A Trader Joe’s recently opened in Omaha, an event apparently so shocking to the rest of America that NPR’s Morning Edition mentioned it, in the same way people talk about indie bands selling out to a big record label.
I don’t know if any national company deserves a cult following, especially one successful enough to open in Omaha, the towering yardstick of corporate fortune that it is. Nonetheless a cult following does exist for Trader Joe’s, and more specifically for their “two-buck chuck” house wines (the name is a bit of a misnomer given that it costs more than two bucks). I was in the area last night and picked up a case of the stuff. Six bottles ran me under $25, which by any standard is pretty incredible. The first of the wines I opened was “Nouveau,” presumably Trader Joe’s take on the suddenly popular Beaujolais Nouveau trend.
I’ve had some terrible wine in my time and Trader Joe’s Nouveau isn’t nearly as egregious as Crane Lake, Franzia, or an especially infamous boxed wine called “Killer Juice”. It might even be pretty good, depending on your preference. The head is very fruity and fresh and smells a little like weeds. The taste reinforces this with a really acidic, fruity taste. I suspect some of this is due to the Nouveau designation, which means the wine has been bottled within a year of the grape’s harvest. La Buvette has a huge crate of real Beaujolais Nouveau and I’ll have to get a bottle to do a comparison.
I suspect it won’t be too much different than the two-buck chuck. It’s light and fruity, and anyone who likes zins and lighter reds will definitely enjoy it. I enjoyed it, mostly. During winter my preferences run to the smelly, dark, Old World, the quaffing of which is reminiscent of being wrapped in a sweaty armpit.