I’m a fan of the magnum, that’s a 1.5 liter bottle of wine. Although the magnum also frustrates me because it seems like the wines sold in bottles of this size fall primarily into two camps: 1) super cheap & not so great, and 2) premium.
What I have a hard time finding in the magnum size are exceptional value wines. Those wines that are pretty darn good, age well (because I like aging wine in large format bottles) and are still bargain priced.
This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot from Frontera falls into bucket #1 — a super cheap and not so great wine. And when I say “not so great” I don’t mean it has to go down the drain. I mean there’s nothing too exciting about this wine, it’s a bit out of balance, over-spiced and has vegetal, underripe characteristics. But in a pinch I’d still drink it.
Now, I’m not big on negative reviews. After all, I’ve found that readers come here to find recommendations on what they should buy, not what they shouldn’t buy. And while some wine bloggers seem to think writing negative reviews prove their credibility, I couldn’t care less about that.
So, why the hell am I writing about this wine? I guess to address what is good about a wine like this. It does, after all, have some wine-like qualities. And what do you expect when you pay $12 or less for a magnum???
For a super cheap wine, this is drinkable. On the nose it offers sour cherry, green pepper, herbs and heavy baking spices. The palate brings sour cherry and plum flavors that will make you pucker. But let’s not pretend there’s anything elegant about this wine.
If you’re looking to stretch your dollars, it might work for you. My inclination is to use a wine like this for making sangria, where you can augment the flavor by adding other fruits, sugar and brandy. You could also use it for making braised short ribs, beef burgundy or coq au vin.
Variety: Cabernet sauvignon / merlot blend
Price: $12.00 (for a 1.5 liter bottle)
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.