Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay Named Tops in State | High Sierra Topix  

Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay Named Tops in State

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
User avatar

Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay Named Tops in State

Postby ERIC » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:50 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :p :p :lol: :lol: :lol:


Daniel: Two Buck bombshell: $1.99 chardonnay named tops in state

By Laurie Daniel
Special to the Mercury News
Article Launched: 07/11/2007 01:34:51 AM PDT


Results of the big wine competitions can be surprising, but this year's California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition produced a bombshell: A 2005 Charles Shaw Chardonnay was named the best chardonnay in California.

That's right, Two Buck Chuck, the $1.99 brand sold at Trader Joe's, beat about 350 other chardonnays of all price levels to come out on top. At least one publication has called it the "Judgment of California," a headline that recalls the famous Paris Tasting of 1976 in which California wines bested some of the top wines of France. That tasting came to be known as the "Judgment of Paris."

I wasn't a judge at the state fair, although I've participated in enough wine judgings to know how these things work. Wine judges are a notoriously contrarian bunch, often passing up familiar grape varieties like chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon to bestow top honors on wines like chenin blanc or grenache. When it comes to naming a top chardonnay, it's not unusual for a fruity, inexpensive version to beat the expensive, lavishly oaked bottles. Put into that context, it's perhaps less surprising that Charles Shaw would win.

So should you run down to Trader Joe's tonight and buy a case?

Well, maybe.

Ceres-based Bronco Wine Co., which produces Charles Shaw, sells about a million cases of the chardonnay every year. To keep up with demand, the Bronco winemakers blend four to six batches a year, according to Bob Stashak,
Advertisement
who's part of the winemaking team. The winemakers, he says, pay a lot of attention to "making sure those batches are the same. - We really focus on that."

Still, Chuck aficionados know that his personality can be, shall we say, variable. The bottle you pluck from the stack at the end of the aisle at your local Trader Joe's may taste quite different from the one that was honored at the state fair.

Stashak acknowledges that the wine in stores now "probably will not be exactly the same."

But I gave it a try anyway. I bought a bottle of '05 chardonnay and put it in a blind tasting with seven other California chardonnays ranging in price from $5 to $11.50. The Charles Shaw certainly wasn't the worst wine of the bunch, but I wouldn't exactly call it impressive. Still, it offered decent citrus and green apple fruit. The finish was a little astringent, but the wine was an improvement over previous Charles Shaw chardonnays I've tasted that were too sweet on the finish.

If you want to give it a try, I'd suggest buying a bottle and tasting it the same night. If you like it, go back the next day and buy more. You never know what will be available two months from now.

MORE COMPETITION NEWS: Here's more evidence of what contrarians wine judges can be. The best white wine at the recent Mendocino Wine Competition was judged to be the 2006 McNab Ridge French Colombard ($12) from Niemi Vineyard. There are about 28,000 acres of French colombard planted in California, including about 70 acres in Mendocino County. But most of it is grown in the Central Valley and used in inexpensive jug wines. Very little French colombard is used in a varietally labeled wine.

It certainly was a pleasant, fruity, off-dry wine, but I thought the top honor should have gone to the dramatic and delicious 2006 Londer Vineyards Gewu(uml)rztraminer ($24) from the Anderson Valley. The Londer gewu(uml)rz is made in a very dry style; in some vintages, it's not as successful as some off-dry versions from the winery's Anderson Valley neighbors.

But in 2006, the wine was nearly perfect, very aromatic with the typical flavors of lychee and rose petals. It was awarded a unanimous gold from our panel of six judges. I also liked the spicy 2006 Navarro Estate Gewu(uml)rztraminer ($19), awarding it a gold, but the other judges were less impressed.

Londer, by the way, took top honors among red wines with its 2005 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($33), which displays sweet cherry and raspberry fruit and good acidity. It finishes with a touch of alcoholic "heat," but food should help ameliorate that.

My panel judged the late-harvest white wines, always a highlight because of the great dessert wines made in Anderson Valley. The best of class was the 2006 Navarro Late Harvest Gewu(uml)rztraminer ($39), a stunning, fragrant and sweet wine with plenty of zippy acidity to balance the sugar. I slightly preferred the even sweeter 2006 Navarro Late Harvest Cluster Select Gewu(uml)rztraminer ($29/375ml), which is luscious and mouth-filling with a long finish. Navarro also scored gold with its 2006 Late Harvest Cluster Select Riesling ($29/375ml), with its luscious apricot and honey flavors. (The 2006 Navarro wines haven't been released; watch for them at http://www.navarrowine.com.) Another gold medalist was the 2006 Greenwood Ridge Late Harvest Riesling ($25/375ml), which is very fresh and somewhat less sweet than the Navarro.

