Drinks of Last Resort: Matthew Fox Shiraz

by Justin D'Olier on September 12, 2010 | (6) Comments |

If you’re a cultured alcohol consumer, you should probably stop reading now. In fact, that’s not a bad idea regardless of your level of alcohol appreciation. It’s not just that the writing is bad (it is), or that the attempts at humor fail miserably (they do), but the goal of this column is to review the cheapest, least respectable alcoholic beverages available in a misguided attempt to find the best possible drink options when you have virtually no money to spend. I’m not looking for the best bang for your buck, I’m looking for the best whimper for your cent. (Think Schlitz, not Budweiser).

Unless otherwise specified, the drinks consumed for the purpose of this column should not be consumed under any but the most extreme circumstance. I’m going to drink them so you don’t have to.

Wish me luck.

Matthew Fox Shiraz isn’t wine. Technically it’s pressed, fermented grapes, but the flavor of this mass-produced, bargain basement swill is something more akin to a mild, sour grape juice. Imagine your two year-old threw her thermos of Welches grape juice in the backseat of your mid-sized SUV (which you refer to as a “beach cruiser”, but deep down know is a Dad mobile) and it sat in your trunk for three months, before the resulting odor wafting from the back of the vehicle finally convinced you to clean your car. The resulting contents of that thermos would likely bear a strong resemblance to Matthew Fox Shiraz. In fact, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if that’s how the fine folks at Matthew Fox actually make their “shiraz”.

According to the bottle, “the skilled winemakers of Matthew Fox Vineyards craft premium quality grapes into exceptional wines known for their distinctive flavors and character.” This is true in the way that Ke$ha makes “premium quality” music, the Detroit Lions are an “exceptional” football team, and Denny’s Moon over My-Hammy is known for “distinctive flavors and character”. Further exploration of the label uncovers a glaring (and somewhat troubling) omission: the vintage. That’s right. This wine has no year. You know what kind of wines don’t include a year? Boxed wine. Wine that comes in a jug. Wine in a can (no, really). The grapes in Matthew Fox Shiraz could be from 2010, or they could be from 1865. Maybe both. Hey, at least it comes in a bottle. You stay classy, Matthew Fox.

Troubling signs of poor quality aside, the wine actually isn’t that offensive. (Yes, that is the backhanded compliment of all time). In fact, the best attribute of Matthew Fox Shiraz is the noticeable lack of flavor. Normally, that isn’t a good thing, but when the primary flavor of a beverage is axle grease, the more mild the better. Aside from a somewhat funky nose — the wine’s aroma — and a marked sour cherry flavor, the wine simply tastes like wine. Cheap wine; simple wine; utterly uninteresting wine, but wine nonetheless. And at $3.99 a bottle, that’s all you’re really hoping for, right?

So, if your wine budget is under $4 and you want a wine that tastes vaguely like wine which can be choked down in large gulps with relatively little holding of your nose, you could do a lot worse than Matthew Fox Shiraz.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wash my mouth out with Everclear.

6 responses to “Drinks of Last Resort: Matthew Fox Shiraz”

  1. Josh says:

    $3.99? I think the glass in the bottle costs $2.50. Check out below link. Hopefully this will be a first for all of you…


    • Oh lord, Josh. I swore I’d had my last glass of Thunderbird, marginally better than Night Train, if I remember right (which, I don’t). If I’m going to write a “Drinks of Last Resort” column about bum wine, you’re tasting with me.

  2. Elton Nichols says:

    I just want to say that at least wine in a can is better than wine in a plastic cup…


    • DUDE. Please tell me one of the local distributors brings that in. That is, far and away, the tackiest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m morbidly fascinated. It’s a total train wreck. I can’t look away.

      • Elton Nichols says:

        As far as I know only Marks & Spencer picked it up. I wouldn’t mind grabbing a few plastic goblets of Froglet just to give out (or drink at the beach? hmmmm).

  3. Breckbordr says:

    Spot on review. Just had a taste of that swill at Thanksgiving dinner with in-laws. Definitely the worst stuff I’ve ever tasted. It went down the drain.