PDA

View Full Version : Wines from TJ's



bprescot
02-20-2012, 02:14 PM
In preparation for a Napa trip where we'll be doing a TON of tastings, the wife and I decided we need to start "training" (i.e. drink a tone more wine than we do). And wouldn't you know it, this weekend we opened up a bottle from Trader Joe's that was pretty tasty the first night, but after pumping it and coming back to it two days later, was simply awesome! So the wife and I will be doing a whirlwind tour of TJ's and I'll post up the ones that seem to us like good bargains. Also ones that should be avoided at all cost! And we're limiting ourselves to less than $10 and only bottles that we've never seen anywhere else. No Bogles, StoneHedge's etc.

Anybody want to kick this off with some recommendations for wines to try out?

-Ben

tk59
02-20-2012, 02:30 PM
I tried a pretty nice zin the other day from TJ's... Leonhart? It's like $11, though. I wouldn't age it but it isn't as over the top as a lot of zins and has a nice complexity and mouthfeel. I thought it was the best I've had in that price range in the last couple of years. I really enjoyed it.

bprescot
02-20-2012, 03:54 PM
I'll keep a look out for it, but I should probably note that our local TJ's has a VERY small wine section. We may not have a lot of what a larger CA TJ's will.

Amon-Rukh
02-20-2012, 05:03 PM
My fiancee and I enjoy a Spanish wine from TJs called Slow Paseo as well as the Joseph Händler Riesling. They've kind of become our default "cheap but tasty" options for red and white, respectively. Also good is one from the Priorat region called Reves, which should squeak in under the $10 limit. Definitely to avoid was La Granja, which had an amusing flying pig on the label, but was way too acidic and sour-ish for us.

None of those are CA wines, but when it comes to wine, the more the merrier, right? :)

bikehunter
02-20-2012, 05:20 PM
Hard to recommend a wine from a Napa Valley Winery for 10 bucks, Ben. Have to ask you tho'....by pumped up you mean...you saved it and drank it the next night? When I worked the wineries in Napa Valley (25 years) when people would ask me about the latest gadget for saving an open bottle of wine, I would tell them....I have no clue. This has never been a problem or concern at my house. ;-)

bprescot
02-20-2012, 05:45 PM
Yeah, we used one of those cheap wine-saver pumps.

When we opened the wine, there was just a LOT of sugar there, but not much structure, which was odd. These are the guys that run Atlas Peak, and we know the winemaker's other side efforts. Sure, his wines can have a lot of fruit, but they're never sugary sweet and they ALWAYS have structure. So we got out the trusty rubber stopper and wine pump, and tried it again two day's later. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I've got another bottle lying around, so we'll try this one again, though maybe just try opening it an hour or two before having, or maybe decanting it for a bit (which seems silly for a $8 bottle, but still.) I'll do some notes on everything we like, including this one, over the next few weeks.

bikehunter
02-20-2012, 05:50 PM
What type of wine, Ben? A wine that supposed to be slightly sweet? A dry wine that is sweet in the least (I don't mean fruity) shouldn't be sweet...ever. Is sweet or dry your preference?

bprescot
02-20-2012, 06:57 PM
Well I actually just picked up the first load from Trader Joe's. No Leonhardt to be seen, but I'll keep an eye out.

2009 Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Cocobon Red Blend
2008 NO Chardonnay
2010 Revelation Chardonnay
2010 Comique Revolution Blanc
2009 Rendition Zin
2010 Piesporter Michelsberg Spaetlese
2009 Bogle Petite Syrah
2010 Found Object Gewurtztraminer
2010 Roccolata Sangiovese
2011 Ferngreen Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Trentare Rosso Salento
2009 Caretaker Pinot Noir

SpikeC
02-20-2012, 07:09 PM
What, no Charles Shaw?

tgraypots
02-20-2012, 07:56 PM
L'Authentique
La Ferme Julien

bprescot
02-20-2012, 07:56 PM
If it gets a recommendation I'll try it. Think I've had it before. I've had worse wines that cost way more, but I don't remember that there was any real reason to have it again besides it's price. Could be wrong, though.

tk59
02-20-2012, 11:03 PM
Yeah, we used one of those cheap wine-saver pumps.

When we opened the wine, there was just a LOT of sugar there, but not much structure, which was odd. These are the guys that run Atlas Peak, and we know the winemaker's other side efforts. Sure, his wines can have a lot of fruit, but they're never sugary sweet and they ALWAYS have structure. So we got out the trusty rubber stopper and wine pump, and tried it again two day's later. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I've got another bottle lying around, so we'll try this one again, though maybe just try opening it an hour or two before having, or maybe decanting it for a bit (which seems silly for a $8 bottle, but still.) I'll do some notes on everything we like, including this one, over the next few weeks.

I'm confused... Anyway, nice list. I've tried a few of them in past vintages, all decent. I'm looking forward to your comments. Maybe I'll follow along. :)

bprescot
02-21-2012, 12:06 AM
Hey Tinh,

Re-reading what I wrote I would also be confused lol! Well, I might as well go ahead and do a proper write up of the first wine, rather than the informal one above. I'm no wordsmith, but hopefully I can at least make it understandable this time.

2009 Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon - $7.99 on sale ($9.99 regular)
This is a neat wine bottled by Nueva Famiglia, the same guys that own Ancient Peaks. (I previously wrote Atlas Peaks, but I was being silly. They own Ancient Peaks.) The lead winemaker in the group also runs his own boutique label called Sinor-Lavallee, where he produces amazing Pinot Noirs. Needless to say, I was expecting BIG things from this wine, and it completely delivered... eventually. The full story is below, but the summary is this. GET THIS WINE and let it open! It won't taste like it needs it, but it does. The back of the label says to decant 15-30 minutes, and I completely believe it.

Now the long story....

Initial Tasting: We opened this guy up on a Friday. There was a lot of fruit on the nose. Lots of bright berry aroma and a fair bit of alcohol too. On the first sip we tasted ... Sugar. This thing was Super sweet. Rock Candy level of sweet. There was fruit there, sure, but there was also just a lot of sugar, and not a whole lot else going on. We didn't taste a ton of tannins or structure, though that might be because we were focusing solely on the sugar rush, so we figured that the sugar bomb was all this wine was going to have to offer. We poured ourselves a small glass each to have with dinner, and immediately used one of these guys (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=vacu+vin&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=Ulh&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1525&bih=649&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=12989149514566588683&sa=X&ei=LxNDT8X_IMmcgQfgutmcCA&ved=0CK8BEPMCMAI) to save the wine for cooking with later (and potentially drinking while cooking!!). To re-iterate, that was Friday.

Second Tasting: Sunday we had some good news to celebrate so we opened up a very nice wine to go with a somewhat nice dinner (What can I say? I only had 1 hour's notice that we'd have something to celebrate. I made the best meal I could with what I had). We didn't drink all of the wine, so we went to get one of those rubber wine corks to pump it (see previous link) but couldn't find any. The only one we saw was keeping the Liberte "fresh". Since the Liberte had been such a disappointment, we immediately stole the rubber stopper from the Liberte and used it on the nicer bottle of wine. And merely on a whim, we decided to see what our impromptu "aging" had done to the Liberte. HO-LY SH!T!!! This stuff had completely transformed. There was structure, there was ripe fruit and blackberries, and cedar, and just a bit of spice. It was full and luscious. Now, it wasn't as nice as the wine we had just been drinking, but I had NO problems transitioning from that $45 wine to this one. I mean, you could easily tell the difference between them when tasting side-by-side, but for it's $8 price tag that $45 wine should have blown this one out of the water, and it didn't. We couldn't figure out what had happened, until we finally saw the back of the label where they specifically tell you to decant this wine for 15-30 minutes. That's right. Decant an $8 wine. No seriously. Do it!

Well I picked up a few more bottles of this today, and next time we open it, we will be following the wine-maker's instructions. I'll update this again after doing it the "right" way.

-Ben

bprescot
02-23-2012, 11:29 AM
Tried two more Trader Joe wines one of which we will absolutely be buying again.

2010 Cocobon Red Blend: This was a pleasant red, but didn't have a lot going on. If this were served at a large party or wedding, I'd be happy, and the planners would probably save a bundle as it's only $7. With that said, I have no real desire to have it again. It delivers a nice punch of fruit up front, but doesn't have mcuh structure to back it up. The jammy flavors are balanced with some nice acidity in the finish and it stands up well to the pasta I had made. Would probably have been better with steak and potatoes, but overall it was good. If I needed a bottle to round out a case, I'd probably grab this.Definitely worth a try, but I'm not going to go out of my way to get another bottle.

2011 Ferngreen Sauvignon Blanc: This is a nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I don't have anything else to say, really. It would be like if you took all your favorite Marlboro Sauvignon Blancs and took the average of all of them, you'd get this. It's just the proto-typical Sauvignon Blanc. A versatile wine that is nice and easy to drink. Nothing exciting, but nothing bad either. Well, I guess there's one exciting thing: It's $5.99. I'll DEFINITELY be picking this one up again.

tk59
02-27-2012, 11:56 PM
I picked up a bottle of 2008 Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano at TJ's today for $10. While you're not gonna mistake it for a top flight VNdM, it's a surprisingly nice classically styled wine.:thumbsup:

bprescot
03-01-2012, 12:27 PM
2010 Comique Revolution Blanc: Light and fruity. Peaches, and a bit of tropicality. Not a lot of acid and dissipates fast. Won't be picking anymore up, probably, but that might be a style thing. Worth a try at $4.99 I suppose.

2010 Roccolata Sangiovese: Pleasant enough. Would be a great cooking wine and not bad to have a glass while cooking either. $3.99 makes the price absolutely right. I'll probably add a bottle or two for when I need something to cook with but neither the wife or I feel like having more than a sip. Great for company when the company doesn't know about or care for wine as it's completely inoffensive and inexpensive.