2016 Sauvignon Republic Marlborough NZ Sauvignon Blanc, $7.99 Trader Joe’s
Do you have high expectations for an $8 wine? I admittedly don’t. While I don’t sip expensive wine on a typical weeknight, I don’t drink bottom shelf either. I’ve always found $15 to be a safe starting point. Before you jump to wine snob conclusions, let me explain: I don’t believe in shelling out money (yes, even $8) on a ho-hum wine when I could pay a little more for a bottle I’ll really enjoy. A wine doesn’t have to necessarily knock my socks off (it could slip them off slowly, as Robert Mondavi would say), but it should be pretty damn enjoyable to drink. Because Sauvignon Blanc happens to be one of my favorite varietals, I have certain standards that I assumed a cheap Trader Joe’s wine couldn’t possibly meet. Surprisingly, this 2016 Sauvignon Republic Marlborough NZ Sauvignon Blanc put all the bottom shelf wines I’d drank and detested to shame. This actually stands its own among some of the more moderately-priced Sauv Blancs I’ve had. Sauvignon Republic is aromatic and crisp, starting with that herbaceous nose I love and revealing lots of bright, tropical fruit (namely pineapple and citrus) on the palate. If you like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, this is one cheap thrill worth having in your fridge!
Other smart white wine buys from TJ’s include the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier blend and Chateau St. Michelle Riesling.