this mild little wine and not even notice.

Finish: There was a slightly acidic bite that rounded off an otherwise snooze worthy palate. There is no need to take this bull by the horns. Put away your matador cape already.

Pairs with: The label claims that it should be paired with red meats and cured cheeses, but those flavors would completely overpower this meek little toro. Try something lighter, or better yet, just make this a sangria base by adding some fruit and brandy.

Lasting impressions: There are worse things that you could do to yourself for three bucks. This wine (if you're inclined to call it that) is like Franzia in a bottle instead of a five-liter bladder. Unremarkable on its own, but perfectly serviceable as a cooking wine or as the base for a mulled, autumnal sangria. Know of any screw top vintages we just have to try? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.


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