NYC Sommelier Rates Charles Shaw Wines

If you are a student enrolled in online culinary courses, you might fancy yourself a food and drink connoisseur. Despite your superior palate, however, odds are you’ve bashfully walked up to the checkout lane with a cart stocked with Charles Shaw wine, a brand more affectionately known as Two-Buck Chuck. Depending on what you bought, you had nothing to be ashamed of, as one sommelier points out.

Sam Lipp, the current general manager of Union Square Cafe in New York City and former bar manager of the 3-star Michelin rated Eleven Madison Park, sampled eight different wines from the Charles Shaw roster. He gave his impressions of each wine’s smell, appearance and taste, then rated them on a scale of one to 10 in general drinkability. Here are some of the results:

Chardonnay – Lipp gave Chuck’s chardonnay a rating of 8, noting its pale, almost green color and soapy lavender scent. He appreciated the level of acidity, hints of fruit and oakish flavor.

Cabernet sauvignon – The sommelier compared this wine’s scent to paint thinner. The cab featured a very sweet taste resembling many commonplace table wine. Overall, it was palatable but not the Best in Show. He gave the Chuck’s cab an overall rating of 7.

White zinfandel – Lipp found the white zinfandel less than appealing and gave it an overall rating of 1. Aside from the strawberry, pie-like smell, the wine had very little to brag about because it tasted like liquid candy. However, the wine could be used in college punches as a sweetening product.

Merlot – The color and smell of the merlot came off as too intense for the wine expert. The initial scent was subtle, with hints of ground black pepper, but turned into the musky smell you might find on a type of furry woodland creature. Lipp gave Chuck’s merlot a 7.

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