Friday, December 03, 2004

Trader Joes -- $2 Chuck

As Trader Joes has just opened a new store for the first time in Cincinnati (Kenwood), I thought it only fair that I review the offerings. Trader Joes is that little $2 billion sales grocery chain, based in California, owned by the reclusive German billionaires, the Albrechts. The cheeses, meats, chips and antipasta sections offer a wide appealing assortment. The store was crowded, well layed out and efficiently run. But, we really came here for the wines! They appear to have more than a hundred labels mostly in the under $10 range with a few offerings at $25. I did see a Mark West Pinot. But onto the core holdings and what all the fuss is about. I thought I would satisfy my curiousity (and sacrifice my palate so you wouldn't have to) and see if the wines are at least drinkable. I have recently read that the earlier vintages were at least drinkable, but I am reviewing mostly the 2003 vintages. The $2 Chuck is actually more than $3 in Ohio due to the mandatory wholesale and retail mark-ups. Here goes:
  • Charles Shaw, Merlot 2003 ($3.39) -- California; a very slight fruit nose, then none, then some sort of gas (sulpher) nose; horrible taste which gets worse. I can't imagine drinking more than the sip I just finished. Give Me a Beer!
  • Charles Shaw, Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 ($3.39) -- ditto with less nose!
  • Charles Shaw, Shiraz 2003 ($3.39) -- A little more nose that was slightly appealing with some pepper undercurrents. Barely drinkable, but by now I am cringing when I see the label.
  • Trader Joe's Coastal, Merlot 2003 ($5.39) -- Central Coast?; ditto; no nose, not pleasant.
  • Trader Joe's Coastal, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 ($5.39) -- ditto!
  • Trader Joe's, French Market Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 ($4.79) -- French, Vin de Pays D.O.C.; now this one is REALLY bad!

You are all welcome! I just saved you the misery of paying $27.54 for tasting 6 hideous wines. I am very greatful that I had some Wolf Blass, Brut NV ($13) to wash all this down with so that I am not stuck with a horrible aftertaste. The Brut is a very simple, pleasant, refreshing Sparkler at a great price. I will review again under better circumstances.


Blogger Tom said...


I went out and tasted these things when they first emerged here in CA. nailed it. However, like so many have suggested...What do you expect for $1.99?

In any case, nice blog!


8:42 PM  
Blogger Niki said...

$2 wines?! My god - that's interesting in a cringe-worthy way. I suppose it's at least introducing wine to a new audience, but I would hope they move on to something better. I thought we were doing well down here with $4 cleanskins from Chile!

12:17 AM  

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