Best of Trader Joe’s Wine – Top 10 Wines of 2007

If you arrived here and are interested in the latest top 10 list, click here. Otherwise please read on.

I thought I would put together a little recap of my version of the top ten wines of the year from Trader Joe’s.  Unfortunately, few remain.  I have seen three of these as of late and have reason to believe you may be able to discover two of the others.  Another three have moved on to the next vintage leaving the top two nowhere to be found (meaning if you do let me know).  Without further adieu here they are with some quick notes for a recap:

1. 2003 Beringer Clear Lake Zinfandel ($7) – This wine is fantastic, I was able to procure 9 bottles, 6 of which have made there way down the hatch.  Still looking forward to the last 3 bottles and keen to try more from the Clear Lake area, wish this was still around.

2. 2005 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Cabernet Franc ($9) – Wow did I miss the boat on this one.  After reading about this on quaffability I grabbed two bottles.  By the time I made it back it was gone.  Would love to stumble across another case of this!

3. 2005 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere ($7) – So sad this one has gone, made it thorugh another half a case before it disappeared, now on to 2006 which still is worth buying but I would rank it a bit lower than this offering.

4. 2005 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Gewurztraminer ($7) – A great gewurtz and one of the first of a few I was able to sample from this winery. Each one has been a hit, don’t hesitate to buy them on sight! The ’05 is history but the ’06 is in the stores now. Lucky me, still one in the rack.

5. 2005 Marcel Hugg Pinot Blanc ($8) – This one is from the Alsatian region of France which I have always found compelling and this Pinot Blanc is a winner.  Alas it is all gone except for the one last bottle in the fridge, though I think there may still be some bottles lurking in the stores if you look hard enough.

6. 2004 Castineira Albarino Dry White Wine ($8) – A sucker for all things Spanish this one quickly worked its way into my repertoire and then disappeared just as fast. The ’06 appeared shortly there after but isn’t in the same league. Keep your fingers crossed for ’07.

7. 2005 Kono Sauvignon Blanc ($8) – Finally one that is still available. Anyone that hasn’t had a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand start here, get it while it last.

8. 2005 Marcel Hugg Gewurztraminer ($8) – The second winery to have multiple appearances in the top 10 and the second bottling to still be seen on the shelves. A great introduction to the Alsace for those unfamiliar and an opportunity for me to stock up before it disappears!

9. 2003 Rocking Horse Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon ($10) – The most interesting wine on this list in that it is not made for the masses, a real dry chalky number that many may not find appealing. I like it, you may not which may be why it is still on the shelves. Makes me wonder if it has any aging potential. I still have two bottles and the chance to grab more.

10. NV Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles ($6) – Another interesting choice to round out the list, a blend that is primarily of GSM which I always find intriguing, and from the central coast certainly unexpected. On taste if doesn’t match the typical GSM profile at all, it comes across more as a cheap man’s Pinot with nice light fruit. I’ll take it and you may be able to as well if you look hard enough. It is still lurking in stores on occasion.

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And now on to the bonus round….Hard to call anything in particular out as the value wines of the year in a Trader Joe’s capacity so let’s call these the top two quaffers of the year.  These are wines that you can open guilt free after the first of the night has disappeared and know that you won’t be disappointed if you did.  Without further ado…

1. 2005 Amaicha Bonarda ($2) – The best of the best. Open it to make a spaghetti sauce and finish after the bottle of the night is gone. I bought three cases of this one and but a bit remains. Good luck in the stores here in CA but back in WI where I was for Xmas you can pay $5 a bottle. As for me I’ll just enjoy the bottles I have left.

2. 2005 Archero Nero d’ Avola Ruggero di Tasso ($4) – An Italian wine, my struggles with Italy are well documented, much to my surprise. The Nero d’ Avola grape hails from Sicily and I’ll be looking in that direction more in the future.

Both of these bottles makes me wonder what you can get from these grapes if you spend just a bit more, I’m guessing just disappointment. Much the same as when I realized this one was no longer in the stores. As a goal for 2008 I’ll try to publish a monthly list so you can get these while they are still in the stores. Happy New Year to all!

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