Chateau Pitray case-stacked at Costco.

Good wine, for $3.99? Trader Joe’s says “yes!”

Fast Facts:

  • 2017 Adorada Pinot Gris, California  ($3.99 @Trader Joe’s in California)
  • 2015 Chateau Pitray, Castillon, Bordeaux, France ($9.99 @Costco in California – Item #1044889)


This Week’s Selection from Trader Joe’s:

Glass and bottle of Adorada Pinot Gris 2017.
There’s plenty to adore about this Adorada Pinot Gris, but especially its $3.99 price point! Call it four buck Chuck?

I often cite the clues I look for when trying to find extraordinary wine values. One of these, of course, is the appellation. Frankly, I am biased against wines that only carry the (lowest) “California” designation. But in this case the $3.99 price caused me to suspend my usual prejudice and give it a try.  I was rewarded with a real surprise.

In our prior post we were discussing the significance of wines being from “current vintages.” The apparent reason a wine this good is this heavily discounted (it’s sold online for $17) is that the winery has not only moved past its 2018 vintage – their current vintage is 2019. When your inventory starts to back up, you start looking to turn it into some quick cash. That’s good for Trader Joe’s – and good for us shoppers!

Tasting notes: 

This wine is complex and impressive.  It has held up well despite its 2017 vintage. It has a very floral jasmine nose (possibly some Viognier in the blend?) with notes of pear and melon.  It shows flavors of citrus and honeyed peaches and pears which are nicely balanced with its acidity.  Hints of earth and salinity remind me of an Albariño from Trader Joe’s that we reviewed last year.


This Week’s Selection from Costco:

Glass and bottle of Chateau Pitray from Costco.
A 90 point claret for under $10?!  What’s a claret, you ask?  Read on…


Claret is an English term generally used to describe red wines from Bordeaux.  We Americans tend to refer to them as Bordeaux Blends.  But Claret is so much more worldly and high falutin’ sounding. Call me a snob.

Whether you call it a Claret or a Bordeaux blend, the wine can be composed from some or all of the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and possibly Malbec and Carménère.  However, Carménère is now rarely found in France. The world’s largest area planted with this variety is in Chile, which produces the vast majority of Carménère wines available today.

Tasting notes: 

The Chateau Pitray blend utilizes Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The result is a sexy wine with sophisticated chalky tannins and prominent dark cherry/berry fruit. The medium bodied palate with delicate oak notes makes it a perfect wine to enjoy with dinner or a cheese course.

Note that this wine sells for twice as much elsewhere.  At Costco, $9.99 will let you snare the wine which the esteemed Wine Advocate awarded a range of 89-91 points.  Wine Enthusiast split the difference and gave it 90 points.  It also put it on its Top 100 Best Buys list.

Chateau Pitray, France
There’s a real Chateau behind Ch. Pitray – and you could stay there!

The actual Château de Pitray (built in the 17th century) is in the village of Saint-Seurin-de-Prats Aquitaine, France, overlooking the mighty Dordogne river.  Once a private residence, today the castle takes on overnight guests.  The only thing more impressive than their 90 point wine scores is the perfect 5-star score the property enjoys on TripAdvisor.

So there you have it, another pair of high QPR wine for our readers. Got one you think we need to know about? Let us know…





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: