Posts Tagged ‘Trader Joe’s’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 158: Getting Horizontal with Merlot

February 28, 2015

In this episode, Jeff tastes two Trader Joe’s 2012 Merlots from two different AVA’s in the Napa Valley…

Wine Tasted:

Trader Joe's 2012 Oakville and Rutherford Grand Reserve Merlot

Trader Joe’s 2012 Oakville and Rutherford Grand Reserve Merlot

One Problem:

The natural cork in this wine was so dry that I could not pierce it with a cork screw.  This is never a good sign.  This would never happen with a screw top or synthetic cork.

The natural cork in this wine was so dry that I could not pierce it with a cork screw. This is never a good sign. This would never happen with a screw top or synthetic cork.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite Napa Valley Merlot?  Why do you still think natural cork is better than synthetic closures?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

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Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 118: Let’s take a Peak!

August 29, 2013

In this episode, Jeff opens up a value wine for #CabernetDay.

Wine Tasted:

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Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve 2011 Lot #18 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

After the Fact:

1. Jeff forgot to score this wine on camera.

2. To see what he scored it, check out the Rad Wine Reviews Page.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Have you tried this wine?  What’s your favorite value Cabernet Sauvignon?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Pancakes and Pinot Noir

July 27, 2013

So…

I’ve been rethinking the way I look at food.

Let’s take pancakes, for example.  I have never been a pancake-for-breakfast type of guy.

They’re way too filling.  They’re way too sweet.  They’re almost always made from some crappy mix from a box that’s been sitting in the back of somebody’s pantry for way too long.

But…

When we change the idea of a pancake from a fluffy, sugary breakfast food to that of a hearty, crisp, savory meal… Well… That’s something I can get into.

So…

The other day, I was watching The Chew.  On this episode, guest chef, Ming Tsai, showed how to make a simple, savory pancake out of leftover Chinese food.

It looked so tasty…

So good…

So not like a traditional pancake…

I just had to make my own version (without the leftovers).

So, here’s what I did…

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I mixed together 2 cups of flour with one cup of warm water until it became one fluffy ball. I kneaded the dough for about ten minutes, then left it in a bowl (covered by a damp towel) for about an hour.

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While the dough was resting, I chopped up about a quarter of a cabbage and two scallions, and threw them in a bowl.

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I rolled out half of the dough really thin, brushed it in olive oil, sprinkled in some salt, and covered the dough with the half of the cabbage and scallions. I then rolled up the dough, pulled it apart into two smaller pieces, and rolled each piece into a 7″ pancake. I proceeded to make two more pancakes with the rest of the dough.

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Each of the pancakes was cooked over medium heat in an omelet pan with a little bit of olive oil for about 3 and a half minutes each side. To finish the pancake, I topped it with some prosciutto and a little bit of the leftover cabbage and scallions.

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To serve, the pancake was cut into four slices, topped with a drizzle of Sriracha, and accompanied by a butter lettuce salad with a spicy peanut vinaigrette.

Wow!

I was really happy with how this turned out.  The pancake is crisp and chewy.  The cabbage and scallions give the pancake an earthy flavor.  The prosciutto gives a delicate meaty flavor, while the Sriracha adds a spicy complexity.

Now…

You know I’ve gotta have some wine with this.

Here’s what I chose…

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VINTJS 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Trader Joe’s keeps surprising me with the quality of juice they are bringing for price.  In a world where people are obsessing over Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, usually the entry-level wines from this region come in at $20.

So…

When I saw this wine for $8, I had to get it.

Color: Very light ruby.  I know Pinot Noir is always going to be light, but this is one of the lightest I’ve ever seen.

Nose: Upon first inspection, the fruit on this wine is hard to miss.  Though it does dissipate as the wine opens up, initially, all I could really get was fresh raspberries.  Notes of maraschino cherries, whipped cream, and even some lettuce leaf begin to appear over time.

Taste: Though dry, I can’t help but think of a summertime dessert of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry tart when tasting this wine.  There are some good notes of vanilla, spice, clove, and tobacco leaf.  While pretty, the wine finishes a bit thin for me.

Score: Make no mistake.  If you really want to know what Willamette Valley Pinot Noir tastes like, this not the wine for you.  But… If you want a quality wine for 8 bones, this will do the trick.  88 points.

