Trader Joe's House Wine
Have you tried the Shiraz or the other $3.99 per bottle selections?
I have tried Bear's Lair Merlot for $3.99 and it is good for the price. I have only seen this wine at Trader Joe's, although the label doesn't say it is Trader Joe's wine. The merlot was perfect for a sangria in summer - no harsh tannins here, which is what a lot of cheap red wines suffer from, in my opinion.
At our office holiday party last week, I tasted another cheap wine available at Trader Joe's. It was a very easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile called Santa Ema, I believe. Saw it in TJs yesterday for $3.99.
The way it was explained to me is that the Trader Joe's brand wine is private label - so it could possibly be different each time you buy it.
Not sure how many wineries produce private label for TJ's, so I may be wrong but I got the sense that if one year a winery had WAY too many grapes they still produce more wine, but rather than flood the market, private label is a better option than throwing it away.
That said, I like the TJ's French Market Cab and the Coastal Chard. Cheap yet drinkable - I buy it a lot. Way better than Charles Shaw or some of the other low-priced wines.