Flat Rock Pinot Grigio

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: Flat Rock for Fresh & Easy. The Vintage: Flat Rock Pinot Grigio, Mystery ABV

We're pretty convinced that the head honchos over in Fresh & Easy's marketing department make up imaginary wineries for their bottom of the barrel wines, Mad Libs-style. Today's pinot grigio was named by pulling an adjective and noun out of a hat: Flat Rock. Perfect!

Scoring cheap wine from the F&E is always a gamble. Sometimes it pays off and a three buck bottle can turn into a solid standby (Big Kahuna), and other times it just ends up being a sour, stinky mess of a wine (Saludas). But at three to four bucks, at least this gamble is easy on the pocket book.

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

Appearance: This wine was clear with a yellow tint to it that was more vibrant than many of the watered down whites that F&E stocks. The color could suggest bright sunshine or yellow snow. Everyone knows the warning about yellow snow, so let's see if the same "do not eat" adage applies to this wine.

Bouquet: Good news, Flat Rock doesn't smell like urine. Instead, it was anemic and slightly floral. Although, fair warning, you may need to snort this vintage in order to truly appreciate its bouquet. We weren't getting much from wafting.

Body: The pinot grigio was light and inoffensive, but that was because it tasted like two parts water, one part white wine. Nothing oaky, buttery, or floral was prominent enough to break through the dirty dishwater flavor profile.

Finish: A very light acidity nips at the back of your throat, but it goes down pretty easy. Like water, or melted yellow snow. Take your pick.

Pairs with: A second bottle of tastier wine. Consume the better wine. Then take on Flat Rock pinot grigio. By this point, it will taste magnificent.

Lasting impressions: F&E excels at putting bottles of wine on the shelf that you can purchase for a handful of change. Like Flat Rock, most of them may are largely inoffensive and neutral, unlike the lower tier of bum wines that can either getcha drunk or de-rust an engine block.

Compared to these standbys of the ruddy-nosed masses, Flat Rock Pinot Grigio is a master vintage. But if you do not happen to be under a freeway overpass when consuming this bottle, do yourself a favor and trade up to one of the better cheap-o F&E vinos like Big Kahuna.

Know of any screw top vintages we just have to try? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

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Erica O'Neil