The Wine: One of my first wine reviews was of the 2008 Grand Reserve Meritage. And to be honest, it was the wine which got me to cross the Rubicon and start this blog. Trader Joe’s has some wines worth talking about. I was excited to see Trader Joe’s kept its relationship with it’s ‘super’ source in Napa Valley for a sequel vintage of Meritage. This wine must have been a success and there is now a choice between a 750ml bottle and 1.5 litre (two bottle) Magnum for the 2009 vintage. But 2009 presented some challenges to Napa Cab growers. Two storms in October presented a fork in the road and wineries/vineyards had only two choices: Let the fruit hang and risk rot/mold or harvest not fully ripened Cabernet Sauvignon. Will this wine live up to the great 2008?
(A quick refresher, a Meritage is a proprietary blend of Bordeaux grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, etc… Click here for more info.)
The Experience: *Wine was decanted by Menu aerator - it wasn’t a sample.
Color: Fairly deep purple/garnet – young.
Nose: Kinda wound up and not offering up too much. Some dusty notes, dark fruit – but oddly, no real noticeable barrel tones. (Vanilla, espresso, wood, etc…) The austerity and non-’green’ or ‘black olive’ components to this wine are leading me to believe this is not a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend, Merlot or Malbec dominant perhaps? Is this wine from grapes which were harvested too early?
Palate: Like the nose, austere. Some young and grippier tannins, and not really fruit driven. Typical dark berries, but toned way down. It’s clearly a younger wine. There was even a very noticeable lack of barrel tones to this Napa Valley wine, which was a nice treat. The alcohol heat was also rather in check at 14.30%. Balanced for the most part, but lacking distinguishing features.
Bottom Line: Buy-Half-A-Case
I like’d the 2008 more. BUT! This wine has ‘super’ origins from Napa Valley, literally. I’m giving this recommendation to someone who likes pricer wines ($20+) and is searching for a suitable Tuesday night wine or a’second’ or ‘bottle that isn’t going to break the bank at $13. I had this wine along side some $45+, 93-94 Robert Parker point wines and its lack of ‘great’ concentration showed, but it wasn’t a total wash out by any means. The 2010 Cocobon however… no one revisited it. It’s holiday time, people are opening nicer and additional bottles of wine, this should seriously be a wine to consider.
Wine Tech Stuff: 43% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Saugvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec.
**Note: I revisited the 2008 Meritage over the holidays; it’s drinking quite nicely but starting to lose structure. It should be drank in the next 12-18 months.