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two buck chuck

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harryharry Nov 17, 2008 09:46 AM

What would you think if someone brought two buck chuck to your house as a hostess gift - someone who you know drinks pretty decent wine at home.

I admit that I already have an opinion, which I won't state here, however, I am very open to changing my mind! Please be nice.

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  1. BrookBoy RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 10:05 AM

    If I took it as a kind of gag gift, I'd be fine with it. But if it were meant as a serious wine gift I think I'd be more than a little disappointed.

    It is similar to when my wife and I brought a good bottle of wine to dinner at a friend's house, only to have the friend put our bottle away and break out the el cheapo stuff.

    I will be interested to see what others have to say on this...

    2 Replies
    1. re: BrookBoy
      ccbweb RE: BrookBoy Nov 17, 2008 01:48 PM

      If you brought the bottle as a gift for your hosts, you shouldn't expect that it will be served at that meal.

      1. re: BrookBoy
        Bill Hunt RE: BrookBoy Nov 17, 2008 07:42 PM

        I mentioned similar in another thread. With "gifted" wine, it does happen. I just live with it. Now, I often bring two bottles of varying price/quality ranges to cover the bases. As mentioned in the other thread, I do call to discuss the menu and also what I will bring. If it isn't served, that is life.

        Hunt

      2. b
        bubbles4me RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 10:08 AM

        Okay I'll bite and be the first to sound like a snob, I think I would be a bit put off by it. I would honestly rather they bring nothing at all. I work in a wine shop and hear all the time, "I'm going to somone's house for dinner and they wont appreciate the stuff I drink so I'm just going to bring this"....always seems tacky to me not to mention if I am dining with friends I am damn well going to bring something I like drinking. I say serve it to them next time they come over.

        1. r
          RicRios RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 10:43 AM

          Happened to me once, a very similar situation.
          Going to a restaurant with a very close friend (meaning, he knew my wino habits ).
          I take a fairly decent Burgundy, he takes a TBC ( literally, the Charles Shaw thing ).
          I only learned when he pulled the stuff out of the brown bag.
          I gulped. Asked the waiter for two pairs of wine glasses, and I poured both, side by side.
          Asked my friend what he thought.
          He said he saw the light. Or at least, he faked it fairly well.

          1. danhole RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 11:55 AM

            What is two buck chuck? Really cheap wine, like teenagers drink?

            4 Replies
            1. re: danhole
              b
              bubbles4me RE: danhole Nov 17, 2008 12:04 PM

              It is a Bronco project and bacically a bulk wine with a cork in it. called Charles Shaw..not awful, (although I cannot drink it) and it sells at Trader Joes for like $3.00 now...used to be $1.99 hence the name Two Buck Chuck.

              1. re: danhole
                r
                RicRios RE: danhole Nov 17, 2008 12:35 PM

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_...

                1. re: RicRios
                  danhole RE: RicRios Nov 17, 2008 12:42 PM

                  Thanks for that link RicRios. Since we don't have a Trader Joes in Texas, I would have no idea what that was. Actually my first thought was "why would someone bring you a chuck roast." Second thought was "I got mine for $1.69 last week." LOL!

                  1. re: danhole
                    alliedawn_98 RE: danhole Nov 18, 2008 11:56 AM

                    Dan, that's exactly what I was thinking! We don't have Trader Joes within a 3 hour drive of me either so never seen that wine.

              2. c
                Chefsquire RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 12:15 PM

                I guess maybe I would be a little disappointed if I was expecting them to bring something that would wow me, but really if you are inviting someone over for dinner, you really shouldn't expect anything in return.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chefsquire
                  g
                  grant.cook RE: Chefsquire Nov 17, 2008 12:33 PM

                  DO NOT BRING CHARLES SHAW WINE AS A GIFT. Everyone knows what it is, everyone know is costs $2-3. If you are going to a party that involves stupendous amounts of drinking, perhaps - its roughly equivalent to bringing a bottle of Colt 45. If you are a host/hostess and you want some swill to bring out later to mollify your buzzing guests, perhaps, but do not bring it in any circumstances where it is taken as a gift.

