Battle of the Budget Rieslings: Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Monterey County 2012 vs. Hogue Columbia Valley 2012

tj rieslinghogue riesling

It has become a truism that we live in a world awash in quality wine at good prices—a fact to which these two Rieslings testify.

Both are off-dry with complex aromas and lively acidity but exhibit distinctly different styles. The Trader Joe’s offering is soft and relaxed with lots of red apple and tangerine, supported by muted wet stone notes and white flowers. The palate is clean and crisp with a soft, creamy mid-palate  but a disappointedly short finish.

The Hogue is a bundle of energy and pizzazz with more intensity on both the nose and the palate. It opens with a blast of wet stone minerality, which resolves into classic petrol notes and grapefruit. The petrol is unusual in a young, inexpensive Riesling. Bristling acidity provides a mid-palate mineral boost that persists all the way through an unusually long, flavorful finish. This is a quite serious wine and an amazing bargain.

The TJ is a comfort wine; the Hogue is all about stimulation.


Trader Joe’s: 87

Hogue: 89


Trader Joe’s: 12.6

Hogue: 12.5

Price: Each $6 (The Hogue can be a little more expensive depending on retail outlet)

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