2005 Chariot Gypsy

2005 Chariot Gypsy

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Zhadi’s Den “The label shows a woman in a red head scarf astride a chariot, very much in the vein of a Major Arcana tarot card. The back only says it was bottled by Jim Neal wines in St. Helena, California. Nothing about varietals. I have no idea what grapes were used in the making of this wine (although its rich, spicy characteristics lead me to suspect a zinfandel or syrah in the blend). The price tag? $4.99. The placard in the store said One Time Buy. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So I had to try it. We took it to the SinC meeting and cracked it open aong with an inexpensive Spanish cava. The cava was okay. The Chariot?


What I Think:

Wow, this Jim Neal guy (found on the back of the bottle) is a tough one to track down. But after spending some quality time with my friends at Google (your welcome!) I was able to get to the bottom of this one. I was able to track down both the site for the winery which is terribly out of date and in desperate need of my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services and his first love which happens to be Verjus which I need to look into further (Jessie any pointers…). Fortunately for all of us, his wines are much more approachable than the brand behind them. As mentioned above I was tipped off to this one by Zhadi’s Den and immediately picked up three bottles. Those are now all empty and I am here to sing this wines accolades as well…

In a word “winner, winner”. The nose seemed almost typical California with rich, dark, musty fruit notes. On the palate it seemed very familiar; silky smooth and bold with heavy mint overtones. Then it struck me, this wine had a resounding resemblance to one of my favorites, the Rosenblum San Francisco Bay Petite Sirah. Despite Dana’s report that it is a blend of “Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Cab” I am guessing this is 60-70% Petite Sirah minimum….And the remaining is likely Syrah (or at least mostly…) The finish was a lasting mix of dark fruits and dry, tingling tannins, extremely pleasant. Get yourself some now as I am heading out to clear out the bay area stores soon…

In the times of this economy I can unequivocally tell you this wine and the Franc Merlot are easily the best $5 bottles of wine I have seen at Trader Joe’s in some time. If you are used to spending $15 or more a bottle and stumbled across this site looking for ways to cut back your budget start here and start fast!

Rating: Bulk Buy

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90 thoughts on “2005 Chariot Gypsy

  1. Thanks for the heads-up Jason!!

    Just called my local TJ’s in Clovis and the wine manager said he didn’t expect any ’08 Chariot Gypsy until “around the 15th” of February.

    Guess I better get my corkscrew and glasses ready for another parking lot tasting. :^D

  2. The 2008 Chariot Gypsy is in at the Clovis CA TJ’s!! Bought a bottle this morning and had a lunchtime tasting with the wife. Another winner from Jim Neal, the 2008 is a solid value at $4.99. A young fruity 13.5 wine that should benefit from more time in the bottle. The missus says it’s less sweet than the 2007 and I have to agree. We aerated ours and it still needed time in the glass to open up. Still, we liked it and plan on buying more tomorrow!

  3. YES the 2008 version of Gypsy may be the best yet. At $4.99 this wine drinks like a $12-15 bottle. Agreed it does need more time in the bottle. (Only in 3 weeks b4 release. Did have 12 months ageing b4 release. 72% Zin/Petite sirah; Cab & Sanjo 24% balance 2% each merlot & Syrah. After another six months in the bottle should be even better. !! Hurry and grab this one now!

  4. @Charlie Certainly agree that it is less sweet and needs time to relax. Thanks for the thoughs, I’ll be posting a more detailed explanation shortly!

    @Eric Hope you were able to grab a bottle or two? If so let me know what you think!

    @Jerry Best yet? Strong praise. It doesn’t deliver from where I sit. Then again I thought the ’05 was other worldly, perhaps your opinion is a bit different. That said, time in the bottle is key here. It should get better with each passing month…

  5. bought a bottle of this wine out of curiosity since it’s a once a year sale at TJ’s and cheap! Went back to TJ’s the next day and bought the the last box! I am very lucky to have the very last box :)

  6. OK….NOW try the Novella Synergy RED. $6.99 70% Zinfandel + Petite Sirah. Opinion -Better & bigger than Chariot with Cab Sav.; Cab Franc; Syrah & Sanjo.

    See ya next year with 2009 Chariot! :-)

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