2008 Picton Bay Pinot Noir

Price: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by L. Watson Inc.

What They Said:

2008 Picton Bay Pinot NoirPer the bottle “This wine is made from grapes grown in Marlborough and Nelson, Picton Bay Pinot Noir is fresh with delicious red fruit flavours, enticing spicy aromas, and a smooth, fine texture. Drink now or cellar until 2012.”

What I Think:

I’ve been meaning to get to this one for a while and on a recent evening it finally made its way to the table. On opening the bottle it was bursting with red berry fruits on the nose. On the palate this one starts smooth and balanced. Towards the middle an acidic backbone emerges showing light fruit flavors which lead to warm, tingly tannins on the finish. On opening it was a bit hot but it blew off with time leaving behind this tight, racy acidic wine that delivers a lot of bang for the buck. If I were to redo the Trader Joe’s Top 10 Wine List today this one would certainly claim a spot.

That said, this one may not be for everybody as it doesn’t deliver the big fruit many look for. It is much closer to, what I think of as, a Pinot from Oregon with a leaner style balancing red fruit and structured acidity. So how does it compare to the Redtree Pinot Noir ($7) which the Wine Spectator loved. Though I’ve yet to review it, I have tried the Redtree and it comes off more juicy and fruit forward. It also lacks the structure and balance that the Picton Bay, which I prefer, delivers. With the Castle Rock, the Caretaker and this one Trader Joe’s currently finds itself awash in nice drinking Pinot’s that cost you less than a ten spot. Which is your fave? Think I’ll grab some more of all three.

Rating: Buy It

2008 Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc

2008 Picton Bay Sauvignon BlancPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by L. Watson Inc.

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Picton, at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island is the gateway to Marlborough. Our wine is produced from world famous Marlborough vineyards. Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc is classic Marlborough in style – vibrant, fresh and fruity.”

What I Think:

Nose of lemon, custard…almost jolly rancherish. Some candied grapefruit lingering in the background. In the mouth, tart and bracing. Some sour lemons on the palate. Tons of mineral and a lot of acidity. It doesn’t have the balance I am looking for at times coming off as overly grassy. This one isn’t bad but I know of two more New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s at Trader Joe’s that I prefer; the King Shag ($7) and the Kono ($8). Should the Kiwi style not work for you the Geyser Peak ($8) is also a winner.

Rating: Skip It (with the caveat that if you are not a fan of those Sauv Blanc’s above this one is well worth trying)

Editor’s Note (09-Jul-2009): Added a disclaimer to the rating