Saturday, June 30, 2007
Two Buck Chuck Crushes California Chardonnays
Back in 1976, California rocked the wine world when its wines beat out French wines in a blind tasting at what has become known as the Judgment of Paris. Now it is the California wine world that is being rocked with the expected announcement that a $1.99 bottle of Charles Shaw Chardonnay has been named the best in the state at the the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
A record number of 3,029 wines from 660 California vintners were sampled earlier this month by 16 panels of 64 wine judges. Winning wineries are just now starting to receive word of the results, but news has leaked out that Charles Shaw is the top chardonnay for 2007.
Shaw is nicknamed Two Buck Chuck because in California it sells for $1.99 at the Trader Joe's grocery chain. Elsewhere around the country you will find it for $2.99 at Trader Joe's. Made by Franzia's Bronco Winery, the Shaw label has been viewed by many as a good -- not great -- wine with a very democratic price. Now with the California State Fair victory, you can expect the label to get some much deserved respect.
Two Buck Chuck is benefiting from a recent glut of quality grapes in California. The volume of Bronco's production helps keep costs down. I have tried several Shaw varietals and have a couple of bottles of the Chardonnay in my wine refrigerator at the moment thanks to a purchase my wife made at a Trader Joe's in the Raleigh area. It will be interesting to see if consumers make a run on the wine when they learn that you don't have to spend upwards of $50 to get the highest rated chardonnay in all of California.