Four Dollar Wine Critic: The Charles Shaw Challenge

Another day, another opportunity to forestall contemplation of the anxiety and splendor of existence by fiddling with my blood alcohol level. This week, a feat of daring and potential product endorsement: the Charles Shaw challenge. Three different bottles of “the world famous” $2.99 whites. One different me. “Charles Shaw” corrects to “Charles shame” on my iPhone.

Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio
($2.99; Trader Joe’s)

It’s Friday night, and because I am a confident single woman, I swirl the Pinot Grigio around in my mouth sensually/spittily, activating my sommelier powers. I’m sensing notes of white chocolate—the shitty kind I got in my Sunday school Easter basket—and a waft of the green grapes that grew inedibly from my grandmother’s trellis. This is accompanied by a wasabi-type feeling that makes me crinkle my nose adorably. Like most things, this wine goes really well with cookies. The Pinot Grigio also has distinct notes of chicken, which is a ridiculous claim to make considering that wine is just burnt-out grape juice. Of course this wine doesn’t taste like chicken. It’s an urban legend that everything tastes like chicken. That was cleared up on MythBusters.

Charles Shaw Chardonnay
($2.99; Trader Joe’s)

The Chardonnay tastes like your mouth does after you clamp it around an orange wedge and pretend the rind is your teeth, fooling everyone. With overtones of arugula and garlic. It is also noticeably curvier than the other two, with the kind of rich, lush mouthfeel basic straight dudes evoke when comparing women to food products. In transporting the brew from the cup to my mouth—a tricky little flick-of-the-wrist that may be difficult for people with carpal tunnel syndrome—I am distracted from its gently narcotic bouquet by my nails, which are crisper and more intoxicating than this chardonnay. They are gold and sparkly, because I am a fierce bitch, and rather short, for sexual purposes. Joke: in girl on girl porn, how do you tell the real from the faux lesbian? Punchline: nail length. When I told this joke to my sister once, she said “ew” and changed the subject. Diversity has its limits.

Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc

($2.99; Trader Joe’s)

The sauvignon blanc is the color of urine when you are well-hydrated, “the kind of greenish color that suggests it will be very sweet,” says my roommate, who obviously pees very differently than I do. The savignon blanc is indeed sweeter than the pinot grigio. Maybe more of a dessert wine, or a drink-by-yourself-at-two-am-on-a-Friday wine, or the kind of wine you drink when you can’t even masturbate because you live in the common room and honestly at this point I am drunk and unsure what wine is coming from what bottle. Meanwhile, my roommate is sitting in the Ikea chair biting her own thumb with what I can only assume to be autoeroticism. She is not even drinking.

This post originally appeared at The Harvard Crimson

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