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Could it be? Is autumn really here in Southern California? With the rainy evening last night, it sure felt like it was time for cozy season. Although it is supposed to be 88 degrees by Sunday, I decided to be inspired by the moment and chose to open a bottle of wine that would be appropriate for a chilly evening.
This week’s feature wine is a malbec, one of my favorite varieties of red wine.
The Argentinean wine is called La Finca. I chose this bottle of wine because I recently learned that I really enjoy the purple grape variety.
Malbecs are generally a full bodied red wine that are on the drier side, but not nearly as dry as a chianti. This bottle of wine was actually not as dry as I was expecting. It was not as sweet as a merlot and not as dry as a cabernet sauvignon.
What I found interesting about the history of malbec’s is that the grapes were originally grown in France as a blending grape. However, when the European outbreak of phylloxera occurred, most of the grapes from France were transported to Argenitina.
In Argentina, the malbec grapes were no longer used as a blending grape. Malbec is the major red variety planted in Argentina and is most often bottled as a single varietal.
The malbec is a 2011 oak aged wine with hints of blackcurrant, vanilla and spices.
The wine would best be enjoyed with meat dishes and pasta with meat and tomato sauces.
I always recommend a malbec as a crowd-pleasing red wine because people can enjoy it and not hate it whether they dislike dry wines or not.
This is a wine that I will be buying again, not only because it was enjoyable, but also because it was reasonably priced. The 12.5 percent alcohol containing wine is priced at $3.99.
Next week, I will explore something new. Until then, have some wine and relax; the weekend is here.
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This week has been a warm one in southern California, leaving me thirsting for something refreshing.
While doing my bi-weekly shopping, I chose to go down the aisle where Italy meets rejuvenating and stumbled upon a wonderful dry white wine.
This week’s featured wine is none other than the Contadino Pinot Grigio.
I am definitely no expert on Pinot Grigio’s but understand that they are one of the most popular Italian wines.
Pinot Grigio, also known as Pinot Gris, is produced from pinot grigio grapes, which are very similar to the grapes that make Pinot Noir wines, which is an Italian red wine. Early winemakers did not know whether to treat it as a red wine or white wine grape.
The secret to a good Pinot Grigio is picking the grapes as early as possible. As the grapes ripen, they lose a lot of the acidity.
Contadino Pinot Grigio comes from the Veneto.
The Italian import is a light, crisp dry white wine with hints of apples, melons, pears, and other citrusy and fruity tones. It has a soft finish.
It is a great wine to pair with pasta, salad, seafood, white meats and cheese or to have a glass on its own, as I am doing tonight.
The 2011 wine is exclusively sold to Trader Joe’s and is actually the best selling Pinot Grigio Trader Joe’s has on the market.
Contadino Pinot Grigio has a 12% alcohol level, and the wine is currently selling for a bargain of only $3.99, but the price fluctuates per market value.
While many might prefer a Pinot Grigio over a Sauvignon Blanc, I must say that I will choose the latter of the two. I think that a Sauvignon Blanc has a bolder body than the light Pinot Grigio, however I will definitely give this a try again, especially on a hot California day.
Next week, the weather is supposed to be a bit cooler, so I may lean for a red, but you never know out in Los Angeles!
Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here.
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Summer is over and it is time for the wine blog to continue.
The summer was full of warm nights, days at the beach and outings with friends.
My summer beverage was not wine, but mojitos. I love a nice refreshing mojito in the hot summer.
However, fall is here. It may not feel like it from the 100-degree weather we have in Southern California, but it is still fall.
Generally as soon as September rolls around, I am ready for my pumpkin spice lattes, but it is still far too hot for them.
Too hot for lattes, too summer’s over for mojitos, so it is time for a nice wine.
I walked through the wine aisle at Trader Joe’s and did not know what to try. I stopped at the sparkling wine section and looked to see if there were any sparkling wines I had not yet tried,
I wanted a sparkling wine so that I could share with my roommates (since I have to found that a lot of girls enjoy sparkling wine). Sure enough there were quite a few bottles that I had not yet tried.
This week, I chose Schloss Biebrich Demi Sec Sparkling Red wine.
