Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon NV, California
I looked at this wine on the shelf of our new Whole Foods and thought, “You’ve got to be kidding.” There’s no way this bottle of wine will be worth $3.
Was I ever wrong.
This is a delightful, charming Cabernet Sauvignon, that you would recognize as a Cab even in a blind tasting. And that’s really all you want out of a $3 bottle of wine.
The wine is a beautiful ruby red in the glass with ripe fruit aromas. On the palate it is full of fresh, juicy black fruits such as plums and blackberries. There is not much oak and the finish is short, but smooth.
As I kept drinking the wine the word that came to mind most often was smooth. At 12.5% alcohol it’s fairly light by Cab standards. But it is nice to get the Cab taste without a lot of extra alcohol.
My cheap buddy Dan, who boasts that he won’t spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine, should love this stuff. He promised to review it soon, so we’ll see what his Cheap Bastard palate thinks of it.
I reviewed the 365 Chianti from Whole Foods a few days ago and was impressed by it. But that was $7.99 a bottle, so I didn’t expect much from a wine at less than half that price. It overdelivered.
The bottles are shorter than most you will find, and they have no indentation, or punt, in the bottle. Don’t ask me why we have punts in bottles, because I don’t know. I’ve heard lots of theories, but no one knows for sure.
When the bottles were made by hand, it made sense, but now bottles are machine made, so you don’t need the punt. It just became tradition. Less expensive bottles like those for Three Wishes often come with a flat bottom, and it doesn’t seem to hurt the wine.
The cork in the bottle also is shorter, and it appears to be some kind of synthetic material. That means the producers don’t really expect the cork to remain in the bottle very long.
This wine like a lot of what I drank when I first got interested in wine. It is a great introduction to wine. While my tastes changed over the years, and I began to appreciate the subtleties and complexities in more expensive wines, I can still enjoy this plain, simple wine. It still makes a weeknight meal better.
This also is a perfect wine for holiday parties, when you’re not sure how many wine drinkers you might have. It appeals to the novice drinker, and it is pleasant enough for even the biggest wine snob. There is some complexity, but overall you would call it a simple, straightforward wine. I’ll bet it would make a good spritzer, too.
The way they can get wine that tastes this good for such a low price is by buying bulk grapes or juice. The winery probably doesn’t own any vineyards and has low overhead. When some of the better California wineries have excess grapes they sell them at a low price to bulk producers like Three Wishes.
The wine usually doesn’t remain in a vat or barrel for long and is bottled quickly, very often without a vintage date. Wines like this are made for quick consumption, not for cellar aging.
To me, it is a lot like a Beaujolais Nouveau, but with different grapes, and at a lower price.
The one thing to remember about these bulk wines is sometimes there is a lack of consistency. The grapes may come from different vineyards in different years, and there is not much fiddling with the wine as it ferments.
With higher end wines the winemaker can work a bit of magic to hide weak spots in the grapes. With bulk wines it’s pretty much what comes out of the vineyard goes in the bottle.
For this bottling, it’s a great deal. One of the folks at Whole Foods told me people are buying a bottle or two of these wines and then coming back to buy a case because they like them so much.
Winery: I don’t know much about Three Wishes Vineyards, but it very likely is a bulk producer that buys excess grapes, ferments them quickly and bottles the wine without much aging.
Whole Foods also offers Three Wishes Merlot and Chardonnay.
I did not like the Chardonnay, but Teri did. It thought it harsh, a little “hot,” with a slight aftertaste. But Chardonnay generally is a more difficult grape to handle than Cabernet Sauvignon, so it’s usually more difficult to find an inexpensive Chardonnay.
There have been some Internet rumors that Three Wishes is the same winery as Charles Shaw, which produces Two Buck Chuck (now Three Buck) for Trader Joe’s. But I haven’t been able to see any proof of that.
The label says the winery is in Livermore and Ripon, California.
Goes with: With the cooler weather Teri and I have eaten dinner on our back deck quite a bit. We paired the Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon with homemade grilled cheeseburgers and a nice tossed salad. Yum!
This is an excellent picnic wine, with the fresh fruit flavors tasting even better outside. The Cab really showed well with the juicy burgers. It also would be good at a tailgate party.
It would do well with any red meat on the grill, sandwiches, pizza, pasta with tomato sauce and all kinds of cheeses.
Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon NV, California