The $5 Bottle of White Our Wine Expert Is Buying at Trader Joe’s All Summer Long

published Jul 14, 2022
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Almost every time I go to a Trader Joe’s, there’s something new: a fun ice cream flavor, an alternative pizza crust, a TikTok-viral sunscreen. The grocer’s whole business model is built on novelty, but when it comes to a great summer wine, I’d encourage you to look past the new stuff and grab a bottle that TJ’s has been carrying for years: Espiral Vinho Verde. And at about $5, it’s a steal.

Credit: Diane McMartin

Espiral Vinho Verde, $4.99 for 750 ml

Vinho Verde refers to a specific region in Portugal where this style of wine is made. Unlike the sunny beaches many of us associate with Portugal, Vinho Verde is made in Minho, which is on the Atlantic coast in northern Portugal. The terrain is more rugged up there and the weather is cooler and rainier, all of which translates to crisp, refreshing white wines.

Most Vinho Verde is a blend of some or all of the following varieties: alvarinho (the same as Spain’s Albarino), Loureiro, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, and Trajadura. Espiral doesn’t say exactly which grapes they use, so I suspect they’re buying from different growers and the blend probably changes depending on what’s available. Historically, the fizz in Vinho Verde came from bottling the wine so young it wasn’t finished fermenting, which trapped the CO2 in the bottle. Nowadays the refreshing prickle usually comes from added carbonation.

With lovely flavors of melon, green apple, lemonade, and a hint of white flowers, this wine is lightly fizzy and also has Vinho Verde’s characteristic lower alcohol. At 9%, it’s a quintessential summer wine that goes with almost anything you’d want in hot weather, but I think it’s best with dishes like prosciutto and melon, gazpacho, and light crunchy snacks like Popchips, PopCorners, or the Cacio e Pepe Puffs from Trader Joe’s. I mean, you’re already there, so why not?

Do you have a favorite wine from Trader Joe’s? Tell us about it in the comments.