The wine was a nice fruity, juicy, sparkling red wine. I enjoyed it as well as my roommates.
The wine is a blend of three red grapes and is imported from Germany. It has low alcohol content and is definitely sweet.
I think that this wine would be perfect for a dessert wine. I served it chilled after a long day of school and work, and we all appreciated the after dinner wine.
The wine has an 11.5% alcohol level. Because of the low alcohol level, my roommates that do not enjoy wine loved this pick.
The Schloss Beiebrich has a sister wine which is a sparkling white. Maybe next week?
Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here.
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It is week six of my Trader Joe’s wine blog.
Last week, the featured wine was the ACRE Chardonnay. For a chardonnay, I must say that it was pretty good.
This week, I picked one of my favorite wines.
It is a very crisp and citrusy white wine. This week’s featured Trader Joe wine is the 2011 Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
The Piction Bay is a sauvignon blanc produced in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.
The great thing about this wine is that it is absolutely delicious, and offered at a great price of $7.99. This wine is actually valued at $14.99 under a different brand’s label.
Here is a fun fact about Trader Joe’s.
The company has several ways in which they can offer quality items at such reasonable prices. We will touch on one of them today.
Do you ever wonder why you cannot find ANY of your favorite brand’s foods at Trader Joe’s?
Well, in reality, it is quite likely that you may be buying one of your favorite foods, but with a Trader Joe’s label on it AND at a better price.[This is not always true, because Trader Joe’s does have more natural versions of popular foods made exclusively for TJ’s].
Trader Joe’s puts its own label on most of its merchandise, which makes it possible to sell items at low prices.
When it comes to wine, wineries and producers know that Trader Joe’s is a great resource for getting rid of their “excess” wine.
The “excess” is the wine that the wineries do not sell to other retailers. In turn they sell the wine to Trader Joe’s. TJ’s puts its label on the wines and can offer it at a low price because they buy it for less from the wineries.
What I love about this little fun fact is that I think I know which branded wine Picton Bay may be. I think the flavors are nearly identical. I could be wrong of course, but I really think that Trader Joe’s Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc is the branded wine, found in many stores, Frog Haven Sauvignon Blanc.
So, I conducted a mini investigation.
It all started last year when I tasted Frog Haven. It was the first white wine I had ever actually liked. The wine was so crisp, and I tasted citrus and pear. I never could figure out what I was tasting in wines before, so I considered this revolutionary.
The problem with Frog Haven was that each bottle was $14.99 at BevMo. As a college student, I do not think that consuming a $15 bottle of wine as regularly as I would have liked to was such a good idea.
So, given that Trader Joe’s has such a large variety of reasonably priced wines, I decided to look for an alternative. After a few bottles, I found Picton Bay, and here is what I can deduce from my extremely informal study:
Frog Haven is also from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the bottles are the same shape and color and both wines are twist cap with the same colored cap.
Point being, whether the two wines are the same or not, I know I can buy a wine that is equally satisfying for half the price at Trader Joe’s.
Picton Bay is a wonderful sauvignon blanc and has a 13% alcohol content.
Summer is coming and the warm weather is just around the corner. The crisp and refreshing wine is definitely something I would recommend.
Next week, I am thinking I’ll try something featured in the store’s flyer. Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here.
It is week five of Trader Joe’s wine week.
This week, I was really uncertain about what wine to choose. The weather continually fluctuated and I just could not make up my mind about a wine.
At my local Trader Joe’s there was a large display featuring two wines. I studied the display as a customer grabbed two bottles of one of the wines.
I asked her if the wine was any good, and she said that she had not yet tasted it, but she really likes Russian River Valley wine and was hopeful about the wine.
This bit of advice was enough to get me to want to buy a bottle.
This week’s featured wine is a 2011 vintage from the prestigious cool weather Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. ACRE Russian Valley Chardonnay is an elegant and clean Chardonnay that has crisp citrus characteristics.
I was also really particular in my wine choice this week because my wine loving aunt from Tennessee just came into town this week. I wanted to include her in my wine tasting.
This aunt has always been a mentor to me and I wanted to impress her with my wine choice. I know she likes red blends, but I decided to branch out and try something that would be new for her too.
I allowed her to participate in the review.
"The nose is almost non-existant," she said, "it also has watery legs".
Watery legs? Non-existant smell? Was now the time to tell her that I put ice in the wine to chill it faster? I think so…
Wine tip of the day: Never, ever, put ice in your wine. You are much better off putting the bottle in the freezer for 15 minutes.
So, I made a major wine-mistake. I chose to put ice in the wine because somebody had done it for me. Although ice in my wine confused me, I understood why the choice was made because it actually chilled the wine faster.
Anywho, point here is, if someone puts ice in your wine, know that it is wrong. It affects the trail that the wine leaves on the glass, which is apparently the “legs”. Also, I did not think that an ice cube could affect the smell of the wine, but it did affect the “nose”.
My aunt said that the nose of the wine affects the taste.
So, we sidetracked on wine not-to-dos, let’s get back to the wine.
It is produced from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes. It is from the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and the alcohol content is 13.5 percent.
I must say that I am not usually a Chardonnay fan, my preferred white is Sauvignon Blanc. However, I did enjoy the wine, especially when I poured myself a glass with no ice.
I liked how fruity the wine tasted, it was almost flowery.
At $7.99 a bottle, I would definitely buy it again, especially if I was going to impress Chardonnay drinkers.
Next week, we’ll see what inspires me. Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here.
It is week four of the Trader Joe’s wine blogging adventure!
This week, I ventured away from the reds. It may be just me, but the bold red wines are not exactly what I crave in 90 degree weather.
Last Sunday, I was speaking to one of the managers at Trader Joe’s. We got on the topic of wines, and how we both have a liking for drier wines.
I told him that I like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s and he had just the recommendation for me.
This week’s featured wine is not a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This fourth featured wine is called Seccola, an Italian sparkling wine.
The wine is a Trader Joe’s exclusive, and resembles Prosecco, but is more reasonable. When the manager spoke about and described this wine, I went straight to the wine section, enthusiastic to find the bottle.
I searched in the sparkling wine section, looked for a bottle about $10-$15 and wondered why I could not find the wine. I went back to find the manager I spoke to and he directed me to a bottle priced at only $3.99.
I was a little skeptical as to what I was about to purchase, because I usually am not happy with the budget-friendly wines (by budget friendly, I mean college student budget-friendly aka under $5)
I went home, put the bottle in the refrigerator, and forgot about it until a couple nights back, when I wanted something cold and remembered I had some homework to do ;)
I must say, I do not know if it was the heat getting to me, or if this was really just good cheap wine, but I was very pleased with the recommendation.
The wine was nice and refreshing on its own, but my roommate and I decided to take it a step further and make “mangosas!” [the exclamation point needs to be included as part of the name because there is great emphasis on the word].
Basically, a “Mangosa!” is the combination of mango juice with the sparkling wine. We probably did not create a new drink, and we probably did not create a new name of a drink, but we definitely did enjoy our inventive mimosa-inspired beverage.
Back to the wine, It is created from two Italian grape varieties: Malvasia and Garanega.
If you would like some fancy description here it is… the wine is fresh with a light-golden color, and fruity aromatic flavors. It is a bubbly wine, not to the extent of Champagne, but not nearly as flat as a Chardonnay.
I recommend this wine, not only because it tastes good, but also because it is under-priced and an extreme value. Like I said, I was looking for a wine in a whole other price range after hearing the ravings of this wine.
Next time you are in need of a sparkling wine, especially if you are going to use it as part of a cocktail (aka sangria), save yourself a few bucks and try Seccola.
If the blazing heat does not leave us next week, expect another light wine. Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here
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Tis week three of the Trader Joe’s wine blogging adventure!
Last week, I featured one of my go to red’s, Cocobon. The wine is easy to drink and a crowd pleaser.
This week, I ventured out of my comfort zone, and decided to try something new, just as I promised!
This week’s featured wine is “Babble”, a 2008 Red Blend containing 13.70% alcohol.
The bottle was definitely eye-catching sitting on the store’s “New Item” shelf.
The label has a picture of animals surrounding a rat with a glass of wine. The rat appears to be the connoisseur describing the wine.
”It’s an insouciant little vintage that’s both playful and brash, brawny and confident, but with just a smidgen of unctuousness that allows its provocative flavors to blend into a voluptuous tastescape-evocative of a more well-muscled wine but without the plonk one would normally associate with such a naturally grandiose and typically overstated varietal all wrapped up in a piquant finish that’s not short on opulence,” says the rat.
The description of the wine is, as the name of the wine states, all a bunch of babble. I mean this literally.
I was not too impressed with this wine when i took my first couple of sips. I was doing homework and felt that some wine would relax me a bit, except I did not get past four sips. My roommate came into my room about an hour later to see what I was up to. She saw that I was having some wine and asked to taste it when she saw my unsatisfied face.
SIDENOTE: My roommate is a fan of sweet, sparkling wines. Have you ever heard of Stella Rosa? It is a very sweet, low alcohol containing wine. My roommate NEVER likes the wines I drink.
Back to my story, she said, and I quote because I must stress how shocked I was, “Hmmm, this is not as bad as the other ones [wines] you’ve bought.”
My jaw dropped, and I glared at her because I really did not know how to respond to that. I reminded myself that everyone has their own taste in wine, but how does this make any sense?! I looked at the clock, and noticed an hour had passed since I had opened the bottle. The wine had aerated, or breathed, which can make a big difference in what a wine tastes like.
I figured that because my roommate, who cannot stand most red wines I buy, liked the wine, I had better try it again. Sure enough, the wine tasted much better after breathing for an hour.
I bet you are wondering why I originally did not like the wine. I am no expert here, but I thought that the wine was on the flat side. I do not mean flat as in a bubbly lost its bubbles; I mean flat as in the wine did not do anything for me except leave a bad flavor in my mouth.
After aerating for an hour, the wine had a softer finish and was more enjoyable to drink.
The Mendocino County Red Wine is blend of:
36% Petite Sirah
The flavors found in the wine include plum, bacon fat and blackberry preserves with considerable rounded tannins in the finish.
I would recommend this wine be consumed with dinner, not on its own.
To sum up whether I liked this wine, I will create a scenario a true Joe’s customer can relate to. Trader Joe’s customers are always heart broken when finding out about their favorite foods being discontinued. With that in mind, if this wine gets discontinued, my heart will remain in tact.
The wine is a Trader Joe’s exclusive offered at $6.99 a bottle.
I do not regret buying it, and I am glad I gave it a second chance after it aerated. It was definitely a valuable lesson.
Next week, the wine choice will be a mystery to the both of us. Maybe I will ask an employee for a suggestion? Maybe I will pick at random? Maybe I will choose something foreign?
Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here.
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It is week 2 of my Trader Joe’s wine blogging adventure. Last week, the wine featured was the best selling product in store, Charles Shaw. This week, the spotlight will be on Cocobon, a California red table wine.
I must say, although I am trying to explore and learn about new wines, this is not the first time that I am purchasing this specific bottle.
I discovered this wine last year. Several of my customers suggested I buy this wine because of how smooth it is. It is not too often that I have several people recommend the same wine for me to try, so I decided to pick this bottle up when I was in need for a red.
I served this wine at dinner with the family. My parents are not much of drinkers, but I like an occasional glass with my meal. Because my parents had a couple of friends over, I felt it was an appropriate time to serve the Cocobon.
My parents and their friends could not stop praising the wine. I tasted it as well, and had to agree that it was quite smooth and easy to drink.
The only problem with using my parents and their friends as proof that the wine is good, is that they are not much of wine drinkers.
There are three things that come to my mind when a non-wine drinker tells me that a wine is “good”:
1. The question of whether or not the drinkers ought to be believed.
I think that people will tell me what they think I want to hear. In this case, if a non-wine drinker says they like a wine that I love, they may be saying that because frankly, they know nothing about wine; they do not want to seem stupid, and at least they are agreeing with me.
2. The question of whether the non-wine drinker’s opinion could be valid.
I understand that everyone has their own taste in good wine, but why would I believe someone’s opinion if he or she cannot tell the difference between a cabernet and a merlot. The wines are very different, but to these unseasoned wine drinkers, a red wine is either strong or mild.
3. The concern of the drinker’s reputation.
People think that those who drink wine are more sophisticated than others. With this in mind, I think it is safe to say that middle-aged adults do not want to risk the reputation of their sophistication by not being as urbane as the 22 year old epicure. Although, I do enjoy my occasional Whiskey Sour, I must say, the majority of drinks I order tend to be wine. But who says that makes me sophisticated?
Back to the Cocobon, the wine is a rich and silky with the perfect amount of sweetness. I have had it with dinner, but this week I simply had a glass of wine with some dark chocolate, which created the perfect pair.
It is a full bodied wine with notes of toffee, vanilla and coconut creme. There are soft tannins left at the tip of your tongue when finished.
Given that Cocobon is a red table wine, a variety of grapes are blended together to form this wine. Thanks to some connections, I was able to get the exact breakdown of the grape varietals:
25% Petite Syrah
1% Petite Verdot
At $6.99 a bottle, I think that the Cocobon is definitely a red table wine worth trying. It is much milder than a cabernet or merlot, which should appeal to non-wine drinkers looking for a red wine.
I am a fan of drier wines, but I must admit that I enjoy this wine, or at least I have the past several times that I have bought it.
If you are looking for a wine to take to your Easter or Passover shenanigans, this is a nice, easy drink.
Next week, we will branch out to something new, literally, and try a wine that I have no idea about. Til then, have some wine and relax, the weekend is here.
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Trader Joe’s is the neighborhood grocery store, where you can buy most anything you need. The store carries a wide range of foods from all over the world. Trader Joe’s is where you can buy your everyday essentials, but its unusual, reasonable finds are what make the store so popular. From Italian Truffle Cheese to Milk Chocolate Joe’s O’s, from gluten free granola, to pound plus chocolate bars, Trader Joe’s has a variety of unique, fun foods.
The foods may be great, but for wine lovers, the store is a dream come true. Offering wines at some of the greatest values available, Trader Joe’s is home to a wide variety of wines whether it be a Californian or an import from around the world.
When I turned twenty-one, I wanted to write a blog about Trader Joe’s wines. I wanted to taste a different bottle of wine every day for a year. However, I realized that many people would consider me…
2. A Drunk
3. An unfocused college student
However, the method behind my idea was that…
1. I will learn about wines quite quickly.
2. I will be able to recommend a good wine.
3. I could really impress some people with my wine expertise at such a young age.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY
4. there is no blog about Trader Joe’s wines, and it could be a great resource for shoppers like me.
A year later, I decided to begin this blog. However, I will not be drinking a bottle a day, I will be drinking a bottle a week. As much as I would love to pour myself a glass each night, in reality, as a college student, I pour myself some coffee most nights to be sure I can stay up to do work and meet my deadlines.
So, what is the first bottle that I chose to feature in my Trader Joe’s Wine blog? Well, I could not choose just one. It is like choosing the third Harry Potter book and not reading any of the other ones.
The wine that Trader Joe’s is most famous for, is the legendary “Two-Buck Chuck”. Better known as Charles Shaw, the wine gets its nickname because of its unbelievable low price of $1.99 [prices may vary on the East Coast].
There are seven varieties of Charles Shaw to choose from: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, White Zinfandel, Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. At one point in the year, there are two other wines also available; I want to say the Viogner and Nouveau?
The two-dollar bottle is definitely not what I consider worth drinking, but I will definitely use it for cooking! Every time I shop at Trader Joe’s, and I must say that I am in there at least four times a week, I see several shoppers with at least one case of the wine in their shopping carts.
Most stores have the cases of all the varieties available in store. Just ask a Trader Joe crewmember for any help finding it.
I will not go into detail about what these wines taste like, because I am not about to recommend anyone drink them. But, Charles Shaw is still wine, it still has a high alcohol content, and it is still the best-selling Trader Joe wine, and for fun, why not have a Two-Buck Chuck tasting with some friends?
Next week, we will get more detailed on a specific bottle of wine. Red or white? Domestic or imported? You will have to check back next week for my wine review.