Three Wishes Wine…for $2.50 USD, the Official Review (my 3 wishes too)!

1 03 2011
3 Wishes Lineup

The 3 Wishes Wine Lineup ©2011 TalesFromtheTrellis

When I was visiting family in Maine this past Holiday season, I stumbled upon a new wine brand named Three Wishes. The bottles peaked my interest as they were oddly shaped (shorter and lighter than the regular  750 ml bottles) with a pretty label – clean and simple.

Three Wishes Vineyards is based in Livermore, California. They produce non-vintage wines (meaning not from a specific year and can be blended with many vintages) in and from California and started appearing for sale at Whole Foods Markets in October of 2010.

I picked up all three of their offerings: Merlot, Cabernet and Chardonnay. Each were $2.50. This is a brand that intends to compete with Trader Joe’s low price entry-level wine called Charles Shaw’s 2 Buck Chuck. So, in the name of science and value priced wine experiences – I had to buy all three to try them and let you know how they fared.

Here are my notes:

Chardonnay: Extremely pale in color, not quite straw. When swirled, the body is light as well, with no tears on the glass. Nose of stone fruit, perhaps guava or papaya..and pineapple with honeysuckle. Traces of citrus like lime or grapefruit. Not giving much away from the nose. Taste is similar though, with definite stone fruits like apricot and very definitely grapefruit. If I did not pour this myself from the bottle, I would think it was a cheap New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or even off-dry (semi-sweet) style Riesling. The mid palate is invisible, it goes from initial fruit and sweetness to an incredible dry, tart, sour, metallic and astringent finish quickly.  This wine is extremely unbalanced as the fruit and the alcohol have not quite come together. I can not recommend this.

Merlot: Again, light in color, especially for this varietal. Nose of cherry and vanilla (um, sounds like they are doing a switch on the varietals here again. This looks and smalls like a light – albeit cheap, pinot noir. Starts with raspberries and a bit of that cherry vanilla cola, and fades fairly quickly into the night. It is easy drinking, no harshness like it’s Chardonnay brethren. Sweet through the mid palette right to the finish – with a bit of fake candy-esque sweetness. Wish it had a bit more personality or backbone, but it’s OK for casual settings or newbies. This won’t make anyone take notice/remember it, or get sick. Note: it improves slightly after some time swirling or decanting. Again, this one, for $2.50, is “OK”.

Cabernet: Lighter than most cabs, with a nose of dark fruit. Plum on the initial taste, with dark berries. Ok, so this one actually tastes a bit more like what the Merlot should be. So strange. This one goes from ok to bad quickly…finishes with a hot,tart and tannic bitterness that I can not get past. This one is a no-go, for any price.

So, which did I pour a glass of after tasting it all? The Merlot. But again, I can’t really call it that, as it really has more of a cheap pinot noir profile. So, for $2.50, I would say – try it. It is better than some of the cheap bottles I have had for more money (i.e Estancia Pinot Noir).

Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not saying this is life changing, good or must try stuff…but if you are in Whole Foods and have been drinking “2 Buck Chuck” – try this at the same price and see what you think. I would also say try the Chardonnay, but don’t expect Chardonnay since it has more of the initial NZ Sauvignon Blanc traits (then that dry sour aftertaste).

Three Wishes Chardonnay Label ©2011, TalesFromtheTrellis

Three Wishes Chardonnay Label ©2011, TalesFromtheTrellis

My Three wishes:

1) I wish these wines were better – but they are under 3 dollars and that’s a tall wish.

2) I wish my palette could not differentiate between great, good, bad and really bad wine. Unfortunately I can, and I think you will notice on this occasion if you have not yet.

3) I wish people who try this will see the difference between this and a decent 7-9 dollar bottle in terms of quality – and go with something made well, but value priced like Chateau St Jean, Columbia Crest Two Vines from Washington State, Cupcake Vineyards, and Yellowtail. Big House wines that come in the Octavin have 3 liters and comes out to about $5 a bottle and a really great buy for the quality!

