2009 Trentatre Rosso

A long-time favorite the 2007 version of this wine has previously graced the #1 spot in my Trader Joe’s Top 10 Wine List . Back then the label mentioned it was discovered “quite by chance” given that (plus the history, or lack thereof, of Trader Joe’s wines delivering from vintage to vintage) I was somewhat reticent to grab the latest offering. Would my gut read be right? Let’s see…

2009 Trentatre RossoPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Santini Fine Wines

What They Said:

Per the bottle “This unique wine comes from the Apulia Region located in the depth of Southern Italy. The blend is an equal amount of three different varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon 33,3%, Merlot 33,3%, and Montepulciano 33,4% collectively aged six months in oak barrels, hence the name “Trentatre” which in Italian means Thirtythree. The color is a deep purple-red with a pleasant fruity nose with hints of plum, cherry, and chocolate. Full bodied, it has a supple finish with soft tannins. Enjoy it with pasta, pizza, grilled meats, seasoned cheese…or even on its own!”

What I Think:

(14%) 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Montepulciano – An old time favorite that I haven’t revisited I was surprised (and happy) to find this one is still as easy drinking as ever. Nice clove spice on the nose. The palate is smooth with nice fruit (perhaps a touch sweet) and a balanced acidity. From there the clove spice emerges and leads to a dry, warm, lingering finish with hints of dusty cocoa powder. Not nuanced or complex in anyway but a well-made wine without the rough edges or cloying sweetness you find in many similar wines at this ($6) price point. Any early favorite to grab a top spot in my 2011 Holidays Edition of the Trader Joe’s Top 10 Wines List…

Rating: Buy It

2007 Trentatre Rosso

2007 Trentatre RossoPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Santini Fine Wines

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Trentatre in Italian means: Thirty-three. We came up with this belnd of three exciting varietals quite by chance when barrel tasting “TATA” a Montepulciano is the winemaker’s cellar. Amongst the barrels of Montepulciano ageing in the wine cellars, we discovered Merlot and Cabernet which had been sitting in oak barrels for quite some time used on occasions for blending. We were of the opinion that if one was to make a wine using Montepulciano (earthy, tannic with hints of cherry) with Cabernet (rich, intense and long lasting) and then add Merlot (soft, ripe and juicy) we may have reinvented the wheel (just kidding). Blending an equal amount of these three varietals, barrel aged for six months and bada-bing you get 33! Hence the name Trentatre.”

What I Think:

Another one I’ve been drinking for a while, this was bottle three or four, but been slow to review. As mentioned above, Trentatre is Italian for “33” which represents the blend percentage for three grapes that make up this wine; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Montepulciano. This one is super Tuscan-“ish” compared to my standby Italian offerings which are bright and acidic. On the nose you get dried cherry petals and a hint of mint. The palate starts with the same cherries before delivering a coffee (grounds) component. The body is full and plush and the wine is well balanced with tannins throughout. The finish is dry, a bit chalky and shows some oak along with lasting, dusty chocolate notes. It seems to have more age to it than the “2007” listed on the bottle. Perhaps the Cab and Merlot were truly sitting around for “quite some time”. Either way, I’m sure I’ll grab another bottle or two of this one on my next Trader Joe’s run.

Rating: Buy It

2003 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva

2003 Epicuro Salice Salentino RiservaPrice: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by D’Aquino Italian Imports

What They Said:

Per snooth.com “A great value, I’d be happy to drink this on a regular basis. It’s a blend of 80% negroamaro and 20% malvasia nera, with mineral and berry notes. It is dry, and light-bodied for a red wine. Some may find this a little watery, but it has a flavorful finish. No heavy alcohol fumes or need to breathe first, like so many wines at this price point.”

What I Think:

After trying their Aglianico I was willing to try the rest of their offerings. Like the previous bottle and the Nero d’ Avola I’ve previously enjoyed this wine was also from southern Italy. This one was a blend of 80% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera which immediately sends me to Wikipedia as I have heard of neither. Negroamaro is grown almost exclusively in Puglia which is also the home of Primitivo (a relative of Zinfandel) which I have much enjoyed. All signs seem to be pointing in this ones favor.

On opening my interest is piqued. The nose was full of earth and herbs. On the palate more of the same, very earthy and robust with hints of cherries. The finish was long and flavorful, with fruit tailing off to a woody, smoky ending. Another keeper from southern Italy which has clearly put itself on my map.

Rating: Buy It