The Chariot Arrives

I’m sure many of you are already read my post on the return of the Gypsy. Also guessing those interested are well aware of the multitude of comments confirming sightings of this wine all across California (I have asked my insiders to look into potential arrival in Phoenix and beyond). Michael Rodgers was the first one to break the release date which was indeed yesterday, February 9th. So after work I headed over to my local store. Once inside I was expecting a big end cap display but found nothing. Checking the shelves I found it and grabbed a bottle. One you say? Indeed! You see, I had a corkscrew and glass waiting in the car. So I headed out to the parking lot to do some tasting. For those interested in my first, and perhaps last, attempt at video blogging here was my initial take…

To recap, thinking this one was juicy, fruit forward and a nice easy quaffer. What have I learned sampling it over the last 24 hours? The fruit on this one softer and rounder which at first led me to believe this was a lighter version. Night #2 I’m thinking that is not the case. The wine added some depth over night. Overall, early perceptions are that this one is “very pleasant” and is likely to improve as it settles into the bottle. Easily as good as 1/2 the $12 bottles I drink. A perfect red table wine for any house.

Given the change in the first 24 hours, I’m going to give it another 48 hours or so before doing a more thorough review. In the meantime feel free to share your thoughts!

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24 thoughts on “The Chariot Arrives

  1. Still relishing my first exposure yesterday to the 2008 Chariot Gypsy. If I had tasted it blind, I would have guessed that it was predominantly a Napa Valley merlot. However, I think other posts here indicate that it’s composed only of 2% merlot. Go figure. I was also off on the 2006 Chariot Gypsy, that I thought tasted like a Barolo, but it was mostly sangiovese with a good percentage of petite sirah, as I recall. In order of preference, my current rankings of each vintage, as translated into Jason’s ratings language would be:
    2006 Wow!
    2008 Bulk Buy
    2005 Buy
    2007 12th Bottle
    Thanks, Jason, for facilitating a great blog/forum that helps us find terriffic bargains such as the 2008 Chariot Gypsy, while having a fun time doing it.

  2. Howdy!

    So glad it tasted better over time.
    The bottle we had was fairly disjointed when first opened and definitely tasted like a lot more Petite Sirah than last year. The Crew had mixed feelings on this one but I’ll give it another shot once I have the proper amount of time to geek with it. ; ) Our store has an endcap this time, which I got to order, yeah!

  3. Just in the Claremont TJ’s this morning. Still 6 unopened cases, and probably another 2 cases worth of bottles. But, he ordered for the end cap based on last year’s response.

    By the way, I’ve always wondered exactly what the 12th bottle rating meant?

  4. I LOVE that you did a car tasting!! How awesome is that?

    Thanks for the early review and the heads up! I’ll need to go visit TJ’s this weekend.

  5. Just checked in with one of the stores in the Portland/Vancouver area and was told that we shouldn’t expect it for some time up here, possibly not until April or so. Sad day.

  6. I remember being at an industry show that Wine Bow had in NYC. This is when I met Jim Neal and talked with him about the label (which shows The Chariot which is one of The Major Arcana cards of the Tarot) and I questioned Jim about it. He seemed to know about the Tarot and the meaning of the cards. I then tried the wine and loved it. I recently found out about the new Chariot Gypsy. This is a good one too. I really like the name and the way the wine tastes. It is also good with Roasted Zucchini and corn.Cheers!

  7. Did a “car tasting” here tonight in Morgan Hill CA.

    Another great Chariot. Good color, cleanly made, nice solid base of petite and zin tannin, with a berry top and a good acid balance. Easily worth 5 bucks.

    Filled the car. Really ; )

    Probably 25 cases left on the endcap.

  8. I thought you were right-on with the suggestion that Pinot-Noir-drinkers would love this wine. I think it is a great offering if you like a pleasant acidity carrying you through the experience.

    I liked it more the second night, and more with a sweet+sour dish, over pizza(w/traditional red sauce) the previous night. The sweet and sour dish was TJs mandarin orange chicken to be exact. Anything rich+sweet+tangy would do, fried chicken w/ a bit of lime, BBQ dishes, pad thai, etc…. This wine is a deal and will go with many foods, imho.

  9. Sorry about the my first line, saying you said pinot-drinkers would “love” the chariot gypsy, you never made that claim.

