Wines of Note: Way to go, Trader Joe

We were pretty sure that Trader Joe’s picks their store locations based on three factors: dense neighborhoods, terrible parking lots, and difficult left-hand turns into said parking lots. And then…We went shopping at the Sunset 5 location. Wow. A left hand turn signal off Sunset, pull into the large parking garage and simply drive down to the third level. Spots galore. The elevator takes you directly into the store (and is decorated with original album covers from the 80′s. Aw…John Cougar Mellencamp was so cute.)  And where is everybody? There have been maybe ten people shopping the three or four times We’ve been there. Shhh…don’t tell anybody, but this store is a dream. Wide aisles, friendly staff, $9.99 Vodka, beautiful California grown tulips, and those meatless Italian sausages She likes so much. TJ’s is not our go to wine place ($6.99 Prosecco is usually the extent of our purchases), but being lazy shoppers We’ll each pick up a bottle or two when shopping. The prices are usually so reasonable it seems like a low risk.

The other night, post an awesome Trader Joe’s shopping experience, We cooked an impromptu dinner at Her place, popped open a bottle of cheap red, and watched the NBA playoffs: our beloved Lakers vs. the dreaded Utah Jazz. The evening was a delight on all fronts (up 3-0, suckers). Here’s the wine We thoroughly enjoyed:

Monastrell, Albero 2008 ($5.99)

She said: Deep brownish ruby in color. Plums, coffee, and a faint chemically whiff of something on the nose. In the mouth the wine is very fresh with nice bright acid. Dark cherries, some Mexican chocolate spice, soft and chalky texture. Went great with the spicy Penne a la Vodka We made for dinner (when in doubt: add booze!). Had half a glass the next day and the wine had kept it’s structure and the chemical-like smell in the nose had blown off. An incredible bargain at $5.99. Perfect casual drinking while eating boozy pasta and enjoying the Lakers kick the Jazz’ ass–it’s that kind of wine. Because of the low price and high drinkability:

He said: Also, it’s worth noting that there is a Fugazi sticker on the managers station at this TJ’s. How awesome is that? Ok, the wine. Deep, dark red in color. Red fruit, coffee and spice on the nose. Something chemically here too (strange for an organic wine?). The mouth is pepper, bell pepper, dark cherries and spice. Soft, medium bodied, light tannins and a nice balance of acid. I can’t believe this is a $6 bottle of wine. I think it’s fantastic. Very drinkable wine and for the value it’s a steal. It probably isn’t as great a bottle as the other wines I have rated 4/5, but based on value:

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Rose Bowl & Rosemary

Nearly three weeks on the road means we are in desperate need of reuniting ourselves with our gym membership. This afternoon we donned our snuggish sweats and headed out.

But why was our usual 10 minute drive to Equinox in Pasadena taking soooo long. And why were we seeing so many people in orange shirts with cow horns on them?

Oh. Is it the Rose Bowl today?

We finally made it, did our sweat thing and took surface streets back to Silverlake. And in our starving-must-eat-something-right-away mode, quickly made a big salad and popped open a bottle of wine (we were thirsty too): an inexpensive Pouilly Fumé by Caves des Perrieres from Trader Joe’s ($8.99).

The salad was quickly and greedily consumed and we continued to munch on a few Wisecrackers’ Roasted Garlic with Rosemary Low Fat crackers. Suddenly he says, “These crackers really don’t pair well with the wine.”

Wow. His first food pairing declaration.

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