It’s (almost) back! The ’08 Gypsy looms…

Chariot GypsyFor those that know this blog the introduction above serves aplenty. For those that don’t, the Gypsy is as close as it gets to a Trader Joe’s cult wine. That’s right, a $5 cult wine. What’s that? A cult wine has to be expensive? I disagree, it only has to inspire wide spread passion! And trust me this one does. I’ve written three posts on this wine and those compose my top three commented post, generating almost 200 responses. Over the weekend, the buzz over this one kicked into full gear. RMS first tipped me off after noticing the ’08 vintage mentioned on the Chariot Wines website. Angela, my Trader Joe’s insider, added shortly thereafter that the new vintage is scheduled to appear in the next Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. At almost the same time Jerry, who tipped me off to the ’07, checked in to let me know he had the scoop that this one will be appearing in stores before the end of February. Since you are all my friends I’ll be more forthcoming, Angela let me know that the next Fearless Flyer is scheduled for February 16th. Given that we can expect to see this bottle in stores within the next two weeks…

So what can we expect from the wine? I think the big question is can they maintain the quality as they expand the production. For the ’07 vintage the demand was so high that I am all but certain they produced two different versions of this wine. I have seen many old Trader Joe’s favorites journey this road to mediocrity which leaves me plenty skeptical. Hopefully my angst is for not. We will know shortly! I’ll look forward to hearing all your thoughts once this one hits the shelves. Until then, here is what the winery has to say about the latest vintage:

    “The Chariot Gypsy 2008 is a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Sangiovese from great vineyards in the Napa Valley, Sonoma, San Joaquin, and Monterey counties.

    Winemakers Jeff Hunsaker, Marco DiGiulio and Nancy Walker describe the wine like this: “The 2008 ‘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!”

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41 thoughts on “It’s (almost) back! The ’08 Gypsy looms…

  1. Mmmmm, sounds delicious!
    Who wants to do a side-by-side with me once the new one comes in?
    Come on SF Bay Area folks,
    let’s have a wine potluck. : )
    (I’ll check on progress tonight at work)

  2. @Angela Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it is indeed delicious! I like the idea of a grassroots release party, seems like it should be in the parking lot so if we like it we can go back inside and grab a case before it has a chance to disappear…Do let me know when you learn more. What did you think of the “cult” wine reference? The Gyspy fans are a passionate bunch!

    @Kirk I opened a bottle of the ’07 tonight to celebrate the pending arrival. I still have a case+ left so it looks like I don’t need to be quite so deliberate in my consumption as long as the ’08 is as good. Now I do wish I had some of the ’05 left, that must be drinking exquisitely… Anyone out there had a bottle of that one recently?

  3. Note that the Fearless Flyer contents vary by region, and my guess is the Gypsy won’t be available so soon in stores that don’t have it in their flyer. I have not yet heard a time frame for east coast availability.

  4. @Don Thanks for the reminder! I should have clarified, so far all of my tips are from CA. Given the way this rolled out last year, it will land here first and expand to Portland, Seattle and Phoenix next before it begins to pop up in the Midwest and then the East Coast shortly thereafter…

  5. Howdy all,

    I’ll check the Flyer info for “EC” and let y’all know.

    Hmm, parking lot tailgate release party sounds fun, but our Mall’s security might not be down for that. However, if we go around the corner to the far side of the side lot, it’d probably be alright. Any locals with me?

  6. I’m worried about this vintage, to be honest. It’s appearing on shelves earlier in the year than the ’07 did, and apparently they’re increasing production? I mean, it’ll probably still be a solid bottle for $5.00, but I’m not crossing my fingers for something on par with the delicious ’07 (to say nothing of the legendary ’05).

    Managed to stash away two cases of the ’07 last summer, and they’re drinking great these days. Definitely a bit smoother than when we tasted them in July:

    Also, I’ve still got about six bottles of the ’05 that I’m just terrified to drink, since no $5.00 bottle will ever taste as good again. I’ll break one open on some special occasion… maybe when my first kid is born or something?

