Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (Two Buck Chuck) 2003

Price: $3
Maker: Bronco Wines
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 7 out of 10

We don’t have a Trader Joe’s near our Midwest location, so on a recent trip to New York City we had a chance to try Charles Shaw Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (Two Buck Chuck) 2003. A long way to go to try the country’s cheapest bottled wine, right? Well, actually we did have other reasons to be there but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to finally give Two Buck Chuck a try. Actually, in New York it’s three bucks a bottle, still a darn cheap bottle. Well, Chuck’s cab is OK. It’s aroma is weak but spicy. The flavor is fairly intense, though the fruit has a bit of a sharp edge to it. There’s a slight hint of licorice that is almost lost in the oak. This wine is almost as cheap per bottle-equivalent as a very low-end boxed cabernet sauvignon (e.g., Almaden’s boxed cab), and doesn’t require you to buy a massive 5 liter supply if you just want some wine with your burgers. Although I’d rate the two as being close in overal quality, their flavors are quite different. The Charles Shaw cab features more tannin flavor, while the Almaden is more earthy.

I wouldn’t recommend travelling a long distance to stock up on Two Buck Chuck – spend a couple of bucks more for some cheap but flavorful Aussie reds, or try the Wine Block Cabernet Sauvignon. Still, if you are severely budget-limited you could do worse. There are wines on the supermarket shelf that cost more and taste worse. Even if you have to pay three bucks, Two Buck Chuck is still a value.

4 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (Two Buck Chuck) 2003”

  1. Hi there. Searching for Charles Shaw Wineries, I found your blog. I’m definitely bookmarking this fabulous resource!

    I have a question about this wine. A friend just re-gifted me some 2001 Cabernet and 2004 Gamay Beaujolais from Charles Shaw because they don’t drink a lot of wine. When does this wine go bad? Am I going to be sorry when I open one of these?

    I know it’s only 2 Buck Chuck but I hate to just waste something if it’s still good.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer this and for taking the time to host this awesome blog. 🙂

    Happy drinking!

    1. Hi, Annie. Generally, wines like this one are meant to be drunk within a year or so. On the other hand, those varietals are ones that can handle some time in the bottle. Give them a try, and if you don’t like how they have aged, grab a backup bottle of something else!

  2. Opened a 2001 Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon in 2021…couldn’t get past the smell of it. Definitely, does not age well. I’d toss it, too many reasons not to drink it.

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