linuxdave — February 12, 2006, 1:09 am

Charles Shaw (Two-buck-chuck) Cabernet

When people find out that I enjoy cheap wine enough to devote a website to it, they usually ask me if I have been to Trader Joe’s. My response, until last week, has always been “No, not yet”.

Well, I finally caved and took a trip to Detroit, the nearest Trader Joe’s location for me here in Lansing. Ann Arbor might actually be closer, but as an MSU Spartan, I try to stay out of there.

Trader Joe\'s - Home of Charles Shaw Wines

I’d like to preface this review of Charles Shaw Cabernet with a synopsis of Trader Joe’s. If you have one near you, go there. If not for the wine, then for the thousands of food items that pack the small market. I spent 80 dollars, which sounds like a bit much especially for me. I ended up leaving with 2 cases of wine and enough food for a week. Fresh mozzarella, fresh gnocchi, fresh salsa (notice a pattern?), Guacamole chips, Trader Joe’s Marinara, soups, veggies…. I was in heaven. They have got all kinds of cheeses, breads, meats, micro-brewed beers, and their wine selection was out of this world. What a great store!

Trader Joe’s is the exclusive retailer of Charles Shaw Wines, better known to most as “Two-buck Chuck”. In California these wines sell for $1.99, which is just amazing. Here in Michigan, though, the price was $2.99.

Did we like it? Was it worth the trip?

Hell yes it was! For 3 dollars, I don’t think it could have been any better. The Cabernet was great. At first, I found it to be a little sweet, but looking back, I was actually enjoying the salsa with the wine, which probably wasn’t a great combination. Along with the Cab, I also purchased some of the Shiraz, Merlot, and Chardonnay (reviews coming soon).

Congrats to Two-Buck-Chuck and Trader Joe’s for achieving the highest rating available here on Cheap Wine Reviews. Hats off to you!

Rating: 10/10
Price: $2.99
Place of Purchase Trader Joe’s

211 Comments »

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  1. Comment by Daniel Clayton @ March 28, 2006, 2:28 am

    It was interesting to read your review of the now famous(or infamous) Charles Shaw, specifically the Cabernet. As a wine afficianado in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Trader Joe’s are ubiquitis, I generally hesitate when I hear about fantastic two dollar wines. My dad’s P.H.D. is in the history of the wine trade, and other than his research into the resurection of “corrupt” wine in Tudor-Stewart London, I have always understood wine to be the drink of the sophisticate & the cultured, while beer has been the beverage of the common man. Certainly there are cultures in southern Europe where wine is an important part of every day life, but these cultures take their wine seriously, and give it full expression.

    Trader Joe’s is a wonderful institution, in that it makes available to everyone what was once only found in small, specialty stores. But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that it has , in fact, put out of business most of the small specialty food stores here in California, and I’m sure the same is happening elsewhere. A similar thing has occured with A.G.Ferrari & authentic Italian delis, as well as Starbuck’s & specialty coffee houses. Wine & upscale liquor stores are having a hard time here with TJ’s , BevMo & PriceCostco waging price wars. So I do shop at TJ’s with a small degree of guilt.

    In terms of wine, however, I never purchase wine at TJ’s. Trader Joe’s possesses great purchasing power, and they use it to actively pressure wineries to sell to them at advantageous prices, not at the regular quantity discounts most retailers receive. They also purchase older vintages of wine, of varying degrees of preservation, whenever they can get the price low enough, without taking quality into account. I do not believe that this is a responsible business practice for a seller of premium specialty products, as TJ’s claims to be. I know that they do the same in other areas of their business, but unlike dry canned or boxed goods, wines actually do deteriorate at room temperature. And most specifically, they do not staff wine specialists at their stores, but buy on a corporate level & cookie cutter their wine sets, so that the unknowing customer has no resources to make a good decision for his tastes.

    But this article is written in response to your rating the Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon as a 10/10. Charles Shaw used to be a real winery. They actually made wine in a real winery setting, and produced a product which some people liked. But evidently not enough, or enough for the price, and the winery closed. Then, some number of years later, the name was purchased by Fred and Joe Franzia’s Bronco Wine Company.

    Bronco Wine Company is an anathema to the production of fine wines in California. It’s culture believes that wine is a simple commodity, not a quality product, and certainly not an artisan endeavor. Each day, over 200,000 bottles of wine are produced in Central California, out of grapes which are watered the day before they are picked, resulting in more juice with less flavor. The resulting wines are bottled under hundreds of different names: Forest Glen, Grand Cru, Salmon Creek, Franzia, Albertini, Hacienda, Silver Ridge, Rutherford Vintners, Forestville, Napa Creek, etc….
    How does one facility produce that much wine? They use centrifuges to split the chemicals found in grape juice, to remove naturally occuring tannins & flavinoids. They use oak chips to quickly infuse the wine with “complex” flavors. And they release the wine within days after bottling, when any responsible winery would be horrified to subject their customers to wine undergoing bottle shock. The major wine & spirits distributors naturally shy away from representing this sort of product. So the Franzia’s created Classic Wines, the distributor arm of Bronco, to represent there products directly to retail outlets, primarily in markets without a great demand for premium wines, and where price was everything. They contracted with TJ’s to exclusively distribute Charles Shaw, as they are now doing with the “Four Buck Fred,” which actually contains enough fruit from the poor, outlying sections of Napa County to qualify as Napa wine.

    Knowing this, I was not one of those who rushed off to buy a bottle of “Two Buck Chuck” at my local TJ’s when the first news of this incredible bargain broke here in California a few years ago. After all, I’m in the restaurant business, and I’ve always been able to buy Salmon Creek wines from Classic at $2.40 a bottle, which is what they push for restaurants to use as “house” wine. So the $2 price didn’t surprise me, knowing TJ’s buying power. But sure enough, plenty of people were excited, even those who I knew sometimes drank quality wine. So one day, a group of wine-savvy friends decided to hold a blind tasting of California Cabernet. Twelve wines in all, prices ranging from $1.99 to $110.00(Silver Oak, Napa Valley). The bottles were brown bagged, and everyone tasted each wine and made their own notes. Only two of us knew what wines were being tasted, and we didn’t know the order.

    The results were not what I expected. Not one of the sixteen cared for the Charles Shaw. But it only ranked last in eleven ballots, with two much more expensive wines taking the rest of the twelth place finishes. Two guys found the York Creek too sweet, and three complaining about the harshness(both acid and tannins) of the Chateau Montelaena Calistoga Cuvee. But several tasters questioned the grape selection of the Charles Shaw; they were convinced it was a cheap blend or Merlot with no bottle aging. Not offensive, but lacking any discernable flavors, or even typical Cabernet characteristics, like earthy cocoa & tobacco tones in the finnish, and strident, intense berries and tannins on the mid palate. But we understood why immediately, it was not wine by our traditional definition, just alcoholic flavored grape juice. Plain, watery & boring.

    Now, many people still drink Charles Shaw wine, and the line has been expanded from Cab/Char/Merlot to a full line of Shiraz, Sauv Blanc, Zin, Petite Sirah & even Viognier(how the traditional growers in Condreiu must feel!). But while I’ve heard people talk about it as acceptable quaffing wine, I’ve never before heard such a glowing endorsement as you have given this, in my opinion, completely unremarkable, if unoffensive, wine.

    I would not suggest you abondon the brand, as I have not sampled the wine in over four years, and Bronco may have improved their technology to actually make the Cahrles Shaw Cab actually taste like a Cab. But I would recommend you taste it against a few other wines. Not big blockbuster Napa Cabs, or complex Bordeaux reds. Beringer “Founders Estate.” Mandavi’s “Woodbridge.” Sutter Home. Fetzer’s “Eagle Peak.” These are not the class of wines I normally consume. But they are representative of the standard wines made in California. They are made in quantity, not with the level of quality or artisan craft that I prefer, but they are eminently drinkable, and actually taste like Cabernet Sauvignon.

    This has been much longer than I intended, and I do understand that wine is not available in the Midwest as it is here in California. I did live in Kansas City for a few years, and there was not a great deal of high quality wine to be found. But I believe that wine is the greatest beverage in the world. It complements a greater variety of foods than any other drink, and is a living product that can develop in flavor & elegance. For this reason, when I opened my own restaurant, I made it an eatery & wine bar, to express the great relationship between food & wine. But this is the relationship of flavorful wines & flavorful food. I don’t particularly care for fast food, but even a McDonalds’ hamburger deserves a wine with enough flavor & concentration to bring out it’s best aspects.

    If you like, I would be glad to recommend a number of inexpensive wines which are easily available here in California, some even at Trader Joe’s, and which are flavorful, varietally distinct or intelligently blended, and which have the fruit, spice, acid, etc.. notes which make wine such a delight with a meal.

    Daniel Clayton
    Owner/Chef/Wine Steward/Resident Cheesemeister
    Nibblers Eatery & Wine Bar
    http://www.nibblerseatery.com

    P.S. The “Moon” series of wines(Old Moon, Honey Moon, etc…) is a TJ’s label, though I’m not sure what winery it is made at. Beyond the fact that it is not available elsewhere, the Trader Moon company info is pretty indicative.

  2. Comment by Greg @ April 11, 2006, 5:59 pm

    Two buck chuck is one of the most digusting wines I’ve ever tried. I will no longer visit this site because you gave two buck chuck 10/10. That’s a shame.

  3. Comment by Michael Connell @ April 13, 2006, 11:11 pm

    Wow, Daniel!? How did you efflate yourself so much? That was one of the most pompous and ridiculous self advertisements I have ever seen. So you didn’t agree with the author’s assessment of the lousy 2 buck Chuck Cab? Why blow your own horn and talk about your dad’s PHD in wine?

    While I agree that the 2 buck Chuck Cab is pretty awful and not really a Cab, 2 buck chuck is a decent Shiraz, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are plenty of awful wines out there selling for more than $10 per bottle. You take direct jabs at TJ’s business practices yet fail to mention how they have made good food affordable for so many families. I guess these aren’t families that would shop at your over priced snobby wine and cheese bar.

    You act like a bottle of 2 or 3 dollar wine should be aged in oak casks for 6 months or something. What the hell do you think most of these wineries do now? Its such a revelation that you share saying that some of these wines may be exposed to oak chips or aged for a day or two. Ahh..actually the fermentation process takes a little bit longer than a day or two. Get off your high horse and stop your self promotion.

  4. Comment by Tom @ April 18, 2006, 4:09 pm

    I went to the same Trader Joes that you went to presumably (in Northville) and looked at the same wine you looked at and just couldn’t bring myself to buy some. First of all, they were sitting on top of cases and cases of wine; probably more than 50 cases. Second, the price makes me nervous. I love my cheap wine, but 2.99 is a bit too cheap. When I can get a 40oz of Malt Liquoer for MORE than a bottle of wine – that makes me nervous.

    If you’re in Michigan and want a bottle of inexpensive yet delicious wine, I prefer the “Wine Barrell” in Livonia (by the old Wonderland Mall) or “Cost Plus Wine” (in Eastern Market in Detroit). Plus, the one in Eastern Market is in Eastern Market which has FAAAR better food than the crappy suburban Trader Joes.

  5. Comment by suzy @ May 1, 2006, 3:21 pm

    Thanks for the review of Charles Shaw. My mom’s been buying it lately to show that she’s a sophisticated wine aficianado. It’s a step up from the boxed wine she used to drink – I just wish she’d stop chilling the cabs in the fridge before dinner…

    I couldn’t find a place on your site for recommending cheap wines. I’d like to suggest that you try the 2002 Crane Lake cab. We’ve been buying it at our corner liquor store for $4 and we think it’s a darn tolerable “table wine.”

    By the way, we think the Charles Shaw sucks butt.

  6. Comment by Victoria @ May 11, 2006, 8:17 am

    The 2 buck chuck is not THAT terrible. I mean, no it’s not even in the same category as a Whitehall Lane or a Silver Oak….but when cash has been tight for me in the past and I really wanted to drink a cab – it got the job done!!

  7. Comment by Scott Anderson @ May 16, 2006, 1:56 pm

    I agree with Michael above when he says that the 2-buck Chuck wines are not fabulous, but you know what they are? Pleasant little conceits. Drank the Merlot the other night with some pasta and red sauce. A revelation? NO! But a pleasant-enough beverage without me having to crack open a $20-40 bottle of the good stuff.

    I have always thought of wines in two categories; the first, wines that you can drink by themselves and you need nothing else to enjoy, and second, wines that tend to come alive with different foods.

    Two-Buck Chuck is the latter….drink it alone, and you might spend your time picking nits about it’s lightness or the occasional discordant note. Drink it with food, and it becomes a nice drink which matches well with a number of good foods. What the heck more can you demand from 2 or 3 dollar wine?

    It ain’t a $40 bottle of my beloved Robert Biale Vineyards Zinfandel or Petite Sirah, but then what is?

  8. Comment by BoxWineGuy @ May 16, 2006, 7:10 pm

    Like you, I’m nowhere near a Trader Joes. On a recent trip east, I had a chance to pick up a bottle of the Charles Shaw cab. I guess I was impressed that someone could create a bottle of wine, sell it for two bucks, and still have something remotely wine-like. Overall, I’d prefer to ratchet the per-bottle price up to 5 or 6 bucks (still really cheap) and get a better wine – a nice Aussie shiraz, or California merlot. I’m glad I finally had a chance to give Two Buck Chuck a try, though.

  9. Comment by Anthony J Biacco @ May 17, 2006, 2:37 pm

    We were given a bottle of this 2 buck chuck a couple days ago by a friend. Haven’t drunk it yet, so my jury is still out on it’s quality and value. But as a student and connoisseur of wine, i’d like to add a few things about the wide range of comments i’ve read here.
    First, I respect the original reviewer’s opinion on the wine. If he likes it, great, good for him. For him it’s a great ‘value’. He didn’t say if anyone else should like it, just that he liked it. He wasn’t speaking on its quality as an expert, so it’s all good.
    In the wine world, as a general rule of thumb, we say that better ‘quality’ wine is more expensive.
    ‘Good values’ obviously represent better quality for less money than it’s worth.
    When serious people review wine, and when i say serious, i mean sommeliers, magazines, master blenders, anyone credentialed and looking for fact and trurth, the range of differences in reviews is very small. You’re not giving a whole lot of opinion, you’re trying to give fact. This wine has tannins, this wine doesn’t have tannins, high acidity, low acidity, etc..
    When common people review wine, the range of differences in reviews is very large. It’s mostly opinion and based on the reviewer’s ‘taste’. Some people like dry wines, some hate them.
    We’ll always have people that love a particular wine, and others that will hate it. As long as we discern whether we’re giving our opinion rather that our expert analysis, we should be fine in agreeing to disagree.
    As for my expert analysis on cheap wines as this one, in our industry, I think it’s a good way to get people into wine, but i think people should be aware, through education, magazines, dicsussions, whatever, of the range of quality and prices, and the general rule of thumb.
    As for my opinion, i’d rather 1 bottle of my favorite $20 wine, than 10 bottles of a $2 one. But that’s just me.
    Decide for yourself.

  10. Comment by Gophers Rule @ June 3, 2006, 9:22 pm

    Bought a case of this the other day at a new TJ’s in MN.

    Got the case home and was pulling out bottles to stock the shelf with. As I accidentally clanged two bottles together one of the bottles exploded-sending 750ml’s of Shiraz onto my near white carpet.

    Note to all: This wine is very good but in addition to taking advantage of grape purchasing power-the mfgr of this wine is clearly cutting other corners including the quality of the bottles they bottle this stuff in.

  11. Comment by Gaia @ June 13, 2006, 2:17 am

    This wine is horrible. If you’re going to bring this to a party, you’re better off not bringing anything.

  12. Comment by Mitch Richmond @ June 18, 2006, 1:37 am

    I almost vomited when I read the pious review by Daniel Clayton. What a quant little fellow. However, the review was so boring, drawn-out, and lacked any sort of cohesiveness. The bias was so obvious.

    Two buck chuck is ….well……two buck chuck.

    Please don’t try to promote your sub-par eatery in such a disparate manner. I’m offended.

    http://www.nibblerseatery.xxx

  13. Comment by Anonymous Coward @ June 30, 2006, 7:48 am

    For the person who hates the Charles Shaw, but loves the Crane Lake. Hate to tell you this, but Bronco produces both brands.

    2$C is a good dinner wine … it makes no pretension of being the sort of haute couture wine that should be sipped reverently from crystal goblets after spending ghastly sums of money. It’s just a reliable, pleasant beverage to have with dinner. I’ve had better, but I’ve also had lots worse.

  14. Comment by sean moran @ July 6, 2006, 11:00 pm

    You all need to get your hands off your johnsons for just 1 minute and think about the absurdity of everything that has been written here. You have all obviously consumed far to much wine of any calibre. Sheesh

  15. Comment by Osama bin 32 Merlot @ July 6, 2006, 11:05 pm

    Ingrates! You should try Fatwa Freds 40 shackle shiraz. Sure it tastes like camels piss, but then, since when did you filthy Americans have any taste at all? Two Buck Chucks is stupid I tell you.

  16. Comment by Desertvino @ July 9, 2006, 9:46 am

    Two Buck chuck is American vin de table–a low quality mass produced wine like that which the French, Italians and Spanish have downed for centuries, and which cost less in its heyday than a bottle of Evian. Ironically, the thirst for flavorless industrial wine is dying in these countries.

    Perhaps there is a place in the US for tasteless mass produced wine to go with our tasteless mass produced beer, but rating it a “10″ is a joke.

  17. Comment by Kurt @ July 20, 2006, 3:53 pm

    I actually learned a lot from the pompous wine guy. My doctor told me to drink red wine, and I usually buy the Mondavi Woodbridge at TJoes for $4.99, so it’s good to know that snobby wine people approve.

  18. Comment by Larry @ July 25, 2006, 1:01 am

    Daniel Clayton posted a great review and seems to be somoene well aquainted with the wine world. He did not suggest abandoning CS if you liked it, he only suggested tasting it alongside some other lower cost wines for comparison. He also provided some great information on the winemaker that I had not heard of. So, relax all.

    My wife drinks the CS Chardonnay and likes it. “It’s good” she says. Then again, my wife cannot tell the difference between CS and a $80 bottle. Her response is always the same “it’s good.” So for her, I only buy the CS Chardonnnay and I could care less (I only drink red). My wife admits she does not have discriminating tastes and also loves eating at the Red Lobster. But, I digress.

    Last week I bought a bottle of CS Cabernet to use in making a cabernet reduction sauce. With the excess wine, I had a blind tasting with a mid-priced Napa Cab. There was no comparison, I only needed to smell (not even taste) one wine to know which was which. The CS was flat and lacked any charachter. It tasted terrible. I am not a wine expert.

    I cannot afford to drink $100 bottles of fine Napa juice everyday. However, for an everyday wine, I would look elsewhere. There are some great value wines out there that work just fine for me. Thank you to Daniel for suggesting some!

    Let’s not forget the rule of wine. If you like it, it is a good wine. For me, CS is not a good wine. Just my opinion.

  19. Comment by Eric @ September 1, 2006, 12:51 am

    OK…I work for a wine distributor in Seattle as a sales rep. I have several of the TOP restaurant accounts in this city. For those of you familiar with Seattle, it has a very esteemed and vibrant restaurant scene and one of the finest wine growing regions in the world nearby (ever hear of Quilceda Creek? Several 100 point ratings from Parker and the Wine Speculator).

    My 2 cents: Who are we fricking kidding? Two Buck Chuck sucks by any stretch of the imagination. And I chuckle when I here the dude above talking about not wanting to open a 20-40 dollar bottle of wine with pasta. I get a HELL of a lot of wine FREE, and I still wouldn’t open a bottle at that price on an everyday basis. (By the way, with that meal, a good, cheap bottle of Chianti or any Sangiovese-based wine would beat the holy crap out of a merlot) How about a Straccali Chianti, widely available at 8 bucks most places, or Placido, 12 bucks for a 1.5 liter? It kills me that it’s such a race to the bottom. Will 4-5 bucks extra really hurt the bottom line so much that you have to buy a wine one step up from paint thinner?

    Jesus….I’ll go back to drinking my Laboure-Roi Pinot at 9 bucks and pray you race-to-the-bottom types go back to drinking Coors Light like you used to.

  20. Comment by Liz Brown @ September 2, 2006, 6:59 pm

    Close to Two Buck Chuck: Four Buck Schmuck. Crane Lake’s Cab Sav was $3.00 at the local farmer’s market today. It’s amazingly smooth and tasty – no it’s not complex but for cripe’s sake it’s only$3.00!!!! Another cheap cab sav I recommend is Stone Cellars (Beringer) which I get for $4.00 a bottle at the local grocery store.

    I typically spend $10 on my cabs, but because I drink a glass (or two) nightly, I also love to find a decent cheapo wine. These two qualify!!!

  21. Comment by Steve Skalish @ September 14, 2006, 2:35 pm

    I will fully admit that I am a novice wine drinker. I am far from an expert on any of this. I just got into wine this year.

    I’ve heard so much about Charles Shaw wines, and I love Trader Joe’s. But being from PA, I could not purchase it here. However, yesterday since I was in Washington DC for business, I made it a point to go across the river to Alexandria, VA and purchase a case just to see for myself. I drove it back to PA happily.

    I tried the cabernet last night. Now, maybe some of you wine snobs have issues with it. I’m not advanced enough in my tasting to really go into whether it’s better than a $20 bottle of cabernet which I’ve had in my past and enjoyed.

    But I’ll say this… the Charles Shaw cabernet tasted good to me. And even at the price of $3.29 a bottle which is what it is sold at in VA, I consider it a great deal on a bottle of wine.

    Tonight, I may try the merlot. And I have shiraz and chardonnay waiting for me in the future.

    No, I wouldn’t bring this bottle as a gift for someone’s party. But I would happily invite friends over and share it with them.

    And it made me really happy that I could buy a case of wine for the same price I used to pay for two bottles. I’m not made of money, and anytime I can get a good deal on a drinkable wine and have more of it on hand, I’m loving that.

    As I’ve been told at the many wineries in PA that are near me, it really doesn’t matter in the end. The only thing that matters is what your personal tastebuds say. And anyone who tries to force their “sophisticated” tastebuds on me can go away. While I value anyone’s opinion and am happy to read about it, anyone who looks down on me for drinking Charles Shaw is not someone I would drink wine with in the first place.

    That’s just how I roll.

  22. Comment by d man @ September 16, 2006, 3:37 am

    i’m not about to go postal about wines, for heaven sakes. but i am interviewing for a postal job and next week i take a urine test, so maybe…,aww, forget it! spealing of personal taste, i like a wine that stands alone; i drink not only for the taste but for the slight buzz…and i try to drink responsibly when nothings going on what with family and all, maybe twice a month. i’m a fruity reisling kinda guy with about 6 different bottles of various warieties before me right now at my desk- a scuppernong from NC, some reislings i’m saving from Washington and i’m pretty sure are top drawer, Sutter, Turning Leaf and Beringer zinfandels. I was using the web to find out which one was the best to save so i could take it to my brother-in-laws as a gift (and drink it with him, of course!) He’s always treating me to off-the-wall imported beers. Anyway, the wines were cheap- all less than $8 except one of the Washington wines which i can’t find right now..#$*^%$ bleep bleep. Anyway, i appreciated all the advice above (especially daniel, larry and steve) and from other sites that i visited. i have made up my mind that my worst bet is probably a 2004 banrock station shiraz, and yes, from personal experience i’m thinking the year can make a big diff. I will put that poor bottle of wine out of its misery tomorrow if i can. but for my 2 cents worth, hang onto the empty bottle of the wine you really liked and go out soon after while it is still available and buy some more for your friends and inlaws. oh, and for yourself, too… you deserve a break today as mcdonald’s use to say.

  23. Comment by brian @ September 21, 2006, 10:16 pm

    Well, We are all going a little crazy about this wine.. First off just so everyone knows Wine is all up to the eye of the beholder, just because you think it is camel piss does not mean that the next person will.

    For the price of 2 buck chuck I really dont see how you can complain about it.. it is under 4 dollars a bottle and we know it is not going to score in the 90′s, but we can say for the price you cannot beat it.. Some people really dig it.. I must say I keep some around the house, because you never know when you are going to need a quick bottle.. my wife and I like to keep a bottle open at all times, because that is how we roll.. We like wine and you never know when someone is going to stop over and share a glass.. Some of my friends are way into wine and we might open a bottle of Brander to show off we have good taste too, but for the price and for the person who does not make 6 figures a year and wants to have wine all the time.. there is nothing wrong with keeping a case of two buck chuck on hand.

    I do choose other wines over two buck chuck now that I have been drinking wine more often and can gadge the 2×4 taste of their Chardonnay.’

    blahh.. my point is if someone can find a bottle of wine for the price that is better share it with us so we can all induldge in the new taste and replace our stock of 2 buck chuck with a 4 dollar hollar or something…

    oh yeah and if you want a 15 dollar bottle of Sav. Blanc remember this BRANDER!!!!! YOU WILL LOVE IT

  24. Comment by buck in chicago @ October 13, 2006, 10:59 pm

    I buy 6 to 10 cases of 3 buck chuck syrah for a party my group throws once a year. $35 for live cajun music, food, and all you can drink beer (Berghoffs, good stuff), wine or hurricanes, all in a spectacular setting. Nuff said, gotta keep it cheap. I find the syrah to be preferable over the cab. But it’s not what I would drink everyday; for everyday use, I believe you should kick it up a notch. Try Francis Coppola Rosso at $7-8, a good deal. Or Cusumano Nero D’Avola from Sicily for $9-11, depending on where you shop. Both good performers. Not cheap, but not $20 either. Best bet is if you have a real liquor store in your area that carries a lot of stuff, as they may have a close-out section that prices stuff way low. I picked up some AU Shiraz for $8 that normally retailed for $18. Bobby Burns is the producer. That’s the way to do it. Remember, liquor stores generally mark up their items 100% over cost unless there’s a price war going on, restaurants 300%. Do your due diligence–buy one, test it out asap, and if it cuts the mustard, buy a shitload more.

  25. Comment by suzee @ November 2, 2006, 4:59 am

    Hey Daniel,
    Please do give us your recommendations list. I think it would be very useful to have a list of good and accessible wines, especially for those of us “on a budget” as they say in the travel trade.

  26. Comment by Bert Kritzer @ November 3, 2006, 9:17 pm

    TJ’s has opened in Madison, Wisconsin, a couple of weeks ago, and following the suggestion of my California-colleged daughter, I had to at least try the 2$C. Better than the rot gut the local large wine stores are selling in competition, but I would take a $5-7 bottle of Spanish wine over it without hesitation (and I found at least one such bottle at TJs).

    (BTW, a couple of years ago, I was in a small town in northern Spain, and wondered into the local wine distributor. Low and behold there were lots of 3 or 4 liter containers of wine in plastic milk jugs. Not surprising that wine in Spain is less than the bottled water …)

  27. Comment by Celeste @ November 5, 2006, 5:50 pm

    Hello,
    I don’t know very much about wines but I want to start drinking a red wine for the health benefits. I think I would like to buy it in 1/2 to 1 gallon? Any good red wines here? I want to stay away from the sweet wines but not too dry, suggestions?
    Here in Oregon we have TJ’s and a chain called “Grocery Outlet” they have a fantastic selection of discount and discontinued wines!
    Thanks

  28. Comment by Gwen @ November 9, 2006, 5:52 pm

    For anyone looking for reasonably priced white wines, I recommend Turner Road Chardonnay and Fat Bastard Chardonnay. For reds, try Smoking Loon Pinot Noir or Fish Eye Cabernet.

  29. Comment by Bill @ November 16, 2006, 11:26 pm

    Ahhhhh…..Two Buck Chuck. I like some of their wine as my vin ordinaire. The Merlot and the Gamay Beaujolais/Valdiguie work well for this. The Cab is not that hot…pretty bad actually (I am a Cab snob I reckon)…neither is their Pinot Grigio….doesn’t even come close to a good one (I am a Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris snob too I guess). Their Sauvignon Blanc is their best white but I do generally go for something else anyways. Shiraz can work too sometimes but hey…to sum it up some of their stuff works for everyday drinking. This wine is perfect for music festivals and watching the sunset after an afternoon of surfing. I live in Monterey so I get to do that every so often. I’ve had sublime wines that cost
    $5.00 and have had some pretty bad $75.00 bottles of wine. I wish I could drink Beaulieu Georges de Latour Private Reserve everyday but old Two Buck Chuck fills the gap during ordinary everyday imbibing!!

  30. Comment by Ryan @ November 17, 2006, 2:58 pm

    Oh my god people get a life! Two Buck Chuck is an amazing value- I like to have a glass of wine or two a night and there is no way I am going to pay $10+ a bottle on my everyday drinking wine. It tastes as good, if not better, than any bottle of wine I’ve tried that was under $20. Yes I can appreciate finer wines, but what the hell – I am not going to spend $60 for my everyday wine, and if I can’t tell the difference between $14 YellowTail or similar wines and $2.95 Two Buck chuck , why not go w/ the value?

    Its as good as any table wine I’ve tried (with a few exceptions- Red Truck is a favorite of mine), and I can go and buy a case for under $30! I tend to finish a bottle every three days or so- it is not as if i am going to ‘age’ my Two Buck Chuck wine hoping it will appreciate in value!

    I also give it a 10+++++ rating- it is that good of a deal, and that good of a wine!

  31. Comment by Mike@frontiernet.net @ November 23, 2006, 11:20 pm

    Wine snobs are wine snobs. Winerys sound like crybabies when complaining about making an affordable wine. Sure, they all hate it. The wine salesmen hate it, because they don’t have it…and it has forced prices DOWNWARD on all wines, creating more value for everyone. The snobby little PHD Daddy Dude doesn’t like it because it doesn’t fit in with his “california closeted cool” idea of what wine should be. There is no denying, most “sophisticate” wine drinkers are a bit out there, not quite on Mars, but definitely to the moon. Like bicycylists, they want the best for nothing. And they whine when they don’t get it. So, there you have it. An explanation of wine snobbery.

  32. Comment by John @ November 25, 2006, 5:04 am

    After turning 21 some months ago, I began to sample various alcoholic beverages. I started with beer, but fell quickly in love with wine upon the first sip (and especially from reading about the health benefits of wine :) Although I am still rather new to wine, I have been able to taste some delicious examples of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, bordeaux and even some fortified wines as port.

    Charles Shaw, a.k.a ” two-buck-chuck” , at $1.99, made me very curious. Could it be an actual value, or perhaps, real trash? I poured a glass and let my tastebuds decide.

    The results?

    The aroma was rather tame and mild, but the taste was the complete opposite: wild and sour! I could barely finish half a glass due to it’s nature, but then, an idea came to mind. What if I let oxidation take it’s course on the wine? For most, that would prove disastrous, but SURPRISINGLY, after letting it stay in the fridge for about 7-8 days (after opening the bottle), the wine became very tasty. Maybe I should try this on other wines that have a “wild” first impression…

    Bottom line: For me, Charles Shaw wines are very drinkable AFTER they have been opened and left to settle in the fridge for about a week.

  33. Comment by Stan @ December 1, 2006, 3:11 am

    CS Cabernet and Chardone are pretty crappy, but Merlot is not bad at all, especially at $1.99. At least it does not stink with artifical oak scents as other cheap wines. In the range below $10 I can name very few better than CS Merlot.

  34. Comment by Jonathan Wendel @ December 28, 2006, 11:34 pm

    “but SURPRISINGLY, after letting it stay in the fridge for about 7-8 days (after opening the bottle), the wine became very tasty. Maybe I should try this on other wines that have a “wild” first impression…”

    Yeah. Why don’t you also try boiling or freezing it to see what surprises THEY hold?

  35. Comment by Mr. Misanthrope @ December 30, 2006, 7:12 pm

    >> …but SURPRISINGLY, after letting it stay
    >> in the fridge for about 7-8 days… the
    >> wine became very tasty.

    My wife seems to enjoy Chuck’s offerings, so I’ve had ample opportunity to experience the “bouquet” of week-old CS Cab as it makes its short journey from bottle to drain. The Upper-Midwesterners in the audience will likely understand when I say, predictably, uff da!!

  36. Comment by Feirce wine shopper @ January 2, 2007, 10:23 pm

    This entire chain seems a bit mind-boggling to me. I live in New York and had only 2 years ago tasted however-many-bucks-chuck (depending upon where you buy it) in California ona vist there. I was hoping to be an enthusistic supporter when NY got it’s first outlest, however the first two bottles of red were an undrinkable cabernet and a shiraze that you could choke down in a pinch.

    What I find so dissapointing about the commendary here is that everyone is posting as though they had tasted the same bottle of wine, yet somehow disagree as to its cost to benfit ratio. It is essential to differintiate wines that are blended on a mas ssclae (which cross vintages and climates), with wines produced in almost any more traditional way.

    I agree that some vats of 2BC are remarkably good for the price–but it is ESSENTIAL to understand that there is enormous variation in quality from month to month, case to case. It’s not as though they do one vintage release per year. However, I say this not as a criticism, but just as a way of clarifying and perhaps partially accounting for how several people might purchase the “same” wine, only to find the contents quite different.

    So, recognizing that we are specifically looking at ready-to-drink wines which are produced in such numerous vats and quantities that the label is nearly meangless (excepts as to the most predominent grape used) Trader Joes still has a bit to learn.

    Given all of that, I find the Chuck product is largely remarkable (both good and bad). The worst you could do is have decent cooking wine from it. And the varitials differe greatly. Certain grapes simply do not lend themseves very easily to immediate release and consumption–Cabernet, perhaps the most prominant Calafornia varietal among them.

    The real news here is that the technology of wine production–whth the ablility to controll nearly every aspect from temperature, pressure, sugar, humidity & acidity–has become so sophisticated (i.e controllable) in the laste twenty years, that a good vinter can produce drinkable wine out of grapes one would have thought of as completely unsalvagable untill very recently.

    If you MUST pay only 2-3 bucks for mass-market blended wines, by all means go for TJ’s. However I would venture to say that Australia is far ahead of America in producing large quatities of blened wines with remarkable regularity and consistency. I find that year inand year out, the Lindeman’s Bin series (produced as vintage releases) is perhaps the most consistently outstanding value in mass-blended wines. In New York I can get it for about 5 bucks a bottle, and the Bin 65 Chardionay tastes like a wine three times the price. (Unfortunately in less competitive markets, I have seen the same Bin series sell from between $9-13/bottle., and even occassionally in new York)

    Bit I am not writing this so much to recommend Lindemann’s Bin series, as to emphasiize that when it comes to mass-produced wines that are intended to be consumed shortly after release, consistancy is the most essential quality, given the huge number of cases produced. TJ’s just isn’t there yet. Unfortunatley, most of Califonia isn’t there yet, but that may be because it mostly seeks a higher-end market. Case by case, I would look to Zew Zeland and Australia as the countries who have produced the greatest quantity for the longest time of reasonably priced wines intended for mass market with the highest level of consistency–no matter the year or climate conditions. Just don’t expect to spend 3 bucks!

    Still when just a decent cup of coffee cost 2-3 bucks, I’m not sure why someone wouldn’t opt to spend, say six to eight dollars to get a truely wonderful ready to drink bottle of wine that serves at least four firends!

  37. Comment by StylinGirl @ January 11, 2007, 5:12 pm

    All very interesting in deed!

    For my $.02, 2$C is a fine stash when the budget runs dry and I’m too tired, lazy, drained or just plain out of the better stuff. In a pinch, its better than nothing!

    Cheers!

  38. Comment by Veronica @ January 13, 2007, 11:40 pm

    We blind tasted Two Buck Chuck in my wine class. Everyone liked it. The only thing was no one could tell WHAT grape we were tasting. The Cab tasted like Zin. But if you don’t mind that, then what the heck? It’s two bucks. If you drink this, guzzle it down immediately. Don’t allow it to breathe for anything longer than 20 minutes, then its terrible.

  39. Comment by Alicia @ January 17, 2007, 4:56 am

    DON’T WORRY!
    if someone has the capacity to differentiate between high quality wines and low quality lines, no amount of $2 wine will change that. a good palate is something that cannot be bought or sold. charles shaw will not destroy wine as we know it. this wine simply gives college kids something smoother than ernest and julio gallo to drink. and if some wine snobs you know claim that $2 chuck is great, they are just outing themselves as ignorant wannabes. its a litmus test. as long as we have wealthy people, or discerning people, or both, high quality, expensive wine will never disappear.

  40. Comment by Jorge @ January 17, 2007, 10:22 pm

    I presume the purpose of this weblog was to share ideas about extremely affordable wines and educate/inform readers, so wish to say the colorful blog trail that precedes has certainly accomplished that. Contrary to several critical remarks, I found Daniel’s contribution to be particularly informative.

    2$Chuck is certainly the ‘Yugo’ of American wines that might also be best categorized as ‘chemical wines’, usually without vintage and often barely meeting their required predominant varietal composition but if Dave wants to give it a 10/10 rating, it’s his prerogative. If not detected by one’s palate while being consumed, such chemical wines can often leave a brutal reminder hangover the following morning (like poor champagne).

    We too have found bottles of the identical product from different stores or purchase timeframes to taste completely differently, perhaps because of age, batch storage or shipping differences (heat exposure can damage these chemical wines alot quicker than more traditionally aged blends), so the ONLY way to consume this Cab is with spicy foods or cheese.

    My enophile friends and I have often interrogated winemakers/chemists from places like Barefoot Cellars, and discovered that as much as they try to maintain consistency over time, successive batches are often ‘mixed’ differently (and even repaired or salvaged with unconventional mixology). Sometimes you get what you pay for.

    2$chuck tasted acceptable the first time I tried it, then tasted really bad another time. If bargain dry reds are what you seek, I’d also recommend trying Jacob’s Creek Aussie Shiraz, Egri Bikaver Hungarian Bulls Blood, Rene Barbier Catalunya Red or PKNT Chilean Cabs. All are mass-produced traditionally so should be available at TJ’s and other major liquor store chains across the country for between ?($2 & $6).

    For a few bucks more, it’s hard to go wrong with Bogle’s Petite Syrah the past two years, or any of the others listed as ‘Bargains’ by Wine Spectator or Enthusiast magazines from time to time.

    Wine pricing is mostly a game of supply&demand and often based upon location and trendiness, so Cabernet Sauvignon varietals are usually pricier than Shiraz or Zins and Pinot Noir prices have dramatically risen since the movie “Sideways” became popular 2 years ago.

    Something else most wine thrifty drinkers probably don’t realize is that the least expensive wines aren’t by any means the poorest tasting. If a restaurant wine smells and tastes like vinegar, you have every right to ‘return’ it. Too many people have drank overly-aged swill for fear of appearing rude… and if you don’t particularly like the wine selection or 100%+ mark-ups at many restaurants, most states allow you bring your chosen bottle(s) along for a modest ‘corkage fee’!
    I haven’t bought a restaurant wine in years, but have sure saved a bundle by bringing my own.

    I think it’s important to keep making new discoveries, enjoying yourself in a relaxed environment and not getting ripped off by phonies as you drink the fruits of the vine. Unless you’re overly concerned about ‘image’, it’s OK to quaff cheap wines, because thousands of tastings have proven that everyone’s palate tends to be dynamically different.

    Besides there’s an old Latin phrase from millenia ago that roughly translates “In matters of taste, there is no dispute.”

  41. Comment by Daniel Clayton @ January 18, 2007, 8:21 pm

    Wow,
    I go a bit too in depth on my first online blog review, and look at the response.
    I get people calling me pious, pompous, quaint & self-aggrandizing. Someone thinks Nibblers is expensive, or even snobby. I get email looking for recommendations for cheap wine, thanking me for standing up against a wine they don’t like or asking me where to get a copy of my dad’s dissertation.
    Unfortunately, I guess I have a little more to say.
    I am a wine snob, but I’m not a wine snob.
    Wine is the only alcoholic beverage I regularly consume, and just in the course of business, I taste between 20 & 30 wines each week. My wine bar offers around 50 wines by the glass & the selection changes constantly, so I’m always on the lookout for good wines at good prices. I don’t sell any wine for less than $5.75 a glass, and I don’t sell any wine for more than $13.25 a glass(excluding dessert wines). In this area, in a fine dining restaurant context, that puts me right in the middle ground. A similar nearby restaurant has $30 glass offerings, and they sell a good number, but they are courting a different clientele. Come in to eat and/or drink, and then tell me Nibblers is snobby or expensive.
    I don’t think wine needs to be expensive. Bonny Doon is one of my favorite CA wineries, and the offer a number of wines at very affordable prices, in addition to importing a number of obscure Italian wines at great pricing. It’s no mistake that I’m currently carrying six of their wines. Jon Dreyer of Dreyer Sonoma Winery produces excellent varietally distinct wines from Sonoma & Mendocino at very advantageous pricing; and my sales rep had to apologize last week that the price had risen $6/case on the new vintage. It’s still a bargain.
    My original review was just to give a bit of perspective. Good wine is wine which tastes good to the person drinking it. But a 10/10 wine should taste at least good to most tasters. And the commentary on this blog should at least confirm that a good number of people do not appreciate the Charles Shaw Cab.
    I know theis site’s called “CheapWineReviews.com”, but if price is the only factor, why drink wine? For the alcoholic content, you’d be better with malt liquour. For flavor, check out Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew. TJ’s sells it for about $4 a four pack, and I bet it would be the perfect chaser for a bottle of One Buck Chuck! It’d really clear out the palate.
    Wine drinkers looking for good priced high quality wines shouldn’t miss the offerings from Sobon Estate & Shenandoah Vineyards in Amador County. The Sobon family produces a great quantity of very good wine all from organically grown grapes from their own estate. And the prices, especially on the Shenandoah wines, are excellent.
    I’d hope that responders are at least concerned about what I’ve written, and less inclined to make personal attacks.

  42. Comment by Wavydavey @ January 20, 2007, 1:27 am

    Two Buck Chuck – Sucks. I am not a long time wine drinker, but not a newbie either. If you are going for a “Cheap” wine then I suggest an inexpensive wine, but it is not a “Cheap” wine. For $6.99 at Sam’s club you can get a wonderful Cab – Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon. This has been my staple wine now for about 3.5 years and I have never been let down yet. I had heard all the hype about the whole “Two-buck-chuck” thing and had to try some out. As I was pouring the glass, I knew something was wrong. There was a horrible stench coming from the glass. I trudged forward..I had to try it. I took one sip and almost gagged. I thought to myself…you have to go forward as so many people have said that this was good stuff. So I took a second drink, and could not take the bottle fast enough to the sink to pour it out. I will NOT be buying any more Two-buck-chuck ever.

    PS, I actually want to thank Daniel Clayton. I had actually bought a bottle of the Forest Glen wine from my grocery store, and it too was swill. I am glad to know that it was from Bronco. I will purposely stay away from their wines. No sense in pouring wine down the drain.

  43. Comment by Wavydavey @ January 20, 2007, 1:33 am

    Oops, I did not read Daniel Clayton’s last post and would like to add a comment to his reference to Sobon Family Wines. Both wineries are a treat to visit and buy wines from. I was just there last weekend, and I am still itching to get back there.

  44. Comment by Ed @ January 29, 2007, 10:02 pm

    Fred Franzia, President
    Annual US Sales: 20,000,000 cases
    (Wine Business Monthly est)

    Fred Franzia
    Bronco Wine Company makes wines under the ForestVille, Estrella, Charles Shaw, Montpellier, Grand Cru, Silver Ridge, Rutherford Vintners, Hacienda, FoxHollow and Napa Ridge brands, among many others. With thousands of acres of vineyard holdings, this is a bulk wine producer with serious bulk capacity. Bronco makes wine in Ceres, California and in Napa, California under contract to Barrel Ten Quarter, which it owns. In 2003, Bronco purchased a production facility in Escalon, California from Constellation Brands.

    Bronco is best known as the company behind Charles Shaw, nicknamed “Two-Buck Chuck.” Bronco created a stir in the wine industry in early 2003 by selling its Charles Shaw brand for $1.99 in Trader Joe’s Company locations and has sold more than 10 million cases during the last two years.

    Bronco controls 30,000 acres of California vineyards, processed roughly 300,000 tons of grapes last year and thus produces roughly 20 million cases of wine, though much of it is sold in bulk to other wine companies. Bronco is led by Fred Franzia, a nephew of Ernest Gallo, and Franzia is one of the most successful individuals in the wine business. The Franzia family, which has no relationship to Franzia brand boxed wine, has made wine in California for over 100 years.

    “We see continuing emphasis on the value side of the quality: value relationship, with consumers recognizing that very good wine does not have to be expensive,” Franzia told Wine Business Monthly. “There are plenty of grapes to continue excellent values all along the price niches, and there continues to be plenty of wine all over the globe. Some people said that the ‘super value’ category would not last through this year, but we see it going on well into the future. We have the grapes.”

    The Franzia family has always been for “a bottle of wine on every American table,” said Franzia. “This year we challenged the restaurant industry to try to put a bottle on every restaurant table [see WBM June, 2004]. We’ve gotten considerable support from wine publications and restaurant patrons, but we’ve only heard of a couple of restaurants that will put a bottle on their list for under $10. I hope 2005 will see some positive developments there.”
    WBM’s Top 30 US Wine Companies of 2004

  45. Comment by Ed @ January 29, 2007, 10:09 pm

    My comments above seem to belie the accusations made that Bronco simply buys cheap grapes from anywhere they can.
    As to wine in Europe, including France, you can buy good wine and bad wine there, also. California has the most consistent growing conditions, normally, so California has better grapes, ergo better wine, more often than anywhere else…except that there a regions in Spain that share the wonderful wine grape growing climates and consistency. Try Spanish wine..try a nice bottle of Rioja once in awhile, you may enjoy it.

  46. Comment by T.Ferg @ February 2, 2007, 9:32 pm

    I love reading comments from wine snobs. I never tire of laughing at their pompus “I am better than you” attitude.

    Wine is only good wine if the taster thinks it is. If someone tastes a $50.00 bottle of wine and think it’s crap, guess what, it’s crap. If someone tastes a $2.00 bottle of wine and thinks it’s heaven, guess what, it’s heaven.

    We live in a world where the “common man” controls the market because what the common man can afford is what sells. Us common folk (in another time and place we may have been called peasants) tend to like “Two Buck Chuck” so I suppose it’s here to stay.

    Sorry snobs. Suck it up.

  47. Comment by J. Stengel @ February 4, 2007, 12:25 am

    What a bunch of sour grapes! You big bucks-complexity snobs are missing a key point here. Nowhere did anyone promoting their favorite cheap wines address the “Headache-In- A-Bottle” phenomenon. Yes there are more complex flavors to be had at low prices (not $2/bottle low), but how will you feel in the AM? Certainly a big part of Charles Shaw’s popularity comes from how well it treats its consumers. Somehow Shaw pulls it off and so why can’t the others? I’ve poured many of them down the sink. Sure I’ll explore complexities and spend the big bucks for special occasions, but really appreciate having such a pleasant and affordable (for a retiree) daily drink. If that makes me a shallow person or a peasant, so be it. Thanks T.J.

  48. Comment by Danny @ February 9, 2007, 2:03 pm

    Well, I go to law school in Upstate NY, and would like to think that I am lucky enough to go to some of America’s best wineries on the East Coast. I’ve come to like quite a few expensive bottles of wine, and some of the Crane Lakes and other bottles for everyday drinking. I’ve had some of 2BC, and its certainly not the best, but its not the worst I’ve had either. For 40 dollars a case in Ohio, you cannot pass up the deal. I agree though, with the majority of the other postings on this site, that drink what you want, let people tell you what they think. For the “common man”, this is a decent wine for the price you are paying.

  49. Comment by Chuck @ February 23, 2007, 11:37 pm

    I’m likening all this complaining about Chuck’s wine being swell to those folks that flash their expensive diamonds, enjoying the status it brings them. The price of diamonds is horribly inflated. Without the suppliers keeping a strangle hold on supply, diamonds would be good-and-cheap. Chuck’s wine is cheap, so people complain because is makes them feel threatened having just spent $40 dollars on a bottle of wine – when they could have had a case of Chuck.

    I bet if a $30 brand of toilet paper hit the market, we’d suddenly have crap-paper aficionados staring down their noses at the simple mindedness of uneducated cheap-paper using defectors.

  50. Comment by Phillip @ March 2, 2007, 3:59 pm

    Are you kidding me? The wine is nicknamed “Two-Buck-Chuck,” not “Top-Shelf-Imposter.” Its a good cheap wine. Period. I recommend it to people who are throwing a party ( if you’re bringning ONE bottle TO a party, bump up a few notches ) and would like to have a few cases on hand. If I’ve got a tight budget, I’ll gladly buy a case of 2BC Cabernet instead of buying 3 glasses of a bottle that is slightly better.

    Take the article in CONTEXT, for a $2 bottle of wine, its damn good – and still better than MALT LIQUOR, which is a preposterous comparison.

  51. Comment by Ten Buck Ted @ March 28, 2007, 2:31 pm

    $2 Kool aid wines? No Thanks. Recommendation, buy anything from Bordeaux $10 or less any vintage any appellation and yes preferably sip it out of crystal tulip shaped goblet. Your wine drinking life will likely change and you may end up like me with a cellar full of expensive wine I can’t bring myself to drink and more debt than a Banana Republic. Perhaps if we’re lucky in 20 years we’ll both end up in Burgundy.

  52. Comment by linuxdave @ March 28, 2007, 9:23 pm

    Haha, I’ll see you in Burgundy in 20 years, Ted!

  53. Comment by Two dollar buzz @ April 7, 2007, 12:36 am

    For a two dollar buzz It wasn’t the worst. Stop complaining and drink a glass and eat a hotdog or something to go with it. That’s how I roll.

  54. Comment by Ted @ April 18, 2007, 12:37 pm

    Like anything, there are pros and cons. I was at a tiny winery in Napa speaking with the owner. He was frustrated by the wine market, “To hard to make it work”. Lots of grapes were going to be left on the vines do to a glut of product. Then a huge truck passed by and he said, “Probably more 2BC”. So i bought some of his nice but unremarkable wine out of desire to support this nice guy and his 110 year old family winery in a stunning setting. But unless i am standing beside a struggling vinter i dont feel bad buying a TJ shiraz.
    But the Cab is another story, i will drink almost anything but i thought it was sugarwine. Yuk.

  55. Comment by Bubba @ April 20, 2007, 4:48 pm

    All of you $2 CS wine drinkers. A la fattodo beers!
    Don’t know what it means. Look it up in the Soprano’s dictionary.

  56. Comment by michel @ May 10, 2007, 7:50 pm

    Thanks for your review on Charles Shaw’s cabernet. My father in law bought this swill by the case because it was cheap. I will drink cheap wine if it’s good but this wine is not very good – not with food nor as an aperitiv.

    First it is watery. Even in a “heavy red” like the Cabernet, there is very little body. It is a weak red with no texture, nothing on the nose, little or no finish and hardly a tickle of anything that resembles taste.

    If you want to stand around with a glass of red water in your hands, then by all means buy this wine. But don’t get it if you’re celebrating an anniversary or birthday with a loved one. It is not worthy of such a special occasion. Spend a couple bucks more and get a bottle of Mad Housewife cabernet. That wine is 10x better.

    I have to confess that when we went to my father in law’s house and had the Shaw Cabernet, we’d just gotten back from a wine tasting trip in Napa/Sonoma. My nose is used to enjoying some truly outstanding wine and will not tolerate wine that is passably drinkable.

  57. Comment by Tim Sutton @ May 12, 2007, 3:42 pm

    I am new to wine drinking, and yes, I have been influenced by the CBS show on 2BC, and even more so by the movie “Sideways”. I don’t want to spend 25 dollars for a bottle of wine, so I was interested in trying 2BC. Trader Joe’s recently opened in Cary, NC so I tried a bottle of Shiraz. It was pretty good, I thought. I even tried the Merlot, despite the fact that Miles in Sideways cried that he would leave if anyone ordered a Merlot. I am drinking a Pinot Grigio as I write this, and I would like to try a Pinot Noir. I think I will buy a Yellow Tail and see if that is any good. My point is that 2BC is a good place to start sampling wine, and then see where it takes you.

  58. Comment by Sandra @ May 27, 2007, 9:42 pm

    Have you tried the Merlot yet?
    And in response to Daniel C’s post (below), regardless of Trader Joe’s business practices, at least they pass the savings on to their customers! Additionally, they are committed to organic, sustainable products and fair trade.

  59. Comment by Jen @ May 31, 2007, 10:10 am

    Egads! One would never guess that a cheap wine would cause such an outroar! Hey wine snobs, stay away – you are too superior to slum in the likes of those that enjoy 2 Buck Chuck.
    2 Buck Chuck is a great wine for sitting on the deck with 10-15 friends, waiting for salads to be tossed and the steaks to be finished on the grill.
    I used to think of myself as a snob, but now I think differently. Enjoy what you already do and to hell with those who can’t bear to tip their head down.

  60. Comment by Chuck Bogardus @ May 31, 2007, 6:54 pm

    Writing from the heart of Missouri’s wine country…

    Hey, overall, Chuck isn’t all that bad. IMHO, beats the heck outta the ol’ Gallo Hearty Burgundy… Anyone remember those days?

