2013 Pontificis at Trader Joe’s $6.99

2013 Pontificis at Trader Joe's

The 2013 Pontificis at Trader Joe’s

2013 Pontificis at Trader Joe’s – $6.99

Reviewed and recommended by Vintage Wine Club Member Ray

Upon completing a tour of the Languedoc and the Rhone Valley a few years back, I discovered what has become one of my favorite reds, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. By French wine laws, Châteauneuf-du-Pape must be a blend of predominently Grenache, along with some Syrah and Mourvedre. A typical Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a deep, almost purple red with a fruity nose and a smooth finish. The very good French Chateaus start upwards of $40. Please see Vintage Wine Club article on our blind tasting of six excellent and exquisite Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines.

I was gratified to find this “poor man’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape” at Trader Joe’s last week. The Pontificis (pon tiff a see) has been an annual offering at TJ’s for at least the last four years. The 2013 Pontificis is composed of 45% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre. It has a moderately fruity nose, a palatable 13% alcohol content and a palate-pleasing finish. It would be my go-to red for red meats, pastas, and pizza. My only disappointment: the bottle no longer features the Châteauneuf-du-Pape coat of arms embossed on the bottle itself. 88-89 points. If you shop at TJ’s or are a fan of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, you must give this wine a try at $6.99.




  1. James Goodman says

    GSM has long been a favourite of ours. There is currently a very nice one available at Costco (at least in Portland, where we recently moved). TESSELLAE (50% Grenache Noir, 40% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre) comes from Cotes du Roussillon, and sells for $10.89. Costco provides only the classic “no information” in their information card, but the bottle itself has a sticker on it claiming that Robert Parker rated it at 94 points! I don’t have the confidence to rate it, but I will say that we bought more than a case of it, and I wish we had bought two.

    • Thanks for the wine tip. I have not seen this at my local Costco in San Mateo. If I see it, I will try it for sure. Roussilon wines are a great value.

  2. Love this description and can’t wait to try it! Thanks Joe!

  3. After I read your post, I went right out to buy it at Trader Joe’s on the way to my friends, for dinner. I have to tell you: you are right on the money. It was exceptionally good, and I’m not a big fan of French wines, which are usually not fruit forward enough for me. This wine was exceptionally good, smooth, fruity without being overpowering (for those who don’t need a fruit bomb), was sufficiently complex, and really good, for $7. Thanks so much. By the way, try to the boxed Periscope wine at Trader Joe’s – the cabernet. It’s quite good for the price, recommended by the staff as a good quality grape. I’ve bought numerous boxes already, and I haven’t bought boxed wine in years.

  4. Shonda Davis says

    After reading the post awhile ago, I purchased 3 bottles of the wine for 3 different occasions from my local Trader Joe’s. I absolutely love the smoothness of the wine. I only eat fish and seafood and it pairs nicely with grilled salmon and sweet Thai sauce. Just fantastic. The wine also wowed my friends who aren’t fans of red wine. This was a nice surprise for me. The price point is excellent and rivals many expensive red wines in terms of taste. It stays on my ‘wine purchase’ list. Awesome tip Ray! Thank you.

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