2007 Chariot Gypsy

2007 Chariot GypsyPrice: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Jim Neal “The Chariot Gypsy 2007 is a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Sangiovese from great vineyards in the Napa Valley, and Sonoma, and Monterey Counties. Winemaker Jeff Hunsaker describes the wine like this: “The 2007 ‘Gypsy’ displays a dark garnet color with a clear violet edge. It shows mixed fresh berry aromas — raspberry and strawberry, with hints of white pepper and pastry. Very clean and lively with juicy berry fruit, firm acidity and a touch of smooth tannin. Excellent and versatile food wine particularly well suited for pork chops and poultry”. We think it is the perfect everyday red wine!”

What I Think:

For those that missed the shockwave heard around the Trader Joe’s world the Gypsy is back. After falling in love with the ’05 vintage and completely missing the ’06 I wasn’t going to allow myself to be short changed again. So when it began showing up in the wine aisle in early June I began my aimless search around the bay area for my beloved Gypsy. On my fifth stop, in San Rafael, I finally scored and two cases went into the cart (+1 extra so we didn’t have to open to scan). Whew, what a relief.

Now onto the wine itself. The ’07 is a blend of 37% Cabernet, 33% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah and 10% Sangoviese which is quite different than the previous vintages. Curious and hopeful I pour the wine in the glass, what’s the verdict? On the nose I get wet wood and faint floral and spice notes. On the palate it is lively, bright and juicy with loads of fruit. Raspberries that are a tad under ripe add acidity that is balanced by a subtle sweetness. This is followed by nice fruity, peppery, spicy finish. A fruit forward (some may say bomb instead) effort best served with food, you name it pizza, burgers, bbq. Any kind will work. Many recommend giving this one 15-30+ minutes to breathe so open it while cooking. If you’ve never experienced the Chariot Gypsy before this is a delightful $5 super value wine.

2007 Chariot Gypsy
Those that have experienced this wine before have a bit more of a conundrum. This effort is much simpler, not complex and lacks the depth of previous vintages. I compared the ’05 to the Rosenblum Heritage Clone Petite Sirah and felt it compared favorably with many $20 bottles. Yes, the label, retailer and price remain the same but given the changes in blend percentage and a new winemaker it is best not to compare this to previous vintages. Take it for what it is; “what you see is what you get” and that would be an easy drinking, summer BBQ wine. Enjoy!

Rating: Buy It (with a caveat, if you like this one treat it as a Bulk Buy as when it is gone, it is gone for good. Wondering if it is available at your local TJ’s? Check here

Editor’s Note (07-Jul-2009): Added a note on letting this one breathe for 15-30 minutes if you don’t initially find it agreeable.

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66 thoughts on “2007 Chariot Gypsy

  1. I included this as the low-end wine in a blind wine tasting for 8 friends this week. I guessed it was the $15 wine. At least two people that I know of had it in their top three (meaning they thought it cost 23, 27, or 31 dollars). So that nicely rules out the ‘just hype’ effect. Although it could still be the “appealing to wine novices” effect. ;-)

  2. I’ve been through 4 bottles now over the past few weeks. I’m enjoying how it pairs with diverse dishes. I’ve had it with grilled rib eye, penne arribiata , salumi, even a chicken vindaloo. It may not hold up to past vintages but this is still a fantastic deal and I look forward to my next bottle. At $5.00 I’m glad I have the better part of a case in my cellar to enjoy over the summer and beyond.

  3. @prof Great data point! I have that a blind tasting on my agenda. What other type of wines were included? I’m thinking Cab and Zin given the blend %.

    @joshiemac Still have 20+ bottles here and am quite happy about it. No buyers remorse! Agree on the diversity. Try it with just about anything and it should work…

    • Here’s the full list from the blind tasting (by price).
      Chariot Gypsy ’07 5
      Penfolds Cabernet Koonunga Hills ’06 6
      Magnificent House Red ’05 12
      Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine ’06 15
      Michael~David Vineyards Petite Petit 06 17
      Howell Mountain Vineyards Bear & Lion Zinfandel 200623
      Chappellet Mountain Cuvee 2006 27
      Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2005 31 (34 at bevmo)

      I’m kicking myself for not saving the rating sheets after. We all kind of… lost track. The two people who did the best at guessing overall

      • …both rated the Gypsy as no 1 or no 2, and both had the Ridge (most expensive) in the other top slot.

        (sorry, hit return a little early)

  4. Thanks for the tip on this wine. First purchased 3 bottles and liked it so much went back and purchased a case! Gone through 2 bottles so far and your TN are spot on. I think the Zin shines through on this vintage. I would put this wine against many $20 to $30 wines from CA.

  5. Had never heard of it until you mentioned and grabbed a couple of bottles in Encino this afternoon. I haven’t loved it yet (waiting to pour that second glass) but for $4.99 is a solid, solid wine. Like the label too…

  6. Found it in Claremont, CA TJ’s, but I would swear it was marked $9.99. Just checked the receipt – $4.99. Perhaps the overpricing explains why there were so many bottles…

  7. Insider Knowledge Warning! If you haven’t gotten your supply, it might be too late. Check your local stores today and clear the shelves as there will be no more available from the warehouse. (It went TOS last night)

  8. Also found at TJs in Virginia (I shop at the Williamsburg TJ, they have a BIG display of it with an printout of your blog page). I’ve never seen it before in Virginia. They were sampling it today at the store. Dee-lish!

