Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trader Joe's Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice

I've always been terrified of champagne bottles. It has something to do with the deafening pop and the lethal projectile that shoots out of the nozzle when you open it. 

On our honeymoon, Sonia and I had a couple of bottles thanks to some of our good friends. Each night, I'd try a new technique to open the bottle. I tried prying the cork off with a knife. I tried shaking the bottle like they do in the movies. That one's a great method if you don't mind wasting half the bottle and getting wine all over the room. So then I tried opening the bottle while holding it over the shower. 

Sonia offered to try, but like a good husband, my protective instinct (AKA foolish pride) kicked in, and I insisted on performing the risky task myself, night after night, adding one more thing to stress over on top of my already fraying nerves.

This bottle is no exception. Only this time, it's not champagne, it's chardonnay. But it's non-alcoholic chardonnay. It's apparently still "chardonnay," because it's made with actual Chardonnay grapes from Spain. Sorry, booze-hounds.You'll have to do all of the work associated with a regular champagne bottle, and alas, there's no buzz inside.

Nonetheless, this stuff makes a pretty good glass of bubbly for New Year's and such, especially if you're the designated driver, a non-drinker, or a law-abiding under-21-year-old. It's right in the middle of the dry/sweet spectrum, maybe favoring sweet just a bit, yet not feeling syrupy at all. It almost tastes a little appley to me. It tastes like a very high quality maybe a sparkling grape cider with a dash of apple juice...?

The carbonation level seemed just about perfect to me. Just the right amount of bubbles. Enough to tickle my mouth, but not so much that it burns. Sonia thinks it's very similar to dessert wines she's tried, but without the alcohol.

It was $2.99 at our local TJ's. That's a pretty good price for an item made with imported grapes. It's very high quality, and we'd definitely buy it again for another special occasion.

Sonia gives it 4 out of 5 stars. We're absolutely on the same page with this one. It's been a while since we've reviewed a beverage on here, and it's always nice to be able to say that Trader Joe's has produced another winner.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. The label scared me off!... 'grape juice'? realized it wasn't THE grape juice I was having visions of.. Tho I am disappointed no 'natural' alcohol is in it.

  2. When I open a bottle of sparkling wine, I cover the top with a kitchen towel, hold onto the cork and turn the bottle. Very unexciting with no great pop or fizzy overflow but none of the wine is lost.

  3. bentley1530, you're a genius! I'll try that next time...

    I'm sure you could find something to mix it with, KBF...

  4. I'm in total agreement with bentley1530, I do the same method. turn the cork slooooowwwly with the towel and away from your face, and bam, no wine is lost in the process.

  5. i hope you know you can just twist it off with your hand. LOL. it doesnt fly out of your hand either, just saying.

    1. I was not aware of that...maybe I'm just not strong enough to twist it off...

    2. I consider myself strong, and I have to say that I have never had more trouble getting the cork out of a bottle as these. I have one bottle left of buying a case at Christmas time and am dreading the inevitable cork fight that will ensue. It's ridiculously hard to remove. Just saying.

  6. It was really tough to get the cork out, but it was worth it. It's really good stuff and we are going to buy it again. Had a wonderful taste and went with our dinner very nicely