    Actually, I think it was another jasonswineblog-reader that commented and said “If you didn’t know, you might think it’s a Pinot”

    regardless, to you and all of the other wine lovers out there,

    Happy drinking!

  10. Can’t wait to see this vintage arrive in our store. People are still asking for the ’07 which hasn’t been around for quite some time.

    @Angela: I wouldn’t judge any wine (especially reds), right after it has arrived on the loading dock. I have had many wines taste disjointed right off the truck, only to find them quite lovely some weeks later (and some not so lovely).

    I know of a higher end wine store that won’t even put a wine on the floor until 2~3 weeks after its arrival to give it time to settle down, but at Trader Joe’s that could mean missing out on a fantastic buy.

    I just tell customers to buy a case (or 2) and let it sit for a while and if they don’t like it, just return it and someone else will buy it (I have bagged some great wines this way – long after they have disappeared from our shelves).

  11. Had my first bottle over 2 nights. Not much nose. Softer than the ’07, showing supple berry fruit and a splash of acidity. Doesn’t have the jamminess of the ’07, either. Has the mouth feel of a Merlot. Somewhat weak in the mid-palate, but gained more density here on night 2. Drank this right off the truck so I look forward to seeing where it goes in the next few months. Glad I have a case to track its development. Enjoyable right now, if somewhat simple, it could become another QPR superstar with some time in the bottle!

  12. Here in Ohio, state minimum pricing marks up most TJ wines by $1-$2 per bottle. The 2007 Chariot was $6.49 and the 2008 isn’t on shelves yet but should be next week. Looking forward to tasting the new vintage. FWIW, I haven’t seen anything on this great blog about the 2007 Cavia Malbec I got at TJ’s for $6. Isn’t that available in CA?

  13. I haven’t yet tried this one, and at my St. Paul, MN, TJ’s this afternoon, the clerk said they *might* get the Gypsy this summer….

    They also don’t seem to carry Rabbit Ridge or Now and Zen. Sigh.

  14. Howdy all,

    Yeah, Ohio is a different region and therefore has different wines available in their Order Guide. Too bad, I’d love another good Malbec.
    @PeterB: Thanks for the tip. It looks like this vintage needs a day or two to settle and a day or two of air before the delicious factor is fully achieved.
    Still need to find time to do the “’07 meets ’08 side-by-side” tasting.
    Any locals up for BBQ and wine? : )

  15. I live in the Bellevue/Redmond WA area. I just called the two stores and here is what I was told.

    Redmond: “Oh we only get that once a year and we already had and sold out of the ’08 in November”. That just can’t be right, could she have been referring to the ’07?

    Bellevue: “Hmmm… the computer has every kind of code listed for this wine. It has a code showing it’s being featured, on order, out of stock and discontinued.” This is a little more promising.


    I guess I’ll be calling or stopping by the store on a regular basis until it arrives.

    • I think I figured out why we haven’t seen this is the Washington State stores yet. I called my local store to see if they had any of CNW in stock and the guy was telling me that in Washington state Trader Joe’s has to sell their wine to the distributor. Once they have enough wine to supply all of the WA stores they then buy it back from the distributor at a $1 per bottle surcharge. What! Got to love the ridiculous state liquor laws. I think it’s time for a change.

  16. Just bought my second case today, from a Central Coast, California Trader Joe’s, seem to have good stock with end cap display.

    Employees at TJ are talking this one up.

    Thank you for your Blog, very enjoyable

  17. That’s funny Greg, because I keep talking it down! No really, I get a little angry every time I ring up a bottle. I got my case, now I think there are about 3 more left, but they are butchered for the end cap display. I’m not buying anymore, because I don’t like it when employees of other stores do that. (think zhu zhu pets)That doesn’t mean I like parting with them, though, lol. Also I agree it’s softer than last year’s. Cheers!

  18. The Gypsy has arrived in Albuquerque to tremendous response. As I bought my two bottles the person at the checkstand talked of it’s popularity last year. I mentioned to check out your blog as I enjoy reading your thoughts and opinions.

    Cheers from the land of enchantment.

  19. Unremarkable = ‘lacking distinction’on all levels. I tired to give this wine a chance, given its history and web hype, I find it no better than 2BChuck at $1.99. 2007 was a $4 quality wine. TJ’s has values from time to time, this is not one and more like koolaid imho.

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