I’ll be honest: I’ve never quite broken out of the graduate-student Ikea-furniture-and-discounted-shoes approach to shopping. When in doubt I tend to go for the cheapest option. This is how my husband and I ended up spending our Sunday shampooing our own carpets with a rented Rug Doctor instead of hiring real carpet-cleaners.* It’s also a big reason I love shopping for wine at Trader Joe’s. It’s pretty darn cool to walk out of the store with a mixed case of wine that cost under $70.
Now, despite occasional pushback from price snobs I know, I know for a fact that it’s possible to find tasty bottles of wine for $10 or under. I also know first-hand that spending $15, $20, or even $50 on a bottle of wine doesn’t guarantee quality. But there’s no denying that the low end of the price spectrum can be a bit … chancy. Econo Man and I tried three of our Trader Joe’s wines this week, and alas, I cannot recommend any of them.
First up: the 2010 Comique Revolution Cut the Fluff White, for $6.
I think Cut the Fluff was just not destined to be a favorite in our household. It’s a round, buttery, high-alcohol white with some slightly bitter floral notes–a far cry from our preferred dry Rieslings and vibrant Sauvignon Blancs. I thought it improved when paired with some food (a pork tenderloin with mushroom-mustard sauce) but I never fell in love with it.
That said, Internet searching uncovered a lot of positive feedback for Cut the Fluff, so if a rich buttery white for $6 sounds like your wine-buying soul mate, don’t let us dissuade you!
Rating: Not for me
Next up: the 2011 Quincon Côtes du Provence rosé, also $6.
Again, not a terrible wine. Perfectly drinkable for $6. But it was very, very dry–and didn’t show much flavor beyond its pronounced dryness. Mostly, I thought it was forgettable (except for the bottle’s distinctive shape).
Rating: Eh, it’s OK
And, finally, meet the 2011 Green Fin red blend, an organic TJ’s exclusive that can be yours for a mere $4.
This was an interesting tasting experience. My first sip was pleasant, full of lush fruit–blackberries, cherries, and blueberries. By the fourth sip all that sweet fruit was overwhelming and I felt like I was drinking liquefied grape jelly. Econo Man and I couldn’t make a dent in this bottle and ended up pouring most of it down the drain. If you think a wine that tastes like melted jam sounds like just your thing, maybe give the Green Fin a try–but I’ll definitely steer clear in the future.
Rating: Not for me/Ick
* Honesty compels me to note that my husband did most of the actual rug-shampooing. Best husband ever.