My hipster/yuppie neighbors talked me into getting into wine. They like it because, per point of ABV, it is cheaper than beer and less abrasive than distilled alcohol. So we sat down by the hot tub and drank a few glasses, with the focus on “tasting” the flavor as we got steadily drunker.
Like many of you, I have experienced wine at dinner parties, communions, weddings and funerals so while I am no expert, I know the difference between vat one and thirteen. Old Scratch Cabernet Sauvignon is closer to the latter but marketed more like the former, which makes it the kind of high-margin investment I would like to buy on the stock market, but not at Costco, World Market or Trader Joe’s.
A short review: “my first wine.”
Old Scratch Cabernet Sauvignon manages to be both watery and acidic, with a strong flavor of grape mixed with rubbing alcohol. It tastes like wine strongly, meaning that it emphasizes a very generic flavor but gives it a slight sweetness and enough dryness that the neophite will think, “Well, this sure is something, isn’t it?” But really this is closer to gallon jug wine than a fine product of the vineyards of France or Spain.
The mouthfeel is thin and the initial flavor acerbic, with a surge of vinegar entering later and flowering into a full taste which is thankfully not fruity but also devoid of any distinct characteristics. Medium in alcohol, it hits immediately more like a strong beer, but its flavor does not vary throughout the glass. By the end, water and vinegar won out over grape, and the slightly plummy taste dissipated into something not far from box wine.
It was not terrible. None of the gastronomic distress of bad wine accompanied the flavor, but neither did the subtlety and warm mulled smoothness of a finer wine. Instead, it tasted strongly like wine not as an abstract but as a flavor one might add to chewing gum or frozen prawns. Letting it breathe did nothing for this effect, but only made the dry aggressive acidity stronger.
If this sold for seven dollars a bottle, it might qualify as a price/performance level of adequate, but with so many American and Latin American wines floating around that are subtler and fuller in flavor, this feels like a misstep. Guzzling it at a hot tub improved the sensation a bit, but I would not seek this out again.