When I tell people that I review inexpensive wines a common response I get is, “Oh, you must love Trader Joe’s.” And every time I hear that, I have to reply with, “No, I don’t.”
It’s not that I have anything personally against Trader Joe’s, but I have yet to find a bargain in their wine department to get excited about. I’ve reviewed a few TJ wines in the past and none of them were exceptional.
When most people think of cheap wine at Trader Joe’s they are thinking of Charles Shaw, the famous 2 Buck Chuck. But there are numerous other Trader Joe’s exclusive wines besides Charles Shaw. They also carry some good wines that aren’t TJ-exclusives, but their prices are the same or more than I find at other shops.
All of the TJ comments I hear leave me torn. With all of the raving I hear about TJ’s I think there must be something to it. If so many people rave about their wines, they must be good… right? Have I just been trying the wrong ones? After all, I haven’t tried every wine they sell. And so, I keep going back from time to time to give them another chance. It seems like every time I do, I find myself wishing that I hadn’t. This is one of those times.
This time I tried the 2006 Old Moon Zinfandel from the Trader Moon Wine Company. It sells for $7.99 — a few bucks more than Chuck.
My assessment is that this is a fairly predictible low-priced zinfandel. Black cherry and oak on the nose with a little bit of spice heat. The intensity is moderate. The palate has more black cherry and some plum. The fruit is rather artificial tasting. There’s a touch of vanilla on the finish. It’s a drinkable wine, but it’s not a great wine.
In all honesty, my description probably made it sound more interesting than it really is.
Wine: Old Moon Old Vine Zinfandel
Price Paid: $7.99