Sunday, March 16, 2008

Trader Joe's for Wine?

In terms of wine, Trader Joe's is best known for Two Buck Chuck--Charles Shaw wines selling for $2 a bottle in California and a bit more than that in the rest of the country. I've tried Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay and found it decent enough, although not as good, in my opinion, as other low-priced options on the market such as Crane Lake and Crow Canyon, which are widely available at places such as Meijer's and Hardings grocery chains.

For imported wines, Trader Joe's representatives scour the world for good values and often strike gold as they did with the Italian Wines I've reviewed, Nerello del Bastardo and Epicuro Aglianico. The store also offers a zesty Pinot Grigio Venezie for $3.99. Wines imported from the Southern Rhone in France often come from DuPeloux, a negociant who offers good value wines, particularly in strong vintages. I have been intrigued by inexpensive wines from Spain and Portugal but haven't tried any.

Trader Joe's also has some Australian wines that are generally not found elsewhere, such as Terra Australis. It's probably a second label for a winery such as Tyrrell's. For about $4.99, Terra Australis offers a good unoaked version of Shiraz and Chardonnay. For a dollar more, the Terra Australis Reserve bottlings have new oak qualities and are more typical of Australian Shiraz. A few months ago, Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor, MI offered Climbing Shiraz and Chardonnay from the Orange District of New South Wales, Australia for $5.99. These same wines are now being sold elsewhere, including Target stores, for $11.99. This is the winery that was once known as Reynolds Vineyards.


  1. Came across your post as I am always hunting for value wines myself and mostly at Trader Joe's. I post all of my reviews on my blog at if you are interested in having a look. I recently posted my top 10 for Feb from TJ's which may be an interesting place to start!



  2. Thanks, Jason. I think I have visited your blog in the past but would like a look at your top 10.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  3. I've had terrible luck at Trader Joe's over the years and gave up on them some time ago. I remember thy were selling the worst Barolo I ever tasted.

  4. But why go for a Barolo (or a Chateauneuf du Pape or whatever) at a place like Trader Joe's? As with negociant wines from prestige appellations, you're going to be getting grapes that someone didn't want.

    But as an already declassified Nebbiolo, Nerello del Bastardo, is a good value at $5.99. It reminds me of the Dessilani Spanna I used to buy in the 1980s for $3.99/magnum--no pretentions, no winemaking tricks but simply good, honest varietal characteristics. I like it. The Valreas at Trader's Joes comes from a Southern Rhone coop, and some of these coops produce some pretty good wines, at least in strong vintages.

  5. Hi Fred, Great writing and blog.
    Have you tried the Chiusa Grande Tommolo Montelpuciano at Trader Joes?
    Wonderful value in an easy drinking daily wine.
    My review-

    BTW- The Wine Rack has a new look & feel.
    Keep up the good work.

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