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July 23, 2003

F*** the Two-Buck Chuck, says Slate

So after Mike Steinberger, writing in Slate's new wine column, trashes Trader Joe's "Two Buck Chuck," he goes on to list some inexpensive greats that I've mostly not tried. While calling Salice Salentino "the world's greatest pizza wine" could ignite quite a discussion, I can back him up so far as to say it's quite nice with a good gourmet pie. But his apparent fascination with French wines is itself an impediment to finding great cheap wines. By my informal calculation, France's brand equity in the wine world exacts a 20%-40% premium over, say, an Australian wine of similar quality. Plus, you know, dealing with the French still gives me a bit of a bad taste despite the fact that they were (I admit it) basically right about all that war stuff earlier this year.

Posted by jay at July 23, 2003 09:55 AM | TrackBack
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First of all, I've tried the 2 Buck Chuck, and while I'm certainly not going to serve it with one of my fancier dinners, it's surprisingly not bad, and it makes a fine base for sangria.

Secondly, maybe I'm just a philistine, but I don't think of under $15 as a good benchmark for calling a wine inexpensive. I'd be more likely to stick with $10 as the cutoff, as I need a somewhat special occasion to break the double digit dollar mark when making a wine purchase.

Thirdly, it's not only that he seems stuck on French wines that leads me to question this review. No cheap domestic wines to recommend? Hogue Cellars, right here in Washington, makes a really good Cab-Merlot that can usually be got for about 7 bucks.

And finally, whither the Spanish wines?

Posted by: paulette on July 23, 2003 10:26 AM

I was in Trader Joe's in the U District a few weeks ago and overheard an employee talking to another customer about "three buck chuck" and how the employees HATE this name, but the customers insist on it. Providing an example was another customer who said with obvious relish "Hey, and how about some of that THREE BUCK CHUCK?!"

My cutoff for cheap is $10, too.

Whither the Solvenian wines, so near Trieste?

Posted by: Gary on July 23, 2003 10:57 AM
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