                  1. re: Chefsquire
                    Bill Hunt RE: Chefsquire Nov 17, 2008 07:50 PM

                    I'm close, but it does not have to "wow me," just be enjoyable. Come the Holidays, I get plenty of wine. Most is very good, but there are a few that are just a wine-like-product in a bottle. These usually find their way to the drain, and then the recylce bin, unless the label is really outrageous. Then, we'll put it on display in the celalr. Have a whole rack with weird, cute, outrageous labels - some totally just for fun.

                    Though I have a handful of friends, who share my predilection for fine wine and also can afford to purchase same, I do not expect the average person to be so disposed, and appreciate any "drinkable" wine.

                    Hunt

                  2. rebs RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 12:48 PM

                    i have had people bring over two buck chuck. because i didn't want to be rude or snobby i thanked them for the wine and put it in my wine fridge. etiquette says that if someone brings over a bottle of wine, you are not necessarily obligated to open it that night.

                    i actually appreciate when someone brings over the TBC because that's what i use for cooking wine. saves me a trip to the store.

                    1. a
                      akq RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 01:34 PM

                      Generally, I think you should be gracious and apprciative of whatever someone gives you, whether it's to your taste or not. In this case, the problem is that it seems they know better (drink better stuff at home). Generally, I'd figure that they got it as a present and were re-gifting because they don't drink wine, or bought it and had it on hand, forgetting what it is and just grabbed it out of the cabinet as a last-minute gift.

                      Maybe they think you don't drink wine much and wanted to give you something accessible? I've never tried TBC, so I have no idea whether it's just a mellow wine or something else.

                      1. ccbweb RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 01:47 PM

                        If they happen to actually like that particular variety of Charles Shaw, perhaps they sincerely thought you would, too. Some really inexpensive wine is quite good and drinkable and spending a lot on a bottle certainly isn't any guarantee of quality or that the recipient will like it. The best thing is to bring a bottle of something that you yourself enjoy....perhaps that is what your guest did.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: ccbweb
                          m
                          ML8000 RE: ccbweb Nov 18, 2008 11:49 AM

                          Some batches of TBC are very good, some are not, but that's part of the deal. Maybe this guy found a good batch.

                          It won a double gold at the California State Fair, and in blind comparos, it beat $50 buck bottles. Here's the link:

                          http://winesediments.net/2006/07/01/t...

                          "Two Buck Chuck is the affectionate nickname given to Charles Shaw wine, sold exclusively by Trader Joes. ABC News did a blind taste test recently and pitted both the red and white varieties against a $50 bottle of chardonnay, and Two Buck Chuck came out the leader. When Wine & Vine did their own test, Two Buck Chuck rose above a $67 bottle of chardonnay. Arthur Frommer’s reports that at a “pretigiuous wine competition on the East Coast, Charles Shaw wine scored a double gold in blind tests, making it one of only 53 out of 2,500 entrants to reach the ultimate judging rounds.”

                          Of course those bottles were "gamed" but so what.

                          If you do find a good batch, maybe the thing to do is have replacement labels ready or re-bottle it for gifts. I mean, it really is the label here and if it's good, who's going to be able to tell the difference?

                          1. re: ML8000
                            Bill Hunt RE: ML8000 Nov 18, 2008 03:48 PM

                            Thank you for filling in my feeble memory. For some reason, Orange County Fair stuck. I should have known better, as there were several threads on the California State Fair win.

                            Appreciated,

                            Hunt

                            1. re: ML8000
                              a
                              aventinus RE: ML8000 Nov 18, 2008 05:00 PM

                              I read this and tried a couple of bottles of different red varietals. It was amazingly vacuous wine. I guess it's not bad, in the sense that grape juice isn't bad, but I find it hard to believe that serious wine people thought it was a superior wine.

                              1. re: aventinus
                                Bill Hunt RE: aventinus Nov 18, 2008 05:06 PM

                                Your impressions mirror mine. Have you, by chance, ever tried their Chardonnay? Considering what a previous vintage (or should I say batch?) did, I do need to taste this. We enjoy a very broad spectrum of Chardonnay-based wines, so I have no aversion to the varietal. I'll even let my wife do a single-blind tasting on me, just to keep my predispositions out of the tasting, as far as I can. Maybe a "triangle tasting?"

