One of the great things that Trader Joe's has done is in bringing down the price of wines. Of course, there's Two Buck Chuck. Charles Shaw wines are nice, perhaps not great, but for $2 a bottle, how can you go wrong? We used to tease my dad about being cheap, but in reality he is not cheap as much as he loves a bargain. He won't just always buy the cheapest junk around, but when something is of good enough quality and really low price, he is very loyal to those brands. For him, the math of it is simple. Is a $20 bottle of wine really ten times more enjoyable than a bottle of Two Buck Chuck? For him, the answer is always no.
My sister Jen knows more about wine than I do. When we got together for The Oscars over at her daughter Holly's house, I brought a bottle of her favorite cheap wine, Spain's Abrazo Del Toro (which translates to "the hug of the bull") and since it was Oscar night, I also had a bottle of Francis Ford Coppola's Shiraz, which I have praised before on this blog. Jenny, in her nice way, asked about the Coppola, "Don't you think it's a little dusty?" She was right. The Abrazo at $4 is a better buy than the Coppola at $8.
While I haven't been completely faithful to my goal of buying more local foods, I definitely think about it when looking at wines. Besides Two Buck Chuck, a lot of bargain wines I like are from Australia, and of course Abrazo is from Spain. Closer to home is the Purple Moon label, bottled in Manteca, California. (Second Spanish lesson today. Manteca means lard.) I've been trying several of their varietals, and I've enjoyed both the shiraz and the merlot. They sell here in California for $4 a bottle, and on the Matty Boy scale, they are worth every penny.
Take a bottle out for a taste test, why don'tcha?