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Jul 20, 2009 02:29 PM

Trader Joe's Wine Recs?

I like randomly sampling the wines at TJ's, Cline Zin is reliable and the Bogle Petit Syrah is tasty, but too often wind up with a bottle that's no better than the 2 buck chuck. Looking for daily drinkers under $10, red or white. Let's separate the Clines from the Chucks!

(Since TJ's is far more prevalent in So Cal than elsewhere, I'm posting here rather than the wine board.)

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  1. Scott - I don't mind posting that there is a very drinkable chardonnay made by Clos du Bois that also cooks down nicely. I see it in TJs all the time for less than $10. I don't have the most sophtsticated taste in wines, but I've served this guests who were either very polite (and hated it) or actually liked it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kotatsu

      I like Clos du Bois but what's wrong with Two Buck Chuck? Some lots of their merlot are pretty darn good, especially for $1.99. Funny how some critics rate wines by the price rather than by taste? I've served 2BC many a times to guests where they gave the thumbs up until they found out what it was.

      1. re: Clinton

        It's not that 2 buck chuck is all that bad, I like the merlot and the savignon blanc and drink plenty of it. It's just that sometimes i want something that tastes a little better and get frustrated if I shell out the extra dollars without getting a wine that tastes any different.

        1. re: Clinton

          what's wrong with two buck chuck is that, to my palate, it is insipid.
          it isn't a matter of price, because my local wine shop, LA Wine Company, often carries some very cheap wines that actually taste good. . . .

          i hate 'spending' calories on meh wine or food.

          1. re: Clinton

            There's nothing **wrong** with 2BC, it's just that there isn't a whole lot right with it, either. I'll go out on a limb and say that anybody who says it's consistently good doesn't have a particularly well-developed palate. On the other hand, anybody who says the stuff is consistently terrible is simply incorrect.

            Occasionally a decent bottle will show up, but 2BC is made with whatever grapes are available that week, so there's no consistency between runs. Back in the days when Hearty Burgundy was its main product, Gallo at least manipulated the wine from batch to batch to deliver a somewhat consistent flavor profile. Bronco doesn't do that.

            Your comment that critics "rate wines by the price rather than by taste" is misguided. Serious wine tastings are conducted blind. Some wine **drinkers** believe that more expensive wines are necessarily better. I put them in the same camp as the philistines who claim that Turning Leaf and DRC are interchangeable since they're both made from pinot noir grapes.

            That said, 2BC is my go-to cooking wine, and I don't mind drinking it if somebody's pouring it at a cookout. But it's never my first choice; there are much more interesting wines in the <$5 price category.

        2. Sorry but 2 Buck Chuck Sucks.

          First off, I would suggest asking the people at TJs that work in the wine department. They really do try a lot of the wines they carry and can make really good suggestions.

          However, one that I really like is Zarafa. It's a South African winery and TJs usually carries a Pinotage (it's made from a hybrid Pinot Noir grape) and a Chardonny. Inexpensive and really good.

          1. A couple that I just tried over the weekend. Blue Fin Chardonnay. Great fruity quaffing wine. Under 4$. Perfect for summer. Hogue Chardonnay. Somewhat buttery, nice fruit and a steal at 5$.

            1 Reply
            1. re: trimtab

              I, too, just recently found Blue Fin at TJs. Enjoyed the Chard and the Petite Sirah... I bought a case of the Petite Sirah:) Especially nice at $3.99.

            2. Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere from Chile. It was recommended to me by "the wine guy" and I love it. Have gotten it a couple more times and goes great with a lot of things and everyone else always seems to love it too!

              1. I'm into not too expensive Pinot Noir. I like Black Mountain (the price recently went up to 5.99), Rex (6.99), and Blue Fin (3.99).

                1 Reply
                1. re: emilymm

                  I really like Black Mountain Sauv Blanc too