TJ’s Wine Insider is your go-to guide for Trader Joe’s wines...
A rose (rohz) is a flower. Rosé (row-ZAY), a wine. The accent aigu over “e” is your cue. Roses are red, white, yellow… Rosés are pink—or some variant, thereof. This spectrum of salmon-shades results when wine makers limit the length of time grapes skins soak in fermenting grape juice. Less time = lighter wine. A rosé is born!
But it’s not only about pronunciation and color. Rosés—crafted from the same grape varieties as regular reds—have just as distinct profiles as do their darker counterparts. They are often expected to be dry and crisp; although sweeter, rounder profiles are also available. Provenance and providence endow rosés with aromas and essences of various fruits, including such common flavors as red berries, and sometimes even melon or citrus.
When it comes to pairing, rosé partners are plentiful. Lighter, dry rosés tend to go well with equally light fare—salads, sushi, grilled fish, brie. Fruitier, more complex rosés, match well with more pronounced flavors—paella, peaches, charcuterie, chèvre. But rules are meant to be broken. What if we said every rosé here pairs perfectly with grilled cheese? If you don’t believe it, let The Grilled Cheese Spot convince you.
You’ll find a couple rows of rosés in our stores—more than a dozen different labels at any given time. If it’s landed on the shelf, we believe it’s worth a taste; but here we highlight five favorites. Each one is under eight dollars, putting these wines within reach of almost anyone—as accessible as those warmer spring days of which we’re all about ready to take hold...
Region: Côtes de Provence AOP, France
If a rosé could choose its own birthplace, it might very well choose Provence. The southeastern coast of France is a popular address for wines, with its Mediterranean climate. And after two millennia of wine making, the region’s come to major in pinks. More than half the wines produced in Provence are rosé. this Côtes de Provence (say: COAT duh pro-VAHNZ) comes from J.L. Quinson (say: can-SOHN), one of France’s largest wine producers. This wine is characteristically dry, but with somewhat muted acidity, which makes it a wonderful apértif. Made from a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes (two common rosé varietals), you’ll also find each sip presents bright berry notes; even hints of melon and rose petals, if you’re paying attention. So many of our customers are fans, we make available a nearly identical wine (J.L. Quinson Côteaux d’Aix en Provence) whenever this vintage runs out.
J.L. Quinson Côtes de Provence AOP is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $7.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: CA: $6.99; NH: $8.99. J.L. Quinson Côteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé AOP is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold (when Côtes de Provence is out). It is $7.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: CA: $6.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Region: Rhône Valley, France
Come on down to Julien’s Farm! Just bring yourself—we’ll bring the wine. La Ferme Julien Vin (say: lah FAIRM jew-lee-EN van) Rosé is one consequence of our partnership with the esteemed Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel fame. Modeled after their La Vieille Ferme line of affordable Rhône Valley wines, this exclusive-to-TJ’s rosé contains a blend of Syrah, Granache, and Cinsault grapes. Its pale pink color is a prescient precursor to its taste—a profile with profound lightness. It’s dry (but not exceedingly so), with subtle fruit, and an exquisite finish. Chilled, this is an ideal sipping wine for that spring afternoon in the backyard… or barnyard, if that’s your kind of thing. Trader Joe’s has got your goat—though it’s nothing to be irritated about—Au contraire! This rosy kid refreshes with a lightness that extends to our low price, making it a heavy value.
La Ferme Julien Vin Rosé is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $5.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: CA: $4.99; AZ: $5.49; FL & GA: $6.49; OH: $7.49. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Region: Bordeaux, France
Now for a rosé Bordelais, arriving from an appellation associated with some of the most well known wines in the world. Les Portes de Bordeaux Rosé* is made from the same so-called “Bordeaux blend” (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot) used in many reds of this region. But here, fourth-generation winemakers stop maceration short of rouge, settling for a peachy pink. Popping the cork of this rosé opens up an aromatic, easy-drinking treat. Redolent of red berries, the fresh fragrance surrenders to crisp acidity on the sip. The dry side of this wine is masterfully balanced with a modern sweetness (the bequest of the Merlot), lingering before its elegant egress. The best part may be that you can “visit” this Bordeaux anytime you like, without traveling but a few miles—or however far it is to your nearest Trader Joe’s.
* Say: lay PORT duh boor-DOH. It means “The Doors of Bordeaux,” a reference to the ancient city gates that were once the main entrance to the city.
Les Portes de Bordeaux Rosé is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $6.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: CA: $5.99; NH: $7.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Region: D.O. Cariñena, Aragón, Spain
Exit the Gates of Bordeaux and drive due south for five-and-a-half hours… you’ll find yourself in Cariñena (say: ka-li-GNAY-na), one of Spain's oldest Denominación de Origen (DO) regions, known for wines produced from the Garnacha grape. Exclusive to Trader Joe’s, La Granja* 360 Rosé is mostly made of dry, fruity Garnacha—with a touch of Tempranillo (another popular grape in the region) for balance. A darker, red-pink rosé, it might be mistaken for a white zin… but that’s before your first taste. It’s more complex, with a vibrant, floral bouquet, leading to a lush, but exquisitely dry palate of refreshing strawberry and crisp citrus. The finish is long and full. These qualities allow La Granja Rosé to stand on its own one leg (like the striking and sturdy flamingo on the label) as an anytime, wind-down drink. As well, the complexity permits it to pair with weightier dishes, such as seafood paella.
*Say: la GRAN-ha. Literally, “The Farm,” a reference playfully rendered as imaginative and colorful animals on all the La Granja 360 wine labels.
La Granja Garnacha Rosé is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $4.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: OH: $5.49. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Region: Apulia, Italy
And now, we give you the boot. More specifically, we introduce a wine birthed in Apulia (say: uh-POO-lee-uh), the heel of the shoe-shaped Italian peninsula. Known as “rosato” in Italia, rosés have become more popular in recent years. This Grifone* is made from an indigenous grape called Negroamaro that’s typically blended with another regional grape (Malvasia Nera) to produce a very dark-colored, tannin-rich, red. In this case, we collaborated with the vintners of our other Grifone wines to create a delicious rosé made from 100% Negroamaro. It’s a classic, pale-pink rosato, worthy of its French counterparts. Crisp and refreshing with lush flavors of strawberries and raspberries, and hints of watermelon and sweet white flowers, Grifone will be well received—with or without an accompanying bite. NOW, we give you the boot…
* Say: gree-FOH-nay. It means “griffin” in English; the king of all creatures from Greek mythology, appearing as half-lion, half-eagle.
Grifone Rosé is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. It is $4.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: CA: $3.99; OH, NH & AL: $5.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.