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Trader Joe’s Wines That Nail The Combination Of Taste And Value

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Trader Joe’s is the quality produce delectable packaged goods that are endemic to the grocer. But Trader Joe’s is a haven for more than just frozen gnocchi and cookie butter. It’s also an emporium for wine. Really good wine.

It’s no secret that wine has a reputation for being intimidating and exclusionary, with its neverending onslaught of grape varieties, regions, and styles. And we won’t even get into the expansive list of terms that oenophiles (wine connoisseurs) and vintners (winemakers) use to talk about the stuff. But at the end of the day, wine is simply a beverage — alcoholic grape juice. Trader Joe’s gets that.

Even with all the fancy talk left at the door and a clear emphasis on value, the expansive roster of wine available at Trader Joe’s can be overwhelming. Especially if you don’t know what you’re in the mood for. To help you sort through it all, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best bottles — based on taste and value.

NOTE: Most of the wines featured are exclusive to TJ’s, so you’ll have to hop in your car. But there are a few that can be found online (check the links, below).

Block ’67 Cabernet Sauvignon

Honestly Though

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $12

The Wine:

Four bottles of Californian Cabernet Sauvignon all in one single box. No corkscrew required—just a push of the little red button on the nozzle and deep ruby red wine spills out. Don’t let its boxy appearance fool you though, this is a classic full-bodied Cab with a soft tannic structure that lingers.

Tasting Notes:

Black cherry and plum are the key players here, but the dark fruit notes are joined by an ensemble of toasted vanilla and cedar that last throughout the long finish. The body is structured and heavy.

You can feel the weight of this wine in every sip.

Bottom Line:

This is a no-thrills Cabernet Sauvignon, but it gets the job done on those long, exhausting days when you want something simple and reliable without a ton of deliveration. It also pairs nicely with red meats and red sauces for pasta.

Espiral Vinho Verde

Eat This

ABV: 9%
Average Price: $4

The Wine:

There’s something you must know about white wine made in the Vinho Verde region of northern Portugal: it’s incredibly crisp. The blend of young native white grapes used in this medium-dry Trader Joe’s gem is particularly so. Crisp like you just licked a white linen sheet fresh out the dryer. Crisp like the first bite of a Golden Delicious apple. Crisp like an ocean breeze cooling you down on a hot day.

Get the picture?

Tasting Notes:

The aromas of green and yellow apple, lemon, and grapefruit seem to come to life on the palate when coupled with the natural acidity of the grapes. Stone fruit is a noticeable characteristic on the first sip, which gets balanced out with a zesty long finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a great introduction to white Portuguese wines. It’s a porch-pounder (like many of its ilk) that can easily be enjoyed all on its own but is equally delightful with a side of oysters and clams. Drink this very well chilled.

Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Trader Joe

ABV: 14.5%
Average Price: $15

The Wine:

Made from 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Russian River Valley region of California’s Sonoma County, this is a light-bodied wine with lower tannins—the naturally occurring polyphenol found in fruit skins and seeds—that lend to its smooth texture in the mouth.

Although Pinot Noir isn’t considered as complex or bold of a wine as, say, a tannin-rich Cabernet Sauvignon, Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve is robust enough to pair with a dish as heavy as Mississippi Roast or something as simple as Top Ramen.

Tasting Notes:

This is a fruit-forward wine packed with dark red cherry and red plum. Hints of mocha, anise, and a little oak help even things out while a subtle kick of baking spice lingers on its silky and elegant finish.

Bottom Line:

If this wasn’t a Trader Joe’s branded wine, it would easily cost double the price. That, on top of the fact that it’s divinely luscious, makes it even more of a “must buy.”

Mezzacrona Pinot Grigio

Wine Chateau

ABV: 12.5%
Average Price: $9

The Wine:

This is a bright and light, easy-sipping wine. It’s made from 100 percent Pinot Grigio grapes that are grown in the Trentino region of Northern Italy.

Tasting Notes:

This wine opens up like a bouquet of fresh-picked wildflowers. It’s delicate and supple and displays yellow apple, melon, and a splash of citrus. The finish is barely there. This is as light as it gets.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine when you’re too lazy to make dinner. It’s the just the right lively component needed to make that bowl of Easy Mac feel like a proper meal.

Excelsior Sauvignon Blanc

Excelsior

ABV: 13.06%
Average Price: $6

The Wine:

Although the Robertson Valley of South Africa has hotter climates than what’s typical for growing Sauvignon Blanc, the region’s limestone-rich clay soils make the area ideal for winemaking. To master the acidic punch of Excelsior’s Sauvignon Blanc, about 35 percent of grapes are harvested very early — while the sugar content is still relatively low. The rest of the grapes used to make the wine are harvested later in the season, when they reach higher levels of sugar concentration.

This blend of early and late-harvested grapes is what helps the wine achieve its fruity complexities and body while maintaining its acidity.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of tropical fruit and citrus escape from the bottle as soon as it’s open. Flavors of passionfruit, grapefruit, fig, and grass are noticeable in the glass as well, which offer a great accompaniment for the acidity of the wine — which quite literally smacks you in the face.

The finish is long, lingering, and full of minerality.

Bottom Line:

A seafood tower wouldn’t stand a chance against this wine. It’s the perfect companion for oysters, shrimp cocktail, cold lobster, and prawns with all the fixings. Heck, it would even wash down well with some of those famous Trader Joe’s Fish Sticks or a pack of the grocer’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks.

You’ll want to drink this one well chilled.

Big Churn Chardonnay

The Wine Guy Wines & Spirits

ABV: 14.5%
Average Price: $7

The Wine:

As the name suggests, this is one hell of a big-bodied and buttery California Chardonnay. The wine’s incredibly brassy color tells you everything you need to know about it before you take your first sip: It’s basically toast in a glass.

Tasting Notes:

The aroma of this Chardonnay is like a fresh-baked apple pie. Take a big whiff of the vanilla, the cinnamon, the flaky crust. The intense oak and butter nearly drown out the palate, but the taste of pear teased in the finish offers a little balance.

Bottom Line:

This is a wonderfully decadent wine that’s reminiscent of the oaky Chardonnays early California vintners used to make, except it’s better. It’s one that stands up to weighted dishes too, like roasted chicken and duck, potatoes, hearty winter vegetables, and stews.

Lazy Bones Cabernet Franc

Alyssa Pacaut

ABV: 13.99%
Average Price: $7

The Wine:

Grown amongst the scenic rolling hills of California’s Paso Robles region, this wine is made of 100 percent Cabernet Franc, the mother-grape of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s dark, inky purple hue is indicative of all the dark fruit features, which reign supreme in this surprisingly delicate and juicy red wine.

Tasting Notes:

Intense notes of over-ripened blackberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, and plum fill the nose and the palate, while subtle notes of clove, black pepper, and cinnamon are sprinkled throughout. That’s followed up with a short and smooth finish that exudes the slightest hint of basil.

Bottom Line:

Rarely will you find bottles of 100 percent Cabernet Franc. It’s even rarer to find them at such a low price point, making this wine a satisfying treat for your tastebuds and your bank account.

Satis Dei Syrah Garnacha

Licorea

ABV: 14%
Average Price: $9

The Wine

This is a blend of Syrah and Garnacha, born in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain. Its unique diamond-dotted glass bottle offers just a subtle hint about the beautiful wine encased within. Although it’s a medium-heavy style wine, with four grams of residual sugar, it boasts an unexpected sweetness that manages to balance out all that body.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real “grippy” quality about this wine. The tannins are upfront but are quickly sopped up with all the black cherry, blackberry, and blueberry components. Touches of cocoa extend into the long and dry finish.

Bottom Line:

If you’re in need of a well-structured wine that can pair with paella as easily as it pairs with grilled steak, this is the wine for you. It’s got just the right body to hold up to red meat but it won’t overpower a rice dish full of lighter proteins.

Whispering Angel The Palm Rosé

Total Wine

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $14

The Wine:

Now here is a rosé that captures the essence of Provence. It’s crisp, slightly dry, and oozing with fresh aromatics that ring of sunshine and coastlines — just as a Provencal rosé should. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan, this energetic and vibrant wine is the trendier, pinker little sister to the famous Whispering Angel Rosé.

Tasting Notes:

The freshness of this wine is catapulted by raspberry and redcurrant notes on the palate. It’s light-weight, with a short finish but still manages to invigorate the senses with its vibrancy.

Bottom Line:

This is a vacation in a bottle, featuring almost all of the qualities Whispering Angel is loved for but at half the price.

La Marca Prosecco

Wine Chateau

ABV: 11%
Average Price: $15

The Wine:

This sparkling wine is made from a blend of grapes native to the Veneto region of Prosecco, Italy. The golden-straw colored juice boasts lively, snappy bubbles that dance in the glass.

Tasting Notes:

Mineral undertones amplify the hints of green apple, grapefruit, and lemon while simultaneously washing the palate with freshness. The finish gets an upgrade with citrus and honeysuckle to complete that full joyous feeling only a sparkling wine can provide.

Bottom Line:

This is a solid bottle that can take brunch mimosas and blinis to the next level when topped off with a splash of orange or lychee juice.

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