    I’ve drank some much worse $8-9 (or more…) wines…

    Seems like most of the folks are comparing the stuff to $10+ wines… That says something right there. If I’m doing a nice dinner, then some nice stuff comes out. If I’m having friends over, or making some sorta strange mixed concoction, Chuck’s right there…

    Oh, and welcome to the world of market dynamics and capitalism… The same people who buy expensive wines still buy expensive wines. The wineries are just upset that Chuck’s in business, and not all that bad.

  61. Comment by Gordon Wagner @ June 7, 2007, 12:07 pm

    I’ve paid far more than two dollars for wine that was not as enjoyable as 2$C. I didn’t care for the Shiraz but I buy the Cab by the case. And drink it.

    Why is wine that’s no better than 2$C sold for $6-$12? Spanish and Chilean wines I’ve tried have been excellent and real bargains, but for an everyday table wine I have no issues whatsoever with 2$C.

  62. Comment by Angela @ July 1, 2007, 4:10 pm

    I didn’t read all 61 comments, but I had to laugh at the first one from Mr. Clayton. I live in NH, and I’ll admit that most of the people around here drink beer like there’s no tomorrow. I made a cake for a wedding a couple of weeks ago, and there were 12 CASES of beer sitting on the floor of the kitchen at the reception hall when I walked in to deliver my work (I had never seen so much beer in one place!). My husband and I have no more than a standard middle-class income, and Mr Clayton would no doubt consider us “common”. However, neither of us can stand the taste of beer. We enjoy basic Beringer wines and occasionally attend a wine tasting to learn a little more, but we’re only going to drink what we like. If it costs two dollars, so much the better! Daniel Clayton is not doing himself any favors – perhaps he should come down to earth.

  63. Comment by jim @ July 12, 2007, 11:28 pm

    the gold medal on 2bc 2005 chardonay just broke on the news. dont know what all the experts will make of that!
    i love wine and like all other common folk that love wine ive found a few bargains from here and abroad on occasion. its a great delight when that happens. it seems harder to find a good low priced cab then any of the other robust reds. dont know why. 2bc is in the neighborhood of good for cheap. i drink it but i prefer the merlot or the shartz Crane is 3 bucks in our area and i think its slightly better. in anycase for all of you that have commented on wanting a lower priced bargain keep looking you’l find a delight of your own, unfortunately seldom exactly repeatable but great when it happens.
    happe drinking

  64. Comment by Well Read @ July 17, 2007, 11:21 pm

    today on MSN they reported a huge taste testing wines. Two Buck Chuck was the winner!
    Dave was way ahead of the curve. Congrats.
    Sorta reminds me of the WII against XBOX and PS3.

  65. Comment by Carey Wilson @ July 26, 2007, 6:45 pm

    I couldn’t spend my entire afternoon reading these comments, but somewhere along the line it struck me that most of the people popping off here forgot at some point that they are on a site called “cheapwinereviws.com” For those who have trouble decifering strung-together words, that translates as Cheap Wine Reviews. Not “Expensive Wine Reviews,” or even “Medium-priced Wine Reviews.”
    And for the record, as CHEAP wine conoisseur, I agree 100% with the original review.

  66. Comment by Anne @ August 5, 2007, 5:06 pm

    Two Buck Chuck goes well with cheap pizza. And there’s a time and place for cheap pizza.

  67. Comment by awa @ August 6, 2007, 1:38 am

    GREAT SITE, FUN TO READ.I WISH YOU WOULD PUBLISH A REGULAR PANELED REVIEW OF UNDER $10 WINES AND AND UNDER $20 WINES.

  68. Comment by Crystal @ August 12, 2007, 9:57 pm

    Well, as fun as it was to read most of these comments, I have to say Charles Shaw wasn’t the worst wine I’ve ever had. And at $2 a bottle, who can complain. I’m from Canada and was in California for a holiday earlier this year – my fiance and I had to try it just to say we had. Please consider that the cheapest bottle of wine I can find is made right here in Canada, in British Columbia, and is around $10 CAN (last weekend the Canadian dollar was worth about 95 cents to 1 US dollar – you do the math) and is almost worse than the CS. If there were a Trader Joe’s close by, I’d be buying the stuff by the case. My fiance and I are adult students and have 3 kids from previous marriages- so money is tight, but we do enjoy wine with dinner and friends occasionally. The drawback – the heartburn.
    Thanks for listening!

  69. Comment by S Camara @ August 14, 2007, 3:04 am

    I have moved from California to Idaho and want to order some wine…is there a website to order from Trader Joe’s, there is no Trader Joe’s here, would love to have one or open one!!!!! Any info would be helpful!!!!

  70. Comment by BS From canada @ August 30, 2007, 9:13 pm

    When visiting a friend in Westland Mi recently we had a bottle of Robert Mondovy and then “two buck Chuck” and ya know it is not half bad. You might serve it to your mother-in-law,but for a nice cheap evening drink….pretty good !!

  71. Comment by Paul @ September 2, 2007, 5:51 pm

    I have purchased 2BC for years. The quality varies with the batch. Once or twice I have gotten a case of Merlot as good as a KJ or Sebastiani. Once or twice it has been really subpar. More often then not is is an acceptable “quaffing” wine as one gent put it but not in that context. Any wine can have its sub par moments if it gets stuck in a backroom somewhere at 140F for awhile or in the back of a truck to MI. As long as you find the right drinking temperature, and that is important, for 2BC it can be a remarkably good wine. I like Sebastinai and KJ Merlot as much as anyone else but paying 7-10 (BevMo sometimes only 10 bucks) times as much for maybe 2-3 times the quality? ehh..sometimes the math does not work.

  72. Comment by JJC3 @ September 8, 2007, 2:53 pm

    Last year, my wife and I purchased a case of 2$C Shiraz. We didn’t really enjoy the first bottle, however, since we sprung $25 for the case, we didn’t want to waste it. A couple of meals/bottles later, we still weren’t convinced the price was worth it. We used the rest for cooking and cheap giveaways. If you want a reasonably priced but very lively and drinkable wine, think Australian!

  73. Comment by David @ September 17, 2007, 11:56 pm

    I will keep this concise, it is TWO DOLLAR WINE! It is not made with the intention of competing with more expensive wines. It is, however, a very good cheap wine. For $2 a bottle, this was a staple when I was in college. The quality is not terrific but when it is between say a bottle of Ravenswood or Smoking Loon for $9 and Good Ol’ Chuck for $2 and you are on a budget, your dollar goes further and by the second bottle, it doesn’t much matter.

    It is annoying to read the posts of people who think that wine is the drink of the upper class and two buck Chuck is an affront to the hegemony. PLEASE. It’s wine, who cares? If people like it, great, if not, spend your money on more expensive wine.

  74. Comment by CMH @ September 24, 2007, 9:08 pm

    AMEN DAVID! I just drank a half bottle of the aforementioned concoction, and all I can say is, it gave me a sweet buzz! I believe I will use the remaining half in a big ole’ batch of spag sauce. Cheap wine drinkers of the world unite!

  75. Comment by Peter @ September 25, 2007, 1:10 am

    This has been the most fun reading a blog I’ve had in a long time. I loved reading all the comments. Dave, thanks for the great reviews. Daniel, very well put. I was looking for some information on 2BC and stumbled across this thread. I am hosting a wine class this weekend and I’m putting a 2BC in a blind tasting, along with some OK and very good Cal. Cabs, as well as a Bordeaux. I can’t wait, because I get asked so often “what do you think of two Buck Chuck?”. We will soon find out. But more importantly, others hopefully will be able to decide for themselves. If you don’t have a reference point, then who knows what’s good or bad stuff? Thanks very much for the great info on the wine, and the entertaining opinions! There seems to be a lot of people who really need to take a stand on this wine!

  76. Comment by Peter @ September 25, 2007, 1:17 am

    Here is a very enlightening article on the maker of Two Buck Chuck if any body still cares.
    http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/05/news/companies/Two_Buck_Chuck.biz2/index.htm

  77. Comment by Madrone @ September 26, 2007, 5:15 am

    I cannot drink 2 buck chuck. About 8 years ago I had an art opening. Two buck chuck was not famous. I got a case of the cabernet for the opening. Back then it was drinkable. Now I think it is undrinkable, whatever they did to it. Blah. I have since studied wine and have come to believe that about $10 can get a good wine.. I have many l like in the $20 range. A good cheapie from Trader Joes is Casa Del Diablo cabernet, from Chile. Its got a nice bite. check it out.

  78. Comment by Tim @ September 27, 2007, 5:54 pm

    I like the taste of 2 Buck Chuck Merlot.

    10 of 10 is a little high but for the price it is a “Great Wine”.

    My other favorite super cheap wine is BV Century Cellars Merlot.

    I don’t like high end Chardonnays generally but can drink 2BC fine.

    With dinner I drink $3/gallon milk, $4.00/gallon Gatorade, 10 cent/glass tea, 40 cent soda, 60 cent juice.

    In Italy I drank chianti and Sangiovese that was very good for $2-3/ bottle. Can’t find nearly as good here.

    If I drink $10/bottle wine I may spend $1,800 dollars on wine this year.

    If wine cost over $20/bottle I will almost never buy wine.

    Cheap wine is great!!!!!!!!!!
    I personally don’t think other wine is worth it.

  79. Comment by RJP @ October 19, 2007, 8:41 am

    From Wikipedia:

    “Charles Shaw is an example of the recent trend of economy-minded wine drinkers seeking the greatest value. In particular the brand stands out not only for the low cost, but also for the respectable packaging and semi-frequent high ratings at wine tasting events. For example, at the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition, Shaw’s 2002 Shiraz received the double gold medal, besting the roughly 2,300 other wines in the competition. [1] More recently, Shaw’s 2005 California chardonnay was judged Best Chardonnay from California at the 2007 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. The chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of Best of California and Best of Class.”

    So mister pompos wine boy… piss off.

  80. Comment by rvrwader @ October 22, 2007, 9:02 pm

    When I first started enjoying wine I thought Charles Shaw was a good but cheap wine. The more I start enjoying good wines then go back to Charles Shaw I wonder why I liked them in the first place. You can find much better wines for just a few dollars more.

  81. Comment by rvrwader @ October 22, 2007, 9:16 pm

    RJP Have you ever had a good wine. I have this feeling that the awards they have received were a joke between the judges. I bought some of the Chardonnay after hearing about it winning double gold. What a disappointment. We ended up using the remaining bottles for cooking since it wasnt suitable for drinking. If you want a decient cheap wine try offerings from Barefoot Wineries. Very good for the price. Not great but worth the money spent.

  82. Comment by Diane @ October 23, 2007, 8:48 pm

    I have tried all the 2$Chuck’s and found them to be fine everyday table wines. They are not the finest wines I’ve ever had, but drinkable. I have a glass or two of wine daily and am thrilled to get a cheap bottle every now and then. Is it the best wine I’ve ever had? Hell no! But not bad for a table wine or a gathering around the campfire. Wine snobs, Get a life!

  83. Comment by sid dixon @ October 24, 2007, 5:47 pm

    2-Buck Chuck Cab is pretty good.Will buy it again. Paid $2.99 for it in N.C.

  84. Comment by winosid @ November 2, 2007, 4:43 pm

    want an inexpensive merlot, try Columbia Crest 2 vines. 2002 and 2003 are good for about 6 bucks.

  85. Comment by Lindsey @ November 6, 2007, 9:46 pm

    CS must have a high degree of variability around the country. I drink wine a lot — from mega-buck to two-buck Chuck, and the CS Merlot is always a great value. The cab and shiraz I’ve had have always been more than acceptable, too.

    I’ve had $20 aussie wines that would choke a maggot. I’m almost afraid to try Aussie again, I’ve been disappointed so many times.

    For “affordable” wine, I’ll take CS over box wine or “big jug” wine in a heart-beat. And yes, taste is in the taste-bud of the beholder.

  86. Comment by bob j @ November 11, 2007, 10:03 pm

    I like 3 buck chuck (in seattle wa 2.99).

    cheap, drinkable, made in th eUS without Chinese toxins, and in this downward spiral trashed US economy …affordable for dinner.

    better wine will always be, just like vinyl kicks a digitial iTunes download…

    they both do what they are supposed to do…

    deal with it… it is ONLY a 3 dollar bottle of freackin’ wine for god’s sake…

    not a stolen election!

    :-(

  87. Comment by joboo @ November 16, 2007, 5:43 pm

    from consumer reports, ALL WAY BETTER THEN 2 BUCK YUCK.

    CABERNET SAUVIGNON Dry, medium-bodied; good with grilled meat, oily fish, rich sauces.

    Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley (WA) 2003

    $9.80 Easy drinking, jammy, with ripe black fruit and wood.
    Rosemount Estate Shiraz-Cabernet (Australia) 2004

    7.50 Intense red and black fruit flavors; hints of spice and wood.

    CHARDONNAY Dry, medium-bodied; good with foods with butter, cream, cheese.

    Alamos The Wines of Catena Mendoza (Argentina) 2005

    9.90 Tasty balance of fruity, woody, buttery flavors.
    Stone Cellars by Beringer (CA) 2005

    5.80 Well-blended; fruity and toasted flavors with lively acidity.

    MERLOT Dry, medium-bodied; good with barbecued ribs, roasted dishes.

    Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo (Chile) 2005

    8.60 Rich ripe fruit flavors with good tannin and acidity. Very smooth.
    Bogle Vineyards (CA) 2004

    9.20 Full-flavored, with ample fruit. Medium- to full-bodied.

    PINOT GRIGIO Dry, light-bodied; good with finger foods, seafood, salads.

    Hogue Columbia Valley (WA) 2005

    7.30 Soft fruit flavors with crisp acidity and a citrusy finish.
    McManis Family Vineyards (CA) 2005

    9.80 Light, crisp: classic pinot grigio.

    RIESLING Very slightly sweet, medium-bodied; good with seafood, hors d’oeuvres, fruits, nuts.

    Covey Run Columbia Valley (WA) 2005

    7.20 A nice range of classic Riesling (floral and citrus) flavors.

    ZINFANDEL Dry, full-bodied; good with grilled foods, including meats and eggplant.

    Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull (CA) 2004

    9.00 Rich berry, wood, and jammy flavors balanced with tannin and acid.

  88. Comment by bob @ November 17, 2007, 3:49 pm

    The response and the uproar over “Two Buck Chuck” was enough to make me go purchuse a bottle. The wine snobs make me laugh.

  89. Comment by QuotheRaven @ November 20, 2007, 8:07 pm

    Having heard a lot about Two Buck Chuck but having no access to it, we were pleased when a Trader Joe’s opened in South Charlotte. Up ’til now, our “cheap” wine favorite has been Harris Teeter’s private branded Oak Creek cabernet @ $3.99 a bottle or ~ $43 a case (their chard is NOT recommended). This cab was rated “good” by the Wall Street Journal’s wine columnists.

    Our daughter bought a case of Three Buck Chuck – six for her and six for us. When she and my wife went out to a play, our son-in-law and I decided to have a blind taste off. Both Oak Creek and 3-Buck go well with pizza; they also goes well with our local favorite: barbecue. He preferred the Oak Creek while I enjoyed the 3-Buck by a small margin. Neither of us are wine connoisseurs, but we do know good food and good drink.

    Would I serve either to guests? In a word, no. Nonetheless, I usually go thru 5-6 bottles of table reds a month and $18/mo. is a whole lot better than $40-70.

    To all of you wine snobs – put a cork in it. Neither of the aforementioned wines is supposed to compete with a 1984 Opus One or a Mondavi Reserve cab. To those of you who understand that a glut in the wine market has afforded us the opportunity to imbibe barrels and barrels of “value” wines of all colors, I say Slainte!

  90. Comment by Normal @ November 23, 2007, 5:28 pm

    Once upon a time it was Gallo HB on friday nite with 30 and ’61 Leoville LasCass on saturday nite with just another…now 25 years later and me doctor’s prescription for at least 12 oz of red wine which is just a beer in volume…so two beers or 24 oz of red wine… must be twice the good …if I hit power ball I’d still be drinkin ’61 clarets six nites a week instead of ole chuck red any red at 3 which is 18 a week

  91. Comment by Lisa @ November 25, 2007, 10:19 pm

    I bought 2BC for the first time this weekend. I’m sampling the Shiraz at the moment, and it isn’t bad. I wouldn’t serve it to guests or take it to a party but for sipping while I’m lounging on the couch surfing the net, it’s drinkable. I’ve spent far more for wine that was so bad I had to pour it down the drain. It’s $3.29 a bottle, for god’s sake!

  92. Comment by Donna Chicago @ November 26, 2007, 12:55 am

    charles shaw sucks!

  93. Comment by Dylan @ November 30, 2007, 10:17 pm

    You know, I’m really surprised and happy that the Chuck has started such a fierce dialog. People who may have never tried wine of ANY sort due to it’s snobby stigma and dizzying array of choices might be willing to spare some pocket change for a bottle of Shiraz. Then who knows, we might have a new oenophile in the world with a fun, interesting hobby. This thread (and this site) have certainly given me a nice jumping-off point to broaden my wine horizons without breaking the bank.

    Incidentally, Chuck’s Cabernet and Chardonnay are great, and made in the USA by a vintner who loves to shake the industry. Serve it at parties and nobody will complain.

  94. Comment by Paul @ December 4, 2007, 8:00 pm

    I bought two bottles of wine today. One was a decent bottle and the other was Charles Shaw. I am going to savor the first bottle. After this, I am going to take that bottle of Two-buck Chuck to the dome in about three gulps. You see, Two-buck Chuck is great for alcoholic wine lovers. One bottle just isn’t going to get me to sleep at night, but two bottles of decent wine per day is a bit pricey. Sure one could say, “But Paul, surely you could just buy a 5th of Popov to drown away your sorrows.” However, my friends, I feel as though I am a bit too cultured for such a banal state of alcoholism. Two-buck Chuck is a great, inexpensive means of facilitating one’s escape from reality. Remember: After six glasses your taste buds don’t really work anyway.

