Grape Madness: The Trader Joe’s Selection Show

When you saw Trader Joe’s included in the Grape Madness brackets did you have any idea who the blogger behind their selections would be? Actually it was in doubt. I feel like I have turned over most of the leaves at Trader Joe’s and wanted to focus on new wine for this event. That said, upon taking one step back in the wine aisle it quickly became clear that on some varietals I hadn’t even scratched the surface. So I decided this is where I would dive in. One rule: has to be new wine to me. By all means necessary avoid a wine I had previously tried. With that let’s review my eight picks…

Grape Madness - Jason's Wine Blog - Trader Joe's - Bracket

Now let’s talk about how they got there…

The Cabernet Regional:
(1) 2004 Chateau Chevalier Napa Cab ($15) – As I purveyed the rare air of the top shelf many options availed themselves with a $20 price cap. This one appeared to be from a smaller winery and with a Spring Mountain AVA stood out from the crowd.

(2) 2006 Sterling Central Coast Cab ($12) – This one was added as a grudge match. Back in December I had a blind tasting with some friends and a bottle of Sterling took down one of my much more expensive Cabernet’s. Let’s see how it performs this time around…

(3) 2006 Fetzer Valley Oaks Cab ($6) – This one popped out given my recent experience with the Dynamic Vineyards offerings which are tied to Fetzer via Ceago Vinegarden. Fetzer calls themselves “The Earth Friendly Wine”, let’s see how they do with the palate…

(4) 2006 Trader Joe’s Coastal Cab ($4) – On the cheap end I had to go with Trader Joe’s private labels. Once that was determined this one was an easy choice as it is made by Castoro Cellars. I had heard some good blog buzz on their offerings so decided to give this one a ticket to the dance.

The Zinfandel Regional:
(1) 2006 Rosenblum Paso Robles Zin ($16) – This one was a relative no brainer. Given that I am a fan and a long time wine club member. This one has the pedigree to go all the way if it isn’t upset by the…

(2) 2007 Bogle Old Vine Zin ($10) – Riding high after my experience with the Petite Sirah this one has dark horse potential to mess up more than a few brackets.

(3) 2006 Ravenswood Vinters Blend Zin ($8) – This was a tough choice. The Ravenswood or the Cline. My heart said the Cline but the Ravenswood made the cart. Why? Because of the one rule I set going into this selection process. I have had the Cline many time before. The new vintage on the Ravenswood made all the difference.

(4) 2006 Old Moon Old Vine Zin ($5) – Speaking of the rule, I had to break it for this one. Why? Because I’ve had every Zinfandel Trader Joe’s offers in this category and know this one to be the best.

That sums it up. What do you think? Which bottle do you think is going to make it all the way to the final four?  How about all the way?  Let me know if the comments and fill out your bracket now. When done check my entry here and let me know what you think.  The smack talk starts soon…. Until then, look for my analysis for the other three regions over the next few days.

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One thought on “Grape Madness: The Trader Joe’s Selection Show

  1. No, the smack talk starts NOW. What a homer! All CA wines? Really? Next you’ll tell me what a Duke basketball fan you are. Favorite baseball team, let me guess, The Yankees. With the Pats, Red Wings and Celtics rounding it out, right?

    This said, I like the choices though. I’m intrigued by the high end Cab as I think Spring Mountain is an oft overlooked AVA that produces great fruit. If it loses to the TJ’s Coastal, the shockwaves will be felt all the way to Monrovia.

    But my early upset pick is in the Zin bracket. I agree with you about Rosenblum, it’s one of those wines we all become fans of when we first get into wine, but Zins are an upset magnet, as there’s always the chance some big fruit bomb will impress enough to make you think it’s a top seed.

    Good luck with your bracket, J! I think I hear the Gonzaga fight song in the distance…

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