This wine is 10$ at TJ's; imported by Latitude Wines. I don't think I've ever seen Sancerre so cheap. Lots of Sauvignon Blanc is 10$ or under, but not Sancerre. So I don't have any 10$ Sancerre to compare it to. Of course, Sancerre is a unique and different expression of Sauvignon Blanc, so you can't really compare it to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. So the question becomes, is this wine any good? On the one hand, it's a little more than half of what you'd pay for a really good rendition of Sancerre. On the other hand, it's clearly not as good as something like the Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre from Kermit Lynch, and also not as good as many 10$ Sauvigon Blancs. For me, this wine is definitely a "never buy" again--but it isn't bad. In fact, for once, I think TJ's has a pretty solid offering from a major European appellation. That's shocking. Most of the French wines that they carry are absolute shit, although there are exceptions. It's just a complete crap-shoot, and the deck is stacked against you. The house holds the winning hand...My rule of thumb now is that if the wine is carried anywhere else, it will be a good value relative to the other people in the market place price wise. Perrin Cotes du Rhone is 6.99$ at TJ's, 7.99$ at K&L, and 9.99$ at Safeway. The Now and Zen White is 4.99 at TJ's, something like 8.99$ at F&E, and I've seen it for 9.99$ at other retailers. Those wines are both very good values for the price at Trader Joe's. If the wine is Trader Joe's specific, 90% of the time it will be awful and missing the nuances that a really great wine has.
This particular wine is trying very hard to be interesting. It has a Sancerre-ish nose, with mineral notes, a little bit of jalapeno, and some very buried fruit along the lines of lime or something tropical. Once it's in your mouth, the fruit comes out--citrus and melons--before fading into a lackluster finish. The wine feels a bit out of whack. It is missing the stinging acidity of a good Sancerre, and the laser beam of pungent, well-delineated flavors that I have come to expect from Sancerre. On the flip side, if you've never had Sancerre, this isn't a bad place to start. It's certainly the cheapest place to start that I've seen. Personally, I would prefer one glass of something from Kermit Lynch to two glasses of this, but if you've never had Sancerre before and don't want to spring for something in the 20$ range, picking up a bottle of this wouldn't turn you off on Sancerre. I think you would be better served to get any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, or one of the stranger appellations like Quincy or Cheverny instead, but if you really want Sancerre for 10$, well, here it is. C (If this was any more expensive, it would probably get a D.)