Cheap Wine Friday: Two Buck Chuck Showdown

From what I understand, when a real wine reviewer reviews Charles Shaw (“Two Buck Chuck”) wine it’s career suicide. Luckily for us, we’re not real wine reviewers :)

Heather recently had access to a different urban environment, one with culture, activities, and Trader Joe’s. She brought home a case of the Charles Shaw – a wine that is notorious for being ultra cheap, but not ultra bad. We moved our wine tasting to the Fatwallet Zen conference room – a room with comfy wicker furniture and a water feature. My office was simply too hot, and frankly everybody refused to drink wine until I put my shirt back on anyway. Mike O also brought in a Pinot Noir that he found.

Score some cheap wine of your own in our Wine Deals Section.


Patch Block – Pinot Noir

Mike O Found this for $4.99 (regularly $9.99) and brought it in for us to sample. I’m a Pinot Noir N00b. I’ve had a few samples here and there – but I still don’t really know what it’s about or what it SHOULD taste like. I found this one to be quite pleasurable. It tasted like a mild cabernet. I could taste the grapes. There was a touch of dryness with a nice aftertaste. It was slightly sweet, but not sweet enough to be considered a sweet wine for sure. I would drink this – but I don’t know that I would commit ten bucks to a bottle of it.

Brian: Too many tannins. Makes me pucker.
Heather: I like it a lot! Finally a wine that isn’t so sweet. I like that it’s dryer and I’m glad it’s not candy sweet.
Brian (again): It opens up nicely. It doesn’t seem as dry as the first sip.
Joe: It’s not as sweet as I would normally drink, but it’s good.
Melissa O: It’s a red, so it’s automatically not my favorite. It made my jaw tighten up with the tartness, but overall it was pretty OK. I would probably try it again.

Charles Shaw – White Zinfandel

I think it’s pretty hard to screw up a White Zinfandel. I don’t know zins very well, but this one seemed on par with all the others I’ve tried. It was sweet, a little on the peachy side, with a citrusy pucker on the finish. I didn’t notice much fragrance at all – possibly because it was served cold. At three bucks, I would totally buy this wine.

Melissa S: It’s oddly sweet, with a bit of a sour finish
Heather: This is good! It has a citrusy fruity flavor.
Brian: This would be fantastic to drink on a hot day while sitting on the front porch.
Melissa S: This is bad…I could totally drink this whole bottle
Melissa O: It’s fruity, sweet, and yummy. I could totally drink a bottle by myself.

Charles Shaw – Sauvignon Blanc

Again, I really don’t know much about Sauvignon Blancs. I know they should be a bit dry, but crisp and fresh. This wine was exactly that. It was more dry than my wife would like, but not dry enough to make her complain about it. It had a nice flavor and was very refreshing. I thought the flavor was slightly complex as it changes on the palette. It did have a kinda funky smell that was very unfamiliar to me, but I didn’t think the smell was bad. At three bucks, I wouldn’t be afraid to buy another bottle of this. I think this would pair very well with fish.

Brian: It’s got a little body odor scent to it!
Joe: It does kinda smell like BO. And it’s tart.
Heather: I think it’s very fresh. I LOVE this!
Brian: It’s not as harsh as I was expecting. I think it’s less dry than the Pinot Noir. There’s not much aftertaste either.
Melissa S: It’s not as sweet. I like the white zin better.
Melissa O: Blechhh.
Ryan: I’m not really a fan of this, but I think this is what most Sauvignon Blancs taste like.

Overall – I’d say the Charles Shaw wines are winners. They tasted as good or better than plenty of other wines that are double or triple the cost. I don’t know what the hangover factor is, or even if the hangover factor should be part of the review, but it does concern me.

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