Cheap wine with Shannon: Cul-de-Sac merlot

I’m a breastfeeding new mom, so I thought now would be a good time to get serious about reviewing wines for Jenn. I consulted Twitter, and a high-school friend’s midwife says if you’re OK to drive, you’re OK to nurse (this is how I get all my best medical advice). So I’ve decided, for now, to skip the breast milk alcohol test strips and go for it.

My main criteria for choosing wine: must be in the 2-3 bottles/$10 price range; must have a label; must be a red wine that isn’t Cabernet. Cabernet smells like yeast to me, bleah.


3 bottles/$10. Hard to go wrong there.

The bottle

“Cul-de-Sac Merlot.” I love the name. It sounds like something the women in Desperate Housewives would drink in their driveway while plotting someone’s murder. (They murdered people all the time on that show, almost always on accident. How can that many deaths be an accident?)

The label has an illustration of a Spanish-style house. Doesn’t seem to go with the name too well, until you get to the copy underneath:

Up close and personal with the Cul-de-Sac label

Ohhh yeah, that’s what I thought. They left out the “murder” part, I notice, but everything else is there. Well, except the badminton; I don’t think anyone plays badminton on the lawn in real life.

Actual taste

A pleasant enough, fruity smell. Burns some going down, but by the third sip it’s not so bad. I would compare it to the burning of the raw garlic chunk I just bit into, in my apparently-too-chunky pesto.

Second glass

Damn this is good. Goes down smooth with a hint of bite at the end. It paired fine with my cold chicken and pesto.

Bottom line

Well, it’s good enough to drink with people I would plan a murder with. But I would not bring it to a party where I didn’t already know everyone.

In the words of my favorite Modelo billboard: “It works.”

Final verdict

It works.