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New Featured Wine at TJ's... opinions?

amandine Nov 2, 2006 02:13 AM

I was in Trader Joe's this afternoon and noticed a new Charles-Shaw-esque wine on display in the entrance, retailing for $4.99. I believe it was called "Napa Valley" or "Napa Vineyards" or something pedestrian like that.

Anyone tried it?

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  1. s
    Snapdragon RE: amandine Nov 14, 2006 04:06 AM

    Grabbed a bottle of the Napa River merlot. Okay, but nothing special. I won't buy it again.

    1. therealbigtasty RE: amandine Nov 14, 2006 08:27 AM

      Oh, I'm sure it's crap.

      We in the U.S. need to develop a great table wine culture. And no, I don't mean a ten dollar bottle worthy of daily drinking, I mean a two dollar bottle.

      That Chuck stuff is horrible. We need to find a kickass varietal that puts out and puts halfway decent stuff on the table and not only at Trader Joe's.

      Why not like Europe, where wine is part of life?

      2 Replies
      1. re: therealbigtasty
        zin1953 RE: therealbigtasty Nov 15, 2006 04:44 PM

        Not being subsidized, I believe it is not possible to find a $2 bottle worthy of daily drinking . . . $10, yes. Even less than $10. But not two -- the cost of production here in the US is just too high.

        Keep in mind that, in contrast to the US,Europe has no history of "jug wine." Our "two dollar bottle" doesn't exist, in part, because that 750ml is bottled not as a "regular" bottle, but blended together with more wine to create a 3.0L or 4.0L bottle, or a 5.0L box. It isn't until one gets to those sizes that the cost per ounce starts getting close.

        $2.00/750ml bottle = $0.078/ounce ("Two Buck Chuck")

        $7.99/5.0L box = $0.047/ounce (Almaden White Grenache @ BevMo)

        $12.99/4.0L jug = $0.096/ounce (Almaden Rhine Wine)

        Also, keep in mind that most of the "everday" vin de table is just that -- non-appellation table wine.

        1. re: zin1953
          therealbigtasty RE: zin1953 Nov 16, 2006 06:38 AM

          Yeah, I know, it's just a bummer.

          Those damn prohibitionists ruined a lot about the American life so long back then...

          You ever read Drink: A Social History of America? Great read, it's a great perspective on the history of alcohol in this country--does a great job explaining a lot of the things that go on with booze in this country.

      2. j
        jimtak RE: amandine Nov 14, 2006 08:52 PM

        This is Fred Franzia's revenge on Napa Valley. He picked up a bunch of bulk wine with NV appellation, bottled it at his facility in south Napa.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jimtak
          zin1953 RE: jimtak Nov 15, 2006 04:33 PM

          Fred definitely deserves his share of scorn, but there ARE some things for which Napa deserves some scorn . . . .

        2. d
          dinwiddie RE: amandine Nov 16, 2006 02:59 PM

          I wouldn't buy a $4 steak, why in the world would I drink a $4 wine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dinwiddie
            zin1953 RE: dinwiddie Nov 16, 2006 04:22 PM

            Well, for those of us who remember when a good steak could be had for under $4/lb. . . . ;^)

            The cost of production does not even come close to justifying $50, $75, $100+ bottles of American-made table wines. Nor does the fabled "Law of Supply and Demand."

            It has always been easy to find great bottles of expensive wine. The trick is to find great wines that do NOT cost the proverbial arm-and-a-leg. Not long I entered the wine trade, my mantra was "What the world needs is a great bottle of wine under $5." And they were out there. Today, that's increased somewhat. Now what the world needs is a great bottle in the $10-15 range -- less, when feasible. These, too, are out there. One merely has to look.

            That said, nothing coming out of the Bronco Wine Co. -- or Trader Joe's, for that matter -- really qualifies . . . at least as far as my personal palate preferences are concerned.

            1. re: zin1953
              dinwiddie RE: zin1953 Nov 16, 2006 07:07 PM

              I agree, there are plenty of very good wines in the $12-15 range. I have more than my share of more expensive wines, but you usually have to pay more for small production wines, especially great Pinot Noirs. However, I have never seen a $5 wine that I thought was worth drinking (at least not in the last 5 years or so) and since I can afford much better wine I live by the moto "Life is too short to drink cheap wine." Inexpensive is one thing, but for my money cheap wine gets you what you pay for.

          2. s
            slacker RE: amandine Nov 16, 2006 11:35 PM

            That's Five Buck Fred, but TJ's had been trying very hard to not perpetuate that nickname.

            I actually prefer Two Buck Chuck over Fred. I don't understand the snobbery against low priced wines; charles shaw is absolutely drinkable and very good for the price. I also have many bottles of pricey stuff in my cellar, but two buck chuck is just fine too sometimes.

            I know someone who basically only buys wines that are $70 and up. I've been thinking that it would be good fun to have a blind taste test, mixing in some of the "cheap" bottles.

            3 Replies
            1. re: slacker
              zin1953 RE: slacker Nov 17, 2006 12:54 AM

              "I actually prefer Two Buck Chuck over Fred. I don't understand the snobbery against low priced wines; charles shaw is absolutely drinkable and very good for the price. I also have many bottles of pricey stuff in my cellar, but two buck chuck is just fine too sometimes."

              I cannot speak for others (nor do I try), but my attitude towards Charles Shaw is that it's all but undrinkable. I have tried dozens of bottles as part of my job(s). I can, to quote Dimitri Tchelistcheff, "count on one hand with change left over" the number of bottles I thought were good. Not good for the money, but good, period. But I am talking here about MY tastes, MY preferences. This is a totally different criteria than what I would use professionally. SOME (but only some, in my opinion) bottlings from Charles Shaw can offer decent QPR. Others do not.

              But I am all for spending less money on wine, and there is no snobbery involved -- at least, not on my part.

              1. re: zin1953
                slacker RE: zin1953 Nov 17, 2006 01:00 AM

                Um, okay.

                Whatever your job is, sounds pretty good to me.

                1. re: slacker
                  zin1953 RE: slacker Nov 17, 2006 02:07 AM

                  Trust me -- having to taste that many bottles of plonk is not my definition of fun."


            2. LeBone RE: amandine Nov 17, 2006 01:01 AM

              drink the french stuff with the Coq on it.
              About 5 bucks and darn tasty.

              3 Replies
              1. re: LeBone
                kenito799 RE: LeBone Nov 28, 2006 09:32 AM

                Has anyone noticed that despite the strength of the euro against the dollar, import costs and duties, that (in general) inexpensive French wine blows cheap American wine out of the water? You can expect better wines to be cheaper from Chile or Argentina where labor costs are lower, but the French are doing something that American wine producers should be able to learn. Then we would be able to have our $2 drinkable table wines.

                1. re: kenito799
                  dinwiddie RE: kenito799 Nov 28, 2006 07:14 PM

                  Actually, there is a major glut of wine in France and it is selling for less than it costs to produce. Think of it as if NY, OR, WA, VA all produced as much wine as CA does. Wine would be cheap here too.

                  1. re: kenito799
                    zin1953 RE: kenito799 Nov 29, 2006 02:46 AM

                    France has always, IMHO, produced better "bargains" than has California. Today, the same can be said for Spain, Portugal and Italy. It's much too easy to find truly enjoyable bottles of wine from WESTERN European that are under $15 -- heck, under $10! -- than it is to find wines of equal quality and enjoyment from the U.S.

                    California's jug wines are generally much more "technichally sound," but rarely as interesting.

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