Sunday, February 05, 2006


I've been commiserating with Cornelius, of all people, about bad wine experiences at Trader Joe’s (I'd have thought he was above buying wine there). TJs has long been of renown for affordable wine, but sometimes it takes a couple guys getting together to compare notes and discover that, actually, hey, TJs is selling some ruined, backlot wines.

Cases in point are:

Their recent $4.99 Meridians (typically $8 at other stores), which basically taste like “wine.” I’m talking about the kind of wine you’d expect at Malibu Grand Prix.

That “Amarone” they are selling, which should be a raisiny, sweet, complex dark wine, but instead tastes like “antler piss” (imagine a rack of deer antlers shooting piss out of the ends)

Their viogniers, some of which taste like simmered Mad Dog 20/20 that has been poured and left to cool among the upraised strands of an astroturf mat that a dog sleeps on.

This information, taken in with the fact that Trader Joe's often puts oversized, funny-shaped, horridly flavored bottles of wine on prominent store-front displays, indicates that they are not the quality broker they originally purported to be.

Here's another weird thing about their liquor aisle: all of the full-pint canned 6-packs (Oranjeboom, Peter's Brand, 3 Horses, Melcher's, Henninger) taste the same. Why carry 5+ different brands? Do they have some LagerBringer machine in the back, and just shoot the stuff into different packaging? Those lagers are fine, but it's weird that there are five of them in a store with limited shelf space.