One of the regular comments I get from readers is “my local Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry that”. After thinking long and hard about how to best overcome this I decided that a list of Trader Joe’s “Classic” wines was in order. A list that contained wines that anyone could go over to their local store and pickup. So here you have it. 4+ years of Trader Joe’s wine tasting culminated into a single list of classics that produce quality wines at fantastic prices vintage after vintage. Without further adieu…
1. King Shag Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($7) – If it is summer you will find this wine on my patio. A nose that starts with grapefruit and grassy aromas. On the palate you are greeted with a crisp floral and mineral notes followed by a tangy and very refreshing lemon finish. A perfect choice to pair with salmon if you choose not to drink this one on its own.
2. Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve ($7) – The Rhone is known for their blends of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah and this is a perfect example. The nose is laden with aromas of ripe blackberries still on their vine. This one delivers black cherry and pepper flavors with a nice, smooth texture in the mouth. Spice take over on the mid-palate before leading to an earthy and tannic finish. A good balance of fruit and spice this one goes down easy. A versatile wine that can go with pizza or something heartier.
3. Now & Zen Alsace White ($5) – Citrus and floral on the nose. The palate shows a bit of mango which adds a pleasant sweetness to the texture. A tart, crisp finish delivers lemon and mineral flavors that leave you refreshed and ready for your next sip. The perfect pairing for spicy Asian cuisine. Grab this one the next time you get Thai or Indian takeout.
4. Honey Moon Viognier ($5) – A great nose here loaded with floral notes, peaches and apricots. On the palate peach and honey are prevalent on a full bodied frame of white stony, fruits. The finish is rich and plush with ripe peaches and just a hint of sweetness. Drink this one on its own or with anything, literally.
5. Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc ($8) – Another summer classic. This one delivers as expected. Pale, straw in color and full of citrus aromas. The palate dances with lemon and lime flavors with some mild floral overtones all interlaced on a crisp, acidic backbone. This one is tart, refreshing and a perfect match for a grilled chicken salad.
6. Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere ($8) – A wine I’ve often called “old dependable” as I have been enjoying this for more vintages than I can remember. This one shows smoky meat and herbal notes that merge with cherry flavors on a dry, leathery finish. A perfect initiation to Carmenere (pronounced Car-men-YAIR). Give it a try next time fajitas are on the table.
7. Trentatre Rosso ($6) – We are now on to the ’08 vintage (just the 2nd for this one) and early indications are that we have another crowd pleaser on our hands. Warm on the palate with nice, juicy cherry flavors on a balanced frame. The finish is slightly dry with lasting, dusty chocolate notes. Pair it with a savory dish.
8. Epicuro Aglianico ($5) – One of my original Trader Joe’s finds this is a wine I still enjoy. Tart cherries with a bit of herbal spice on the nose. On the palate this is very full bodied with blackberry notes and a velvety mouthfeel. The acidity and fruit driven tannins on the finish make this one a well suited for a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs as they will stand up to the tomato sauce nicely.
9. Dr. Beckermann Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Spatlese ($5) – Yet another long time fave, I’ve been enjoying this one for years. The nose delivers a floral bouquet with light fruits lingering in the background. The palate starts crisp but quickly turns sweet before being saved by a nice crisp, acidic backbone which leads to a pleasant, lingering finish. For those that prefer something sweeter this is another alternate for pairing with spicy Asian cuisine.
10. Archero Nero d’ Avola Ruggero di Tasso ($4) – This one is very light and juicy in body while packing a heavy fruit punch showing jammy, chewy berry notes. A fruit forward offering this shows little acidity and no tannins making it easy to drink on its own. Not a complex wine but simple and enjoyable. A perfect “guilt-free” wine for any occasion.
So there’s 10. Before I go I always like share a few more as there are so many wines out there worth exploring…
Special selections–And last but not least some special selections for those looking for bubbly or dessert…
Bubbly: NV Zonin Prosecco Brut ($6)
Dessert: NV Porto Morgado Ruby Port ($7)
Rose: La Ferme Julien Rose ($5)
And there you have it! Let me know your thoughts. Are any of these missing in your local market? Did I mis any of your favorites? If so let me know in the comments below…