Some interesting discoveries in Trader Joe’s wines
It’s tricky, finding wines to write about when you’re under a stay at home order. I have no problem with the stay at home part, but finding wines to recommend that can be purchased locally or ordered for delivery is tricky, since choices vary wildly from region to region. Luckily, I bought a wide assortment of Trader Joe’s wines right before the order to shelter within the walls of our own homes.
To be honest, I rarely shop for wines at Trader Joe’s. I do browse their selection on occasion, just to stay aware of what the retailer sells. And in spring and summer I’ll pick up Rosés from time to time.
Perhaps it was the mass hysteria that surrounded me as I attempted a weekly shopping trip on the day Covid-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic. It’s not as if it was a need to dodge the woman throwing every pizza in the frozen food aisle Frisbee-style into a waiting cart, but I found myself seeking solace among the cases and bottles that line the western wall of my local Trader Joe’s.
From among my purchases that day, I’ve selected four Trader Joe’s wines I believe are available throughout most of the U.S. If you, like our family, have reduced your shopping down to one trip per week, these are wines you should be able to easily grab and enjoy as you await your next weekly trip into “civilization.” (If you’re trying to avoid leaving home, most of these wine recommendations are also available for delivery from Wine.com and many local retailers.)
My wine recommendations
2018 Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay
This is truly one of the best buys you can hope to find in a White Burgundy. I’ve long respected Jadot as a producer and this wine reminds me of why the label is one of the best-known in France. A medium-bodied Chardonnay, this wine offers lovely apple and lime notes. Fresh and lively, it could easily become your house wine if Chardonnay is your drink.
La Coquerluche Rosé
If you’ve ever browsed the Rosé section of your local Trader Joe’s, you’ll remember this one as the squat bottle with the rooster splashed across the label. I had some reservations about trying this $6 Rosé but was pleasantly surprised by its summery, easy drinking style. Dominant notes are of lemon and orange oil, though I have to
say, the wine is light on flavor. But what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in approachability, (not to mention price). Unfortunately this seems to be a Trader Joe’s wine exclusive, so if you’re shopping elsewhere, you might have to reach for a pricier Rosé.
2018 Decoy Pinot Noir
If you’re a Merlot lover, then you’re probably already familiar with Duckhorn Vineyard’s Decoy label. These are Duckhorn’s everyday drinking wines. And yes, you may be questioning my sanity in choosing a Pinot Noir from a famous Merlot producer. But it was promoted at under $15 and I couldn’t help but be curious to find what this inexpensive Pinot Noir was all about. The wine is a pleasant rendition of Pinot Noir with cherry and cola and woodsy notes. There’s no mistaking it for any other grape variety. It is a “safe” choice and just the right thing if you’re looking for an inexpensive but well-crafted red for some mindless drinking.
Mumm Napa Brut Rosé
This was the most expensive of my Trader Joe’s wine purchases. And it was also my
favorite. At just under $20, it’s exactly what you would hope for from a bottle of American Sparkling Wine made in the traditional Champagne method. It’s made with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, which means that berries and darker fruit notes, like plum, dominate. It’s a lovely, voluptuous Sparkling Wine with faint sweetness and a crisp finish.
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