First Take: 2009 Chariot Gypsy

Just last night I mentioned that the return of the Gypsy and was near and that sighting were beginning to be reported throughout California. Given that I decided to head over to my regular Trader Joe’s (Bay St. in San Francisco) after work tonight and see if I couldn’t track it down for myself. After checking the end caps I wasn’t expecting to find it but there it was sitting on the shelf. So I grabbed a bottle and headed off. I fully intended to taste it in the parking lot (ala 2008) but as I was already late in getting home I had to alter my plans. That said once home (and I got the kids in bed) I immediately popped the cork to see what was in store. And to stay true to the intent here are my first thoughts…

To recap, the blend percentage here (heavy on Zin/Cab) is more similar to the 2007 than the 2008 which was dominated by a Zinfandel – Petite Sirah component. That was immediately on the palate where this one has a lot more acidity than the ’08 which at times came across as overly sweet. Not quite as fruit forward but much more balanced and even for my preference. Not a great wine by any means but a nice $5 table wine for any occasion. I’ll be grabbing some more soon.

Outside of that I thought it was interesting this one was labeled at 13.5% abv. Identical to that of the 2007 and 2008. Now you can be certain this aren’t all the same given the +/- 1.5% leeway that is legal from a labeling perspective. If nothing else curious to compare to the 2009 Rabbit Ridge (for those that made it to the end of the video you’ll know I picked this one up) which clocks in at 14.6%. I grabbed the ’07 and ’08 and was expecting to see the same but nope. 2007 was 15.4% and 2008 14.7%. Now these on the other hand I am guessing are accurate. It just got me to thinking as I read an article earlier this week by Tim Fish entitled What Does It Take to Make an $8 Wine?. Given the incremental cost is getting a new label approved by the TTB it once again shows that Erich Russell and the team from Rabbit Ridge are making the most honest $5 bottle of wine out there to be had. Look forward to giving it a try soon!

Anyhow back to the Gypsy (or the Rabbit Ridge). I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did you find it? Let us know where. Did you try? What did you think?

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6 thoughts on “First Take: 2009 Chariot Gypsy

  1. @Jason: So would that be a “Buy it” a “Bulk Buy” or something else? ; )

    I loved the ’07 and gave my last bottle of ’08 to my gal pal since she loved that vintage. Acidity is my friend, so I might be into this one. I’ll pick up a bottle or two since I’ve got a convention this weekend and do a side-by-side with my last bottle of ’07. Details to follow.

    Yup, Benefactor, once it becomes available again is something you should try. A pretty good year for the $4.99 price point so far.

  2. I got my bottle at TJ’s in SOMA in SF. I also used a rabbit wine aerating pourer which can significantly (and for the better) change the profile of the wine.

    My first thought was that the wine wasn’t nearly as sweet as I thought it would be. I got flavors of blackberry, chocolate, coffee and something else I wasn’t sure about – perhaps leather.

    I tend to like just a little more fruit in my wine so I’m not sure if I’ll buy more, but this was way more then I was expecting out of a $5 bottle of wine.

  3. Hey Jason,
    the wine is at both Santa Rosa TJ/s. while I haven’t yet tasted the recent Gypsy, it seems to flying off the shelves.

    have you yet tried Benefactor? very nice red blend from Mendo – DNA vineyards.

  4. @Angela I think this is more of a “Buy It” for me. I am going to grab another six bottles but I also may be nostalgic… I still have a few of the ’07 and plenty of ’08 so a vertical tasting sounds fun. As for the Benefactor I did enjoy that one. Post coming soon…

    @Russ Thanks for letting me know about SOMA. Glad to hear it met expectations. Guessing if you like a bit more fruit the ’08 would have been more up your alley. You may also want to try the Benefactor Red. Again post coming shortly…

    @jeaujeau Thanks for the many comments over the last couple days. Did you get to try the Gypsy yet? Guessing you saw my note on the Benefactor by now…

  5. Jason:

    Stephanie here from store 653, Foggy Bottom, Washington DC. We just got the Gypsy in a couple of days ago. I have been eagerly awaiting the Gypsy as it has been, along with the Trentarte, my favorite cheap and great go to red.

    I have been sadly disappointed in the Gypsy ’09. I found the flavors disjointed and raw, and the after taste harsh. I bought two bottles and that is all I will spend my money on when I bought 5 cases each of the ’07 and ’08.

    When I demo’ed this wine in past years, I could not keep cases in the store. I fear that will not be the case this year.


  6. Hey Jason,
    Greetings from Georgia! I found Chariot Gypsy at the TJ’s in Athens! I enjoy it a lot for the price, yet for me, Cocobon seems to be the winner so far in the 5.99 price range.

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