December 15, 2011
$5-$9 Price Point, 2010, California, Cocobon, Red Wine, Trader Joe's Exclusive
NOTE FROM AUTHOR: Wow, time to get back in the saddle. I’ve been on hiatus for all but the very best of reasons – wine. It’s nice approaching my TJs Wine Blog with the new ocean of information, perspective, wine production and palate experience. My site will still strive to locate diamonds in the rough and troughs to avoid. All posts are my opinion, but as always, your participation in the comments is what makes this site more interesting for all. -Matt
The Wine: The one wine which has generated the most visits to my site has been my review of the 2009 Cocobon. People love this wine. I’m excited for my return post to be about this wine, the 2010 vintage.
2010 Cocobon California Red Wine
Red Wine blends are awesome. Perfect outlet for bulk table wine and rich wine crafting palate for talented wine makers to create immensely complex interesting boutique wines. Occupying the $8 price point and California appellation, this is bulk red wine production. The 2009 was mainly Zinfandel with some Cab Franc, Merlot, Petite Sirah, etc. I imagine this is almost no different. So how is it?
Color: Garnet violet center, rhubarb edges, fairly deep yet translucent.
Nose: Lots and lots of dark berries, vanilla, woody – still very young.
Palate: Mega fruit forward all the way through from start to finish. Lightly tannic/woody mid-palate. Has a noticeable slate/stony character. But the finish is very similar to that of cherry cola – sweet.
Bottom Line: Next-Wine-Please/Worth-A-Buy
This wine is not my style – sweet, when I prefer dry and more structure in red wine. If you are looking for a Tuesday night dinner wine? Here ya go. It would go well with any spicy food or something from the grill. If you are looking for a wine to serve at a holiday party, here’s a perfect crowd pleaser for a general wine drinking audience or would make some awesome Glühwein – German mulled wine (A personal favorite of mine after living in Germany for sevearl years.)
Looking forward to your thoughts on this best selling wine!
June 14, 2011
$5-$9 Price Point, 2010, Give-A-Try, JBA Cellars, Next-Wine-Please!, Sauvignon Blanc, VINTJS
VINTJS 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
The Wine: Finally (in Northern California), summer has arrived. Summer time means cold, refreshing white wine is bound to be on the table and new releases from last year’s vintage are making their way to market. Sauvignon Blanc is a wine best consumed sooner rather than later . I was particularly happy to seethe VINTJS stemming from Napa Valley, which I liked so much last year. However, I noticed a change in the name of cellar origin. Last year’s offering came from Maxwell Creek Cellars and this year’s is from JBA Cellars – however a visit to Tax and Trade Bureau confirms both wines are from the same ‘super’ origin. Thank you Internet! So how is this wine?
Color: Nice light hay/straw yellow.
Nose: (Directly from the fridge) Very bright and crisp pear, pineapple and little beer hoppyness; nice.
Palate: (Directly from the fridge) Pear, little grassyness, pineapple, flabby and a bit too ‘heavy’. Lime lingers on the finish. Lacks crisp acidity.
Bottom Line: Next-Wine-Please!/Give-A-Try
Fresh out of the fridge, the nose on this wine was so attractive. But as the wine warmed up, the nose lost some the bright pear and citrus notes and the palate just became flabby. I wish this wine had more acidity and crispness. I know last year was a cold growing season, then a massive heat spike a few weeks before harvest, I wonder how that affected this wine? At $7, I’d be more willing to try something else before I’d revisit this wine. But if you kept this wine ice cold, I think you’d enjoy this wine more. What did you think of this wine?
