In between enjoying fine Napa and Sonoma wines, I continue to work through the selections at Trader Joe’s (and Costco too). TJ’s organizes wines into basically three tiers working up from the bottom shelf: really cheap, cheap, and average. Price is one thing. And value something entirely different. I’m convinced, and regularly witness the proof, that quality of wine is not directly co-related to the price. Finding gems in those crowded shelves is often my mission while Loni stocks up on our weekly fare.
The bottom shelf, with wines around $3-6, are hit and miss, and chances are you’ll end up with some unpleasant, undrinkable plunk. My favorites there are from Chateau St. Michelle, Alexander & Fitch and Black Mountain. The two buck Chuck, a novelty at $2, is an absolute avoid.
At the high end, or top shelf, wines range from $17-40. Still inexpensive compared to some of the sky-rocketing prices we’ve seen in wine country here in California, especially with the ’04 Cabernets. I don’t think Trader Joe’s is a good place to buy these wines, for two reasons.
- 2006 Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Clint says:
- “A middle of the pack wine from the middle shelf of Trader Joe’s. There are better choices at this price.”
- The Wine
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Winery
- Asti Winery, Napa, CA
- Wine reviews
Firstly, they don’t turn them over as often. There is a high probability the bottle you purchased was standing vertically for quite some time. That could be a serious issue for the cork. Perhaps not, but it’s something to think about. The other is value. In this range you’re better off at Costco. Also, they store and display most wines horizontally and you can bet turnover is high too.
So, the middle shelf is your best bet. here you find good wines, well-priced, from decent wineries. It may sound somewhat dull being in the middle, but trust me it’s the sweet spot.
The Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon is one such wine. At $7.99, it promises better quality control and wine-making processes than its neighbors just below.
Unfortunately, the wine itself is just ok. I didn’t find anything terribly wrong, but also it did not leave any lasting impressions. The nose was slightly below average with not much aroma or character. Taste was ho-hum. Quite bland. If you want a neutral inoffensive wine, one that would fade to the background it might do the trick.
The wine is produced in Somoma by Asti Winery, the second most visited California destination (after Disneyland) in the 1950’s, at least according to Wikipedia.