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. Curious to see what you think of Layer Cake’s Primitivo. It’s a bit more than I usually spend per bottle at Trader Joe’s (~$14) but as a white wine drinker, it’s been an unbelievable red find. Tasting this has inspired me to experiment with more reds.

    • The Layer Cake Primativo is outstanding. You’re drinking above my class Kristin, but since you’re above $10 and asked about Reds, I recommend these brands: Bogle, Cline, and the Rosenblum. You can’t go wrong with any of these wines– Merlot, Zin, Cab, blends.

      I like most of Jason’s top ten. And if TJ comes back with their Paso Robles Verdot, try some.

      Robert Parker is a good wine reviewer for fruit forward bombs.

      Have fun.

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  3. Great list! Can you suggest any good sparkling wines from TJ’s for a new year’s eve party? I think the guests like it sweet. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the list. Lot of good wines on there-I look forward to trying the ones I’ve missed out on. Last night I tried the Marlborough SB from SB Republic and it was fantastic. I look forward to trying the South African offering, which I picked up today at TJs. While I was there I picked up something new (at least to my TJs): 2007 Petanque Cab Sauv from Michel-Schlumberger. It was only $4.99 ($18+ from the winery) so I picked up a few bottles. I figure you can’t go wrong with a Michel-Schlumberger wine for $5. Have you tried this yet?

  5. @Kristin I’ll give that one a try…Is that where some of the long overdue winnings ended up going? If so, thanks for putting them to good use!

    @Michele The Honeymoon is an honorable mention here. It tends to works its way in and out of the list based on the season for me. Going into the colder months I am now again leaning towards red wine. That said your opinion would be welcome here where the Honeymoon is getting disparaged to date…

    @Helen I’ll try to get a post up tomorrow but my favorite sparklers are 1) Zonin Prosecco, 2) R.S.V.P. and 3) Sekt. The last being the sweetest of the three. Guessing you are set on a sparkler but if something sweeter is what you are after the Dr. Beckermann Spatlese Riesling offers excellent balance.

    @rj’s wine blog Glad you enjoyed the Sauvignon Republic. Let me know what else you end up trying…

  6. @joshiemac Glad to hear that on the Sauvignon Republic from Marlborough, that is still stuck in my fridge. I need to get it out soon. As for the Petanque, I picked up all three labels. The Chard and SB are in the fridge and I finished the Cab tonight. Day 1 it was but not showing much and with each day it grew on me. After 5 days it was showing a nice, dry lasting finish. This leads me to believe some more bottle time would do it well. Going to take me another bottle to reach a conclusion here. That said, I’m already planning on grabbing some more and sticking it in the back of the rack for a while. This is almost purely based on the reputation of the winery!

    @rj’s wine blog Indeed. $4.99 for a Cab, SB and Chard. All our bottled as “California” which leads me to believe it is sourced fruit. The Cab label mentioned it is from the Sierra Foothills. Let me know if you find it in WA, looks like stop #1 was a miss. If not and you’re jonesing to get some let me know and we’ll work something out…

  7. just posted these notes on cellartracker. nice wine, especially for the price. my only hesitation is that i think trader joe’s tends to offer up some really nice montepulciano wines for under $10 – in fact, it’s a go-to qpr at tj’s for me – and i’ve had a few that are better, for about the same price (and if i could remember what they are, i’d be happy to tell you… :-)

    tasting notes:
    blackberry and dark cherry (ripe), with oak, vanilla and powdered cocoa. this wine is a mouthful, with a broad distribution on the palate and a decent, but hot, finish. more acidity than would be expected in this blend, which helped cut through the lasagne we had with it. overall, a very nice wine for $6. 33% montepulciano, 33% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot, this one was an interesting combo of elements, one i haven’t seen before, but i was longing for more of the montepulciano to come through.

  8. Thanks so much for the great and very useful list! I’m really lame about trying anything new, so this is a wonderful resource for me!

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  10. Howdy ,

    I’m glad you liked the Rosso, it’s definitely on my current list recommended favorites. Sorry to say the Rabbit has hopped off into the land of “wait until next time” here in the SF Bay Area and the Sauvignon Republic Marlborough SB and Now & Zen are no longer available if my current information is correct.
    Oh, and if anyone is looking for cases of the VINTJS Syrah, TJ’s in Alameda has at least 10.

    Thanks for the updates on old favorites and BTW, did you notice this year’s batch of our German Sekt has “Trocken” on it. Light, fun and and a lot less sweet than the Asti which tasted like cane syrup. Yuck!

    Now that the Holidays are over, perhaps I’ll get the oppotunity to try more wines and get back to y’all. Most of my well-laid plans were put on hold after Thanksgiving, so we’ll just have to see what the new Captain has in mind.

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