Trader Joe’s Wine on Location – Reds with Joe Sears

Trader Joe's Wine on Location - New York City with Joe SearsLast week Joe, who blogs at, checked in with his thoughts on the white wines he found at Trader Joe’s, This week he is back with the Part II focusing on the reds, here’s what he has to say…

2007 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon ($9)- Deep garnet/ruby; some dark fruit, graphite, spice and oak on the nose; agreeable tannins with ripe, spicy dark berries (a hint of dried prunes), slight acidity- no harsh tannins on the follow, but still present; a stewed/dry fruit component on the moderate finish.

2005 VINTJS Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)- Medium garnet/ruby; large aromatic nose with spicy fruit and a mineral component (charcoal); ripe, vibrant, spice-laced fruit on the palate, with an integrated mineral component; complexity and depth. A well made wine at this price point.

2007 Hans Lang Rheingau Pinot Noir Edition Maximilian ($7)- Pale, light ruby; spicy/racy nose with fresh strawberries and clove; delicate fruit flavors and the spice component on the palate; well balanced and a well made effort on this level. (Side Notes- Pinot Noir is usually called Spatburgunder in Germany and Austria; Rheingau is my favorite white wine region in Germany- this red rarity is all about lightness and finesse- not a full bodied PN).

2006 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Cellar Selection New Zealand ($18)- Medium red, with some browning; ripe fruit on the nose, with some leather; sublime palate of red fruit, mushroom, leather, and subtle components; moderate finish, but is it worth the $

2006 VINTJS Pinot Noir ($10)- Pale red, with slight browning on the rim; On the nose- stewed fruits, bell pepper, fresh ground black and white pepper, heat from the alcohol, and some cherries; On the palate- lead pencil (graphite) with ripe cherry fruit, slight vanilla notes; balanced with a moderate finish; some ripe, round plum essence, with cherries in the mix. Well-made, structured wine- excellent at this price point (Side Notes- I have personally been back for this about 8 times- a real favorite).

Are any of these favorites of yours? Worst yet, a wine you have dumped down the drain? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

This was eye opening for me. I can’t believe they have the Avalon in NYC, I’ve heard many good things about that one. Also, you can bet I’m going to grab a bottle of the VINTJS Pinot Noir on my next visit. Did you enjoy this article? If so check out more of Joe’s recommendation on Thanks again for the series Joe!

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7 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Wine on Location – Reds with Joe Sears

  1. Bogle Phantom. Blend of three varietals: Petite Sirah 49% – Zinfandel 49% – Mourvèdre 2%. Wow, pretty great. Please let me know what you think. 15.99 at west coast TJs.

  2. Phantom was pretty good, we just wished it was a few dollars cheaper. Personally I would loved to see more Mourvedre in the mix, but overall it was tasty. WARNING: This wine must breathe for an hour minimum to be considered drinkable. Have it with Pepper Steak or a Pastrami sandwich, as it’s very meat friendly.

  3. VINTJS Pinot Noir may already be gone on the West Coast. It certainly cleared out of our store at least 2-4 weeks ago. The Hans Lang Pinot Noir is like sweet strawberry fruit punch. No earthiness or body at all. Not a fan. Bleck!
    Still haven’t had a chance to try to VINTJS Cab. Heard mixed reviews, but I’ll put it on the tasting list.
    BTW, Louis Jadot Beaujolais Rose ($5) will be going on my tasting menu soon for Thanksgiving options, so hopefully we’ll still have some by then. I’ll let y’all know if it’s any good.

  4. Tried the VINTJS Pinot Noir a couple months ago, and it struck me very differently. Left an impression of under-ripe fruit (maybe rejects from the first and second pass at the sorting table). Was well-made, but from inferior fruit, like a really inexpensive Burgundy. At that price point, Castle Rock offers a better product, at least in my opinion (try Monterey County); I’ll give it another shot, as TJ’s does offer lots of great values; try their new TJ’s Petit Reserve Viognier for a good example. Here in the West, TJ’s best-ever value and finest closeout was a 2003 and 2002 Lorca Pinot Noir at $15.99, by the way. If there’s any left out there, buy it sight unseen.

  5. @Mark and @Angela I’ve seen the Bogle Phantom a few times but yet to pull the trigger. The weather is changing though so I am getting ready for some heartier red wines. This one will likely end up in my cart soon. Do you think it justifies an extra $5 over the Petite Sirah?

    @Angela and @Snoman Never remembered to look for the VINTJS Pinot Noir. I got distracted by the Davis Bynum. Have you had that one Snoman? If so, how does it compare to the Lorca which I missed out on…

    @Meghan Thanks for the tip. I added that one to my shopping list!

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