Wine Talk

Snooth User: Reggie Hoffman

Purchasing Charles Shaw Wine - Two Buck Chuck

Posted by Reggie Hoffman, Dec 8, 2010.

I am in upper New York State and I have looked all over the internet looking to purchase this wine. I need some information please- Help

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Replies

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Reply by Philip James, Dec 8, 2010.

Its only sold in Trader Joes (i think) - where's your closest one?

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Reply by FFLADY, Dec 8, 2010.

Oh my!  it is a dreadful wine. 

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 9, 2010.

Why would you want to purchse it (gag gift?)?  We can all guide you to something much better at a slightly higher price point.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 9, 2010.

I've bought really nice Ribera del Duero for about $4 at the local discounter, although that was pretty once-in-a-lifetime.  I just don't get the whole two buck thing... especially when there are really good things for so little.  Even your local grcoery will have the very competent Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zin for $7 or so.  And, if you are at TJs, they have Perrin Cotes du Rhone for about the same, and a Caviers des Papes CdR from Ogiers for maybe $5 that, at least in the '07 incarnation, was really good. It comes in a squat bottle so it doesn't look very serious, but it's a whole lot better than supporting Bronco wines, one of the chief offenders in the "wine is just a business" category. 

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Reply by jamessulis, Dec 9, 2010.

Surprisingly enough, the Charles Shaw Merlot (One of the 2 buck Chuck purchases) is a fruit bomb, but it has a pleasing taste. Tannins mild, deep fruit taste with not much of a finish.  For $2.49 @ Trader Joe's and also Purple Moon Merlot (Purple Moon Winery) for $3.99 these will fit anyone's budget. Now if you think I'm kidding just remember Gregory Dal Piaz's intro states that you don't have to spend alot to find a nice wine.........and he's right. Now I don't exclusively purchase these two wines from Trader Joe's but they are or will be in my wine reviews.  "Don't knock em, until you try em"

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Dec 9, 2010.

James

The bigger question is have you considered the opportunity "cost" to your weekly drinking.

Based on your self imposed maximum weekly consumption, if you utilise some of that limited consumption capacity to consume a very cheap and possibly good but probably not memorable wine, what consumption opportunity are you denying your deserving palate of?

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 9, 2010.

Especially since Charles Shaw products are sourced from all over the place.  One bottle may be decent, the next drain cleaner.  There's zero consistency.

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Reply by jamessulis, Dec 11, 2010.

Snooth is such a wonderful place to get such varied opinons.  Gawd forbid if I should purchase a bottle of drain cleaner and actually pop the cork. (LOL)  I doubt if the name on the label would be Charles Shaw. 

  Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 11, 2010.

Snooth is also a place to share knowledge.  I would feel bad if someone new to the wine world spent money on a subpar product we could've enlightened them about.  ;)

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Reply by wineydoc, Dec 11, 2010.

ah, but wouldn't it be interesting to purchase the TBC, and then analyze the heck out of why you don't like it?  i went to a wine tasting that presented a wine that i felt was absolutely horrible--i think i've mentioned the dog poo aroma wine before--but everyone else seemed to think it was great. 

not everyone likes "good wines."  some people prefer "fruit bombs."  that's why they're still being made & sold.  thx JS for the tip on the CS Merlot.  i may get it for my mom.  i think she'd like it.  and didn't most of us originally start drinking "fruit bombs," before our tastes transformed?  i still like one once in a while.

i've heard that Charles Shaw also has a completely separate line that is much better.

 

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 11, 2010.

The issue isn't "good" v "bad", it's consistency.  Like I said, Charles Shaw grapes are sourced from everywhere, so there's extreme product variance.  One bottle may be a simple fruit bomb, the next gasoline.

Charles Shaw is one product in a huge, cheap, crappy portfolio.  The wines sell because many people are cheap. 