                                Just curious, as I have only tasted some of their reds, and that WAS some time back.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  t
                                  tmso RE: Bill Hunt Nov 19, 2008 01:45 AM

                                  I had one taste of their Chardonnay once (in 2002, maybe?). It went glass -> mouth -> quick check to see if anyone is looking -> glass. Amazingly vile. I was quite relieved when I tasted the red (the options at the party were both CS) and it was perfectly inoffensive.

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                    Bryn RE: Bill Hunt Nov 23, 2008 11:42 AM

                                    triangle test is for spotting a difference. you want to do a paired preference test.

                            2. Bill Hunt RE: harryharry Nov 17, 2008 07:40 PM

                              I would speak to them, at length, and ask about this wine (TBC). I've tasted many of their varietals, though several years ago. I do know that their Chardonnay did win (Orange County?) a gold medal, over some pretty good Chards.

                              I've been meaning to taste these again (knowing that Bronco does them in batches, so one bottle today might be totally unlike that same varietal tomorrow), but have not mustered the courage. My earlier tastings were pretty poor. As a matter of fact, someone would have had to pay me, more than US$2 to drink them. Still, maybe they have changed.

                              If this was the gift wine, I might break from my norm, and suggest that we serve it to the assembled. Sometimes meaness overcomes me, especially if I know that they drink better at home.

                              Based on your stated criteria, I'd be a tad miffed, as I would see this as a real "put-down," and question whether there was some "message" in the gift. I never expect my guests to bring a wine, that will compare with those, that I plan on serving, but this might be construed as a slap.

                              Hunt

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                coney with everything RE: Bill Hunt Nov 18, 2008 05:20 AM

                                "and here's the wine Fred and Wilma brought, everyone! Skol!"

                                That would be mean! But not unjustified. If I were bringing wine, I'd only bring what I would be happy to drink myself, and definitely spend more than $3 on it!

                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  OCAnn RE: Bill Hunt Nov 24, 2008 09:47 AM

                                  Hmmm...I don't think serving their wine is mean, especially if you serve other gift bottles and announce who brought what. Embarrassing for the TBC gifter, but hey, they brought it.

                                  Normally, I wouldn't re-gift, but could you re-gift it back to them? Or take them another TBC bottle and say, "well, since you like TBC so much, here's another bottle to add to your collection"?

                                  1. re: OCAnn
                                    Bill Hunt RE: OCAnn Nov 24, 2008 03:51 PM

                                    One could, but I'd be more predisposed to offer up something that I loved. Depending on the recipients, I might not go THAT deeply into the cellar, but would certainly pick something that I would be proud to have my gift card attached to.

                                    This would not be meant to "show up" the person, but to possibly introduce them to wines, that I personally think are superior. But in the end, that would still be MY tastes, and might not have the desired effect.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      OCAnn RE: Bill Hunt Nov 24, 2008 08:15 PM

                                      Your way is the thoughtful, proper approach.

                                      Me, I'd imagine, scheme and conspire all sorts of unsavoury scenarios, finally resorting to picking up something that I know they like. Darn those TBC gifters!

                                2. CindyJ RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 06:02 AM

                                  Unless my dinner guests call ahead to ask if they can bring wine for dinner, and ask what's on the menu so they can bring something appropriate, I don't feel obliged to serve a bottle brought as a hostess gift. If they asked and then brought TBC, I'd serve it; if they didn't ask, I'd thank them graciously for the gift and I'd use it for cooking at a later date.

                                  1. j
                                    Janet from Richmond RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 06:07 AM

                                    I would not give a wine I would not drink or serve. So, that leaves two buck chuck at the wayside. It also leaves Cook and Korbel at the wayside. When we receive that, I give it to my daughter for her and her friends to partake in.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                      r
                                      RicRios RE: Janet from Richmond Nov 18, 2008 07:25 AM

                                      "When we receive that, I give it to my daughter"

                                      LOL! If I even attempt to do that, my daughter will "divorce" me.