  7. Looking forward to giving this a try. I’ll keep you posted when it appears in the Lamorinda/Walnut Creek area.

    I’m interested in seeing how the ’08 vintage turns out across the board in northern California and what effect the fires might have had.

  8. Would you believe initial shipments are scheduled to be headed initially to Southern Cal with black outs specifically planned for north SF Bay (Jason) and east SF Bay (Joshiemac)? No? Well, I don’t believe it either. Just wanted to spread some rumors to liven up the waiting. However, people at Southern Cal TJ’s think ’08 Gypsy should arrive in local stores by 10 February. Will be on the lookout and will report back in the event of any sightings.

  9. I used to work for Trader Joe’s a few years back and trust me there are a number of $5 cult wines there. People would ask if the new arrival of such and such had arrived yet. They would comment about this years “Black Mountain” vintage a all sorts of five buck private labels. I think it’s really cool that TJ’s has the private label business and I intend to go there and buy a dozen or so really soon!


  10. Alright Fellow Fans,

    It’s on the Order Guide and should be arriving in your local stores sometime between mid-week to early next week since the Flyer officially hits next Tuesday.

  11. @Angela Thanks for all the updates! Any takers on the tailgate party? If I lived over that bridge instead of the other I would totally be there. Not sure if you were about to find anything else but I have some East Coast peeps that are dying for any information you may be able to share… In the meantime let the countdown begin…

    @Jesse I think you can tell from my overall tone that I am worried as well as I believe these grapes are all sourced. Given that. if production continues to scale upwards and price point remains constant odds are strongly in favor of quality decreasing. I still have a case+ of the ’07 and it is drinking nicely. As for the ’05, seems like a distant memory and a good one at that. Don’t hold them to long, I don’t think these wines are made with extensive aging in mind.

    @joshiemac Thanks for being on the lookout, as for the ’08 vintage I haven’t heard all that much yet, though I haven’t sought out information either. The one report I do remember was from Alder over at Vinography on the Zinfandel which he indirectly called “quite good”.

    @Danny I swear I think the story did work that way for the ’07 vintage. Seems like everyone got it before it made it up our way. As for timeline looks like it should be simultaneous this year as your date is in alignment with Angela’s latest report

    @Thomas Maybe these are indeed others but, in my nearly three years on this blog, none have come close to whipping people into a frenzy as the Gypsy. Maybe you’ll be able to grab a bottle for your dozen. Let me know what you end up trying!

  12. Hiya,

    Yeah, I did forget to check where exactly the Gypsy would be released. Sorry EC, I’ll try to remember to check tomorrow.

  13. Talked to the manager of my TJ’s yesterday. It will be on a big floor display starting – TODAY (2/9/2010). I’ll tell you which one that is after I buy a couple cases ;-)

  14. Just found it in the San Luis Obispo TJ’s. 4.99/ea
    Date code on bottle 0119100955 assume something like bottled Jan 19 2010 bottle 955. Another bottle has same but last number is 959.

  15. David, if your code reading is right, they couldn’t have bottled more than 9,999? Does anyone know how many they bottled in 07?

  16. Well, I sampled a glass this afternoon. Very good. I couldn’t find any notes from the 07 to compare to, and I certainly don’t have any bottles left. I will probably pick up a case.

    Interestingly, though, I was just telling my friend in DC that the gypsy was back. After I explained what it was, he said “I think I have one actually.” He went and checked, and it’s an 07, that he bought LAST WEEK in DC. Evidence that its a different wine, or just that people in DC don’t read TJ wine blogs?

  17. I dashed out in the rain to pick up a case from TJs in San Diego (NTC). No endcap display; just a bunch of bottles sitting on the shelf, out of their cases.

    Taste: Very good — haven’t done a comparison with my few remaining 2007 bottles, but from what I recall, it stands up well: Fruit forward, lingering finish, but not as sweet as I recall — a good thing.

    Date codes: Half of the bottles are 0120101129; the other half are 0120101128.

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