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Reply by gregt, Dec 11, 2010.
"and didn't most of us originally start drinking "fruit bombs," before our tastes transformed" Not necessarily. I've mentioned it elsewhere but I was really curious about TBC when it first came out a number of years ago. The idea was that he could get good grapes because there was a grape glut and he'd take those and make a good wine and show the snobs that it could be done cheaply.  I loved the idea and after a few years got the chance to try it when I was in Nevada.  Went to Trader Joe's and people were loading up their carts with the stuff so I figured it couldn't be that bad. Anyhow, I really really wanted to like it.  We took it home poured four glasses and everyone took a sip.  We just looked at each other and everyone poured the wine out.  I actually took a second and third taste, just to see what it was that made people buy it a second time. We poured those out and opened something else.  The problem with the wine wasn't that it was sourced from one place or another or had one grape or another, it just wasn't very good. Too sweet for one thing, which made perfect sense.  Ernie Gallo used to say that his Hearty Burgundy was just as good as anything else in CA and that's what he drank, and Fred Franzia says the same thing about his wine, which isn't quite as good, although of course, it's cheaper.  It's probably as good as the Almaden or the jug wines on the bottom shelf at the supermarket.  I realized that Franzia's genius was NOT getting good grapes and making a good wine cheaply, it was in his marketing.  He simply took jug wine and put it into 750ml bottles and then in a stroke of brilliance, he got Trader Joe's to carry it.  Remember that wine drinkers are a very small percentage of the population in the US and if someone gets his wine to be the house label for Trader Joe's, that implies that the wine is OK, so people who don't know go out and buy it. Trader Joe's of course, mostly sells their private brand packaged products with a vague, back-to-nature aura that makes people feel good about shopping there but they didn't have a private label wine.  So rather than being considered a jug wine, Franzia's wine got some respect - after all, the people who shop at Trader Joe's are a little more upscale and consider themselves more discerning than say, WalMart shoppers.  That's the branding image of Trader Joe's. I don't begrudge the guy his success but I think he's done a disservice to wine in a way - wine isn't like Coke in that you can produce identical bottles in unlimited amounts.  Or rather, you can, but that's "wine" in a very different sense.  TBC, Yellow Tail, Penguin, Crane Lake, Almaden, all of those are brands created to sell an undifferentiated and undistinguished but consistent product.  Wal Mart can't sell wine, but if they could, I imagine Franzia would dump Trader Joe's in a heartbeat and sell his stuff to them instead.  Or more likely, simply come up with a different label for it. It is true that you don't to pay a lot of money for decent wine - Greg is entirely correct and he's been in the business a long time - but that's also a little bit vague because for some people, $10 isn't a lot of money, for some people $15 isn't a lot of money, for some people $30 isn't, and so on.
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Reply by gregt, Dec 11, 2010.

Snooth - what the hell???

Why can't there be an edit function??? Look at that post above - you have hidden codes that eliminate formats if something is copied.  Worrying about attribution completely degrades the user experience.  What's the point????

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Reply by jamessulis, Dec 11, 2010.

Again, I state in another way "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", that should cover it as "Taste is in the palate of the individual.

Snooth Rocks,

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 11, 2010.

Uh, okay, whatever, buddy...

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Reply by outthere, Dec 11, 2010.

"not everyone likes "good wines."  some people prefer "fruit bombs."  that's why they're still being made & sold."

What's good wine and what's bad wine is very subjective depending on the person drinking it. I know I'm setting myself up with a statement like that but what I think is good isn't necessarily what GDD thinks is good. Who cares though? I drink what I like because I like it. Not because someone else says I'm supposed to like it.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", that should cover it as "Taste is in the palate of the individual."

Correct again. If lefty is liking Sutter Home White Zinfandel  (stay with me here Lefty) , who am I to tell him he is wrong. OTOH, if he says "I'm liking SH WZ and want to step up a bit" we can then suggest things that may fit his palate.

There are people who enjoy Charles Shaw wine. I say, "Cool, there's plenty of it for them" but I'm not going to belittle their choice. It's what they like right now.

When is being a wine snob a good thing?

There's a great thread going on at wineberserkers.com entitled "The Fruit Bomb Resistance" . It involves a discussion about taste, palate preference, philosophy and history of winemaking styles. No snobs. With a handful of respected winemakers chiming in. Good information and no "whatever buddy's"

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Reply by outthere, Dec 11, 2010.

Edit function puh-leeze.

The OP asked where to buy $2 Chuck. He didn't ask for our opinion on it.

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 11, 2010.

Nice pointer to the Wineberserker thread, Outthere.

Regarding taste only being in the mouth of the drinker, I believe there is a discussion to be had here on whether beauty, of any sort, exists in any objective way. Think the Greeks had a few discussion on this, likely over a few containers of wine, way back when....

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 11, 2010.

With lefty, I wasn't making an argument that Charles Shaw products are good or bad, rather they're extremely inconsistent due to sourcing.  He chose to interpret that as good versus bad.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 11, 2010.

I agree with outthere that we should think twice before using "whatever buddy" as a response.  And I agree that taste is highly subjective.  But it's okay to have a strong opinion even on something subjective--just remember it's an opinion.  I happen to agree with GregT that TBC does a big disservice to wine. It would be nice if something resisted the downward spiral into insipid products marketed like Coke and major label beer.  (Even if the product was good, have you noticed how completely transparent the "drink our beer get the hot girl" pitch has become? Bad before, but I can hardly watch a basketball game anymore.)

DD is right that the stuff is sourced from wherever, although they seem to choose not to further manipulate it from the little I have read about it. If they wanted to, they could make it consistent by pulling more levers, but it would have to trend to the lowest common denominator. Which would be worse than the two sips GregT had, I imagine, or at least as bad.

Funny how almost any post can turn into, what's happening to wine?  (Parker, fruit bombs, consolidation, "international" varietals...) The answer is always going to be the same: Lots is happening to wine, some really good and some distressing, and what you think depends on where you sit and what you like.  I suspect wine won't succumb to the same relentless downward spiral that has afflicted shoes, appliances, and power tools, to name three items that aren't anywhere near the quality they used to be--even with modern techniques and regulations, entry barriers are pretty low.  Some will defend approachable, fruit forward wines (until that goes too far) and some will defend high acid, low alcohol, funky wine that a lot of folks don't really dig as much as they say they do.  There's lots of grapes and everyone will get something they like.  Let's be respectful about our differences. In the end, wine is about shared sociality--it's the reason hunter gatherers settled down in one place long enough to let their fruit juice spoil.

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