Maybe a little explanation is in order. I never really had any inclination to try Charles Shaw wine. That may expose some wine snobbery on my part, or it may show me as a pragmatist who knows what to expect from a two-dollar wine. Anyway, I was given this wine - no, really - by a friend at work who somehow turned up with a couple of cases of different types of "Two Buck Chuck." She offered and I accepted. Opting for what I figured would be the varietal that posed the most challenge for Mr. Shaw, I chose the White Zinfandel over Merlot and Cab. I have always subscribed to the words of Diogenes the Cynic, "I like best the wine drunk at the cost of others." Thank you, Sharone, and to whomever ponied up a couple of double sawbucks for the wine in my friend's car, cheers! I'm about to have my first Charles Shaw experience.
The Bottle: Not much in the way of description on this label. It's sourced from Napa and Sonoma grapes, varietal(s) unknown, and carries an 11% abv.
The Nose: The wine was a little over-chilled - my bad - and that made it tough to dig out the aromas. It wasn't too bad, though. It was a rather interesting combination of strawberry soda and the bubble gum sticks that used to come in packages of trading cards. I'm expecting a pretty sweet wine here.
The Taste: Well, the sweetness was there, but it was muted. I found it to be a peachy kind of flavor like that of a peach diet Snapple. There was also a bit of watermelon on the palate. The acidity seemed a lot better that I expected it to be, but I wouldn't recommend pairing it with anything heavier than a salad. As a sipper, it was quite serviceable, assuming you like your back porch wine a little on the sweet side.
I had heard and read so much about this brand that I was actually excited to have the opportunity to try it. I also found myself quite happy about not finding it to be worthless plonk. While it was no award winner in my book, it certainly had a decent quality-to-price ratio. If you're broke and invited to a back yard party, go ahead and pick up a bottle or two of Two Buck Chuck. Cover the labels, and they'll probably be none the wiser.