Some Interesting Bargains this week at Trader Joe’s


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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In my locality, the Trader Joe’s in Millbrae and San Mateo are carrying four terrific wine bargains. Watch for these wines at your local TJ’s, they may carry them and if not ask why not?

2003 Lorca Pinot Noir, Gary’s Vineyard $14.99
Gary’s Vineyard is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County and is owned and managed by two guys named Gary. They sell Pinot Noir and Syrah grapes to several premium wineries and their grapes are in high demand. Their client wineries include Copain Wines, Kosta Browne, Siduri, and Testarossa. The Lorca label is that of winemaker John Bolta. John is the winemaker for Conundrum Wines and Caymus. My feeling is the Lorca Pinot is equal to or better than many $30 Pinot Noir wines. You will be hard pressed to find a Pinot Noir any better at this price.

2006 Peter Paul Serracino Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel $9.99
This well-made Zinfandel is a little on the heavy side but it is delicious. We had it with a barbecue fillet mignon and it was a perfect match. Big wine, big food! We drank this wine alongside a Ridge Zinfandel priced at $30 and it held its own. On the Peter Paul Website, they list their Zin at $20.

2006 Trader Joe’s Petite Verdot — made by Ancient Peaks Winery – $9.99
If you want to try a very different Bordeaux style of flavor than the tradition Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, try this wine. My Trader Joe’s seem to stock this wine sparingly. It is sold out and the next week they have another set on the shelves. This wine goes fast.

2006 San Greal Red Supper Wine $6.99
I mentioned this wine in a previous blog post. It is just a terrific bargain wine. The 2006 is a blend of 23% Merlot, 55% Syrah and 22% Sangiovese – all organically grown. It sells at the winery for $9.99.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

9 thoughts on “Some Interesting Bargains this week at Trader Joe’s”

  1. What’s the story with Lorca?? Well made wines by an excellent winemaker, but lack of distribution or sales?? The vineyard is excellent and they sell their Pinot Noir at top prices per ton… This on the surface is an outstanding buy.. Mark my words there will be more than the normal amount of deals coming out of California wineries as they see sales drop and wines from other countries take away their market share.
    We the consumer are the winners. 🙂 Keep an eye on other retailers who come up with deals. REPORT THEM TO GOOD CHEAP VINO…..

  2. Agree on assessment of the Lorca! One bottle not finished yet, went back for another half-dozen today. A great bargain with some bottle age, yet for me not at its peak yet. A little suggestion of smoke which could put some off a little, along with more traditional pinot noir aromas and flavors—it reminded me of a bottle of a Boillot burgundy drunk many years ago—I think it was a 1966 Pommard, which was one of the first authentic “what’s all the fuss about” burgundies I had, when I was in my early twenties.

  3. BTW I thought the label might have been a typo, as it says “Garys’..” but as you point out there are two Garys.

  4. Also outstanding at TJs—recommended by an employee who asked to please not clean them out of the Lorca, as he wanted to get one more bottle:

    2006 Elyse Petite Sirah

    2006 Howell Mountain Vineyards Beatty Ranch Zinfandel

    Also 15 bucks apiece and excellent value IMO.

  5. I tried the Elyse and Howell Mountain wines and I like them both. The Lorca is my kind of Pinot. It is not too light or too big, medium in weight and flavors. I think it matches up well with Pinot’s at $40 and above.

  6. More TJ’s bargains. Another shocker I haven’t tried yet—but check out the notes on Cellartracker.com:

    The 2005 Howell Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Also 15 bucks—apparently about 1/4 the normal price.

    Also bought today and chilling down now, the 2005 Lorca Pinot Blanc. The winemaker himself speaks highly of it, and if it is not too off-dry it should please me to no end—especially at six dollars!

    I’ll report back upon tasting, but I thought I would issue the alert, as these certainly won’t last.

  7. The Lorca PB is really outstanding, and not too off-dry, as I had hoped. As great a value as it is, it may hang around a little while because so few people know the grape.

    By the time I tasted the HM cab I was losing objectivity—but my first impression from the nose was a fine young Paulliac. I need to get some and bury it away, as despite easy drinking now it should surely age well. Not overoaked either (hurray!). Plenty of classic Cab fruit, although I’m not certain what the high alcohol will mean to really long aging. Certainly another ten years ought to be reasonable, with proper storage and if one can wait.

  8. Sad news from Lorca. I sent them a congratulatory email after tasting the Pinot Blanc. I got a quick reply from a Chris there, who said get what you can—we’re out of business. Very disappointing. Chris also recommended the Pinot Gris, which I have yet to find.

    Meanwhile on my recommendations my brother went seeking the Lorca and Howell Mountain wines, and found a little of the 2002 Pinot Noir as well as the ’03. He called me last night to say that the 2002 was extraordinary. I trust his judgement as he has drunk a fair amount of authentic red burgundy. I hope he saves a bottle for me.

    And I also discovered that my local TJ’s has two vintages of the HM Cabernet, ’04 as well as the ’05. The ’04 seems quite similar but a bit more of a classic California cab, a little lower in alcohol, with a deep, haunting nose. I would say it probably is further from its peak than the ’05, but the latter had been open for a few days so hard to tell. In any event both are superb, delicious immediately, and priced insanely low.

  9. There is still a little of the Howell about. Please, if you have the 15 + tax to spare—get some. It is a spectacular deal.

    The other evening I shared portions of four bottles of wine at a favorite Thai restaurant. The only reason that the HMV did not carry the evening is that we also had a 2002 Lorca Pinot Noir, and began with the 2005 Lorca Pinot Blanc. There was a Zin that I didn’t write down, contributed by one of us, which in any other company would have been more massively appreciated.

    I polished off a bottle of the ’04 HMV Cab S. tonight, and if you don’t find the slightly superior ’05, don’t hesitate—it is also very very nice indeed.

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