                                      1. re: RicRios
                                        j
                                        Janet from Richmond RE: RicRios Nov 18, 2008 07:29 AM

                                        She and her friends aren't picky....yet <g> They are also broke and free booze is good booze :-)

                                    2. c
                                      Cachetes RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 06:12 AM

                                      Based on your assertion that they drink decent wine at home, I'd think one of two things:

                                      1. They are cheap (at least with others, not with selves).

                                      2. They think you have poor taste in wine.

                                      I mention #2 b/c I had a landlord once who used to buy two types of wine: expensive bordeauxs and burgundies and cheap stuff that he would serve to people who he felt could not appreciate finer wines. Admittedly he never stooped to two buck chuck for these folks (usually something along the lines of an Estancia), but he definitely judged people by what he perceived to be their ability to appreciate what he saw as finer foods/wines and served them accordingly. (Before you all say it, yes, he is a snob, but he was very good to me and my husband in the early days of our courtship and marriage).

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Cachetes
                                        Bill Hunt RE: Cachetes Nov 18, 2008 04:19 PM

                                        I too, do a little bit of the stereo-typing, when giving wine. If I do not know the individuals, I'll *assume* that they know wine and usually find something very nice from my cellar. Should they comment that the gift wine "wasn't sweet enough," or "didn't go well with Mountain Dew, that they mixed in... " well, they fall off my "fine wine list," and I will usually rethink giving them any more wine - flowers are often nice.

                                        OTOH, I know many folk, who do not have an appreciation for fine wines. To gift such, would be a total waste, and likely not be fully enjoyed by the recipients. I still always gift a very good bottle of wine, and one that I believe will fit their palate(s). If for no other reason, than I have an image to uphold.

                                        If I know that the host/hostess really appreciates wines, I'll dig more deeply into the cellar for something that they are likely to have never experienced, either region, producer or even varietal. For me, these are the most fun. Yes, some of my supposedly well-thoughtout wines have bombed, but not that many.

                                        Back to the TBC. When Bronco introduced it, Trader Joe's was a media circus in Phoenix. There were miles of tape of snow-birds and retirees wheeling out multiple cases of the stuff. Each night, the local stations shot at one of the TJ's and interviewed the buyers. They all pretty much said the same thing, "for $2.00 a bottle, how bad can this stuff be?" Many had never even tasted any of the varietals, but were caught up in the frenzy to buy cheap wine. Even the newspapers were showing the handtrucks laden with case, upon case, of this wine.

                                        At a trade-tasting a few months later, Bronco was pouring their TBC (it was STILL $2.00/btl. then) and, IIRC, I had the Cab, the Syrah and the Merlot. I do not recall either a Chard, or a Zin. I found all of these to be horrible wines, on MY palate. I totally dismissed TBC based on that tasting.

                                        A year or so later, I attended a "jug wine tasting" held by a wine & food group. It was a fun Summer distraction and featured members' favorite cheap wines. Once more, TBC was being poured, though not by the distributor, or marketing folk from Bronco. There was only the Cab and the Merlot. For me, nothing had changed. I found 0 to enjoy in either. Now, I did see the label and did have preconceptions, so I cannot say that I was 100% objective. Still, I found no redeeming qualities in either.

                                        Based on these two separate events, I feel that I would have declined buying these wines, even if they came with a $5.00 bill taped to them. I found them to be that bad. OK, maybe with a $3.00 profit, I'd have been tempted, but not if I had to actually drink the wine.

                                        People have talked about the "batches" of TBC here, and on many boards. I can see how this would happen, given the way the wine is created. However, I have obviously never had a "good batch." For me to take my chances, is not in my makeup. I want consistancy with my producers and will try to factor in variances, like vintage. Personally, I also find that I am so very often less enamored with wines that tout various medals from competitions. There have to be some exceptions, that I am forgetting, but do not recall any, that have impressed me. There are also several threads on the judging of such events, with insightful input from several forum members, who have been on some of the judging panels. Heck, I've been on two, and was voted down on most of my selections by a majority of the judges. Were they wrong, and I right? No, our tastes were just different. Their choices won (usually by a whopping majority), and mine lost. Such is life. Such is the appreciation of wine.

