It’s the Ultimate Budget Wine, As Long As You Stick with the Reds of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz
I buy it.
I drink it.
I even have it at house parties.
Heck, I even take a bottle to my parents when I visit them in Tennessee.
I’m a Two Buck Chuck Fan, and I admit it. For those not in the know, I’m referring to Charles Shaw wine, available only at Trader Joe’s, a California-original budget gourmet store (think an affordable Bristol Farms) that sells for $1.98.
That’s a full bottle, 750ml. For two bucks. Somewhere along the line, the nickname “Two Buck Chuck” appeared, and now it’s like a cult.
There is no shame in putting it in the basket, no shame in having it in the house, not even any shame in serving it at a house party. In fact, it’s pretty commonplace, even in high-end areas like Manhattan Beach.
The last part is the most remarkable because house party hosts like to show a bit more sophistication to their guests rather than serving a $2 bottle of wine. That’s the positive reputation of Two Buck Chuck. As well as an endorsement of its quality.
The reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz – are excellent for their price point and can stand on their own with bottles costing $10, $15, even $20. They are ideal for popping a bottle at home or with a few friends on a casual night.
Practically everyone in California has a couple of bottles in the cabinet for those nights, or for when friends come over unexpectedly.
But not all Two Buck Chucks are created equal. As good as the reds are, the whites are not. Stay away from them; they taste like one would imagine $2 wines taste. Were it only to produce whites, there would be no cult factor for Two Buck Chuck.
My favorite budget chardonnay, by the way, is Gallo Family. It is priced to drink, as low as $3.99 at Ralph’s when on sale, which is frequently,
Californians are so sold on their Two Buck Chuck so much to the point that when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed raising the liquor tax to help solve the state’s budget deficit, people started to pop their corks. That would have taken the price of the wine to $2,49 and, as everyone complained, “we can’t call it Two Buck Chuck anymore!”
The Governator quickly backed off that proposal.
So guess what I’m drinking as I write this blog. You got it, Two Buck Chuck. The Cab, that’s my favorite.