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. Just saw at work that the Rabbit Ridge is coming back soon. I’ll check the Order Guide on Sunday and see if it’ll be available yet.

  2. I spotted a few cases of 2008 Rabbit Ridge at TJs today in San Diego’s NTC store; same price at $4.99.

    The store’s sommelier also pulled me aside to recommend the Graham Beck “Andrew Bordeaux” for $4.99. It’s a Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc blend. The store received six cases, but hadn’t put it out yet. I’ll give it a try tonight.

  3. Yep, I tried the Graham Beck. I didn’t enjoy it as a sipper, as it’s way too smoky. The first time I tried it, the flavor reminded me of a single malt scotch! (It’s only 14.5% alcohol, of course.)

    It’s a great palate cleanser, as it instantly removes any lingering flavors.

    It’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for something complex and different — and the $5 price tag can’t be beat. The flavors linger, ranging from smoke, tobacco, leather and earth, but it’s just too smoky for my own sipping palate.

  4. Love reading your reviews, especially because I concur with your enthusiasm for your Top 10 picks. I look forward to your assessment of the Sauvignon Republic Sauv Blanc from NZ. I bought all three when they first arrived at the SD County TJs stores. I would have enjoyed the domestic version if it were the only one available, but the imports really impressed me. The Stellenbosch version would be my choice for spicy Thai or Mexican dishes. The Marlborough was definitely the class of the field, however. Tasting against the other two, I was impressed with its richness and complexity. I kept sipping it and delighting in its impact on my tongue. I’ve never enjoyed a white wine as much as this one. When it was the first to sell out after the initial shipments to the stores, I guess I was in good company!

  5. Hi Jason:

    Totally agree with this blog! We too love finding great wines at Trader Joe prices! The 2007 Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles here at the Livermore Trader Joe’s has been gone for a solid month now. We loved that one and hope that we see more soon….also loved the price! You have a great blog site here, I’d love to get some feed back on what you think about ours. Go to Let me know what you think.


  6. I recently visited Hudson Valley, its an amazing place and trust me when I say this it has the world’s best winery- Millbrook Vineyard and Winery. If you every get a chance to go there I am sure you would fall in love with the place and the wines too!

  7. Trader Joe’s Rutherford Meritage…85% + Cab Franc. BUY this now…very limited. Excellent 2007 and if there was a Napa label $25-40. My Rating 91 Points. :-)

  8. @JeryyK: So true, so true!
    Smooth and delightful, 85% Cab Franc, 15% North Coast Merlot, it’s one of the best private label reds we’ve so far this year.

  9. Thanks for the tip on the TJ Rutherford Meritage, @JerryK and @Angela! It’s truly fine stuff, cellared and bottled by “Behind the Scene Winery.”

    Internet sleuthing on the bottler revealed only this google-cached fragment of a Fictious Name Statement in the San Luis Obispo’s Tribune: “Nov 24, 2009… DOING BUSINESS AS: STONEHEDGE WINERY STONEHEDGE WINERY OF NAPA VALLEY STONEHEDGE CELLARS OF NAPA VALLEY BEHIND THE SCENE WINE COMPANY.”

  10. This is such a valuable service to wine drinkers on a budget, i.e. most of us.

    Please, please keep this current. (The latest appears to be from the spring, with a promise to refresh on June 8th.)


  11. The Rutherford was a huge hit! No Mas. 2 new tips. There is a “Grand Reserve” Chardonnay at $12.99 that is Russian River “Chalk Hill” a very high end chard at a modest price. Chill this wine for less than 2 hours b4 drinking.
    New 08 release of the Novella Synergy is a hit. 70 % Zin and Petite Syrah with Cab Sav, Cab Franc, Syrah & Sanjo. Excellent with BBQ and bigger than the 08 Chariot. $6.99 from EOS winery in Paso Robles. Better than the 07. :-)

    Happy Labor Day

  12. If you haven’t missed Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Pinot Noir Monterey 2009 I suggest you stock up. This is made by Hahn Winery which also produces Smith and Hook in Monterey CA. A steal at $6.99. I bought a case. Last time I was in to TJ’s it was gone. Another steal is Black Box Wines Chardonnay Monterey County CA 2008 or 2009; whichever is available in your area. For $20 to $25 for the box which holds 4 bottles of wine that’s $5 to $6.50 for a bottle of good chardonnay. Where’s the party?

  13. For all of you out there that thought the next update to the Top 10 would never come you were wrong. Check back to see the latest. I would love to hear your thoughts as I am sure I missed a few good ones. Has anyone tried the Poet’s Row offerings yet?

  14. I’ve been really enjoying the Rendition Zinfandel – Alexander Valley. So much that I bough a case. At $6.99 it is more than worth the price.

    • FYI: the Trader Joe’s in Daly City is charging $8.99 for the Rendition Zinfandel. So, it looks like they’ve upped their prices for some of the popular bottles.

      Also, they’ve raise the price of the Dr. Beckermann’s by $1 or $2 (from $4.99)

  15. I just love your blog! Always great finding good wines that are actually affordable. Since we drink a lot of wine around here we are always looking for a bargin! By the way, I second the Perrin Reserve..had it last night and it’s always a winner.

  16. Yeah, a list I can share for the Holidays.

    Things are crazy at work, so no Tastings recently. Someday…

    SCREAMING DEAL ALERT: Francis Ford Coppola 2008 “Sante’” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay: $6.99! Haven’t had them yet, but Coppola’s wines do NOT suck and the pretty packaging is perfect to bring to Thanksgiving or for gift giving. I’ll update y’all on flavor profiles when I get a chance.

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