If you know anything about me and Tres, you know we love our Napa wines. We are serious Napa Valley regulars and have tasted our share of wines from the well-known wine travel destination. Now, I wouldn't call us "experts." We love wine with food and have been to multiple wine regions all over the world, so we have learned a bit about it over the years. But experts? We know what we like, we know how to pair it with food, and we typically like the good stuff. That's about it.
Of all the wine regions we have visited Napa is our favorite, but wines from there tend to be quite pricy. I happen to think (aside from what a lot of people think are "Disney World For Adults" popularity destination prices) most of the wines are worth it. Of course, that can't be said about all the expensive ones - we've had extremely pricy pours that I couldn't POUR OUT quick enough - but the ones that are good are REAL good and worth every dime.
Last time I was in Napa with my mom we met up with some well-traveled, wine savvy friends. When one of them started passionately talking about how delicious some of the Trader Joe's $4 wines are, I couldn't help but count down the days until the Memphis location opened so I could try them. Since the opening, I've taken it upon myself to find lower-priced wines somewhat comparable to the more expensive wines we love. When you share a bottle a night more often than not, this becomes very necessary. What I discovered downright shocked me. Some of these wines aren't only lower-priced but they're CHEAP - and they're GOOD!
I have now replaced my regular $25-30 a night bottles with $4-10 bottles - no joke. Here's my list with short descriptions. I hope you find it helpful and load up next time you visit Trader Joe's! Remember though, everyone has a different taste for different wines so feel free to venture out and find your own favorites. This list will give you a good starting point!
I had to include at least one fizzy on this list, and this one is solid. A product of France, it has that authentic champagne taste without the heavy authentic champagne price tag.
Since our trip to the south of France last year, I have been extra particular about white wine. As in, I rarely find crisp whites I like anymore unless they come from that region. I have no idea what region this wine comes from, but it is from France and it's my new favorite cheap white. It's so very similar to the crisp, clean whites I fell in love with in Nice, Cannes, and Provence.
I'm a chardonnay gal through and through, particularly in the fall and winter. There's nothing like a creamy, buttery chard cozied up fireside. But the cheap stuff doesn't cut it when it comes to this type of wine. As much as I love chardonnay, "wedding chardonnay" (as I call it) makes me cringe - if you've ever had a cheap, bad chard you know what I'm talking about. For awhile, I was so addicted to Rombauer Chardonnay but got tired of paying for it, so I started going to wine stores asking for lower priced copycats. Let me tell you, they're not easy to find. Most good chardonnay has a higher price tag. This Trader Joe's version comes from the Carneros region (where many delicious Napa Chardonnays are made) and it tastes like it - for a shocking $12.99!
Tres prefers sauvignon blanc when it comes to whites, and this one is Tres-approved. Citrusy, refreshing, bright and crisp - it would pair wonderfully with Thanksgiving turkey, chicken, or white fish.
My choice for a white table wine, a sangria, or a big party you want to buy decent wine for but don't want to pay too much. It's light and goes down easy. Not a to-die-for wine, but will do the job when you need something lower priced.
Fruit forward, smooth, a bit of berry and cream - this is my current top TJ's pick. It reminds me so much of some of my favorite easy-drinking, yet full body reds from Napa. It's also from Paso Robles, another California region of wine we tend to favor. When in doubt, I tend to choose wines from Paso - they rarely disappoint for the price. This one is so very good!!!
Another Paso pick, I've purchased this bottle almost every time I've made a TJ's trip. I just keep coming back to it because it's that good. It's deep, bold and oaky, but with some of that jam flavor I love in some of my favorite good cabs.
I love a good blend, and this one is the perfect example of a nice quality one for less money. Earthy, a bit peppery, with hints of deep fall fruit - this is a great wine for colder seasons. Use a wine aerator or let breathe for a bit before enjoying for the complete experience with this one.
Light, easy to drink - your typical good pinot. Would be fabulous with deer meat and duck cooler months, great with light meats in warmer months. Don't be scared to chill this one in the fridge slightly during hot summer days.
This is my pick for red table wine or when you need red in abundance for large parties and entertaining, but truth be told this may be my #2 pick behind the Liberte - mainly because the price doesn't match how good the wine actually is. I have been opening bottles of this night after night on repeat, and I think it gets better every time I drink it. No, it's not the best red you'll ever drink but for the price, it'll become your favorite weeknight red to just plow through.