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. @Mike The challenge is that you are in different “region” than Jason & I and perhaps not all items we can get here are available to y’all there. Jason, perhaps once you’ve updated your list, a call to Mike’s local store to check on Pacific Northwest availablity might be helpful?
    Mike, which Seattle store is closest to you?

    • @Mike and all interested in the NW selection – many of these are indeed in stock and available in the NW TJ’s stores. And some come and go (just this past week Gypsy showed up on the Order Guide again, so I’m trying to bring some in to the store). Sorry that you weren’t able to find any on your visit.
      In other news, I personally enjoyed the Jebediah Drinkwell’s Meritage, so I’m interested in your thoughts, Jason! The Epicuro reds (all 3) and the Tommolo are my favorite Italians, with a nod to the Tuscan Moon Sangiovese for a cheap Californian offer (a little more ripe than the under 8$ chiantis, and that suits my palate).
      peace!
      Dan (one of the wine/beer guys from Lynnwood, WA TJ’s)

  2. Hey, Jason… a couple more TJ Top Tens (TJTT’s): Epicuro Vermentino & D’Aguino Orvietto Classico, for those Italian cheap thrills. There are a couple of absolute killer closeout deals right now (Lyrique & Lorca bottlings), but they won’t be in constant stock as are the above.

    • Jason (or Angela):

      Have either of you tried the Bonacchi Brunello di Montalcino? My local TJ’s was selling it for $20, which for a brunello makes me skeptical. But I decided to go ahead and buy it and give it a try. Would love to know if anyone has had it….

      -Carmen

      • I have not had that one. That said I’ve noticed both a Gigondas and a Vacqueyras in the $12-$14 range on the TJ’s shelves that have been tempting… Please let me know what you think about the Brunello di Montalcino, I could be convinced to grab a bottle :)

  3. I have to give a vote for the Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc. If you can still find it at TJ’s, that is. I liked it better than Kim Crawford, which many people think is the ultimate NZ SB.

  4. I saw that the Howell Mountain Cab made your “other” list. It would come pretty near the top of my list of the wines I’ve had from TJ’s this summer. Another that would make my list would be the Shannon Ridge Syrah. I noticed my local TJs just restocked with a bunch of the California Wine Party CabFranc/Merlot. I still have a few in my cellar but perhaps I should stock up!

  5. I was impressed with the Jebediah–bought it for a camping trip/BBQ–just couldn’t resist the label! and then couldn’t resist the wine! lots going on there for under $10! we had it with a rack of lamb–yummy!

    I’ve heard good words about the Chariot Gypsy but it hasn’t been in my local TJ’s, but have to say not that thrilled with the Honey Moon viognier.

  6. I keep seeing that Castle Rock Pinot up at the top of your lists, so darn if I’m not making as many mental notes as I can to pick up a bottle.

    That King Shag Sauvignon Blanc is one of my reigning Summer favorites and everyone I send in that direction seems to think the same.

    The Gypsy didn’t do much for me, and as for the rest of the list, I’ve tried only the California Wine Party Franc/Merlot – which seems to land a spot in the cart on just about every visit to TJ’s.

  7. Thanks for your listing. Even though I’ve tasted castle rock three times, it was not impressive. I will try Castle Rock Mendocino County Pinot Noir as you recommend. Did you try Coulumbia valley Castle rock?
    I heard that the wine is really good and shows high cost performance, but i have no idea where I can buy the wine.

  8. Totally agree with the Castle Rock Pinot Noir; “delicate” and “silky” are good words for it! But I noticed that you didn’t include any Chardonnay on your list…? If I could make a suggestion; either the Château St. Michelle Chardonnay or the Cambria Katherines Vineyard Chardonnay are really good! The Ch.St.Michelle is a perfect summer / picnic wine ($8) and the Cambria (around $12 I think?) is great for picnicking, entertaining or a nice dinner in.

  9. Jason,

    I tried your #3, 4, and 5 listed (only ones I could find at VA Trader Joes) the 2007 King Shag Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was delicious; the 2007 Epicuro Aglianico was very rich and wonderful; the 2008 Honey Moon Viognier was wonderful…my wife liked this very much. Thanks for posting.

  10. Just got the last 5 bottles of the Gypsy in Chicago! The two guys I talked to at the two TJ’s that were out of it said they had been putting in orders for it but it hadn’t been shipping. When I found out there were some left on the shelf at the downtown location, I booked it down there and took what was left.

  11. Pingback: Nicole’s Top Picks from Trader Joe’s « Nicole Geurin

  12. Jason,
    First off, great website. I order the wine for a SoCal store and check it out to see how people are responding.

    Have you tried the 2005 Domaine Alfred Chamisal Vineyard Syrah yet? At $14.99 it is a huge discount from anything I could find on the internet. Great nose, incredible depth and structure. Although not a huge Syrah fan, we’ve been getting some great stuff lately. The VINTJS Mt. Veeder Syrah @ $8.99 is a powerful red well worth the price. The Koehler Syrah for $12.99 is also fabulous with some big ripe plum and cherry up front, splitting pretty evenly with the crew over the Domaine Alfred. The TJ’s Grand Reserve Yountville Cab is also a good deal at $12.99, but it could benefit from a little more aging. With the economy still lagging there are some great deals coming down the pipeline, both inexpensive and more upper echelon stuff. In a little over a week there should be some Viognier (Paso Robles I believe) and Albarino (San Luis Opisbo) both for $5.99, but in limited quantities.
    Tried the 2006 Amarone ($16.99) today, and was very impressed. Much better than the past few vintages, not as dry as I would expect, with nice fig and raisin tones. Everyone that tried it like it, which is rare.
    DP

  13. Hey DP,

    I think the available order date for the TJ’s Petit Reserve Monterey Albarino and Paso Robles Viognier is next Monday if its released on time. I’m planning on poking the Domestic Order Writer to pick them up ASAP so I can let our Crew try some and buy a few for myself if they’re good.
    The Domaine Alfred Syrah was yummy. The reason it was priced so nicely, from what I heard is because the winery was sold recently to a larger Napa firm who didn’t like the packaging.
    BTW, have you heard anything about the reason why so many titles are on their way off the shelves? Any thoughts?

    Thanks for the heads-up about the Amarone. Have you tried any of the Mount Linden ($4), the new “_______Luna” Pinot Grigio ($6) or any of the La Finca that came in last week?

    Nice to have another Crew Member on board, especially from a different region who can give us heads-up on incoming items. We’re having an All Store Meeting on Wednesday where we’ll be doing a large tasting, so I’ll try to update everyone later this week. Aloha from #109.

  14. Thanks all for the recent comments, I want to address them all soon but I am absolutely slammed busy right now. Just wanted to get back to Angela and DP quickly:

    @DP Thanks for the compliment! Syrah hasn’t been matching my palate lately so I decided to pass on that whole set. The Viognier and Albarino sound straight up my alley though. They’ve been added to the shopping list. As has the Amarone.

    @Angela I’ve had both the La Finca Cab and Malbec, Argentina again disappoints. Neither are worth drinking. Also on the Mt. Linden I haven’t yet been able to get to the rest of the lineup

    Promise to respond to the rest of these comments soon, thanks for your patience!

  15. Jason
    Thank you for your website. Your list was just what I needed with company coming. Perfect really! I think a top ten review of Costco wines would be great. Thank you, thank you
    Kathy

  16. I am glad I found this site. I have done wine at various TJs since 03 and am now doing it in Seattle and am glad to hear the feed back from others and what other regions are receiving.

    The La Finca was a let down but the malbec gets better after a lot of breathing time, you should give it a try the next day like the La Granja. I agree 100% with your review of the Picton Bay Pinot, I was excited when we got that in.

    If you can still get it in your region I HIGHLY recomment the TJ reserve Petite Verdot. It was a huge hit at our store due to the nice body with soft tannins. This is gone in the NW but other regions might still be able to get it.

    @DP I also had the Amarone and agree, it was awsome, well worth the $16.99. Unfortunately the warehouse only has ~275 cases for the entire NW.

    Thanks for the great blog.

  17. Can someone recommend a good wine from TJ’s that is not too dry and not too sweet. I have this list here, LÁuthentic Table Red, DRY Ruggero di Tasso Nero d’Avola, Villa Cerrina Montepulciano, recommended from staff there, but read mixed reviews. Anyone? I want a not too dry, not too sweet red wine for a guest flying in to see me… this weekend: )

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