I also have a 4th wish:

I hope if new wine drinkers try this, it will be an entry point into wine, not a final destination.

In winning the battle between Charles Shaw and Three Wishes –being the best of the worst is still not a huge compliment is it? Their Merlot (that taste like Pinot Noir) is the best of the 3, then the Chardonnay, and last is the Cabernet.

Try and see – is what I recommend, then you be the judge. It’s cheap enough to try this tasting at home for under $8. But as I always say – “Life is too short for (really) bad wine”!

Coming up next post:

I am about to do a tasting for a new brand called Wily Jack. It is about $5 USD and comes in Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Let’s see if doubling the price doubles the quality of the last one! Oh, and for those in the brand/marketing field – Michael Schwab (I love his work) designed the labels! Nice bold branding. Check back soon!


Steve From the Trellis

©TalesFromtheTrellis, 2011




16 responses

19 04 2011

The merlot isn’t that bad. I like it for the price.

20 04 2011

Lola, agreed! For the price it is the best of the 3 easily, and good for the price, though it does seem more like a pinot noir with it’s cherry profile! Thanks for the feedback! Steve from the trellis.

19 06 2012

Just opened my first bottle of the Cab to test. Nasty, really nasty. The rest of the bottle is going down the drain. Compared to other cheap wines, I think the Bota box wine is much better. Haven’t tried the Charles Shaw?

21 06 2012

Chris, thank you for your comment! Agreed – Bota Box is indeed better, though the price is still higher for those. The Bota box Zin is a spectacular deal (I have brought this up on the blog and the TFTT Facebook/Twitter) and the quality of that particular wine is much better than the Three Wishes or the Charles Shaw wines. Though the 3 wishes Cab was completely “wrong” as a Cabernet, I found it was light and when chilled slightly, is the best of the 3 (though it tastes more like a cheap pinot noir than a cab).

22 07 2014

Thanks for your sharing! I saw them for the first time yesterday at Wholefoods but didn’t buy as I wanted to read about them. I am newer than a newbie when it comes to drinking wine. I tried 2012 Canyon Road Cab and Snap Dragon 2012 Red blend over the past few days and enjoyed both.

12 08 2014

Thank you for your comment! Which was your favorite. I liked the snap dragon for the price.

12 08 2014

I preferred the Snap Dragon which complimented the food that night.
After reading your review, I did buy the Merlot from Three Wishes and thought it was good for me as a “training wine”. Thanks!

18 08 2014

Glad you tried and for the money, worth the chance. I recommend others a step up from that – and appreciate your interest in my blog. Glad you are one of the “trellis”. Steve

15 07 2015
maureen mckeown

Bought a bottle of the pinot grigio and loved it. Where can I buy it in the Reading MA market. Would like to stock up on it for the future. The store where I bought it had it in the remanent box so they don’t really stock it.

26 07 2015

Hi Maureen, have you checked the Whole Foods there?

1 08 2015
caroline browne

I LOVE Three Wishes Chardonnay. Sometimes not being a wine connoseur has its benefits!

10 08 2015

True! Caroline, if you like it than that is all that matters. It is great to find a value wine these days that you can buy a case of and costs less than filling the tank! Cheers and thank you for your comment! Have you tried the others? Steve from the Trellis

14 09 2015

Just tried the Merlot 3 wishes, for the first time. It was surprisingly pleasant. Certainly, worth a sip!

15 09 2015

Tina, Yes! The merlot (though tastes more like a pinot) is my best bet on these. And yes – definitely worth a try at the price.
Best, Steve from the Trellis

3 04 2017
Sabrina Gunasti

Honestly!I don’t like at all cupcakes!Tastes like lots of chemicals in the grape choices-My opinion-to Much sulfatos!

17 04 2017

Sabrina, Thanks for the comment! I think the Prosecco is good – as is the sauvignon blanc. Have you tried those?

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