Category Archives: Between $5 and $9.99 | Reviewed

Epicuro Nero D’Avola Review | Sicily’s Answer to Malbec?

Epicuro Nero D’Avola Review | Sicily’s Answer to Malbec?

Nero D'Avola

When looking for a bottle of wine, do you seek out something that’s rich in dark fruit yet has soft tannins and a smooth mouthfeel? If so then you’re probably a fan of Argentinian Malbec, but have you tried Nero D’Avola?

Otherwise known as “The Black Grape of Avola” (a small town in Southeast Sicily), it’s quite similar in style to an Argentinian Malbec and just so happens to be Sicily’s most popular and widely planted grape.

Plus, many fine examples can be found under $12. But just how good can Nero D’Avola be at half that price? Today I’m investigating a possible find in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section: The $6 Epicuro Nero D’Avola 2013.

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Protocolo Wine Review | Do Affordability & Drinkability Mix?

Protocolo Wine Review | Do Affordability & Drinkability Mix?

Protocolo Wine

So let’s say you’re heading to the Wal-Mart of wine stores, Total Wine, to search for some reasonably priced wine, say under $8. After splurging at Ovid recently myself, that’s exactly what I found myself doing!

Maybe you’re throwing a party or maybe you’re just looking for something decent to pour at home without having to worry about when to drink it, how long to decant it or how you’re going to pay off your hefty credit card bill after drinking it.

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Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut | Not Cheap, But Inexpensive

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava | Trader Joe’s Wine

Jaume Serra Cristalino

The Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava has become a perennial favorite amongst those looking for a nice bargain bubbly. Is it’s success due to the clean and elegant label? Or possibly because the catchy name sounds an awful lot like the awfully expensive Cristal Champagne?

Or is it fittingly because the Jaume Serra Cristalino is simple a great sparkling wine for the money? I spotted the Cristalino Brut while browsing my local Trader Joe’s Wine Section and decided to answer those questions for myself. I mean it can’t be all that bad if Wine & Spirits Magazine has rather impressively named the Jaume Serra Cristalino the ‘Value Brand of the Year’ for three consecutive years!

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Altano Douro Review | Top Costco Wine’s

Altano Douro Review | Costco Wine Review

Altano Douro

The Douro wine region of Portugal has a history of producing wines for over 2,000 years. On the label of the Altano Douro 2012 I spotted in the Costco Wine Section you’ll see proudly displayed that the Symington family has been producing wine in the Douro for an impressive 125 of those years. That’s a long time and they’ve likely learned a thing or two about winemaking.

While the Douro is most commonly associated with it’s notable Port wine production, roughly half of the wines being produced there are actually not fortified. I’m not a huge fan of Port myself, but I am a fan of excellent table-wine bargains and the Altano Douro 2012 rang in at under $9 while boasting a commendable 91 point Wine Spectator score for the previous 2011 vintage. Needless to say I had to try it!

Have you seen my tips on Where to Buy Wine so that you’re not overpaying?

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Contadino Pinot Grigio Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Contadino Pinot Grigio Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Contadino Pinot Grigio

I rarely drink Pinot Grigio and am somewhat guilty of partaking in the widespread belief that most low-end Pinot Grigio’s are insipid, watery and just plain boring. Having said that, there are certainly times when you want a wine that is crisp, refreshing and light and the popularity of the Contadino Pinot Grigio in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section piqued my interest.

Hailing from Northern Italy and ringing in at under $6, the Contadino Pinot Grigio is certainly priced like a value-oriented offering. But just by virtue of being inexpensive does not necessarily make it a good value, and I’m quite curious to see just how good the Contadino Pinot Grigio really is!

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Trentatre Rosso 33 Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trentatre Rosso 33 Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trentatre Rosso

Apparently I’m the last one to arrive at the Trentatre Rosso party… But I do rather enjoy a good party so better late than never, right? Previous vintages of the Trentatre Rosso by Santini Wines have been praised by quite a few fellow wine bloggers and frankly all of the publicity has me just that much more curious as to how good it could be. It was also highly recommended by the in-store Trader Joe’s wine representative who has assisted me in cherry-picking the best Trader Joe’s wines.

The name Trentatre is of particular significance because it translates to ‘thirty-three’ in Italian. The reason for the namesake being that Trentatre Rosso is a blend of three different varietals, each representing 33% of the total composition. It also hails from Southern Italy, like the Grifone Primitvo, which was a solid value in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section. At under $7 let’s see if we have another winner on our hands with the 2012 vintage of the Trentatre Rosso 33!

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Louise d’ Estree Brut Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Louise d’ Estree Brut Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Louise d' Estree Brut

So I’m back in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section looking for another solid sparkling wine bargain after having some success with the La Granja 360 Cava I discovered a few weeks ago. For only $1 more I spotted the rather regal-looking Louise d’ Estree Brut and wondered if it might be another great Trader Joe’s Wine discovery.

The Louise d’ Estree is not Champagne but rather a French sparkling wine. I’ve has some pretty tasty French sparklers from outside of the far pricier Champagne region before so I thought I’d investigate whether the Louise d’ Estree is as royally good as it’s label seems to suggest!

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Spiral Cellars Cabernet Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

– Spiral Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley | Trader Joe’s Wine

Trader Joe's Wine

After really enjoying the Spiral Cellars Chardonnay a few weeks ago I was pretty intrigued to try the Spiral Cellars Cabernet offering. It just happens to be from an incredibly good vintage at an incredibly low price, from one of the historically most expensive places to both grow and buy Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s pretty rare to see Napa Cabernet under $10, but Spiral Cellars and Trader Joe’s have succeeded in making this bottle of Spiral Cellars Cabernet available to us for $9.99. Let’s see if it’s worth your hard earned Alexander Hamilton!

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Spiral Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

Spiral Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay | Trader Joe’s Wine

Spiral Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay Review

Despite all of the international and intriguing worldly white wine options available to us as consumers, good old Chardonnay is still easily number one. Much like popular but often looked down upon Merlot, arguably some of the greatest wines in the world are made from Chardonnay. Yet it often gets a bad rap as being too oaky, too, buttery, or just plain boring.

Despite this negativity it seems that it’s still Chardonnay, usually Napa Chardonnay, that consumers want. And if the level of searches I receive to from just the Spiral Cellars wines are any indication, this is a very popular choice that I needed to try. So if it’s Napa Chardonnay you want, it’s the Spiral Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay 2012 I’ll give you!

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La Granja 360 Cava Brut Review | Trader Joe’s Wine

La Granja 360 Cava Brut | Trader Joe’s Wine

La Granja 360 Cava Brut | La Granja Wine

I’m always looking for excellent sparkling wines that can be enjoyed without ceremony. Today I wanted to investigate another popular pick in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section: La Granja 360 Cava Brut by La Granja Wines. At under $7 it is a full $2 less expensive than the Rondel Cava Brut that has become so popular both at Total Wine as well as here on The Fermented Fruit.

I have to admit that I am always somewhat skeptical of sparkling wines under $10, and especially so of those with animals on the label. In the case of the La Granja 360 Cava Brut a duck adorns the label. Since La Granja is Spanish for “The Farm”, I guess this is somewhat appropriate. But this particular duck appears to be pretty shaken up so let’s hope my palate isn’t similarly shaken up after tasting the La Granja Cava Brut!

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