Photo of glass and bottle of 2018 Maison Barboulot Cabernet Syrah from Trader Joe's

Revisiting our Most Popular Trader Joe’s Wine Ever

Fast facts:

  • 2018 Maison Barboulot Cabernet-Syrah $4.99 (@Trader Joe’s; California)

Maybe you’ve noticed that we have been on a run reviewing wines from Trader Joe’s, and there has been a corresponding dearth of reviews of wines from Costco since Covid-19 came to town. That’s simply because the lines have been shorter at TJ’s, although I am thinking about giving Costco another shot this week. Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, we are still working our way through our most recent picks from Trader Joe’s, although you may have noticed we are rationing these featured wines to make our supplies last longer. I hear there’s a lot of that going around these days.

Our featured wine from Trader Joe’s is a repeat, updated to the 2018 vintage, and it’s every bit as good as we remember it’s predecessor to be. Seems like many of you liked this wine too – it was our most popular review ever.

Photo of front label of 2018 Maison Barboulot Cabernet Syrah from Trader Joe's
A crazy high QPR and a supreme balancing act.

Tasting Notes:

The wine strikes a nice balance and due to the proximity to the coast (see the map further on) isn’t as heavy on the Cab and dry tannins as you get from, say, Bordeaux to the east.  On the nose you get ripe red fruit and vanilla along with hints of leather. The wine is best summarized as tasting smooth, ripe and fruity – and exceedingly well-balanced.  While it is a very fruit-driven, there are some hints of  sea salt and minerality in the mix as well.  It finishes dry with some soft tannins and lingering tart fruit.

Enjoy on its own or pair with grilled meats, cheeseburgers or meatloaf.

Wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region is produced in the south of France, which ranges from the Mediterranean coast to Provence. Cabernet, Merlot, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah are some of the most important red grapes in the region.

Most wine producers in this region produce blends, as opposed to single varietal wines. There are some outstanding values to be found in wines from this region. Many excellent red blends from this area retail for well under $20.  Then you occasionally find ridiculous $4.99 values like this one, which puts its Quality to Price Ratio (QPR) off the charts.

At over 500,000 acres, Languedoc-Roussillon is the biggest wine producing region in the world, responsible for over 1/3 of France’s wine production. The two regions that comprise Languedoc-Roussillon produce distinct styles of red wine, although they are often lumped together. The Languedoc is known for fruit-forward and full-bodied wines that can also be quite complex. Roussillon produces riper and juicier blends, as well as late-harvest and fortified wines.

Map of France's Languedoc-Rousillon wine regions
Map of France’s Languedoc-Rousillon wine regions – the world’s largest vineyard.  You can imagine driving the wine routes while you “SIP” this wine and quarantine…


From the bottle:

Nestled at the foothills of the Black Mountains, these vineyards soak up the Mediterranean sun while enjoying cool nights. We have carefully selected the ripest grapes to deliver generous aromas of ripe cherry along with hints of vanilla on the palate and a lingering finish.


It’s been a while since we reviewed this wine from Traders. In fact, it was over a year and a half ago – and it was the 2016 vintage – when we featured this wine, along with its white blend twin. You can find both reviewed here.

But two things have not changed since we first introduced you to this gem: its quality and its $5 price tag.  This is a wine for stocking up and would make a great everyday “house” wine.

Stay healthy,


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