  95. Comment by Dante @ December 4, 2007, 11:19 pm

    This is off-topic, but as I scanned this looong thread I noticed a lot of stabs at the Mid West. I’m from Michigan, and I noticed it mentioned specifically multiple times. How did we become the archetype of wine ignorance? I wasn’t aware of this particular stereotype, but I don’t understand it. Anybody out there heard of any of the wineries in the northwest lower pennisula of Michigan? Leelanau Cellars, or any of the Old Mission wineries? The region produces some very enjoyable wines at affordable prices, generally speaking. Furthurmore, the world is getting smaller as they say. Virtually everything is available to everyone especially thanks to the internet, so no state, region, or country has a monopoly on “good wine”. (Unless you’re in one of those sorry states that doesn’t allow direct shipping of wine, then you might be a little out of the loop, but this doesn’t include Michigan!) Get over yourself, California.

  96. Comment by uglicoyote @ December 9, 2007, 1:13 pm

    What the hell? Snobs are a hoot. I love the posturing. I’ll bet Daniel actually refers to himself as an “enophile” in public. More’s the pity.

    I’ve had occasion to try 2BC and found it acceptable as what it is. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than an inexpensive table wine. I’ve had $40 bottles of wine that tasted horrible and ended up going down the drain.

    BTW, I started drinking Gallo Hearty Burgundy back in San Francisco in 1969. I still buy and enjoy a bottle now an then. Brings back colorful memories.

    Here in Idaho we don’t have a Trader Joes (wish we did) but in my town we have a store called “The Grapevine” which stocks a wide variety of wines of varying price and quality. I prefer reds.

    I’ve really enjoyed this thread. Thanks to all.

  97. Comment by Keith @ December 22, 2007, 3:54 pm

    I think some people are losing site of what this wine is…it’s $3 a bottle! For that, I think it’s extremely drinkable. Sure it doesn’t have all the structure and flavor of a $10 a bottle (trying to stay in the cheap catagory) but I find it to be a very drinkable wine. I have 2 cases of cab, 1 shiraz and 1 merlot next to me right now!

  98. Comment by Tony @ December 24, 2007, 11:37 am

    WOW – I just received 2 cases of Shaw Cab and was told it tasted great for a $2.00 bottle. I was a buyer of wines for a chain of shops in Texas and thought I knew a little about wine but to my surprise this must rate as one the best $2.00 wines out there. A 10/10 NO! but maybe a 7.

  99. Comment by Dave Lenz @ December 28, 2007, 9:40 am

    Makes you wonder what the real cost of bringing low tier wines to market really is—A large number of those wines in the 5-10 dollar range are certainly corporation owned and really not much better. If Fred Franzia can bring something drinkable to market in that price range so be it -it can’t be bad for the consumer and should serve notice to that part of the industry that they can’t just keep raising prices and padding profits for wallstreet in lockstep.

  100. Comment by Bryan @ December 31, 2007, 2:40 am

    i like everclear and grape juice… $2 Chuck sounds classy. they don’t have any nearby though. ;-(

  101. Comment by david @ January 3, 2008, 2:51 am

    I am a wine quaffer who drinks at least two bottles a night. Over the holidays I held my nose and bought a bottle of Charles Shaw Shiraz and a ..gulp case of their savignon blanc. I hate to rain on the parade of people who actually think Charles Shaw is actually wine, but it isn’t. I think it belongs more to the genre of wines like MD 2020 or Gallo in the gallon bottle. It took me a couple bottles consumed and a pack of Marlboro Ultra Lights before I could stomach the savignon blanc. Try it yourself because it is very cheap, but it is the worst wine you will ever drink. I am not a snob even though I just finished a bottle of 1999 Casanova di Niri which is about the finest wine in the entire world this evening. Trader Joes had a wine called Dona Sol from Chile for five dollars. In spite of variable quality from bottle to bottle it was the nectar of the Gods. Don’t know if they ever had it again, but my gosh it was wonderful.

  102. Comment by Jill @ January 4, 2008, 11:46 pm

    Charles Shaw is drinkable indeed as a daily table wine. In fact, I’m headed home from Virginia to Florida with several cases in my van (no Trader Joe’s in Florida). Here’s another recommendation I’ve not seen mentioned here–Barefoot Cellars. The cab. is my favorite, but the merlot is surely fine, too. In Florida, at Total Wine, it currently sells for 3.97/bottle. Rated in the high 90s. Other stores sell it for $5-7/bottle. Well worth the try, it is, in my opinion, a bit tastier than than Charles Shaw. These wine buys allow for regular wine enjoyment and the occasional splurge on a special bottle–may be a Steele Zin or a Ridge cab…

  103. Comment by Brad @ January 11, 2008, 11:30 pm

    I’m surprised by some of the venom directed to Daniel and other wine lovers who don’t like Charles Shaw. They didn’t attack anyone for liking it but offered their opinions and some information for those interested. How about some civility? I’m a student and try to save money but at the same time I’m really sick of Charles Shaw’s wine which shows up at every party and college event. To me it’s the equivalent of wonder bread and I find the aroma slightly nauseating. I’ve found lots of wines (mostly Spanish and French) at a small local wine shop in the 5 to 10 dollar range that have varietal character and, while not block busters, can be interesting. By talking with the shop employees, I get guided to wines I like (not an option at TJs). Moreover I like variety, not the same thing over and over. However I have found a tolerable use for the bottles of 2 buck chuck that people have brought to my house. Sangria: just add brandy and a little anisette, pour in a glass filled with ice and garnish with green apple slices.

  104. Comment by Michael @ January 16, 2008, 9:05 pm

    Just a tip…TJ’s has a La Boca a cab and a malbec from Argentina for 2.99 a bottle which is terrific considering the price..we used a case at our Holiday party for mulled wine and everyone loved it and went home snookered..Its fine mulled or not.

  105. Comment by Stephen Richards @ January 24, 2008, 3:26 pm

    Well, I wrote a personal note to Mr. Clayton and mailed it off to him at his eatery. I made mention that his attitude towards the people on this site and their personal preferences are ridiculous due to the fact that we are simply speaking of “Cheap Wine”. 2-buck Chuck IS that. Cheap. So it fits the topic. I have drank this wine. And I have drank $400.00 bottles of wine as well. You are to drink what you like. If pursuing the wine industry as a form of art (which I am and it is), then okay. You may need to have a trained nose or eye etc. But my God!! To put so many people down (as Mr. Clayton has done) is what makes people nervous about learning wine in the first place. It did me. I guess he forgot maybe where he came from. You know Success can spoil the nicest folks. I’m glad to know that there are people who are happy talking about wine and searching for it as well. Oh yes, I wonder why a wine snob like him is even bothering to find cheap wine? Even if it is good would it be good enough for him?? I invite Mr. Clayton to hold a blind chocolate taste test as well.

    I’ll bet Whitmans might not be so bad when comparing tastes to Godiva or Sees.

  106. Comment by Marjorie @ February 27, 2008, 3:44 am

    ha! Such fierce dialogue. I believe my favorite reference is to “go back to Coors Light like you peasants are used to”.
    Let me say that I never was a wine drinker before drinking “cheap” wine. I am pretty conscious of wasting the precious few dollars I have. My husband and I are are young parents living in a ridiculously expensive area (California Bay Area). We are both educated and enjoy good food, drink, entertainment, and company. We both work in the non-profit sector hoping to improve living conditions and opportunities for all those “Coors Light” drinkers you look down upon.
    Now, I’d never open two cans of Coors Light every night, but 4 out of 7 nights of the week, we each enjoy two glasses of red wine.

    Because we can “splurge” on cases of 2BC, we also try higher priced wines and invite friends over for blind tasting.
    To be honest, 2BC consistency in taste isn’t too reliable, but it is way more decent than most 7-10 dollar bottles we have tried.

    The highest priced bottle I’ve had the privilege to taste is Heller Estate $60 bottle that a friend (who pretended to be a wine snob) brought from a wine tasting in the Carmel Valley. The bottle was heavenly, but I’d have to get several more promotions to ever buy a bottle myself, other than as a gift for someone well-off. I only know the price because I immediately looked up the empty bottle online.

    Beyond that, I’d like to ask Mr. Executive (Chef?) whether price=taste.
    We recently ordered a “$30″ dollar bottle at dinner that tasted wonderful.
    Red Diamond Merlot from Washington.

    I later saw the bottle at Trader Joe’s for $6.

    Overall, thanks to 2 buck chuck, my hisband and I do buy $13 (ooh, fancy!) bottles of wine and frequently go wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Half Moon Bay, and Napa. When we make those special trips, we do buy special $25 bottles and save them for friends or a special occasion.

    Consider 2BC “the gateway drug” of wine…..

  107. Comment by John Nguyen @ March 15, 2008, 8:35 am

    I had 2006 Chadonnay, it tasted fine to me, but I can not find TJ’ in Houston TX, does any store in Houston carring 2 buckc chrk deal.
    Or I can mail order from ?
    It is good tasted 10 ++,

  108. Comment by Michele @ March 19, 2008, 9:11 pm

    I am sipping a 2BC Shiraz as I write this note. It is OK. Actually, I little better than OK. For $2, Ok is Ok w/me! Decanting any red will improve its taste, so by an inexpensive decanter and enjoy even more. I had never been to TJ’s until a few days ago and had never had a $2 (actually $3 where I live) bottle of wine. But, the economy sucks and I can’t afford to drink my beloved Caymus every night, so Thank You TJ’s! Love the food, too!

  109. Comment by Tim in Illinois @ March 21, 2008, 6:23 pm

    I am just beside myself by so many of these entries. Wine is something to enjoy. Some people like merlot, other people enjoy a cab, but to see so many individuals criticize each other over what they “should try” or “should like” is just ridiculous. I managed an upscale wine and gourmet food store for several years. This was several years ago and still have not scratched the surface of the world of wines. My favorite drink of choice, a sparkling wine or champagne. I am currently addicted to a $6.99 a bottle of sparkling called Cristalino. For an everyday sparkling, it is great. It is budget friendly and does the trick. I enjoy talking about wine, but am far from a snob when it comes to it. When asked what I would recommend to go with a bottle of Krug or Cristal, my response is always the same, Nachos Bel Grande from Taco Bell. Give it a try, you might be surprised. To me it is the best way to spend an evening with a good friend. Wine to me is like a religion, very personal and means something different to everyone. I find it appaling how people will turn their nose up at someone who drinks ‘two-buck chuck’. If you like it, drink it! If you don’t, find a bottle you do like and enjoy that. Tell your friends and families of good wines you have tried, but come on, don’t judge people and make them feel small because of what wine they happen to think is ’10/10′. Drink in good health!

  110. Comment by Ethan @ March 24, 2008, 11:54 pm

    Ha! The pretentiousness of some people. Fred Franzia despite his roughness around the edges (http://money.cnn.com/2007/09/05/news/companies/Two_Buck_Chuck.biz2/index.htm?postversion=2007090703) is surely on to something. Pretentious people who can’t get past their own egos…

    But I digress. I have enjoyed many a bottle of some amazing $100+ bottles of wines from vendors wishing to get my signature. Enjoyed I have! I also have been spectacularly surprised by the Charles Shaw (aka Two Buck Chuck) Shiraz. I’m mostly a Cab drinker, however a decent Cabernet often can’t be found for a small dollar. The CS Shiraz, however, brings back the wonderful memories of all the $100+ bottles I’ve had over the years. Is it as good as the much pricier bottles? Let’s be realistic. Of course it isn’t. But just the fact that I can enjoy it and equate it to much pricier fare is amazing.

    That said, I am a red drinker and find CS Merlot and Cabernet unacceptable. For my cheap Cabernet I look to my Fetzer, though apparently the word is up on this wine which I used to secure for $4/bottle and is now at $7, though still worth every penny and imho can hold it’s own to most $25 bottles I have tasted.

    Yes, I can enjoy a superb expensive wine even when my counterparts can’t discern a bit of difference from a bad table variety, yet I can also look at wine with reason. If *I* like it and it doesn’t give me a wicked hangover in the morning, there may just be something there…

    TJ’s to me is a pilgrimage. At a 2 hour drive, I must plan my event with great care, often working an entire weekend getaway around the great event. Between the fabulous food and value wines, I am always as gitty as a small school child when I pull up to this wondrous place. I am, however, exceptionally pissed off that they don’t have Aronia Berry juice anymore. Another in a long line of things the average consumer hasn’t caught onto.

  111. Comment by John Hightower @ April 22, 2008, 11:48 pm

    I’ve liked the CS Pinot, Shiraz and Chardonnay the best, using them for a solo glass of wine or for cooking. CS will not thrill a demanding palate, so it’s not for entertaining or for bring to a dinner party. But it is a great bargain and perfect for, say, a college budget.

  112. Comment by Jim Kyes @ May 13, 2008, 7:20 pm

    I generally drink Woodbridge by Mondavi as a general use wine. Charles Shaw 2005 was better!

  113. Comment by CB @ June 16, 2008, 10:31 pm

    I would surely try it, as a fan of the Ten Dollar 1.75 Liter JUG-0-VODKA. But alas, the only Trader Joe’s in the country that does NOT have alcohol is the one in Towson. Shame on you Traitor Joe, is a college town not allowed to buy cheap booze and good craft beers in a mid-size market? Or maybe its a bum problem… I’m sure they make at least 2 bucks an hour out there and they’d be flocking to TJs.

  114. Comment by Taylor @ June 17, 2008, 10:40 pm

    Funny, I figured “wine snob” was just an artful, apocryphal term, but I guess I’ve been schooled.

    I have no problem with anyone’s opinion, even if they hate a wine. But the naked condescension in some of these posts is pathetic.

    Two-buck Chuck is a simple table wine whose price can’t be beat. I think I prefer the Merlot. I was pleasantly surprised by the Valdiguie, completely unpretentious and it reminded me of Nouveau Beaujolais, when I lived in France.

    The main reason I buy Charles Shaw? Because after trying various low-end bottles for the last 20 years (all of them recommended by the same pompous asses who post here), most in the $10 – $15 range, I find no practical difference. If I find something more reliable, I’ll move up. Until then, I’ll save my dollars.

  115. Comment by Bob @ July 7, 2008, 2:09 pm

    Jeesh this article is old, yet people are still posting comments. It has to say something about the wine other than its price.

    Also, why are so many “wine snobs” reading cheapwinereviews.com?

    2Buck Chuck is what it is- affordable and tollerable if not likable.

  116. Comment by Jacki @ July 12, 2008, 12:59 pm

    I’ve purchased CS wine before and thought for the price it was fairly good. I was searching for a sweet red wine to replace a favorite of mine no longer produced when I came across these comments of CS wine. I am amazed by the “snobbery” of so called wine experts. If some of them used as much passion equalled to their slamming and downgrading of this wine the world would be a better place. Get over it, it just wine!

  117. Comment by Mrs. Polly @ July 19, 2008, 11:44 pm

    Still Arguing! This is impressive. I read and reread the much-reviled Daniel the Executive Nibbler’s review; why were so many people so VERY p.o.’d? He didn’t directly insult CS drinkers, yet I found I was reflexively p.o.’d at him too. I think it was because the idea of finding a decent two dollar wine is exciting, and his comment was aimed at busting that bubble.
    My parents were wine enthusiasts, and all the nicest wines I ever got to drink were at good restaurants, courtesy of my father. I would have a single glass of something so wonderful each sip was like a poem, and demanded one’s full attention.
    Sometimes a person simply doesn’t have the full attention to pay, much less the money. Sometimes, I just want my wine to shut up, stop being a diva and make nice with my spaghetti. I just had the CS merlot last night, and it was fine. Fine! It was absolutely a good dinner guest.
    At home, my mom drank what the British call “plonk”. Two Buck Chuck would be a step up from the anaemic stuff she’s drinking now; it has a fox head on the label, that’s all I remember. She doesn’t live near TJ’s, so I’ll be taking her a care package of the CS Merlot, plus some multigrain crackers and white bean dip with basil. Blessings on Trader Joe’s, because the whole thing will cost me under ten dollars.

  118. Comment by Paige @ July 20, 2008, 10:02 pm

    Holy wine snobs.

  119. Comment by Brandie @ July 21, 2008, 10:53 pm

    I have never posted on anything like this before, but i just can’t resist. Ya’ll all need to just RELAX! Have you not had a glass tonight? If you have the cash, you buy the amazing stuff. If you don’t have the cash, you buy what you can afford. Good Grief. And yes, I should be banned from posting to this thread since I am a Texas girl and do not have a Trader Joe’s here in Dallas. I drink a WIDE variety of inexpensive and expensive wines. Ease up on the ‘ol wine experts. And you wine experts, ease up and the wine novices. It’s all good! You like what you like! Don’t take the fun and enjoyment out of your “embibement”!

  120. Comment by Kaylee @ July 22, 2008, 1:51 am

    I’m actually horrified that our dear friend Daniel has asserted that “wine is not available in the Midwest as it is here in California.” As a native Michigander, I’m absolutely offended by this assumption, which is incredibly untrue. His reference to living in Kansas City, MO that follows the quoted statement is also an incredibly worthless evaluation of his prior knowledge, being that comparing Michigan and Missouri is apples to oranges.

    I enjoy Charles Shaw’s shiraz for the bi-weekly dinners that my husband and I share with family; there are a lot of us and not a lot of spare money after purchasing food to prepare for everyone who comes to visit. No one seems to mind that it’s not “perfect”, and it certainly does the job in terms of a good “warm” feeling.

    CS deserves a 10 out of 10 for what it is.

