Trader Joe’s Thursday Vol. II

Trader Joe'sWelcome back for the second edition (first here) of Trader Joe’s Thursdays. As mentioned last time around Trader Joe’s hasn’t been getting the attention here it once did for a variety of reasons. That said with the holidays around the corner and a very old, dusty Top 10 list I wanted to get back to doing some value hunting in my old stomping grounds. The first edition saw me go 0 – 2 as I started looking for new best of candidates. The good news is that I think I found two (of five sampled) that are certain to grace the list and another that may round it out (though I hope we find better…).

    Before we get started if you have any current Trader Joe’s favorites please list them in the comments below so I can add them to my list…

In the meantime next up in my queue are the 2010 version of the Chariot Gypsy (which I picked up today and will pop tonight so stay tuned!) and an old favorite the Epicuro Aglianico. Both former recipients of the top spot on my list. That said I still have plenty of shopping to do so send your recommendations my way. Now onto this week’s wines…

  • 2009 Trentatre Rosso ($6) – (14%) 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Montepulciano – Shocker alert! I almost didn’t pick this up as I didn’t want my adoration of the 2007 to be tarnished. Good news! This one is as easy drinking as ever. Nice clove spice, smooth with nice fruit and balanced acidity. Not complex a well-made wine without the rough edges or cloying sweetness you find in similar wines at this ($6) price point. Any early favorite to grab a top spot in my next Top 10 list…
  • 2011 Ferngreen Sauvignon Blanc ($6) – (13%) I believe I’ve found the answer for those that are still lamenting the disappearance of the King Shag. This is a spot on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the big, bright mouthfeel to the dry, lip smacking finish. No doubt a good value for fans of this style and a sure contender for a mid-range spot on my next Top 10 list..
  • 2008 Green Barn Red Field Blend ($7) – (14.5%) 51% Zinfandel, 39% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 4% Petite Sirah – This kitchen sink blend is rich and smooth with juicy, slightly sweet, dark fruits that turn creamy before drying out on a peppery finish. A big wine, slightly hot on the tongue, to pair with a cold evening. Could possibly grab the last spot in my Top 10 list but hope we can do better.
  • 2009 Trader Joes Petit Reserve Pinot Noir ($7) – (13.9%) Inclination was to pass here but reconsidered. Pinot like color with an aggressive candied nose and sweetish raspberry fruit on the palate. For my taste this is lacking any of the qualities that make me love Pinot the way I do. I won’t be buying again but guessing some will beg to differ…
  • 2007 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva ($5) – (13%) 80% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera – Wet cardboard/woody nose are a warning sign. Yet I find dark fruits on the palate before this one turns a touch sweet. Thinking (or perhaps hoping) this one was flawed as I have enjoyed this one in the past but can’t get past the cardboard on the nose here. Should try another bottle but not likely to happen…

There you have it! I’ll see you next Thursday (and look for my thoughts on the Chariot Gypsy even sooner) and in the meantime don’t forget to add your recommendations to the comments below…

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8 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Thursday Vol. II

    • Thanks Ray! Unfortunately I am well aware of that having come across my fair share of corked bottles. What I was trying to communicate, unsuccessfully, is that I’m not likely to pull another $5 out of my wallet to give this one a second chance…

  1. I’m happy to see your TJ column. Going to TJ’s is an excursion (100 miles round trip) for me, so I like to go armed with as much info as I can gather. I was afraid you had given up TJ’s for richer pastures…

  2. Glad to see you’re trawling the wine aisles of TJ again.

    I agree with your take on the “Edna Valley” pinot. To me, it tasted like flat soda pop with an overlay of alcohol. Meh.

    But I was surprised you found a good bottle of the 2009 “33″ Rosso. I had given up on that vintage (the 2007 and 2008 were tasty and great buys) after a few tainted bottles (apparently brettanomyces spoilage). There is a ton of the wine unsold on my local TJ’s shelves, so maybe others have noticed it. But brett spoilage can be variable in a vintage, and you may have tapped a batch that didn’t have the problem.

    Cheers!

    • Glad to see you commenting again! Oh the search for affordable Pinot Noir… Had any good values there lately?

      As for the Trentatre I was reticent to try but did enjoy it. I grabbed three more bottles (from the same store) so I’ll let you know if my first impression ends up being misleading…

      • Gave the 2009 33 Rosso another (wary) try and glad to say it showed none of the off-flavors (brett spoilage?) of previous bottles. A mystery! It remains TJ’s quintessential Italian table red, and a great buy. Drink in quantity and often!

  3. Gascon Malbec is my standard buy at Trader Joe’s. At $11/bottle it’s not the cheapest but I’ve yet to find a better/cheaper wine there. Any suggestions welcome.

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