First Take: 2010 Chariot Gypsy

As mentioned in yesterday’s Trader Joe’s Thursday post the 2010 vintage of the Chariot Gypsy has hit the shelves. Long time readers know that with each annual release I tend to leverage a rare video segment to share some initial thoughts whether that be from the Trader Joe’s parking lot (circa 2008) or later that evening from home. Without further introduction here is my initial take on the 2010 Chariot Gypsy…

To recap, we have a blend of 63% mystery “dry red”, 22% Cabernet and 15% Merlot versus the heavy Zinfandel component and accompanying Petite Sirah typical in previous vintages. Sweet on the nose and a touch on the palate with juicy cherries and soft acidity. Simple and pleasing but perhaps as good for what it isn’t, not cloying, harsh or flabby, as what it is. A solid $5 table wine for any occasion.

Have you had it yet? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts! If not let me know what your favorite value wine has been as of late…

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

The Chariot Arrives

I’m sure many of you are already read my post on the return of the Gypsy. Also guessing those interested are well aware of the multitude of comments confirming sightings of this wine all across California (I have asked my insiders to look into potential arrival in Phoenix and beyond). Michael Rodgers was the first one to break the release date which was indeed yesterday, February 9th. So after work I headed over to my local store. Once inside I was expecting a big end cap display but found nothing. Checking the shelves I found it and grabbed a bottle. One you say? Indeed! You see, I had a corkscrew and glass waiting in the car. So I headed out to the parking lot to do some tasting. For those interested in my first, and perhaps last, attempt at video blogging here was my initial take…

To recap, thinking this one was juicy, fruit forward and a nice easy quaffer. What have I learned sampling it over the last 24 hours? The fruit on this one softer and rounder which at first led me to believe this was a lighter version. Night #2 I’m thinking that is not the case. The wine added some depth over night. Overall, early perceptions are that this one is “very pleasant” and is likely to improve as it settles into the bottle. Easily as good as 1/2 the $12 bottles I drink. A perfect red table wine for any house.

Given the change in the first 24 hours, I’m going to give it another 48 hours or so before doing a more thorough review. In the meantime feel free to share your thoughts!