2009 VINTJS Pinot Noir

2009 VINTJS Pinot NoirPrice: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Wine by Joe (on the 2008 which goes for $19 on the winery site) “Listen to the fine and enticing “snap-crack” of the seal as you twist it off. Put the Band-Aids back in the medicine cabinet… this aint no cork sealed wine. This wine slips into your mouth with gorgeous rich blackberry aromas with a touch of leather, too. The flavors mirror the aromas with a soft and velvety mouthfeel which wraps around your tongue delivering the impression of sweetness from the soft ripe tannins. I know what you are thinking… How can Joe deliver such a good Oregon Pinot Noir for the money you are asking!!?? Yes, I know, you want to drink more…”

What I Think:

I found this Willamette offering from the same maker as the recently reviewed Pinot Gris and, as Gary Vee would say, I decided to give it a whirl. How did it go?

Faint in color at the core and almost brown on the edges this one is light from the get go. Bright on the nose this one starts nicely showing racy acidity which leads to tart cranberry and orange rind flavors before giving way to a slightly harsh finish. That’s the best that can be said. On the flip side I might look at this one as thin, sour and under ripe. Whereas the Pinot Gris was well made I don’t get that sense here as it seems disjointed at times. Not enough Jekyll & too much Hyde for me. I won’t be buying this one again. Anyone have a recent favorite Pinot favorite in this price range to share?

Rating: Skip It

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16 thoughts on “2009 VINTJS Pinot Noir

    • Disappointing indeed. I opened the Caretaker last night and found that a preferable option that said I likely won’t buy that one again either. Perhaps I am particular with Pinot but I’ve had little success at the $10 price point comparative to other varietals. Next time I find one I will have to stock up!

  1. I think the 2009 TJ’s reserve pinot noir is a better buy at least according to wine compendium tasting notes. It was rated 90 pts. and cheaper too at 6.99. I will get one 2morrow and try it for myself.

  2. I haven’t had much luck with Pinots in the $10 range either. Jason, I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to try the Vintjs 2008 Central Coast Syrah? Definitely give that one a whirl if you haven’t yet. I was pleasantly surprised by that one.

  3. @RMN I think I may have had that one sometime back. I believe it was a Hahn family offering from Monterrey. If so it wasn’t bad but it was more like red wine than Pinot to me. Let me know how it goes if you do give it a try.

    @May If you are referring to the one made by Bob Lindquist of Qupe fame I have indeed. I was a big fan and actually put some in my cellar to have it for later. My review is here. That the one?

  4. My notes on this one:
    Hardly any nose, slight alcoholice & berries
    Light, good structure, berries and spicy finish

    It didn’t knock my socks off and I was hoping for more considering the area, but it wasn’t awful.

    ALERT!: 2007 Sterling Mendicino Organic Cabernet for $4.99 available for a limited time. Regular suggested retail: $15.99
    Very fruit-forward, medium to full-bodied, pretty good for an organic wine. Not too flat.
    Defintely better the second day even with a screw-top. Quite nice with pizza, salami, cheese and chocolate. It likes food and air, althought it might not have recovered fully from shipping when I had it on the first day.

  5. A good pinot with real pinot qualities at or under $10 is a rare thing indeed! Too bad this one didn’t hit that mark…

    @Angela – I’m looking forward to trying the Sterling! Some crew members said it lacked the full bodiedness they like, but come on, it’s 5 bucks! Could be some solid red table wine.

    At our tasting a few days ago, we had some of the Trader Joe’s Reserve 2007 Cab ($9.99) from DnA Vineyards in Mendocino….wow, I loved this wine! It was super tannic and had deep rich flavors. (didn’t have time to take proper notes) I felt it has good potential as a wine to stock up and forget about for a few years…which I’ve already done :)

    Sadly, I tried the TJs Reserve Barbera by the same vineyard right afterward the Cab and my palate was just not ready for it. I’d love to try it again along with the Syrah under the same label.

  6. @Matt: Yeah, at 12% alcohol it won’t have the chewiness of other Cabs. Its weight is more like an everyday Cote du Rhone rather than a “Napa Cab”. BTW, what’s in your local store is it. There will be no more avaiable. If you like it, buy a case now and drink at will. (This one isn’t for aging)

    @Jason: Glad you liked the notes. Once our new Captain has established a Tasting Schedule, I’ll have more. I looked for the Overlake Cab, but it is sadly no more. Sorry I missed it.

  7. Just sampled the Vintjs 2009 San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir, currently available at TJs. Tastes too jammy to be Pinot – especially at $8.99 – could some Syrah have snuck in? Not much in the way of tannins. Slightly (and undesirably) effervescent on the tongue. I’m not expert and am curious to hear other opinions.

  8. I thought the Vintjs 2009 San Luis Obispo was Ok for 8.99. I also had a lot bang for the buck (14.3 % alc). I dare you to find a better Pinot in this price range. I hear folks rave over the Caretaker which had a terrible bitter aftertaste. I took the Caretaker back and opted for the Vintjs

  9. @Ed I’m not likely to try this but it wouldn’t surprise me if this had a dose of something else included as many Pinots in this price range do.

    @wr As for other options in the price range I would recommend the Picket Fence, Sebastopol Hills and Trader Joe’s Pinot Noir Reserve Carneros. If you try any of them let me know what you think…

  10. I did I side-by-side comparison of two TJs pinot noirs, the 2009 Willamette VINTJS and the 2009 Santia Lucia Highlands (Monterey, CA) VINTJS. I came to the same conclusion you did about the “Wine by Joe” Willamette one… it was all thin, hot-alcohol sour cherry flavor with a tiny hint of oak. Definitely not worth buying again.

    The Santia Lucia (same price, $8.99) was a completely different beast altogether. I found it to be smooth and nicely balanced with a little bit of complexity of flavors, some berry fruit but also some earthy cedar or mushroom and a little spice (even though still light and delicate, like a pinot should be) I’ve tried dozens and dozens of pinots from Willamette, Washington, Russian River, Paso Robles, Carneros, etc. and I have to say that the 2009 Santa Lucia VINTJS is definitely the best under-$10 one I’ve had. Probably even the best I’ve had for under $20.

  11. Wishing I would have found your blog sooner…. Bought the VINTJS Pinot Noir today on a whim (recently relocated to an area that has a TJ’s within driving distance) and was sadly disappointed. Thin, sour, and under ripe are on the mark as is the fairly harsh finish. On the bright side, I will now be checking your blog before I buy.

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