When I saw the ABC News Online story about Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay winning Double Gold at the CA State Fair, I began to hear about it. Some of my club members contacted me to laugh about this, others complained that I was over-charging for the wines I select (seriously!) You see, this $2-$3 wine beat out Chardonnays costing $55.
Fred Franzia (King of jug wines and wine-in-a-box) makes Charles Shaw exclusively for sale at the fun and affordable grocery chain, Trader Joe's. Frankly, he's done one helluva job, cutting every cost to the bone - rumor has it he's even perfected the use of oak tincture (!) instead of oak chips (the formerly most-cost-efficient method of incorporating oak flavors into fermented grape juice).
After its big win at the California State Fair, ABC News decided to conduct their own blind taste test to see if the Charles Shaw Chardonnay could repeat. The bottle was covered and tasted blind next to chardonnays of various prices, including a $120 bottle.
Caroline Styne, co-owner and wine director of two trendy Los Angeles area restaurants, judged the wines -- but to a vastly different outcome. She ranked "Chuck" dead last - just below the $120 Chardonnay!
Which supports my point here - judging wine is like judging beauty of any type. There are certain common standards for beauty, but after that, it is HIGHLY subjective. For example, if you believe your spouse is beautiful, you don't need a critic to tell you so. It may feel good (or bad!?) when they concur, but does it really change your opinion? So why do we rely so heavily on scores and awards when buying wine? I suggest a far more effective method is to find a good wine merchant instead, tell them what you like and dislike about a few wines, and see if they can recommend other "winners" you (and, maybe, you alone) will love.
Or, in the words of the chief judge of California State competition that gave the gold to a wine that costs less than a latte, "There's going to be people out there that don't like the wine and that's OK," said chief judge G. M. "Pooch" Puchlowski. "…So you drink what you like, don't drink what you don't and you go home a happy camper."
Toll Free 866-746-7293
. Help me continue this free blog by taking 5 seconds to vote here!