2009 Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles

Rabbit Ridge WineryTrader Joe’s “other” cult wine. Over the years there have been more than a few accusations of “hording” this offering and not sharing the wealth. The history of the Allures de Robles as I know it lapsed after the 1998 vintage before being resurrected as an NV sometime around 2006. From there it was followed by a 2007 vintage offering. Allure de Robles is an estate grown wine that is made in a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style. This one is a traditional Rhone Blend composed of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. With the clones of the grapes being predominantly from the esteemed Tablas Creek Winery which in turn are cut them from the fabled Chateau Beaucastel. For those that don’t recognize the names it is safe to say they are punching well beyond a $5 price tag…

Erich Russell of Rabbit Ridge WineryWhat I find most interesting is that it is made by a real winery. Better yet one that respects their customers first and foremost. I have often lamented those wineries that ship wine off to Trader Joe’s at a steep discount without giving their most valuable customers the opportunity to buy these wines at the same price. When doing so Rabbit Ridge is always my shining example of how to do it right. And while they sell wines from across the pricing spectrum (from $5 up to $30) I’ve always respected the level of detail paid to this offering. Unlike the Chariot Gypsy this one shows variances in ABV (alcohol by volume). The 2009 clocks in at 14.6%; the ‘07 15.4% and ‘08 14.7%. Taking the time, money and effort to refile the label for approval with the TTB annually is just but one indicator that Erich Russell (pictured right) and “the team” from Rabbit Ridge are making the most honest $5 bottle of wine out there to be had.

Per an email from Erich here is what he had to say “The alcohol is indeed a true alcohol at 14.6 and the wine is not manipulated in any way—no acid additions, no water additions, no finning, no mega purple, no concentrate just pure grape juice. It is pretty amazing to me the changes in the wine from 2007 to 2008 to 2009. The 2010 is a really wild one at least individual lots are right now. The bad news is the supply of 2010 will be really low compared to 2009, maybe as much as 60% lower.” And that supply is where things seem to get interesting. Erich mentioned the fact that the Wine Spectator awarding Wine of the Year to another Paso Robles GSM blend is driving prices higher. He is facing a tough conundrum come 2011. One that I have seen many of my favorite value wines face. To raise prices or lower quality. I for one hope Erich will raise the price but am keen to hear your thoughts. If you have a second hop on over to Facebook and cast your vote. In the meantime what do you say we get to this wine…

2009 Rabbit Ridge Allure de RoblesPrice: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer (pdf) “Oh, how we love a good wine. But what we love even more is a good wine at a great price. That’s why we like Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles so much. You would, in ordinary circumstances, expect to pay considerably more for a wine of this quality from the Paso Robles region. These, however, are extraordinary times in which we live, producing both extraordinary wines and extraordinary values.

Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles is crafted from grapes grown on four of the Rabbit Ridge vineyards on the west side of Paso Robles. It’s a Côtes du Rhône-style blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, each grown in a vineyard whose soil and elevation is best suited to the particular varietal. The wine’s strawberry & cherry overtones come courtesy of the Grenache, its medium body a Syrah-specific characteristic and its subtle, earthy undertones from the Mourvèdre. This is an excellent wine to serve with our Vintage Reserve Cheddar (p. 7) and makes a cheery companion to our Stuffed Pork Chops (p. 21) at dinnertime. At $4.99 a bottle, this wine is a terrific value that won’t be around forever. Get yours while it lasts; because when it’s gone, we can’t guarantee we can get more.”

What I Think:

(14.6%) Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre – Lighter, ruby in color. Strawberry and oak nose. Juicy on the palate with rich, peppery, berry fruit this one turns slight sweet and candied on the mid-palate before a somewhat short finish which once again reveals that peppery streak and a heavy dollop of oak. An affordable sipper well suited for a picnic, keeping you company while cooking or accompanying a meal in need of an easy drinking wine. For $5, while not a revelation, this is better than expected and I’ll be grabbing a few more bottles.

Rating: Buy It (While it may disappoint a few spoiled by previous vintages most will find it money well spent…)

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27 thoughts on “2009 Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles

  1. Great ground work and review Jason! I enjoyed this wine a lot when I tried it a few weeks back. Looking forward to what others in the crowd have to say.

  2. It’s not easy for me to get to a TJ’s, but I go about 3 time per year. When I asked the wine guy at the Roswell, GA store about it he gave me a knowing look and said it was one of his favorites and that it’s ages well … that’s all I needed – I bought a case of this and another mixed case.

  3. I just grabbed a case at the Joseph’s in Sherman Oaks (there was at least one more case left, if anyone still needs some), bringing my total haul to about 30 bottles, which will hopefully last me through the summer. Having never tasted prior vintages of this wine, I have the benefit of not having been “spoiled” by them, as Jason cautions. As a result, I’m thoroughly blown away by this — the intensity of the fruit and spice character (as well as the commendable balance between them) is extraordinary for a wine at this price. Huge congratulations and thanks to Erich, as well as to Jason for alerting your readers to this great value.

  4. Just got 5 cases in last night. We’ll see how long this round lasts.

    BTW, the Hogue Genesis Mertiage looks promising. I’ll see if I can squeeze a tasting out of the Captain this week and throw it in the line-up.

  5. Angela….Trust me it is ! :-)Hogue Genesis is an excellent Meritage Value purchase. NOTE: Needs 2+ hours to aerate! Will Cellar 3-7 more years easily. Now 20 months in bottle and 18 months Oak aged b4.

  6. @JerryK: Well I guess I’ll need to put my aerator in my pack this week so we can tap into this bad boy. I’ll suggest the “glass water pitcher method” to customers: Pour contents slowly into a glass pitcher and pour slowly back into the bottle and let it sit for an hour if possible.
    But man, most of my customers are so impatient when it comes to wine.
    They want to drink it NOW! ; )

  7. I found your blog tonight while searching for reviews of Trader Joe’s wines. I love the format of your reviews and look forward to trying your “buy it” recommendations. My roommate and I are thrifty wine lovers and are always happy to find quality wine at affordable prices.

  8. TJ’s does not carry the Rabbit Ridge in Minnesota. I saw it in my local wine shop and decided to pick one up, even though it was priced at $11.99. Quite the difference in markup!

  9. Tried it tonight and was reminded why I don’t buy $5 bottles of red wine. Too sweet, too thin, too much like a cheap pinot.

  10. Well folks as usual different tastes for different folks! The Genesis is almost now gone and a winner! Small but worthy quantities of the Tribunal returned now for a week + Extraordinary if u can get some.
    RE ALLURE…the PRIME alternative is J. Vidal Cotes Du Rhone! Same blend better wine at $6.99 per. The Chook Shed will also return soon as one of the best value Shiraz’s from Barossa Valley Australia.

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