March 15, 2011
$5-$9 Price Point, 2008, Buy-Half-A-Case, Lockwood Vineyards, Monterey County, Syrah
Lockwood Vineyards 2008 Estate Syrah Monterey County
The Wine: I’m going to have to confess something to you all, I really haven’t had that many single varietal Syrahs before. I’ve had several hand fulls of blends with Syrah in it, but I’ve mainly had experiences with Petite Sirah. I reached out to my buddy Jeff over at VivaLaWino pointing him towards this wine as one to try because he has a lot tasting experience of French wines and Syrah is heavily used varietal in places like the Rhone Valley or Chateauneuf du Pape. So I’m curious to hear Jeff’s thoughts on this wine. So tonight I thought I’d write a review on a varietal I don’t know that much about solely based on how I enjoyed this wine. Sound OK?
Color: An incredibly vibrant violet. This wine looks young, yet it’s a 2008.
Nose: Right out of the bottle and into the glass this wine presents a candy like nose of ripe berries and some vanilla. This reminds me a Gamay or Beaujolais Nouveau; the fruit is just popping on the nose here. Kinda cool.
Palate: The first thing I wrote about this wine was not the fruit which moves from the nose to the palate, but rather how dry this wine left my palate, wow. It wasn’t as intense as Petite Sirah can be, but definitely left a chalky feeling in my mouth; which is not a bad thing when paired with food! The finish lingers with notes of ripe red fruit and vanilla. The finish is kinda flabby and not ‘crisp’ tight with acid and tannins making a ‘tight’ wine; some could say this wine lacks ‘focus’, but that’s alright. I really like this wine has a lower alcohol content of 13.8%, meaning my tongue isn’t burning nor is the alcohol used as a substitute for tannins. I’m very much enjoying this wine with my stew.
Bottom Line: Buy-Half-Case
This is a Trader Joe’s Hustle Buy; meaning it’s not going to be around forever. I think this is definitely a wine worth picking up several bottles, especially at the $6 price point. It’s a great daily drinker or one to pull out this summer when barbecuing. I liked this wine A LOT more on the second day after opening and pairing with a hearty stew. The ‘breathing’ time really allowed this wine to come together in a much more approachable way than out of the bottle. If you have a decanter, use on this. Or even consider laying a few bottles away for a few years. Did I mention this is an Estate Wine? For $6? Get this wine and please do share your thoughts!
- Price: $6
- Alcohol: 13.8%
- Appellation: San Lucas, Monterey County
- Estate Wine
March 7, 2011
$5-$9 Price Point, 2009, Ceago Vinegarden, Dynamic, Lake County, Next-Wine-Please!, Red Wine
The Wine: When I saw this stack at TJ’s, the thing which intrigued me about
Dynamic 2009 Red Table Wine
this wine was the rather unusual blend of Syrah (53%), Merlot (43%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (4%); I hadn’t seen a blend like that before. I’m not a wine-person spanning many decades, so this blend is new to me. (French wine people, is this a blend which originates from a region of France?) The rear label also hypes the fact this wine is ‘bio-dynamic’ which imparts “unique qualities”. OK, the marketing has me; I purchased the bottle.
Color: Rather dense plum color, violet; looks very young.
Nose: Doughy, yeasty, earthiness (Syrah), a hint of wood with almost no fruit.
Palate: Really grassy and moves quickly towards a smoky/toasty finish. Chalky dryness. Top of my mouth was picking up Merlot, my tongue was sensing Syrah. But there was this overall yeasty tasty to the wine.
Bottom Line: Next-Wine-Please!
This wine was just too weird for me. It was actually rather disgusting in my honest opinion. At work today, I tasted a corked bottle of wine which was much nicer to drink than this. I’d almost think this Dynamic bottle was corked, but it’s a screw cap. The blend lacks any clear focus or direction. This was the first time I’d considered taking a bottle back due to dissatisfaction. I’m definitely not seeking perfection at $7 per cork, but I’d expect it to be a palatable table wine. Or maybe I’m missing something? Has anyone else tried this wine? Please share your thoughts!
- Price: $7
- Appellation: Lake County, California
- Cellar: Ceago Vinegarden – Hopland, CA
- Alcohol: 14%