With Food: I am really happy with this pairing.  The savory, salty, and spicy pancake highlights notes of tea leaf and tobacco in the wine.  It provides a good body and depth of flavor to the wine as well.  The peanut dressing on the salad continues to provide a great earthiness I felt was lacking in the wine.

Do yourself a favor…

The next time you’re thinking about pancakes, put down that maple syrup and grab the Pinot Noir instead.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What wine would you pair with your favorite pancake? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Chardonnay and Fish Tacos

July 22, 2013

Hey, y’all!

I just wanted to check in with you, real quick, to show you the meal I made last night…

And since we all know that wine is my favorite food, we’ll start with that.

Check it out!

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Trader Joe’s 2012 Grower’s Reserve Chardonnay

You know that I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s brand wines for their exceptional value.

You should also know that I’ve been in a white wine type of mood, lately.

So…

When I found this $6 Chardonnay made from organic grapes, I had to check it out.

Color: A deep, Golden Delicious apple flesh kind of yellow.

Nose: Green apple, peach skin, lemon, and lime fruits are accented by a subtle toasty note.

Taste: Fruits of apple and pear are wrapped up in a toasty pie crust, topped with a lemon squeeze.

Score: Not the most complex of wines, but it brings a refreshing flavor at a great price.  87 points.

Food Pairing:

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Pan-Seared Tilapia Fish Tacos with Greek Yogurt, Vinegar Slaw, and Sriracha

The acid of the wine elevates the buttery fish to bring out this really fun toasty and nutty flavor.

This is a great pairing.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What wine would you pair with this fish taco? Leave a comment, and tell us about it.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 111: A Tribunal

July 16, 2013

In this episode, Jeff tries a popular wine from Trader Joe’s…

Wine Tasted:

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Tribunal 2011 North Coast Red Wine

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Have you ever had this wine? How was it? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Golly Gee (S.M.)!

July 12, 2013

At this point, we know each other pretty well, right?

So…

What would you say if I told you that I just tasted one of my favorite wines of the year (so far)… and it was only SEVEN DOLLARS?!?!?!?!

First, let me show you what I made for dinner…

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Rosemary Chicken, Mushroom & Bell Pepper Skewers, and Grilled Cabbage Slaw

Now…

After Kara and I picked up most of our ingredients from our local farm stand, we swung by Trader Joe’s to get some organic, free-range chicken breasts.  While browsing the wine aisle to find the perfect pairing, I came across this bad boy…

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Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

Now…

You know that I am a big fan of Rhone-style wines.

You also know that I’ve been loving the value and quality of wines coming from the Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France.

So…

When I see a seven dollar Languedoc composed of the popular GSM Rhone blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (30%), and Mourvedre (20%), you know I’m going to be all over it.

But…

Does it deliver?

Hells to the yeahs, it does!

Note: I opened, and poured, this wine a good 45 minutes before tasting it.

Color: A dense, and inky, deep ruby red.

Nose: Beautiful notes of dusty chocolate with fresh strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruits.

Taste: Though young, this wine has a medium body of very soft, and approachable tannins.  The front palate starts off strong with dense and brambly fruits of blackberry and dark cherry, which transition nicely to a mid-palate of cranberries and orange zest.  On the finish, these fruits begin to raisinate, and show off a wonderfully long, acidic finish.

Score: Wow!  This wine is a strong 91+… And I almost feel bad scoring it that low.  My only reservation is that this wine appears to lack the ageability of a truly fine wine… But… C’mon guys… This wine is what it is.  This is a fantastic wine that is ready to be consumed right, the F, now… And the great part is that you can find this at your local Trader Joe’s… Right.  The F.  Now.  Of course, if you shop at my local TJ’s, you’re gonna have some trouble finding it.  I’m buying them all up.  Right.  The.  F.  Now.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s the best seven dollar wine you’ve ever had?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

How I Roll

June 22, 2013

Last night, I was heading over to a friend’s house for a little get-together.

He asked everybody to brink an appetizer and a bottle of wine.

Now…

Some folks stress out about what to bring, but not me.

This is how I roll.

