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Trader Joe’s Wine Guide (Part 1)

Many of us are only stepping out once a week to grocery shop and watching our budgets during these uncertain times. That doesn’t mean we can’t drink well at home and use this time as an opportunity to try something new. Here is my budget friendly ($15 and under!) guide to Trader Joe’s wine so you can SKIP the two buck Chuck!

Trader Joe’s Wine Tip #1: The best value for quality at the grocery store are in the imported wines. Looking through the California wine section I found that most of the wines were mass produced, and priced based on brand recognition and not quality.

Louis Jadot Macon-Villages, Chardonnay $11.99

This is an affordable entry level wine into the world of French Burgundian chardonnay. Burgundy is the birthplace of Chardonnay and most white wines from the region are made with this grape. If this is your first French style Chardonnay, it will be very different from its California counterparts as you will not get buttery, creamy flavors. This is a much lighter and brighter wine which will work well with seafood and poultry.

Sauvignon de Seguin, Bordeaux $6.99

White wines from Bordeaux are delicious! Try them! It’s easy to be intimidated by a region like Bordeaux with some of its most renowned red wines costing upwards of thousands of dollars but there are many wine producers that make excellent wines at very affordable prices. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is an absolute steal at $6.99. Its floral, citrus character is delightful and drinking well above asking price. It’s amazing to me how many people try white Bordeaux and end up liking it.

Reserve des Chastelles, Tavel Rosé $8.99

I was shocked to see this wine at Trader Joe’s. Tavel is a rosé only region and has historically been known for producing serious rosé. Tavel rosé was a favorite beverage of popes, kings and Ernest Hemingway. Now “the forgotten rosé” due to the popularity of the Provence version it is still absolutely worth drinking. These wines are usually in the $20 range so to see it under $10… Lets just say I was highly skeptical that it would deliver a solid wine. It totally did. If you like Provence rosé, this is going to be a different experience (delicious none the less). It takes a bit of time in the glass to really open up (10 minutes and you’re good!). Pair it with poultry, salmon or pork. It’s also a fantastic wine to go with cheese and charcuterie plates.

Trader Joe’s Wine Tip #2: Look at the bottom shelf for gems.

Floriana, Gruner Veltliner $4.99

If you like pinot grigio, you may like gruner veltliner. It has similar characteristics and for $4.99 this is absolutely a better wine than $2 Chuck. Worth the $3 splurge. This is a food wine. Gruner veltliner is one of the most food friendly wines on the planet, it will work with most vegetables (canned or fresh), seafood, poultry, salad etc. etc…

Famille Perrin Reserve, Cotes Du Rhone $7.99

This grenache, syrah, mourvedre blend is one of the best values in the Rhone Valley coming from a top wine making family. For me this is a really great entry level everyday wine that gives you a good idea of what GSM blends are like from this region. It’s a great wine to pair with burgers, or a casual bbq and well worth the price.

Cheers and stay safe and healthy everyone!