  9. @prof what a great data point! BTW, love the Ridge too though the York Creek is my preference.

    @KB thanks for the tip, I added Vegas

    @ucla92 Glad to hear you liked it, even though I am a Trojan!

    @Eric I hope it worked out for you, let me know if you want your money back ;)

    @Michael Thanks for the tip, I added Claremont to the list

    @Angela As always thanks for the tips! Hope everyone that wanted to has stocked up… Any new faves I should be checking out?

    @Joe Thanks for the tip. Virgina means this one is available, in theory, from coast to coast. btw, would have loved a picture of the setup with my blog posting…

  10. Like a the comments on this little wine. This is a great BBQ wine or just want to drink a couple of glass. Was glad it showed back-up on the shelf. Got a case for myself and another for a friend. Just did not have room for any more than that.

  11. Hi Jason,
    Well, at work I did enjoy the TJ’s Reserve Syrah ($10): Big nose, big friut, tasty, fairly smooth, nice finish.
    I was intrigued enough by the TJ’s Reserve Petit Verdot ($10) to pick up a bottle after a knowledgeable co-worker said it was really good. (Unfortunately our store missed the boat on this one, but Emeryville had about a case left as of Thursday) We’ll be having a Reserve Cabernet Franc come in some time soon and I’ll be highlighting Sangria Wines, in your usual price range ; ) in the coming weeks.
    FYI, all of the TJ’s Reserves are limited quanities, so those who are interested shouldn’t dally.
    As soon as the incoming containers have cleared customs, I’ll try to fit in the new Argentine wines ($4).
    I’m also working on Battle of the Bargains: Chardonnay
    ($7 and under: Hogue won Round 1) as well as Chianti hopefully in July.

    At Home, I’m really liking the 2007 Bauer Haus Riesling from Nahe, Q.b.A. White wine Estate Bottled ($4: Grocery Outlet) Light, refreshing, pineapple/appley goodness with a fairly dry finish. Great with Pork Chops and applesauce.
    Gotta go pick up more next week since we drink 2 bottles with dinner the other night.

  12. In comparing the various vintages of the Chariot Gypsy, the flavors, aromas, sensations and memories of these wines have slowly coalesced, fused and pleasantly assimilated into my final ratings, as follows:
    2006–Bulk Buy
    2005–Buy It
    2007–12th Bottle

  13. @mopjock Thanks for adding your take.

    @Angela I’m interested in trying that Petite Verdot, haven’t had that as a standalone varietal yet. New wine for Argentina? I’m excited but tempering as I have been disappointed by the previous offerings. My fave was the Amaicha Bonarda and that one was only a $1.99!. Thanks for the other tips as well, as always look forward to hearing more…

    @Danny Are you trying to rub in the fact that I missed the ’06?

  14. I just picked up the TJ’s Petit Verdot the other day before I read this. I don’t think I’ve ever had one before. Maybe a bunch of us can try it and report back….

    In other news, a bunch of my friends from the blind wine tasting are now running around like rats in a maze trying to find the last few bottles of Gypsy. ;-)

  15. Jason, I’m not trying to rub in the fact that you missed the 2006. Rather, I wanted primarily to downgrade my initial (i.e. flash) assessment of the 2007. After the first bottle, I ran into three highly tannic bottles in a row. Aeration and decanting provided little improvement. Therefore, your rating of “12th bottle” seems to perfectly fit my final appraisal of the 2007 Chariot Gypsy. Our difference over the 2005 Chariot Gypsy is simply a different preference in our palettes, IMHO….. To end on a higher note, I somehow overlooked your Bulk Buy recommendation for Bogle’s 2006 Petite Sirah for awhile. Before this 4th of July weekend is over, however, I look forward to uncorking one of those beauties in celebration of our nation’s independence. Thanks for all you do.

  16. I’m sorry to say that I’m having a really hard time understanding the fuss over this wine! I was really excited to try it and was VERY disappointed. Just tastes like your average $5 red to me – sharp, acidic, watery. Turned into my latest bottle of cooking wine.

  17. I’m devastated every time I see comments like Umamia’s above. “Sharp, acidic, watery.” Yes, that’s true, but only if you drink it straight out of the bottle without allowing it to wake up. Everyone, PLEASE do not forget to let this wine breathe. Seriously, walk away from it for 30-60 minutes, and then re-taste… you will be blown away.

    For our in-depth tasting notes, and to find out where the wine is available in the Los Angeles area, check out the Young Winos’ write-up:


    I also agree with Jason (and with Danny above) that this isn’t yet drinking as well as the ’05. But don’t forget — that wine was three years old by the time we drank it. This one is one and a half years old. Buy a case, put it away, try it next year.

  18. @prof Had that Petite Verdot yet? I need to go find a bottle soon…

    @Danny I figured that was the case :)

    @Umamia Sorry you found it disappointing. I never like to hear when people spend their hard earned money on something I recommend that misses the mark. Apologies this one didn’t work out for you.

    @Jesse I swear I had that mentioned in the post. I added it now…

    @Majorie Glad this one is hitting the mark for you!

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