                                        I promise that I WILL re-taste the TBC (now about US$3 to $3.50 Chuck). If I get a good "batch," or find that my earlier tastings were wrong, based on the new ones, I'll gladly retract, or at least update, my impressions. Until then, unless it's a gag-gift, I am going to be less than impressed. Even gag-gifts can be good wine, just with some kooky label, or a wild story attached. I know that mine are. Were I to gift a bottle of TBC, I'd have a bottle of "fine wine" behind my back. Sorry, if I am coming across as a wine snob, but dang-it, I enjoy wine too much to waste my time on wines that do nothing for me, regardless of the price.

                                        Hunt

                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                          maria lorraine RE: Bill Hunt Nov 19, 2008 07:13 PM

                                          You can be sure that the award-winning TBC Chard was never to be found on any retail store shelf. It came from a small "miraculous" batch. Sometimes the "batches" of award-winning wine are so small that they are never available for sale, ever. Interpret how you will, but please notice the funnel and rubber mallet nearby.

                                          At judging competitions, the best wines are never entered. They don't need
                                          to be -- they already have enough acclaim and enough demand. Wine competitions have two motives -- to make money for the organizers (do the math on $75 per entry x 3000 entries with almost no overhead and you get an idea of the profits) and to garner marketing kudos for second- and third-tier wines -- the only wines entered. Wine awards mean nothing.

                                          In blind taste comparisons, consumers like what is familiar to their palates, and not necessarily the 'better" wine. Blind tasters sometimes award an approachable or even a flawed wine over a better-made, more complex or complicated wine. A wine that may be singular and extremely well-crafted but unless its artistry is understood, it isn't appreciated. Case in point: A truly outstanding red wine that needs a few years for the oak treatment to resolve will rarely be thought to be the better wine by consumers who are unable to taste the real wine "hidden beneath" the oak. The wine will simply be rejected as not being flavorful or harsh. A wine not made as well can and often does triumph over a masterful wine.

                                          One example of this: A fine chef with a wonderful palate loved a wine contaminated by lactobacillus spoilage bacteria. This wine would have been tossed out of the first round of a wine competition as being seriously flawed but at this blind tasting the chef was enamored of it, and
                                          touting its praises. He didn't know.

                                          1. re: maria lorraine
                                            Bill Hunt RE: maria lorraine Nov 20, 2008 04:25 PM

                                            ML,

                                            I guess that's why, in my limited forays into judging, I always got voted down, and even got snide looks from some of the other judges. Hey, I voted with my palate.

                                            At a trade tasting of a well-known Napa producer, we were served several years of their big Chard. I like the young, as the wonderful fruit was forward, but balanced. I was the only one in the room, who did. Most attendees were sommeliers, cellar-mastes or buyers. When time came for the Cabs, I loved the oldest one. It had aged so beautifully and gracefully and everything had blended perfectly. Again, I was the only one in the room. Everyone else loved the harsher, tannic edge of the younger wines. Most stated that it was because they could project how this wine *would* age over the years. Heck, I had found one that had aged perfectly already. i did not need to project anything. Still, my hand was the only one raised for the older wine. They once again glared at me. Hey, I have a tough skin - just like with the wine event competitions.

                                            You'all see why I could never run for any political office?

                                            Hunt

                                            1. re: maria lorraine
                                              WineAG RE: maria lorraine Nov 24, 2008 06:00 PM

                                              Agree with your comments regarding 2BC. It is what it is. I tried it many years ago after a friend said they liked it and wanted me to tell them what I thought. So I bought a few varietals thinking maybe one or 2 could be decent. After trying a few I just opened the others and poured them down the drain. If someone gave me a bottle as a gift I wouldn't open it... I'd quietly put it aside and later on I'd dispose of it w/o them knowing... and would never pass it along. If they asked me about what I thought of the wine, of course I'd tell them what I thought of it and prob laugh about it. Thankfully, it's never happened.

                                              For those who buy it and enjoy it, I have no problem To each his own. But what was very disturbing was the gold medal issue you speak of.

