Maker: Tisdale Vineyards, Modesto, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork
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!