Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Price: $3
Maker: Tisdale Vineyards, Modesto, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork
Alcohol: 13%
Our Rating: 6.5 out of 10

With the rise of Two Buck Chuck (actually more like Three Buck Chuck in most areas), there seem to be more entrants into the $3 per bottle wine category. The latest we’ve spotted is Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, which we found for that exact price. It’s a proper looking wine, with a traditional, relatively elegant label. The description promises, “flavors of blackberry and plum are complemented with elegant aromas of vanilla and toasty oak”, not to mention, “an enticing, full-flavored profile with medium body and an impressive finish.” Sounded yummy. The reality, in our bottle at least, fell a bit short of those lofty expectations. We did indeed find vanilla and oak in the nose, but at first tasting the weak plum notes were offset by a dank, earthy flavor. A bit of breathing improved the flavor and let it settle into a bland, slightly thin, plummy oak. With some air, the wine was consumable if not overly pleasant. The Tisdale Cabernet is on a par with the ultra-cheap boxes like Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon – you might choose the Tisdale if you want a super-low cost but prefer the traditional bottle packaging. And if you do opt for the Tisdale cab, don’t wait until the last minute to open it – let it breathe.

The Chronicles of Plonk blog damned the Tisdale red family with faint praise by calling it, “perfectly acceptable plonk.” We’d love to find a $3 wine that matched up even with the better $5 – $6 wines from Australia or California, but Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t it. Tisdale Vineyards doesn’t seem to have invested in a website, either – maybe they are expecting a short run. We’ll keep hunting for a decent $3 wine, and Box Wines readers will be the first to know if we find one!

32 thoughts on “Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005”

  1. I was browsing around the Wine Selections at ‘FOOD FOR LESS’ in Los Angeles, and came upon the Tisdale Wines: Chardonnay, Merlot and Cab.

    Imagine my complete surprise when I brought a bottle of Merlot home, and opened it and enjoyed a full glass with my Prime Rib.

    Simply marvelous for the price I paid: $2.98/bottle.

    I ran back the next day and picked up several more bottles of the Cab and Merlot.

    All these ‘flowery’ adjectives of ’rounded plum’, ‘blackberry notes’, ‘berry, spice and oak leads’…are not really me. I know when I am drinking a GOOD WINE for a GOOD PRICE.

    I am looking forward to the day that TISDALE has a web-site.

  2. I echo Claudio=Miguel, but I drink the Tisdale Cabernet (2005) without a meal. This is not a sophisticated wine, but I am not a sophisticated wine consumer. I ignore the label descriptors and just let the wine talk to me and the Tisdale Sauvignon is a sweet talker, especially at the price I pay, around $3. At this price level, Tisdale delivers a wine that is more than one should expect.

  3. Your chardonnay had a plastic plug, not a natural, breathable wood cork. The wine cannot age, mellow. And platics pollute the alcohol. I will never buy you products again.

  4. It’s not MY chardonnay, Max, but I’ll point out that testing shows that artificial corks are less likely to damage the wine than natural corks. I don’t have the citation handy, but I recall some study showed that 10% of wine sealed with a natural cork had a cork-related defect. And in any case, I doubt if many wine lovers are laying in a few cases of this $3 wine to let them age and mellow. Wines in this price bracket are meant to be consumed immediately.

    How do you feel about screw caps, Max? They are getting more play, and not just with very inexpensive wines.

  5. I found the Cab was superb for its class. Like Claudio I appreciate fine wines..but have a soft spot for inexpensive wines that excel, and this wine blows the other $3 wines away! Cheers!

  6. $3.99 in New York. Had to try it. Could not wait to try it. It’s gone. What a trip. Better than most $7-$15 French wine I’ve tried. Something tells me that the Cabernet grape is tough to screw up. OK, not even close to my favorite wine – Alexander Valley Vinyards Cab (at least 2 years old), but I lost my job and $20 a pop means a lot when the rent is late. Thank you Tisdale. You made me laugh, and for once, I got more than I expected. The best part – no YEAR on the label…made me wonder whether they mix the leftovers. 🙂 And yes, it was better after it breathed. Hilarious but true.

  7. At just $1.99 a bottle here in Minneapolis, how can you go wrong? This puts the “Two Buck Chuck” wine to shame any day of the week, as it simply tastes better. For this price, having a case or three around is never an issue. I have wasted plent of $$$ on $10-$15 bottles of wine that taste no different, so why bother? Tisdale is a hands-down winner for the price.

  8. Tisdale so good hadda crawl out my box ‘n aks the preppie in Stabucks to post ‘dis. Keep dem bottles comin’ yall.

  9. $1.98 at Food For Less, So what’s the problem??

    I did’nt get the vanilla notes but it is earthy, would easily compete with the $6-$8 wines with big names. Goes well with my ribeye and reeses and thats good enough for me!!!

  10. I was on my way to the store to grab some doritos. I look to my left and discovered the $3.00 Tisdale Cabernet. I just had some Chianti the other day but I didnt feel like taking another drive back to Trader Joes. I must admit it was a bit smooth and a bit spicy, I had some bread and Olive Oil with a dash of red and black pepper with a sprinkle of parmesean. I did however commit the cardinal sin by letting it chill for about 20 minutes, but after having fish and chips, I let the Tisdale Cabernet breath and it got much better as the evening drifted away. Since I am “Ballin on a Budget” this was a good tasting wine and even my date enjoyed it. Thanks Tisdale for letting me chill while watching family guy.

