2007 Now & Zen Wasabi White

2007 Now & Zen Wasabi WinePrice: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Underdog Wine

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Every Now & Zen you’ll find your tastebuds about to capsize from the spicy surge of Asian cuisine enticing you to enjoy a calming sip of our Wasabi White. The bright tropical fruit of pineapple, mango and lemon twist awaken the delicious flavors of spicy food and bring peace to your palate.

Grown in the Alsace region of France, the climate develops well-structured, food-friendly wines. Relax, chill and enjoy a splash of Now & Zen with spicy Szechuan shrimp, chicken or pork stir fry. Now & Zen will bring your dinner peace.”

What I Think:

This one had a lot going for it on sight being from the Alsace. You see I’ve been a big fan ever since my wife to be took me out for my first fine dining experience at Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys here in San Francisco. You see he hails from the Alsace and delectably paired the wines of the region with an incredible meal. To even spark those memories is worth the fiver I dropped on this bottle. How’s that for full disclosure.

On getting it home I did a quick search and found that this one has wider distribution than you usually see from a TJ’s offering. Given that I would generally think this is a bad or “marked” lot that someone needed to liquidate. Around the net the best price on this one is $8, $10 appears to be the average. For locals with a BevMo in the area they are asking $11. I also took note of the importer on this one, Underdog Wine Merchants, a new one to the Trader Joe’s wine aisle. On checking their site I was pleased to see another of my favorites; A Mano. Hope to see some more offerings from this importer at Trader Joe’s soon… Too bad the site didn’t have any information on this bottle itself.

This one was a blend, my first from the region, of 40% Sylvaner, 30% Pinot Blanc, 15% Riesling, 15% Gewurztraminer. Thin pineapple notes on a pretty nose, just a hint of sweetness I could do without. On the palate I find lemon notes and perhaps a hint of lychee. The mouth feel is mellow and refreshing without being overly sweet. The mineral structure makes this a nice balanced effort throughout turning pleasantly tart on the finish. For $8 I might be on the fence but at $5, factor my Alsace bias in as you see fit, I already bought another bottle. Next time maybe I’ll even have it with spicy Szechuan shrimp as they recommend.

Rating: Buy It

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18 thoughts on “2007 Now & Zen Wasabi White

  1. Alsace wines produce some of the most unappreciated wines on the market. It was nice to read your post and see a good vibe cast out for the wine.
    Great content. Enjoy your blog!

  2. Thanks for the comment Ash, no under appreciation coming from here. The only things that stops me from drinking more are its limited availability and difficulty in finding bottles friendly to the pocketbook…

  3. I’ve enjoyed the Now & Zen too. Served it last week with a spicy ginger chicken dish. Decided to open it while I was cooking to add a little to the sauce, and I nearly finished the entire bottle before the meal was served because it was so easy drinking. Had to crack open another bottle for everyone to make it though dinner.

    Alsatian type/themed wines are a joy to drink, especially in the summer. Robert Sinskey’s Pinot Blanc is one of my local favorites, I always try to pick up a few bottles when I head up there. As for what’s available at my local TJs, I’ve enjoyed the Muller Thurgau http://www.airliewinery.com/w_muller_thurgau.asp from Airlie out of Oregon, but at $7.99 (or something around there) it’s almost a little pricey to be an everyday white for my needs & budget. I remember it pairing well with a white bean, kale, and farro soup.

    Vive L’Alsace!

  4. Now & Zen. A delightful wine great with Asian food or Indian. Little and a slight acidity ness Has a great aftertaste I first tasted it with a grilled sea bass.

  5. Warning: This one is on its way out of avaliability,
    so stock up while you can. I bought the last bottle in my store on Sunday.
    BTW, we’ve got a couple of cases of the Airlie Muller-Thurgau in the back room at Alameda if anyone is looking for it.

  6. @joshiemac Love your Now & Zen story. Still have two bottles here but looks like we may want to load up given @Angela’s comment. My biggest issue is escalating expectations from the Alsace as I am so rarely disappointed… I added the Robert Sinskey Pinot Blanc to my watch list but seems it will be hard to come by. Good to here on the Airlie Riseling, like you that has been north of my price point and I’ve looked often but resisted to date. Sounds like it is worth considering though…

    @Bill Glad to hear it worked for you as well

    @Angela The Now & Zen is worth stocking a few bottles if I can find it, thanks for letting us know!

  7. Hello,

    I enjoy your site.

    I stumbled upon an excellent Alsatian ” Now and Zen” white .
    However I can not find any one who carries it

    Can you please direct me to some outlet in Chicago or Boston.

    Thanks in advance , Castor

  8. Jason, Wow! Sleek, graceful and delicious, this wine is a winner. Thanks for finding this beauty and recommending it. Experiencing a gem like this is what it’s all about, IMHO. Thanks, Jason. Your tenacious and hard work is appreciated. Happy New Year!

  9. Jason, I have been having a great time trying your latest list of wines from TJ’s, and so far they are really good values.
    One question: my TJ’s has a single variety of “Now and Zen” Alsatian white wine which fits your description exactly as to the various grape percentages, but nowhere is the word “Wasabi” used on the bottle. Is this the same wine as in your list? RKS

  10. Hi, Robert. The bottles in my remaining half case each have a thin label on the front that says”2007, Wasabi White.” This label is pasted directly beneath a much larger and pretty, second label on the front. Did you check there? Good luck & Cheers

    • Hi Danny,
      That narrow (about 3/8″) label on my bottle says “2007 Alsace white”; my guess is that they have changed the label but the wine is perhaps the same? RKS

  11. @Danny I was thankful to see this after the misses that were stacking up… Any faves from January to share? Hope your New Year is off to a great start!

    @Robert Thanks for the kind words, as for the label sounds like there are two different versions out there. Mine is the same as Danny mentioned. Does your back label mention Wasabi? Mine does at the end of the first sentence: “enjoy a calming sip of our Wasabi White”

    More broadly, I checked my favorite new research spot: the TTB COLA registry which does show two label filings; one in June and another in August of 2009. There were many other interesting notes from my search as well. The first being that this wine is made by the Helfrich family, which per wine.com who’s offerings tend to range in the $15-$25 dollar neighborhood. Guessing this is the left overs as they appear to make all the individual varietal offerings outside of Sylvaner. In addition, we know this wine is imported by Underdog Wine Merchants who it turns out are owned by the Wine Group LLC which also own Concannon Vineyards. Not so useful I know but thanks for letting me geek out!

  12. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the additional information about the origins of this wine. Since my bottle nowhere even mentions the word Wasabi, I am speculating that they decided that this somewhat obscure word wasn’t very useful to their marketing of the wine. I had to look up “Wasabi” on Google, since my first reaction was that it must be a place name. As you may know, it is the name of an Asian vegetable sometimes called “Japanese horseradish”. I guess they hoped this would suggest the suitability of their wine to accompany Asian foods, but perhaps decided later that the word was too obscure to be effective in that way. Perhaps the second label filing was for the purpose of eliminating “Wasabi”? RKS

  13. @Robert Perhaps Wasabi was an issue, as a sushi aficionado I was familiar with the term and as you mentioned the food pairing was my logical explanation of its inclusion. Either way I still enjoy this one regularly. My thoughts on the two labels were the same as yours. Hope your New Year is off to a good start!

  14. WARNING: This product is a “Hustle Buy” and we are all out according to the Order Guide.

    Grab the last few remaining bottles on the shelves for Summer while you can!

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