L’Authentique Red Table Wine: Anything But Authentic

26 Nov

So on my most recent trip to Trader Joe’s I picked up three bottles of wine:

  • 2003 Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve “Dulcet” (Cabernet/Syrah) | Napa Valley, CA | $19.99 (sale: $35-$40)
  • 2007 Cono Sur Carmenere | Colchagua Valley, Chile | $7.99 (sale: $8.99-$10.00)
  • 2007 L’Authentique Red Table Wine | France | $4.99

The last bottle was purely gratuitous. I put it into my cart because I figured it five bucks wasn’t too much to pay for a gamble. I was willing to gamble due to my previous wonderful experience with Trader Joe’s.

I’m glad it was only $4.99.

Two hints that this wine would be terrible:

  1. No wine worth its salt would be named “L’Authentique.”
  2. The back label says to store the wine horizontally, in a cool place.  So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all this time!

What a horrible wine.  Flat, with a cloying sweetness that just came out of nowhere.  Tannins were out of whack; thinnish body.  My roommate and I each took a sip of the wine and let out audible groans.

It might have been that this particular bottle was baked–it had the “baked” qualities to it.  But I don’t want to pay another five bucks to find out.

To be fair, also, some other blogs have been kinder to this wine.

Please don’t get this wine.  I never thought I’d say this, but if you must, pick up a bottle of Charles Shaw instead!

(I’ll be reviewing the other bottles later!)

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23 Responses to “L’Authentique Red Table Wine: Anything But Authentic”

  1. winetastingguy December 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm #

    The prices at Trader Joe’s are great, but sometimes the wines can be “buy at your own risk”.

    The fun of learning about wine though is taking chances and making some mistakes. Hopefully this $5 mistake will be one of the few…

  2. Emilio March 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Wine snob! Just try finding this wine. It sells out pronto. Why? Because it is a flavorful, lovely, delicate table red that apparently is well appreciated by those who know and understand their buds. Go spin your speak Merlo Man.

    • dragon reeder July 14, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      I like this wine. It taste better than most of the $80-$200 wines that my best friend always drink. While she might agrees that L’Authentique is terrible, her taste is neither right nor wrong.

      • vinicultured July 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

        I agree that taste in wine is subjective to an extent, and that price is not necessarily correlated to quality (in both directions: expensive wines are not necessarily “good” and inexpensive wines are not necessarily “poor”). I think that we need to be careful not to conflate our personal tastes with general statements on quality. (I’m not the biggest fan of, say, California Chardonnays, but I should be careful not to say that they are bad wines.)

        However, I will say that I prefer more complex wines–complexity being an objective quality–than simple wines. I like Muscadet, for instance, but its value comes from its being more of an inexpensive, refreshing, clean, and delicious quaffer. Muscadet has its place, just as, say, Meursault. I prefer the latter, though if given the choice between the two I would still pick Muscadet when I deem it more appropriate in context.

        Wines of higher complexity tend to be more expensive. The unfortunate thing about more expensive wines is that they tend to get people’s expectations up: if those expectations are not met because of things like bottle taint, a poor food pairing, a crummy day, or whatever else, then the letdown is much greater than the comparable situation involving a $5 bottle.

        But to circle back: I did say that L’Authentique was a “terrible” wine. Perhaps I was too harsh. But I WAS much younger when I wrote that adjective. I have not tried another bottle because I haven’t been able to find one. I would love to be proven wrong on this bottle.

  3. vinicultured March 4, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    Emilio,

    Thank you for your feedback. Perhaps I was a little harsh on this wine; perhaps I had a baked bottle. But what about this wine makes it flavorful, lovely, and delicate?

    Joon S.

  4. Leah May 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    One of the best! I usually drink Pinot Noir but I love this for a change. My mother & two sisters buy it by the case!
    I live in Denver and don’t have Trader Joe’s, so I need to know where to find it here.

  5. Ian Turner May 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    My guess is yours was baked; I’ve had this and had a very different impression.

    • vinicultured May 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

      Interesting. So many people have stuck up for this wine that I’ll have to try it again. I may very well have had a baked bottle. Thanks for your feedback, Ian and Leah!

  6. Marie C. July 28, 2009 at 2:00 am #

    My husband and I tried a bottle of this wine and were delighted enough to go back and buy a case.It definately needs to breath for a good 10-15 minutes before serving. This $3.99 bottle in our opinion bested others that sold for $300 from award winning vineyards.

  7. Bob M November 15, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    I tried this today, and I have to agree with most of the other comments. Give this one another try! It reminded me of some of the lightly aged Cote du Rhones I’ve had — soft tannins, some depth, subdued fruit and some earthy notes.

    It’s not as fine or complex, but it’s damn good for a table wine. There are certainly worse wines receiving AOC and Vin De Pays labellings.

    As far as the name goes: Trader Joe’s has a bit of a sense of humor, and I think it’s supposed to be a subtle joke. It may be produced in France, but everything about the label clearly says it’s not “authentique” in a very obvious way.

