When you go to Trader Joe's to buy wine, do you feel confused? Do you stand in front of the bottles of two buck chuck, $3.99 cabernet, and $6.99 Bordeaux, wondering whether any of it is any good, and is the extra three dollars going to make a difference or is it all rotgut?
Read Quaffability, a blog of a year's standing full of reviews of wine. The motto: "mostly under twelve dollars, mostly available at Trader Joe's." Probably very specific to Northern California but maybe some of the wines are available in markets elsewhere. They even review the two buck chuck.
If you aren't from California, you may not know about two buck chuck. It's this super cheap wine that may or may not be the excess product from a good producer; TJ's sells it under the label Charles Shaw. Staple of graduate school parties all up and down California.
For New Year's, Quaffability recommends Schramsburg Mirabelle Brut, North Coast, at $14.99, for your sparkling wine. Happy New Year!
Let me just add: I am not all that impressed with Trader Joe's as a grocery store. I don't buy their produce -it's mediocre. My local upscale market (locally owned too) has a much, much better meat department. In fact, the old local market, a smallish corner store, has a meat counter I like much better than TJ's. I really don't like TJ's snacky foods - what is the purpose of buying upscale junk? It's still junk. Their nuts etc. are no better a deal than what I get at my local "natural foods" markets. In fact, TJ's has way too much sugary, fatty, processed food. So what if they have organic juice boxes - I try not to feed my kids juice boxes, which are wasteful (the packaging) and not that healthy (juice is still a sugar drink, I don't care if it is organic). Their pre-made frozen foods and fresh salads and such range from mediocre to forget-about-it. (note - because frozen foods and pre-made salads are just mediocre; it's possible that TJ's is no worse than anybody else's)
I don't buy commercially prepared sauces, packaged dinners and mixes such as Thai Green Curry Sauce or even macaroni and cheese in a box; I prefer to make my food from scratch, using simple cooking techniques and whole, unprocessed ingredients. Ok I've bought things like frozen wild shrimp upon occasion, but on the whole I am underwhelmed by most of TJ's food offerings.
What Trader Joe's can offer me, and why I drop in when I'm in the neighborhood: cheap wine; good prices on dairy products, including yogurt and keffir cheese; and low priced tortillas, flatbreads and other specialty breads. So while I am posting about wine at TJ's, please don't mistake me for a TJ's shill. I shop my local markets instead. But they are certainly nice people in that store, and they know their business and their customer. I wish them well.