                                        2. r
                                          ricepad RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 06:33 AM

                                          I'm not sure I understand the vitriol about Charles Shaw. Yeah, it's cheap. But it's not crap wine...you could pay a lot more for worse. Bronco basically takes the wine left over that is not enough for a bottling run (there's an industry term, but I forget what it is), and blends their various 'brands' to make Two Buck Chuck. You may have zin from Napa and Lodi and Escalon and Livingston all going into that bottle, from extremely high quality wine to...well...more pedestrian wine. So Charles Shaw, by nature, is going to be inconsistent, but it will almost certainly be drinkable.

                                          To answer the OP, if a guest showed up with a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, I'd think he was willing to spin the wheel and take the chance that it could either be the value of the century...or a two dollar bottle of wine...and I would assume that he knew that *I* am willing to spin that wheel, too.

                                          1. BobB RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 07:34 AM

                                            I can't drink the stuff myself, but I know people who do, and frankly I consider them lucky to be able to find satisfaction in something so inexpensive. If someone brought a bottle to my house I would thank them and simply put it in the wine rack, possibly for use in cooking.

                                            1. rockandroller1 RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 07:59 AM

                                              I agree you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. There are people who like really expensive wine who also like 2 buck chuck. If I were to look through my bottles for a hostess gift I probably wouldn't bring my fanciest, most expensive bottle but I wouldn't bring something so bad I'd refuse to drink it either. Or maybe they don't like that particular varietal - if someone gave me a dessert wine I would regift it, no matter how much it was "worth" as I have no use for sweet wines.

                                              I would just accept it and say thank you. They don't have to bring anything you know.

                                              1. paulj RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 08:36 AM

                                                Splendid Table this past weekend had a segment about wine preferences and cost. The guest had done a number of blind wine tastings around the country, and found that casual wine drinkers preferred lower cost wines to expensive ones. Among knowledgeable drinkers, there was a statistically insignificant preference for the expensive. In this context expensive was in the $100 range, inexpensive under $10. The segment can be heard online.

                                                1. c
                                                  chefbeth RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 10:20 AM

                                                  My parents live in an upscale gated community which is populated by semi-wealthy and very wealthy retirees. They gave a cocktail party a few years ago with shrimp cocktail, beef tenderloin, etc., and served a full bar along with some wines in the $15/bottle range - decent wines, but not overly expensive.

                                                  I helped my mom unwrap the hostess gifts after the party and was shocked to find three bottles of TBC, a bottle of Cook's sparkling wine and a stunning assortment of crap (a white plastic picture frame comes to mind). Granted, not all of the gifts were horrible, but enough so that it looked like people had been hoarding bad gifts they'd gotten from other people and passed them on. I probably make less than half of the least affluent person in the room, but I'd have been embarrased to bring an equivalent "gift" to even the poorest gathering of my friends. The stinginess was a bit of a surprise to me.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: chefbeth
                                                    j
                                                    Janet from Richmond RE: chefbeth Nov 18, 2008 10:27 AM

                                                    One of the couples who gives us Cook's regularly is one of the wealthiest couples in our area. It amazes me. Our younger friends who live more modestly are the ones who bring good wine, liquor, beer, food, etc.

                                                  2. g
                                                    gryphonskeeper RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 04:52 PM

                                                    If the party had more than just the hosts and the offending couple with the TBC wine, I would serve it, and say "This is a gift from the Smiths"

                                                    Why do I say this? Because it DID happen, and then the other couple gave me the sideways glare when it hit the table, I promptly let them know it was a gift from the other couple, not my choice.

                                                    If I invite someone into my home, and treat them to a wonderful meal I would hope they would consider it worth more then $2 to them.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                      Bill Hunt RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 18, 2008 05:24 PM

                                                      Well, I've done similar, though just not named the guests. Told the story in another thread, so I'll be brief. Did a wine dinner with some pretty heavy-hitters, and courses that paired very well with each wine. New VP & wife were guests. He brought an inexpensive wine (Merlot), that also happened to be a rather poor example of that varietal, because he'd heard I was "into wine." I thanked him and he asked me to serve the wine at that dinner. I declined, because I had already chosen the wines and tasted each with each dish being served over the preceeding week. He insisted, saying that the "wine guy" at the store had highly recommended it. OK, he WAS my guest, so I relented and added the necessary glassware. It was served with a major Pomerol Merlot. I did not say too much, as he was my guest, and I'd also just met him. The guests made some comments on the two wines, and all loved the French, while puzzling over the domestic. When he left, his one comment was, "I didn't realize you were THAT into wine." We both learned a bit of a lesson that night.

                                                      Actually, were I presented with TBC and a request to serve it, I'd do my best to hide the source of the wine, or the label, from the other guests. I'd just tell 'em that I have a little experiment or surprise, for them. It would get the Riedel Sommelier stem treatment. Then I'd just sit back and enjoy my selection. I'd judge the acceptance of the other guests, and listen to their observations. Since none would be required to consume all of each wine, they would be on their own to decide - as it should be. Hey, I've had some pretty inexpensive wines knock out some "world-class" vinos, to my surprise. It happens. If the gifting guest volunteered the info, so be it. I cannot imagine that I would put him/her on the spot, though I do see the humor in your comments. I just can't see my doing so.

                                                      I'm always trying to surprise, or maybe even "shock" my guests on occasion, with regards to wines (and other beverages) and food pairings. I always hope that they love these, but know that I can bomb also. The tightrope gets a bit looser and does swing in the breeze. If my guests liked the TBC better than my wine, so be it. If they did not, they should not fault me for throwing out something different. Most are used to that.

                                                      To anyone, who is a guest at any dinner, featuring wine - please NEVER insist that you gift wine be served. It is likely that your host/hostess and maybe their chef and sommelier, have worked all week long to get the right balances. Your gift wine might go, but that is highly unlikely. Also, you *could* end up being held up to ridiclue and you would deserve it. Give a wine gift to the host/hostess for consumption whenever. I've had some that were wonderful with my food, and have just set out additional glassware. However, that does not happen that often.

                                                      Hunt

                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                        g
                                                        gryphonskeeper RE: Bill Hunt Nov 19, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                        Excellent advice Bill, I hope everyone would do just that, offer the wine and let the host/ess decide when (or IF) the bottle hits the table.

                                                        Or course, the suggestion given earlier from another poster to give it to a young sibling or offspring is great too... No 21 yr old I know will give up free booze...LOL

                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                          Bill Hunt RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 19, 2008 06:51 PM

                                                          While I *think* that that OP's advice might have been tongue-in-cheek, I might have missed it. Still, I had to laugh, 'cause I could just see eyes widen on the children, as the wine was handed over.

                                                          So far, I have loved the responses. They either made me think, or made me laugh.

                                                          Hunt

                                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                            Bryn RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 23, 2008 11:51 AM

                                                            Speaking as a 21 year old. I would. If it was this two buck chuck.

                                                      2. a
                                                        aventinus RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 04:57 PM

                                                        I'd be annoyed. Even at $2 or whatever, it's a bad value.

                                                        1. p
                                                          Panini Guy RE: harryharry Nov 18, 2008 09:34 PM

                                                          Given the first sentence of the OP, I'd suggest that either a) they don't think highly of your palate, or b) they're about to declare personal bankruptcy ;-)

                                                          There's only one person I can think of to whom I'd give TBC. But he actually likes TBC.

                                                          I used to keep an apt. in Alexandria. TJ's was convenient to me and I tried every style of TBC made. The "batches" can vary wildly. I've had some OK merlots and cabs while at other times they were so "hot" it precluded drinking except maybe in a sangria. The whites were generally harmless and unexciting, probably on the level of Barefoot, which sells a couple of bucks higher.

                                                          The thing is, in that store (Alexandria), there was a decent enough selection of other interesting and very affordable wines from decent producers that could be enjoyed for under $10, it made little sense to buy TBC. Not sure if that type of selection is available at all TJs that sell wine operate (only other ones I'm familiar with are in CT and PA, and TJs can't sell wine in either), but it does sound like there's some contempt on the part of your guest.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Panini Guy
                                                            m
                                                            moh RE: Panini Guy Nov 19, 2008 05:06 AM

                                                            It is good to know about the variability in the quality of the batches. I have only had a chance to drink TBC once, as I do not live near a place that offers this drink. So the one time i tried it, it was great, and I was blown away by the quality-price-ratio. The batch I got was a steal for 2 dollars a bottle.

