Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Yes, we've all found them in a viral email or two in the inbox (with the thousand or so forwards and everyone's email address ripe for the picking). But not in a while I suppose. The top twelve names for Walmart Wine:
- Chateau Traileur Parc
- White Trashfindel
- Big Red Gulp
- Grape Expectations
- Domaine Wal-Mart "Merde du Pays" (Translates loosely as: Crap of the Land)
- Chef Boyardeaux
- Peanut Noir
- Chateau des Moines
- I Can't Believe It's Not Vinegar!
- World Championship Riesling
- Nasti Spumante
So what happens when Wal-Mart comes up with a credible alternative to Two Buck Chuck? Are the jokes off? Perhaps.
TWC was hoping that Wal-Mart's Oak Leaf Merlot was going to give Chuck a run for his money, and in some senses it does. It's great to have another hat in the ring, but there isn't a clear winner here. Unfortunately, TWC doesn't like either of them much. Both exhibit that sickly off-sweet cloying taste and aftertaste that some would describe as sweet cherries. That's enough for moi, and you can't fix it by elevating your BAC.
I've heard that the Oak Leaf Cabernet is pretty good, better than Charles Shaw, which is found at Trader Joes. Although that is encouraging, TWC can't vouch for that. Your mileage may vary. Buyer beware and all of that.
Shaw (Two Buck Chuck) is made by Bronco Wines, which is owned by the Franzia Brothers. The Wine Group, which owns the Franzia name (got that distinction?) markets Oak Leaf as a non-vintage private label created exclusively for Wal-Mart. Other Wine Group offerings are Glen Ellen, Alamaden, Inglenook (which once produced fine Napa wines), and Corbett Canyon.
It's always fun to throw rocks, but these inexpensive wines serve a purpose that goes beyond getting as drunk as the bag lady. They provide an entry level opportunity for those who otherwise would be picking up a sixer of Bud Lite after work. For some, the pleasure of wine is an acquired taste that blossoms over time. No Star taught me that lesson a while back and he's right.
And neither one are screw top. That puts them one up on Strawberry Hill or Thunderbird. For less dinero.