Trader Joes Wines: The Gypsy is back…

Trader Joes Wines: 2007 Chariot GypsyThe original post on the Chariot Gypsy was arguably the most popular but it is certainly the most commented ever. So much so that two vintages later information is emerging on the latest to appear at Trader Joe’s. Before we get into the details we have confirmed sightings of the 2007 in Central (Fresno and Clovis) and Southern (Irvine) California. If you are in these areas and reading this, go get some first thing tomorrow morning. If your area is not listed and you have seen this bottle then leave a comment with your locale (after you grab a case for yourself of course). Sadly I am in Northern California and believe that it is not available in the Trader Joe’s warehouse for the region (though I am looking to confirm this via trusted resources).

Now let’s get to the details. Jerry K commented a few times on the coming ’07 vintage first with the release date then with the blend percentage. Jerry had this to say about the ’07; “Slightly bigger that the ‘06 and a bit jammy now as it is young. Very drinkable and once again an excellent value wine. Great summer BBQ wine for almost anything! :-)”

Charlie followed up shortly thereafter to confirm the Gypsy was available in Fresno and Clovis and had this to say about the ’07; “Nice legs, and a good nose. Definitely benefits from aeration. I’d definitely decant at this point. Should benefit from some more time in the bottle.”

The final note on this one comes from Danny who is a long time contributor here on Jason’s Wine Blog. He located the latest vintage in Irvine (on Walnut & Culver which had 120 cases in stock). He had this to say; “serves up spicy raspberry, tarragon and meaty aromas with flavors of ripe, simple plum, orange peel and pepper. Ends on a long finish of mild lemon-tinged tannins and persistent dark chocolate”. To my delight he rates this one on my scale. Danny is “on the fence between Buy It and Bulk Buy”.

Bottom line, if you are in Central or Southern California you should be hitting Trader Joe’s this weekend to grab a case of the 2007 Chariot Gypsy. I’m thinking about driving four hours south to do the same. Here are the locations where the Chariot Gypsy has been spotted to date:

Southern California

  • Camarillo
  • Irvine
  • Tustin
  • Santa Ana
  • Chino Hills
  • Claremont
  • Long Beach
  • Hollywood
  • South Pasadena
  • Burbank (limited supply)
  • Studio City (may be out, call first)

Central California

  • Santa Barbara
  • Fresno
  • Clovis
  • San Luis Obispo

Northern California

  • San Francisco
  • Santa Cruz
  • Mountain View
  • Alameda
  • Lafayette
  • Walnut Creek
  • Pleasanton
  • San Rafael
  • Santa Rosa
  • Sonoma
  • Fairfield (may be out, call first)
  • Folsom


  • Beaverton
  • Portland
  • Lake Oswego


  • Seattle


  • Glendale
  • Ahwatukee


  • Las Vegas


  • Chicago (still available as of August 8th)


  • Northville


  • Cincinnati
  • Westlake


  • Boston


  • Williamsburg

As mentioned earlier if you see this elsewhere leave a comment below…

Trader Joes Wines: 2007 Chariot Gypsy

Editor’s Note (06-Jun-2009): Finally I’ve found the Gypsy. If you notice the two cases missing from the picture on the right those were the ones that ended up under my shopping cart. I found mine in San Rafael. I have confirmed additional sightings as well, via the comments below and twitter, in Lafayette (though joshiemac cleaned it out), Walnut Creek and up further north in Santa Rosa. I feel like the guy at the end of the movie Independence Day when they figure out how to shoot the spaceships down and they are confirming the shots around the world… Expect a review soon, early news is that it need some time to breath/decant to open up.

Editor’s Note (09-Jun-2009): Added bulleted lists of locations identified, first appearance outside of CA is Beaverton, Oregon.  Where have you seen it?  Leave a comment and I’ll add it.

Editor’s Note (15-Jun-2009): More sighting in WA and AZ, still seems confined to the Pacific Time Zone. Where have you seen it? Leave a comment and I’ll add it.

Editor’s Note (20-Jun-2009): Picked up a few more on twitter, any others missing?

Editor’s Note (27-Jun-2009): We’ve gone coast to coast with spottings in Ohio and Virgina. Any others missiing? Get it quick if you want it, insiders say it is no longer available from the warehouse. And in case you missed it here is my review of ’07.

Editor’s Note (01-Jul-2009): Added Burbank. Wondering what is next, adding a new store or marking some of these as sold out? Let me know if you visit one of these stores and there is no Gypsy to be found

Editor’s Note (07-Jul-2009): Added some new locations and appended notes to some where supply is out or limited

Editor’s Note (13-Jul-2009): The Gypsy has landed in Chicago, get it while you can…

Editor’s Note (28-Jul-2009): The Gypsy has now landed in Boston, get it while it last…

Editor’s Note (09-Aug-2009): Learned the Gypsy is available in Michigan and still in the aisles in Chicago…

2005 Chariot Gypsy

2005 Chariot Gypsy

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Zhadi’s Den “The label shows a woman in a red head scarf astride a chariot, very much in the vein of a Major Arcana tarot card. The back only says it was bottled by Jim Neal wines in St. Helena, California. Nothing about varietals. I have no idea what grapes were used in the making of this wine (although its rich, spicy characteristics lead me to suspect a zinfandel or syrah in the blend). The price tag? $4.99. The placard in the store said One Time Buy. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So I had to try it. We took it to the SinC meeting and cracked it open aong with an inexpensive Spanish cava. The cava was okay. The Chariot?


What I Think:

Wow, this Jim Neal guy (found on the back of the bottle) is a tough one to track down. But after spending some quality time with my friends at Google (your welcome!) I was able to get to the bottom of this one. I was able to track down both the site for the winery which is terribly out of date and in desperate need of my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services and his first love which happens to be Verjus which I need to look into further (Jessie any pointers…). Fortunately for all of us, his wines are much more approachable than the brand behind them. As mentioned above I was tipped off to this one by Zhadi’s Den and immediately picked up three bottles. Those are now all empty and I am here to sing this wines accolades as well…

In a word “winner, winner”. The nose seemed almost typical California with rich, dark, musty fruit notes. On the palate it seemed very familiar; silky smooth and bold with heavy mint overtones. Then it struck me, this wine had a resounding resemblance to one of my favorites, the Rosenblum San Francisco Bay Petite Sirah. Despite Dana’s report that it is a blend of “Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Cab” I am guessing this is 60-70% Petite Sirah minimum….And the remaining is likely Syrah (or at least mostly…) The finish was a lasting mix of dark fruits and dry, tingling tannins, extremely pleasant. Get yourself some now as I am heading out to clear out the bay area stores soon…

In the times of this economy I can unequivocally tell you this wine and the Franc Merlot are easily the best $5 bottles of wine I have seen at Trader Joe’s in some time. If you are used to spending $15 or more a bottle and stumbled across this site looking for ways to cut back your budget start here and start fast!

Rating: Bulk Buy