Trader Joe's/Bargain Wine Finds

Back after a long hiatus, thought I’d share something I brought home from work today.
Full disclosure: I’ve been working for TJ’s for over 12 years and have being involved in wine for at least 6 years. My husband works for Grocery Outlet’ s Corporate office and I love finding awesome deals during their Wine Sale. If posting tasting notes about wines we try in & outside of work isn’t cool, please let me know. BTW, my note taking is a little rusty. I apologize in advance.

2014 St. Somewhere Pinot Noir: $6.99: 99.85 % CA, .015% OR. 13.8% ABV. I believe it’s an exclusive deal.

Red fruits & baking spice (cinnamon?) on the nose. Smooth, well balanced, medium bodied. Red fruits & spice on the palate with a dash of acid & oak on the finish. Fruit forward without being fruity if that makes any sense.


My local TJ’s does not carry liquor, I wish it did because maybe then I could learn to appreciate the store more.

Hi NotJvedivici,

Sorry you live in a place with restrictive alcohol laws. Do you get a chance to travel at all? If so, maybe check out a TJ’s with in store alcohol and see what the difference is. I have customers from places back East, like Pennsylvania, who are like kids in a candy store.

I live in NJ and I’m not sure the laws are what restricts TJ’s, for what I’ve heard I just live near a small store in general. As I said I’m not really a big fan of the brand from my very limited experience so I wouldn’t be motivated to travel to one. Hopefully a larger one will open in a reasonable vicinity to me and I will be “wow’d”.

Ah yes, the small store situation doesn’t show us at our best. I also hope a larger store opens relatively close by so you can give us another shot. In NJ, it could be access to an alcohol permit, as is the case in MA.

Since you have an intimate knowledge of the company, this is my local TJ’s.

Thanks for starting this topic. As I posted elsewhere, my current daily sips are Chariot, which seems to be a California central coast blend made in Hopland, and Porta 6, a Portuguese red wine probably made from douro grapes. The Chariot has a vintage year, currently 2014, and it’s round and smooth, less hearty than most central coast wines. The Porta 6 is fruity and light–not what you’d expect from the grapes that go into Port. I also like Josephina rose, also apparently from the central coast.

I ordered some eyeglasses online, and they came with a $100-off card for cases of wine at But when I went to the website, I didn’t recognize any of the producers. Does anyone know about this site–would it be worth $60 (after discount) for a case, or are these the kind of knock-offs you find at Grocery Outlet?

Hey Ernie,

Yeah, I’m not too sure about those folks. It’s hard to tell these days who has a quality product at a reasonable price unless you know the supply chain.

BTW, currently you might want to pop over to your local TJ’s and pick up a few bottles/case of La Grand Cote Paso Robles 2014 by Erich Russell: $2.99!
Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah: 15% ABV: Definitely needs 2 1/2 hours open so tannins & acid can integrate. I know the winemaker and he did this project to show a certain distributor that an actual good wine can be made at that price point. Back story: There was a surplus in Paso and no one’s making any $, but room was made for more wine and we all benefit.


Chariot has been a good value buy for years. I’m not familiar with Porta 6 but will look fir it. Thanks.

The Porta 6 is intermittently unavailable. I didn’t see any the last few times I was at a TJs, but this has happened in the past and they always have gotten more.

I think it got discontinued again. I’ll double check when I get to work.

Confirmed: Porta 6 discontinued, inventory depleted. The El Castilla Syrah from Spain: $5.99 has a similar fruit forward profile.

BTW, Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!:wink:

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I got a bottle of the La Grande Cote. It’s got a flavor profile that reminds me of French Cotes du Rhone wines, thinner and lighter than most American Rhone blends. But the acidity is a little too much for me, even after it was allowed to breathe for a while (even overnight). I tend to sip wines alone, without food, so the acidity might work out with food. I’ll get another bottle to try again.

Hi Ernie,

There seems to be a little bottle variation as well.
Not friuty/jammy but great with chocolate & food.
Also, when serving it to friends this past weekend, they agreed it’s the perfect sangria/mulled wine base.

There’s a new Hustle Buy Australian Cab (Blase?) for $3.99 that’s supposed to be coming in today that may be more to your flavor profile.

I actually like the less-jammy French Rhones in general, but in this case the acidity took over.

I’ve been looking out for St. Somewhere Pinot Noir at TJs since seeing recs for it here. For a while staff told us to keep check back. This lady check (the other day) resulted in us being told it had been a one time buy and wouldn’t be back. :frowning:

What store are you shopping at? The Rockridge store (where I work) currently has a side stack and it is orderable as of yesterday. It IS a limited buy and was TOS for about a week a little while ago. Find out who the Order Writer is and see if they have other reasons, such as space, for not carrying it.

The store is in Orange County, CA. The staffer who gave my wife that info said he does ordering. Next time I’m there I’ll ask at the manager’s desk.

Hmm, maybe available in N.CA but not S.CA?
That does happen sometimes.
Do you have Line 39 down there?
A little lighter, but fairly comparable to St. Somewhere.