It's hot, full sun here in California. The air is crisp and dry and the sky completely blue from horizon to horizon. It is time to buy wines for summer. LA FERME JULIEN is my first choice for this summer. They are from the south of France, made by the well-known Perrin family. As the quote from its back label says "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci".
Yes they are simple wines, but quite good. They have been my regular dinner wine for some time, and I always keep a few bottles in my closet (i.e., wine cellar). I particularly like the Red (rich and flavorful, good for BBQ and of course for anything else) and Rose (light and bone dry -- always in my refrigerator for an aperitif). The White is also light and dry but a bit herby. They are very food-friendly wines and affordable. What's not to like about that? They are available at Trader Joe's for $4.95 a bottle. Thank you Trader Joe's!
I also must mention the "CHARLES SHAW" wine exclusively sold at Trader Joe's. It is now legendary, with an astonishing 600 million bottles sold in the last decade.
The CHARLES SHAW brand changed the wine world: It created a huge new market of wine lovers in America, while making many wine snobs irrelevant, including me. It's fair to say this is not great wine, but its quality is incredible for the price (currently $2.49 per bottle). However, most importantly, CHARLES SHAW has educated American consumers about wine, and made it more accessible to more people. And I'll bet part of Trader Joe's success is due in no small part to CHARLES SHAW wine. They sell case after case.
CHARLES SHAW wines have democratized wine in America by allowing many people to graduate from box and jug wine, talk like old wine snobs, and buy wine by the case... for the price of a bottle of most other wines. It is amazing. Needless to say, if you have never had it you must go get some.
Here is the "CHARLES SHAW" lineup.
At Trader Joe's Market in San Carlos, California: