Here's a grand opportunity for California customers of Trader Joe's markets, allowing you both to save money and to savor an advantage over those pesky New Yorkers:
Through Lifehacker (the Really Useful component of the Gawker Media empire) comes a link to a New York Times item selecting the 10 Best Wines Under $10.00. The good news for Californians is that two of the wines listed are readily available at TJ's, and are priced some $2.00 less than your East Coast friends will be obliged to pay.
- The Times' top choice among sub-$10 red wines is the 2001 vintage Côtes du Rhône from J. Vidal Fleury, a blend mostly of grenache and syrah described as "fruity, earthy and balanced without the candied or too-sweet qualities that may make for great popularity in the marketplace but will not impress discerning wine lovers." I will vouch for the accuracy of that description, having coincidentally had this wine with dinner two nights ago. In New York, you'll pay $8.00; in sunny California, Trader Joe's will sell it to you for a mere $5.99.
- Number 3 among the reds was the 2003 bottling of the ever-popular Big House Red blend from Bonny Doon Vineyard. "Not complex, but full of spicy fruit flavors." $10.00 in New York, but for you lucky West Coastaceans a paltry $7.99. (What will you do with all the money you save? That's right: you'll have enough left over for a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck!) [Bonus Link: an animated version of the Big House Red label art is viewable here.]
- The wine-swigging Timesmen also commend an Old Vine Zinfandel from Bogle Vineyards, a wine I have not spotted at TJ's although the store stocks several other Bogle bottlings. Headquartered in unfashionable Clarksburg, in the Sacramento Delta, Bogle is a reliable source of affordable wines of quality. And I can promise you they are less expensive here than in New York. So there.