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. OK, you might want to try these:
    Mt. Linden Merlot ($4)
    Napa River Merlot ($5-6)

    Rose options:
    Jadot Beaujolais Rose ($5)
    Incanto Frizante Rose ($6)

    Of your list, the Montepulciano might be your best choice and then the Ruggero as it has a bit of “jamminess” to it.

  2. Yes and yes on the 06 Amarone – lovely dried fruit, nicely balanced. I grabbed a bottle of La Finca Chard on the 1st day it appeared, and was deflated upon trying it, but the Malbec seems to be getting some positive traction (especially now that the Bk Mtn Malbec has taken a leave of absence). What else… ah! The Morgon! This little Beaujolais has a floral nose, cherry and light pepper on the palate (but not a hot alch), and a pleasant finish for 5.99 in WA. Tasty.

  3. Can’t say that I’m a big fan of either La Finca.
    The Chardonnay is an ’09 and way too young and the Malbec just wasn’t very exciting. I’d rather spend the extra $$ for the Gascon of pick up one for a little less elsewhere.

    The Black Mtn Malbec is one of the “casualties” of “focusing our wine offering” happening at TJ’s right now. In our store, it was a very slow seller and since you can get Malbecs from Argentina for the same price or less, I’m not surprised to see the cheaper domestics go.

    I’m planning on moving the Jadot Rose up next to the Morgon at the front of the store tonight so that the Beaujolais are together and have the opportunity to help each other sell. Looking forward to tasting the Morgon side by side with the Rose to see what kind differences there are. I think we’ll have a little turkey & cranberry handy to see how well these wines would go with Thanksgiving. I’ll keep y’all posted.

  4. Ok, we just re-tried the La Finca Malbec last night.
    WARNING: There are 2 vintages available: 2008 & 2009
    The ’08 is smoother, smoky and softer, not bad.
    Ryan (our Lead Wine Helms) & I liked it the best of the two.
    The ’09 is more friuty and a lot of crew liked it.
    Still didn’t like the ’09 La Finca Chardonnay. Too young!
    BTW, the VINTJS Santa Maria Chardonnay ($7) & VINTJS Syrah ($7) were the best of the tasting last night. Tasty, good friut and well-balanced. Surprisingly, the Blue Fin Petite Syrah ($4) wasn’t bad at all. A little thin and not quite chewy enough for my palate (I love Concannon) but Ryan thought it might be a nice wine to have with turkey & cranberry sauce.

    • @Angela Thanks for the thoughts on the La Finca Malbec. I recently reviewed it here. Think I am done with that label for the time being. As for the Gascon I wasn’t a huge fan at that price point. I’ll stick to getting my Malbec’s elsewhere for the time being. Did you have the Jadot Rose yet? I have a bottle in the fridge that I’ll be getting to soon… I’ll keep an eye out for the others you mentioned as well.

  5. Hi Jason,
    Yeah, the La Finca wasn’t as bad as I remember it being the first time, but clearly nothing at all special. The Gascon is nice, but I’ve had some amazing stuff from elsewhere for just a few $$ more. Maybe someday we’ll get something into our store to write home to Argentina about.

    No, didn’t get to the Jadot Rose yet.
    I’ll be doing a Turkey & Cranberry tasting the first week of November along with all the lighter reds we think pair up. I’m thinking the Morgon, Jadot Rose, Dolcetto, the 2008 Castle Rock (I hope you stocked up on the ’07 ’cause its gone), the Blason Burgundy and perhaps the Rosenblum Cuvee. Any other ideas for wines with turkey & fixins?

  6. I’m curious as to your thoughts about the Santa Cristina Sangiovese. I’ve found it to be quite a fantastic wine, though at $9.99 it’s among the more expensive at TJs. Sadly, I’ve been having a tough time finding it.

  7. @Angela I’ll give some thought to other wines for the wine with turkey & fixins. Are you only doing reds? Otherwise you have to add some Riesling and Gewurzt’s

    @Fez Monkey I added it to my shopping list. Where are you located? Perhaps one of our TJ’s insiders can provide some insight on when/if you might see more available.

  8. I just picked up my first bottle of the Epicuro Aglianico.

    The restaurants I’ve tried Aglianico wines at have served them slightly chilled, which I enjoyed.

    Jason, have you tried chilling it? I’m debating if I should do that or just open it at room temp.

  9. @Jay I have not tried chilling this wine and would recommend trying without first. That said, my experiences with chilling red have mostly been negative so if you feel strongly about it, go for it! Let me know what you think of the wine. Look forward to hearing…

  10. Speak of the devil…….I just posted for 1st time under the review of La Finca w/o realizing there wa a Top 10 List here (which includes the Perrin bottle I referred to in the other post) – have also enjoyed the Chariot Gypsy you referred to and to balance out my other unflinching assessment of TJ wines, I will admit that I also recently tried and liked the Blue Fin Petite Syrah (pass on the Chardonnay) and the Magnums of Raymond Hill (both the Cab and the Chardonnay, which are suprisingly drinkable in spite of the “jug wine” appearance of the XL bottle and the $5.99 price tag. Alas, the “GFC” (global financial crisis) has drastically reduced my price point for wine purchases, so I am spending a lot more time at TJ’s these days and looking forward to seeing some more TJ recs from you and other bloggers out there……

  11. Hi Jason,

    Well, since there are so many possibilities I’m breaking the wines up over several weeks. Light Reds/Rose’ this week, then we’re having another flyer breaking next week with 5 new offerings and two standards. After that I’ll move onto Whites & Zinfandels for Turkey.
    BTW, VERY excited that 3 more wines from Castle Rock have become available at our store. I think they’re a Cab, a Zin and a Merlot (?), but I’m not sure. As soon as I get them across my palate, I’ll report back.
    ($6-10 )

    @Fez Monkey: Sorry, the Santa Cristina has been discontinued. The company is focusing our wine department towards more private labels and if I remember correctly the Cristina was hard to get and keep in.

  12. Not a fan of the NV Schloss Biebrich Sekt bubbly–Although this is on Jason’s Special Selection list under the Top 10, I poured most of this medicinal tasting & disappointing puppy down the drain..Rating: Skip It.

  13. Wow! The 2008 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Carmenere is a sleeper, Bulk Buy steal at $8. Perfect with any kind of grilled beef or with stilton cheese.

  14. Just picked up the Epicuro Salice Salentino 2005, a negroamaro blend. Have you tried it? It is unbelievably good, esp. after a little breathing time, for $4.99!!!

    and still no sign of the second wave of Chariot Gypsy in so. cal…. sigh

  15. Really enjoy this site; those of you in California are lucky – here in Ohio we have supply issues with the “good” TJ wines and most bottle prices are $2 more than what you pay due to “state minimum” pricing BS rules. The gypsy is $6.49 here for example. Still a value IMO.

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