    PS, Dave– The Ann Arbor Trader Joe’s welcomes Spartans anytime. I count myself as a fan of the green and white, and I’ve also lived here in A2 for 7 years. This has never caused conflict for me outside of that annual fateful fall day when the rival college football game takes place! :)

  121. Comment by ChuckLover @ August 4, 2008, 7:51 pm

    Look guys I just want to get loaded and this is the best value I can find, I moved from Natural Ice beer ($10 a 30 pack) to this because it’s a better buzz per buck factor.

  122. Comment by Tami @ August 16, 2008, 1:57 am

    what is going on? all of this from just one person giving us their opinion? that’s all it is……one persons opinion. if you don’t like two buck chuck then don’t drink two buck chuck, if you do like two buck chuck then have at it…..come on you guys. can’t we all just have a glass of any kind of wine and be happy? cheers……

  123. Comment by Michael F. @ August 22, 2008, 4:39 pm

    In Italy, they call it “vino da’ tavolo”. That’s everyday table wine folks. And it’s a lot better than most table wines I’ve had in Italy.

  124. Comment by Dennys Anderson @ August 27, 2008, 3:38 am

    I would say that here in Atlanta you can find some imports better and cheaper (2.47) than two buck chuck(2.99) and you can still enjoy a good bottle of wine for less. i would subgest to try to go to wholefoods and they have a mendoza swan lake from argentina that is really good and probable better than some other argentinian reds i tried out there. but on the two buck chuck the only one i like is the chardonnay that i use for cooking and to drink sometimes when the budget is not so good to buy a good bottle of wine. but you guys have to learn also to shop, today i found 3 good bottles sporttswoode, napa valley for $15 a bottle that is virtually almost everywhere for $94. 2001 neyers syrahs napa valley for $10 that is usually around $48-59 and an 2004 Hacienda Monasterio, ribera del duero(spain) for 4.99 a bottle that goes for $49-54 so you can find good “100″ dollar bottles for less than 15 bucks and look around the wine clearance racks. you may find a diamond for the price of the two buck chuck

  125. Comment by MattD @ September 3, 2008, 10:43 pm

    Wines and cigars have many parallels. Cuba is the hub of the cigar world but to assume all Cubans are good cigars is the same as assuming all French wines are good.
    I’m no Phd just a guy who has smoked alot of cigars on all ends of the spectrum and my fave is a 3 dollar cigar which blows away 10+ dollar cigars even among cigar snobs.
    As your palette matures with cigars wine or even beer, u will understand the subtle nuances that add up to a good experience.

  126. Comment by donvegas @ September 10, 2008, 2:00 pm

    You’re all crazy! it’s $2 wine. what do you want. i drink it and for $2 its great.
    a drinkable wine for $2 retail. how could you complain?

  127. Comment by Cathy J @ September 10, 2008, 9:09 pm

    News flash to all the wet blankets: IT IS THREE DOLLARS. For an “extreme value” wine, I doubt you will find better.

    Though I’m able to afford better wines, I’ve started drinking it again due to how much wine I’m consuming over election stress. I’m becoming a low-end wino just to get by each day. No more Bogle or Bonterra for me.

    Truly,
    Cathy J
    Evanston, IL

  128. Comment by Wine Drinker @ September 13, 2008, 2:19 pm

    Compared to a $200, Two-Buck Chuck is lagging far behind. But for $2 a bottle? What do you expect? Either enjoy it for what it is (a great value wine) or spend the $200 to buy the premium wine and quit whining about Two-Buck Chuck not holding its own against premium wines costing 50X to 100X its price.

  129. Comment by sandra @ October 2, 2008, 1:52 pm

    I must say, the finally opened a trader joes in the richmond, va area. Everyone was grabbing the Charles Shaw wines. I just had to try one because I had been hearing about them so much and had never been able to locate one. The cab, to me was actually bearable. I wouldn’t describe it as disgusting. Good acidity. I think it fits the market for people that just want something to sip and not have to commit to spending alot of money. Money for everyone seems to be a little tight, so I really can see that some people will actually be stocking up on these. Our trader joes is in an affluent part of town, but you should see how many bmw, volvo, benz driving people were putting cases in their car. Its not about the money, but what you can tolerate in your own mouth. Its kind of good to see so much opinion on a 3 dollar bottle of wine. The producers must have done something right, because they got us all talking about it one way or the other.

  130. Comment by randy t @ October 17, 2008, 5:33 pm

    In reality the Shaw wines at TJs are very good. And I hasten to add I have fooled many an expert! So save yourself some money, if that is a concern, and have an excellent White Z from TJs.

  131. Comment by Meagan @ November 2, 2008, 8:00 pm

    I find this all so comical.

    Wow- it’s Two Buck!

    Sure, there are plenty of good inexpensive wines (personally, I’m a big fan of Ravenswood- especially their Zin!)

    But for shits sake, you can’t beat the price of a case of Two Buck. I like to mix it up- mostly the Merlot, a couple Shiraz, and some White Zin. I’m not in love with the Cab, though I don’t enjoy most Cabs.

    My husband has probably put it best- Two Buck is number Two… ie: the bottle you bring out after you’ve consumed the first, better tasting, higher quality wine. It is a phenomenal value and an exceptional to be able to have many bottles flowing at holiday gatherings, dinner parties and casual evenings with friends.

    We purchase a case every October to cellar for the rest of the year. At Halloween, we relabel ours with “spooky” labels to serve to our guests at our annual party. No one has yet to complain. At Christmas, bottles appear in lovely velvet bags on each tables. And everyone enjoys it.

    If served at the correct temperature, Two Buck is more than adequate. Try it.

  132. Comment by Crys @ November 28, 2008, 11:31 pm

    I am new at wine tasting so I am not that educated on what a “good wine” is…what I do know is that 2bc’s shiraz was barely tolerable for me. The alcohol content in it was enough to steal my breath so when the taste part of it came, I already knew it was all over. When I found out how in expensive it was (i didn’t buy it, a friend brought it over) I wasn’t surprised that it was so bad.

    If you are buying it to get a cheap buzz, then 2bc is the wine for you.

    I would like to actually enjoy the wine, so I am moving on from here.

    I have two other bottles of 2bcs in the fridge and I’m debating on just pouring them out and keeping the bottles for candle holders, lol.

  133. Comment by Liz @ December 4, 2008, 2:42 pm

    The first reviewer is a SNOB!

  134. Comment by Jersey Guy @ December 6, 2008, 10:30 pm

    Just bought a case of Chard in Westfield NJ….killed a bottle…feeling good….very smooth…little funky aftertaste..$2.99 though the best….will have to drink the other 11 bottles to give my final opinion…I’ll post in about 1 week

  135. Comment by DC Person @ March 11, 2009, 8:49 pm

    It had been years since I’d bought 3 buck chuck, and in the spirit of the recession I picked up a bottle of Shiraz. I was transported back a dozen years to drinking warm Thunderbird in college. I’m not picky by any means – but I couldn’t even finish a glass.

  136. Comment by Scott @ March 21, 2009, 11:18 pm

    What a thread.
    3.00 wines are more relevant now than ever!

    I just picked up a bottle of Shaw’s Cab Sauv 2007 from Trader Joes in Columbus.

    Yeah, it’s a wine in pretty much the same way Kraft grated Parmesan’s a cheese. Or how Miller Lite is a beer. It bears enough resemblance to a wine, and is a reasonable substitute for the price in dollars. Hey, McDonald’s makes “cheeseburgers,” and people eat those up like crazy. It’s something that you don’t have to think that much about.

    Of course if you spend your days studying wines you’re likely to hate it. In fact, in that case even if you’re secretly impressed, you’d be likely to slam it if for no other reason that it makes a mockery of the spirit of artisanship.

    But if you like a glass from time to time with your Michelina’s spaghetti box dinner, then it’s all you, man — enjoy it!

    It’s wine as a commodity. As inoffensive as background music or Monet prints on the wall. As in most things — if you like it, then drink it. If not, then don’t. It won’t kill the people who like it. If you think the others are reaching their judgement about it in error, then help them learn about wine. But do it nicely. Life’s too short to squabble.

  137. Comment by Arthur @ April 6, 2009, 5:28 pm

    Bravo Daniel Clayton. I did not find your erudite comments to either be snobbish or self promoting. Two buck chuck cab ($3 in Minnesota) is close to poisonous in my opinion, formed after trying a bottle when our Trader Joe’s initially opened. I am a bit surprised that people feel that Trader Joe’s beats up on the vendors to get low wine prices. I have found that their prices on recognizable labels are amongst the highest in the Minneapolis area. On the other hand, they do have a number of wines that no one else seems to sell that are relatively inexpensive and passable.

    However, in the long run, as my eldest son once told me, life is too short to seek out the perfect $5 or $6 that’s worth $12. Its taken me a long time to figure out that he is right!

  138. Comment by Leo @ April 8, 2009, 1:44 pm

    TWO-BUCK-CHUCK ROCKS!

  139. Comment by K. Richards @ April 11, 2009, 9:08 pm

    We have been shopping, on and off, at Trader Joes since about 1970 at one of the first TJ’s in Caii. ( Santa Ana, CA) and has a delightful variety of items that beat out the big supers, not the least of which are their wines, so the disparaging remarks by ol’ Daniel are uncalled for!…
    “I have never purchased wine at TJ’s”…
    And the line about 2 Buck Chuck…”As I have not sampled the wine in over four years” makes him somewhat less an authority and more of a stuff shirted snob on an ego trip, since he’s sounding off in “Cheap Wine Reviews”…
    To sum up what I’ve read on this site, reminds me of the line from one of Eastwoods “Dirty Harry” movies, to wit …”opinions are like a___h___s, everybody’s got one”!

  140. Comment by VIC in BAMA @ April 22, 2009, 9:15 am

    I would start this like a Sailor. ” Your not gonna believe this SHUJIEYT” but here in Dixie the Wine buisness consist of the local Vinters making Muscadine wines and Blueberry Sharaz. If your drinking for your health you need to look into the southern Muscadine wines which are 40 times higher in Antitoxins, and some are accually great table wines. If your drinking for the ‘BUZZ”, change to Jack Daniels, you’ll get there quicker. If you really like the taste of a dry bitter Cabernay or Zinfandell like the wine Snoobs your really out of your area on this blog. I like em all, I am from the south. Don’t know much about wine, ( I like it A little Sweet) but I do know a lot about drinking.

  141. Comment by Tom LaLanne @ April 23, 2009, 9:11 pm

    I want to limit my comments to TBC Chardonnay. Neither I nor my wife drink red wines, as they give us both headaches. Why? I don’t know, but they do. In my past life as a restaurateur, I was a very knowledgeable wine snob. I used to drink nothing but what I thought was a great wine for its price. These wines would usually cost $10 – $15 or more per bottle. I have since graduated into the real world. These days, I am interested in a drinkable wine that doesn’t break the home budget. TBC Chardonnay does that, and more. I would compare it in quality to most $5 and $6 bottles of Chard that are sold in other stores, and In TJ’s as well. For those of you who are nervous about drinking a wine that costs so little, give it a try. You’ll like it. It’s the greatest bargain out there.

  142. Comment by OTTO AU @ May 10, 2009, 11:34 pm

    I don’t know what you Seppo’s are going on about?

    What did you expect for $2, gold? [fools @ that]

    Anyway, like near EVERYTHING from USA its made at the lowest possible price with no regard to quality.

    You want quality wine buy European, even the Aussies are making good plonk, but they make it strong, esp. the shiraz stuff.

    Drink whatever spins your top, don’t expect premium for $2 bucks

    I think they should sell it for $1.49, thats just me though!

    Cheers to drinking lots, and no hangovers lol

  143. Comment by Jack @ June 15, 2009, 6:58 am

    Enjoyed the fireworks over 2$C. Can’t get it in my area. I only drink wine occasionally. Dry wine burns my stomach, so it’s the 3 liter box of white zin in the fridge for me.

  144. Comment by Teri @ July 17, 2009, 5:52 pm

    I recently served CS at a party. I was openly mocked by a guest from California and his girlfriend who, after insulting me and my partner for serving CS, proceeded to leave without saying goodbye. Now, I know what good wine is. I traveled with a wine importer for 4 years. I also know plenty of wine snobs. Well, CS is just fine for a party (as long as the party isn’t a “wine tasting” party). I know that boxes and screw tops preserve wine better than corks. I also know that wine snobs are usually self-absorbed jerks who try to make themselves seem important. I’ve been to enough tastings to know that a good wine is one that YOU like. From now on, I will serve CS to all my guests as a litmus test: those who mock my choice are not worthy of my friendship or my time. Those who are okay with it are probably intelligent, quality folks who really know wine (and social skills).

  145. Comment by Rose Rye @ July 19, 2009, 9:52 pm

    Regarding Mr. Clayton’s first comment to your review, not wanting to resort to a juvenile badminton match, “well la dee dah !!!”. As a newly divorced wine afficianado and student of wine history who can, at least temporarily, no longer afford to spend what i’d like on wine, i will not turn my nose up at Two Buck Chucks, or the *gasp* $1.97 Foxbrook store brand at my local market. They are modest, tasty, more than adequate wines, sometimes with surprising complexity, always good with a simple meal. To infer that “the masses” are not worthy of enjoying wine is to reveal yourself as one of those “winesnobs” that kept me from delving into wine until later in life.

  146. Comment by Daniel @ August 5, 2009, 6:17 pm

    Two Buck Chuck is horrible! Absolutely horrible. I can’t believe my eyes when reading some of these reviews. 10 out of 10?

    I am actually jealous of people who like this stuff, because they get to enjoy absolute crap for real cheap without leaving anything else to be desired. I really am jealous.

    For those that actually have working taste buds and noses (i.e. which have not been killed by years and years of liquor and fast food abuse), Two Buck Yuck is very painful. Luckily it is a pain that can be easily avoided with a few more dollars!

  147. Comment by Ron @ August 14, 2009, 9:33 pm

    Love the CS Cabernet

  148. Comment by Kelly @ August 18, 2009, 5:07 pm

    I am trying to find an inexpensive wine to serve at my wedding next month (some where in the $2 – $4 range) Crane lake was what i was recommended. I am still learning and exploring wines. All I want to know is that the wine will be ok enough for a majority of people to enjoy it with dinner and that I’m not going broke in the process. Any suggestions are more than appreciated!

    On a side note, I am disgusted with those of you who feel that by writing in a pretensious over refined fashion and talking down to people who simply are giving there two cents makes them superior! Ha! What a joke, does that really make your day? Give your opinion, maybe a few suggestions and be on your way. This isn’t a pissing contest after all.

  149. Comment by Gina @ September 2, 2009, 10:04 pm

    Love the Cabernet! Can’t beat the price for a decent table wine. I don’t care for the Shiraz or the Merlot, but the Zin is okay. Everyone’s taste is different, so drink what you enjoy & if the wine can be had on the cheap, so much the better!!

  150. Comment by Tom @ September 14, 2009, 3:54 pm

    I tried the merlot and chard for the first time after hearing about this wine for a long time. It was extremely bland with little real wine flavor, but its was $3 a bottle. For that price i dont expect much anyway so i would say for the price it was a good value. If i want something better ill spend more money, but if you just looking to sit down with your girl at the end of day, watch a movie and get tipsy it does the job. When you want a real wine to enjoy, get the good stuff.

  151. Comment by Bob @ October 15, 2009, 6:04 pm

    Europeans drink more wine than us because it is a staple. And that is what Two Buck Chuck represents, a staple wine. Never had it myself because we don’t have a TJ in San Antonio. Wish we did. I believe that Crane Lake is “Two Buck Chuck” under a different label and I do drink it frequently. Oh by the way, Europeans have been drinking boxed wines for years and Americans are finally catching on. Why do we Americans choose to be such pretentious jerks – particularly when most of us haven’t a clue what we’re talking about.
    Does your old man having a PHD in wine history make you a wine steward? Don’t think so.

  152. Comment by Chad @ October 21, 2009, 11:56 pm

    Let me start off with a few identifiers:

    I am from the Midwest, which does seem much disparaged.
    I currently live in Milwaukee, where cheap beer and bad fashion run rampant.
    I am a homebrewer, and fervently oppose the notion that beer is for the common masses, although I don’t drink cheap American brews or bland imports that masquerade as quality beer (Heineken).
    I started drinking wine about 3 years ago, and on a budget.
    I am NOT a wine snob, but I do have taste buds.

    I’ve never lived near a Trader Joe’s until recently. It never seemed worth my while to commute to a location that sold 2BC, but seeing as I live in a city where it is readily available, I decided to give it a try. The wine sells for $2.99 here, so it seemed imprudent to buy a single bottle. My favorite wine is cab, so I bought a couple bottles.

    When I opened my first bottle, I poured out a glass and tried to swirl and smell. Granted, I don’t know much about for which to look, but I could barely notice the typical aromaticity of other reasonably priced cabs I have tried.

    If I have to describe the flavor, the most lucid word I could use is “fresh.” It did not remind me of any other cab I had ever tasted, although it did seem a tad better than the awful Barefoot wines.

    My final verdict: not mediocre. By this I mean that this wine is not good. I think this can be universally accepted as believable. As a non-wine snob, even I could tell this barely tasted like a cab. If drank by itself, this wine serves the purpose of getting intoxicated. This could perhaps go along with greasy food, like pizza.

    I have read all the comments above, and it seems like many people are insulted by comments by “wine snobs.” I myself took offense, particularly when it seemed like bragging had occurred, but thinking rationally, I am in agreement. If one would like to expand one’s knowledge of different types of wine on a budget, there are other brands at equivalent (well obviously slightly more) prices that serve as actual representation of their respective varieties. 2BC is alcohol that claims to be wine. Spend $2-3 more and realize that YOU are wrong. Splurge occasionally and taste what mid to high-quality wine actually tastes like. It IS in our budget as recession-hardened Americans if you do give a damn. If your contention is, “Who cares, it’s $2,” go ahead and add some grain alcohol to your red grape juice, or better yet, drink Night Train. Oh, and enjoy your Alka-Seltzer the next morning.

  153. Comment by Bish @ October 27, 2009, 12:22 am

    I started drinking Chateau Cheval Blanc in 1965; It is, unfortunatety, off my menu now. I started drinking CShaw Cab in 1998, a bottle a year, I’ve had a lot of expensive overpriced wine. Was unimpressed until 2000, when I started buying it by the case. I bought the last 6 cases in North Scottsdale, crowded out by the 2001′s. It’s Oct 26, 2009 and I’m enjoying a lovely smooth medium cabernet. I’d have a hard time matching this under $50-60. I’ve tasted the 2008. Have to try another bottle; the years inbetween were not savers.

  154. Comment by Patrick Q. @ October 30, 2009, 5:30 pm

    I am impressed with all you guys opinions.
    You get what you pay for!!!

    Can not expect Filet Mignon and Lobster dinner as a Room service at a Motel 6, or get a Centerfold when you pay for a $50.00 Whore.
    None of the cheap wine are to be taken to a friend’s dinner as a gift, then you become the same as the wine “CHEAP”!!

  155. Comment by Gary Williams @ November 10, 2009, 7:44 pm

    Any chance 2BC will be boxed any time soon? Wow, even more of a savings!

  156. Comment by Rick Sterner @ November 16, 2009, 1:12 am

    When our budget is tight, we buy Charles Shaw merlot and cabernet. We also shop at Whole Foods, and when they started selling their exclusive “Quail Creek” wines at $3.99, we switched to it. It was a good price from such a high-quality natural foods chain. A little snob appeal, I guess.

    But I started getting suspicious. Was it be possible that Quail Creek was just two-buck Chuck with a fancy tux?

    I bought a bottle each of Charles Shaw and Quail Creek merlot. We studied the labels: they were of identical size and looked like they both could have come off the same bottling line. The bottles also looked identical and had the same markings. The stoppers and foils also looked as though they came from the same factory.

    As for taste, we did a blind test. My wife and I found subtle differences, but not enough to be able to detect much of a difference.

    While I have no solid proof that they both come from the same Bronco Winery bottling plant, I’ll bet that they do.

    Needless to say, while our favorite winery is Bogle, when we’re buying on a budget, we’re back to Charles Shaw.

  157. Comment by Ben @ November 23, 2009, 10:40 am

    Being a moderately experienced budget wine drinker, Charles Shaw wine has been very educational for me: It has shown exactly what quality of wine I and others consider drinkable. The Cab-Sauv is irritatingly semi-dry, with a cloying saccharine sweetness, the Merlot is bland and a bit too sour, but at least dry, the Shiraz is the only red that I would buy again. The Chardonnay was fine, showing that decent white wine is clearly easier for vineyards to produce…less hard to screw up. So when I see someone hauling a case of Shaw in to a party, I hope for the white, and if it’s a red, my mouth starts puckering up in fear of the Cab or Merlot!

  158. Comment by Steve @ November 29, 2009, 8:23 pm

    99 Cent store wine is only 99 cents… and it’s better than charles shaw

  159. Comment by Eric B @ December 12, 2009, 5:54 pm

    Re: 1st commentor,

    I agree with everyone on the negative aspects on CS. I have almost stopped drinking it, presently can only take it in v small quantities.

    This is a great thread because I have picked up many new wineries to try.

    Got kick out of the one poster who said 2$Chuck was a step up for their mom from the box wine, excuse pls – it’s the same Franzia stuff people!

    Why am I on this site – to buy the better gift basket – comparing wines from a catalog. Works out easy.

  160. Comment by thor @ December 25, 2009, 4:55 am

    The Merlot is decent. It reminds me of the Algerian Red I had in my student times back in the old world. Of this stuff a bottle would be (converted) 45 cent.
    And guess what: The stuff was so honest, no chemicals, no sugar, no sulfur, they didn’t simply have the money for that. Bad mouths said it would pull the wrinkles out elsewhere to your tongue. But is was dead honest, similar to the stuff they drink in Spain with a dinner. (Also very good, even if packed in a tetrapak)
    Rumors were that the farmer would throw an old boot in to start the fermentation. Absolutely worth the money. It is simply a table wine of decent quality, as everybody in south Europe and North Africa drinks it. Americans have mostly lost the taste for really simple unadulterated and unrefined products, they rely on the results of complicated product definition phases by marketeers. make a vacation in Europe, at some cheap spot in the backwoods, where everything is still genuine.

  161. Comment by thor @ December 25, 2009, 5:25 am

    For the guys being concerned about looking cheap:
    The good old Algerian would really taste well with a huge bowl of spicy lentil soup with cubed pork snout and feet for 50 Cent (converted) or a super size Baguette with baked cheese and Spanish Salami for a buck, or a square foot paella with seafood for $1.50.
    Why is everybody concerned about looking cheap in the US? Something wrong with a good meal and a bottle of wine for a total of 1-2 bucks? Is this for the eating or for the social status?

  162. Comment by Michael Moore @ January 3, 2010, 2:49 am

    Two Buck Chuck is what is known as in France as table wine. It exists in all of the former French colonies. It is a beverage that is consumed on an everyday basis with food. It is an “everyman’s beverage”, the same as the Peugeot 404 or the Citroen DS 21 are “everymen’s car.
    These “things” were created for the “common man”. I have spent several years working and living abroad in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and have consumed alcoholic beverages in these places. They all have the equivalent of a “Two Buck Chuck”. Anyone that claims that “Two Buck Chuck” is not a
    wine worthy of being called wine is an IGNORANT snob. Get the hell out of California and get into the “real world”
    A Californian.

  163. Comment by Canadadry @ January 29, 2010, 11:34 pm

    $2 a bottle wine! America truly is the land of the (almost) free.

  164. Comment by CHUCK GORSKI @ February 9, 2010, 9:41 am

    GREAT WINES MY WIFE LOVES IT ….

  165. Comment by BD @ February 13, 2010, 2:49 am

    Would it be wrong to put a few ice chips in my 2$C cab just to cool it a bit when I take it out of my closet on a hot day? ;-)

  166. Comment by BD @ February 13, 2010, 3:04 am

    …I really like the cab with White Cheddar Cheez-Its – really! …actually, in truth, I have tasted much worse at a higher price – you really can do worse. I know, not exactly a glowing endorsement – damning with faint praise and all that, but as a change from cheap beer… not a bad choice if you don’t have expensive tastes.

  167. Comment by Alan Schwarz @ February 18, 2010, 6:00 am

    I just moved to Lake Elsinore Ca which has nothing but tacos & fast food so I took the 15mile drive to the closest TJs to make myself a meal.
    I cooked up a packet of TJs artichoke ravioli,topped with their tomato basil marinara & their Parmesan/Romano cheese and a baguette.
    Just for S’s&G’s I decided to forgo my usual Boont Amber and try the 2$C cab.I thought it went well with my meal and ended up finishing the bottle whilst reading all these posts about my plonk purchase.
    The Shaw sure seems to be alot more agreeable to me than people are on this blog.
    I’m glad I tried it and will do so again.

  168. Comment by Jenna @ February 26, 2010, 6:59 pm

    When I’m feeling in a “classy” mood I actually like to dump some Coors into my Two Buck. Makes a nice sparkling wine.

    Yes, I’m kidding you pompous fucks.

    It kills me that some of you actually believe that most of America – no, forget that – the WORLD would actually be beating down your door for your opinion on what makes wine great. The only people that care about opinions like this are either just as annoying and pompous OR hopeful to look like it.

    Great blog post to the original poster, I just think a lot of your readers really have absolutely NO REASON to come to a website called “cheapwinereviews” in the first place. It’s absurd.

  169. Comment by Marie @ March 11, 2010, 4:08 pm

    RIGHT ON JENNA!
    I was about to thrash the FAKE WINE SNOBS, but you beat me to it. Your post was on the money. Might I suggest to the FAKE SNOBS, take a course in READING AND COMPREHENSION. I did not visit this website to read diatribes. To the original blog poster, thank you for your evaluation on Charles Shaw wines.

    P.S. To the Wine (Fake) Snobs, try looking up the term, DECANTING.

  170. Comment by Margaret @ March 14, 2010, 9:46 pm

    Fun reading! I was never familiar with TJ prior to a TJ store opening in my neighborhood. Folk had said it had great wines at low prices, so I explored. I purchased something called Charles Shaw wine at ridiculous prices. Thought I’d give it a try. I had heard about some wine sold somewhere called Two Buck Chuck, but never made the connection. It was not the greatest wine in the world, but very drinkable as a quick sip (much like a previous poster called it “pizza wine”), and bought it again. I thought it was great for the ridiculous price. (and I was happy to be content with it for only $3 when my husband, who does have a wine pallat, pays $40 for most of his bottles)

    I gave it to several people, informing them I had found a great little everyday wine, not knowing that this was the famous 2$C. Clueless, but at least my reaction to this, and my content to buy more, was honest.

    Glad to have other posters explain the scientific reasons for the chance one could get some really bad batches.

    Thanks for the recommendations of consistently good, cheap wines that were posted! (our wine storage in the basement has a section for “Margaret’s cheap wines” and another section for my husband’s $40+ wines. )

  171. Comment by Matthew @ March 24, 2010, 2:23 pm

    Here is what I tell my friends who have never tried 2-buck Chuck: “It’s better than it ought to be.” By that, I mean that it is better than the $2 price tag would suggest. And at that price point, it is easy to buy and sample all CS varieties.

    It is still a cheap wine, but if you find a variety you like then DRINK IT! Dont let anyone else tell you what to like and what not to like.

    -matthew-

  172. Comment by Russ @ March 25, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I like it! Some are better than others. It is a great addition to the cellar where I keep my 4 liter jugs of Carlo Rossi Light Chianti, another great value.

    I do not keep it with the Cain 5s or American Eagle’s, but that is not it’s purpose.

    It is also great for making sangrias for those summer occaisons…

  173. Comment by Scott @ April 2, 2010, 2:11 am

    An affluent host served the Cab with supper. I immediately asked him where he had gotten it. He said a friend had given it to him. I told him it was barely drinkable. He seemed shocked, saying that it was an expensive wine. I reaffirmed my distaste. By the second bottle I was able to coax out a slight retraction, to his approval. I’d rather drink sour owl piss.

  174. Comment by CrustyC @ April 13, 2010, 10:22 pm

    Well it had to happen, Charles Shaw, (yes the real Charles shaw) is getting back in the business in Michigan. He has developed a great little wine, Has his name back and will be doing something very soon based on his well received taste from years ago.

    this we have been waiting for… congrats Chuck!

  175. Comment by natalie @ April 18, 2010, 2:17 am

    I am an Aussie(of European descent) living in the US. Recently I visited some friends who introduced me to two buck chuck red. I didn’t understand what they meant by ‘two buck’ – surely this couldn’t be in reference to its price?! I was soooo hesitant but accepted a glass to be polite especially as I am a white wine migraine person. I feared this seriously cheap wine would give me a doozy in the morning. Anyway, America has motrin so that would be my backup plan.
    So I took a bite of my meal and followed (politely smiling) with a sip of Two Buck Chuck and I liked it a bit! Maybe I was so worked up with the fear of drinking $2 wine that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Like some people above mention it is difficult to describe. It’s just a red wine. It’s a table wine. It’s a conversation piece for sure.
    Today I was in Trader Joe with my husband and I saw the 2BC display and told him we should try it. Today’s Cab Sauv was much sweeter than what I shared with my friends so I also agree that it is not very consistent. But now I know how to describe it and I know why it’s a bit of a feel good wine for me. My uncle used to illegally make red wine when I was a kid which he was very proud of and quite notorious for, which was pleasant to drink but you never knew exactly what you would get from one batch to the next…yes, my parents used to let us have a sip of wine with our meals when we were kids. I also vividly remember the smell. Drinking 2BC tonight took me back two and a half decades. And it hasn’t given me migraines in the two times I’ve had it. I’m pretty sure the head will be ok in the morning too. Hey, follow your 2BC meal with a piece of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts. It will offset the overly sweet taste.
    Goodnight all. Happy dreams.

  176. Comment by Sizzler @ April 22, 2010, 10:32 pm

    Charles Shaw is not buying or producing anything. He has been running up the flag pole all over the midwest for 10 years claiming he’ll buiy this or buy that to begin his “uinique winery. He was last in up-state Michigan wine country. They didn’t bit.

  177. Comment by George @ April 27, 2010, 11:52 am

    the wine (if you want to call it that) is not even worth $3. i drank a whole bottle of it last wedneday nite & ddn’t even get a buzz. it taste more like water with a white wine flavor. & by the way, i didn’t even see the alcohol content on it either.

  178. Comment by Diane @ April 30, 2010, 10:19 pm

    We’re in a recession folks! So let’s get real. I cannot afford to drink Ferrari-Carano Siena (my very favorite red) or Christine Andrew Viognier (my very favorite white) every night, or even more often than once a week (date night wine, or special guest night wine). My husband likes to keep the Coppola’s in quantities as our “house wine,” but tonight, the Princeton Trader Joe’s began selling wine! So I tried my first bottle of 2$C ($2.99 in Princeton). It’s perfectly OK, quite reasonable actually. It definitely does not deserve the disdain that I have read in this slew of commentaries. No, it’s not as complex, and cannot stand alone, but it’s absolutely drinkable with a meal; and at this price, I won’t cry when I use it for cooking. I won’t serve it to guests whom I’m trying to impress, but for good friends who can value a good bargain and are sharing a pizza, yes, they may just get some! And they will like it too…

  179. Comment by Wineman @ May 30, 2010, 9:25 pm

    If you spend $2 on a bottle of wine, then you might be a Redneck. You would really be better off making a glass of grape kool-aid mixed with a half shot of gin and and half shot of vodka.

    Do yourself a favor and find the cheapest bottle of wine from Chile. For a few bucks more you will get something worth drinking.

    Salsa with wine? What kind of hillbilly are you?

    Don’t answer! (I already know. You are toothless, shoeless and have a big stain on your shirt)

    Next time you indulge yourself with tortilla chips and store bought salsa grab some limes and a Tecate as it’s a much more appropriate companion.

  180. Comment by Tonya @ July 4, 2010, 3:15 am

    It’s really not that bad, dare I even say kind of good? Considering the quality of most cheap wine that’s dollars above the 2 Buck Chuck. All i can say is at least it doesn’t have that sickeningly overpowering flavor of alcohol like many cheap wine do.

    It’s not something I’d sip with a fine meal or dessert, but certainly not something I’d turn my nose up to with a nice plate of pasta or burger (red wine only of course, I don’t actually like white wine, so I don’t have clue about those), or if offered a glass.

    The Shiraz is actually quite mellow, not harsh at all in my opinion. Granted it doesn’t taste anything like a Shiraz should taste. But come one people, for 2 dollars you can’t be expecting the world you know?

  181. Comment by Louis Cunningham @ July 5, 2010, 9:02 am

    Why can’t there be wines for the masses? The whole “Wine is only for the rich” is offensive to me. Just because you make something accesible to the middle class doesn’t make the high end of the spectrum less high end. They make wonder bread but it doesn’t mean artisan rolls are no longer apprecaited right? The responce article was just pompous self serving ego endulgement..came off as arrogant, egotistical,and elitests. I’ll never try and wine on that persons recomended list for sure resentment of having been brown beaten into it. Thanks for saving me a few bucks.

  182. Comment by dg @ July 17, 2010, 1:56 am

    My first wife was a wine drinker even before I met her 35 years ago. She was actually one of the most knowledgable people on the subject that I’ve ever known, and that knowledge came mainly from experience, although she read about wine a lot, too, trying to learn what new to buy. She actually preferred Reislings to any other wine, and I think she always had that preference, but we were not wealthy in our early years together, so value was important to us. Sometime early in our marriage, Cabernets and Chardonnays became THE BIG NEW THINGS and were generally beyond our means, but as the years went by, Cabernet and Chardonnay production apparently surpassed demand and very good good wines in these varietals that would have cost an arm and a leg ten years earlier became ubiquitously availiable at very affordable prices. My wife discovered that regarding the Chardonnays in particularl, the quality of the wine did not fall with the prices , so we drank a lot of very good, very inexpensive Chardonnay. There are no Trader Joes around here, wish there were, because I’ll bet you that their $2 Chardonnay is good, even if the rest of their stuff is crap.

  183. Comment by Fred @ July 23, 2010, 9:23 pm

    OK, its July 2010, posting this from about 15 miles South of Napa. I found this blog/post because I was trying to do some research on the Charles Shaw I just drank.

    Full disclosure, middle aged guy, primarily beer drinker in the past, have seen my share of wine snobs, and have never seen what the dealio is with wine.
    Que my recent decision to jump on the slow-carb lifestyle ( search for Tim Ferriss), and Tim’ suggestion to consider drinking wine for its Resveritrol (sp) properties.

    I was at TJ’s and picked up their Cab Sav. and Shriaz.

    Opened them both the other night, and let them breath a while..

    Went to taste them, and damn if both of them didn’t just taste like kerosene. Seriously, I think this is what happened the first time I had wine, and it put me off of it for decades.

    Now as someone with an admitted bias against wine, I have in the past several weeks been out with wine friends and had some of the $50-80 wines at dinner. Nice, but no cacaphony of tastes, undertones, overtones, etc. But nice.

    These Charles Shaw, seriously, one note sharp, acrid burning taste. The Cab was moderately more tolerable, enough that I finished it off by the next night while dumping the Shiraz.

    For all the folks who swear by 2BC, I can only assume the consistency is god awful, and you lucked out.

    Funny thing, I din’t want to give up on wine as I refuse to pay $8-10 for decent wine to drink on a daily basis.

    Went to Napa today for a couple of reasons, and hit the Whole Foods, right next door to a TJ’s.
    Ran across their version of 2BC, which this week I guess is Quail Creek. I picked up their 2008 Shiraz, and have it opened right now with dinner.
    This, is what I would consider a decent, cheap, table wine.

    And, doing some research, it is also ultimately put out by Bronco, who does Charles Shaw, according to Wikipedia. Also, seems to be a shady company, which perhaps I shouldn’t patronize.

    My wine friends were horrified when I mentioned it, however I may give E&J Gallo’s $6/gallon a shot.

    Go figure.

  184. Comment by Fred @ July 23, 2010, 9:25 pm

    Diane, speak for yourself.

    OK, its July 2010, posting this from about 15 miles South of Napa. I found this blog/post because I was trying to do some research on the Charles Shaw I just drank.

    Full disclosure, middle aged guy, primarily beer drinker in the past, have seen my share of wine snobs, and have never seen what the dealio is with wine.
    Que my recent decision to jump on the slow-carb lifestyle ( search for Tim Ferriss), and Tim’ suggestion to consider drinking wine for its Resveritrol (sp) properties.

    I was at TJ’s and picked up their Cab Sav. and Shriaz.

    Opened them both the other night, and let them breath a while..

    Went to taste them, and damn if both of them didn’t just taste like kerosene. Seriously, I think this is what happened the first time I had wine, and it put me off of it for decades.

    Now as someone with an admitted bias against wine, I have in the past several weeks been out with wine friends and had some of the $50-80 wines at dinner. Nice, but no cacaphony of tastes, undertones, overtones, etc. But nice.

    These Charles Shaw, seriously, one note sharp, acrid burning taste. The Cab was moderately more tolerable, enough that I finished it off by the next night while dumping the Shiraz.

    For all the folks who swear by 2BC, I can only assume the consistency is god awful, and you lucked out.

    Funny thing, I din’t want to give up on wine as I refuse to pay $8-10 for decent wine to drink on a daily basis.

    Went to Napa today for a couple of reasons, and hit the Whole Foods, right next door to a TJ’s.
    Ran across their version of 2BC, which this week I guess is Quail Creek. I picked up their 2008 Shiraz, and have it opened right now with dinner.
    This, is what I would consider a decent, cheap, table wine.

    And, doing some research, it is also ultimately put out by Bronco, who does Charles Shaw, according to Wikipedia. Also, seems to be a shady company, which perhaps I shouldn’t patronize.

    My wine friends were horrified when I mentioned it, however I may give E&J Gallo’s $6/gallon a shot.

    Go figure.

  185. Comment by Fred @ July 23, 2010, 9:28 pm

    Diane, you can speak for yourself, I think it may in fact deserve the derision its gotten for good reason.

    OK, its July 2010, posting this from about 15 miles South of Napa. I found this blog/post because I was trying to do some research on the Charles Shaw I just drank.

    Full disclosure, middle aged guy, primarily beer drinker in the past, have seen my share of wine snobs, and have never seen what the dealio is with wine.
    Que my recent decision to jump on the slow-carb lifestyle ( search for Tim Ferriss), and Tim’ suggestion to consider drinking wine for its Resveritrol (sp) properties.

    I was at TJ’s and picked up their Cab Sav. and Shriaz.

    Opened them both the other night, and let them breath a while..

    Went to taste them, and damn if both of them didn’t just taste like kerosene. Seriously, I think this is what happened the first time I had wine, and it put me off of it for decades.

    Now as someone with an admitted bias against wine, I have in the past several weeks been out with wine friends and had some of the $50-80 wines at dinner. Nice, but no cacaphony of tastes, undertones, overtones, etc. But nice.

    These Charles Shaw, seriously, one note sharp, acrid burning taste. The Cab was moderately more tolerable, enough that I finished it off by the next night while dumping the Shiraz.

    For all the folks who swear by 2BC, I can only assume the consistency is god awful, and you lucked out.

    Funny thing, I din’t want to give up on wine as I refuse to pay $8-10 for decent wine to drink on a daily basis.

    Went to Napa today for a couple of reasons, and hit the Whole Foods, right next door to a TJ’s.
    Ran across their version of 2BC, which this week I guess is Quail Creek. I picked up their 2008 Shiraz, and have it opened right now with dinner.
    This, is what I would consider a decent, cheap, table wine.

    And, doing some research, it is also ultimately put out by Bronco, who does Charles Shaw, according to Wikipedia. Also, seems to be a shady company, which perhaps I shouldn’t patronize.

    My wine friends were horrified when I mentioned it, however I may give E&J Gallo’s $6/gallon a shot.

    Go figure.

  186. Comment by Arwandizumab @ August 1, 2010, 1:50 am

    Great for Kalimotxo and sangria.
    Great for cooking.

  187. Comment by Powerbottom @ January 25, 2011, 12:04 am

    I tried to like this wine…

  188. Comment by David @ January 25, 2011, 9:23 am

    This sounds like a must drink. I cannot believe it’s so cheap.

  189. Comment by Jason @ February 9, 2011, 3:14 am

    Two buck Chuck isn’t a great wine, but it isn’t a horrible wine. If you put it up against a good wine, it will obviously lose. However, I’ve had much worse for much more. I’ve bought $10 bottles of Cab that were worse when trying different wines. With that said, if you want a low end, drinkable wine, this is a safe bet. Especially if you are trying to drink a glass or two a night for health reasons. Would I serve this to friends or family, probably not. But, if you are going to a sangria party, this is a great wine to bring.

  190. Comment by John @ March 25, 2011, 8:52 pm

    “If you are new to wine tasting and you can’t taste the fine subtle differences of one wine versus another, then you’re throwing your money away if you don’t buy Charles Shaw.”

    My wife and I love Charles Shaw. We have purchased, and I kid you not, hundreds of bottles of Shaw, especially the Cabernet Sauvignon since 2002.

    We are everyday regular wine consumers, enjoying a glass or two with every dinner.

    What we have discoverd, for those who object (and can discern) the flavor of a newly released bottle of TJ Shaw Red wine, is that by aging the bottle a few years (yes, a few years), the flavor competes with wines costing much much more.

    And we have a wine cellar to prove it.

    John & Catherine
    Southern California

  191. Comment by maxie @ April 10, 2011, 12:38 pm

    @Daniel Clayton: I know you probably won’t see this, but…

    Since TJ’s has been in California for 45 years (over 50 years if you count when they were Pronto Markets), I’d like to know where you got this info?

    “But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that it has , in fact, put out of business most of the small specialty food stores here in California, and I’m sure the same is happening elsewhere.”

  192. Comment by birdman @ April 20, 2011, 11:46 pm

    Putting down others is simply a way of trying to elevate your own flattened ego. With tax its like 2.19 a bottle. You have to be crazy to deny how sweet a deal this is. Instead of stopping yourselves from enjoying it, just go with it. You can’t beat chuck.

  193. Comment by J CO. @ April 25, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Reading this thread is like reading Bourdeui a snobbish french theorist whose pompous writing earned him the award of “most unnecessary use of commas” at the imaginary Dead Theorist Awards That said, I love wine. I love good wine regardless of rating or price point. I know the history of wine making in France the rise in California and was introduced to sweet, high elevation grapes found in the Malbec loooong before it became popular in the U.S. That said people cannot always afford to have their noses so far in the air its up God’s *** and I didn’t come here to find out about this wine only to be accosted by dissertations on wine. That said it seems like a good choice for providing over a hundred people with something to drink. Thanks to all of you who took the time to review this based on simply your experience with this wine.

  194. Comment by Branko Tomas @ May 2, 2011, 12:22 pm

    Vine it is a mazing, some of us drink by the glass, some by the bottle each night.
    Charles Shaw for the price, is the best vine in the world, you will get each day one bottle free on M.Y Daniela motor yacht when you crusing on Adriatic Sea in Croatia and Italy.
    Welcome

  195. Comment by DJ Rizzotto @ May 6, 2011, 1:32 pm

    I grew up Sicilian, even as toddlers wine was a staple drink served in drinking glasses and reds kept in the refrigerator. Yes, we had wines reserved for guests but simple Chianti, Valpolicella and cabs were just fine. Charles Shaw is a staple wine drinkers wine I’ve never had a problem with and with our average make age into the 90′s, not a one of us ever had bad health. Drink wine, live and laugh. If you’re so pompous that you treat wine as a religion, you’re not invited.

  196. Comment by Doug @ May 7, 2011, 1:21 pm

    Hell’s Bells – it all makes me want to try some of the Chuckster’s offerings! Good, bad, or worse – what the hell…?

    Have drunk a lot of expensive and middling-priced wine over the years, but nothing has been like the Villa Banfi Lambrusco, which was exceedingly cheap in the early 1980′s, when I happened to drink 6 or 7 liters of it one day. Now that was a hangover – damn thing lasted 2 days.

  197. Comment by Austinbirdman @ May 11, 2011, 9:54 am

    I really appreciate Daniel Shaw’s lengthy comments on Two Buck Chuck. Thanks Mr. Shaw! That’s great insight, and helps explain the divide over this wine. It’s essentially no different than the millions of gallons of other cheap red wine that’s been available for years under various jug and box wine brands. Trade Joe’s has just done a great job marketing it — which is somewhat ironic, since their cachet such as it stands comes from positiong Two Buck Chuck as a cheap wine without the puffery of more expensive red.

    There are a number of good, bargain red wine options available in local grocery stores, Costco, and so forth for people who don’t like Two Buck Chuck.

  198. Comment by NewtoWine @ May 28, 2011, 6:17 pm

    Oh my goodness. It doesn’t get much better than this thread. I am dying laughing here! So glad I stumbled on this site.

    And to see that it’s been added to over the years…hilarious!

    By the way…I’ve never had Two Buck Chuck but I’ve had Trader Joe’s other wines. Tolerable, but not great. Definitely not solo wines, unless you’re looking to get a little tipsy on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

  199. Comment by Louisa @ July 15, 2011, 8:53 pm

    I think it’s hilarious that the wine snobs have taken the time to come here and slam Two Buck Chuck. Why? We just got a new Trader Joe’s, open today, and I can’t wait to get in there and enjoy the good life as we had it at our Trader Joe’s in LA. I just want something drinkable with that lovely mellow wine feeling to it in the evening. It doesn’t have to be high art. I like Trader Joe’s olive oil too. That’s a whole other category of fussiness for some, olive oil. I can appreciate the food and drink as art form thing, but I have the highest of low standards, and Trader Joe’s hits that sweet spot.

  200. Comment by Tonja @ September 13, 2011, 1:06 am

    I’m a poet and host a monthly poetry event at a very nice art gallery. Since art galleries are allowed to serve wine during art exhibits and events, I purchase two buck Chuck. I set out a tip jar to get enough money to buy next month’s bottles of two buck Chuck, which you all know is very affordable! Having wine just adds a special touch to the evening’s festivities. Imagine being in an art gallery surrounded by beautiful paintings and other art, listening to poetry and/or music, and drinking two buck Chuck. Trust me, it is an evening to be envied by those who may spend a ton of money to attend a concert, opera, play, or other event, spend lots of money on wine or cocktails, and they have to get dressed. If you want a great evening of entertainment FREE of charge and good wine FREE of charge, come on out. Two buck Chuck is the perfect additive to this night of entertainment as it gives the event the right touch of class!

  201. Comment by MaryGrace @ October 25, 2011, 5:46 pm

    Charles Shaw is delicious because it’s affordable. Things just taste better when you didn’t blow your entire paycheck on it.

  202. Comment by Daggerswan @ November 30, 2011, 4:46 pm

    In the order that I tried them:

    Merlot – tastes like $10 wine FTW!
    Shiraz – tastes like they should pay you $10. I could not finish a glass.
    Sauvignon Blanc – tastes like $7 wine. Perfectly fine table wine.
    Cabernet Sauvignon – tastes like $5 wine. Drink alone, don’t serve to guests.

    The Chardonnay is next. I wish our TJ had the Valdiguie. If it is similar to a Beaujolais I will pay $2.99 for it.

  203. Comment by John Valenti @ December 27, 2011, 6:42 pm

    Here is my review: Firstly, I am not an expert wine critic. I am not even a critic. I have been drinking wine off and on for about 40 years, but just not that much wine. I am much more an expert in beers or more correctly ales, and have been brewing for about 30 years. This review needs to be the final word on Charles Shaw wine, or at least Merlot. I have read many of the comments above and came to the conclusion that the Merlot was the wine I wanted to taste. Yesterday, the day after Christmas, I bought a bottle of CS Merlot. Today, after opening it and letting it sit for about 15 minutes and then pouring it through an aerator I settled down with some Ak-Mak organically grown whole wheat flour…sesame crackers with some hot salsa and Jack cheese, here is my ‘expert’ opinion: CS Merlot is my wine of choice for any Merlot at $15/bottle or less. I have nothing bad to say about it. My logic is why would I spend $15 for a bottle of any other brand of Merlot when I can spend $2.49 (what I paid) for a bottle of Charles Shaw Merlot? I know that there have to be a lot of Merlots out there which are better but I am sure they are much more expensive. I have just not tasted them. So, if you want to be a wine snob and criticize CS Merlot, it is still your right. I have been sipping on a glass while I write this comment and it is quite satisfying. I really appreciate a good buy. It is not alcohol spiked cool aid but in fact, a real wine. If you must spend $15-$20 for a bottle of Merlot, please do but I am quite pleased with a $2.49 CS Merlot. I can spend the other $12.50 on a good pizza to go with my CS Merlot.

  204. Comment by Jim S. @ January 7, 2012, 9:17 pm

    Long story short: I absconded with a case of CS Merlot my cousin bought, but left in my folks’ basement. They wanted it “gone” so I loaded it up and brought it back to Virginia with me. Need to send my cousin a check… yea, I should do that, shouldn’t I?…for the wine, so I checked the price for a Michigan purchase. Nice price: $3/ bottle. Read a lot of these reviews…agree with most that you should drink what you like, and if what you like is $3 a bottle, so much the better. Anyway, the CSM is a good wine…a ‘deal’ as it were.

  205. Comment by Big T @ February 11, 2012, 12:45 pm

    What a HOOT!
    I really enjoyed reading this comments section!
    (and, hell Yes, I’m buying a case or two of this wine today)
    Last night I had a $7 bottle of Stone’s “Self-Righteous” Ale (stout) and a couple of New Belgium’s “1554″ (black ale).

    On our last big anniversary my wife and I spent a fotune on fine-dining with wines costing more than a days wages.

    Two-Buck-Chuck will fit my Friday night “un-winding binge” just fine based on the comments and review I’ve read this morning.

    Thanks to all!

  206. Comment by Bill @ March 12, 2012, 11:35 am

    I’m glad I didn’t write Daniel off as a snob and took the time to read his second post. I agree that the Bonny Doon Vineyards are a real find and produce great tasting wines at only slightly higher prices than CS 2—The Bonny Doon Big House Red is a blend that is great to have around as a quaffing wine and that I’ve taken to other peoples houses for dinner. I’ve been drinking it for years. It was one of the first CA wines to feature a screw top—-I still like it. It is now available in box form at Alberstons and when on sale, goes for about 18 bucks–(less than six per bottle)—guess what? I still like it.
    Here’s the amazing thing about two Buck Chuck. I take it back to Utah with me over the Holidays and give it to my friends who host a Christmas Party every year for friends who don’t generally drink a lot of wine (in Utah–they make it as difficult to buy liquor as possible) and people seem great with it as a Christmas party type wine.
    I guess, the old trick of buying a bottle at TJ’s–running out to your car and sipping a bit and (if it’s quaffable plus)—-go back in and get a case or two is still the best method. But I’ve had many a weird headache after a night of 2 Buck Chuck celebrating after a Detroit Tiger win and I wouldn’t wish one on my least favorite co worker. Maybe as a glass a night–sip with an In and Out Burger–or to accompany a fine Tombstone Pizza—HBO Sunday night watching session–but for really good poor mans wine quaffing, try the Bonny Doon Big House Red instead. Get it in the box. Embrace your Inner Italian Peasant.

  207. Comment by juice @ April 8, 2012, 8:37 pm

    why can’t i buy a 750ml bottle of grape juice for $2? Yet, wine is no issue

  208. Comment by Luis Ituarte @ July 21, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Someone should give Trader Joe’s recognition for the support of the arts in L.A. For the last 3 years, 2 Buck Chuck have being serve at almost any art show I have attended and I see most people dinking it, for a reasonable price for organizers is good that art events have a acceptable wine to offer for free

  209. Comment by theweedranter @ August 4, 2012, 3:36 am

    Well i tried this 2010 cab and i must say that for 2 bucks i feel like i’ve committed theft. I read these little rants on here about blah blah blah and duh duh duh duh duh and i can see this snobbery taking place this elitist attitude that somehow i am better than u because i am good at wasting money and have a tongue that is subjective. Very true taste is subjective and all but it can also be very objective if u know what ur doing. Sure i’ve tried many of wines and had plenty of hangovers (some much worse than others) but i must say that good ol’ bargain charlie is very nice company who won’t steal ur money and leave u feeling like u’ve just been robbed and assaulted. Well anyways i am a real cab sauv lover and i prefer to call them cabs, because i’m not pretentious, and i must say that when i go to Trader J’s i look in the wine section for a dusty old bottle of some vintage charlie cab which means i just stole a bargain because this $2.13 bottle of wine should of cost much more. The tannins are noticeable, the taste is not putrid (unlike some wines i’ve tried which i won’t mention not out of respect but because they’re not worth mention), the aroma is rich (unlike me), the effect is quite lucid, the balance is well balanced, and the finish is worth finishing the whole bottle, or saving for tomorrow.

  210. Comment by erik @ March 5, 2013, 10:37 pm

    Don’t be silly! It may be cheap but it’s actually a good blend. And well blent wines are more satisfying.

  211. Comment by Leroy @ June 25, 2013, 9:44 pm

    The Cab from the Charles Shaw winery in Sonoma CA. is a really a great, light tasting Cab. With this wine you don’t have to send an arm and a leg to get a great tasting wine to have with any pasta dish. I will buy this wine to have with pizza too.

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