Big Mac’s Mondays: Hail a Cab?

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Each Monday (well, nearly everyday, actually) We trek down the hill to our favorite neighborhood liquor store to buy a bottle or two. In our quest to learn about and taste wine that is accessible and inexpensive We’ve found Big Mac’s to be a great place to spend our money. (We’re also regulars at the many local wine shops–and you should be too.)

Here are our weekly tasting notes from a bottle purchased at Big Mac’s. Although We don’t do background checks, some facts about the wine can be useful, so We provide some notes at the end of our review. As usual, We follow a basic tasting method: swirl, smell, slurp…and savor.

Granted, it’s Tuesday. Yesterday We were caught in a tropical downpour here in LA and too busy putting up tarps and moving outdoor furniture to higher ground. Her patio is now what He refers to as “The Shanty Café”. Also, We were really enjoying two days worth of Hot Buttered Rum Toddy Un-exact Whatevs.

Today She sent Him to Big Mac’s for a bottle of wine and some stopgap olive oil. He saw the weird shaped bottle of FFC’s Encyclopedia Cabernet Sauvignon for $9.99 and thought it would be the perfect bottle for a Big Mac’s Mondays. Away We go.

Francis Coppola Encyclopedia, Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux) 2006 ($9.99)

She Said: When He brought home the wine I thought it was a gigantic bottle of balsamic vinegar (to go with the olive oil that was also on the shopping list). Ugh, the packaging is bad, bad. Hideous, actually. And it’s hard to pour because the mouth is so big. But not to judge a wine by it’s looks…here’s the straight review. Color: deep purple, almost opaque but swirling shows it is fairly thin. Nose: burnt wood (American oak?), licorice, prunes, burnt raisins. Nothing bright or fresh about it. First sip: yuck. Just nothing going for it. Tastes stewed or cooked. No obvious fruit flavors. Light tannin in the finish but otherwise light bodied and very little structure. Could it be oxidized? Tastes like the bottle was unscrewed five days ago. Could only manage two slurps. The rest of the bottle is all His.

He Said: Deep purplish in color with anise, tart cherry and old wood on the nose. There is also a weird aroma, like someone getting a perm or dying their hair. Totally uncomplicated in the mouth, a little chalky with a nice level of tannin; hits me right away in the middle of my tongue and the top of my mouth. Kind of a weird hot aftertaste. I don’t love it and wouldn’t buy it again (and really couldn’t recommend it) but I don’t hate it at all. (Her first response when she took a sip was “Ugh!”. Ha! That’s for making me drink hot wet trash last week.)

Facts: From the FFC site: “From how it’s made and where it’s made to why we drink it when we do, wine is not just wine. With this in mind, our winemaking team traveled the world in search of varietals that best represent the culture and traditions of different winegrowing regions. Packaged in a custom shaped bottle with an oversized screw cap, Encyclopedia Wines begins a journey into understanding how geography, history, food and religion, to name a few, all determine how and why wine is made and enjoyed.” She says: whooey.

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