    I didnt find any doritos. . .

  11. I found it in the LA area at a Food for Less for $1.98. Only thing is I can’t seem to find a vintage on it anywhere. There is small print that says distributed in Puerto Rico by CC1 Beer Distributors!! This wine is all over the place, and, from all the different places your reviews are coming from they must make a huge supply.

  12. Tisdale is a Gallo brand. Check out their website. Gallo has literally dozens of off-brands. It’s not Opus One, but you can’t complain for 2 bucks. 3 here in Arizona.

  13. Sorry.. there isn’t ANYTHING good about this wine EXCEPT the price.. the non-vintage labeling is indicative that the producer may be trying to hide alot of flaws to get rid of the stuff and for certain the extremely high acid level in this particular MIX OF VINTAGES is probably one of the ugly characteristics that Tisdale producer(s)are trying to cover up and sell off cheap in order to cut their losses; the bottle is worth far more than the wine.. and the producer.. reportedly GALLO.. is apparently afraid to admit as much…

  14. Found Tisdale at the Kmart in Rome, Ga. $3.59/btl. Bought one, and…surprise. Darn good wine. Blows most $7-$8 wines away. Not vinegary at all. Smooth, after it breathes. Ya’ll don’t listen to Wine Beau, go and getcha some. But…not at Kmart, I bought it all.

  15. One can’t complain for $3.Tisdale REDS taste better than most $9 or $12 wines,and I have tasted many wines.It isn’t a $20 wine but it has it’s place on the market.The Merlot,Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz are all better if they breathe a bit.Very good wine for the price.

  16. Am enjoying a glass of Tisdale Cab-Sauv right now. Tastes good to me. I have had better, but don’t even know what it was or how much it cost.(I didn’t buy it, myself) I normally drink microbrew beer, but like to have a glass of red with dinner. If it cost me $3.00 and I like it, then I am happy.

  17. bought on a whim because of the price….(at the same time buying some $10-$15 bottles). Not bad at all, we think it’s pretty smooth and tastes great with pizza! will definitely stock up for parties since it’s easy on the budget!

  18. Even if it isn’t sophisticated, it’s cheap. For a family like mine (husband out of work, five kids/stepkids, and therefore needing to be frugal), it’s fine for every day table wine to go with supper (it’s $2.50 a bottle here in Madison). I’d never serve it to company, though.

  19. picked up a bottle last night for $3.29 in ohio.. figured it would be worth a try. just wanted something to compliment a pretty simple dinner (bagels with cheese spread, spinach & carrots).

    as many have already commented, tisdale is certainly on par with two buck chuck and better than most $6-$8 bottles. a very smooth, earthy taste.

  20. This wine beats most 10-12$ bottles hands down and I’ve tried many. Consistent and smooth. Goes with almost anything. I love it!

  21. I’m enjoying Tisdale wines for a long time. I’m buying them @ Stater Bros store here in CA for #2.99.
    I love them all- especially the Shiraz and Chardonnay. Once I gave a bottle of Shiraz to one of my very fancy friends and she loved it too….until she found out that it was for $2.99….I like that! The best product for the best price!

  22. I’ve had the tisdale chardonnay and was not impressed. However with your words I’ll try the reds and see if they are any better.

    And box wine folks, I have a great cheap wine for you – Sutter Home! At one of my local markets they often have it on sale for $3 a bottle and if they have the pinot noir (which oftens sells out) it is a divine deal. Their merlot is decent but the PN – a great surprise.

  23. Hi all!

    I’ve read everyones comments about the Tisdale Cab, & yes, you have to let it breathe! It just tastes better after 10 minutes & I like it alot. It’s a dirt, cheap wine that’s good drinking alone, or with any food type. Problem is, I can’t find it anymore in the Austin, TX area! I’ve called all around my city & most larger wine/liquor retailers have stated it’s discontinued. There’s no website, where can I get this or order it from?

  24. I bought this in Nova Scotia, on sale for $9.99.
    What a rip off. You guys are getting it for $2 or $3 dollars which is worth what you get.I’ll never buy it again!!!!!!!1

  25. Have tried the Cabernet, Merlot and Chard. from Tisdale.
    Like the other reviewers, the reds need breathe a while and Chard. is just fine after in warms a bit out of the fridge. The Cab. is better than Merlot. Cost me $3.33 here in Georgia.

  26. Need to know where to find the Tisdale wines in the North suburbs of Atlanta…anyone? going once, going twice? I found a bottle of the Merlot at QT for $4 and was pleasantly surprised.

  27. I assumed the Tisdale Merlot was too good to be a $3 wine. I assumed it was a $10 plus that was excess and dumped under a cheap label. I checked this web site to find the answer. I was surprised to learn it really is made to be marketed at $3!!. If I am ever in the Modesto area I will make a point to tour this winery. It would be interesting to see how they do it!

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