two buck chuck

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by ritafajita, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. ritafajita

    ritafajita

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    I am so behind the times always, I usually hear about stuff later than other people do. I had never heard of "Two Buck Chuck" until the other day. It sounds like the wine community is in a tizzie over it. What's the real deal?

    RF
     
  2. fodigger

    fodigger

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    2 buck chuck is a wine available at Trader Joes. It is produced by a guy named Franzia and his company Bronco Wines. He buys left over grapes and bottles the stuff. The rub comes in when he uses his Charles Shaw label He has I believe 3 or 4 labels that he owns in Napa from the old days. These labels are grandfathered in so the same requirements that now exsist for Napa wineries don't apply to him so... that allows him to put on the bottle bottled and cellered in Napa even though there is not a drop of Napa juice in the bottle. So it looks like a Napa wine even though it isn't. I've tasted it a couple of times once was Ok and the other was rank.
     
  3. mikef

    mikef

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    In addition, I'd add that the stuff is generally drinkable, but totally uninteresting. It's a wine that appeals to folks who just want something that's cheap and not too terrible. I've had the chardonnay a couple of times and two or three of the reds. They do seem to vary - the chard was somewhat crisp and refreshing the first time and totally dull and flabby the second time. The reds have varietal names, but the cab could be a merlot could be a syrah could be a......

    Mike
     
  4. ritafajita

    ritafajita

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    Well, I read some more about it today. There was actually an article in the local paper - my locality being nowhere near a Trader Joe's. The article basically said that if the wine were available outside Trader Joes's that it would be more like a $5-$6 wine (when you factor in shipping, etc). You can get lots of relatively drinkable/nothing-to-necessarily-write-home-about for that price around here. It sounds like the guy just found a particular niche - in the right place at the right time - and for a limited time only, I'd imagine.

    The local article also pointed out that the taste tests that were done on the recent 20/20 coverage (did anyone see this?) were not done with experienced wine tasters, but with young culinary students. I don't remember the school. 20/20 seemed to be using the culinary student taste test, which concluded that the "Two Buck Chuck" was at least as good as the more expensive wines, to prove a point - what, I'm not sure. Perhaps it was just to make a good story. I remember watching it, though, and wondering, "What does a culinary student necessarily know about wine?"

    Before I offend anyone with that last thought, let me emphasize that I know very little about wine myself, so I'm not being snobby. I'm merely seeking knowledge, if anyone cares to elaborate.

    Are there still "bad" wines out there or has the bar been raised to the "okay stuff that most people will drink at a paid-for party since it's free"? If so, what raised that bar? Is cheap wine better than it used to be (by "used to be", I'm thinking early 1980's) or is it just more acceptable to drink cheap wine?

    Just wondering,
    RF
     
  5. craigcamp

    craigcamp

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    2 Buck Chuck is nothing more or less than the common table wines that Europeans drink on a daily basis to wash down their meals. It is an industrial wine that is available at such a low price because Trader Joe's buys it direct from the winery in California. In other states it is slightly more because of shipping and the fact that they must use a licensed distributor in that state to process the sale. Certainly there is nothing wrong with making an everyday wine available at an everyday price.

    That being said there are other wines that sell for slightly more money that are somewhat more interesting - from South American or Australia for example. For example the Yellowtail wines are decidedly more drinkable.

    No matter what, wines in this price ranges can be nothing more than simple mass-produced products that are better gulped out of bistro glasses than swirled and sniffed out of stemware.
     
  6. mikef

    mikef

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    My understanding is that a big part of the reason that the Charles Shaw wine exists is the current availability of relatively "high quality" grapes at ridiculously low prices. These aren't Napa or Sonoma grapes, of course, they're from California's central valley - Lodi and south. This area is severely overplanted these days (driving south from Sacramento, one can see thousands of acres of wine grapes that weren't there five years ago). As these vineyards came into production, prices collapsed and people like Fred Franzia have been able to get grapes at prices that don't come close to covering the growers' costs. I'd imagine that these growers will be plowing the vineyards under and planting other things over the next few years which will bring supply more in line with demand. At that point, I'll bet two-buck chuck will become five-buck chuck or disappear entirely.

    Mike