I have a dirty little secret: I buy cheap wine for my grandma. And when I say cheap wine, I'm talking even cheap by my standards. Like under $5 cheap. Now, in my defense, I have a very good reason for this. First of all, my grandma lost her sense of smell several years ago, so she's not very discriminating when it comes to wine these days. Second of all, when we have family parties, she's usually the only one, so we end up cracking a whole bottle of wine to pour maybe two glasses tops, and then we forget about it and end up throwing it out. So my decision to buy cheap wine for my grandma isn't a case of disrespecting my elders; it's a matter of being practical.
With that being said, we had the immediate family over for my dad's birthday last weekend, and I wasn't sure if my grandma would be there or not so I scoured my local grocery store for a cheap red on sale. I ended up settling on a bottle of Kanga Reserve Merlot. I want to say it was on sale for $4.99, though it may have been $5.99. Well, it turns out my grandma didn't come over, so the wine wasn't opened.
Fast forward to today. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Leah decided to pop open a bottle of wine with dinner (I say reasons unbeknownst to me because we had pork chops; usually we only bust out reds with pasta). I take a sip and instantly remarked, "This is good! Which wine is it?" Well, at this point you know damn well that it's the Kanga Reserve Merlot, but I didn't. As you can imagine, I was surprised to say the least. So let's get to the review...
The wine poured a thin, slightly rusty red color. The aroma is sweet and fruity; red grapes and cherry with just a hint of butteriness. No real acidity or tannins or oak.
The taste is slightly sweet up front but kind of dry so that it's not sugary. As it sits in your mouth, you get some of that buttery flavor again (in a good, full way) along with a hint of oak.
The finish is stone fruit and more butter, with a hint of pepper; there's a slight dryness that's either oak, alcohol, or a bit of the two, but whatever it is it's nice.
I'd love to do a blind tasting of this with some wine experts to see what their response would be. Even in my ignorance some cheap wines taste cheap, but this one really tasted good. Unfortunately, the lack of info on the winery on Google, combined with a rather perplexing webpage (to which I linked above), leads me to wonder what the deal is with this winery. Is it some sort of dumping ground for excess wine where you might get a good bottle one day and a bad one the next? I guess the only way to find out is to buy another bottle. And I will definitely do that, because on the patented Chibebräu Wine scale (skip it, only if it's on sale, or buy it again), this one's definitely a buy it again.
On a side note, I think I'm starting to realize I like Merlot. I know that many frown upon it these days (see my discussion in this old post), but I'm not one to care what others think. So vive le Merlot!
P.S. In case you're wondering what the deal is with the picture above, well, I couldn't find any pictures of the wine online and when I tried to rotate the picture I took of the wine myself, it gave me an error when I tried to save and then the picture disappeared and I was too laazy to take and import another one. So, since it's an Australian wine, you'll have to settle for a picture form one of the all-time classic Simpsons episodes, Bart vs. Australia.