The 2011 Chariot Wines Gypsy Red is a $4.99 US exclusive for Trader Joe’s. Jim Neal has been producing the Chariot Gypsy wines since 2000 and these wines where one of the first 5 buck wines that tasted like far more expensive wines. 13 years ago, $5 wines were MD 20/20, Andre’s Cold Duck and Blue Nun (though Blue Nun has recently stepped its game up), nobody was expecting a balanced, juicy, thoroughly enjoyable Red blend. In the meantime, it has gotten more difficult to produce inexpensive California wine, the last 3 vintages have produced quality grapes, but low yields. The excess grape market has shrunk and the price of grapes has gone up. Since Chariot Gypsy wines have been the American gold standard for $5 wines, we have featured Chariot Gypsy’s 2008 and 2009 vintages, can Chariot Gypsy keep it up for the 2011 vintage? The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a shiny, clear, ruby red with a pink halo. The nose is slightly candied, fruit roll-ups, spice drops, strawberries in cream and licorice. This is a soft, easy to drink, slightly (nectar sweet, not sugar) sweet, with soft smooth tannins. It tastes of ripe, sweet blueberry and blackberry, tart raspberry and a hint of milk chocolate. The wine transitions to fresh cherry and a late slap of POM Wonderful. The tannins do not get in the way and the acidity is buried in the mix. The finish is subdued and fades quickly.
The 2011 Chariot Gypsy Red is a 5 buck crowd pleaser wine. Just the ticket for a summer backyard party or a wedding celebration where you are trying to save a few bucks by providing your own libations, $60 gets you a case of very drinkable, highly enjoyable Red wine. If you are looking for a soft, smooth wine that is definitely not flavor challenged, you can get exactly what you are looking for $4.99. This is a wine that is not going to be a “wow” wine until you remember what you paid for it.