Charles Shaw got its reputation for being good the year it bought some extra wine from great winemakers. Since then, it's been sold to the Franzia brothers (not to be confused with Franzia, which they have since sold off themselves). The quality has since declined but its reputation has remained surprisingly good.
I used to drink this shit all the time, back when I thought Syrah made the best sangria, a theory I'm pretty sure I came up with based on the fact that "Syrah" is the grape varietal that most sounds like "sangria." And yes, I'm aware that isn't even that close. Since taking wine classes, I hadn't been drinking Charles Shaw, and not just because of the guy I was dating at the time: Shelby Ledgerwood hates the stuff. In the cutest way, but still, she's not a fan.
But I thought it would be fun to use my new skills to try out an old favorite. I always buy Two Buck Chuck when I make charoset for Passover. Any wine is good when you mix it with honey and cinnamon and stir in a bunch of green apples and pistachios (damnit, I just gave away the whole recipe!), so why not spend as little as possible? After lamenting that the price is now 2.49 a bottle, I selected the Merlot, along with a nice Kosher wine for actual Passover drinking, and went on my merry way. That's pretty much everything that has happened to me since Thursday.
I often find cheap Merlot smells like candy corn. I've heard other people say waxy, which is halfway there. I once smelled the same aroma in class with a good Merlot and called it caramel, which Shelby Ledgerwood said was totally correct. But it's candy corn.
This little gem is no different. It tastes like if the candy corn people decided to do a wine flavor. It's high in acid and low in other aromatics, though there is a wet stone aroma you're supposed to only find in Sauvignon Blancs but I smell all the time in reds. I think Shelby calls it peet moss.
So there you have it: candy corn and peet moss. I'll be honest: this doesn't taste as good as it did before I'd tried a bunch of good wines. But I'll still totally drink it. Because even if I don't like this wine so much, I like what it represents about me. I like all the parties I've been to and late night talks I've had and scripts I've written will sipping on this so-called swill because I just didn't care. I like the memories and I like to think it's not the end of making them.
Also, I'm really poor, and there's perfectly good alcohol in here.
Pair with: ranch dressing, five beers, not being a dick.
Yeah, this glass is for white wine. What of it?