The Big Kahuna

The Big Kahuna, ready to hang ten on your palate.
The Big Kahuna, ready to hang ten on your palate.
Erica O'Neil

Anyone that 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: The Big Kahuna.

The Vintage: The Big Kahuna Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, ABV 12.5%

Step off, Trader Joe's, because Fresh & Easy has a lock on the cheap wine market. This week's vintage comes to us all the way from Australia, and is bottled just for the F&E customers.

While The Big Kahuna may sound more Hawaiian than Aussie, at 3 bucks a pop we can deal with the identity crisis. The large orange surfboard on the label clearly bridges this Pacific divide, and the screwtop reassures you that these waves are ready to break at the flick of a wrist.

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

Appearance: The Big Kahuna is a deep, jewel-toned reddish purple that stains your teeth after a couple of glasses, but on the bright side the color actually resembles wine. No electric berry blue or purple grape smash to be found.

Bouquet: Berries, berries everywhere! The sweet aromas of strawberries, blackberries and a hint of exotic razzleberry round out this wine. It's like summertime in a berry patch, a foreign notion to many Arizonans more familiar with the cactus patch.

Body: Despite the sweet nose, the wine manages to remain fruity, spicy and light. It's not overly robust and steers clear of the strawberry jam profile hinted at by the berry bubbleyum aroma.

Finish: It is a bit on the acidic side, but what do you really expect for a wine that you can purchase for a pocket of change? The bite is nowhere near as bitter and puckering as some of the more potent cheap wines out there.

Pairs with: The Big Kahuna isn't an overly robust wine, but is a bit sweeter than most generic house reds. Since you're already at the F&E, pick up one of their premade pizza doughs and whip up a killer pie.

Lasting impressions: The Big Kahuna cabernet sauvignon may have wiped out on the rutti tutti fresh and fruity aroma alone, but the spicy and earthen profile barrels through the pipeline. The Big Kahuna is a light, refreshing wine that won't dominate whatever you pair it with, but it's still well-rounded enough to drink solo.

Mahalo and G'day, Fresh & Easy!


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