Price: $12.99 @ Trader Joe’s
What They Said:
Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer (pdf) We set out to find a couple of magical wines that had the character, style and pedigree of really good reds. And yet, we dreamed both would have reasonable prices far lower than wines of this caliber normally command. Fulfilling our fantasies required a dedication to tasting and patience. Really good wines don’t grow on trees after all. Many tasting panels later, we discovered these wines worthy of the moniker Trader Joe’s Reserve. The Grand Reserve Pinot Noir has spent six months in oak to develop its grand complexity. This wine is rich with smoky plum, black cherry and raspberry. We watch our costs carefully, so we can offer values that might make others blush (or, rosé). We’re selling each 750 ml bottle of Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands for $12.99.
What I Think:
Wow, upon reflection I still can’t believe I paid $13 for a bottle of wine at Trader Joe’s. Further confounding this is that it was one of their very own private labeled bottles. This one had some background before it arrived. Angela and her crew called it a favorite in reviewing the majority of Trader Joe’s Pinot Noir offerings. Shortly thereafter Danny gave it a solid two thumbs down, saying after a single sip that he saved himself some coin. Obviously at this price point my expectations are sky high. The only thing tempering them is knowing how good it is to find quality Pinot at a reasonable price point.
Now let’s move on to the main event. On opening an aromatic nose smelling of light fruits, cherries and raspberries, with hints of cola. On the palate holy moly! I am initially blown away by fruit, a bit on the sweet side even. This needed time to blow off, wonder if that is the sip Danny had. After giving this one some time the fruits mellow with cherries and cranberries predominant on a light frame that lasts and linger through a long finish with barrel notes, a bit of spice and sour fruit. All in all, this was nice but I need a bit more than just fruit. I would have liked a bit more complexity or if not a range of flavors. I much prefer this Hayman & Hill which also hails from Santa Lucia and is even a few bucks cheaper…