2008 VINTJS Syrah

2008 VINTJS SyrahPrice: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “VINTJS Central Coast Syrah is a blend of Paso Robles (warm climate) and Santa Barbara (cool climate) grapes, aged for nine months in neutral French barrels. From the cool climate we get spice, acidity and balance, while the warm climate contributes soft, round, lush fruit. Together, they create a stellar Syrah in the classic Rhône style, redolent of black cherry and pepper.”

What I Think:

This is the 2nd wine I’ve reviewed in the latest from the VINTJS series. As mentioned when discussing the Chardonnay I learned while reading the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer that these wines were made by Bob Lindquist of Qupe. I’ve had their Qupe Syrah offering and was a fan so I was anxiously awaiting giving this one a try.

With steak on the table this was an easy choice and it delivered. The nose displayed herb notes and dried cherries. The palate showed terrific balance and nice acidity. Fruit is present but stays in the background; this one is not a fruit bomb by any means. The end is loaded with white pepper and under ripe berry flavors that lead to a slight pucker on the finish. It shows a bit of elegance that leads me to believe this one has some room to grow with aging. So that leaves one question, is this a side project with its own juice? Or did they decide to bottle a little bit less of the ’08 Syrah and throw the VINTJS label on the remainder. Perhaps I’ll email Bob and see what he has to say. Or maybe I’ll do a bottle comparison. This one was marked “8265 A 35” on the bottom. Be interesting to see if the same can be found on the Qupe. Regardless, this one is worth seeking out. I’ll be grabbing more…

Rating: Buy It

2008 VINTJS Chardonnay

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2008 VINTJS ChardonnayPer Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “VINTJS Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay is a bright, crisp Chardonnay fermented in French oak casks. A touch of rich, vivid tropical fruit makes this wine a good partner to pasta with cream sauce or young cheeses like our Baby Swiss.”

What I Think:

I mentioned in my post about the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer that the new VINTJS offerings weren’t on my shopping list until I realized they were made by Bob Lindquist of Au Bon Climat and Qupe. So that solved the first problem. The second? Drumroll… It’s the grape. Many times over I have precluded my Chardonnay posts by reminding everyone that I am not a fan of the varietal. Once again I feel compelled to do so but won’t go deeper, if interested in more you can find the latest on my story here. When I open this one I immediately think that is the typical $20 California Chardonnay that everyone knows and loves, except for me apparently. Big oak jumps out on the nose. Once it blows off some nice apple and nectarine notes intermingle themselves. On the palate you are greeted with forward fruit, “bright” from the description above rings true. The mid-palate becomes creamy and this lasts through the end where it is met with a touch of acidity that adds crispness and creates a lasting finish that lingers on and on. Many people pay big $$ for this flavor profile. Gary Vee calls it “buttered popcorn Chard”. If that sounds like it is up your alley grab a bottle or two, guessing this could be a winner for you. As for me, my hunt for a Chard I agree with continues. That said, I’m looking forward to trying the Syrah.

Rating: 12th Bottle