It’s back! The 2009 Chariot Gypsy returns…

Chariot GypsyIt’s official! Between comments, email, twitter and facebook I have heard numerous reports of the 2009 Chariot Gypsy appearing on shelves across California. Now those familiar with the blog will need no further introduction. For those that don’t, the Gypsy is as close as it gets to 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.

So what can we expect from the wine? Sadly the Chariot Wines site has yet to be updated with the latest vintage but sources tell me it is a blend of 34% Zinfandel, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, 15% Merlot, 5% Sangiovese (thanks JB!). How does this compare to past vintages? The stellar 2005 didn’t have any Zinfandel or Merlot. The 2007 closely resembles this sans Merlot (37% Cabernet, 33% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, 10% Sangiovese) whereas the ’08 had a much heavier Petite Sirah & lighter Cabernet component. I think the bigger question is can they maintain the quality as they continue to expand the production. The normal road for many of my old Trader Joe’s favorites is a journey to mediocrity after a few vintages and I fear the Gypsy may be headed down that path. What are people saying so far?

I’ve seen a review posted on Beards & Bellies, a tasting note on Cellar Tracker, received three emails and four Facebook notes on appearances and opinions. Thankfully most of them have been favorable to date. As for myself I have yet to track this one down but will surely be headed to Trader Joe’s tomorrow to see if I can’t find it. I am surely anxious to give it a try.

How about you? Have you found it yet? If so what did you think? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Happy hunting!

2009 Chariot Gypsy Finder Map
As I know people often wonder where they can find the Gypsy I decided to create a map to tracking sightings. Let me know where you’ve spotted via the comments and I’ll add it (or you can do it yourself as I shared it) to the map! Cheers and thanks in advance for making everyone elses hunt easier…

View 2009 Chariot Gypsy Finder in a larger map

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36 thoughts on “It’s back! The 2009 Chariot Gypsy returns…

  1. @Jason
    “I think the bigger question is can they maintain the quality as they continue to expand the production. The normal road for many of my old Trader Joe’s favorites is a journey to mediocrity after a few vintages and I fear the Gypsy may be headed down that path.”

    I have to agree with you on this. For example, this years Rabbit Ridge is by far now way near last years full-bodied flavor. I had to give it a thumbs down in my book. Very disappointed! I think after a couple of rounds for some of these wine, the quality goes down and they bank on the label selling it’s self.

    The chariot is nice, not as fruit forward and jammy as last years but still a good buy. I think I might be becoming a “Wine Snob!”…..

  2. My wife just discovered this long lost gem our last trip to TJ’s 2 nights ago, and subsequently we’ve consumed 2 bottles of it since. Amazing $5 red. I’m also a big fan of the Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles and that just re-appeared after a long absence as well.

    Spotted in Fresno, California.

  3. 60 cases of the Gypsy at Store 22 in Oceanside Ca. haven’t tried it yet because I loved it the first time out and not so much after that….Try the Benefactor….

  4. I grabbed a bottle and added San Diego’s Point Loma TJs to the map. I’ll do a vertical tasting of the 2007/2008/2009 in the next few days. Wish I had a bottle of the legendary 2005…

  5. I found a bottle tonight on Bay Street in San Francisco and just pulled the cork. More thoughts shortly but in the meantime I have heard rumors of an appearance in Las Vegas. Has the Gypsy already escaped the state? Any other sightings?

    @Andy Thanks for adding to the map! Funny I was thinking about a vertical to. In fact I could have swore I wrote it but I must be losing my mind. I plan on doing the same. Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  6. mmm. not bad, exactly. pretty high in acidity for my taste, though definitely not a “thin”, cheap tasting wine. definitely needed to breathe and settled down after a while. but I have 6 and I feel like that’s plenty.

    • I think you beat me by an hour again… I agree more acidity than the ’08. Likely the return to prominence of the Cab vs. Petite Sirah. Still an easy drinking $5 wine. Or at least it was last night ;)

  7. Found plenty of cases at the Mission Viejo store in south Orange County. Haven’t opened the bottle yet, though. Thanks for the heads up on the blog!

  8. About 40 cases at the Valencia store as of this afternoon…but they’re featuring it at the front of the store, so don’t expect it to last long. The lady at TJs said that they ordered what they could order, so they won’t be able to get more after it sells out.

  9. Thanks JB & Erin I added both of those.

    Also received an email of general availability in San Diego. If anyone knows something more specific let me know and I will add it to the map…

  10. Hola all – Picked up a bottle of the ’09 Chariot at the Grossmont TJ’s. Very enjoyable bottle – def great qpr at $5. Agreed on the Benefactor – tried a couple weeks ago and grabbed another. Down the hatch tonight…

  11. Was at the TJ here in Ohio today and saw a end cap display of the Gypsy White, so I asked the wine guy if they were going to get the red. He told me we usually get it about 1 month after it shows up on the west coast.

  12. I found it yesterday (Valentine’s Day) in my Northern Virginia TJ store (Gainesville). Initial taste of it this – with a run through my aerator – a very pleasant wine… much improved from last year’s.

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