Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Charles Shaw

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 at 12:45 pm in Uncategorized.

My colleague Blanca Torres did a story on Trader Joe’s on Sunday, and some readers are posting to her blog about Charles Shaw wine. Two readers said that they pour the stuff into more expensive bottles of wine and serve it at parties, unbeknowst to their guests. One of the readers called the more expensive labels ‘rip-off’ wines. My comments, if you will:

- Don’t mislead your guests. There are vessels to pour wine in to prior to serving it. They even have a chemical function. Decanters and carafes not only help the wines open up and improve the taste, but they are a classy, incognito way of serving your wine.

- Decanting a wine can actually make a $2 wine taste like an $8-$10 bottle. It’s a great secret among sommeliers. Try it.

- Calling a more expensive wine a rip off is just silly. Wines that cost more, by and large, are made by smaller operations and in smaller production quantities. The grapes cost more and the wines are typically of more premium quality.

- If you increased your wine budget by even a $1 or $2, you’d be surprised what better bargains abound down the aisle from Two Buck Chuck. Trader Joe’s sells excellent sparklings from Germany (great with brunch) for $3.99. Their private label wines, most run under $6, are impressive too. That’s practically all my parents drink.

- Lastly, Charles Shaw is not an illegitimate product. They have a fully functioning winery in the Napa Valley but keep their costs down by not operating a tasting room or public space.

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