Life

The Best Value Red Wines Selling At Trader Joe’s Right Now

Is it just me, or does red wine taste better when it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an expensive bottle of wine just as much as the next person. But saving cash is the name of the game and that often means cutting back on the big bank bottles of Barolo in exchange for low-cost reds that still deliver on flavor.

Luckily for all us penny-pinchers, Trader Joe’s has a wide selection of wines that can accommodate even the most humble of budgets. If you want value-per-dollar, it’s a good place to start.

Now I’d be lying if I said that all the bottles of red wine lining the shelves at Trader Joe’s were worth trying. Some of them are incredibly inexpensive and definitely taste like it. Do yourself a favor a stay away from the Two-Buck Chuck — your tastebuds and hangover with thank you — and veer towards the 10 bottles of red vino that we’re highlighting below.

All of these bottles are currently available at Trader Joe’s stores across the country. They’re also very affordable — the most expensive bottle on this list is $15, but most of them are in the $5 to $7 range — and provide excellent value for your cash. Since TJ’s doesn’t have a web store, you’ll have to actually head out to a brick and mortar to find most of these wines, but I’ve linked the few that are available online.

Let’s get sipping!

Gambler’s Flash Red Table Wine

Wine.com

ABV: 13.9%
Average Price: $7

The Wine:

Like most of the wines that are sold at Trader Joe’s, this one is from one of the grocer’s private labels — which means the only place you’re only ever going to find it is at Trader Joe’s. This black-cherry-hued vino is considered a proprietary blend, which is just a fancy way for producers to make it clear that they’re not telling you exactly which grapes are in the bottle.

Regardless of the melange of grapes used in this Paso Robles, the juice is good.

Tasting Notes:

This wine puts the fun in funky. It exudes a smokey fragrance like the underside of a charcoal grill dusted with mocha and spices. The sip is front-loaded with supple and juicy cherry flavors and notes of vanilla Pepsi while the back end develops into a melee of dried sage, coffee beans, and blackberries.

For a wine with such big character, it’s surprisingly medium in body and slips down the throat like silk before blossoming into a smoky finish that’s balanced out with a dash of acidity and smooth tannins (the naturally occurring polyphenol found in fruit skins, leaves, and seeds that produce a wine’s astringency and bitterness).

Bottom Line:

Easy to drink and even more delicious the second day after opening, this wine packs a big taste for a small price.

Oxte The Silence Red Blend

Axial Vinos Wines

ABV: 14.5%
Average Price: $6

The wine:

Here’s a red blend from Cariñena, Spain, comprised of tempranillo, syrah, garnacha, and cabernet sauvignon grapes. Produced by Axial Wines, the 2019 vintage of this deep, dark red wine packs more character and body than you would ever assume for such a youthful vintage, and you’ll certainly want to pair it with some meat.

Tasting Notes:

This wine smells like black cherry lollipops and rhubarb pie, but taste it and you’ll discover flavors of blackberries marinated in crème de cassis seasoned with black pepper. The wine is smooth and soft, with nimble little tannins that leave the mouth with a fuzzy coating throughout the long and lingering finish.

Bottom Line:

You could make a mean red wine beef stew with this wine, or, you know, drink it while eating beef stew. This would also work well with grilled meats.

Upper Eden Pinot Noir

Vivino

ABV: 14.2%
Average Price: $13

The Wine:

If you’ve been in the mood for something light that isn’t just a floral and fruity pocket full of posies, here’s a treat for you. This pinot noir — from the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, California — is light and easy, but it displays an unexpected depth that only makes the wine more enjoyable over time.

Tasting Notes:

This bright, translucent red wine smells like Rock & Rye Faygo pop with a hint of granite. On the sip, you’ll find deep dark fruits like black cherry and black plum and vegetal notes. Then comes a wave of black pepper, acidity, and tight tannins that soften over time, giving the wine some complexity in the extended finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a good wine for drinking with food, whether it’s as simple as a cheeseburger or a whole roasted chicken over potatoes.

Château Maris Natural Selection Biodynamic Syrah-Grenache

Vivino

ABV: 14.5%
Average Price: $15

The Wine:

Not only is Château Maris one of the five most environmentally friendly wineries in the world, but the estate’s vineyard in the Minervois La Livinière region of France (over in the Languedoc) was also the first to be certified bio-dynamic. The grapes grown on the winery’s property—like the syrah and grenache used for this vino—are completely organic. Château Maris even has horses that work and till the land to promote biodiversity.

Tasting Notes:

This wine is so deep red it’s almost purple. Fragrances of ripe black, blue and purple fruits escape from the bottle once it’s uncorked. The sip leans into flavors of elderberry and wraps up with pleasant, spicy notes of chili oil, peppercorns, and a hit of fresh acidity that leaves your mouth zinging.

The tannins are firm but silky while the finish is long-lasting.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine in the dead of winter when you need something to knock off the chill. It’ll warm you right on up.

Bodegas Tinedo Ja! Tempranillo

Noe Valley Wines and Spirits

ABV: 14.5$
Average Price: $7

The Wine:

Here’s another certified organic wine worth investigating at Trader Joe’s. It’s produced by the Alvarez-Arenas family, who has made wine since 1742. This wine is created with tempranillo grapes grown in the Castilla La Mancha region. It’s not all that light (as it has some weight to it), but its structure isn’t super dominant, either.

Above all things, it’s the fruit that really shines through in this wine.

Tasting Notes:

This wine smells of sweet and brandied cherries and a little hint of leather. The wine is clean with summertime strawberry and bing cherry flavors that get a dynamic upgrade with a little bit of minerality and astringency in the back end of the sip. The finish isn’t all that long but it has some character with notes of smoke.

Bottom Line:

This is a clean juice that gets a facelift with a nice, slightly firm tannic structure, but it’s still very easy to drink. Pair this with one of those Trader Joe’s frozen pizzas and you’re in for a good night.

Fallen Bridge Zinfandel

Trader Joe

ABV: 15%
Average Price: $7

The Wine:

This 100 percent zinfandel hails from the Lodi region of California where the grapes grow big and fat—a key indicator of the wine’s ultra juicy profile.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this wine makes it pretty clear you’re in for a juicy fruit treat. It smells of cinnamon sticks, ripe cherry, black plum, and dark chocolate, but on the sip, the wine shows red fruits and vanilla with a hint of orange zest. It’s a rounded red wine that somehow makes your mouth even wetter after the long finish.

Bottom Line:

This is like a grown-up version of fruit punch without the colorful little box and straw. Drink this with everything or drink it all by itself.

Finca De Los Padrillos Malbec

Binny

ABV: 13.5%
Average Price: $9

The Wine:

This is an inky, dry red wine from Argentina’s Mendoza region, made of 100 percent malbec that’s aged in oak vats. It’s produced by Ernesto Catena, who cares for more than 30 retired polo ponies that live at his vineyards, hence the cute horses on the bottle’s label.

Tasting Notes:

This wine has a fresh floral aroma like a potpourri bouquet of violets, bluebells, and allspice. The sip really leans into that all-things-dried profile, with notes of dehydrated red berries along with speckles of cherry and plum; while the finish exudes an after bite full of white pepper.

This wine isn’t incredibly bold—its youthfulness makes it easy to drink—but it is quite dry. If you like that quality, you’re sure to enjoy it.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason why the malbec is free-flowing at the traditional parillas in Argentina—this wine goes hand in hand with grilled steaks and meat.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais

Fountain Delivery

ABV: 12.3%
Average Price: $8

The Wine:

People like to say that they don’t enjoy red wine because red wines are “too dry” or “not sweet enough,” and to that I say: You clearly haven’t tried a Gamay from Beaujolais. Now sweet isn’t how I’d describe this wine from Georges Deboeuf—one of the French region’s most regarded and respected producers of Gamay—but this red wine is pure, easy to drink, refreshing, fun, fruity juice.

Tasting Notes:

Obviously, wine is made from grapes but this is a straight-up fruit bomb. Cherry? Check. Raspberry? Check? Strawberry? Check. Blackberry and blueberry? Double Check. Literally, all the berries show up in the smell and the sip of this wine. The body is impeccably light, smooth, and splashy, with a barely-there finish.

Bottom Line:

This is as easy-drinking as it gets for red wine. Enjoy it when you’re in the mood for something light and bright. Give it a little chill in the fridge to really kick this one up a level.

Cantina Volpi-ERA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Vinceremos Winess

ABV: 12.5
Average Price: $8

The Wine:

Yet another organic wine, this one here is made from montepulciano grapes in Abruzzo, the region of Italy where the most montepulciano is grown. The grape is typically used to create two different styles of wine, which I like to classify as “regular Tuesday wine” and “special occasion wine.” One style is soft and approachable, good for drinking at any time, like a Tuesday after work. The other is more structured and refined, definitely a bigger wine with a more astringent profile that could use some time opening up before drinking — making it perfect for those celebratory moments and big holiday dinners when you need something a little fancier.

This one here is definitely a Tuesday wine.

Tasting Notes:

This ruby-red wine has the aroma of red fruits and berries and cedarwood. The fruit is prevalent on the palate, but there’s this savory, herby quality reminiscent of rosemary and thyme that stands out the most. The wine is a bit dry but overall clean and soft with velvety tannins that give it a little structure.

Bottom Line:

Give that fast-food cheeseburger a splash of elegance with this soft and balanced wine. This wine is also dry enough to sop up a greasy pizza and other oily dishes but soft enough to not overpower the intricacies of food flavor.

Angelo Rocca & Figli Trentatre Rosso

Cellar Tracker

ABV: 14%
Average Price: $6

The Wine:

This wine comes from the Apulia region within southern Italy. Its name Trentatre, which is the number 33 in Italian, is a play on the grapes the wine is made with—33.3 percent cabernet sauvignon, 33.3 percent, Merlot, and 33.4 percent Montepulciano.

Tasting Notes:

This is a robust, full-bodied, nearly purple-colored wine that features powerful aromatics of red and black fruit and a medley of spices and chocolate. The sip is booming with blackberry jam, hazelnut, cocoa, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It’s almost as if someone slathered a piece of raisin bread with Nutella, sprinkled it with cocoa and baking spices, and turned it into juice.

The finish is incredibly long, with luscious tannins that give the wine a body that’s equally rich and dry.

Bottom Line:

This is another good food wine that should cost a lot more than its price. If you’re making an extravagant meal, this is the excellent table option everyone will think you paid the big bucks for. Decant it in clear glass and they’ll never know!

×