The Wine: This wine provides the perfect opportunity to learn a few things. Namely: Syrah, Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Petit Syrah, what’s going on here? Check out this link for a lengthy but very read worthy explanation, particularly if you are interested in California’s wine history.
Here’s a wine I’m up in the air about; we recently had a Crew wine tasting and this wine universally received the lowest remarks. But after chewing on what was said about this wine, it was because this wine is so restrained on the nose and so tannic in the mouth which made people frown. You have to hear the story behind this wine to begin to either appreciate or knock this wine.
This juice spent a whopping 48months! in French and American oak barrels! According to TJ’s, this wine was intended to be used in a premium label’s wine library program (I think it was going to be used to blend), but the winery opted to do else with it – Welcome to Trader Joe’s wine shelf!
The Experince: So what does this leave us, the consumer with? My co-workers were spot on, this wine is TIGHT on the nose, practically no dark fruit. It kind of reminded me of smelling an older piece of lumber, you can pick up a small scent type of the wood and a little bit of dust – the 5% Dry Creek Zinfandel is certainly adding to this – and the color is thick and intense. This wine has a DEEP purple color; the kind of wine your mom would kill you if you spilled it on her white carpet. On first taste, this wine will seriously make you pucker with its MASSIVE tannin structure. The kind of pucker you’d get from having both fresh squeezed lemon juice and a cotton ball in your mouth. You’re left with practically no fruit flavor profiles and just a hint of oak/vanilla.
This wine reminded me of the BV 2006 Georges de Latour ($90) we tasted on the special occasion of the day before Thanksgiving (that’s a slightly busy day for anyone working Trader Joe’s); Georges was not ready for drinking nor were we able to provide the air it needed to even really begin opening up. This is definitely a gift wine with an almost mandatory request to drink it later. The Petite Sirah gave you an indication with its powerful tannins, this wine was meant to move a bottle well into the future. **And just to be clear, the Petite Sirah being such a closed wine reminded me of Georges, not that the quality of wine was the same.**
OK, so what do I do when looking at this bottle on the shelf? This is definitely not a wine for immediate daily consumption. Considering almost every wine I place in someone’s hands is being consumed within one week of purchase, this wine is not for that market. Unless you have an araetor, a decanter and some patience before drinking, I would recommend skipping this wine.
The Bottom Line: Next-Please/Give-A-Try: If you are new to wine and want to experience a mega tannic wine, buy this. If you are willing to purchase this wine and forget about it for 3+ years, buy this wine and roll your dice in a few years to see if you got a wine which just needed a bit more time to move past its growing pains. If you want wine tonight, don’t buy this wine. And if anyone is willing to provide a bottle of George de Latour, I will happily provide this wine for a blind tasting!
Bonus Dork Info:
- Varietals - 95% Petite Sirah, 5% Dry Creek Zinfandel
- Barrel Aging – French and American oak, 48 months
- Alcohol – 13.5%
- pH – 3.66
- SO2 – 93ppm
- TA – 5.7 g/L
- RS – <3 g/L
- Fining Agent – None