Happy Three-Year Anniversary Blog-o-Mine! And thank you to all who've been reading: By The Tun's web traffic has tripled in the past six months! To celebrate, I thought I'd go back to the beginning, and provide a list of cheap but good Trader Joe's wines. I don't know how to say this without sounding like a hobo, but I've been drinking a lot of cheap wine. It all started in mid-July, when Reed College held the annual Tin House Summer Writers Workshop. My good friend and amazing writer, Kelly Luce, was a part of it, so each night for a week my girlfriend and I attended the readings, which featured incredible fiction writers and poets, including Joy Williams, Matthew Dickman, Jim Shepard. Below is a photo of local Portland poet and poetry editor of Tin House literary journal, Matt Dickman, reading a train full of dynamite poem (check out more poems here).
The college's outdoor amphitheater paired with top-notch literature was the perfect environment for wine drinking, and each reading was followed by a reception. As you probably know, writer's rarely make money, so cheap wine was a necessity and Trader Joe's was nearby. One night there was fire dancing to the schizophrenic sounds of Skrillex.
With all those nights and the hoards of thirsty artists, we got to try almost every cheap wine at the local TJ's. I've always found it difficult to choose the right wine at TJ's, simply because there are so many that go for $4 or $5. Could they all be good? Absolutely not. However, here's a list of 5 gems:
Blue Fin Petite Sirah $3.99 Totally quaffable while reading Kerouac OR Bolano. I wouldn't try it with Joyce, however, it's too simple.
J.W. Morris Gewurztraminer $3.99 This wine is sweet as a halbtrocken German riesling, and should be paired as such. A little too sweet to drink by itself, but well-balanced for what it is.
J. W. Morris Moscato $3.99 This wine is pure summer and probably the best wine for the price on this list. Pairs well with the poetry of Sappho or the prose of Marilynne Robinson. Again, this wine is on the sweet side.
Columbia Crest "Two Vines" Vineyard 10 $3.99 Medium bodied and dry, it's all about grilled chicken over arugula salad peppered with the poetry of Paul Blackburn.
Concannon Central Coast Riesling $3.99 Decently dry, though still a little sweet, this wine calls out for shrimp risotto and Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett.