Value hunting at Trader Joe’s

I’d been meaning to get over and do some wine shopping at Trader Joe’s for quite some time. Yesterday on the way home from work I finally made it. There were two wines in particular I was looking to grab; the Picket Fence Pinot and Steelhead Zin. Let’s see what else jumped into my cart along the way…

a few new reds...

  • 2007 Picket Fence Pinot Noir ($8.99) – I’m way late to the party on this one. It’s praise has been sung in the comments, my friend Bob Dwyer chronicled this as a winner over on the Wellesley Wine Press and in pulling this post together I noticed that joshiemac gave it a thumbs up over on Grape Stories/Cellar Tracker. With that many positive accolades it seems I was lucky to still find this at all. Glad I grabbed two bottles but wondering if perhaps I shouldn’t have grabbed a few more. This one will make its way to the dinner table very soon but don’t wait for me to post a review because it will likely already be too late. Get it while you can.. By the way kind of crazy they only made 500 cases of this (per the bottle) but Trader Joe’s managed to make this one available on this east coast, good for them!
  • 2008 Dos Brotos Ranch Red ($6.99) – I’ll admit it, the classic label got me here. First I saw the Chardonnay and you see my wedding anniversary is just around the corner and my wife happens to be a Chard lover. I passed knowing her undying love for La Crema then came across the red. I’ve had a lot of luck with wines from Lake County and have mentioned a few times I think it is a tremendous place to look for value. Based on that I decided to give this a shot. This one is a kitchen sink blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, and Tempranillo which I learned courtesy of my friends at the TTB is made by the folks over at Coppola. Hopefully it delivers! Stay tuned…

From there my decision making got a bit iffy and the wheels started to fall off…

a few value hopefuls...

  • 2009 Marqués de Montañana Garnacha ($4.99) – I had read the latest Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer (pdf) and really wanted to get the Steelhead Dry Creek Zinfandel that was on offer but alas it was out. This one was in the flyer too so I decided to give it a shot. That said expectations are low so hopefully that will result in me being pleasantly surprised! In the mean time I am still hoping to track down that Steelhead Zin.
  • 2009 Chariot Gypsy White ($4.99) – Comments began appearing a while back that a Chariot Gypsy white would be on the shelves. I had a Sauvignon Blanc from them a few years back and didn’t love it so I wasn’t running to the store. That said, once at Trader Joe’s I had to give it a try. The white Gypsy is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli and Marsanne. Angela has already done us the favor of reviewing this one and gave it a 12th bottle rating. Can’t imagine my opinion will be much different so I’ll just consider this a $5 deposit for my ’09 Gypsy red allocation.
  • 2009 The White Ribbon Sémillon ($5.99) – Hmm… I grabbed this because I mistook if for the Sancerre Angela had mentioned. On coming home I see this one was actually in the latest Fearless Flyer (link above) as well. I like Australia and I like Semillon so perhaps I will luck into something here.

So that’s what I got. Now the more important question. What did I miss? Have you found any new favorites of late? If so please let me know if the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Value hunting at Trader Joe’s

  1. I’m interested to hear what you think about the Dos Brotos Ranch Red. I’m on my second bottle and I’m pretty impressed. Very drinkable. Not super exciting, but for the price, I think it’s a good buy.

  2. Hi Jason!

    The Picket Fence is pretty good and definitely reflects the medium-bodied style of the Russian River. Personally, for $1 more I enjoyed the TJ’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir a bit more since it had deeper, multi-layered flavor.

    The Marques de Montanana Garnacha was kinda meh. Sour cherries and not the good kind. Pass!

    The White Ribbon was pretty tart but not much else going on. This one should’ve stayed a blending grape.

    BTW, here the 411 on the Sancerre:
    2009 Laurent Reverdy Sancerre (ASC)
    Produced by Laurent Reverdy
    18300-Verdigny-En-Sancerre
    Alcohol:13%
    Seriously, call your local store, see if they have any and have them set some aside.
    It’s that good!
    If they don’t have it and aren’t planning on carrying it (which would be crazy), I could set a few aside for you if you like.

    We still have an end cap of the Steelhead. Shall I set a few aside for you?
    The 2006 definitely has more friut than the 2007 but both are quite drinkable, especially at the price point. Apparently the 2006 has some sediment in some bottles which isn’t surprising since this is a biodynamic winery.
    It’s nice to have a Zinfandel that is pleasant to drink without being slapped upside the head with alcohol, tannins or friutbombiness.

    I think the Dos Brotos may be in the next flyer that lands on November 8th. So as soon as it makes it into our store, I’ll put it on the Tasting list.

    Now that our new Captain Ryan has set up a Tasting schedule, I can back to work trying different things. This Thursday, French wines.
    I want to do the Chablis, Muscadet and try to find some gems amongst the Bordeaux.
    It’s becoming Big Red Wine Season and I need more options.

    BTW, I had a customer come in last night looking for the Picket Fence because of your blog. Keep up the good work! : )

  3. Yup, I liked the Picket Fence–bought a case for a party I had a few weeks ago and I’m glad to have a few bottles left over to enjoy when a mid-week Pinot urge hits. Like I said in my review on CT, it’s excellent QPR for under $10.

  4. I picked up a bottle of TJ’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir on Angela’s recommendation here, and I haven’t looked back. A lot of flavors keep poking through the mix. It’s a little pricey at $9.99, but always dependable. Several TJ’s Pinots currently sit on the shelves, so be sure to grab the Carneros.

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