Trader Joe’s Wines – Top 10 Wine List

2008 Buena Vista Pinot NoirJust joining in? Thanks for stopping by. Please consider adding me to your RSS feed, following along via Facebook or twitter to stay up to date. In the mean time I hope you find something you enjoy…

1. 2008 Buena Vista Pinot Noir ($10) – Angela turned me on to this one via commenting on my previous Top 10 list. Now it is on top. A $10 varietally correct Pinot is a very hard thing to come by in the wine world. I’m about 8 bottles into this one now and still enjoying it…

2. 2006 Lance & Windmill Petite Syrah ($15) – Yes pricey (and perhaps even illegal!) for the top 10 list at $15 but such legit juice (and a confirmed $60 bottle from Quixote Winery). This one is juicy, rich and velvety and ready to pair with your next steak or cigar.

3. 2010 Seismic Sauvignon Blanc ($8) – The list of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc values coming out of Trader Joe’s is legendary. Well add another to the list with the Seismic. Bright, round, juicy and refreshing. Spring is already here which means summer is just around the corner. Time to stock up now!

4. 2009 Linen Red ($9) – Hailing from the Columbia Valley and made by Bergevin Lane this red blend was appealing with rich fruit and nicely grained tannins. It had that little something extra (and avoided being sweet) that made it more enjoyable then similar offerings like the Ménage à Trois. That said I’ve yet to try a full bottle; given that a risky pick in the four slot. I better get on that…

5. 2009 Trentatre Rosso ($6) – A long-time favorite this offering has previously graced the #1 spot in my Top 10 list multiple times. I was nearly flabbergasted when it did so again with its easy drinking, rustic, food friendly style. I think most stores are now on to the 2010 which I’ve yet to try but fingers crossed the drop off is not significant…

6. 2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve ($7) – Another long-time friend this one is from the stellar 2009 vintage in the Rhone. Bright, fruity, spicy and delicious. Should only get better with age to boot. I stashed a case of this one but like the Trentatre I think most stores are now on to the 2010 vintage which given this one’s track record I am sure is still worth the money.

7. 2008 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere ($8) – It has been a few years since I’ve had this but a recent taste let me know this one is still delivering QPR. I’ve enjoyed many vintages of this wine (often referring to it as “old dependable”) and I remember it for its dark fruit, smoky meat, spice and herbal notes; always on top of a nice structure. Hard to go wrong at $8…

8. 2010 Dr. Beckermann Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Spatlese ($5) – Another long-time favorite this is the go to wine in my house with Asian food. Light (9%abv), easy, and off dry. Just a touch sweet, with a slight mineral acidity to keep the finish fresh and pleasing. Could work well as an aperitif (and for many a non wine drinker) too…

9. 2010 Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles ($5) – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; I think Erich Russell, the founder at Rabbit Ridge, makes the most honest $5 bottle of wine you are likely to find. Lucky for us this 2010 is still out on the shelves. Juicy with lush, peppery cherry fruit this one is big and spicy. As mentioned previously get it while you can as the 2011 vintage was nearly wiped out by hail. I grabbed a few more yesterday.

10. 2010 Trader Joes Petit Reserve Refosco ($7) – Yip Refosco. It was new to me and I’m guessing it is new to you. Well this is a bit of a cheat (with 25% Merlot) but… Ripe, smooth and balanced by a nice earth and spice leading to rustic finish. A food friendly offering that makes me want to explore this grape further…

And a few wild cards (it seems stock is already limited on these…)
2010 Grifone Primitivo ($4) – A great little cooking wine and maybe even more…if you can find it.
2006 Thornwood Cabernet Sauvignon ($10) – Another I’ve yet to try a bottle of but nice fruit with dusty tannins. Worth checking out if you can…

And for the special selections if looking for bubbly or dessert…
Bubbly: NV Zonin Prosecco Brut ($6)
Dessert: NV Porto Morgado Ruby Port ($7)

I do realize selection is varied from store to store and being in Northern California I see a fair share of wines that don’t make it much further. If you aren’t finding these take a look at my list of the Top 10 “Classic” wines which should (hopefully) be available at your local Trader Joe’s. Otherwise I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these or any that I may be missing via the comments below…

This list was last updated on March 28, 2012. To check out the Trader Joe’s Top 10 archives click here.

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228 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Wines – Top 10 Wine List

  1. Apothic Red is a fabulous wine for $9. Every TJ’s i go to the management will tell you its one of their Best sellers if not their Very Best.

  2. Apothic Red wasn’t received favorably at a recent tasting I attended. Lots of baked cherry pie, heavy on the vanilla and carmelized sugar (both on the nose and on the palate). Even roasted chestnuts. A few folks enjoyed it, many thought the style was too sweet and fruit & vanilla forward for their preference, and a few just straight didn’t like it. That said – it’s selling ok in our Seattle area TJ’s, though a ways from being in our top 10 sellers camp currently. Glad you like it! Those who enjoy it are really happy with it.

  3. Any else find the St. Somswhere ’10 Paso Syrah lacking?
    $9.99. Skunk nose and tight dark fruit lacking in Syrah characteristics.
    Some air overnight produced more open dark fruit but also let the 15.1% alcohol shine thru.

  4. Yeah, the St. Somewhere tannins were a bit too grippy for me and not a lot of fruit. This wine is a baby, perhaps a few more years might make it a tad more drinkable.

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  6. OK Folks…Run don’t walk! Epicurio Primitivo 2008! $5 Exceptional wine at this price. 100% Zinfandel from Italy. One location sold over 15,000 bottles thus far and if you can get the still available 2008 DO IT!

  7. Apothic 2009 and 2008 were much better than current 2010. Anyone had the 2010 Linen? Just as good as the 2009 IMO.

  8. There you are!
    Howdy everyone,
    I hope y’all have had a nice summer.
    Here some updates for you.
    Please forgive any repeats as its been a while since I’ve posted.

    Corporate had decided it time for the Wine Section to get some attention with new signage, displays, educational tastings for the Crew, etc. Some labels will be updated and hopefully we’ll get some more interesting wines to feature.
    BTW, according to my fellow Crew Members, the Landing Place Chardonnay (brought to you by the same folks who made Earthstone): $2.99 is pretty nice for the price. Straightforward, tart apple with a little oak if I remember correctly.
    (I’m glad it’s selling because my Captain brought in 195 cases)

    Be on the lookout for the Petit Reserve Albarino in the next couple of months, hopefully sooner

    TJ’s Petit Reserve Potter Valley Gewurztraminer (if your local store has any left) is pretty tasty and just barely off-dry/fruity.

    Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris: $9.99 is bright, refreshing and really good value for the quality.

    Stake out your local store around late October or so for the next vintage of Rabbit Ridge according to The Bulletin. (I’ll let you know once I have more information)

    VINTJS Sauvignon Blanc and TJ’s Petite Reserve Rose are gone for the session.

    Seismic S.B. and Pinot Noir will be making a comeback some time soon.

    TJ’s Reserve GSM 2009 Paso Robles: $9.99: Smooth and delicious
    TJ’s Grand Reserve 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir: $12.99: Classic for the area, nice spice and the oak is well-integrated on the finish. I liked it better than the Grand Reserve Carneros this year which was a bit too burly for my palate.
    TJ’s Reserve Grenache 2010: $9.99: Nice fruit without being too in your face, a Crew Favorite.
    TJ’s Reserve Knights Valley Meritage 2010(?): $9.99: 80% Knights Valley Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot. I’m of two minds on this one. The first hour it was fun with some fruit and nice structure and then it went through a weird, acidic/tannic swap where the Petit seemed to move to the front. I still like it, but I’ll make sure to drink it quickly and have others help ; )

    As we move into Fall, I look forward to hearing more from all of you.
    Wine Geek
    Trader Joe’s #109
    Passed with Distinction: WSET Intermediate Level Class Series & Exam
    Varietal Adventures: Your Passport to Fun Fine Wine
    My In-home Wine Education Business is officially starting today. No website yet, but I do have e-mail:

  9. Angela, unfortunately of all those wines only the St Michelle Pinot Gris is available in NJ currently…at $11.99 I think, though some big wine chains may have that $10 price. I did enjoy the Knights Valley Meritage, but my impression was mostly simple fruit at first before the petit verdot seemed to reveal more complexity, with the change more in aroma than structure for me.

    A contender for best red value may be the 2011 Green Fin Cab- shockingly consistent across its three vintages for organic at $4. Their pinot noir even managed to be perfectly drinkable, though the first vintage is done already. 2010 Darkhorse Cab (from Gallo) became a huge crew favorite here at $8- very accessible drink-now style with mocha notes that imply a little sweetness even though the residual sugar isn’t significant.

    Congratulations on the WSET and your new business! Best of luck from someone who’s appreciated all your informative notes and updates over the years here :)

  10. I am in full agreement with the #1 wine… However if you live in Orange County CA, here are a few hot picks from other grocery stores…
    1. The 2007 Vintage Buena Vista Pinot Noir available at Vons and Pavillions for $9.90
    2. The Janica Peak 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir at Albertsons for $7.99

    Both great buys. I actually prefer the Buena Vista ’07 over the ’08 from T.J.’s

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