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Feb 2, 2008 07:54 PM

Trader Joe's - what to choose?

For anyone who is familiar with the Trader Joe's Charles Shaw wines (the ones for $3), which ones do you recomend?

I have already tried the Merlot, and thought it was awful... I know this isn't great wine in general, but I'm on a serious budget for a party that I'm having... Most of the guest know very little about wine, so as long as it is decent...

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  1. Two Buck Chuck really isn't drinking wine ... it can be used in some cooking and that's about it. Look around, though, TJ's usually has some pretty decent wines at pretty decent prices. Just not $3.

    1. Two (or three) buck chuck is the best wine you can get for the price. Serve it in carafes at an art opening and you can halve your wine budget without generating complaints. Pour it into jelly jars and call it vin ordinaire, and everybody's happy. But fine wine? Not by a long stretch.

      FWIW, I use the Shiraz for cooking, and occasionally have a glass. It isn't terrible.

      Your guests who enjoy basic wines will drink the 2BC. Those who don't like wine will have their opinions reinforced by it.

      1. the shiraz is far and away the best of the reds. the others are dangerous, and you'll regret them in the morning.
        the chardonnay seemed fine to me...when it's cold, it tastes like a chard twice it's price!

        i just noticed tonight that the trader joe's by me (sf) has trader joe's champagne now for only 4 bucks...could be fun for the party?

        1. Here's another thread from the Wine Board that talks quite a bit about Charles Shaw wines:
          Wine at Trader Joe's in California

          1. Others clearly have had a different, and better, experience than me. I have tried a few sips at parties from time to time, when someone brought a bottle, and couldn't take more than a sip. Maybe this is because there were other tastier choices to be had, but if it were the only thing being served at a party, I would drink beer instead.

            Are you serving any food? If you can find it at your Trader Joes, I suggest looking for a white called Amaicha Torrontes. In Northern California, it has ranged in price from 3.99 to 1.99. I first had some when it was 3.99 and thought it was really food friendly and a great value. I couldn't believe it when it dropped to 1.99. It's the only white I can think of recommending at that price point.

            I would buy fewer bottles and move up to the $4-7 range, or at least not exclusively buy Charles Shaw. There is a line of french table wines at TJs called La Ferme Julien that I also think is food friendly, particularly the white and rose. Others probably have more recommendations in this price range. I haven't bought a lot of wine at TJs recently. So many other options around here for good value wines...