TJ's Wine Insider is your go-to guide for Trader Joe's wines...
Thanksgiving Day, and it’s 80 degrees outside… Just a dream? In many places around the country, that’s all it would be—but not in California. Of course, not everyone wants summer weather on the holiday that’s the poster child for fall. Brisker temps and a little bit of bluster can make the Day and the meal that much cozier.
Climate considerations aside, Trader Joe’s is envisioning an autumn dream on which most everyone can agree… Thanksgiving Day, and there’s plenty of California Pinot Noir to pour and share.
You will not have to snooze to realize this dream. It will not cost you an arm and a turkey leg to fulfill, nor will it require any difficult decision-making. To make this California Pinot Dream your reality, just keep on reading. Then, head to Trader Joe’s and pick some up some of our favorite wines.
They’re all Pinot Noir, they’re all from California, and they’re all less than ten bucks.
Whether your leaves are brown and your sky is grey, or you’re living in a cloudless clime, these five Pinots will lend some additional cheer to your Thanksgiving season.
Mention the words “cherry blossom” and people imagine: beautiful blooms… Japan… maybe even Washington D.C. where the popular Cherry Blossom Festival is held every spring. Say “cherry blossom” while standing in the middle of the wine section at Trader Joe’s, and everyone will know you’re talking about one of our best-selling California Pinot Noirs. Cherry Blossom is an unheard of value (unless you’ve heard of Trader Joe’s). How did we source such a good wine to be offered at such a low cost? We asked one of our wine partners to make us the best Pinot Noir possible that could still be offered at a real value price. Our Tasting Panel sipped sample after sample, suggesting refinements to the winemaker along the way, until a blind taste test (against Pinots that sell for double and triple the price) proved Cherry Blossom the undisputed winner. It has aromas of rich, bright berries and toasty oak, with notes of fresh fruit, mocha, and chocolate cherries (of course!) all blooming gracefully on the tongue. It finishes smooth—easy to swallow, just like our price of $3.99 per 750 ml bottle. Cherry Blossom is your everyday Pinot Noir, and you’ll find it every day at this price in our stores.
Cherry Blossom 2014 Pinot Noir California is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $3.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: FL, GA, KY, MA, ME, NH, OH, SC, VA: $4.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
“Liberté, egalité, fraternité” is France’s motto, emphasizing freedom, equality, and brotherhood—three principles also sought by our American forerunners. This Pinot Noir takes its name from the first of these virtues, making Liberté Pinot Noir a shoo-in for your grateful celebration of our country’s heritage. But does it get along with turkey? The answer is: Yes, like a brother! And, there’s more… This ruby red quaff is mostly composed of Pinot Noir grapes, some of which were whole-cluster fermented with naturally occurring yeasts to add bold, spicy notes to its profile. Liberté’s style is smooth and dry, with plenty of fruit—strawberry and black cherry, including notes of vanilla and hints of tobacco. The winemaker included some Malbec and Syrah to help achieve this fruit forward character. All the grapes were grown in the winery’s own vineyards inside San Luis Obispo County AVA (a designated American growing region that’s becoming well-known for its Pinot Noirs). If Trader Joe’s were to have a motto, it might be something like: “Great food, great prices, excellent values.” Under such a banner, Liberté Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo County would be fitting, indeed. At $9.99 for each 750 ml bottle, Liberté isn’t “free,” but it is at least seven dollars less than comparable wines.
Liberté 2013 Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo County AVA California is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $9.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: FL, GA, KY, NH, NM, OR, WA: $10.99; OH: $13.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
X is a variable. X is a band. X is a Moon, also known as an Xceptional Pinot Noir—one we think you should be Xcited to try. A sister to our original Moon X Red Blend, this Pinot shares some of that first wine’s otherworldly characteristics. Both are super deep and dark in color. Both are made with that jammy, fruity, big-red profile in mind—a style currently trending in California and beyond. The difference here is that Moon X Black Pinot Noir is made primarily from Pinot Noir grapes, giving it a more refined point of view. It possesses a plentiful, plummy profile, with abundant flavors of rich, dark fruit and warm spice. Your guests—whether home for the formal holiday meal or unXpectedly dropping by—will find a glass of Moon X Pinot Noir satisfying, all by itself. It also goes well with “X” (fill in the blank with your favorite, rich tasting food). File this X under “wines to buy now,” and then make your way to the nearest Trader Joe’s. Similar wines cost upwards of $12.99, but we’re selling a 750 ml bottle of Moon X Black Pinot Noir for $6.99, every day. That’s an Xcellent value, but what else would you Xpect?
Moon X 2014 Black Pinot Noir California is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $6.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: FL, KY: $7.99; OH: $8.49. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
A cotillion is a social affair; a dance with rural roots in the 18th century French countryside. Partners pair up and square up—sometimes donning masks, always gliding with other couples in coordinated motion across the floor. Like that waltzing, mellifluous, intoxicating pulse at the festive ball, Cotillion Pinot Noir seamlessly merges grapes from three coveted counties of the Central Coast into an exhilarating blend. Grapes from Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties triple-up, coalescing into a single, California-style Pinot Noir. It’s smooth. It’s zesty. It presents cherry and strawberry notes with warm vanilla spice. This medium-bodied red—weightier than an Old World Pinot—is dry on the palate with a lightly sweet, round finish. Other cutting-edge California Pinots go for much more than just a song and a dance, but with some fancy footwork (namely, our partnership with a winery who’s intimately familiar with the techniques used to create such wines), we’re able to offer Cotillion Pinot Noir Tri-County for about half what you might pay for a similar sip. Each 750 ml bottle is $9.99. Dance on over to Joe’s and take this wine for a spin.
Cotillion 2014 Pinot Noir Tri-County California is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $9.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: AL, FL, KY, NH: $10.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
No one really knows if the Woodie on the Green Fin label is on its way to the beach, or just leaving. Either way, the scene evokes good times—just ahead, and not far behind. It’s this kind of scene in which you’ll find Green Fin Pinot Noir, where good times are had by all. At $4.99 for the 750 ml bottle, this is a true value—but for Trader Joe’s, value is much more than price. You get a smooth, dry wine made of 100% organically grown, California grapes. The ripe red color matches the red fruit and tangy berry flavors, and the delectably smooth finish will remind you of a surfboard gracefully gliding to a stop at the end of a killer wave. When to enjoy this wine? Pack it for your Thanksgiving picnic at the beach. (Just keep the sand out of the stuffing.) If the beach is too far away, open at home by a cozy fire with a gaggle of guests. There’s really no bad time or place to drink Green Fin Pinot Noir… in fact, you should be drinking some right now. Stop surfing the internet, and start making your way to your local Trader Joe’s. We’ll save you a bottle—good times included.
Green Fin 2014 Pinot Noir California is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $4.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: NH, OH: $5.99; NM: unavailable. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.