Clearing the Trader Joe’s Wine Review Backlog

This is like one of those cleansing diets I keep hearing about. You do lots of bad stuff, then all at once you try to atone for it. With that I offer you these succinct reviews of 25 Trader Joe’s Wines that have backed up in my queue.  You’ll see more ranked “Buy It” than I would have imagined and get an idea of how bad a wine must be to land it the “Avoid It” category.  All that and plenty of grammatical errors too…

Stay tuned for the latest Top 10 list which is next. I hope to publish that over the weekend. Enjoy!


Bulk Buy (2)
2006 The California Wine Party Franc Merlot – $4.99 – A perfect wine for the election season. A blend of Cab Franc and Merlot, grab it fast it seems to be disappearing already…

2007 Geyser Peak California Sauvignon Blanc – $7.99 – A new vintage but still the real deal.

Buy It (11)
2006 Dynamic Red Table Wine – $8.99 – An excellent wine, a Cab Franc, Cabernet, Merlot blend. Just not sure I can justify an additional four dollars beyond the “Franc Merlot”

2006 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Cabernet Franc – $8.99 – The 2005 version of this wine was #2 on my Top 10 list for 2007. Not sensing much fall off here.

2007 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere – $7.99 – A main stay vintage after vintage, the only thing that changed this time was the fancy award label and the $1 they added to the price tag…

2003 Alderbrook Old Vine Zinfandel – $7.99 –The $20 price tag on was enough to get me enamored, initially the wine delivered, showing the signs of complexity you expect of old vines. That said I was wanting/waiting for more. Perhaps the second bottle I grabbed will deliver…

2005 Beauzeaux Red Wine- $3.99 – A blend, by Beaulieu, this reminded me somewhat of the Red Flyer that peaked at #4 on the June top 10 list. Not quite that good but had the potential to be a worthy replace but, alas, it appears to have sold out. Not to mention $13.99 on…

NV Novella Chardonnay – $5.99 – This link sent me off looking for this one. The first time I grabbed the wrong label but since I haven’t missed. This one replaced the Callaway as the house Chardonnay.

2007 Kono Sauvignon Blanc – $7.99 – This one has always had a tough draw with the Geyser Peak dominating the stage but still provides me vivid reminders of my honeymoon in New Zealand. Oh by the way, it’s damn good to0.

2007 King Shag Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – $6.99 – A buck cheaper than the Kono and just as good. A little more zing and a little less citrus.

2007 Castoro Cellars Muscat Canelli- $4.99 – A nice substitute for Riesling or Gewurtz with Indian or Thai.

2006 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Gewurztraminer – $6.99 – Like the Cab Franc from the same level, impossible to find any info on this is the public space. My favorite TJ’s Gewurtz from the US. If you must know I prefer those of the Alsace. TJ’s has brought through the Marcel Hugg and the Michel Leon.

2007 Gaetano D’Aquino Orvieto Classico – $4.99 – Always love the chance to try a new varietal, this one from Italy didn’t disappoint. A nice delicate , straight forward profile. Perfect on its own or with seafood.

12th Bottle (7)
2005 Cartwheel Shiraz – $3.99 – This isn’t bad, perhaps even a notch better than the Chasing Clouds which briefly crashed the top 10. More interesting was the GSM by the same label that was gone as soon as it arrived…

2005 Barnwood Long Shadow Petite Sirah – $5.99 – I was thrilled to see a Santa Barbara label at TJ’s. The first bottle was nice but the amount of sediment threw me for a loop. By the time I went to look for a second bottle it was gone baby gone…

2005 Syrahtica California Syrah – $3.99 – My second offering from the X Winery this Syrah had many redeeming qualities. It is also had a few that reminded you this was mass produced in the lab rather than made in the field.

2007 Condesa de Sarabella Garnacha- $3.99 – I grabbed this when I was fiending for a Spanish wine and it hit the spot. Not great but have another bottle in the rack now…

2007 Trader Joe’s Growers Reserve Paso Robles Zinfandel- $4.99 – I am not a fan of buying the TJ’s label but desperate for a nice drinking Zin under $5 I gave it a whirl. I’d rate it as slight better than the TBD Zinfandel which was a pure quaffer. This one showed a bit more complexity.

2006 Honey Moon Viognier- $4.99 – Viognier is the perfect summer wine to have with a meaty salad. Had this one with a chicken cobb.

2006 Martin & Weyrich Matador Rose- $3.99 – Made from Tempranillo this wine is bone dry which matches well with hot weather. Unfortunately TJ’s went dry before I could restock.

Skip it (5)
2006 Panilonco Carmenere- $3.99 – I love the Concha y Toro mentioned above and tried the ’05 of this offering and gave it another go. I said it here first…If try the ’07 someone take away my wallet.

2006 Gaetano D’Aquino Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo – $3.99 – I barely remember this one, that can’t be good. That said, guessing some would argue that at this price point if it doesn’t make you spit it out you have a winner…

2006 Callaway California Sauvignon Blanc – $4.99 – Love the Chard so thought I would give this one a go. Mistake! With so much quality Sauvignon Blanc, see above, no need to be messing around here.

2006 Tres Pinos Tierra Rioja Paso Robles Red Wine- $4.99 – Another blend ala the Red Flyer and Beauzeaux, this one is obviously not as good as it can still be found in the stores.

2007 Josefina Syrah Rose – $4.99 – My first use of twitter as a wine review source here. I didn’t feel as strongly as this person though I won’t be buying it again…

Avoid It (0)
As you can see I am loathe to use this category. Do you think I should use it more?

Still reading!  Get to drinking…

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2 thoughts on “Clearing the Trader Joe’s Wine Review Backlog

  1. I was surprised to find that a Garnacha exists at a $3.99 price point, even at Trader Joes. Was it a blend or was it 100%? Even if it isn’t memorable, I think it’s a definite bargain for that type of grape. I personally really dig the Fuego Garnacha ($7.99, I think) that you can buy at Whole Foods or World Market.

  2. I have another bottle here and couldn’t find explicit proof but per the importer:

    “Made from ancient low yield garnacha bush vines planted in the Denomination De Origen Calatayud. The wine has concentrated berry flavours and a touch of spicyness. Serve with hearty meat dishes, game and cheeses.”

    The ancient/low yield leads me to believe it must be 100%

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