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: Andre.
The Vintage: Andre Extra Dry California Champagne, Mystery ABV, but the bubbles are guaranteed to make you feel drunker than the actual alcohol by volume. Andre has been pouring sparkling wines for years, evident by their use of "champagne" on the label. They were grandfathered in before those snooty winos went and made the term a proper noun that defines a region of France instead of a style of vino. Terminology notwithstanding, Andre is about as cheap a bottle of bubbly as you're likely to find on the market, generally ringing in at less than four bucks at your local Circle K.
Plus, the Andre doesn't take itself too seriously, marketing to the fey ladies who brunch crowd (or sorority girls) with sweet peach and strawberry flavored bubbly. Their Facebook fan page even suggests you break out the good plastic ware and play a rousing round of champong. Yep. Champagne pong. Classy.
(See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor this bounty after the jump)
Appearance: Andre has a slightly yellow tint, but is otherwise pretty clear. The bubbles added fizzy excitement to an otherwise watered down looking white wine. We were a little bummed that the plastic twist top robbed us of the exciting champagne "pop!" but at least we could re-cork it between mimosas.
Bouquet: We tried to take a whiff but the bubbles made our noses tingle, so we'll characterize the bouquet as fizz giggly. It's a four buck bottle o' booze. We have to jazz it up somehow.
Body: As a base for champagne cocktails, it's everything you could ask for, a bit watered down and innocuous enough to blend well with just about any mixer. As a vintage for toasting special occasions, you might be better off splurging on something with a bit more flavor, unless you're looking for an alcoholic sparkling water.
Finish: A slightly bitter aftertaste characterized this otherwise mild bottle of bubbly, but it was countered well by the acidity from the carbonation.
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Pairs with: Orange juice (mimosas!), cranberry juice (poinsettias!), and the full brunch spread. Andre goes great with eggs, bacon, and all-you-can-drink mimosas, natch. All for the cost of about a loaf of bread.
Lasting impressions: Andre is inoffensive and largely forgettable on its own, but mixed with a splash of OJ or some other fruity juice and you've got the perfect breakfast cocktail on the cheap. So break out the fine plastic cups, unscrew, and find something to toast! We're toasting the onset of sweater weather and all the baked goods that accompany it.
Know of any screw top vintages we just have to try? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.