The $7 Trader Joe’s Bottle of Red Our Wine Expert Will Be Drinking All Winter Long

published Jan 5, 2022
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silhouette of a wine bottle with trader joe's written on it
Credit: The Kitchn

Trader Joe’s selection of inexpensive wines is no joke. I’ve tried many bottles over the years and have found that the grocer does its best work in Spain and the south of France. I periodically cruise through TJ’s and pick up wine to try, and on a recent trip I focused on full-bodied reds in the $5 to $15 range that I hadn’t tried before. This bold bottle made it into my cart and I’m glad it did!

Credit: Diane McMartin

La Sonriente Garnacha, $6.99 for 750 milliliters

I was impressed by La Sonriente’s ripe fruit and big, lush mouthfeel — especially considering its very reasonable price tag. It’s like a ripe blackberry compote with a hint of vanilla, and during the cold, dark months of January and February, we could all use the wine equivalent of a Snuggie

Garnacha (or grenache, as it’s called in France — same grape) is ideally suited to making inexpensive wine. It’s a grape with a lot of what we call ripeness potential, meaning it wants to produce big, sweet grapes. At the same time, it has thinner skins than, say, cabernet sauvignon. When you have a grape with lots of sugar, that means there’s lots of food for yeast to ferment into alcohol, and alcohol is the main quality in wine that makes one more full-bodied than another. So with garnacha, you have a wine with a full, rich mouthfeel, but because of those thinner skins, you have fewer tannins (tannins are what make your mouth feel dry after drinking red wine or black tea). Garnacha also has less acidity than other full-bodied grapes like cabernet sauvignon or syrah, making it an ideal choice for sipping by itself. 

Credit: Diane McMartin

So if you’re someone who likes to sip on some wine while you catch up on the Great British Baking Show, garnacha is an ideal choice. I will definitely be throwing this in my cart again for cozy winter nights by the fire, or to have with rich, comforting meals like chili. 

Find it in stores: La Sonriente Garnacha, $6.99 for 750ml

Have you tried this red wine from Trader Joe’s? Tell us about it in the comments!