Three Wishes, Merlot, California, $2.99 (available at Whole Foods)
My rating for this bottle? I would drink a glass.
The first thing you should notice about this wine is that it's $2.99. Now if that isn't affordable luxury, then I don't know what is! The first "good" $3 wine I ever had was actually a 3EUR bottle of red wine in Paris in 2006. Little thought went into grabbing up a bottle for a sunset picnic by the Eiffel Tower and it was perfect for the occasion. If Paris had Whole Foods (which thank goodness it doesn't) (sorry I'm not sorry) (Also, this is probably the cheapest thing you can buy at Whole Foods) (anyways...) then Three Wishes would be a wine I would grab and bring to an Eiffel Tower picnic.
With a sort of sweet, sort of not sweet, one dimensional red wine flavor it is a good bottle to bring to or serve at a party. It appeals to the taste buds of non-wine drinkers and new red wine drinkers while also being decent enough for your oenephile friends to enjoy a glass or two. I don't really like sweet drinks, which is why I rated it as only drinking a glass. It's not my #1 favorite, but if at a party, I'm happy its in my glass. Three Wishes also has a Cabernet Sauvignon (the Merlot is better), and a Chardonnay (the best of the three).
Gman and I bought a case (which was the same price I usually pay for one bottle...) and keep it on hand to serve in "emergencies", to last minute guests, and to bring to our friend's houses as a host gift. It has never disappointed. After all, no one gets upset when you show up with a bottle of wine in hand.