Friday, July 13, 2007

Two-buck Chuck and Trader Joe's

My brother (Joel) just sent me a bunch of links* touting Charles Shaw (aka, "Chuck")'s Chardonnay, which was just named Best Chardonnay at a prestigious California State Fair. Joel isn't the first to tout the "goodness despite the cheapness" of Chuck. My uncles (namely Tito Chi and Tito Jim) have raved about Chuck before Chuck became popular. I'm not a wine snob, but I've avoided Chuck mostly because I had a bad experience with the Shiraz. It wasn't that bad; it was nasty! You know the saying, You get what you pay for? Well, although I've found Chuck's Merlot to be pretty decent, I just figured that at $1.99 a bottle Chuck's other wines would be just as nasty as the Shiraz. Still, since we've had to tighten our budget lately, a $2 award-winning wine is looking very attractive to our wallets. Also, aside from Chuck's Shiraz, all other TJ wines have been great! Heck, why not give Chuck another chance?

It has to be said that my personal criterion for a Chardonnay is that it has to have a distinctive butter note. Well, according to Michael Williams (2007 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition judge ), "The characteristics that we look for in our gold medal winner … a nice creamy butter, fruity … it was a delight to taste." Hmm, a review that compels me to go to Trader Joe's tomorrow and get a bottle. And if I love it, I might just go back and get a case. Hey, at $2 a bottle, we can actually afford it.

Speaking of Trader Joe's... I was actually there this afternoon to buy soup for the party that I am co-hosting tomorrow (or should I say "later tonight?"). I've been meaning to create a list of what I love about TJ's.
  1. organic items and produce
  2. Belgian butter waffle cookies
  3. cioppino
  4. flowers and potted herb plants
  5. Pirate's Booty
  6. friendly staff
  7. Hawaiian theme
  8. dedication to be green
  9. free samples
  10. chocolate covered bananas

*Here are the links Joel sent to me:,23739,22067576-23272,00.html

We'll just see if the judges are right!

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