Earlier in the day, I stopped by Trader Joe’s to get some apps and wine.

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I got two types of frozen samosas, and tossed ’em in the freezer.

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I also got me a bottle of Trader Joe’s Reserve 2009 Lot #72 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and put it in the fridge.

Now…

Some folks may question why I would put a red wine in the fridge, but it totally makes sense.  First, it had been sitting at room temperature for a couple of weeks in a grocery store.  That, coupled with the fact that it was pretty hot yesterday, meant that I had to bring the temp of the wine down.

Let’s keep going…

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About an hour before the party, I pre-heated the oven…

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While the oven was getting to temp, I took my dog for a walk.

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After I got back, I was ready to throw the samosas in the oven.

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While the samosas were cooking, I took the wine out of the fridge.

By the time I got to the party, the wine was at perfect cellar temperature.

So…

Now let’s talk about the wine…

You know that I’m a fan of the Trader Joe’s Reserve wines.  It’s tough to go wrong with quality juice at $10.  This Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was produced by Mazzocco Winery (a great Zinfandel-heavy winery in Healdsburg).

Color: Dark ruby.

Nose: Chalky raspberry, blueberry, and plum with hints of leather.

Taste: There are some aggressive (yet chalky) tannins on this wine.  Great fruit notes of raspberries and blueberries.

Score: This is a solid, solid wine.  I love the fruit to this wine, but there is not a whole lot more to it.  Still… at $10, this wine totally over-delivers.  88+

The next time you have to bring apps and wine to a party.  Don’t stress… roll like me.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your wine-of-choice to bring to a dinner party?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Here’s What I Did: Pork Tenderloin and Pinot Noir

June 8, 2013

I was in a grilling type of mood this afternoon, so here’s what I did…

I picked up some pre-marinated Peppercorn Garlic Pork Tenderloin at Trader Joe’s today.

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Here it is on the grill…

The tenderloin is supposed to be grilled over medium heat for 20 minutes a pound, so I had some time kill.

Here’s where the wine comes in…

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Trader Joe’s Reserve 2011 Lot #77 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

You know that I’m a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s Reserve wines.  You can’t help but love the quality that they bring for around 10 bucks.  You also know that I’ve long been a fan of wines from the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County.  When taking into account my recent crush on Pinot Noir lately, I just had to pick up this wine today.

Color: This Pinot Noir was a very light red.  There were a few shimmering hints of rusty orange as well.

Nose: Very fruit-forward.  Strawberries and cherries up front, with hints of potting soil and some fresh cracked black pepper.

Taste: A whole lot of cola and soil up front.  The cranberry fruit on this wine is blended with some subtle notes of orange zest.  Good tannins and acidity.  Now… I know this is gonna sound weird, but there is a finish of a salty, pecorino romano cheese.

Score: Like most cool-climate Pinot Noirs that I’ve been digging on lately, I really enjoyed the subtle complexities of this wine.  There aren’t many 10 dollar Pinot Noirs on the market that can bring it like this TJ’s Reserve.  I’ve got a feeling that a lot of folks would prefer this over most of the 20 dollar Pinots in stores today.  89 points.

Now…

Back to the pork!

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22.5 minutes, and 160 degrees, later… It’s ready!

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Grilled Peppercorn Garlic Pork Tenderloin and Steamed Brussels Sprouts

The juicy and smoky pork highlighted the strawberry fruit and spicy notes in the wine.  The bitter, green flavors of Brussels sprouts showcased the soil and tannins of the wine.

Fantastic!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What would you pair with a pork tenderloin?  What would you pair with a Pinot Noir?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 86: Going Somewhere?

February 28, 2013

In this episode, Jeff gives some love to Petit Verdot…

Wine Tasted:

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St. Somewhere 2010 Petit Verdot

After the Facts:

1. I forgot to give this one a score on video.  Check out the Rad Wine Reviews page to see what I gave this one.

2. The wine worked great with the pasta.  Big cranberry notes came out of nowhere.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What weekday wine do you want Jeff to taste next week?  Leave a comment and let us know.

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Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 30: You Chianti be serious!

March 15, 2012

In this episode, Jeff busts open this $4.99 table wine…

Wine Tasted:

D’Aquino 2010 Chianti

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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