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Time to hit Trader Joe's for wine!!!

Going to visit some friends and will be passing the exit for Westfield and the Trader Joe's there. Looking for a case of everyday paletable white (pinot maybe??) and red, preferably chianti. I did buy a case of Gaetano D'Aquino Pinot at 2007 at $3.99 a bottle -- it's very good and a great everyday wine.
Any suggestions?

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  1. If you like Cotes du Rhones (and if you don't, you should!), I recommend both the J. Fleury and the Perrin CdR now available at TJ's for $6.99 or so.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      I second the Perrin CdR. For White, I like Marques de Riscal Rioja which costs about $5.99 locally in SOCAL.

      1. re: DavidT

        The iphone app worked!!! I happened to be at TJ's yesterday buying groceries & thought let me see if anything (TJ's wines) comes up on chowhound. Brought up this post so purchased the Perrin CdR. DH enjoyed it for price performance. I end my year long self imposed prohibition next week & look forward to trying this & others.

        Also, to wineglas...TJ's is a place where I buy groceries. Just so happens they sell decent/good wine at great prices. As much as I love my wine stores, I can't buy milk & eggs there :) Just my perspective...

      2. Our favorite new white at my store is the Vinho Verde from Portugal at $3.99.
        Light, slighty bubbly/fizzy with a little lemony zing and only 9 % alcohol, perfect for lunch
        or a nice starter before food. I don't think it'll hold up to strong cheeses, but it was good with chicken and probably would go well with salads and the like. As far as reds go, IMO, the three offerings from Epicuro are hard to beat in the value to drinkablity department. at $4.99.
        BTW, our Wine Team has started the "Taste every wine in the store" project and I'll report back with any outstanding finds and/or values. The Clos du Bois Pinot ($13-15?) was pretty nice and was the favorite of two of the team out of the five we tried. Fairly well-rounded between friut and tannin with nice color and finish. Definitely palate-friendly and something you could take to a dinner party and a nunber of people would enjoy.

        12 Replies
        1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

          Maybe it is me but what is the joy of Trader Joe's for wine. Any good shop in Minneapolis will beat them in price and certainly selection.

          I don't get it but of course I spend a ton of time researching wine and cherry pick the best deals.

          1. re: wineglas

            It's been my experience here in the SF Bay Area that many folks want something decent at a low price and would rather not go out of their way to get it.
            If they're picking up something for dinner, etc., then it's far easier to get wine at TJ's than go across town to the local wine shop. Also, most folks I've run into at work don't have time to do a ton of research about wine, hence the reason that Charles Shaw sells so well. <shutter> We also get things occassionally that are private label specifically for us that taste really good and are reasonably priced.
            BTW, do the wine shops in Minneapolis you frequent have drinkable wines under $5? If so, perhaps you could share some of your knowledge with the OP as to where to get them and what they would be?
            (They're looking for a decent Chianti and a nice Pinot or other good white)

            1. re: wineglas

              I won't fault you on the issue of selection, but I've found some incredibly good prices at TJ's in SoCal. On an austerity kick of late, I combine years of 'better' wine exposure with a budget. I just picked up some Hogue Washington Chard at TJs for $5.99 and a wine-searcher.com search put that price almost a dollar below anyone on that site and $3 below a local discounter. In December I found a Mendocino County Cab Sauv at $5.99 that I know has retailed at $16+ in the area. Bought up 3 TJs worth.

              In general, you can find a lot of plonk at TJs, but also some very good deals. The more you know about wineries and wine regions the better armed you are, but this board (especially topics like this one) are great help too.

              1. re: wineglas

                Hi wineglas, I am in Mpls too and would be interested in any suggestions you may have for good wine (particularly for case purchases) from a Surdyk's or Haskell's (or wherever.) Looking forward to the suggestions! (sorry OP for the thread mini-hijack)

              2. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                Also a fan of VV during the warm weather months, but discovered that it's wise to check the date on the back stamp on the bottle. I bought some from BevMo a couple of years ago that were two years old, basically undrinkable, need to find bottlings not much older that one year from your date of purchase.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Just some feedback and a question. I picked up the Hanz Lang Pinot at my local TJs and found it extremely light and overly fruity, with a heavy amount of alcohol on the nose. For the price it was OK, but not really my taste. My question is whether you think that profile is more from the origin or the price. I very rarely see a Pinot below $10 these days.

                  1. re: Midlife

                    German Pinot Noirs are in my experience always very light. Usually they're also high-acid, low-alcohol, and have a fair amount of bottle bouquet and earthy flavors..

                    The one-dimensional fruitiness of the Edition Maximilian probably accounts for the low price. I'm surprised you found the nose alcoholic, it's only 11.5%, which is one of the things I like about it. It would be interesting to compare it with the regular Hans Lang Spätburgunder to see if it's specifically made that way for export.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I think I found it alcoholic because of the thinness of the fruit (as you said, "one-dimensional"). To my palate there wasn't much else to it.

                      Unfortunately for me, I spent the past 3 years in a world of readily available better wine and I'm trying to adjust down. Luckily, though, I've always had a rather broad and accepting palate. In Pinot, however, $30-$40 down to $6 is quite a reach.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I was just at a German wine tasting yesterday. In the warm vintages since 2001, the changes have been substantial. The PNs I tasted yesterday were well extracted, rich, and medium to full bodied. Not at all like the Spatburgunders of the past.

                      2. re: Midlife

                        not an answer to your question, but, my local trader joe's carries castlerock pinot, which, imho, is a very good choice for a low-priced pinot.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          My experience with CR varies greatly with the appelations AND vintages, e.g. Mendocino, RRV, being much more desirable than the Monterey or Sonoma offerings.

                          1. re: PolarBear

                            Yes, the current vintage of Castle Rock's Mendocino has a lot more going on than the Sonoma. Dirt can be yummy, but if that's all you're tasting, for me it's rather one-dimensional.

                    2. I buy tons of wine a month and probably like most people, buy some from Trader Joe's for good reliable everyday wines for drinking and cooking.

                      Some of my faves:

                      Archeo Nero D'Avola - very fruity and jammy
                      One of their Montepulciano d'Abruzzo's
                      One of their Bordeaux's with a chunk of Cab Franc in the Blend
                      The Barolo they carry has been good more often than not

                      I love Portuguese wine, yet I find the Espiral Vinho Verde to be hit or miss. That is a private label of Sogrape's Gazela most likely due to it is imported by the same company (Evaton). If you get a good bottle, it can be fantastic. 5 or 6 years ago they carried a red from the Dão region but it was discontinued. I think it was a private label of Grão Vasco.

                      The Osborne Tawny and Ruby ports are very good as well as the 10 yr Morgado Tawny.

                      Do I buy my best wine from TJs? In fact, I don't really look for it there. However, it does help me save some money for the better stuff and allows me to always keep the cellar and pantry stocked with RELIABLE wines and spirits at a fraction of the price.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: vinhotinto75

                        Went on a bargain hunt at my local TJs with your post on hand. Found only the Nero D'Avola. $4.99 or $5.99 I think. My reaction was that it was not a bad everyday red, but had nowhere near the depth or body of the same varietal I've tried at even $9-$10. I've found that issue with There's only so much you can get into a wine at that price. Have you tried others like it?

                        1. re: Midlife

                          Yes, I would agree that the TJs Nero d'Avola doesn't have the complexity of the more expensive ones, yet I really like the finish on the wine and how it is rather jammy and goes with light and medium dishes. I found the same with the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo too.

                          Interestingly, I drank a Zonin Nero D'Avola recently which I picked up locally for around 8.99 and found it to be good, yet not with as much character as the TJ varietal.

                          Thus while TJs wine in general will not always deliver the complexities and quality of more expensive producers, they do sometimes offer reliable and interesting alternatives to many grape varietals.

                          They used to have a Super Tuscan which they carried for many years for around 5.99 that I used to drink quite often with lamb dishes such as a ragu. I haven't seen it in a while however.

                          1. re: vinhotinto75

                            Found that there are two Nero d'Avolas at my local TJs. Last night we tried the Archeo and found it a lot better than the previous one. Actually a pretty great daily drinker. Going back for more.

                            1. re: Midlife

                              Glad to hear it. I really like the Archeo for an everyday before a meal or perhaps with depending on what I'm having. While it is a completely different varietal, it reminds me of the good house reds you get at simple bistrots in say the Loire Valley in France or a Tasca in Portugal where the simplest wines of the Touraine or Castelão go well with all types of food.

                              I've also recently seen some interesting Nero d'Avola blends with other varietals like Merlot and Syrah. I haven't yet tried these however.


                      2. I hosted a working dinner last Sunday and picked up some Salice Salentino at TJ's. Here in OH it was $7; probably cheaper in other states. It was very good; as good as the Salice Salentino I buy at my favorite Italian wineshop in Columbus but $3 cheaper. If you like Chianti, you'd probably like the Salice Salentino, although it didn't have quite as much acid as Sangiovese.

                        1. I haven't had it in a while, but a while back I was a big fan of their Primativo.

                          1. Some rejects going back to the store:

                            2004 Ch. Mayne Guyon Premiere Cotes de Blaye ($7, Trader Joe's): maybe just over the hill

                            2006 Calvet Reserve de l'Estey Medoc ($7, Trader Joe's): not much nose or flavor

                            2006 Les Caves Joseph Bordeaux ($5, Trader Joe's): unbalanced oak, nasty

                            1. NV La Caumette L'Authentique VDT ($4): drinkable but boring, off-dry, won't be buying this one again.

                              1. 2007 La Loggia Barbera d'Alba ($6, Trader Joe's, 3/19): drinkable but boring

                                2007 Albero Jumilla DO Monastrell ($6, Trader Joe's, 3/19): completely dumb at first, splashed into a pitcher, two hours later it was okay, nice hay nose, tasted a bit like a light young Chianti. Decent for the price but I wouldn't buy another bottle. This is a great example of why I find it hard to believe that all Monastrell is Mourvèdre.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  What is that.......zero for six so far this month? Not a glowing rec but thanks for posting.

