The Best of the Worst: Part 1 (Lindemans Cawarra)

by Victoria D'Olier on December 13, 2010 | (9) Comments |

Desperate times call for desperate measures so I finally did it, I broke down and gave the sampler pack of 1.5 liter bottles of wine at Costco a test drive.  Curiosity killed the cat and this swill may very well be my undoing but, who knows, perhaps an extremely budget-friendly diamond in the rough will be stumbled upon…but I doubt it.  I believe animal testing to be cruel and unnecessary but Tori-testing is just plain entertaining so I’ll keep you posted on my adventure and hopefully be of some service to you other financially challenged imbibers.  Costco offers several wines of 1.5 liter type, all under $15.00.  Of these, I purchased Yellowtail Shiraz, Lindemans Cawarra, and Xplorador (yes, really, with an “X”).  For better or for worse, tonight I will be tapping the Lindemans…

Lindemans Cawarra

Eucalyptus-heavy dank mustiness was notably absent from the description of Cawarra on the label

The color is a deep, dense, mucky looking plum.  With minimal clarity and a nose filled with sour cherry and raisins, I must admit, I’m a bit put off.  There is a distinct mushroomy funk as well as lingering Eucalyptus.  On the palate one is immediately struck by that Eucalyptus-heavy dank mustiness.  On the mid-palate some black raspberry is introduced for a moment before the wine dies off and leaves you wondering what just happened.  I allowed the glass to sit and breathe for about an hour while I recovered, coming back to it we seem to have established an improved raport.  Much of the initial funk had blown off the nose, leaving dried red fruit on the nose with a moderately dusty quality.  On the palate, the wine had smoothed out a bit and apparently relaxed enough in the glass to prevent an all out assault on my taste buds.  The fruit was simple yet present, showing black raspberries, currants and plums. The finish yielded the same strong Eucalyptus without the overwhelming dankness.

This wine definitely needs breathing time.  I would highly recommend the use of an aeration device, such as the Vinturi or a decanter.  While you may not want to sully your decanter with Cawarra, it would aid in the consumablity of said wine.  Another option would be to start with a shot of tequila; dull your senses a bit, you’ll thank yourself.  However you choose to approach it, this wine’s lack of quality is no joking matter, approach with caution.  Better yet, use the money and go buy a six pack of Longboard Lager.

9 responses to “The Best of the Worst: Part 1 (Lindemans Cawarra)”

  1. Chuck Braden says:

    Get it down to about 60 degrees in the wine cooler. Decant it using an aeration devine is a definate.

    The Cavit Pinot Grigio 1.5 is as close to the table wine I drank in Rome as you can get!

    • Victoria D'Olier says:

      Agreed, a sturdy chill is absolutely critical to drinking bin wines. I find it so humorous that some of the most aesthetically pleasing dining experiences one can have in Italy are often coupled with fantastically mediocre table wine but it somehow becomes simply magical within the appropriate context. Cavit Pinot Grigio and a thin crust margherita pizza is like a lovely little trip back in time to Piazza di Fiore. Salute!

  2. Lauren says:

    made me laugh out loud (and read it out loud)… nice 🙂

    will be sure to stay away from this one! much as I have fond memories of drinking Lindemann’s in college…

    • Never fear, Lauren. Those memories of a chilled bottle of Lindemans on a sultry Claremont evening are safe. Not all Lindemans wine is Eucalyptus-heavy-dank-mustiness awful. Cawarra is almost uniquely horrible.

      Now about those kegs of Ice House…

    • Victoria D'Olier says:

      A wise choice my quality conscious friend. Considering the same amount of money would buy you a six pack of Maui Brewing Co.’s Coconut Porter there’s not a whole lot of debate as to where the funds should go. I have fond memories of Lindemans in college with Lauren and not so fond memories of the following mornings…

  3. A cheap and easy way to get your lower end wines “decanted” is to pour out the first three to four ounces (or choke that part down if you must), then re-cork and shake like a rookie bartender making an extra cold vodka martini. Careful taking the cork back out (or screwcap back off) because most of the time the agitation will force unwanted gas with the off aromas you didn’t enjoy out of the wine. Sometimes you will need to do this a second time, but you will almost always notice a marked difference in just seconds!

    I think we need to make a video of various methods of decanting and aerating wines!

    • Dude, that sounds like some Jedi decanting magic. LOVE IT!

      “I think we need to make a video of various methods of decanting and aerating wines!”

      Yes, yes, and more yes. My weekend is insane, but let’s make this happen soon.

    • Victoria D'Olier says:

      We gave this excellent suggestion a spin with another questionable bottle last night…the difference is really quite surprising! We did an interesting line up of non-aerated, aerated using the Vinturi, and aerated using the Booze Shake (a.k.a your suggested method). In a subsequent blind tasting, while the Vinturi did provide the maximum softening of an odorous nose the Booze Shake provided a rather significant improvement as well. Thank you Mr. Nichols!

  4. […] the outstanding suggestion of Mr. Chuck Braden I returned to Costco with a revised agenda, Cavit Pinot Grigio.  I needed some white wine for […]