Some time ago I posted my first list of inexpensive wines that I’d tried which are sold at Trader Joe’s. Now, over a year later, I have managed to taste another twenty-five budget-friendly offerings from the TJ shelves. As in that first post, I am going to briefly reflect back over the wines by choosing my top five. My personal “ratings” aside, there are plenty of enjoyable selections among the other 20 – also listed below. Among the top five I’ve chosen in this group are three TJ labeled wines, three reds, one rosé, and one white. The three TJ wines are from California, one red is an Italian import and the white is from Portugal. Here they are along with short tasting notes.
1. Trader Joe’s Reserve Syrah 2012 — What put this at the top for me was it’s interesting, even challenging, flavor profile. I tasted a lot of seedy/brambly woodiness, leather, some spice, an underlying foundation of dark fruits (blackberry and black currant), and a bitter note on the finish. There was something fun around every corner.
2. Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Mourvèdre 2011 — The body of this red from Paso Robles was quite light. Acidity was nice and brisk, and the tannins were light on the palate. I caught flavors of young blueberries, cherry, plenty of pepper and oak. It was it’s bouquet, however, that brought this selection to number two for me. It had a big, ebullient bouquet of barnyard, plum, young blueberries and violets.
3. Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Rosé 2013 — At 13.7% alcohol, I’d call this a dry rosé. Tannins were gently present. On the palate I tasted a core of red berries (primarily strawberry) with tea leaf, a dash of pepper, some bitter herbs, and a zingy medicinal note on the finish.
4. Espiral Vinho Verde — As is the norm for these wines, it was frothy on the pour. The wine was light-bodied, and the bubbles had surprising staying power. This light Portuguese white had a pleasant flavor profile with a core of peach, citrus and grass accented by almond and floral notes. I think it would make a nice aperitif for a summer dinner party or maybe an inexpensive celebratory toast.
5. Epicuro Vendemmia Salice Salentino 2011 — Get past the rather unexpected bouquet and you have a satisfyingly interesting glass of wine. Flavors were primarily sweet dark cherry drops, dried green herbs, and pinches of salt. The tannins brought a bitter woody flavor after which the long finish echoed cherry drops and saline notes.
The other wines from this group of TJ tastings are listed below – in no particular order. Feel free to click on the links to read my full tasting notes on any of the selections. Please remember, I’m a wine enthusiast, and these notes represent my own experiences and opinions.
Sara Bee Moscato
La Caumette L’Authentique Red
Sainte-Croix La Bergerie Syrah-Merlot 2011
Charles Shaw Pinot Grigio 2012
Villa Alena Moscato d’Asti 2012
Révélation Cabernet-Merlot 2011
Penfolds Shiraz-Cabernet 2011
Vola Sangiovese 2012
Tuella Douro Vinho Tinto 2011
Coppola Rosso 2012
Raymond Hill Chardonnay
Rex-Goliath Pinot Noir NV
Grifone Sangiovese 2012
Sphere Zinfandel 2012
Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2012
Marqués de Cáceres Verdejo Rueda
Williamsburg Two Shilling Red 2013
Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Pontificis Pays d’Oc Red Blend 2012
Happy Holidays! And Happy Sipping!