Trader Joe’s and I have become fast BFFs the past few months. Our community TJ’s is on my daily route to and from the local high school, so I zip in to stock up on smartly priced organics and other quick prep fare. I’ve also become one with the wine aisle, experimenting with lesser-known Old World and South American wines, which are nearly half the price of the widely stocked California labels. Charles Shaw doesn’t hit my basket, but I’m all for a white Bordeaux (sauvignon blanc) for $5. If you’re a wine aficionado, it’s not likely you’ll find ratings and scores on most of the stock. But if you’re looking to expand your horizons to new regions and varietals, Trader Joe’s is a go-to for great prices and varied choices. As expected, I’ve had a few bad wines, but also several tasty ones I’ve repurchased. Here are a few of my repeat buys, which I keep on hand for weekday pours.
Billy’s Shadow Red Blend, South Australia 2014 – 49 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent shiraz, 11 percent merlot for $9. This big red wine is reminiscent of Bordeaux, but the shiraz gives a licorice and spice oomph.
Les Portes de Bordeaux Rose 2016 – A blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, this crisp, refreshing rose is aromatic, dry, and a mere $7. I love to drink this while cooking.
Denada Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – This Chilean cab is just $8 and great with steak and charcuterie. It drinks more like a Napa cab with its bit of bottle age.
Chateau de Seguin Sauvignon de Seguin Bordeaux 2016 – I love sauvignon blanc and appreciate the Bordeaux style, which is less tart than New Zealand labels, and it’s only $7.
Lazy Bones Cabernet Franc 2015 – I just tried this $7 Paso Robles pick this week. I was lured by the label and a gnawing for cab franc. It went down fast! It has a great nose and a nice, mellow style.