Bronco Wines – the marketing geniuses that brought us Two Buck Chuck (better known as Charles Shaw Wines) – have struck again with another Trader Joe’s exclusive, coming in at $3.99 in California. (We are aware that Two Buck Chuck is actually Three Buck Chuck in other states.)
The result is a blend of sultana, colombard and muscat grapes and possibly something else. Organically grown in the Central Valley of California where many table grapes and wine grapes of some lesser quality are located, the resulting blend was intriguing.
Sultana is not generally used as a wine grape – it’s best known as a raisin used in baking. Muscat’s flavor can take over a blend with as little as a two percent addition. Colombard is a survivor of the notorious jug wines of California’s past. Okay, present, too, but we don’t buy those.
The question is how good is the wine? The color is a nice yummy-looking gold. Take a sniff and you get a green apple tartness with honey to balance. The first taste had some residual sweetness but also acids on the back of the palate and a medium weight mouthfeel. Finish was only okay.
So could this be a food wine or is it destined to be a cheap gulper? It may be a decent player with spicy Indian or Asian foods. An experiment with a pickled carrot infused with red pepper flakes in a sweet brine was reasonably successful. Anne – the resident weenie when it comes to spicy stuff – got her taste buds back within an hour of the test. Michael was impressed. All in all, it ain’t transcendent, but it ain’t totally bad, depending on how sweet you like your wines and how often spicy food is on the menu at your personal homestead.
In short, we’re talking table wine here, decent, reasonably drinkable, every-day stuff that won’t trash the budget. And most nights, you don’t need more than that.