Trader Joe’s Thursday Vol. VI

Navarro VineyardsNavarro Vineyards Once in a Blue Moon saleFirst a public service announcement: Navarro Vineyards, who as long time readers know I am a big fan of, is literally holding a “Once in a Blue Moon” sale with 25% off case purchases plus 1 cent shipping through Sunday, September 23rd. Having been a club member for ten plus years I can attest that this is the first sale of this type I can remember. If you’ve been meaning to try this winery I can’t think of a better opportunity. I heartily recommend the Edelzwicker, Gewurzt and Pinot Noir. You can even round out your case with Hungry Hollow selections at less than $8 a bottle. (Editors Update: Apologies as I’ve since learned Hungry Hollow Wines are excluded) Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

So as you likely know by now I took the majority of the summer off (a chunk of it in Croatia) to recharge my batteries. Now that I am back stateside I’m trying to get back into the swing of things including regular visits to the Trader Joe’s wine aisles. I was pleased to see the Buena Vista Pinot (still delivering) was still in stock and found some others that came highly recommended. But first be sure to check out Angela’s latest inside scoop which covers the next vintage of Rabbit Ridge, Seismic Sauvignon Blanc and TJ’s Petit Reserve Gewurzt among a litany of their other Reserve and Grand Reserve offerings. And on a more important note congratulations to Angela on launching her new wine business! She has been an extraordinary contributor here and I see lots of happy customers in her future!

Trader Joe’s Thursday Vol. VIAs for what I tasted first up was the 2011 Floriana Gruner Veltliner ($6) from Hungary. Gruner Veltliner? Hungary? You are not misreading and this is the 2nd vintage to boot. Jameson Fink has been lucky enough to try both and preferred the later vintage. I found it simple, dry and refreshing. Not a world beater but certainly delivers on its $6 price range. Next up was the 2009 Landing Place Chardonnay ($3) which I was turned onto by Viva la Wino (as well as Angela). At a mere three bones this one delivers simple satisfaction. Perfect for week night dinners and budget balancing.

I also came across the Concannon Petite Sirah ($6) and Stonehedge Old Vine Zinfandel Reserve ($10) from Amador County at a recent work event. The Concannon was nice, showing some big fruit along with spice while avoiding going completely (it was teetering) over the top. On the other hand I found the Stonehedge to be too much. Loads of fruit without tannins or acidity to keep it in check. If you like bombastic fruit bombs this one should be right up your alley.

So how about you? What are your current favorites at Trader Joe’s? Could certainly use the tips as we gear up for the holidays Top 10 wines list so please do let me know…

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11 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Thursday Vol. VI

  1. It’s been a while since I last bought wine at Trader Joe’s — too many misses and not enough hits — but the last time I did, I got several bottles of the Florina Gruner Veltiner, to restock my supply. Your assessment of the wine is basically accurate — simple, dry, refreshing– but I would give it a warmer recommendation. (By way of full disclosure, I don’t have what I call a California sweet tooth when it comes to wine. When I want to bite into a peach, I don’t crack open a bottle of wine, I eat a peach.) Of all the wines — passable and plonk — I’ve purchased at Trader Joe’s, I’d say the Florina GV is probably the only reason people should buy wine at Trader Joe’s — it drinks extremely well alone or with food, it’s well-made and honest, it comes in a nice bottle with screw-cap, it’s Hungarian, it doesn’t have a goof ball, cringe-worthy name or a picture of Marilyn Monroe on the label, and it’s remarkably affordable. As we get into colder months, you might prefer to have something heavier in a white, but if you live in warm weather, are having a group over for grilled shrimp and spaghetti aglio olio and don’t have any Falanghina on hand, or you just want to drink a nice glass of white wine, the Florina GV is what you will want to pour.

  2. Yeah, the “Gruvee” is my “Deliciously Different” feature wine at the moment.

    BTW, in case you didn’t get the email I sent earlier today:
    Stock up on the Buena Vista Pinot Noir NOW!
    The limited supply is gone and we won’t be getting any more as of today.

    Results of the Educational Tasting: Malbec:
    While you’re in the store, be on the lookout for the St. Somewhere Malbec from Paso Robles: $9.99. We were only allotted one case and it’ll be gone by the end of the weekend. Nice earthiness and Cali friut with medium body and tannins. BTW, the Alamos Malbec ($8.99) was a hit with the Crew (tasty fruit without being too much) as well as the Antigal Uno Malbec ($14.99 and worth at least $20. Complex & So Good!). The current vintage of the Gascon Malbec seemed to have its tannins, friut and oak way out of whack (yucky licking of boards) and amazingly the La Finca Malbec’s ($3.99) current vintage did not suck. Its still on the light side for a Malbec and leans more towards the red fruits, but you could serve it as an aperitif or with appetizers and then move onto the Alamos or Uno with your meal.

  3. Is the Buena Vista really gone now? I have 2 bottles remaining. I had been drinking this excellent high QPR wine earlier this year until I got tired of it. But now that its soon to be the Fall and temps are cooling down…I’d like to re-stock and re-visit this wine. Hopefully its not all gone. If so, then the search will be on for the next high QPR wine of the season!

    Jason – Welcome back…always enjoy reading your blog, especially for the TJ’s wines since that is where I do most of my shopping.

  4. Yup! Buena Vista All Gone. That’s why I sent out the alert.
    BTW, the 2009 Bogle Phantom ($15.99) is pretty intense and tasty.
    Oh and the Flyer wines are alright this time around.
    Cosmia: $5.99 is billed as Oaky/buttery but has more fruit up front than I was expecting. It was OK, a little disjointed before it got some air and not enough acid for me.
    Rabbit Trick Syrah: $5.99: A lovely, fruity wine that is easy to drink.
    Mystos Red: $6.99: This was my favorite since it some “blending grapes” that bring some earthiness and weight to this Paso Robles Merlot/Zinfandel blend.
    Brought to us by our friends at Liberte, hence the lady with the long hair on the label.
    Had a nice time in Sonoma last week. My sister picked up for me with her generous employee discount a 2011 Cline Ancient Vines Carignane Contra Costa County ($18 retail) and a 2010 Jacuzzi Lagrien Paso Robles ($28 retail?)> Yummy, geeky delicious!

  5. Thanks Angela! I always look out for your inside info, especially with Jason not posting as much these days. Please keep it up!

  6. Howdy,

    OK, be on the look out for this year’s TJ’s Petite Reserve Albarino ($6.99?) which I hope to taste at work on Monday as well as the TJ’s Reserve North Coast Zinfandel ($9.99)and the Liberte Paso Robles Pinot Noir ($9.99). I’m not sure of their availability outside NCA, but hopefully the rest of you might get a chance on one or more of these wines.

    • Thanks, Angela, for the updates on new arrivals at TJ’s. Tried the North Coast Zin recently but found it sugary and not much else. Also an Albarino I liked for $6 but unfortunately do not remember the label, not TJ’s Petite Reserve you mention. Cheers!

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