  8. Jim H. November 25, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    This seems to be a great wine that really really really does not keep well. My family tried it and loved it ($6, east coast) then went out and bought 6 more bottles. We drank the first 4 on four separate dinners, each as great as the first. we let the others sit in the cool basement, VERTICALLY, and found them 2 months later. “oh boy!” we thought. Boy had that wine skunked. My wife (who is logarithmically more savvy than I about wine — and loved the L’Authentique, btw) did mention the horizontal storage — something about making contact with the cork.

    Perhaps letting it breathe is all that is req’d. Thanks, Marie C.!

    So. If your see the typical Trader Joe’s feeding frenzy with a crowd buying this wine, pick up a bottle or two and drink it right away. There is a very good chance you will be pleased. If you see a bottle sitting by itself on the shelf, keep shopping.

    • vinicultured November 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

      Thank you for your detailed comment, Jim!

      Man–so many people have risen in defense of this wine. I’ll be sure to pick up a bottle the next time I can find it. It hasn’t been at my local Trader Joe’s for months!

  9. Wine Road Less Traveled December 10, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Yes the wine is light and fruity, but I found it to be a very pleasant, simple, quaffable wine that would pair well with a wide variety of food. My wife absolutely loved it.

    As long as you don’t expect complexity this is a very nice wine. It should especially appeal to those who like their reds on the light bodied side.

  10. gk in MN December 31, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    I agree with Bob M – not complex but lightly sweet and pleasant. I don’t think it will keep well so plan on drinking it quickly. Not a problem says I!

  11. andre December 20, 2010 at 1:29 am #

    Your review of this wine characterizes it very well. I also picked it up randomly like you. I can confirm your bottle was not a bad one. No nose at all, a little crispness that is immediatelly cut off by some badly sugary aftertaste. Even 2$chuck’s pipi de chat is more drinkable than this, but then yes, it does say table wine and has no appelation d’origine controllee a.k.a “I should have known better” Makes great sangria though.

    • vinicultured December 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

      Thank you for confirming on this! I haven’t had L’Authentique since that first time, but somehow I feel I’m not missing out on anything.

  12. breezy July 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    This is an old thread, but after picking this up and being wow’ed I had to look up the wine and say something. I think this is one of my new favorites. I’m new to wine, so maybe that’s the difference. I have tried other wines and not liked them as much as TJ’s wines. My favorites are Chariot Gypsy, Benefactor and other fruit forward wines. This one is quite effervescent, almost a tad sparkling, with a good tart fruit tang and the acidic bite that I love. Not everyone likes the kind of wines I do, but I’m glad to have found your blog.

  13. Alfy July 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Opened two “new” wines last night.

    Green Fin, California Cabernet Savignon. Scale of 1 to 10, it is a 1 or less. Took a drink. Dumped the entire bottle then and there.
    Its claim to fame, “made with organic grapes.” 13.5%, $4.99.

    L’Authentique, French red table wine. Scale of 1 to 10, at least an 8. Claim to fame, “A smooth french red wine.” 12.5%, $4.99.

  14. Wine-o July 23, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    I have bought 2 bottles a week of this wine for the past 6 months after a checker recommended it and enjoy it very much- I HAVE gotten 2 bad bottles, though, and boy do I KNOW they are bad- sour- tannic- awful!! Fortunately I took them back and switched em out:)
    Easy drinking wine late at night with no meal to accompany it – Way better than two buck chuck but I can certainly find better $35 bottles if I’m in the mood to spend that much!!

  15. Tabugrl November 19, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    I happen to love this wine. I think the chances are good you had a bad bottle. I’ve never experienced a “baked” nuance with this wine.It is a great table wine, well-balanced, and I find that it’s simplicity is its charm. Nice fruit: raspberry and fresh plum. Interesting that “Breezy” mentions Chariot, because this is another one of my regular buys, and I find they share some basic qualities. This is my go-to wine whenever I want something affordable and enjoyable.

    • vinicultured November 19, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Hmm. That actually sounds pretty good. You know, so many people have stood up for this wine that I may have to try it. I haven’t seen it at Trader Joe’s in a while, however, but if I see it I’ll be sure to pick up a bottle. It’s only $5, after all!

      But if that second bottle is bad, you all had better watch out!

  16. markgordon December 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Sorry to sour everyone’s grapes (bad pun, I apologize), but I had to respond in order to give caution to those considering this wine after browsing Trader Joe’s bargain buys. It looks tempting, that’s how I stumbled upon it, simple label, right price (3.99 when I bought it tonight in LA), french table wine. I’m no wine snob, give me a solid $5-$10 table wine over a not-quite-there $15-$20 cab/merlot/fill-in-the-blank any day but I have to side more towards the original posting. This wine is mediocre at best for what it’s trying to be, and no I did not get a bad bottle. There is nothing notably “off” about this wine, but it’s really lacking anything right. Somewhat bitter bouquet, thin palate, and an almost nonexistent finish with little backbone. Perhaps a decent “beginners” wine as it is very light and unassuming, drinkable, yes, but there are way better 5 buck bargains out there. Personally I wish I would have spent the extra $1 and got the D’Aquino wicker basket Chianti ($4.99 at TJ’s, and about $13.99 at your local grocer).

    • vinicultured December 21, 2011 at 12:03 am #

      Finally! Someone who agrees with me about this wine. I still haven’t been able to find another bottle of it, but I’ll definitely re-post when I try it again. Thank you, Mark!

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