Cheap wine sometimes gets a bad rap. Sure, it’s nothing like serving two life sentences for killing your wife and her lover, but at the very least, it deserves a fair trial. Trials don’t come cheap; just ask any attorney, but with a public defender like Trader Joe’s in your corner, you can bet it will cost you less than five bucks — which is admittedly much less than one would pay for a two-minute phone call with counsel.
Charles Shaw wine, warmly known by its legions of fans as “Two Buck Chuck,” is a cheap wine. From 2002 to 2013 the cost was just $1.99 per bottle in most states. After 11 years, the price swelled to a staggering $2.99 due to the winery’s cost increases. It seems like it might be due for a new nickname as well. I was thinking something along the lines of “Three Bill Thrill or Three Bone Bender.” Remind me to write some big marketing exec about that.
I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me Dionysus! Listen; there are a few naysayers out there who will testify you cannot make a decent Cabernet Sauvignon for less than eight or 10 bucks, and to those people I must say, “I object!” Wine snobs we are not. Sommeliers, well … we aren’t that either. However, we are lovers of good ol’ cheap wine. I cross-examined the case of the Charles Shaw 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (not the entire case, just a bottle or two) and my findings are this: it’s good. Actually, it’s better than good for the price!
For those who love a rich and hearty cab, I will say you might be a little disappointed. It doesn’t have a long finish, and it is much thinner than what you are accustomed to. But overall it’s a decent wine. Right out of the bottle it is a little heavy on the alcohol, but in its defense, if you aerate — or at the very least let it linger in the glass a little while — it will mellow with notes of cherry, blueberry and raspberry. Think Smuckers infused with booze, a little black pepper, citrus, mild acidity and a smooth finish. It’s mildly tart, not overly sweet but the fruit is there. And for around three dollars, you won’t get shanked at the cash register. So raise your glass, raise your right hand and lower your standards when it comes to giving cheap wine a swirl. You might end up finding a little extra cash in your wallet and a nice addition to your wine rack. Case closed!
Aromatique: Very fruity. Cherry, blueberry, raspberry and citrus
Sip Quips: Mild acidity, slightly peppered with smooth but moderate finish
Kitchen Couplings: Lighter fare; summer pasta, veggie pizza, mild cheeses, beef kebabs/satay