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Help! Best TJ's wines ($12/under) for Holiday Open House?

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Hi. I'm having a family open house, about 60 adults, mostly wine drinkers. I want a nice white, red and champagne to serve, but under $12.00 a bottle if possible. I usually go to TJ's but also could do Cost Plus or Costco's. Previous years I'd serve a Chardonnay and Cabernet, but I'm drinking more Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir at this time. Suggestions please!

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  1. Check out the following at BevMo:
    Red: Falesco Vitiano (IT) - always a best value. 1/3 Cabernet, 1/3 Merlot, 1/3 Sangiovese. The 2005 is on sale right now for $7.99
    White: 2006 Babich Sauvignon Blanc (NZ) - excellent value on sale for $11.99
    Sparkling: Nino Franco Prosecco (IT) is on sale for $15.99 - well regarded producer.

    I don't think it's possible to find a decent quality Pinot Noir at $12, nor a true Champagne. The above are excellent for the price...

    1. Our TJ's has Night Harvest Cab for under $10--everyone I've served it to has loved it. It also has an attractive label.

      1. There are numerous discussions on this board about wines from Trader Joe's. Do a search and you'll find lots to read. Here's one thread to consider:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/386421

        1. I agree about not finding a decent Pinot under $12. For a red, try Stump Jump red blend (Shiraz,Grenache,Mouvedre) at Trader Joe's or Cost Plus. For sparkling try Segura Viudas Aria (Spanish cava) for $9 at Bevmo.

            1. re: scotton999

              Please consider going to your local wine merchant. They will be able to get you excellent wines in that price range! It's worth a shot. And then try Cost Plus their selection is better than TJs by a LONG shot. Costco can be decent but they always post scores for wines from different vintages than the ones they're selling, which is a somewhat deceptive practice.

              Stump Jump is indeed a good suggestion...anything from d'Arenberg is worth trying. But do stop by a local specialty wine store and talk with the wine buyer. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find (even though I have no idea where you're located).

            2. I've recently had some very nice German rieslings from the 2006 vintage, from TJ's. They are low alcohol (9%), and very refreshing. They retail for $3.99 to $5.99. I find the spatlese a bit too cloying at this price level, so I stick with the Kabinett or Qualitatswein.
              I've enjoyed Piesporter Michelsberg and a Kabinett from Losen-Bockstanz (Wittlich)
              Besides the confusing names, another downside is that they are in limited quantity and might not be available at every store.

              1. McManis Family Cabernet Sauvignon is a nice one for about $10 at TJ. I have seen Amano Primitivo Puglio at TJ for about the same. If they have it, it's a really nice wine. Both wines also have a pretty broad appeal. The primitivo is really a great wine for that price range.

                Columbia Crest is also a reliable party wine for around 7 or 8 dollars at TJ. The Shiraz or Chardonnay would be good bets.