                                  I'm not comfortable enough picking French and Italian wines without recs (even at $5 or $6), so I appreciate your posts and others here. Within my own comfort zone, I've enjoyed the Hogue Chard. Washington state and a Constellation-owned product. Lighter and fruitier than many traditional Chards, but very drinkable for $6.

                                  1. re: Midlife

                                    Thanks for mentioning the Hogue Columbia Valley chardonnay. I tried a bottle and found it a light and easy-drinking, enjoyable, $6 well spent.

                                2. 2007 Trentatre Rosso ($5.99, 3/30/09). Salento IGT, equal parts Cabernet, Merlot, & Montepulciano. Nice aromas of plum, coffee, and wine cellar, a smoky flavor with a nice balance of tannins, acid, and fruit, and has a drier finish than most Italian (or California) Cabernet blends. It tastes older than I'd expect from the 2007 vintage date, which makes me suspect the winery follows the old-school practice of aging in large, old oak barrels. It's very food-friendly.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Bought this soon after your post and opened it last night with a simple pasta dish of penne with tomatoes, artichokes and peas....... made a little on the spicy side. It was REALLY very good. My wife preferred it run through the Vinturi, but I liked it as is. Lots of body and a great value at $5.99.

                                    Now................ let's just hope Trader Joe's has more.

                                  2. Marchese de Petri 2003 Chianti Riserva, $6.99.

                                    When first opened, the wine had a light, wine-cellary nose, mature and rustic old-school flavor but with bright fruit, good acid, and some tannin, light body, and a classic Sangiovese finish with hints of dried fruits and bitterness. Despite the lightness of the wine, it stood up to the spicy jambalaya-like andouille and bean dish I served it with.

                                    After the bottle had been open for half an hour or so, the wine had opened up and was more aromatic and flavorful. There was no sediment to worry about, so the next bottle I open I'll try dumping vigorously into a pitcher to aerate, then let it sit uncovered for half an hour before serving.

                                    1. An interesting website that has reviewed a lot of Trader Joe's wines:


                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: bricap

                                        Thanks for the mention bricap! I am hoping to get an updated Top 10 list up in the next few days and will do my best to post it here as well...

                                        1. re: jjrzut

                                          Just to let y'all know, there's been an influx of interesting wines at my (Alameda) store.
                                          I really enjoyed the Now & Zen Wasabi White from Alsace ($4.99) 40% Sylvaner, 30% Pinot Blanc, 15% Riesling, 15% Gewurztraminer. Medium body, nice fruit, dry finish. Yum!
                                          The Reserve Chardonnay (VERY limited quantity: $9.99) from Mendocino is friut-forward with a smoky oak finish. Pretty tasty. I report back after Thursday onsome more of the new ones.

                                          1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                            I tried the Now & Zen this week. Good, better with food. Just published my latest Top 10. Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot took the top spot.

                                            1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                              My you are busy. I should have checked in with you before my latest shopping trip as I grabbed many of the ones you mentioned. Grabbed both the Blue Fins which are another Bronco Wine Co (make of Two Buck Chuck) offering. Grabbed the Roza Ridge Rattlesnake Hills and Caretaker Pinot as well. Only had the Caretaker of the lot so far and agree with your take. Not much there yet...

                                              1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                Oh and would love some more Overlake. If you were only over the Golden Gate instead of the Bay Bridge :)

                                                1. re: jjrzut

                                                  I'll look in the Order Guide tonight, but I fear it's already history.
                                                  If I can scrounge a few, maybe a could arrange a delivery to a neutral location in the City or Marin?

                                                  BTW, we're re-merchandising our whole store starting Tuesday, so after the dust settles I'm hoping to be working more with the Order Writers to better ultilize the space.
                                                  Also, if any Hounds are curious about any wine you've seen on TJ's shelves, let me know and I'll TRY to fit into my Tasting Schedule.
                                                  (no promises though) My Summer schedule is already pretty full, but I might be able to squeeze in an odd title here and there, especially if the Wine Team continues to meet on a regular basis.
                                                  Just a reminder, if anything says "Hustle Buy" and you like it, stock up.
                                                  (I was so busy selling the Rabbit Ridge to everyone else, I missed out)

                                                  1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                                                    if you can work that out count me in for a case! Wish I had some Rabbit Ridge left to share... Thanks as always for the insight...

                                        2. Right now TJ's is selling Aquila d'Oro Toscana Rosso for $3.99. This is a great light Italian red wonderful for everyday drinking.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: annapurna7

                                            Yes, this is a decent one for the price. One of the better TJ bargains.