                                                            I would also have to agree with your comment about contempt on the part of the guest, measured in with a significant dose of cheapness. Even though I liked the TBC, I'm not sure I'd bring it as a hostess gift. even if the recipient liked TBC. Well, if they really liked it, perhaps I'd bring them a case... But usually, I would choose a more unusual bottle, something that I think they'll like but have never tried.

                                                          2. scubadoo97 RE: harryharry Nov 19, 2008 05:54 AM

                                                            I never invite people to my home and have any expectations of a gift. If they bring one that's nice and if they don't, I don't take offense. A bottle of TBC would have been gracefully accepted and as usual placed aside with other bottles of wine that were gifted. You never know with an opened mind you might actually enjoy the TBC or serve it as a basic table wine with a mid week meal or make vinegar out of it.

                                                            1. w
                                                              wayne keyser RE: harryharry Nov 19, 2008 06:28 PM

                                                              I think it's a very serviceable table wine, one which someone might bring hoping it would go with whatever was being served. The host is under no obligation to serve it, but - hey - this stuff gets good reviews from those who haven't been shown the label.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: wayne keyser
                                                                invinotheresverde RE: wayne keyser Nov 20, 2008 09:45 PM

                                                                "...this stuff gets good reviews from those who haven't been shown the label..."

                                                                Does it, though? I've never met anyone who thought so. I may not dump it down the drain, but I certainly wouldn't do anything more than cook with it, max.

                                                              2. viperlush RE: harryharry Nov 21, 2008 04:56 AM

                                                                Like someone said earlier, maybe they doubt your knowledge or appreciation of wine and are "testing" you.

                                                                My BF's uncle brought $2 chuck over for dinner one night since my BF's parents don't have a TJ nearby and never heard of $2 chuck. He wanted to see if they could tell the difference between it and better bottles.

                                                                Of course this is rude, but I think there are exceptions when dealing w/family or close friends.

                                                                One thing I have picked up on Chowhound is that you should bring wine that you would be happy to drink. So someone who drinks decent wine at home should bring at least a decent bottle as a gift.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: viperlush
                                                                  Bill Hunt RE: viperlush Nov 21, 2008 04:53 PM

                                                                  Interesting idea. Had not thought of doing this. Now, I have "gifted" some very inexpensive wines and to some of my IW&FS board members. These were wines that I had enjoyed, and had been amazed with, especially due to their prices. I have no problem with "interesting" wines, regardless of the price-point being offered. It can make people think.

                                                                  Now, were it me, I'd bring two bottles. One might be TBC (probably not in my case), and the other would be something that I felt very strongly on.

                                                                  Thanks for the perspective,

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                2. a
                                                                  adamshoe RE: harryharry Nov 21, 2008 04:42 PM

                                                                  Their Cab. Sauv. and their Sauvignon Blanc are perfectly fine to cook with, (and, yes, I know....If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it yadda yadda...) but not my favorite "quaffing" wine, by any means. Wouldn't bring it to someone's house, but when I owned my Resto, more than a few tables would pay $15.00 to have their 2BC corkaged for them!!! Adam

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: adamshoe
                                                                    Glencora RE: adamshoe Nov 23, 2008 10:12 AM

                                                                    I've wondered if people do that. Do the servers sneer at these people behind their backs?

                                                                    1. re: Glencora
                                                                      a
                                                                      adamshoe RE: Glencora Nov 23, 2008 10:45 AM

                                                                      You betcha ;) Adam

                                                                  2. b
                                                                    bu dat RE: harryharry Nov 22, 2008 04:25 PM

                                                                    1. obvious reaction - these folks are cheap (b/c a $2 hostess gift is pretty cheap) -- so unless they are having money problems (very likely right now), they knew they had to bring something, but didn't want to shell out much . . . if they are having money problems, it was kind of them to bring anything.

                                                                    2. maybe this was a joke? and you didn't laugh. and they felt bad. nice work.

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