TJ's Wine Insider is your go-to guide for Trader Joe's wines...
Some people believe that anything’s pastable. You know their kind—those hard-core noodle lovers that will drink just about anything with their pasta—OJ with orecchiette… kombucha with cavatappi… root beer with rigatoni…
Being lovers-of-pasta, it’s actually pretty hard for us to argue with this pastilosophy.
Still, we can’t help but point out that just because something’s pastable, doesn’t mean you should be doing it. That’s why, in this latest installment of the Wine Insider, we’re presenting five wines that are exceptionally amenable to pasta. To prove each wine’s pastability, we’ve paired each one with an original pasta dish made using Trader Joe’s products.
Looking for a white wine that’s pasta-friendly? We share two below, recipes included. Ever wonder what to eat with your Lambrusco? (Let’s be honest… Ever wonder what is Lambrusco?) We answer both questions in this article. Can Spanish wine partner with pasta? Oh, yes! It’s entirely pastable, and we suggest one way it can be done.
Get yourself down to Trader Joe’s where we’ll help you load your cart with everything you need… Considering the enormous assortment of wines and noodles on our shelves, the pastabilities are endless!
Contadino Pinot Grigio Vivace - Veneto, Italy
Wine bubbles are like tiny possibilities—miniscule pockets of air, predictably prone to pop; floating an uncharted path and heading toward that inevitable, effervescent party in your mouth. Semi-sparkling Contadino Pinot Grigio Vivace brings the potential party to life with capable charm. The grapes are from the Veneto region in northeastern Italy. Working in an area renowned for whites that sparkle, our seasoned Italian wine partner creates a characteristically crisp, light wine that is ebullient with brisk, lively bubbles.
It shimmers in a glass and satisfies on the palate when served as a stand-alone aperitif. When paired with salmon (see pastability below) it truly shines, as the wine’s acidity presents a nice counterpoint to the fish’s unctuousness. What’s more, this Pinot Grigio’s lighter body, restrained sweetness, and subtle fruity aromas, refuse to detract from the dish. PG fans who have never had a sparkling version will certainly be tickled by this alternative.
The Pastability: Creamy Smoked Salmon Linguine & Capers
Contadino Pinot Grigio Vivace is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. The 750mL bottle is $5.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: AL, FL, GA: $6.99; OH: $7.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Big Churn Chardonnay - California
The intense flavor of oaked Chardonnay has been rejected by some wine pundits as a flavor trend gone too far. Nonsense. Our response to this penchant for creamy, toasty, oaky Chards has been: Can we take it farther? The answer is a big, YES. The answer also turns out to be Big Churn Chardonnay.
Always willing to stir things up, we challenged a winery we work with to churn out the oakiest, most buttery Chardonnay they could produce. The resulting ode to California-style Chardonnays is a bright, buttery-yellow wine that delivers big-time with toasted-vanilla aromas. The creamy nose translates to a decadent, velvety mouthfeel, carrying flavors of ripe baked apple and lively tropical fruit and spice. It finishes long and luxuriously, just as one would expect.
For our pasta pairing, we’ve chosen to mimic this extreme creaminess with a lemon crème fraîche sauce, tossed with peas and bowties—that pasta shape emblematic of extreme fashion. Now, it’s your Churn.
The Pastability: Fancy Lemon Farfalle
Big Churn Chardonnay is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. The 750mL bottle is $6.99 plus tax everywhere we sell it. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Le Grotte Lambrusco Reggiano DOC - Emilio Romagna, Italy
Lambrusco… a young, rude, Italian sheep. You might think so—having not yet experienced the joys of this fizzy, fruity wine. Neither lamb, nor brusque in temperament, Lambrusco is a grape variety, grown almost exclusively in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Lambrusco is also the wine made from these grapes, since at least Roman times.
Le Grotte Lambrusco Reggiano is, indeed, best drunk on the young side (not meant to be cellared), but it is not rude—unless one considers to be impolite its intensely ruby red color and persistent aromas of fruit and violets. We consider these traits to be the model of civility and class, especially when crested with soft, subtle bubbles. It is sweet—a character quality some have used against Lambrusco. However, Le Grotte’s sweetness partners harmoniously with lively fruit flavor, and is balanced by a dry finish.
These qualities suggest a pairing with our half-moon shaped Mezzelune—ravioli-like noodles filled with roasted cauliflower and three Italian cheeses. Surely, we’d be rude not to make this pastability known to you...
The Pastability: Roasted Cauliflower Mezzelune & Fried Basil
Le Grotte Lambrusco Reggiano is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. The 750mL bottle is $4.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: GA, IA, KY: $5.49; AL, FL: $5.99; NH, OH: $6.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Agostón Garnacha & Syrah DO - Cariñena, Aragón, Spain
Agostón is a reference to the wild boars of Spain, commonly found roaming the forested areas of the Iberian Peninsula. Why connect wine to popularly hunted pigs? Maybe because Agostón Garnacha & Syrah is a true value, worthy of pursuit.
While giving chase to this wine, you’ll inevitably arrive at Trader Joe’s, where you can discover the smooth, dry, balanced character of this red, crafted from Garnacha and Syrah grapes that are grown in one of the oldest protected wine growing regions of Spain. The dark ruby red color is a visual depiction of the bold, black cherry and raspberry notes present in the aroma and flavor. It comes across fresh and fruity, but with minimal sweetness.
We surmised that this bold, balanced red might pair well with our Hot Italian Sausage (with special thanks to the boar’s domesticated cousin). Our taste-testers judge this zesty, red-sauce and rigatoni pastability to be more than complimentary—but you’ll only know for sure if you try it yourself.
The Pastability: Hot & Smoky Rigatoni Bake
Agostón Garnacha & Syrah is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. The 750mL bottle is $5.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: OH: $6.99. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.
Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC - Veneto, Italy
Ripasso is an Italian wine term meaning “repassed.” Pass the bottle again? Pass another glass? How about pass the Valpolicella wine over the pomace (skins, pulp, seeds, and stems) left over from the making of Amarone—one of Veneto’s most revered (and expensive!) wines.
Really, it’s more than just a “passing over.” Valpolicella (made from a blend of local, native grapes) is literally left on the Amarone pulp where it ferments a second time, taking on many of the coveted characteristics of its costlier cousin. This method augments ordinary Valpolicella with deeper color, richer texture, and bigger flavor. Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso comes from one of our long-time Italian collaborators, and it more than passes for a superior Ripasso… ruby red in your glass with intense aromas of wild cherries and red currants. It is full-bodied and rich, with sweet, round tannins toward a pleasing mouthfeel.
Eschewing expected beef, we went for a less predictable pastability… namely, creamy Mac & Cheese, enriched with our savory Turkey Bolognese. So, repass that bottle—you’ll soon be in need of another glass!
The Pastability: Joe's Diner Macaroni Bolognese
Valpolicella Ripasso is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold. The 750mL bottle is $8.99 plus tax unless otherwise noted here: AL, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, ME, MI, NE, NM, OR, WA: $9.99; NH: $10.99; OH: $11.99; VA: not available. Alcohol availability & price may vary due to state laws, taxes, shipment fees & other such stuff.