Trader Joe's has many inexpensive red wine blends, but I find most to be slightly sweet, overly oaky and generally undistinguished. I was willing to give this one a try because the fruit comes from Mendocino County, presumably (if you believe the name) from the deep part of the Anderson Valley, just before the redwood forest that escorts you to the raging shores and the cool breezes of the northern Pacific Ocean. Alas, this wine has no Pinot Noir in the blend, but I still give it high marks for the quality of its fruit (Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot).
Very deep and dark, as you might expect. Very attractive peppery, spicy aromas and flavors. Reminds me a lot of a good, traditionally made Cotes du Rhone. Great structure that stands up well to a spicy, tomatillo green pork stew. I'm usually not a fan of young Petite Sirah but the tannins are well handled and backed up by peppery Syrah and fruity Zinfandel flavors. The aromas are particularly attractive. For $5.99, this is a very good wine for every day use.
An even better deal, and several steps upward in quality, is the Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir at Costco for $8. Other shops carry the Castle Rock California (as opposed to Mendocino) Pinot--a much less interesting wine for the same price. Mendocino fruit is worth seeking out, particularly Pinot Noir.