"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

BHC Swill: Two Buck Chuck

by Julie on November 15, 2011

in Libations, BHC Swill

Charles Shaw merlot

And I'm getting the Merlot, damnit.

Let me tell you about wine.

I don’t know anything about it. But I know what I like. And what I like, apparently, is the cheap stuff.

My mom drank Gallo. By the jugful. She’d come home from work and break out the bottle and drink it all night.  Sometimes I’d sneak a little sip and GAK! It was awful! Sour and vinegary. I concluded that I just didn’t like wine. Of course, I didn’t think I liked cheese either, because all I ever saw in my childhood kitchen were Kraft American cheese singles.

Mom’s Boone Farm Strawberry Hill was a bit more palatable, but not by much. The Cold Duck became a family in-joke although I had no idea why at the time.

It wasn’t until I was 21 and a boyfriend took me up to the Napa Valley and paid for a wine tour and tasting that I realized there was more than one kind of wine, and that some of it was actually quite good.

But I’m a product of my upbringing. And when I arrived at my middle-age mom era (prime wine-drinking years), I found that the cheap stuff still did me just fine.  Only by the time I started drinking red wine in earnest the Two-Buck Chuck phenom had also started in earnest.

It was strange enough to buy wine for myself, was I going to buy expensive stuff too? Not likely. And frankly, Two Buck Chuck (especially the merlot) tasted perfectly decent. What did I know about wine, after all?

Yes, I can taste the difference between a $2 bottle of wine and, say, a $20 bottle. After that, the distinction gets blurry. I’m only too happy to drink the fancy stuff when it’s provided, courtesy of someone else, but for my own daily needs, nothing more than a $6 bottle is is necessary, and when bringing wine to someone else, $15 is as far as I’ll go. OK, maybe $20 if I want to impress someone. When it comes to the higher price points, I have neither the budget nor the palate to justify it.

Turns out I’m in perfectly fine company as well.

So here’s to my nightly standby, Two Buck Chuck Merlot, which is fruity and has tamed tannins compared to other cheap stuff I’ve tried. It varies with the grape lots it’s made from. Sometimes it tastes a lot more like $2 wine should than at other times, but I don’t care. It’s a tried and true brand. And for that, I hoist my glass.

I’ll be blogging about my cheap wine habit ever Tuesday (I hope. I have the best intentions. But you know how life with two kids and a job gets). I’m calling it BHC Swill. Stop on by to check out my unsophisticated take on wines that cost under $10. Or come on by and try some with me. I’m a fan of large pours.


Image courtesy of Girl Meets Grape.com






{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

LalaLuke November 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I dunno. I was as gung-ho about Chuck as you, BHC, but Dana Goodyear’s piece in the New Yorker about the business practices of the man behind the bottle soured me to their , admittedly frugal, appeal: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_goodyear


Julie November 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hard call. Do politics and drinking (more specifically, MY drinking) mix? No matter. I’ve been upgrading recently to the $7 Cocobon lately…which you’ll read all about in this week’s Swill. Stay tuned…


Jamie November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm

To where shall I come on by?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: