Trader Joe’s Wine Alert

If you’re a wine lover, you’ll know that the more you taste, especially as you taste better wines, the more difficult it is to find a truly satisfying wine for a bargain price.  By ‘bargain’ I’m talking under 10 bucks, although it’s easier to find a nine dollar wine with some complexity than, say, a five dollar wine.  I miss the days when a bottle of Black Mountain Fat Cat Cabernet from TJ’s was all I needed to make my tastebuds happy.  I still have a deep sentimental attachment to that particular wine…but it doesn’t quite do it for me the way it used to.  So when I find a really good wine for under 10 bucks these days, let alone five bucks, it’s a gift from the gods…specifically Bacchus.  And I found one today.   Dave and I were doing a quick TJ’s run before the monthly Sisters in Crime Nor Cal meeting and…

Hmmm.  I shouldn’t be sharing this information.  I should be hoarding it like Smaug horded his gold before those nasty little hobbits (we hates them, we do, yessssss, preciousssss) showed up and ruined his mellow dragon lifestyle.  I should keep my mouth shut and insure that the supply of my new grapey love will be at my local TJs for a few months.

And yet…

I find an unsuspected spark of nobility within my dragonish soul and even a bit of guilt at the thought of NOT sharing this new wine find. So…here it goes.

2005 Chariot Gypsy.  The label shows a woman in a red head scarf astride a chariot, very much in the vein of a Major Arcana tarot card.  The back only says it was bottled by Jim Neal wines in St. Helena, California.  Nothing about varietals.  I have no idea what grapes were used in the making of this wine (although its rich, spicy characteristics lead me to suspect a zinfandel or syrah in the blend).  The price tag?  $4.99.  The placard in the store said One Time Buy.  When it’s gone, it’s gone.  So I had to try it.  We took it to the SinC meeting and cracked it open aong with an inexpensive Spanish cava.  The cava was okay.  The Chariot?


This is a winner, folks.  As mentioned, it’s rich and spicy, almost like a Sangiovese (hmmm…maybe…) and goes REALLY well with pizza.  It’s got a lot more complexity than most 4.99 wines and the bottle was quickly emptied by the attending Sisters who are into red wine.   We stopped at TJ’s on our way home and bought some more of it to make sure the one bottle hadn’t been a fluke.

It wasn’t.

So if you’re a wino and have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood — or know someone who willl ship it to you — hie yourself hence and get some of this wine!  You will not be sorry.

I will, though.  Because when it’s gone…it’s gone.

Now excuse me while I curl up on top of the remaining bottles


13 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Wine Alert

  1. Thanks for sharing! I have had many of what I consider to be the very best Trader Joe’s Wines but not this one which is now immediately at the top of my list. And oh, I am in NorCal so we may be banging elbows for bottles soon….

  2. And ust so you know, it’s a blend of Sangiovese (hah! got that right!), Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Cab. Talked to the wine guy at my local TJ’s today…

  3. Five buck? I wonder if I can find it here in Michigan. I got turned on to discriminating wine tasting 35 years ago and it was hard to find a $5 complex wine even then in the 70″s. Pretty cool!

  4. Hmmm…not sure if that one will be at the Michigan TJ’s, but I’d sure call and ask ’em! You beat me in visiting blogs today…

  5. Oh, Happy Day! Trader Joe’s arrived in the Atlanta area a couple of years ago–much to my delight. I had visited a friend in LA many years ago and remembered our TJ’s trip as one of the highlights!

    i’ll be hitting the store in my neighborhood to check out this wine. Thanks for the tip!

  6. when I was a student I was a lambrini girl (yup money was that tight!) Now anything too cheap and nasty gives me a bitch of a headache.

  7. I highly recommend this wine and would definitely say that it’s NOT of the cheap and nasty variety!

    Hope they have it in Atlanta, Karen!

  8. I’m with you! We had this over the weekend, and I couldn’t remember where I’d bought it(either Costco or TJ’s ). TJ’s it is, I hope they have some left. It’s a little sweeter(Zin, Petite Syrah) than most reds, which I like. It’s a very good wine!

  9. I haven’t met anyone who’s tried the stuff that wasn’t blown away by it… I hope you found some more!

  10. Thanks for the nice remarks folks. I make the Chariot Gypsy, gettin’ ready to bottle the 2006 so it will be back in the stores for the holidays!

  11. Ah!!!! Jim!!! We love you!!!! I’ll try and make my Chariot last until the holidays… but it’s just so yummy!

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