I’ve gotten my first ribbing from a college friend who for privacy’s sake we’ll call Matt D. (no, that’s too obvious… let’s say M. Dally). Verbatim off my Facebook wall:
“Could you possibly cover best wines for $1.99?”
The answer M. D. (that’s better!) wants is Charles Shaw, the wine we know and love (or hate) as “Two-Buck Chuck.”
There are legions of people who love Charles Shaw–there are even apparently wine critics who like Charles Shaw. I personally don’t like Charles Shaw (though their 2005 Nouveau Gamay Beaujolais Valdiguie was actually not bad–I must add the disclaimer, though, that the Shaw version of beaujolais is NOT actually made from gamay and is instead made from the valdiguie grape, and that it is not nearly as delicious or refined as actual beaujolais from France) because it just tastes watery and cheap, off-balance, and “out of whack” if you will. Of course, I don’t have a degree in viticulture from UC Davis, so this judgment is a matter of opinion.
Trader Joe’s does have a *decent* gewurztraminer from J.W. Morris, a subsidiary of JFJ Bronco Winery (which is owned by Fred Franzia, the man behind
the college staple of Franzia, the wine in a box, and the Trader Joe’s incarnation of Charles Shaw). It’s very sweet–maybe a bit too sweet–but surprisingly doesn’t suffer from that plasticine taste so many cheap white wines have. You could probably spend more money and get a worse wine. Besides, you could throw it in the fridge for an hour and the cold will mask the imperfections!
Also, M. D., this wine retails at Trader Joe’s for $2.99!!! It’s not $1.99, but hell, it falls in the lower range of the venerable $2-$5 price category.