It comes in waves, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s when you’re doing the laundry, cooking dinner, or washing your car. Maybe it hits you when you’re in line at the grocery store or giving your dog a bath. It’s in these mundane moments that your brain wanders. And just when you least expect it, the thought enters your mind: Which wine should I drink tonight? On those last-minute occasions, when you’re looking for easy and affordable bottles, there’s perhaps no better place to shop than your local Trader Joe’s.
We combed the retail giant’s shelves, carefully grabbing every Trader Joe’s private-label bottle. This goes beyond Two Buck Chuck. Not only is there a higher-end line of Trader Joe’s Reserve and Grand Reserve wines available; a plethora of interesting wines from around the world now don Trader Joe’s labels. We lugged towers of boxes to our offices and, with a tasting panel, sipped and considered each one.
After days of tasting with excited yet fatigued palates, we pared it down to the very best that TJ’s has to offer. From white, pink, and bubbly wines to big and juicy reds, this list has it all. When that next wave hits, this list is just a click away — here are the 14 best wines to buy from Trader Joe’s.
Villa Antica Asolo Prosecco DOCG Superiore
In this wine, a slightly tart note is complemented by deep, concentrated fruit — resulting in a flavor resembling underripe green apples. That depth forces the CO2 to do work in this Prosecco, giving the mouthfeel an even balance between bubbles and grip. As the fizz settles, an orange blossom aroma pops up into the senses. Price: $7.99
Cecilia Beretta Freeda Rosé Trevenezie
Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon bring the savory notes, while Italian native grape Corvina brings the fruit. This rosé is as sweet and savory as a peach salad drizzled with reduced balsamic. It has nice acidity to keep it refreshing and a creamy mouthfeel to maintain balance. Price: $8.99
Sauvignon de Seguin Bordeaux White
You can tell from smelling this wine that it’s refreshing and creamy. There is an herbaceous pop on the nose that carries to the palate, and you can almost smell how soft the wine is. The mouthfeel is calm but with enough acidity to keep it balanced. Price: $11
Honey Moon Viognier
I’m just gonna say it: This is the best of the bunch in the white wine category. We were blown away by this Viognier’s complex aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossom, with some peach for good measure. The palate is soft yet refreshing. It’s a well-balanced wine, with mild acidity doing work without being overpowering. Price: $5.99
Reserve Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Lot #231
Its label is unassuming and very similar to others in Trader Joe’s’ “Reserve” line, but grab this Chard for its lemony nose (almost like a meringue) with flecks of pepper. The oak influence brings some toastiness to the palate. It’s oaky, and that’s okay (see what I did there?). Price: $9.99
Trader Joe’s Chardonnay Coastal
There is no oak in this wine. Instead, it has gone through a process called malolactic conversion in which the harshness of a wine is naturally softened. The result is an uncomplicated, soft, and deep Chardonnay with a nice, creamy grip on the palate and good balance. Price: $7.99
Behold: a wine you can judge by its label. “Paso” is short for Paso Robles in California, and “Dragon” is an homage to Lake Nacimiento in Paso that resembles, well, a dragon. This is a good example of the wines from this region. It’s big and juicy, with a good dollop of alcohol and great acidity lifting the deep fruit and keeping it plush. Price: $7.99
Liberté Cabernet Sauvignon
A great thing about Paso Robles is its soil and climate diversity — a quality this Cab showcases perfectly. The grapes used in this bottling must have come from cooler microclimates because instead of the big and juicy flavors we’ve come to expect in Paso Cab, this expression is ropey and tannic with tight cherry and rhubarb notes. It has a nice grip, and the core of the fruit is sound. Price: $9.99
The Best Trader Joe’s Wines for the Super Bowl
When it comes to Super Bowl watch parties, the best wines are those that please a crowd and pair with the myriad rich and flavorful snacks on the table. From a Shiraz to pair with burgers and BBQ to a quaffable Sauvignon Blanc, these are the best wines to drink during the Super Bowl that you can find at Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Barossa Shiraz Lot 109
Remember when Shiraz was all the rage? Even though we don’t crush on this Australian import as much as we used to, this Shiraz deserves a buy. It’s soft and deep with a hint of sweetness, and has the right amount of acidity to keep it balanced. Pairing this with anything barbecued is the move. Price: $12.99
The Pass Sauvignon Blanc
Harkening back to the balanced old days of Marlborough, this Savvy B is one of the best examples of the style. It’s zippy with classic, balanced aromas of bell pepper and a little bit of jalapeño. The fruit here is soft, so the bracing acidity can come through — very refreshing! Price: $8.99
Porta 6 Red
This wine wins the award as the most loved of all the reds we tasted (and there were a lot!). The balance is pretty damn amazing. Soft cranberry and cherry fruit are essenced with a slight herbal note on the nose that will keep you coming back for the next sip. The palate is the definition of juicy, with soft, plush fruit ballooning through the core of the fruit. Price: $5.99
The Best Trader Joe’s Wines for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day calls for wines that pair with romantic conversation and pasta dinners. These Cupid-approved bottles from Trader Joe’s are sure to make you fall in love this Valentine’s Day.
De Mont Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Nice and creamy with a soft, fruity nose, this rosé has good natural acidity that bursts through the senses. The result is an easy-drinking, uncomplicated rosé with a soft palate and vibrant nose, making for a very refreshing wine with a balanced finish. Price: $9
Villa Cerrina Montepulciano
Welcome to your weeknight, stuff-ya-face-with-pasta red wine pairing. It doesn’t matter what pasta or sauce you’re using; this wine will jive with just about any preparation, giving you those dolce vita feels. It’s easy and fruity, with some drying tannins around the edges. The acidity is key here, keeping it bright and refreshing. Buon appetito! Price: $5.49
Ca’Storica Amarone della Valpolicella
If you’ve never had Amarone, this is a great introduction. These wines can be pricey, and this bottle lowers the barrier to entry for the wines of Valpolicella. If you’ve had Amarone, hear me out: This is a solid, rich wine with a touch of sweetness. It has nice acidity that cuts through its density, with a slight herbaceous note creating wonderful balance. Price: $14.99