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100 Point Rating Guide

96-100 Extraordinary A wine of finesse, complexity, and expression. True to variety and region. Perfect balance of flavors with a long finish.
90-95 Excellent True to variety and region, with terrific complexity and balance. While not a wine for the ages, a superior example.
85-89 Good Meets your expectations, with sound flavors and balance. Might have limited complexity or be short on the palate. A sound wine.
80-84 Average Drinkable, might not have as much varietal character. Simple flavors, no flaws, but nothing special.
75-79 Below Average Might contain one flaw, simple straight-forward flavors, off-balance, unpleasant.
60-74 Undrinkable, Flawed Contains significant flaws. Unpleasant, not commercially acceptable.
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4 User Reviews

85
points

2005

$1.99

Trader Joe's

Apr 08, 2007

Grape jelly on the nose, with some tobacco, oak, and vanilla. Then, the vanilla decided to stick around for the taste (when doesn't it?), which ended up turning into grape yogurt. Some cherry too, but hardly any dimension or structure to this wine.

It is a solid companion for those bargain shoppers, but it's fairly inconsistent across vintages and varietals. I recommend picking up a case and hoping you get 8 winners. (8 $2 winners) > (1 $16 winner) ... don't you think?

AndyH
151 reviews

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2/2 users found this review helpful.   I found this review:

87
points

2005

$2.99

Trader Joes

Aug 14, 2007

Surprisingly acceptable. Pleasant on the nose, slight astringency, balanced, if mildly weak fruity flavor. Not a stand alone wine, but good with sandwiches and pasta as a general table wine. I have had many wines not nearly as drinkable at ten times the price.

Anonymous
165 reviews

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1/1 users found this review helpful.   I found this review:

80
points

2005

$1.99

Trader Joe's

Apr 26, 2007

Light nose of overripe cherries w/ hints of sour green apple. Extremely soft/pliable on the palate w/ faint notes of welchs grape juice and a touch of spice. Lightning quick finish.

I've been waiting to do a serious review of these "two buck chucks" for sometime and I have to say that for $1.99 (at least in California, 2.99 elsewhere) this really isn't so bad. I certainly wouldn't want to make this my house wine... even for the price it's just too boring. But for an occasional I'm-broke-and-don't-give-a-damn wine, this is well worth it.

I'm also a big believer that many of the extremely cheap wines at TJ's and other huge retailers vary bottle to bottle. So while this might have been OK, others could be a real doozy. So watch out for that first step.

John
161 reviews

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1/1 users found this review helpful.   I found this review:

85
points

2003

$1.99

Trader Joe's

Jun 21, 2007

As you may know, the Two-Buck Chuck wines vary in quality from shipment to shipment, making rating very hard. The case of this 03 Merlot I bought two years ago at Trader Joe's and it was harsh and hard on first opening. I just opened a bottle this week (June 2007) and it has settled down and opened up very nicely.

The wine is milder, more approachable, with nice fruit -- it's turned into an entirely acceptable vin ordinaire, which is a victory for a wine priced at under two dollars.

If you bought any cases of Charles Shaw reds and you didn't like them when you bought them, give them a couple of years and take another taste. They bought some firesale juice from some good vineyards back during the wine glut, so it's worth experimenting.

mac
3 reviews

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0/0 users found this review helpful.   I found this review:

Forum Posts (3 topics, 3 posts)

Captain Caveman
83 posts

May 07, 2007
7 years, 5 months ago

1Re: Caveat Emptor

I know the feeling. Since I have to taste all the fancy stuff for work, I try to keep tasting the more plebian wines as well in my spare time...just to maintain my objectivity and sense of relative value. I don't know if I could get through 10 bottles of shaw...but make no mistake, there are far worse wines out there, few are cheaper, and many much more expensive.

John
59 posts

Apr 26, 2007
7 years, 6 months ago

2Re: Caveat Emptor

Wow Caveman!!

I'm surprised to even hear that you have tried the infamous two buck chuck!

Andy and I recently purchased a bottle of every single Charles Shaw "varietal", so we'll be posting more ratings on these bad-boys of the wine world soon. I'm really afraid of the Chardonnay to be honest.

If you make it to Trader Joe's any time soon, feel free to buy a menage of the Charles Shaw lineup and let us know what you think. We'll gladly reimburse you for the 10 dollars :) I think even Vinquire.com can afford that!

I find it difficult to review these wines because I'm not doing them blind. Every square inch of my body wants to find flaws and generally disapprove of these wines. But I still found it drinkable ... the horror ... the horror.

Anyways, thanks for the quality feedback on these bargain wines -- and seriously -- buy a few bottles and send us the bill.

Captain Caveman
83 posts

Apr 26, 2007
7 years, 6 months ago

3Caveat Emptor

The two reviews of this wine are pretty much on the money IMHO (though I think an 80 is generous score). Just thought I should add one thing...If you buy this, or any of the other varietals from Shaw, just buy enough for the night/event/party et cetera. This wine doesn't cellar very well, and is designed for immediate consumption. This will not improve with age, and probably won't keep more than a year or so under less than ideal conditions (don't waste valuable cellar space hoping this will improve, either).

As for the bottle variability, most wines in this price level are not transported under temperature controlled conditions, so there can be considerable variability based on when, where, and how the wine was shipped to the store.

Generally speaking, tighter, more tannic and ageworthy wines tend to travel better and be more resistant to abuse. So even without temperature controls, they tend to hold up better.