Wine: Checking in with Trader Joe’s

By
From the November 28, 2013 edition

Two-buck chuck. Remember the stuff? Turns out it’s still going strong … but “$3.79 Chuck” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

That’s right, Trader Joe’s signature Charles Shaw wine I used to indulge in as a starving summer intern is still going strong, despite the inflation hike.

While I covet the chance to stop by for some fresh ingredients or ready-to-bake frozen finger foods, I hadn’t checked in on Trader Joe’s wine selection in quite some time. In addition to the Charles Shaw, a Joe’s exclusive that I bypassed, there are several aisles packed with bottles —along with handwritten (or pseudo-handwritten) descriptions, which I always appreciate.

Although some are still just as cheap as a handful of change, the price varies quite a bit from there. The selection is organized by region, and range from all over the world. Trader Joe’s California roots get a particular nod.

Among the finds during this trip: Grifone Chianti, seemingly a steal at $7. It’s straight from Italy and has that characteristic dry, earthy flavor, with pops of cherry flavors and a mostly smooth finish.

It would be great with marinara-laden pizza or with a sausage-peppers-and-onions main dish. Or, try it as bottle No. 2 (with a white wine taking the lead) alongside a meat and cheese tray.

In summary: It’s probably not the most life-changing Chianti I’ve ever had, but it also didn’t cost enough to want to earn that title.

Photo by Meghan Ralston