The Wine Idiot Reviews: Chariot Gypsy Red, 2014 ($4.99)
This was one of the five bottles I bought when my grocery AND wine bill was less than $75, which is a damn miracle because normally I go into TJ's for like, a lemon, and somehow I inevitably spend $100. This was also one of the bottles recommended by the incredibly helpful and enthusiastic TJ's sommelier (yes I am aware that's most likely not his official title but nothing about this blog is very accurate, is it).
So how was this $5 red blend?
Absolutely everything I'd hoped it would be.
It happened to be Valentine's Day, which I was celebrating with my dog (ALSO EVERYTHING I'D HOPED IT WOULD BE SO JUST STOP WITH THE JUDGING). I was working on the ol' blog, the sun was going down, and I just really wanted something tasty and inoffensive to sip on while I wrote.
I poured a glass and took a sniff (because I know I'm supposed to try to do that, even though my nose doesn't really work). It smells...like red wine. Mmmmmm.
I held the glass up to the light, because I know other reviewers critique the color of the wine. It was red, like wine; not too dark, not too light. I really hoped it tasted as good as it looked.
Judging based on smell and color, I expected this to taste jammy, smooth, and I prayed to Dionysus that there wasn't a terrible cheap-wine finish.
I WAS 100% RIGHT. It's just regular old red wine, on the sweet side. Eminently drinkable, not challenging, not something you're gonna want to pair with food probably--although if you did, it probably wouldn't suck.
I tried--SO HARD--to think of what flavors I tasted. I'm so sorry, but all I got was grape jelly. Maybe blackberry jelly, but not so tart. It's not cloyingly sweet, but there's no earthy-ness or mineral-y-ness... I wrote in my notes "I literally taste nothing but inoffensive red wine."
When you're a starving artist, you buy almost all of your wine from Trader Joe's, and you're spending Valentine's Day with your dog (AGAIN SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS I'M JUST SAYING, NOT COMPLAINING), finding a tasty inoffensive bottle of wine with a decent label for $5 is a major win. COUNT IT.
What the bottle says: All that's on the back of the bottle by way of description is "California Red Wine." Sometimes, you gotta just love when they don't try too hard.
What the Wine Idiot says: I agree. This is red wine, and it probably is from California.
Who's responsible for this? "Vinted and Bottled by Chariot Wines, Hopland, California"
Do I need a corkscrew? Yup.
What do smarter people say about it? So I normally don't quote the Fearless Flyer because it's advertising, not necessarily a review, but seeing as the label was so reticent I liked discovering what the FF had to say: "The gypsy on the label of this full-bodied red wine comes from a tarot deck. Not that we believe in tarot cards or anything, but she's alleged to be saying, 'You are accomplishing your goals,' which we believe Chariot Gypsy Red does with gusto. Chariot Gypsy is made just for us by a a stellar winery with a knack for handcrafting exquisite wines. With their ability to combine distinctive grapes to create memorable blends, for Chariot Gypsy Red, they went with a fearless fusion of some enticing red wines from some of California's best growing regions -- Merlot, Syrah, and a secret blend of dry red wines form a bold, fruity base, (think plum and cassis with a hint of cocoa). Zinfandel adds a little spice, and Petite Sirah brings color and stucture to the finished wine." As for a review, South Caroline Wine Joe says "The Chariot Gypsy Red wine has a huge cult following at Trader Joe's. It is one of the easiest to drink wines found anywhere. It is light, bright, smooth, fruity with slight tannins and it only costs $4.99. This is a wine you can drink for happy hour, at the pool or with lighter pastas. The wine has 13.5% A.C. and is made from a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petit Syrah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet. This is a wine to be enjoyed when you bring it home, it will not improve a lot with aging. The wine is FUN!"
Should I bring it to a friend's house? Oh for sure. Not if you're trying to impress anyone maybe? But absolutely no one is going to be disappointed with this bottle of wine.