Trader Joe’s Wine Haul – Part 5

Apparently it is going to be a Rosé kind of Summer!  I have already read several blog posts about various Rosés and I am certain the trend will continue – as a matter if fact, here’s another one.

I absolutely love a good Rosé so I purchased two when I bought my wine haul at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago.  The first one wasn’t great but would do in a pinch.  But this one, I would buy again (and again).  It is Josefina from Paso Robles, California, bottled at San Antonio Winery.  It is a Syrah which is a grape that thrives in the warm days and cool nights of Paso Robles.


As I have been old that Trader Joe’s has numerous wines bottled just for sale at their stores, I am making the assumption that this is one of them.  I couldn’t find any mention of it on the San Antonio Winery website and there was no website for Josefina.

This wine pours watermelon pink with hints of pink grapefruit on the nose.  On the palate you get a touch of citrus and red fruits such as strawberry and raspberry.  It is crisp, dry and refreshing, the kind of wine that will take the edge off a hot summer day as you lounge by the pool or sit outside to enjoy a sunset with colors that match what’s in your glass.

So far, I have come to the conclusion that you can get some great wines at Trader Joe’s for the money.  It doesn’t matter where you buy your wine, at some point you will buy one that doesn’t suit your palate.  Those are the ones you remember and you never buy again.  And sometimes you find a real steal as in this Josefina Rose’.

Varietal:  Syrah          Alcohol:  12.5%          Price:  $5.99

Wine-Stained Fingerprints

“The bare essentials packed into a small bag.  A man on the run; toothbrush, a change of clothes, cash and a few bottles of wine.  Not just any wine – the wine you drink when you know it may be your last.”  Introducing The Fugitive, a full-bodied red blend offered by Truett Hurst.

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Going incognito with the face intentionally left blank, the only way this Fugitive will be caught is by his wine-stained fingerprints all over the label.

Sealed with a real cork, you get numerous suggestions imprinted on the cork on how to disguise yourself as you make your escape into the world of the Fugitive – although I don’t think I would ever really try burning the end of the cork in order to draw a fake moustache on my face.  To each his own.

A daring red blend, this wine is worth capturing.  It is full of flavor.  It pours a deep purple in the glass and has flavors of dark plum, spice and black pepper.

Truett Hurst is one of two wine clubs that I belong to.  Wine club members were offered this wine (2011 Fugitive) by the case at a 50% discount as they were preparing room for the 2012 vintage and I couldn’t resist the temptation.

Varietal:  Red Blend          Alcohol:  14.8%          Price:  $28

Trader Joe’s Wine Haul – Part 4

This is my third post about the wine I picked up at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago.  This one is a straight Trader Joe’s label.  Apparently they have a “reserve” series wine and a “Petit Reserve” line of wines under their name.  I may have to visit the store again as I didn’t know the story behind their wines and I am thinking I have probably missed some really good ones.  On my next visit, I need to take my time and really study the labels and what I am buying.  I would hate to miss out on a bargain – and no, I am not talking about “2-buck Chuck!”

Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep inky garnet in the glass.  Give it a good swirl and you can see legs form slowly on the side of the glass and trickle back down into the wine indicating good structure.  Flavors of blackberry and vanilla follow notes of strawberry and jam.  The wine is very jammy and reminds me of a zinfandel.  With a cost friendly price point of only $7.99, this is a great cab to keep on hand.  I would definitely buy it again, and if you buy it by the case, no worries.  This wine will easily keep for a couple of years.   Make this your house cab.


Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon          Alcohol:  13.7%          Price:  $7.99

A Celebration of New York Wines

The month of May is celebrated throughout all of social media as wine month for wines coming out of the Finger Lakes Region of New York.  Media samples are sent to numerous bloggers, special live tasting events are held at various venues around New York, and tastings/interviews are streamed live via Ustream.  I was fortunate enough to receive media samples of some of the best Rieslings in the world so that I could participate in this celebration.  But Riesling isn’t the only wine in the Finger Lakes.

I received 2011 Dry Riesling from Swedish Hill Winery (@SwedishHillWine), a drier Riesling with floral aromas and a crisp finish.  This wine was a blend of two different clones as well as grapes from Overlook Vineyards at Senneca Lake.  Both clonal and vineyard lots are kept separate during fermentation until blending decisions are made in the Spring following harvest allowing the winemaker more flexibility in managing each lot.

I also received 2012 Dry Riesling from Glenora Wine Cellars (@glenorawine).  Having been around since 1977 and specializing in white wines, it is no wonder that Glenora is able to produce this exotic but well balanced Riesling.  This wine is 100% Riesling with tropical and citrus flavors and a crisp clean finish with the slightest hint of sweetness.

Next in my  lineup was Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Dry Riesling (@lakewoodwines).  With only .78% residual sugar, this wine falls half way between “Dry” and “Medium Dry” on the Riesling Taste Profile scale created by the International Riesling Foundation.  The wine boasts of a crisp mouth-watering acidity and the taste of fresh citrus, lime peel and apple.

Standing Stone Vineyards 2012 Riesling (@ssvny) was also in my sampler box.  Standing Stone Vineyards has been around more than 40 years producing Riesling that begs to be savored by the wine enthusiast.  This wine is fresh with Granny Smith Apple and melon.  It pairs great with spicy foods and mild cheeses.

A new wine for me was from Red Newt Cellars Riesling Sawmill Creek Vineyards 2011 (@FLXnewt).  This wine is touted as being dry and complex with aromas of peach and apricot; however, on the Riesling Taste Profile scale, it is ranked closer to medium dry.  Red Newt Cellars was named 2011 Winery of the year by Wine & Spirit Magazine.

The last bottle in my media sample was 2012 Red Oak Vineyard Riesling from Lamoreaux Landing (@LamoreauxWine).  With undertones of honeysuckle, pear and tropical fruit, this wine finishes smooth and exquisite.  For 20 years Lamoreaux Landing has set the standard for sustainability for viticulture and cool-climate winemaking.

The virtual tasting I participated in was Thursday, May 9 and centered around the Rieslings mentioned above.  There was an earlier tasting on May 2 featuring Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Lemberger and red vinifera blends.

If you have missed out on both of these, you still have the chance to catch one.  There will be a virtual tasting Wednesday, May 15 hosted by Bill Eyer (@cuvee_corner), Tina Morey (@winescop) and Eric Guy.  They will be tasting and discussing Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Gruner Veltliner.

Another virtual tasting will be held Saturday, May 25 for consumers, media and trade people.  If you want to participate or follow along, simply use your favorite social media and the hash tag #FLXWineVT.  This final virtual tasting will feature all Finger Lakes Wines so choose your favorite and join in.

Collectible Wines or Just a Keepsake

How many of you go out and buy a special wine to celebrate the birth of your child?  It seems to be a fairly common tradition.  Do you drink the wine?  Now?  Later?  On his or her first birthday?  Or do you save it to give to your child when he or she becomes an adult?

Hubby and I started down this wine path together when we first started dating 17 years ago.  I branched off and took it to a different level while he chose to remain  a recreational wine connoisseur.  However, years ago he was one of those parents who thought it would be really cool to buy a bottle of wine from the year of your child’s birth.  Hubby had two sons with the younger of the two being born in 1989.  Hubby rushed out to find a 1989 wine he could keep until Justin turned 21 and they could drink it together.  While he was shopping for wine he decided to look for a 1985 wine as well for his older son whom he had adopted only a few months earlier.  Those wines managed to find their way to my house several years later.  Sadly, though, they had never been stored properly and to add to that, the 1985 was a Chenin Blanc and was already 13 years old.


Rolling forward another few years and I now have wine that is 28 years old.  You can tell by looking through the green glass that the wine is dark brown and most likely pure vinegar, but we wouldn’t get rid of it for anything.  It appears that Christian Brothers Winery no longer exists.  So this wine may not be drinkable, but it is definitely a collectible.

The second wine Hubby picked up that day was a 1989 Sebastiani Merlot.  Although Sebastiani is still around, the winery has changed hands and is no longer run by the Sebastiani family.  Using all my favorite wine search websites, I looked for this one in vain.  All I can figure out is that maybe it wasn’t meant to be aged.  But here, once again, since this wine wasn’t stored properly, it would have never been drinkable after 24 years.  Another great collectible though.


Last, but not least we have a 1981 Ersekhalom-Bischofsberger (Hungarian Spatburgunder) which is actually a Hungarian Pinot Noir.  It appears that this wine would have aged graciously had it been stored properly.  You can find it listed on Cellar Tracker.  This one came from my in-laws.  In the early 80’s, they went through a phase of drinking wine.  There were no wineries or wine stores in their area, so the “wine party at home” concept was born.  They would attend these parties and have wine shipped in.  Once the parties lost their thrill and the desire for wine faded, they just kept the wine in their basement.  When they found that hubby and I were into wine, they brought us their leftovers.  We were actually such novices that we thought we might be able to drink it.  🙂  All I can say is that I am REALLY glad hubby tasted it first!!!


ancient wines

So this is my “ancient” wine collection.  It has no real value, but the intent was sincere when the wines were purchased.  Now they are just a keepsake.  I doubt the boys even know we have these wines from their birth years.  I foresee a special place for all of them on a display shelf at the new wine bar though.  It is one of those things that just makes you smile.

Bear & Crown Cuveé

Bear & Crown Cuveé is a remarkable white wine blend created by winemaker Robert Langton exclusively for Naked Wines.   I actually bought this wine well over a year ago after receiving a Naked Wines gift card at the 2011 Wine Blogger’s Conference.  Apparently the main grape in this blend is Sauvignon Blanc – the blending part is attributable to the fact that the wine is made of three different vintages (which would be why there is no year on the label) from a variety of barrel lots and a variety of vineyards.  That was as close as I could get to deciphering the actual blend.  The tanks must be stamped with a huge red seal proclaiming “Top Secret.”  But then when you have this kind of winner, why wouldn’t you keep the blend a secret?  The next question is, though, can this success be repeated???

With soft floral notes on the nose and vibrant tropical fruit on the palate, this is the kind of wine that Naked Wines has become famous for.  This one definitely gets a “Thumb’s Up!”

Bear & Crown

Variety:  Sauvignon Blanc          Alcohol:  14.5%          Angel Price:  $15.99

Trader Joe’s Wine Haul – Parts 2 & 3

Part 2

How do you remember a great wine that you have purchased so that you can go and buy it again?  I know there are apps for that, but I have never used any of them.  Years ago I tried keeping up with it on a spreadsheet.  As you can imagine, this had its limitations.   It worked really great when I remembered to go to the computer and put the info into it; however, I never had it with me when I was out shopping for wine.  As hard as it has always been for me to remember the wines I love, I have never had a problem remembering the ones I don’t.

I typically don’t write negative reviews.  If I don’t care for a wine (whatever the reason) I simply don’t write about it.  But today, I am breaking my own rule as I have already stated that I will review each of the wines from my “Wine Haul” at Trader Joe’s.  I am sure you noticed that I have combined two reviews in one blog post.  That’s unfortunate from my perspective.  I would much rather have two separate posts about great wines.

The first of these two wines was Chariot Gypsy Red, a Trader Joe’s exclusive.  It was only $4.99 a bottle.  This wine was very nondescript – nothing on the nose and even less on the palate.  I guess you get what you pay for.  The Gypsy Red wasn’t awful, just not memorable (in my case maybe too memorable).  I didn’t even take notes on it for this post.  From the research I did on this wine, it does appear that the quality may have diminished over the years due in part to the blend having changed significantly.  We drank the whole bottle so it wasn’t too bad, just not something I would buy again.  But for $4.99, you be the judge.  Would love to hear your thoughts here.


Part 3

Marques de Caceres 2011 Dry Rose’ from Rioja – is definitely the better of the two wines.  Typically a Rose’ is made from a specific red grape, but this is a blend of “the finest grape varieties from the best Rioja vineyards.”  (Maybe I should have actually red the back of the label before I bought it!)  Actually, it is a decent wine, well balanced and not too tannic but a little too light on the palate.  It is very drinkable but just not my favorite.  But here again, for only $7.99, it might be a good wine to have on hand for the sweltering summer days that are looming in our very near future.  This wine actually drank better the second day showing a touch of strawberry on the palate with a slight lingering finish.


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