Other highlights from my notes: In the sparkling wine category, I liked the non-vintage Roederer Estate Brut Rose` ($28), which has juicy grapefruit and strawberry flavors and a fine texture, and the non-vintage Scharffenberger Cremant ($21), which is a little sweet, with pretty fruit and a soft finish.

The best sauvignon blancs were the 2005 Lolonis ($14), a fresh crisp wine with melon flavors and a hint of grassiness, and the 2006 Husch ($12.50), which is crisp and a little grassy with bright citrus fruit.

A couple of reds worth noting are the 2005 Artevino Largo Ridge Zinfandel ($26) from Maple Creek Winery, a zin with ample sweet berry fruit, a hint of tobacco and medium tannins, and the 2004 Navarro Cabernet Sauvignon ($35), which displays bright black cherry fruit and firm but approachable tannins.

Contact Laurie Daniel at ladaniel@earthlink.net.
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighSierraTopix



User avatar
ERIC
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2909
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Postby huts » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:31 pm

:puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
huts
 

User avatar

Postby Sharp Rock » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:11 pm

huts wrote::puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:


:lol: :lol:

Not impressed, 'eh huts?
Formerly Fishin Fool
User avatar
Sharp Rock
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:11 am
Location: Oakdale, CA
Experience: N/A

Postby huts » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:43 pm

most chardonnay is not worth drinking, a shot of Everclear in a glass of water tastes better and has a lower headache index than cheap wine
huts
 

Postby KathyW » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:36 am

I've heard that two-buck chuck has actually helped the wine industry - the low price has moved beer drinkers over to the wine drinker category of drunks. Once they start drinking wine, they don't always limit themselves to two-buck chuck.
KathyW
 

User avatar

Postby ERIC » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:42 am

So should you run down to Trader Joe's tonight and buy a case?

Well, maybe.

Ceres-based Bronco Wine Co., which produces Charles Shaw, sells about a million cases of the chardonnay every year. To keep up with demand, the Bronco winemakers blend four to six batches a year, according to Bob Stashak,

who's part of the winemaking team. The winemakers, he says, pay a lot of attention to "making sure those batches are the same. - We really focus on that."

Still, Chuck aficionados know that his personality can be, shall we say, variable. The bottle you pluck from the stack at the end of the aisle at your local Trader Joe's may taste quite different from the one that was honored at the state fair.
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighSierraTopix
User avatar
ERIC
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2909
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby ERIC » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:44 am

KathyW wrote:I've heard that two-buck chuck has actually helped the wine industry - the low price has moved beer drinkers over to the wine drinker category of drunks. Once they start drinking wine, they don't always limit themselves to two-buck chuck.


Some of the better wineries out there have sold surplus berries to "Chuck", so I guess in that sense, too, arguably, they've helped the industry.
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighSierraTopix
User avatar
ERIC
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2909
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Wine with brown trout

Postby Strider » Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:12 pm

Fred Franzia indeed has helped the whine industry as a whole by not only introducing a new market segment to wine (people who will eventually try $5 or $10 wine) but also rid the state of a huge glut of excess inventory.

For July 4th, I caught a 12" brownie under the bridge where the So Fork of the San Joaquin empties into Florence, and matched it with a boda bag of 2001 EOS Reserve Merlot.
'Hike long and perspire'
User avatar
Strider
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Paso Robles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Wine with brown trout

Postby ERIC » Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:04 pm

Strider wrote:Fred Franzia indeed has helped the whine industry as a whole by not only introducing a new market segment to wine (people who will eventually try $5 or $10 wine) but also rid the state of a huge glut of excess inventory.

For July 4th, I caught a 12" brownie under the bridge where the So Fork of the San Joaquin empties into Florence, and matched it with a boda bag of 2001 EOS Reserve Merlot.



Just missed you, then. I was up there the previous weekend. That bridge is one of my favorite spots. Biggest brownie I've ever caught was coaxed out from that hole.
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighSierraTopix
User avatar
ERIC
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2909
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer


Return to The Campfire



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest