Is there a correlation between cheap wine and pregnancy? Wineaux may wonder after discovering that our intrepid wine columnist went and got pregnant. Wine loosens inhibitions, of course, and anything can happen once you've done that. But as an occasional member of this column's tasting panel, I can attest that our Wineau-in-chief does indeed spit out much of what she sips. So I'm inclined to think there's no relationship between her impending childbirth and her love of cheap wine.
Still, in the spirit of empiricism that characterizes this column, I assembled a tasting panel of nine childless Wineaux and two Token Fathers — five women and six men. We sampled five bottles of ultra-cheap imported Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. A few were bargains, but several were of a quality that self-respecting Wineaux would avoid unless desperate to become parents.
First up was the generally unpopular 2005 McGuigan Shiraz ($3.99) from Australia's Limestone Coast. Token Father #1 thought it tasted like expired grapefruit — but he's got six kids, and doesn't need any more. Ellen said it wasn't sweet enough, but conceded that she has immature tastes. Ellis D. said it was flat, tart, floral, and packed a "SNEAK ATTACK."
Several of us liked the 2006 Kelly's Revenge Siraz ($2.99) from Southeast Australia. My better half thought it was a spicy, full-bodied sipping wine, and happily I agreed, since we're committed to exploring the life-long relationship between wine and pregnancy (none so far). Ellis said it was as nice as your buddy's grandma. But Sue thought it tasted like tree bark, and Sam thought it was burnt and gross.
There was unanimity on the 2005 Withington Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon blend ($4.99) from South Africa. Panelists compared it to gasoline and salad dressing and said it tasted like a dusty attic. The kindest comment came from Eyelash Caliban, who detected "hints of Christmas spices and paprika," but called that less appealing than it might sound.
The 2004 Au Cabernet Sauvignon ($2.99) from Koonawarra in Australia didn't fare much better. I thought it was tart and yucky, and Arkie Editor thought it tasted dirty. Token Father #2 said it was bitter. Ellis D. thought it started well but became increasingly nauseating with each passing sip.
Another Southeast Australian Shiraz, the 2005 Banrock Station Shiraz ($2.99), was the other winner with some members of our panel. Sue detected hints of plum, and Arkie Editor and I thought it was smooth and drinkable. And while Eyelash compared it to acidic Gummi Bears, Ellis said he could drink it all day long.
But a lot can happen after a full day of wine drinking. If any unplanned pregnancies result, I'll share the news.
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